Saturday, June 09, 2007

Taming Corporations Gone Wild

The power of corporations in our nation must be reigned in.

The consumer, when in unity with other consumers, can properly and directly take on some corporations found to be acting badly.

However, some of the worst offenders are defense/security contractors and others who get rich off war. Through the tax system, we are forced to keep them in the style to which they have become accustomed. It is nothing short of a protection racket.

Isn't it against the law to pay protection money? - Taming Corporations Gone Wild:

Back in the 1930s, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt went on national radio and declared what the basic necessities were for the American people—a wage that can support a family, decent housing, the right to health care, a good education and future economic security.

Sound familiar today? It certainly would sound familiar to a majority of the American people. The struggle for livelihood, the struggles to escape poverty, calamitous health care bills, mounting debt, gouging rents and failing, crumbling schools continues year after year.

What’s that French saying? “The more things change, the more they remain the same.”

t's The Global Economy, Stupid

Worries us too. - It's The Global Economy, Stupid:

The further into the election cycle we get, the more a 1990s nostalgia creeps in among some progressives. You remember the 1990s, right? Those halcyon days when regular folks concerned themselves with health care, the stock market and “the economy, stupid,” while only elites worried about global affairs?

I don’t remember the 1990s quite like that, either. But when I see as wise and influential a progressive as E.J. Dionne writing that

'"the fact that so much of the [June 3 Democratic] debate concentrated on international relations reflects the imposition of a false high-mindedness that sees presidential-level discussions as serious only if they focus primarily on foreign policy. This throws off the balance in our politics."

I get worried.

Ernest Partridge: A Failed Experiment

It's failed, alright. But that does not mean it's over.

Nothing short of a people's revolution will change anything of any consequence. The problems we face are fundamental to our identity and founding principles as a nation.

The changes we must make, if the nations is to survive, let alone the planet, cannot be made by simply voting for the Democrats in 2008, though I certainly plan to do that, too.

The people must be willing to change their thinking and their behavior in ways that are really revolutionary, while at the same time, building a foundation for stability and support of a new world that will rise after a conscious revolution is finished.

Scoop: Ernest Partridge: A Failed Experiment:

On January 20, 1981, in his first inaugural address, Ronald Reagan told the nation: 'Government is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem.'

Thus began a grand experiment: Release the American economy from the bonds of government regulation. Individual enterprise and initiative, the profit motive, the free market and open competition will usher in a new birth of freedom and a new era of unprecedented prosperity.

“It’s morning in America.”

Turned into mourning in America!

Lackluster Candidates

The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!: A Tough Job Someone Has to Do:

We've kicked off another needlessly prolonged Presidential campaign season with a series of gimmicky, pointless debates. With a candidate field of somewhere between a dozen and 16 million, many Americans are wondering - if America has roughly 350 million people why are these lunkheads the best candidates we can field?

Pundits no longer hold forth on who won and who didn't because it doesn't matter. All of the candidates come off as over-polished morons with the scruples of weasels. Their answers to empty-headed softball questions are fit for nothing other than the gag reels shown nightly on the Daily Show. It's clear that hyperactive PR machines have finally honed their dubious craft to the point where candidates now have all the appeal - and apparently the intelligence - of a box of Tide detergent.

But, at least Tide has the virtue of cleaning your clothes.


Thanks a lot, Junior


Poor George W. Except for his cohort, 'Buckshot' Cheney, no one really likes his Iraq policy – not the generals, not the troops dying for it, not the people of Iraq, not his fellow Republicans, and certainly not the American public.

But wait – there is one group that is ecstatic about what he's doing there: al Qaeda! Yes, Osama bin Laden's network of terrorists. Remember him? He's responsible for the 9/11 attack on the U.S., and Bush himself promised in 2001 to 'smoke him out.' But then George, Buckshot, and Rummy decided to forget him and divert our military to Iraq, so bin Laden is still on the loose.

To get congress and the public to accept their nonsensical detour, the Bushites claimed that al Qaeda had a presence in Iraq. That turns out to have been another of their little fibs, but guess what? Thanks to Bush's invasion and occupation of this Muslim nation, al Qaeda now has a great big pressence there. They've been able to recruit thousands of mostly-young men to go to Iraq and fight the Bushites' imperialist ambitions. In fact, Iraq has now become al Qaeda's top recruiting ground! Indeed, al Qaeda now exports war-tested veterans from Iraq to train anti-American forces in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

BREAKING: Seventh US Representative co-sponsors Cheney Impeachment Resolution 333

Pelosi seems dug in on this.

Impeach Bush For Peace » BREAKING: Seventh US Representative co-sponsors Cheney Impeachment Resolution 333:

APN) ATLANTA — US Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) became the sixth and seventh total cosponsors of US Rep. Dennis Kucinich's (D-OH) bill to impeach Vice President of the United States Dick Cheney, Atlanta Progressive News has learned.

In addition to Kucinich, the additional four Members of Congress who have signed on to H. Res 333 are US Reps. Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Janice Schakowsky (D-IL), William Lacy Clay (D-MO), and Albert Wynn (D-MD).

'It's their prerogative to represent their constituents,' Drew Hammill, spokesperson for US House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), told Atlanta Progressive News, adding the intrepid seven do not face retribution from Pelosi.

Bush is 'in awe' of pope


This particular pope gives me the creeps so, naturally, Junior is in awe of him.

Bush is 'in awe' of pope - Los Angeles Times:

Bush later said he was 'in awe' of the leader of the world's largest Christian faith, a man with whom he shares conservative religious values, and he sought to reassure the pope about the possibilities for peace. The two leaders met privately for 31 minutes at the Vatican's regal Apostolic Palace, and their discussion was later described by Bush, the Vatican and aides to both men.

In Italy, trial of CIA agents begins

A Sad day for America.

In Italy, trial of CIA agents begins - Los Angeles Times:

MILAN, ITALY — As President Bush headed for Italy on Friday, a Milan court opened the trial of a group of CIA agents accused of kidnapping a radical Egyptian cleric — the first legal prosecution of one of the administration's most controversial counter-terrorism tactics.

