Saturday, April 21, 2007

The Republicans Have Criminalized Themselves

Throw the whole lot in prison and make the Republican Party Illegal, unless some of them still have the conscoius and guts to call for impeachment, trial and imprisonment.

Election theft and voter supression should be punished as a capital crime.

In a Democracy, there is no more serious a crime!

WASHINGTON - For six years, the Bush administration, aided by Justice Department political appointees, has pursued an aggressive legal effort to restrict voter turnout in key battleground states in ways that favor Republican political candidates.

The administration intensified its efforts last year as President Bush's popularity and Republican support eroded heading into a midterm battle for control of Congress, which the Democrats won.

Facing nationwide voter registration drives by Democratic-leaning groups, the administration alleged widespread election fraud and endorsed proposals for tougher state and federal voter identification laws. Presidential political adviser Karl Rove alluded to the strategy in April 2006 when he railed about voter fraud in a speech to the Republican National Lawyers Association.

Questions about the administration's campaign against alleged voter fraud have helped fuel the political tempest over the firings last year of eight U.S. attorneys, several of whom were ousted in part because they failed to bring voter fraud cases important to Republican politicians. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales could shed more light on the reasons for those firings when he appears Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Civil rights advocates charge that the administration's policies were intended to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of poor and minority voters who tend to support Democrats, and by filing state and federal lawsuits, civil rights groups have won court rulings blocking some of its actions.

Justice Department spokesperson Cynthia Magnuson called any allegation that the department has rolled back minority voting rights "fundamentally flawed."
She said the department has "a completely robust record when it comes to enforcing federal voting rights laws," citing its support last year for reauthorization of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and the filing of at least 20 suits to ensure that language services are available to non-English speaking voters.

The administration, however, has repeatedly invoked allegations of widespread voter fraud to justify tougher voter ID measures and other steps to restrict access to the ballot, even though research suggests that voter fraud is rare.
Since President Bush's first attorney general, John Ashcroft, a former Republican senator from Missouri, launched a "Ballot Access and Voter Integrity Initiative" in 2001, Justice Department political appointees have exhorted U.S. attorneys to prosecute voter fraud cases, and the department's Civil Rights Division has sought to roll back policies to protect minority voting rights.

On virtually every significant decision affecting election balloting since 2001, the division's Voting Rights Section has come down on the side of Republicans, notably in Florida, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Washington and other states where recent elections have been decided by narrow margins.
Joseph Rich, who left his job as chief of the section in 2005, said these events formed an unmistakable pattern.

"As more information becomes available about the administration's priority on combating alleged, but not well substantiated, voter fraud, the more apparent it is that its actions concerning voter ID laws are part of a partisan strategy to suppress the votes of poor and minority citizens," he said.

Former department lawyers, public records and other documents show that since Bush took office, political appointees in the Civil Rights Division have:

-Approved Georgia and Arizona laws that tightened voter ID requirements. A federal judge tossed out the Georgia law as an unconstitutional infringement on the rights of poor voters, and a federal appeals court signaled its objections to the Arizona law on similar grounds last fall, but that litigation was delayed by the U.S. Supreme Court until after the election.

-Issued advisory opinions that overstated a 2002 federal election law by asserting that it required states to disqualify new voting registrants if their identification didn't match that in computer databases, prompting at least three states to reject tens of thousands of applicants mistakenly.

-Done little to enforce a provision of the 1993 National Voter Registration Act that requires state public assistance agencies to register voters. The inaction has contributed to a 50 percent decline in annual registrations at those agencies, to 1 million from 2 million.

-Sued at least six states on grounds that they had too many people on their voter rolls. Some eligible voters were removed in the resulting purges.

The administration's presence was felt last year in at least one state legislative battle over voter identification.

In Missouri, where Republican Sen. Jim Talent was fighting to hang onto his seat and hold the U.S. Senate for the GOP, a Republican-backed photo ID requirement cleared the state House of Representatives by one vote in May 2006 after an intense lobbying effort in which backers alleged voter fraud in heavily Democratic St. Louis and Kansas City.

