Dear Madam Secretary:Kudo's to Henry Waxman, John Conyers, Nancy Pelosi and all the Dems who are really trying to exercise appropriate government oversight.
On March 12, 2007, I sent you a letter renewing, as formal requests of the Committee, prior letter requests that I sent to you between 2003 and 2006. These requests sought information on the claim that Iraq sought uranium from Niger, White House treatment of classified information, the appointment of Ambassador Jones as “special coordinator” for Iraq, and other subjects. My March 12 letter is attached.
The March 12 letter requested a response by March 23 to several of the inquiries, but the Committee received no response from you.
I now request your appearance before the Committee at a hearing on Wednesday, April 18, 2007, at 10:00 a.m. in Room 2154, Rayburn House Office Building. At this hearing, you will be asked to provide testimony and respond to questions on the subjects outlined in the March 12 letter and the original request letters. …
Henry A. Waxman
THE SCANDAL unfolding around the firing of eight U.S. attorneys compels the conclusion that the Bush administration has rewarded loyalty over all else. A destructive pattern of partisan political actions at the Justice Department started long before this incident, however, as those of us who worked in its civil rights division can attest.This is written by Joseph D. Rich, who was chief of the voting section in the Justice Department's civil right division from 1999 to 2005. He now works for the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
I spent more than 35 years in the department enforcing federal civil rights laws — particularly voting rights. Before leaving in 2005, I worked for attorneys general with dramatically different political philosophies — from John Mitchell to Ed Meese to Janet Reno. Regardless of the administration, the political appointees had respect for the experience and judgment of longtime civil servants.
Under the Bush administration, however, all that changed. Over the last six years, this Justice Department has ignored the advice of its staff and skewed aspects of law enforcement in ways that clearly were intended to influence the outcome of elections.
This does not surprise me in the least.
Does believing that "God is on our side" make it easier for us to inflict pain and suffering on those perceived to be our enemies? If we think God sanctions violence, are we more likely to engage in violent acts?
The answer to both those questions, according to new research, is a resounding "yes," even among those who do not consider themselves believers.
MOSUL, Iraq, March 29 (Reuters) - Policemen who took part in the reprisal shootings of scores of men in northwest Iraq this week were arrested but then freed again to prevent unrest, the provincial governor said on Thursday.Sigh.
Hours after truck bombs killed 85 people on Tuesday in a Shi'ite area of Tal Afar, up to 70 Sunni Arab men were shot dead in a town which only a year ago was held up by U.S. President George W. Bush as an example of progress towards peace.
WP columnist Jim Hoagland wonders why Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah said no when the White House invited him to a gala in his honor. It's a story that has received scant attention in the papers, but an official flew to Washington last week to explain the cancellation as a scheduling conflict. No one is buying that. Hoagland says it's "one more warning sign that the Bush administration's downward spiral at home is undermining its ability to achieve its policy objectives abroad." And Saudi Arabia's king is not alone. Jordan's King Abdullah, who has never been shy about visiting Bush, said he won't be able to make a state visit that was being discussed for September.It has nothing to do with Bush's popularity at home. It has to do with Bush's popularity in the world!
One day later: “The king of Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah, condemned the presence of American forces in Iraq as an ‘illegitimate foreign occupation‘ in a speech today, and said the withholding of aid to Palestinians should end.”
The WSJ points out Bush and Congress must reach some sort of compromise by mid-May because that's when the military will start facing major money problems.Get ready for a full metal jacket, red white and blue whine-a-thon from Republicans about Democrats not supporting the troops. How the Dems navigate this is going to be very important.
BAGHDAD - Shiite militants and police enraged by massive truck bombings in Tal Afar went on a revenge spree against Sunni residents in the northwestern town Wednesday, killing as many as 60 people, officials said.
The gunmen began roaming Sunni neighborhoods in the city, shooting at residents and homes, according to police and a local Sunni politician.
Senator: Ms. Goodling, can you tell us what was said at your meeting with Attorney General Gonzales on blah blah date?Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Repeat over and over again.
Goodling: Senator, I refuse to answer on the grounds that the answer may tend to incriminate me.
Witnesses have told congressional investigators that the chief of the General Services Administration and a deputy in Karl Rove's political affairs office at the White House joined in a videoconference earlier this year with top GSA political appointees, who discussed ways to help Republican candidates.Isn't that, .... like .... illegal?
With GSA Administrator Lurita Alexis Doan and up to 40 regional administrators on hand, J. Scott Jennings, the White House's deputy director of political affairs, gave a PowerPoint presentation on Jan. 26 of polling data about the 2006 elections.
When Jennings concluded his presentation to the GSA political appointees, Doan allegedly asked them how they could "help 'our candidates' in the next elections," according to a March 6 letter to Doan from Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Waxman said in the letter that one method suggested was using "targeted public events, such as the opening of federal facilities around the country."
White House still supporting Gonzales.Oh, and you other Republicans? Just keep on supporting your fearless leader. We like that too.