Twenty-six American defendants, including two CIA station chiefs and an Air Force colonel, are being tried in absentia in the 2003 abduction from a Milan sidewalk of the cleric known as Abu Omar.

The tactic under scrutiny in the case is called extraordinary rendition. It involves the capture of a terrorism suspect in one country and his transfer not to the U.S. but to a third for interrogation, without court orders or judicial oversight. In many cases, including this one, the suspects have said they were tortured. Human rights officials accuse the Bush administration of using scores of extraordinary renditions to 'outsource' torture, an allegation Washington denies.

AP research: CEO compensation skyrockets

Here is another opportunity to vote with our money.

AP research: CEO compensation skyrockets - Yahoo! News:

NEW YORK - A new Associated Press calculation shows that compensation for America's top CEOs has skyrocketed into the stratospheric heights of pro athletes and movie stars: Half make more than $8.3 million a year, and some make much, much more.

CEOs of companies in the Standard & Poor's 500 that filed proxy information in the first half of this year received a combined $4.16 billion in 2006, according to AP's formula.

The high cost of chief executive pay has drawn criticism in recent years as salaries rose, stock options paid off like lottery jackpots, and perks like chauffeured cars and private jets spread. Still, there are few signs of any investor backlash.

Perjury Alert: Schlozman

Guess it really would be news, if any of the Bushites ever told the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Justice Official May Revise Voter-Fraud Testimony, People Say - Yahoo! News:

June 8 (Bloomberg) -- A Justice Department lawyer under fire for bringing criminal voter-fraud charges on the eve of the 2006 election may revise his Senate testimony about the case, which angered other U.S. prosecutors, officials familiar with the matter said.

Bradley Schlozman, who as U.S. attorney in Kansas City obtained indictments charging workers for an activist group with submitting fake voter-registration forms, defended the timing of the case to the Senate Judiciary Committee this week by saying he acted ``at the direction'' of the department's Public Integrity Section.

The explanation, which Schlozman repeated at least nine times during the June 5 hearing, infuriated public integrity lawyers, who say it implied the section ordered him to prosecute, said two Justice Department officials. Public integrity attorneys handle sensitive cases involving politicians and judges and pride themselves on staying out of political disputes.

Gonzo Faces No Confidence Vote....

Quickly to be followed by a no-confidence for Congress.

I predict that if Congress can't manage to vote NO on Gonzo, there is gonna be hell to pay. After all, it is a non-binding vote. It doesn't take any courage, much. It doesn't mean that we will be rid of Gonzo. That would require impeachment.

Still there is something very powerful about voting no confidence in the number one law enforcement officer in the land. Our Congress Critters are essentially saying that the Department of Justice itself, for the remainder of the Bush nightmare, has little or no credibility.

In this, they certainly speak for us.

How can anyone trust an institution of government which is being obviously used, not only in the service of dubious political goals, but in the criminal pursuit of those goals, some of which involve nothing less than an attack on the American people and their system of government,

June 8, 2007

Senate set to take politically charged vote on Gonzales
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales

WASHINGTON (CNN) — The Senate will hold a politically-charged vote Monday related to a no-confidence resolution in the embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
In a statement issued Friday, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York, an author of the no-confidence resolution, said if all senators followed their conscience, ‘this vote would be unanimous.’”

“However, the president will certainly exert pressure to support the attorney general, his longtime friend,” Schumer added. “We will soon see where people’s loyalties lie.”

The attorney general is under scrutiny by Congress over last year’s dismissal of eight U.S. attorneys.

Schumer’s statement is in reference to a procedural vote Monday on whether to proceed to a direct “no confidence” resolution.

Senate Republican leadership aides tell CNN most Republicans will vote against the motion, primarily because they view the resolution as politically motivated. Schumer heads the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee.

Last month, Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, predicted Gonzales would resign before facing a “substantial” no-confidence vote.
“I think that if and when he sees that coming, that he would prefer to avoid that kind of an historical black mark,” the Pennsylvania senator told CBS’ “Face the Nation” on May 20.

But a day after Specter’s comments, Bush reiterated his support in Gonzales and denounced the prospect of a no-confidence vote as “pure political theater.”

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. The Lantern has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is The Lantern endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

....And The Truth Shall Set Us Free

White House Lawyers Up

We might as well move on with impeachment, if we have to pay for all these lawyers anyhow.

Besieged White House Reinforces Counsel's Office
By Peter Baker

Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, June 9, 2007; A04

President Bush has authorized another surge -- this time in the White House counsel's office. Facing a blizzard of congressional investigations, hearings and subpoenas, the White House has hired a new crop of lawyers to do battle with the Democratic Congress.

White House counsel Fred F. Fielding, brought in by Bush in January when the opposition took over Capitol Hill, announced the appointment of nine new lawyers yesterday, including J. Michael Farren, former general counsel of Xerox Corp., as his deputy. A source said Fielding has also recruited Stephen D. Potts, a longtime head of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, to be ethics counsel.

The legal reinforcements arrive at a time when the White House is under siege on multiple fronts. Congressional investigators are looking into the dismissal of U.S. attorneys, the disappearance of White House e-mail, internal disputes over warrantless surveillance, partisan activities in federal agencies, various aspects of the Iraq war and other issues. A counsel's office that had little to worry about when Republicans controlled Congress now finds itself the president's first line of defense.

"Obviously, there's been an increase in requests from the Hill, and we want to make sure we have the appropriate level of staff in place," said White House spokeswoman Emily Lawrimore. Some of the new lawyers are filling vacancies, she said, but five represent additional slots, bringing the office's total to 22 lawyers -- still shy of its size under President Bill Clinton, who faced numerous special prosecutors, not to mention impeachment.

Since Democrats assumed control of Congress, they have moved aggressively to exercise oversight of the Bush administration. So far, they have held more than 200 full-committee oversight hearings. If subcommittees are included, they have had 195 hearings related to Iraq. Altogether, Congress has authorized 25 subpoenas and many more requests for information.

To deal with the onslaught, Fielding assembled a team combining fellow Washington veterans and younger lawyers. Farren, who served as President George H.W. Bush's undersecretary of commerce and deputy campaign manager, took over as deputy counsel on May 31, replacing William K. Kelley, who will return to his teaching job at Notre Dame at the end of this month.