"The White House was heavily involved" in the effort to win passage, state Rep. Bryan Stevenson, the Republican floor leader, said in a telephone interview. Stevenson said he wasn't privy to the details of the White House efforts.

In late 2001, Ashcroft also hired three Republican political operatives to work in a secretive new unit in the division's Voting Rights Section. Rich said the unit, headed by unsuccessful Republican congressional candidate Mark Metcalf of Kentucky, bird-dogged the progress of the administration's Help America Vote Act (HAVA) and reviewed voting legislation in the states.

One member of the three-person political unit, former Georgia elections official and Republican activist Hans von Spakovsky, eventually took de facto control of the Voting Rights Section and used his position to advocate tougher voter ID laws, said former department lawyers who declined to be identified for fear of reprisals.

Those former employees said that Spakovsky helped state officials interpret the Help America Vote Act's confusing new minimum voter identification requirements. He also weighed in when the Voting Rights Act required department approval for any new ID law in 13 states with histories of racial discrimination.

In November 2004, Arizona residents passed Proposition 200, the toughest state voter ID law to date, which requires applicants to provide proof of citizenship and voters to produce a photo ID on Election Day. The Voting Rights Act state requires states to show that such laws wouldn't impede minorities from voting and gives the Justice Department 60 days to approve or oppose them.

Career voting rights specialists in the Justice Department soon discovered that more than 2,000 elderly Indians in Arizona lacked birth certificates, and they sought their superiors' approval to request more information from the state about other potential impacts on voters' rights. Spakovsky and Sheldon Bradshaw, the division's top deputy and a close friend of top Gonzales aide Kyle Sampson, a former Bush White House lawyer, denied the request, said one of the former department attorneys.

Later in 2005, career lawyers wrote a memo recommending that the department oppose a new Georgia law requiring voters to present a $20 photo ID. They argued that the requirement would discriminate against poor blacks, but that was quickly rejected.

Toby Moore, a political geographer who was one of five career civil rights specialists who reviewed the law, said the only dissenter to the recommendation was a newly hired lawyer, Joshua Rogers, a member of the National Republican Lawyers Association, a partisan organization interested in election issues.

Moore said that John Tanner, who'd just been appointed the new section chief, "doctored the memo ... reversing many of our findings," and used the occasion to change procedures so that he alone could make future recommendations.
A Georgia state judge, acting on a suit by civil rights groups, struck down the law as unconstitutional.

Moore, now the project manager for American University's Commission on Election Reform, said he believes that administration officials felt the Voting Rights Section was populated by "recalcitrant, embedded, liberal Democrats ... and they were determined to plant their DNA, change the institution and bring it to bear on behalf of Republican interests."

Spakovsky, who declined to be interviewed, also played a role in an expansive interpretation of the new federal election law.

The Help America Vote Act directed states to create central, computerized voter registration lists, to make a "reasonable effort" to remove ineligible names and to match new applicants' driver's licenses and Social Security numbers to those in state databases.

A failure to match wasn't grounds for rejection: Tiny variations such as the inclusion of a middle name or misplaced figure could prevent a match. But when confused state officials asked the Justice Department about the requirement, Spakovsky offered a harsh reading of the law.

In a letter on Sept. 8, 2003, he advised Judith Arnold, Maryland's counsel for election laws, that the application "must be denied" if an applicant's data failed to match that in driver's license and Social Security databases. He wrote that "the prudent course" would be to let those voters cast provisional ballots that would count only if their registration information were verified later.

His guidance was posted on the Voting Rights Section's Web site.
Some states, including California, Florida, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Washington, began to reject applicants whose credentials didn't match.

The rejections prompted a lawsuit and protests by civil rights groups, which halted the practice.

The practice was "a barrier to voting," said Wendy Weiser, director of the Democracy Program at New York University's Brennan Center for Justice, whose suit in Washington state led to a court injunction.

Catherine Blinn, Washington state's assistant elections director, said in a sworn statement last year that her state was merely following guidance from the Justice Department and cited Spakovsky's letter to Maryland.