Even though both liberal and conservative lawmakers, pundits, members of the media, and the American public are pushing for Gonzales’s resignation, the White House refuses to budge. “We are not negotiating,” White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said. “We are where we are, which is where we were last week. I can understand why people would think we have not made the right decision, but we think we have.”
Yesterday I reported that the Justice Department had written Congress that, against the advice of Alberto Gonzales, the president had shut down an internal department investigation into the administration's wireless wiretapping program. Bush's was an unprecedented and arbitrary (and still unexplained) move.Here's the releveant graf from my previous blog post:
Democrats in the Senate want to know more. So yesterday Sens. Russ Feinfold (D-WI), Ted Kennedy (D-MA), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Dick Durbin (D-IL) sent a letter following up.
Shortly before Attorney General Alberto Gonzales advised President Bush last year on whether to shut down a Justice Department inquiry regarding the administration's warrantless domestic eavesdropping program, Gonzales learned that his own conduct would likely be a focus of the investigation, according to government records and interviews.Looks like some Senators are interested in looking at this further.
Bush personally intervened to sideline the Justice Department probe in April 2006 by taking the unusual step of denying investigators the security clearances necessary for their work.
"The Constitution's Impeachment Clause applies to all 'civil officers of the United States' - not to mention the president, vice president and federal judges," Dean wrote. "It is not clear who, precisely, is among those considered 'civil officers,' but the group certainly includes a president's cabinet and sub-cabinet, as well as the senior department officials and the White House staff (those who are issued commissions by the president and serve the President and Vice President)."There's little doubt that Bushies have used every possible innovation of the Constitution to take power. Why not be innovative in using obscure provisions, not usually needed when people play nice, to exercise oversight?
Dean writes on the precedent: "Impeachment of Secretary of War William Belknap, in the aftermath of the Civil War, is the only precedent for using these proceedings against subordinate executive officers. Belknap was said to be involved in a kickback scheme involving military contracts. Just hours before the House was to vote to impeach him, Belknap resigned. Nonetheless, on March 2, 1876, the House impeached the former cabinet officer, and the five articles of impeachment were presented to the Senate."
Two US troops were announced killed on Saturday.
AP reporter Kim Gamel details a wave of bombings and mayhem across Iraq on Saturday. The deadliest attack was a suicide truck bombing at a police station in Baghad, which killed 20 and wounded 28, many of them police. Guerrillas bombed a pastry shop in the northern Turkmen city of Tal Afar, killing 10 and wounded 3. A truck bomber killed 11 and wounded 45 in Haswah, south of Baghdad. Suicide car bombers killed 20 and wounded 30 in attacks on police at Qaim near the Syrian border.
Reuters gives other incidents and estimates that 25 bodies were found in Baghdad on Friday, 8 in Fallujah, and another 4 in Mosul. The found-body count, of nearly 40, is much higher than in the AP story. Al-Hayat estimated the day's death toll from political violence at 90.
Al-Sharq al-Awsat reports in Arabic that the British made a security sweep in the southern, largely Shiite port city of Basra on Friday, killing one Iraqi and arresting 28. The fighting was with Shiite militiamen, presumably.
In a Dec. 3, 2006, e-mail released Friday night, Scott Jennings, one of presidential adviser Karl Rove's aides, asked Sampson if he had a list of "all vacant, or about-to-be vacant, US Attorney slots." Jennings' request came on a Sunday, so Sampson offered to send it to him the next day.Karl baby. Let's see your list. Gee. I wonder who else is on it?
Jennings, a political operative, had earlier passed along complaints from Republican Party activists about U.S. Attorney David Iglesias, who was fired from his job in New Mexico. Some Republicans were angry that Iglesias hadn't been more aggressive in investigating Democrats.
ABC News reports: “New documents show Gonzales approved firings of U.S. attorneys, contradicting earlier claims he was not closely involved.”From yesterday's document dump.
UPDATE: The AP reports:
Gonzales approved plans to fire several U.S. attorneys in a November meeting. …
The Nov. 27 meeting, in which the attorney general and at least five top Justice Department officials participated, focused on a five-step plan for carrying out the firings of the prosecutors, Justice Department officials said late Friday.
There, Gonzales signed off on the plan, which was crafted by his chief of staff, Kyle Sampson. Sampson resigned last week in the wake of the political firestorm surrounding the firings.
UPDATE II: On March 12, Gonzales denied any involvement in the prosecutor purge:
I was not involved in seeing any memos, was not involved in any discussions about what was going on … That’s basically what I knew as attorney general.
WASHINGTON - Under President Bush, the Justice Department has backed laws that narrow minority voting rights and pressed U.S. attorneys to investigate voter fraud - policies that critics say have been intended to suppress Democratic votes.As they say, go read the whole thing. I've been saying it and I'll say it again, it was a Rove political operation to use U.S. prosecutors to intimidate Democrats in key states. It's has Rove's typical fingerprints alllll over it.