Kelley has been caught up in the U.S. attorney controversy. He was involved in meetings and e-mails that discussed whether to fire some U.S. attorneys. One fired prosecutor, John McKay of Seattle, has said he was asked during a meeting with Kelley and then-White House counsel Harriet Miers why Republicans in Washington state were angry at him, raising the question of whether his dismissal was political. Lawmakers have subpoenaed Miers and Kelley, but the White House has declined to make them available.

The Potts hire, which has not yet been announced, impressed even Democrats. Potts headed the Office of Government Ethics for 10 years under the elder Bush and Clinton, and more recently served as chairman of the nonprofit Ethics Resource Center, where Fielding was vice chairman. Potts will replace Richard W. Painter as the chief ethics lawyer for the White House. Painter, who joined the counsel's office in 2005, will return to the University of Illinois College of Law to teach.

Fielding raided his old law firm, Wiley Rein & Fielding, for some of its talent, hiring Kate Todd, Amy F. Dunathan and Al Lambert. He also brought back William Burck, who recently left the White House to work at the Justice Department; two former federal prosecutors, Michael Purpura and Scott Coffina; and Emmet T. Flood and Francis Q. Hoang of Williams & Connolly. All eight received degrees from Ivy League schools or from West Point.

Though Fielding is respected on both sides of the aisle, Democrats say he has not met their need for testimony. When lawmakers sought to hear from Miers, Kelley and White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove, Fielding refused to let them testify in open session, offering instead to let them be deposed behind closed doors, not under oath and without any recording or transcript. Democrats rejected that and issued the subpoenas. The two sides remain at an impasse.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. The Lantern has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is The Lantern endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

....And The Truth Shall Set Us Free

Did Junior have a bit too much too drink?

Which would mean any alcohol at all, since he is an alcoholic and the president of the United States.

Why would he drink even one beer openly, where he could be filmed drinkin it? Oh nevermind, why the hell does he do anything?

Was Bush Too Hung Over to Work at G8 Summit?
Posted by Jon Ponder Jun. 8, 2007, 9:31 am

The AP has a story online with the title “Illness Sidelines Bush at G8 Summit,” running alongside a photo of Pres. Bush relaxing yesterday with an amber-colored German beverage.
As is usual with our liberal media, we are left to put two and two together and draw our own conclusions, so here goes:

The president was already dressed when he began feeling ill in the morning, White House counselor Dan Bartlett said. He said doctors are keeping an eye on him but that Bush’s illness — whether a stomach virus, a light touch of food poisoning or something else — is “not serious.”

He stayed in bed to try to rest and recuperate, missing the morning session of the summit being held here of eight industrialized democracies.

Hey, it’s happened to the best of us — except most of us don’t officially claim to have been alcohol-free for the past 20 years old when we are afflicted by a hangover.

At last year’s G8, Bush went on a tear, behaving like he was at a frat party. He was caught on tape talking shit (literally) around a mouthful of food about the Syrians with Britain’s Prime Minister Tony Blair. He gave the German leader Angela Merkel a bizarre surprise back rub — and he informed the leader of China that he was aware that China and Russia were both big countries.


Video from the Smoking Gun of Bush drunk at a wedding six years after he supposedly quit drinking.

Bush claims that he quit drinking in 1987, on his 40th birthday, after he says he received an ultimatum from his wife, Laura, who told him, It’s Jim Beam or me.” (She has denied saying this.)

But in 1992, six years later, he was caught on tape quite drunk at a wedding. (See sidebar.) And there have been rumors lately that the First Lady has decamped on occasion to local hotels, and that she plans to divorce him after he leaves office. There is speculation that Bush’s return to boozing has driven a wedge between them.

Even if there was video of Bush puking in the bushes in Germany yesterday, the White House would never admit that the president got drunk and then was sidelined from the conference today because he over-indulged. It’s a moot point in any case because even if the media types who cover the president saw evidence that he’d been drinking, they would not dare to ask if it were true.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. The Lantern has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is The Lantern endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

....And The Truth Shall Set Us Free

Friday, June 08, 2007

Of Crimes and hubris...

Double, Double, Toil and Trouble

By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t Columnist
Thursday 07 June 2007

By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes:
Open, locks,Whoever knocks!
- Macbeth, Act IV, Scene I

There it was on the front page of Wednesday's edition of the Washington Post, big as life and twice as ugly: "In the West Wing, Pardon Is A Topic Too Sensitive to Mention."

The gist: I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby got clocked with a 30-month prison sentence after being convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice in the Valerie Plame matter, and now squadrons of GOP die-hards are insisting that Bush pardon him before he goes to jail. On the surface, debate over whether or not to pardon Libby centers around how much more scandal and public disgrace this administration can endure. The Post story reports that several White House aides are deeply concerned that a Libby pardon risks "renewing questions about the truthfulness of the Bush administration."

Perish the thought.

Beneath this simplistic surface, however, boils a cauldron of deeper and far more complicated troubles. Bush, Cheney, the administration as a whole, and the entire Republican Party face the simultaneous eruption of several potential catastrophes, which, if they were to coalesce into one gargantuan avalanche, could very well render all prior problems quaint by comparison.

Peel the onion:

The General Vibe

The newest Pew Research Center poll shows Bush's overall popularity coming in just under that of scabies and bubonic plague. "For the first time in Pew Research Center polling," reports the Center, "disapproval of President Bush's job performance outnumbers approval by more than two-to-one (61 percent disapprove, 29 percent approve). Bush's job approval is down six points from April, and is three points below the previous low measured in November and December of 2006."

Within these dreary numbers looms a disaster the Bush folks fear above all: cratering support among their usually-reliable base. "The decline in Bush's support is most notable among Republicans," continues the Center's report. "Just under two-thirds (65 percent) of Republicans approve of the president's performance today, down from 77 percent in April. This drop is apparent among both the conservative and moderate wings of the party. The proportion of conservative Republicans giving a positive rating declined 12 points to an all-time low of 74 percent. The proportion of moderate and liberal Republicans giving a positive rating fell 11 points (to 52 percent), also an all-time low."

The Post's excellent analyst, Dan Froomkin, summed up the nub: "Even white evangelical Protestants are now as likely to disapprove of Bush as approve."