Just before the 2006 election, the California Secretary of State's Office rejected more than 20,000 registration applications, including 43 percent of Los Angeles County's new applicants. Those rejections were reversed before Election Day amid a public clamor.

Former Secretary of State Bruce McPherson, a moderate Republican, said in a phone interview that Justice Department officials reviewed his office's regulations and okayed the rejections, but gave no hint that they exceeded federal law.

The Bush administration also has shifted enforcement priorities under the National Voter Registration Act, known as the "Motor Voter" law because it provides for registration at state vehicle licensing and public assistance agencies.
In the last six years, the number of voters registered at state government agencies that provide services to the poor and disabled has been cut in half, to 1 million.
Instead of forcing lax agencies to increase registrations, the Justice Department sued at least six states and sent threatening enforcement letters to others requiring them to scour their election rolls for potentially ineligible voters.
Deputy Director Michael Slater of Project Vote, a national voter registration group, called this "selective enforcement. ... They've focused on purging of voters from registration rolls at the expense of enforcing provisions that encourage registration."

He said that Kentucky eliminated 4,000 people from its list of voters, but "did it poorly, and took off people who lived there and tried to vote."
One of the Justice Department suits was filed against Missouri's Democratic Secretary of State Robin Carnahan. Last week, U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey in Jefferson City, the capital, threw out the suit, noting that the motor voter law was intended to increase voter participation and eliminate fraud.

The judge wrote that the Justice Department had offered no evidence that anyone had been denied his right to vote as a result of deficiencies in voter rolls, and "nor has the United States shown that any voter fraud has occurred."

For more information on the Georgia litigation, as well as other major election law litigation:

....and the truth shall set us free.

The Need for Public Financing of Political Campaigns Should Be Obvious.

Veiled lobbyists give $700,000
By Kevin Bogardus
April 19, 2007

White House hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) brought in $168,000 from K Street in first-quarter fundraising, according to a campaign-finance watchdog. Yet none of her contributors identified themselves as lobbyists, instead listing their profession as attorney, company president or other titles that, while accurate, distance donors from the lobbying world.

Of all 2008 hopefuls, Clinton leads in contributions by employees of lobby firms, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a watchdog group. By contrast, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) leads in contributions from self-identified lobbyists, as per

“I don’t think there are many lobbyists that have ‘lobbyist’ beneath their names on their business cards in this town,” the communications director at the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), Massie Ritsch, said. With the broader definition in mind, the campaign-finance watchdog tallied contributions from employees of lobby firms to all presidential campaigns. According to an analysis of recent filings CRP released yesterday, donations to the six top 2008 contenders — Clinton, McCain, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.), former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) — totaled more than $530,000.

Donations to all White House hopefuls by those who work at firms that lobby were about $700,000, the group said.

By contrast, according to, the six presidential front-runners together raked in about $90,000 in 70 contributions from self-identified lobbyists.The value of lobbyists’ support exceeds that of the cash they give. They also fundraise and bundle contributions for a campaign.

Yet the term “lobbyist” has become a loaded one in the public imagination, and the industry’s tarnished image is affecting how hopefuls campaign for the White House. Two 2008 presidential contenders — Obama and Edwards — so far have refused contributions from federally registered advocates. Obama has gone as far as to return $50,000 from lobbyists.

Donors identify themselves, including by occupation, on contributions to candidates. Of the major contenders, almost all report a few self-identified lobbyists on their donor rosters, including Obama. (While he has refused funds from federally registered lobbyists, he has accepted donations from lobbyists at the state level).

Two candidates have no self-identified lobbyists listed as contributors: Clinton and Edwards.

Representatives for both campaigns said they have not discouraged donors from identifying themselves as lobbyists.

Steve Elmendorf of Elmendorf Strategies identified himself by his executive title — “president” — on his Clinton donation. “I would be happy if they identify me as a lobbyist. I would be happy if they don’t,” Elmendorf remarked. “There are obviously a lot of titles they can choose from. Hence, ‘lobbyist’ is not the politically best available title,” he noted.