Bush, his deputy chief of staff, Karl Rove, and other Republican political advisers have highlighted voting rights issues and what Rove has called the "growing problem" of election fraud by Democrats since Bush took power in the tumultuous election of 2000, a race ultimately decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Since 2005, McClatchy Newspapers has found, Bush has appointed at least three U.S. attorneys who had worked in the Justice Department's civil rights division when it was rolling back longstanding voting-rights policies aimed at protecting predominantly poor, minority voters.
Another newly installed U.S. attorney, Tim Griffin in Little Rock, Ark., was accused of participating in efforts to suppress Democratic votes in Florida during the 2004 presidential election while he was a research director for the Republican National Committee. He's denied any wrongdoing.
Justice Department spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said the four U.S. attorneys weren't chosen only because of their backgrounds in election issues, but "we would expect any U.S. attorney to prosecute voting fraud."
Taken together, critics say, the replacement of the U.S. attorneys, the voter-fraud campaign and the changes in Justice Department voting rights policies suggest that the Bush administration may have been using its law enforcement powers for partisan political purposes.
Last April, while the Justice Department and the White House were planning the firings, Rove gave a speech in Washington to the Republican National Lawyers Association. He ticked off 11 states that he said could be pivotal in the 2008 elections. Bush has appointed new U.S. attorneys in nine of them since 2005: Florida, Colorado, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Arkansas, Michigan, Nevada and New Mexico. U.S. attorneys in the latter four were among those fired.
Rove thanked the audience for "all that you are doing in those hot spots around the country to ensure that the integrity of the ballot is protected." He added, "A lot in American politics is up for grabs."
The department's civil rights division, for example, supported a Georgia voter identification law that a court later said discriminated against poor, minority voters. It also declined to oppose an unusual Texas redistricting plan that helped expand the Republican majority in the House of Representatives. That plan was partially reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Frank DiMarino, a former federal prosecutor who served six U.S. attorneys in Florida and Georgia during an 18-year Justice Department career, said that too much emphasis on voter fraud investigations "smacks of trying to use prosecutorial power to investigate and potentially indict political enemies."
Several former voting rights lawyers, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of antagonizing the administration, said the division's political appointees reversed the recommendations of career lawyers in key cases and transferred or drove out most of the unit's veteran attorneys.
The firings were not the offense. They were the clue that suggested the offense. As the Congressional Research Service has shown, over the last twenty-five years only ten US Attorneys have been dismissed other than at the beginning of a new president's term of office. And of those, eight were for clear cause. For instance, one of them bit a stripper on the arm in a night club. And that, not surprisingly, led to his ouster.In addition to Marshall, as I often say, just go read Digby on the matter. As usual, Digby does the thorough knockdown of Kinsley as well, but points to the larger issue of what is now a thirty year tradition of Republican corruption in government. And like Digby, I'm sick of being labeled a dirty f$%king hippie because I squeal at the abject corruption right under my nose. I'm not a leftist firebrand. Much of the rest of the country have left American traditions to become reactionaries, blithely following the slick P.R. marketing plan of the GOP.
To quote the CRS report ...In any case, ten times over twenty five years and in eight of those cases for clear and publicly aired reasons.
In virtually all of those 10 previous cases, serious issues of personal or professional conduct appeared to be the driving issue. Prior to December, for example, only two U.S. Attorneys were outright fired for improper, and in one case criminal, behavior. The CRS report identifies six other U.S. Attorneys who resigned during the 25-year period who were implicated in news reports of “questionable conduct.” For two others, the CRS was unable to determine the cause.
(For more details on this key element of the firings story, see this discussion by Scott Lilly.)
And then on one day, secretly and with no explanation, seven get canned. And several are involved in corruption investigations targetting Republicans. The first public explanation is that they were fired for poor performance. But then it turns most were among the highest performing US Attorneys in the country. Add in the fact that one of the eight was overseeing one of the broadest ranging and historic public corruption cases in US history and ... well, it all got our attention.
Then, only a little digging revealed clear evidence that two of the US Attorneys were dismissed for not pursuing bogus claims of Democratic 'voter fraud'.
The $3 billion move will begin in 2011, according to a plan prepared by the DHS, once a new building is ready in the grounds of the former mental hospital, St. Elizabeth's.
The Inhofe Scale will be used to measure statements (but most definitely not the speakers who make them) that exhibit a noticeable and willing detachment from reality. The scale is calibrated so that 100 equals the detachment seen in Senator Inhofe's "greatest hoax", polar bear, and Mars quotations, seen above. Extra consideration is given to positions espoused with an excessively cavalier attitude or downright meanness, and those from people or organizations that have a obligation to get it right.
Maura Reynolds writes in the Los Angeles Times: "Congress called a timeout Thursday in its confrontation with the Bush administration after a Senate committee voted to authorize subpoenas to compel White House officials -- including political advisor Karl Rove -- to testify about why eight U.S. attorneys were fired last year. . . .This is bullshit ... plain and simple.
"[M]embers of Congress said they would not issue any subpoenas for at least a week, a move that allows time for negotiations in what had become a rapidly escalating constitutional showdown. . . .