If this isn't bad enough, it also appears the newest fad among Republican officeholders and office seekers is to bash Bush every which way they can. The Tuesday night GOP debate in New Hampshire sounded, several times, a lot like an anti-war rally on the Washington Mall. Candidate after candidate, when not denouncing Evolutionary science or screeching about imminent terrorist-borne doom, slapped the administration around the room over Iraq, honesty, competence and the fact that Bush's scabrous reputation has become their collective problem.

The beatings are likewise being delivered by office-holding Republicans who have grown weary of hauling Bush's fetid water. Howard Fineman, in the latest edition of Newsweek, writes, "The Bush presidency is perilously close to flatlining. At this point in their tenures, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton had job-approval ratings in the mid-50 percent range; in the most recent Newsweek Poll, Bush's hit an all-time low of 28. Established GOP figures in Blue States shun him, even when he comes to raise money in closed-press events. The invites aren't piling up from Red States, either. Since Bush never cultivated real allies in Congress, no one there feels guilty that he has none now."

The 800 Lb. Quagmire

The dismal approval ratings and dissipating party support Bush is dealing with can be laid, for the most part, on his Iraq catastrophe. Almost 4,000 American troops have been killed in an invasion and occupation that has only served to create civil war and chaos in that country. The surge isn't working, the violence is escalating, the costs are spiraling, and the only people left who approve of the whole thing are devoted Fox News watchers and defense industry CEOs. Oh, and Osama bin Laden, whose every wish has been granted by Bush's galactically destructive decisions and twisted priorities.

As if the Byzantine complications created by Iraq weren't bad enough already, a new wrinkle appeared in the last 72 hours. On Tuesday, the nationalist majority within the Iraqi parliament "passed a binding resolution that will guarantee lawmakers an opportunity to block the extension of the UN mandate under which coalition troops now remain in Iraq when it comes up for renewal in December," according to an AlterNet report.

In other words, the very government that wants the US in Iraq, at least according to Bush, is laying the groundwork for an official, binding demand that the occupation be brought to an end. Bush's recently-floated comparison between America's occupation of South Korea and our occupation of Iraq - i.e. we've been in the former for 50 years, which makes it acceptable to be in the latter for an equal length of time - is about as close to literal truth as Bush is likely to get. This administration sent us into Iraq with the absolute intention of staying permanently, but the Iraqi government they've cobbled together appears to have other plans.

The Other Civil War

On the home front, the GOP is dealing with a potentially catastrophic rift within its coalition over how to deal with illegal immigration. The roots of this dilemma are found within the coalition's basic formulation.

On one side are the movement conservatives, the Evangelical activists, the anti-choice single-issue voters who can be depended on to vote en masse for any national Republican candidate who says the right things about fetuses and Jesus. These people amount to roughly 25 percent of the electorate that actually votes, making them the single most dependable voting bloc in Republican politics.

On the other side are the big-money GOP supporters, the captains of industry who write the campaign checks and generally, if anonymously, control most everything in the country. The movement conservatives get a lot of lip service from the GOP, but the check-writers are the most important constituency of the party.

Therein lies the problem. The current crop of right-wing GOP leaders owe their power to the straddle they've managed to maintain since the Reagan days; by keeping one foot firmly planted in both of these groups, the GOP has been able to exploit the movement base's dedicated activism (without actually doing much of anything to fulfill their desires) while making sure the big-money boys get pretty much whatever they ask for.

The movement faction hasn't quite realized the degree to which they are considered useful-idiot cannon fodder by GOP officeholders and the check-writing faction. Whenever the GOP needs to divide public sentiment or distract public attention, the movement people get deployed to scream about gay rights, the Ten Commandments, snowflake babies, or whatever happens to be available at the moment. By mouthing platitudes about these issues, the party fools the movement faction into thinking the party actually cares about them.

But now, there is this immigration debate, which threatens to rip the scales from the eyes of the movement faction. Battalions of GOP politicians have made careers out of spitting venom at illegal immigrants to gain support from the movement base. Simultaneously, however, those same politicians have been accepting gigantic campaign checks from the big-money faction, who absolutely depend on easy access to the dirt-cheap pool of slave labor availed to them by the existence of millions of undocumented immigrants within the US.

The problem for the GOP politicians, of course, is that their movement-faction constituents have bought into their demagoguery about illegal immigration to such a degree that, today, this issue is second only to abortion on their list of Hated Things. The issue has birthed a seething anger within the movement faction aimed at illegal immigrants in general, but now aimed also at any GOP politician who stands for anything besides mass deportations.

But there are all those checks to consider, right?

The money faction didn't spend all those precious ducats buying GOP politicians by the gross, only to have their pet politicos go and legislate that huge pool of cheap labor back across the border. This creates an unsolvable conundrum for the GOP. The movement faction wants border fences and draconian deportations, the money faction wants cheap labor to boost profits, and no conceivable legislative offering can untie this Gordian knot.

Satisfying one faction absolutely means betraying the other. If the GOP pushes for a hard-core immigration bill to satisfy the movement faction, the check-writers will be screwed and may retaliate harshly. If they choose to satisfy the money faction, the movement faction will quite literally detonate, and could decide to stay home when the '08 elections come around.

Cheney and the Angry Inch

The question of whether or not to pardon Libby presents perhaps the most dangerous tipping point facing the Bush administration. As with the immigration issue, a full-spectrum calamity will be exploded by either decision made on this.

Libby is looking at 30 months in prison if no pardon is forthcoming. US District Judge Reggie Walton, who imposed the sentence, has made it clear that allowing Libby to remain free pending appeals isn't something he feels compelled to do. The final decision on whether or not Libby will have to wear a prison jump suit while awaiting the outcome of the appeals process is slated to come down in exactly one week, on June 14.

If Judge Walton decides June 14 is go-to-jail day for Libby, and no Bush pardon is forthcoming, special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald will find himself gripping the handle of an awesomely formidable battle axe. Fitzgerald has made clear his belief that Libby broke the law, but did so to protect his boss, Dick Cheney. Fitzgerald will be able, under these circumstances, to offer Libby a choice: do hard time, or roll on your boss and spill the beans.