Clinton’s campaign has taken in the most money from employees of lobbying firms this quarter, more than $168,000, according to CRP’s report.

McCain reported the most contributions from self-identified lobbyists: 33 individual contributions totaling more than $40,000, according to FEC records compiled by CRP, however, counted more than $147,000 in contributions from lobby employees for the Arizona senator.

A McCain campaign official noted the small percentage of self-identified lobbyists in the overall number of contributors to the senator’s campaign, and said the campaign strives to get all the appropriate information from its donors, consistent with Federal Election Commission (FEC) rules.

Some K Streeters themselves note that their profession’s sullied reputation can give them pause when filling out contribution forms.“There was an initial distancing with Abramoff and Ney, but people are coming to their senses now,” said Peggy Tighe, a partner at Strategic Health Care, a lobby firm. “Why obscure the truth? There is honor in this profession.”Tighe donated to McCain’s campaign this quarter, and said she identified herself as a lobbyist on the contribution.“There was an initial hesitation when I wrote it down. I could have put down ‘advocate’ or ‘government-relations expert,’” Tighe said. “I am a strong believer in transparency in contributions.”Monica Notzon, a partner at Bellwether Consulting Group, a top Republican fundraising firm, said she believes lobbyists avoid listing themselves as such.

“Lobbyists are savvy enough to know that there is a stigma attached to the word ‘lobbyist,’” Notzon said. “They refer to themselves as ‘government-relations consultants’ or ‘public-affairs directors.’”The fact that many lobbyists identify themselves as attorneys hints at the trade’s emerging professional status. Considered a niche business more than a decade ago, more and more law firms are expanding their advocacy today. “You have a lot of law firms expanding their lobbying practice. It is obviously a growth area,” a partner at Ryan, Phillips, Utrecht & MacKinnon, Jeff MacKinnon, said. “They are all chasing the dollars.”

MacKinnon contributed to several Republican campaigns and identified himself as a lobbyist.

Al Cardenas, one of the name partners for the law firm of Tew Cardenas, on the other hand, described himself as an attorney in his contributions to Romney, even though he is a well-known lobbyist.“Eighty percent of our revenues are derived from the practice of law and 20 percent of our revenues are derived from our local, state and federal lobbying practice.

Since I spend more time in the legal side of the practice: ergo the designation,” Cardenas wrote in an e-mail.“However I do lobby, am proud of it and have (to my knowledge) always registered on behalf of [the] firm’s clients for whom I have personally done lobbying work,” Cardenas wrote.

....and the truth shall set us free.

John Edwards Picks A Winner

Trippi joins Edwards campaign
By Aman Ali
April 19, 2007

Joe Trippi, whom many credit with Howard Dean’s brief but meteoric rise to the top of the 2004 Democratic presidential field, will join the campaign of former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.).

“We couldn’t be more excited to have Joe join our team,” Edwards’s campaign manager, David Bonior, said. “He’s creative, passionate, committed and shares John Edwards’s vision of an America that works for all of us.”

Trippi will join the Edwards camp as a senior adviser and member of the campaign’s media team.

As Dean’s campaign manager, Trippi was credited for pioneering many campaign tactics used by candidates today, including small-donor Internet fundraising and utilizing blogs and social-networking sites.

On Edwards’s campaign blog, Trippi admitted Thursday he originally thought Dean’s 2004 run would be the last campaign he would be a part of.

“Too much is at stake,” Trippi wrote. “The war in Iraq continues, and more of our troops will lose their lives. Working Americans are losing ground … John Edwards is leading the way and making a difference on all of these issues.”

....and the truth shall set us free.

Obama Has To Play The Game

Though I sure as hell don't like what this article says, we, as Americans, must face the fact that until we demand change in the way we elect our officials, special interest money will call the shots and anyone who wishes to get elected to reform the process will have to play the game as it is played by everyone else in order to get elected.

Push for publicly funded elections NOW.