"The cooling of rhetoric on both sides seemed to reflect a political calculation that each could be damaged if the confrontation were to proceed further and land in court. Courts have rarely intervened in such disputes between the legislative and executive branches of governments, and Democrats acknowledge that a legal battle could outlast the 22 months left in President Bush's term."
Alexis Simendinger writes in a National Journal story (subscription required): "White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove may have forfeited potential claims of executive privilege over the dismissals of eight U.S. attorneys-- if he communicated about the latter outside the White House e-mail system, using his Republican National Committee e-mail account or RNC equipment. Or at least that's a legal possibility posed by rapidly advancing electronic technology and the evolving work habits of busy White House officials. . .Would it not be ironic that in his attempts to keep his communications away from scrutiny, Rove sinks his ability to claim executive priviledge?
"According to one former White House official familiar with Rove's work habits, the president's top political adviser does 'about 95 percent' of his e-mailing using his RNC-based account. Many White House officials, including aides in the Political Affairs Office, use the RNC account as an alternative to their official government e-mail addresses to help keep their official and political duties separate. Although some White House officials use dual sets of electronic devices for that purpose.
Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.), Judiciary’s senior Republican, at first declined to reveal his vote, later adding that he abstained by remaining silent. Specter urged Democrats to negotiate with President Bush, whose Tuesday television address on the prosecutors was characterized as a proposal by the lawmaker.No surprise. I guess the real surprise is that Specter actually said what his vote was .... an abstention. Specter is also ready to announce he's seeking re-election. The Dems are being much nicer than the GOP majority would have ever been by allowing a voice vote on the matter.
According to a source, three key House liberals -- Reps. Barabara Lee, Lynne Woolsey, and Maxine Waters -- privately approached Speaker Nancy Pelosi today and asked how many votes the leadership needed to pass the bill. They were told that four votes were needed.
The three then went to other liberal holdouts and encouraged them to support the bill, the source says. The source adds that the leadership is all but certain to now have the votes it needs. Lee explained her conversion this way in a press release just out from the liberals: "I have struggled with this decision, but I finally decided that, while I cannot betray my conscience, I cannot stand in the way of passing a measure that puts a concrete end date on this unnecessary war."
The US is scrambling to head off a "disastrous" Turkish military intervention in Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq that threatens to derail the Baghdad security surge and open up a third front in the battle to save Iraq from disintegration.Hey, why not? The U.S. is in the middle of keeping a bunch of other folks separated who want to kill each other.
Senior Bush administration officials have assured Turkey in recent days that US forces will increase efforts to root out Kurdistan Workers' party (PKK) guerrillas enjoying safe haven in the Qandil mountains, on the Iraq-Iran-Turkey border.
California's price spike since Jan. 1 "does seem to be attributed almost entirely to refining margins," Bushnell said.Please.
On Jan. 1, the refinery margin was 59 cents per gallon of gas, according to the state Energy Commission. On Monday, the most recent measurement, the margin was $1.12 a gallon.
The refinery margin is calculated by subtracting the market price for Alaska North Slope crude oil from the wholesale price of gas. The result includes the cost of operating the refinery as well as the profits for the refining company.
The last time the refinery margin exceeded $1 a gallon was in May - when pump prices peaked and the margin hit $1.08. The margin then fell steadily to about 50 cents a gallon by year's end.
The impact of global warming on the vast Southern Ocean around Antarctica is starting to pose a threat to ocean currents that distribute heat around the world, Australian scientists say, citing new deep-water data.
For the so-called Atlantic Conveyor, the surface warm water current meets the Greenland ice sheet then cools and sinks, heading south again and driving the conveyor belt process.
But researchers fear increased melting of the Greenland ice sheet risks disrupting the conveyor. If it stops, temperatures in northern Europe would plunge.
The phrase "global warming" suggests to the uneducated that the entire planet will heat up. They point to unusually cold snaps to dispell the notion of a planet in crisis. This article explains that the climate is changing and not in a good way for most life.
LAHORE, Pakistan -- In the rapidly unfolding crisis in Pakistan, no matter what happens to President Pervez Musharraf -- whether he survives politically or not -- he is a lame duck. He is unable to rein in Talibanization in Pakistan or guide the country toward a more democratic future.This column was written by Ahmed Rashid, a Pakistani journalist, and the author of "Taliban" and "Jihad: The Rise of Militant Islam in Central Asia." Musharraf is dependent on the aid from the U.S. for military toys and support of the military. Both are teetering while fundamentalists are exploiting the vacuum left by Musharraf not having a popular base of support among the people.
Since March 9, when Musharraf suspended the chief justice of the Supreme Court, Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry, public protests have escalated every day -- as has a violent crackdown by the police and intelligence agencies on the media and the nation's legal fraternity.
It is in the interest of the United States to support such an exit strategy [Musharraf voluntarily stepping down and holding elections]. The military can no longer counter the phenomenal growth of Islamic extremism in Pakistan through offensives alone. What the country needs is greater political consensus and a popularly elected government, and to replace the extortions of the mullahs with the return of day-to-day parliamentary politics. The army created a political vacuum in which extremism has thrived. Pakistan needs a return to civil society and government.