If that happens, and Libby decides to escape prison time by telling Fitzgerald what he knows, the cat will finally leap all the way out of the bag. The outing of Plame, the manipulation of WMD intelligence, the Office of Special Plans, the manipulation of terror alerts, the true intentions behind the decision to invade, and the whole smelly pile of fish heads will come spilling out onto the dock for all to see. Such an outcome might even pierce the veil surrounding Cheney's secret energy meetings from way back when; many people suspect that an invasion of Iraq, and a capture of their oil infrastructure, played a large part in the formulation of those plans.

Allowing such an outcome would present an unacceptable risk for Bush and Cheney, and thus pardoning Libby seems to be a no-brainer decision. But to do so risks the final fermentation of the growing dislike and distrust among the populace for the administration. A Libby pardon may well unleash the kind of terminal public backlash Nixon absorbed after the firing of Archibald Cox during the Watergate scandal. Furthermore, such a backlash may well rope in all the other issues - the general disapproval already in place, the Iraq occupation, the unrest within the GOP coalition over immigration - and create an avalanche that would be almost impossible to survive.

June 14, simply put, is going to be a really, really big day.

Comes Birnam Wood to Dunsinane

The Weird Sisters who sealed Macbeth's fate enjoyed a talent for accurate prediction, but only in fiction. In fact, in today's America, any absolute predictions of imminent Republican immolation are both premature and uninformed. The GOP no longer holds the Congressional high ground, but are only a few seats short of it. They also enjoy the continued patronage of that aforementioned big-money faction, much of which controls not only a majority of the mainstream media, but the crafting of the message from that medium.

And yet tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow creeps ever on in this petty pace. Any one of these troubles is trouble enough for the GOP, but to have all of them come together simultaneously portends the kind of total political calamity this country has not seen in generations.

Strap in.

William Rivers Pitt is a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of two books: "War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know" and "The Greatest Sedition Is Silence." His newest book, "House of Ill Repute: Reflections on War, Lies, and America's Ravaged Reputation," is now available from PoliPointPress.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. The Lantern has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is The Lantern endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

....And The Truth Shall Set Us Free

Cheney To Have Heart Check-up.... our expense, of course.

The idea of Dick Cheney having a heart check-up begs the question, what heart?

In all seriousness, when will Americans begin taking into consideration a candidates health issues in a serious and informed way?

We need to start asking questions of candidates for high office about their health and informing ourselves about any conditions they might have. It is a well known fact that certain medications commonly prescribed for heart conditions can have the side-effect of psychosis in some patients. I'm not suggesting that Dick Cheney's heart medication is reponsible for his delusional behavior, but the thought comes to mind in an election year.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Vice President Dick Cheney, a survivor of four heart attacks including a mild one shortly after the 2000 election, will have a routine heart checkup on Friday, his office said on Thursday.

"The vice president will visit his doctors at the George Washington University Medical Faculty Associates tomorrow morning for a scheduled routine cardiology check-up," said his deputy press secretary Megan McGinn.

Cheney, 66, and one of President George W. Bush's closest advisers, had a defibrillator implanted in his chest in 2001 to help regulate his heartbeat.

In January 2006 he was treated for shortness of breath that was believed to have been triggered by a reaction to medication for a foot ailment.

Additionally, in March 2007 a blood clot was discovered in his leg after he returned from a nine-day trip to Asia and the Middle East. He was treated with blood-thinning medication.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. The Lantern has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is The Lantern endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

....And The Truth Shall Set Us Free

Post-Bush GOP: Pathetic....and dangerous

By Brent Budowsky

The Republican presidential candidates have a big problem, which is why they spent the last debate criticizing George Bush.

Consider what these presidential candidates said about the incompetence, mismanagement and negligence of George Bush’s failures for the first four years of the Iraq war.

The core problem for Republican presidential candidates is this: They are forced to continue to support the escalation of the war, while they are forced to appeal to a hard-core, right-wing base that is far out of touch with American opinion.

What do they do? They start talking about the option of dropping nuclear bombs on Iran.

Everybody who believes this is what Americans want, a new war in the Middle East and our country dropping nuclear bombs, raise your hands.

Make no mistake: Iran is a problem and major multinational action to prevent Iran from being a nuclear power and from giving military aid to terrorist or hostile groups is needed.

Dropping nuclear bombs? This is certifiable, both as a lunatic policy idea and an example of why the United States has become so alienated in world opinion.

Throughout the free world, among America’s best friends, George Bush and his policies are widely despised at great damage to our credibility, our security and our worldwide role of moral leadership.

This kind of far-out, nut-case perversion of conservatism has nothing to do with Ronald Reagan and nothing to do with traditionally accepted policies that both Republican and Democratic presidents have historically agreed on.

What happens when the pundit-appointed savior of the Republicans, Fred Thompson, is asked to explain his desire for regime change in Iran and exactly how he expects to achieve it? Does he want another Middle East war, and which branch of the military service does he plan on using?

If not, besides dinner-party talk for neoconservatives and their discredited ideas, what does he mean?

Does Fred Thompson really believe it is honorable, patriotic and moral to be lying under oath, or risking the lives of our covert agents fighting against terrorists, by disclosing their identities?

This latest business of Republicans seeking to follow George Bush as commander in chief — hinting, implying or threatening to drop nuclear bombs on Iran — is another example of a party totally divorced from national security reality and American public opinion.

Dropping nuclear bombs? If Republicans believe that is what Americans want in the post-Bush era, and if they believe that is the way for America to regain our leadership of the free world, that is the stuff that Democratic landslides are made of.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. The Lantern has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is The Lantern endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

....And The Truth Shall Set Us Free

Let The Subpoenas Fly!!

NYT editorial:

It’s Subpoena Time

For months, senators have listened to a parade of well-coached Justice Department witnesses claiming to know nothing about how nine prosecutors were chosen for firing. This week, it was the turn of Bradley Schlozman, a former federal attorney in Missouri, to be uninformative and not credible. It is time for Senator Patrick Leahy, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, to deliver subpoenas that have been approved for Karl Rove, former White House counsel Harriet Miers and their top aides, and to make them testify in public and under oath.