We will never have a Democracy until we get the big money out of politics.

Sen. Obama finesses his lobbyist ties
By Alexander Bolton
April 20, 2007

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has pledged to create a new brand of politics in the Democratic presidential primary by rejecting contributions from lobbyists and political action committees (PAC), but his fundraising records show that he relies on donors with special interests.

Three of Obama’s top fundraisers, who each have raised more than $50,000 for his campaign since January, were registered as lobbyists last year, according to reports filed with the Senate Office of Public Records. In 2006, Alan Solomont of Solomont Bailis Ventures earned $90,000 in lobbying income; Tom Reed, of Kirkland & Ellis, lobbied for the Seismological Society of America, the Nanobusiness Alliance, and the Airport Minority Advisory Council; and Scott Harris, of Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis, represented Cisco Systems, Microsoft, Dell and Sprint-Nextel.

All three Obama fundraisers have said they are no longer lobbyists, although the public records office has not posted contract termination reports for any of them. Several other major Obama fundraisers also have histories of lobbying government officials for a living. Thomas Perrelli was a lobbyist for Jenner & Block as recently as 2005. Until 2003, when Obama was a member of the Illinois Senate, Peter Bynoe was a registered state lobbyist representing Boeing and other corporate interests, according to the Illinois secretary of state.

They have both raised at least $50,000 for Obama’s presidential bid, according to his campaign.

Frank Clark, chairman of Commonwealth Edison, helped lead a $2.2 million congressional lobbying effort on nuclear research and waste disposal in 2000, according to a report under his name filed with the Senate. He also raised more than $50,000 for Obama this year. He played an important part trying to persuade state lawmakers to deregulate the energy industry in Illinois.

All this may surprise Obama’s supporters.

In a fundraising e-mail sent to supporters at the beginning of March, the candidate wrote that Washington’s special-interest industry is trying “to own our political process and dictate our policies in Washington.“We’re not going to play that game. We’re not taking any contributions from Washington lobbyists or political action committees. We’re going to transform the political process by bringing together hundreds of thousands of ordinary Americans to build a campaign.”

Critics of lobbyist influence in politics say Obama cannot make a serious bid for the Oval Office and escape the influence of special interests. “You don’t escape special-interest influence-giving simply by banning lobbyists from being able to give to you,” said Nick Nyhart, the president of Public Campaign, which advocates public financing of elections. “Most of the givers are in some way connected to entities that employ lobbyists.

The interests are there even if the individual [donors] are not lobbyists themselves.“By collecting $1,000, $2,000, and $2,300 checks, you’re simply walking into the interests of special-interest America. “I think it’s a positive gesture,” Nyhart said of Obama’s ban on lobbyist contributions, “but to the extent it makes people think candidates are not taking special-interest money, it’s just wrong.”

Bill Burton, Obama’s spokesman, said the candidate is doing his best in a difficult situation.“This ban is part of Obama’s best effort to address the problem of money in politics,” said Burton. “It isn’t a perfect solution to the problem, and it isn’t even a perfect symbol, but it does reflect that Obama shares the urgent desire of the American people to change the way Washington operates.”

While several of Obama’s fundraisers have recent experience working as lobbyists, at least 10 other big fundraisers hold senior positions in companies that have lobbyists under contract or employed lobbyists in the last few years, according to public records. David Heller and Bruce Heyman are big Obama fundraisers and managing directors at Goldman Sachs.

Last year, Goldman Sachs spent $3.3 million on lobbying. The company hired firms such as DLA Piper, Rich Feuer Group, and the Duberstein Group to influence lawmakers. James Dinan, the founder and CEO of York Capital Management, is another Obama bundler. His company hired Dutko Worldwide to lobby on asbestos issues in 2005 and 2006.

Some Obama fundraisers have obscured their professional affiliations. John Schmidt did not list his employer on Obama’s April fundraising report. But a comparison of his name and address with old Federal Election Commission records shows that he works, or at least did until recently, for Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw, a firm that lobbied the federal government on behalf of 70 clients during the second half of 2006. Its client list included Chevron, Motorola, Verizon, Visa, JP Morgan and Credit Suisse.