"If Karl Rove knew he'd one day be forced to testify under oath about advice he gave the president, he'd have to limit that advice to things that weren't shameful, illegal or spectacularly boneheaded."John Oliver explains to Jon Stewart on "The Daily Show"
"You would have to know Kevin," said UC Hastings College of the Law professor Rory Little. "You can't find a stronger supporter of the Bush administration agenda."Rove, Rove and more Rove. This whole thing stinks to high heaven of Karl Rove.
His tenure, however, was plagued by morale problems and accusations that he was a bad manager. A number of the office's most experienced lawyers left.
Despite his problems, which were well documented in legal newspapers, Justice officials wanted to keep Ryan on, even as they plotted the firings of other U.S. attorneys. It was only when a Democratic judge threatened to go to Congress to raise a public fuss over an excoriating written evaluation of Ryan's office that Ryan was put on the termination list, according to e-mails released by the White House.
Bono was playing a U2 concert in Glasgow recently, when he asked the audience for total quiet.
Then in the silence, he started to slowly clap his hands, once every few seconds.
Holding the audience in total silence, he said into the microphone, "Every time I clap my hands, a child in Africa dies."
A Glaswegian voice rang out from near the front of the crowd, piercing the silence........
"Well, fuckin' stop doing it then!"
Roll Call: "Every time they think they have turned a critical public relations corner on Capitol Hill, they find themselves back in the unpleasant position of having to deal with the latest White House snafu. And, at least privately, many GOP Senators and aides say they've hit their boiling point."Ah huh.
On a scale of one to 10, "The level of frustration is at an 11," offered one Senate Republican aide.
Asked by a reporter at the press conference if those were accurate, Edwards answered flatly: "No...the campaign goes on."I hope this means that her medical prognosis is very good.
Edwards also said that Elizabeth's sickness wouldn't lead them to "cower in a corner," adding: "We leave here, this press conference, to go to New York and Boston and California tomorrow. Together."
Elizabeth Edwards' cancer has returned, as everyone has been speculating. It's largely confined to her bones, "which is a good thing." Not curable but treatable. "We and she are very optimistic."But I'm not medical expert. I'm sure we'll get more info later.
BAGHDAD - The violent Shiite militia known as the Mahdi Army is breaking into splinter groups, with up to 3,000 gunmen now financed directly by Iran and no longer loyal to the firebrand cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, adding a potentially even more deadly element to Iraq's violent mix.Apparently there are some of the more radical elements in the Mahdi Army not happy with "laying low". I would guess as time goes by and the escalation continues, their ranks will grow in opposition to U.S. and Sunni attacks. The pressure on Moqtada al Sadr to get active again will also grow. Not good news for sure.
Two senior militia commanders told The Associated Press that hundreds of these fighters have crossed into Iran for training by the elite Quds force, a branch of Iran's Revolutionary Guard thought to have trained Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon and Muslim fighters in Bosnia and Afghanistan.
The Post helpfully goes through what could happen if the White House refuses to comply with the subpoenas. First, the judiciary committees would have to decide to issue citations for contempt of Congress. If the full House and Senate agree, Congress would ask the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia to seek indictments. But would a U.S. attorney go against the wishes of the president? No one really knows because it's never gotten that far. The WSJ points out that the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia previously served as counselor to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.Doesn't this just explify the problems of having a political appointee head the Department of Justice? If a U.S. attorney issues an indictment, he's likely to be fired knowing this bunch.
David Iglesias (District of New Mexico)Put this together with the statistic that 80% of the Justice Dept. investigations against politicians were done on Democrats and it has to make you go hmmmmm.
H. E. Cummins III (Eastern District of Arkansas)
Paul K. Charlton (District of Arizona)
John McKay (Western District of Washington)
Daniel Bogden (District of Nevada)
Margaret Chiara (Western District of Michigan)
Carol Lam (Southern District of California )
Kevin V. Ryan (Northern District of California)
6 of the attorneys come from states that are not completely red or blue. The other 2 are from the country’s largest state and a major source of campaign contributions California.
Sen. Obama said yesterday he disagreed with the postition taken by George Soros in a recent essay published in the New York Review of Books. In the essay, Soros "called for the Democratic Party to 'liberate' itself from the influence of the pro-Israel lobby," according to the New York Sun.Jimmy Carter and George Soros are now on record as taking a more balanced approach to the Israel-Arab conflicts. But as the old saying goes, "money talks and bullshit walks". It's highly likely that until American politics is unleashed from the stranglehold of AIPAC, the U.S. will be impotent in the middle east.
Soros says the United States ought to pressure Israel to negotiate with the Hamas-led Palestian government, and "that one reason America has not embraced this policy is because of the influence of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee."
"Rep. Robert Wexler, a Democrat of Florida who sent out an e-mail to Jewish supporters in his home state last week vouching for Mr. Obama's pro-Israel bona fides, said he too rejected Mr. Soros's comments."