Mr. Schlozman was appointed United States attorney in Missouri while the state was in the midst of a hard-fought Senate race. In his brief stint, he pushed a lawsuit, which was thrown out by a federal judge, that could have led to thousands of Democratic-leaning voters being wrongly purged from the rolls. Just days before the election, he indicted voter registration workers from the liberal group Acorn on fraud charges. Republicans quickly made the indictments an issue in the Senate race.

Mr. Schlozman said it did not occur to him that the indictments could affect the campaign. That is hard to believe since the Justice Department’s guidelines tell prosecutors not to bring vote fraud investigations right before an election, so as not to affect the outcome. He also claimed, laughably, that he did not know that Acorn was a liberal-leaning group.

Mr. Schlozman fits neatly into the larger picture. Prosecutors who refused to use their offices to help Republicans win elections, like John McKay in Washington State, and David Iglesias in New Mexico, were fired. Prosecutors who used their offices to help Republicans did well.

Congress has now heard from everyone in the Justice Department who appears to have played a significant role in the firings of the prosecutors. They have all insisted that the actual decisions about whom to fire came from somewhere else. It is increasingly clear that the somewhere else was the White House. If Congress is going to get to the bottom of the scandal, it has to get the testimony of Mr. Rove, his aides Scott Jennings and Sara Taylor, Ms. Miers and her deputy, William Kelley.

The White House has offered to make them available only if they do not take an oath and there is no transcript. Those conditions are a formula for condoning perjury, and they are unacceptable. As for documents, the White House has released piles of useless e-mail messages.

But it has reported that key e-mails to and from Mr. Rove were inexplicably destroyed. At the same time, it has argued that e-mails of Mr. Rove’s that were kept on a Republican Party computer system, which may contain critical information, should not be released.

This noncooperation has gone on long enough. Mr. Leahy should deliver the subpoenas for the five White House officials and make clear that if the administration resists, Congress will use all available means to get the information it needs.

Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. The Lantern has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is The Lantern endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

....And The Truth Shall Set Us Free

Admitted: Goopers want small voter turn-out

Naturally. It's the only way they can win.

Crooks and Liars:

Paul Weyrich, father of the right-wing movement and co-founder of the Heritage Foundation, Moral Majority and various other groups tells his flock that he doesn’t want people to vote. That’s why the GOP is obsessed with voter fraud—only they want to disenfranchise voters because as Weyrich said back in the ’80’s…the more voters there are—the less of a chance the wingers have in any election."

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Bush S.G Nominee: Anti-Gay, Big Time

This should send the Dems into a tail spin.

Actually, it should cause cranial explosions among any group of intelligent, rational people.

Crooks and Liars:

Following up on an item from last week, Dr. James W. Holsinger Jr., Bush’s nominee for Surgeon General, has a record of activism that suggests a strong anti-gay bias. Opposition to his nomination has been growing, but it’s been unclear whether there was enough information available to sink his chances.

Maybe this will do the trick. Holsinger wrote a paper in 1991 arguing that, from a medical perspective, homosexuality is unnatural and unhealthy, a position rejected by professionals as prioritizing political ideology over science.

Holsinger, 68, presented “The Pathophysiology of Male Homosexuality” in January 1991 to a United Methodist Church’s committee to study homosexuality. The church was then considering changing its view that homosexuality violates Christian teaching, though it ultimately did not do so. Relying on footnotes from mainstream medical publications, Holsinger argued that homosexuality isn’t natural or healthy.

A Grim Milestone: 3,500

What an incredible sacrifice for the egos of greedy, powerful men who never served a day in any uniform.

U.S. death toll in Iraq passes 3,500 - Yahoo! News:

BAGHDAD - The four-year U.S. military death toll in
Iraq passed 3,500 after a soldier was reported killed in a roadside bombing in Baghdad. A British soldier was also shot to death Thursday in southern Iraq, as Western forces find themselves increasingly vulnerable under a new strategy to take the fight to the enemy."

Bush's deluded speech to the world's oppressed.

Every time this man leaves the country, we all hold our collective breath.

WTF is he gonna say this time, to piss off the rest of the world...or piss on it, in our names?

He is a god-damned loon! Cheney is even worse. Will this nightmare ever end?

Bush's deluded speech to the world's oppressed. - By Fred Kaplan - Slate Magazine:

For those who have detected a 'return to realism' in recent American foreign policy, President George W. Bush went to Prague today to say it isn't so.

Speaking at a conference of democratic activists from around the world, Bush renewed his call for 'the end of tyranny,' proclaimed that countries on the 'path to freedom … will find a loyal partner in the United States,' and said to those suffering under tyranny, 'We will never excuse your oppressors, and we will always stand for your freedom.'

No pardon for Libby | Chicago Tribune

Conservative newspapers opining against a pardon for Libby.

The Cincinnati Inquirer agrees with the ChiTrib.

No pardon for Libby | Chicago Tribune:

"Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, Lewis 'Scooter' Libby, was sentenced Tuesday to 30 months in prison for perjury, obstruction of justice and lying to FBI agents. That left many of his friends gasping and has them pressing for President Bush to pardon Libby.

That shouldn't happen.

Edwards Answers His Critics With Attack on ‘Terror Doctrine’

Of course, Edwards is right.

The Rethugs really hate it when anyone messes with their myths

Edwards Answers His Critics With Attack on ‘Terror Doctrine’ - New York Times:

Former Senator John Edwards struck back yesterday at Republican critics who have called him soft on the war on terrorism, saying the party’s candidates “seem intent on trying to one-up each other in trying to be a bigger, badder, George Bush.”

Ala. lawmaker punches Senate colleague

Back in the 60's riots all took place in the streets, where riots belong in a civilized society.

Now, they seem to be breaking out in legislatures from Texas to Alabama.

Somebody call the riot police to those lawless, insane red states. (:-)

Ala. lawmaker punches Senate colleague - Yahoo! News:

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Simmering tensions in the Alabama Senate boiled over Thursday when a Republican lawmaker punched a Democratic colleague in the head before they were pulled apart.

Republican Sen. Charles Bishop claimed that Democratic Sen. Lowell Barron called him a 'son of a (expletive).'