Other Obama fundraisers work for companies that have hired lobbyists to work on issues of the jurisdiction of Senate committees on which Obama sits.

Bill Kennard, for example, is managing director at The Carlyle Group, based in Washington. The Carlyle Group paid a lobbying firm, Ogilvy Government Relations, $460,000 last year to lobby on pension legislation and trade relations with China and Korea, issues that fall within Obama’s committee responsibilities.

He sits on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and the Foreign Relations panel.

One Obama fundraiser who said he did not feel comfortable speaking on the record said Obama has left millions of campaign dollars uncollected by eschewing lobbyists’ contributions. “There is an enormous amount of money he could have collected from folks who are lobbyists who are not contributing or fundraising, at least in the D.C. area,” he said. “I’ve called a lot of people; more of them are registered than I understood.”

The financial sacrifice enhances Obama’s effort to portray himself as a reformer and new brand of politician. Such an image is potentially helpful on the campaign trail, but as the year wears on, a saintly reputation could become a liability if opponents successfully frame it as an exercise in hypocrisy. “

Senator Obama is in a very difficult situation — he wants to wage a serious campaign for the president when the entire public-financing program has been abandoned by everyone who is a serious candidate for president,” said Craig Holman, an advocate of public financing with Public Citizen. “He has to raise $300 million to $400 million or $500 million. He’s trying to do that at the same time he is trying to clean up Washington.”

....and the truth shall set us free.

Don't Just Consider It, DO IT!

It is way past time for the truth to come out; All Of It

House Oversight Committee to consider Rice subpoena
By Susan Crabtree
April 20, 2007

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will consider next week whether to issue subpoenas to get access to documents and testimony from the Bush administration, including the testimony of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

With the scheduling of the panel hearing, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) is upping the ante in his fight with the administration for access to information.

Waxman announced Friday that his panel will hold a business meeting next Wednesday to consider whether to issue four subpoenas for testimony and documents. According to the committee’s press release, the subpoenas are aimed at obtaining:

- Rice’s testimony regarding the fabricated claim that Iraq sought uranium from Niger and other pre-war intelligence issues;

- the testimony of former White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card regarding the leak of Valerie Plame Wilson’s covert identity and White House security procedures;

- Republican National Committee (RNC) documents related to possible violations of the Presidential Records Act and the Hatch Act by White House officials;

- and contacts between the White House and MZM, a federal contractor implicated in bribery charges.

Waxman’s most recent letters requesting the documents were sent to Card, RNC Chairman Mike Duncan and White House Counsel Fred Fielding on April 20. He also sent a letter to Rice on April 17.

....and the truth shall set us free.

George Tenet is on his book tour

Around here, we love Brent, but I must make a few comments on this article:

I hope Tenet does tell the whole truth. It is about time someone did, and I doubt he can cover his butt. It's far too late for that, given all that has come out from CIA station Chiefs and the like.

Tenet's second has already stated, publicly, that he does not remember Tenet ever saying that Iraq was a slam-dunk. Remember that that quote was taken from Woodward's book, and we all know that Bob Woodward was way to close to his subject matter to be credible on the issue. Woodward did not hear Tenet say it. He was told that Tenet said it by White House Staff, and who in their right mind would believe anything any of those people say, at this stage of the game?

If it turns out that Tenet is ready to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, I will be buying his book, I don't care what he does with the money, but I would suggest to him a huge donation to Veteran's Rehab.

George Tenet Cashes in on the Iraq War (Brent Budowsky)

Get ready for the great George Tenet book tour, following the highly paid George Tenet talk-for-pay tour. Presumably, when he milks his failures on the Iraq war for whatever it’s worth, he just might wear his Presidential Medal of Freedom, given by George Bush for a job well done.

I hope George Tenet discloses, or some media reporter will report, exactly how much dough he has pocketed in the aftermath of his shameful conduct surrounding Iraq.