Shades of Rose Mary Woods? An 18 day gap?
I think a commenter in our document dump research thread may have been the first to notice that the emails released by the Justice Department seem to have a gap between November 15th and December 4th of last year.
BAGHDAD, March 19 -- Dozens of insurgents wielding machine guns surrounded the police station before dawn Monday in Duluiyah, a majority Sunni town about 45 miles north of Baghdad. The five officers on duty walked out, hands to the dark sky, and waited to be executed.Remember the Alamo!
But instead of firing, the insurgents' leader spoke: Repent, he commanded, or die.
"So we swore to quit the police and support the Islamic State of Iraq," recalled Mohammad Hashmawi, one of the police officers, referring to a militant Sunni organization active in many parts of the country.
Apparently content, the insurgents stole the officers' decrepit weapons and the station's communications equipment, blew up the building and released the officers. A similar scene played out simultaneously at another police station in the town, said police Capt. Hussein al-Jaburi. It was the fifth police station in the town to be destroyed by Sunni extremists in two weeks, he said, leaving just three standing.
Everybody reports that the Pentagon announced that Iraqi insurgents used two children as decoys during a suicide attack Sunday. The children helped the vehicle pass a checkpoint, then the car was parked, the adults got out, and they set off the bomb with the children still inside. On Tuesday, two U.S. soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb.The cursory examination of the story is likely to lead our nutbar friends to decry the heathens as barbarians and primitive.
Experts believe a court battle is unlikely and that the issue will be solved in negotiations. The LAT points out that "openly defying a subpoena has little precedent." If subpoenas are issued and the White House aides refuse to cooperate, Congress could vote to find them in contempt. But making things just a tad weirder, the Justice Department would normally be in charge of prosecuting this kind of case. Congress could also use other tools at its disposal, such as withholding funds from an agency or refusing to approve any nominees.Perhaps the "experts" are correct. But using precedent for such a showdown is a mistake. Bush is not like previous Presidents ... even Nixon.
The NYT points out that even if an interview isn't under oath, lying to Congress could still be a crime. But the WP notes aides would not face "the same level of criminal charges" if they're not under oath.
Republicans called the authorization premature, though some GOP members said they would consider voting to approve the subpoenas if Conyers promises to issue them only if he has evidence of wrongdoing.That's nice, no record of the vote. I'm going to try and find out what the vote actually was. I suspect for the show it was on party lines. But again, no Republican is on the record for it. Republicans continue to experience that hard place next to a rock.
Conyers agreed. "This (authority) will not be used in a way that will make you regret your vote."
Several Republicans said, "No" during the voice vote, but no roll call was taken.
Harold Ickes, Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff - 7/28/94
George Stephanopoulos, Senior Adviser to the President for Policy and Strategy - 8/4/94
John Podesta, Assistant to the President and Staff Secretary - 8/5/94
Bruce R. Lindsey, Assistant to the President and Deputy Counsel to the President - 1/16/96
Samuel Berger, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs - 9/11/97
Beth Nolan, Counsel to the President - 5/4/00
But there was something else I noticed as I read the document that Paul highlighted: there was a noticable difference in the quality of the stated reasons for firing the eight prosecutors. Some reasons seemed pretty strong, some pretty weak, and a couple in between. Here's how they looked to me:Trust me, all dots lead to Rover.
Strong: Chiara, Ryan, Cummins. The first two appear to have had serious morale/management issues that had previously required on-site visits to address. Cummins was planning to resign anyway.
Middling: Charlton, McKay. In both cases, EOUSA managers appeared to be unhappy about "insubordination" and working "outside of proper channels." It's not clear what the problems were, but these are at least colorable stories.
Weak: Bogden, Iglesias, Lam. In the first two cases, virtually no reasons are given at all. "Lack of energy" and "Underperforming generally" is the best they could come up with. In Lam's case, they complained about "time management" and then tossed in some items about illegal immigration and gun prosecutions that were pretty plainly bogus.
Notice anything unusual about this list? I didn't at first, but it turns out that the five firings with the weakest official explanations are the same five prosecutors who have been suspected of being either too tough on Republican corruption cases or too weak on Democratic ones. You can't very well put that on your summary sheet, though, which probably explains why the DOJies had trouble coming up with good reasons for firing them. The dots are practically begging to be connected here.
New e-mails released this evening by the Justice Department reveal the depth of White House involvement in the discussions to fire eight U.S. attorneys last year. The thousands of pages of e-mails suggest the White House was involved in the plan from the beginning.
“I really regret bringing down the statue,” said Kadhim al-Jubouri, an Iraqi weightlifter who was enlisted to help bring down the statute in 2003. “The Americans are worse than the dictatorship. Every day is worse than the previous day.” He added that he would prefer to be living under Saddam than under U.S. occupation: “The devil you know [is] better than the devil you don’t. We no longer know friend from foe. The situation is becoming more dangerous. It’s not getting better at all. People are poor and the prices are going higher and higher.”
"There will be good days, and there will be bad days ahead" -- George W. Bush, today.