'I responded to his comment with my right hand,' Bishop said. Alabama Public Television tape captured the punch.

Barron denied saying that to Bishop. He said the Jasper senator used an expletive to him and he was trying to get away when he was hit by Bishop on the side of the head near an ear. He said he had not decided if he would file charges.

Robert Kennedy Remembered

Every year around this time, since 2002, we remember Bobby intensely; almost as if we are willing him to return and help us finish where we left off.

It's not that I haven't always missed him. I have. Still, I have never missed him so much as I have since I figured out what's going on in this country under this hideous Bush regime

Next year, will be the 40th anniversary of my hero's death.

The Hill’s Pundit Blog » Robert Kennedy Remembered:

It is June 5 and we remember Robert Kennedy, who was taken from us much too soon.

I may be on “The Air Americans” tonight and was thinking about whether it would be fitting to mention this.

Most people don’t realize, but a date can be Googled. Put in the date, and what comes up is everything that happened in the world that day. I Googled June 3, 4 and 5 of 1968 — Robert Kennedy and amazing things came up.

Giuliani: Unhinged!

We aren't too worried about Rudy G.

The guy is wrapped too tight for Vietnam, as the saying goes.

Doubt he will win the nomination.

Hope he does.

Rudy G is the living incarnation of Gooper meltdown.

He is Mr. 9/11 (horrendous lies untold).

Bush and Cheney will be gone, if we are fortunate enough for the constitution to hold, just a while longer.

He can provide another opportunity for the truth to emerge.

Giuliani: Worse Than Bush - The Smirking Chimp:

Although few people outside of New York know it yet, there is an emerging controversy over Giuliani's heroic 9/11 legacy. Critics charge that Rudy's failure to resolve the feuding between the city's police and firefighters prior to the attack led to untold numbers of deaths, the most tragic example being the inability of firemen to hear warnings from police helicopters about the impending collapse of the South Tower. The 9/11 Commission concluded that the two departments had been 'designed to work independently, not together,' and that greater coordination would have spared many lives.

Given all that, why did Rudy offer this weirdly unsolicited reference to the controversy now? Was he joking? And if so, what the fuck? It was a strange and bitter comment to make, especially right on the heels of his grand-slam performance in the previous night's debate. If this is a guy who chews over a perceived slight in the middle of a victory lap, what's he going to be like with his finger on the button? Even Richard Nixon wasn't wound that tight.

The way of the pardon

Ah yes....not having to say you're sorry....mainly, because you aren't.

That is just what we need in this country. More self-righteous asshats who believe that all in fair in the name of their insane ideology which is currently killing people whose only crime is being born in a foreign country of interest or being born poor and/or deluded in America.

The Libby lobby's pardon campaign | Salon:

Having never expressed remorse for his crime, Scooter Libby instead enlisted his neoconservative friends to win him reduced prison time.

Reporter Arrested on Orders of Giuliani Press Secretary

A preview of America under NYC's little, capitalist Stalin.

Reporter Arrested on Orders of Giuliani Press Secretary:

Reporter Arrested on Orders of Giuliani Press Secretary Charged with Criminal Trespass Despite Protest of CNN Staff and Official Event Press Credentials at GOP Debate in New Hampshire"

AP Poll: Bush approval hits low point

Something is definitely happening to the GOP.

Looks like fear and hatred turned inward. It is remarkably like what often happens in an individual when fear and hatred are turned in on the self.

I am reminded of John Dean's book, Conservatives without Conscious, in which he makes the case that the new conservatives are authoritarians. He will get no argument from me. As a generalization, it is as accurate they get.

In their disintegration, they very much appear as authoritarian followers and leaders.

This is not news we can afford to celebrate just yet.

People of the authoritarian persuasion can be dangerous when in meltdown, both individually and as a group, until they start to splinter.

AP Poll: Bush approval hits low point - Yahoo! News:

WASHINGTON - Public approval of the job
President Bush is doing now matches its all-time low, with widespread discontent over how he is handling the war in
Iraq, efforts against terrorism and domestic issues, an AP-Ipsos poll released Thursday said.

Only 32 percent said they were satisfied with how Bush is handling his job, the same low point the measure hit last January.

On issue after issue, approval of Bush's efforts matched previous lows, underscoring the challenges Republican presidential and congressional candidates will confront next year when they face voters.

And The Political Pendulum Swings?

We shall see.

In order to undo even half of the horrors inflicted on this country by the NeoCons, progressive/liberal Democrats must have an overwhelming victory in 2008 and a clear mandate to uphold progressive, liberal, democratic ideals.

Americans, rightly alarmed by the course of the nation, must be willing to enforce that mandate and hold their elected officials accountable on a daily basis.

Published on Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Left Turn: The Political Pendulum Swings Back

America’s experiment with neofascism is coming to an end. He came to office in a coup d’├ętat and consolidated power after 9/11. George W. Bush may be our worst president in history–certainly in recent times–but he is also one of the most important. Imposing his sweeping vision on everything from the tax system to why we wage war to eliminating your right to an attorney, his legislative and stylistic legacy will long outlive his administration.

He has been wildly successful at getting what he wanted. The irony is, his radical achievements have set the stage for a dramatic political shift to the left.

In my 2004 book “Wake Up! You’re Liberal!” I argued that liberalism went into crisis after winning most of the cultural battles of the 20th century–the New Deal, civil rights, equality for women, gay rights. By 1980 once dynamic ideology was reduced to defending its gains against a roll-back campaign by an insurgent New Right. In electoral politics, a dynamic party offering new proposals, even ideas recycled from previous decades, tends to defeat a party that comes off as stodgy and defensive.

Bush’s neofascists find themselves in the same unenviable position as the Democrats of Jimmy Carter’s time. (Old-school conservatism, Goldwater’s prescription of isolationism and limited government, is dead or dormant.) Now that they’ve won acceptance of preemptive warfare, torture, elimination of the estate tax, and spying on American citizens, Republicans are fresh out of new ideas.

As people who lived in Nazi Germany and Communist China attest, what starts out as exciting soon turns tedious. Long stretches of political radicalism leaves citizens exhausted, overwhelmed, and longing for “normalcy.” Sound familiar?