You might remember Tenet. He was the star sitting behind Colin Powell when Powell was using his moral and political credibility to pound the table for the United Nations to get behind the Iraq war.When the dirt was dished about the phony intelligence, there was George Tenet.

When the decent opinion of humanity needed someone to show a profile in courage, there was George Tenet, slam-dunking the case for war.

When the national interest of America and the lives and safety of the troops demanded someone speaking truth to power, there was Tenet again, giving talk for pay, presumably sharing the wisdom and judgment he showed in the march to war.

When it should have been accountability time, with responsibility accepted for failure, there he was again, beaming with pride when the Decider gave his flunkie the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Remember that old show “Fantasy Island,” where Ricardo Montalban hosted fantasies with the litte Tatu by his side? George Bush is Ricardo. George Tenet is Tatu. “The plane is here, boss.” A slam dunk, no doubt.

Now Tenet emerges, no doubt with a fat profit for his personal account, on a book tour to dispense his wisdom. No doubt he will point fingers. Word on the street is, he will go with the flow, and dish the dirt where his bread can be buttered. He will go make his buck by bad=mouthing the man he once called boss.

Bush deserved Tenet; Tenet deserved Bush; the country deserved neither; the troops are dead, because of both.

Get ready for nasty, dirty tidbits as Tenet covers his butt to sell his book to make a buck.
George Tenet is that distinct Washington creature, the courtier to power, totally capable of love for Bill Clinton, sycophancy for George Bush, and whatever it takes to get ahead.

George Tenet could have stopped the rush to war, but he said: Yes, boss.

George Tenet could have saved America from initiating this tragic war with the false and deceptive misstatement ofintelligence, all under his watch.

But he said: Slam dunk, boss.

Young kids die in the sands of Arabia, while George Tenet makes the big bucks, eating five-star dinners at four-star hotels, doing the courtier rounds to promote his misbegotten book, about the misbegotten war.

George Tenet should give every penny of profit to the wounded troops, hang his head in shame, and apologize to the nation.

He won’t do this. This is not the way of the courtier, the sycophant, or the profiteer.

....and the truth shall set us free.

Gonzo Is Toast, whether he stays or goes

In our humble opinion, it isn't the firings so much as the connection of those firings to the supression of voter turn-out in past elections that should be everyone's major concern.

We suggest that the penalty for election tampering in a Democracy (as if we still had one) of any kind should be punishable by no less than 20 years in prison. If the only way a candidate can win is to cheat, then it should be obvious to anyone with more than three neurons firing that the candidate should not become president, senator, congressman or anything else.

Election stealing in a Democracy is the grandest of grand theft and should be treated as such, for many reasons, most of which are obvious.

One reason may not be all that obvious: When citizens become aware of election theft on a grand scale, they realize they are living in a lawless land in which anything goes. Sooner or later that realization will lead to major problems of crime and, eventually, revolution; and it won't be peaceful, but a horrible, bloody one, in which no one will be safe.

We call for investigations into the every election in this country, beginning with election 2000.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Several administration officials and the House Republican Conference chairman said Friday that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales should step down, following the harsh response to his Senate testimony on last year's firing of eight U.S. attorneys.

Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee grilled Gonzales for hours Thursday about the dismissals.

The attorney general has been roundly criticized for his handling of the shakeup and for the shifting explanations Justice Department officials have given for the changes. (Watch how pressure on Gonzales to resign is growing )

Gonzales said more than 60 times that he "couldn't recall" certain incidents. His former chief of staff, Kyle Sampson, used that explanation 122 times during his testimony weeks ago.

Detractors say the Justice Department has not been straightforward about the reasons the attorneys were dismissed. The controversy has led to allegations of political interference with pending investigations.

"He did not distinguish himself in the hearing," said Rep. Adam Putnam, House GOP conference chairman. "There remains a cloud over the department."

"I think that they would be well-served by fresh leadership," said Putnam, who is often a spokesman for House Republicans. He said no one was doing "high fives" after the testimony.