"There will be good days and there will be bad days" -- George W. Bush, in 2005.
"There will be good days and there will be difficult days" -- George W. Bush, in 2004.
The amount of money borrowed from brokerages that do business on the New York Stock Exchange to buy stock rose 3.6 percent to a second straight monthly record, reaching $295.9 billion in February. Margin debt, as the borrowing is called, in January broke the prior high set at the peak of the so-called Internet bubble.Some folks call that a "contrary indictator" meaning that when most people think it's going up, watch out.
"Maintaining that independence, without fear of repercussions, is the bedrock principle at stake in the controversy over the firings of eight U.S. attorneys. As the top law enforcement official in each of their jurisdictions, these federal prosecutors have the power to destroy reputations, careers and even lives.There is an inherent tension between being an political appointee and remaining independent. This tension has led to problems in the past, but as with everything Bush, nothing like this. And I'm not sure we should change the system, i.e. make U.S. prosecutors civil service employees.
"They're political appointees, but they're supposed to follow the evidence wherever it leads, without fear or favor. While presidents have the power to remove them for any reason, tradition holds that prosecutors should stay on the job unless they're corrupt or incompetent."
The sub-prime and overall mortgage carnage is now likely to lead to a financial crisis whose cleanup and bailout costs will make the S&L bailout bill look like spare change. We are only at the beginning of this fallout but, already, several proposals and bills in Congress have been submitted to help millions of sub-prime homeowners on the verge of bankruptcy and foreclosure.One thing is clear to me. The Republican ideology of free markets does not work in a modern society with a middle class. Yet, free-marketeers are already reviving their engines to blame the subprime problem on government regulation (go figure) while likely lining up to lobby Congress for bailout money for the lending institutions. I think this graf puts it best:
In summary, lack of sensible supervision and regulation of banks, mortgage lenders and other financial institution – partly induced by an ideology of free market fundamentalism – has been the core cause of this private sector created disaster, not excesses of regulation or of government policy. Thus, to minimize the fiscal costs of cleaning up this mess, use of public funds should be carefully managed and targeted to help the true victims of this mess – borrowers duped by predatory lending practices – while avoiding any bail-out of the culprits of this mess.When capitalism is left unfettered, it will ultimately sort out such problems. That's the allure of the argument of free-marketers. However, in that purely natural environment, the process of correcting imbalances is very ugly, disruptive and damaging to human beings. Government regulation of the excesses in a free market environment may have a somewhat stifling effect on those trying to make money, but it's done so for the greater good. I'm not a pure socialists, but I think FDR proved that a healthy balance between socialism and capitalism makes for a vibrant middle-class .... and a vibrant economy .... in the long run.
By all appearances, the national press had somehow become one with the McCain campaign. We had been with him all day, nearly a dozen scribblers from the major papers, news Web sites, networks and wire services. We reclined on the motor coach's two couches, set our papers on its tables and swiveled in its leather chairs. There were six flat-screen televisions to watch the NCAA basketball finals, free WiFi for filing stories, packs of playing cards and boxes of powdered Donettes. A framed fern print hung above the toilet. We all sank into our seats, guests of honor mingling with senior staff, munching potato chips and Butterfingers with the candidate, peppering him with questions, and waiting for him to stumble. It went on for hours, with the subjects breaking in waves: Iraq, his age, military contracting, Jack Abramoff, the Bush administration, immigration, gays in the military. Everything was on the record, and nothing was off limits. It was a reporter's dream. David Broder, the grand muck-a-muck of campaign columnists, once called the national political press "the Screening Committee." John McCain, on the other hand, calls it "my base."For sure, his base. It looks to me like the bus tour is all about getting the press back on his side rather than any serious outreach to voters. And the press can be had for a comfy chair, internet access, wide-screen tee vees and donettes.
Hume’s false claim originated from a statement attached to the Senate Intelligence Committee report on Iraq that was released in 2004. In an addendum to that report, Sens. Pat Roberts (R-KS), Christopher Bond (R-MO), and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) wrote definitively, “The plan to send the former ambassador to Niger was suggested by the former ambassador’s wife, a CIA employee.” The right-wing, including columnist Bob Novak, have taken the statement written by three Republican senators and falsely attributed it as the “unanimous” conclusion of the Senate report.That kinda puts that issue to bed.
The three conservative senators based their claim on testimony by a CIA employee who appeared before the Senate Intel Committee. Plame revealed on Friday that the CIA employee later apologized to her “with tears in his eyes” because he said “his words had been twisted and distorted” by the senators. And in fact, the unnamed employee drafted a memo, asking that he be re-interviewed by the Senate to correct the record. His attempts to set the record straight were denied.
Rumsfeld Undergoes Heart ProcedureI thought to myself, self? This must surely be wrong or a case where the medical profession is scamming someone. Everyone knows that Rummy doesn't have a heart.
By JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS, Associated Press Writer 16 minutes agoI'll be remembering this name.
Valerie Plame put a glamorous face and a personal story to Democrats' criticism of the Bush administration Friday, telling a House committee that White House and State Department officials "carelessly and recklessly" blew her CIA cover in a politically motivated smear of her husband.Meow. A "glamorous face" huh. Ever hear a male giving testimony described as "handsome" or "dashing"?
Plame, the operative at the center of the leak scandal that resulted in last week's criminal conviction of a former top White House official, created more of a stir by her presence on Capitol Hill than by her testimony.Once again, no value beyond "creating a stir". Guess this hack is a Republican. She's glamorous and of not other real value other than as a museum piece apparently.
She revealed little new information about the case, which sparked a federal investigation and brought perjury and obstruction of justice convictions of Vice President Dick Cheney's former top aide, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby. No one has been charged with leaking her identity.How does a musuem piece spark a federal investigation into perjury of the chief of staff to the Vice President? No, she only spoke about the facts around the CIA doing a damage report after she was outed, and the impact on her being outed, and the possible national security implications on being outed, the work she'd done that went down the drain, and the fact that she was, indeed, covert. And how about a little context? No one was charged with leaking her identity because a key witness acted as a firewall against those who leaked? Or that those who leaked were given immunity, thus it was a real crime that was committed at the highest levels of government?
Still, Plame's appearance before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee was a moment of political theater that dramatized Democrats' drive to use their control of Congress to expose what they see as White House efforts to intimidate dissenters.Ah yes, nothing but political theatre. It's all political. Has nothing to do with crimes, corruption or *gasp* national security!
Rep. Henry Waxman (news, bio, voting record), D-Calif., the panel's chairman, called Plame a victim in a White House drive to discredit her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, for publicly disputing President Bush's assertion that Saddam Hussein was on the brink of acquiring a nuclear bomb.Please, don't dwell too long on any of the substance ... back to the "blonde" and "craned necks".
"I find that troubling, that in the zeal for their political positioning that there (is) a lot of collateral damage around, including a war that didn't have to be fought," Waxman said.
News cameras whirred and spectators craned their necks to catch a glimpse of Plame as the blond former operative took her place alone at the witness table for her 90 minutes of testimony.
Rep. Tom Davis of Virginia, the committee's senior Republican, called the session a partisan hearing that would do little to illuminate how Plame's identity came to be exposed or how such disclosures could be prevented.How about a mention right here that IT'S THEIR FREAKING JOBS TO EITHER KNOW OR FIND OUT BEFORE OPENING THEIR PIEHOLES, AND THAT EVEN INADVERTENT REVELATION IS A CRIME!
"It's a terrible thing that any CIA operative would be outed," Davis said. But "there's no evidence here that the people that were outing this and pursuing this had knowledge of the covert status."
Plame repeatedly described herself as a covert operative, a term that has multiple meanings. Plame said she worked undercover and traveled abroad on secret missions for the CIA.Did you not read your own previous paragraph? She did travel overseas on covert missions. And who are the critics that say she didn't meet the "definition"? (hint, they all have "R" in front of their names). So tell us hack, what is the definition covert? From your reporting knowledge, do you think she meets the definition? Everyone else does .... except of course White House defenders .... oh and Barney.
But the word "covert" also has a legal definition requiring recent foreign service by the person and active efforts to keep his or her identity secret. Critics of special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation said Plame did not meet that definition for several reasons and that was why nobody was charged with the leak.
Plame said she did not select her husband for a CIA fact-finding trip to Niger. Wilson later wrote in a newspaper column that his trip debunked the administration's prewar intelligence that Iraq was seeking to buy uranium from Africa.Ahhhh. Is this not news? I know it's not information like what's in Anna Nicole's medicine cabinet, but isn't it relevant that the horses mouth testifies under oath that she did NOT recommend her husband? Doesn't that at least suggest to you that someone is at least misinformed, if not lying?
"I did not recommend him. I did not suggest him. There was no nepotism involved. I did not have the authority," she said.
That conflicts with senior officials at the CIA and State Department, who testified during Libby's trial and told Congress that Plame recommended Wilson for the trip.
James Knodell, director of the White House security office, did testify that there had been no internal investigation into the leak, and no disciplinary action against those involved.Good stenography. What's it mean? Does the reporter think it's relevant that there's never been a White House investigation into the leaking to the press of the name of a CIA covert operative who was investigating Saddams "weapons of mass destruction"?
Friday's hearing showed the intense interest in Plame, who drew autograph-seekers and camera-toting congressional aides to a hearing on an otherwise quiet morning.And finally? Back to the star power. Swallow that kool aid, sucking in the statement by the biggest Republican nutbar on the panel who's key question to Plame was, "What political party do you belong to?"
Even a member of Congress confessed to being a bit star-struck.
"If I seem a little nervous, I've never questioned a spy before," Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (news, bio, voting record), R-Ga. said. "I was here during the steroid hearings, too, and I don't think any of those baseball stars got this kind of media attention that you're getting today."
I'm a very lucky person with every allergy known to man but still happy to be enjoying a wonderful life living in the best place in the world!