During the hearings Thursday, while Democratic senators criticized Gonzales' leadership, some of the sharpest criticism came from Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee, including one who called for his resignation.

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma, said Gonzales should resign.

"The communication was atrocious. It was inconsistent -- it's generous to say that there were misstatements; it's a generous statement. And I believe you ought to suffer the consequences that these others have suffered," Coburn said, adding, "I believe the best way to put this behind us is your resignation." (Watch Coburn tell Gonzales he must "suffer the consequences" )

On Friday, another Republican, Sen Jeff Sessions of Alabama, told CNN that Gonzales should consider leaving office.

"I think the attorney general ought to take the weekend and think about this and ask himself whether he can effectively reconstitute the attorney general's office," Sessions said, "and I'll be thinking about the same thing.

"If he feels like he cannot, then it would be best for the president and the country to resign."
Justice official: Gonzales 'feeling good'

According to a senior Justice Department official, Gonzales spoke to some senators Friday. The official would only say they included Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pennsylvania, "and others" and was not sure whether he spoke to any Democrats. "The conversations went well," the official said but provided no details.

The official also said, "Attorney General Gonzales is in good spirits. He's optimistic, feeling good." "He is eager to get on with the other important work of the department," the official added.
The attorney general plans to participate in private and public events in the coming week in Washington.

After Gonzales' testimony Thursday, White House deputy press secretary Dana Perino said Gonzales has the full backing of the president:

"President Bush was pleased with the attorney general's testimony today. After hours of testimony in which he answered all of the senators' questions and provided thousands of pages of documents, he again showed that nothing improper occurred. He admitted the matter could have been handled much better, and he apologized for the disruption to the lives of the U.S. attorneys involved, as well as for the lack of clarity in his initial responses," Perino said.

White House insiders: Gonzales hurt himself

But White House insiders told CNN after the testimony that Gonzales hurt himself during his testimony.

The sources, involved in administration discussions about Gonzales, said two senior level White House aides who heard the testimony described Gonzales as "going down in flames," "not doing himself any favors," and "predictable."

"Everyone's putting their best public face on," one source said, "but everyone is discouraged. Everyone is disappointed." (Watch a recap of the testy hearing )

And the administration officials who talked to CNN on Friday agreed that Gonzales' statements did little to help him regain credibility on Capitol Hill and, in fact, may have lost him the few supporters he had left.

One official, who works closely with Gonzales, described him as "out of touch" with the political pulse in Washington. The official said the attorney general is still optimistic that he can remedy the situation.

The White House sources acknowledge that no one knows what the president will do. No one is looking for a replacement yet, sources said, and the White House is waiting to see how this plays out with the public and members of Congress over the next couple of days.

Another White House insider said it's up to the president to save him. (Strategy Session: Should Gonzales go? )

"He and Al have to work this out ..." he said. "There is no indication that Gonzales thinks he needs to leave."

Former solicitor general mentioned as possible replacement

Several other officials said Republicans have begun discussing a possible replacement.
One name that consistently comes up is Ted Olson, former solicitor general. Olson is seen as having the experience, reputation and credibility needed to steer the department for the next year and a half, through the end of Bush's term.

However, officials note that Bush has been a longtime defender of Gonzales, whom he hired as his general counsel in 1994 when he was elected Texas governor.

He may not be willing to give in to congressional demands to remove him, unless he becomes convinced that keeping Gonzales will hinder his agenda, they said.

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, indicated to CNN that he is ambivalent about the possibility that Gonzales might leave.

"If Al Gonzales were to quit tomorrow, it wouldn't end it. It would just, I think, add fuel to the fire, especially with Democrats controlling the Senate," he said.

"We'd have a confirmation hearing with the new attorney general, with a year and half left to serve in President Bush's second term in office. I think it would be more chaotic than it would if he were to stay and try to do the best job he can under very difficult circumstances."

CNN's Terry Frieden, Kelli Arena, Dana Bash, Ted Barrett, Kevin Bohn and Suzanne Malveaux contributed to this report.

....and the truth shall set us free.