You can see the leftward shift everywhere. Bush’s approval rating, 91 percent after 9/11, is at 30 percent. Even most Republicans say Iraq is going badly. “I think this [the Iraq War] is the most expensive, stupidest thing we’ve ever done,” says Debbie Thompson of Wilmette, Illinois, a staunch pro-war Republican. The military, from privates in Iraq to armchair generals in Washington, openly derides him and his war in the media.

Have you noticed? Those pro-war “Support Our Troops” car magnets are disappearing faster than the Clinton budget surplus.

Newt Gingrich, mastermind of the 1994 “Republican Revolution,” compares Bush’s current political impotence to Carter’s and describes the Republican Party as in “collapse.” Especially telling is that the ex-House Speaker–famous for his hard-right, take-no-prisoners style–says the GOP must move left in order to win the next election.

The polarizing strategy Bush used to win in 2004, Gingrich says, was “maniacally dumb” because it focused on the right-wing base to the exclusion of party moderates and has diminished the Republican Party to its worst state since Watergate. “You can’t be a governing national party and write off entire regions,” he tells The New Yorker.

Things look bad for the Republicans, but Democrats too are being pressured to move left.

Hillary Clinton’s vote in favor of the war has become her biggest political albatross. Even Barack Obama’s claim that he would have voted no if he’d been in the Senate back in 2002 is being met with skepticism. And the decision by Congressional Democrats to yield to Bush’s demand for another $100 billion to finance the war, no strings attached, could reduce the enthusiasm of liberal voters–and thus their turnout–on Election Day.

Cindy Sheehan, the mother of an Army Specialist killed in Iraq who became a star of the antiwar movement, articulated the frustration of more than two-thirds of the public. “I’ve been wondering why I’ve been killing myself and wondering why the Democrats caved into George Bush,” she said on May 28. She announced that she would no longer be active in the peace movement or have anything to do with the Democratic Party.

We are following the lead of South America, where decades of right-wing excesses prompted the election of socialist governments.

Disgusted by politicians who don’t even pretend to care about them or their concerns, American voters are finally ready to embrace progressives who work to put them first. The question is whether the Democrats will rise to the opportunity to lead them.

Ted Rall is the author of the new book “Silk Road to Ruin: Is Central Asia the New Middle East?,” an in-depth prose and graphic novel analysis of America’s next big foreign policy challenge.

© 2007 Ted Rall

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. The Lantern has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is The Lantern endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

....And The Truth Shall Set Us Free

Cheney Involved In DOJ Mess....Big Time

Surprise, Surprise!

Is there any slimy, disgusting thing with which he is nnot involved?

Is there any down side to impeaching him?

Official: Cheney Urged WiretapsStand-In for Ashcroft Alleges Interference
By Dan Eggen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, June 7, 2007; A03

Vice President Cheney told Justice Department officials that he disagreed with their objections to a secret surveillance program during a high-level White House meeting in March 2004, a former senior Justice official told senators yesterday.

The meeting came one day before White House officials tried to get approval for the same program from then-Attorney General John D. Ashcroft, who lay recovering from surgery in a hospital, according to former deputy attorney general James B. Comey.

Comey's disclosures, made in response to written questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee, indicate that Cheney and his aides were more closely involved than previously known in a fierce internal battle over the legality of the warrantless surveillance program. The program allowed the National Security Agency to monitor phone calls and e-mails between the United States and overseas.

Comey said that Cheney's office later blocked the promotion of a senior Justice Department lawyer, Patrick Philbin, because of his role in raising concerns about the surveillance.

The disclosures also provide further details about the role played by then-White House counsel Alberto R. Gonzales. He visited Ashcroft in his hospital room and wrote an internal memorandum on the surveillance program shortly afterward, according to Comey's responses.

Gonzales is now the attorney general. He faces possible congressional votes of no-confidence because of his handling of the firings of nine U.S. attorneys last year.

"How are you, General?" Gonzales asked Ashcroft at the hospital, according to Comey.
"Not well," replied Ashcroft, who had just undergone gallbladder surgery and was battling pancreatitis.

The new details follow Comey's gripping testimony last month about the visit by Gonzales and Andrew H. Card Jr., then President Bush's chief of staff, to Ashcroft's hospital bed on the night of March 10, 2004. The two Bush aides tried to persuade Ashcroft to renew the authorization of the NSA surveillance program, after Comey and other Justice Department officials had said they would not certify the legality of the effort, according to the testimony and other officials.
Ashcroft refused, noting that Comey had been designated as acting attorney general during his illness.

The episode prompted sharp criticism from Democrats and some Republicans, who questioned whether Gonzales and Card were attempting to take advantage of a sick man to get around legal objections from government lawyers. It is unclear who directed the two Bush aides to make the visit.

Democrats said yesterday that the new details from Comey raise further questions about the role of Cheney and other White House officials in the episode.

"Mr. Comey has confirmed what we suspected for a while -- that White House hands guided Justice Department business," said Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.). "The vice president's fingerprints are all over the effort to strong-arm Justice on the NSA program, and the obvious next question is: Exactly what role did the president play?"

A White House spokesman declined to comment.

Justice Department spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said the surveillance program "was always subject to rigorous oversight and review. . . . We have acknowledged that there have been disagreements about other intelligence activities, as one would expect."

Democrats have criticized Gonzales for testifying last year that there were no "serious disagreements" about the program.

According to Comey, the hospital visit was preceded by a March 9, 2004, meeting at the White House on the Justice Department objections. It was attended by Cheney; Gonzales; Card; Cheney's counsel then, David S. Addington; and others, Comey said.

Comey also named eight Justice Department officials who were prepared to quit if the White House had not backed down, including FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, current U.S. Attorney Chuck Rosenberg of Alexandria and Jack Goldsmith, who headed the Office of Legal Counsel and led an internal legal review of the surveillance program.

Comey said that the review "focused on current operations during late 2003 and early 2004, and the legal basis for the program." He declined to answer detailed questions about the program or the review, citing restrictions on classified information.

Bush confirmed the existence of the surveillance effort after news reports in December 2005, saying it was authorized after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and was vital to protecting the nation from terrorist attacks. The program has since been put under the auspices of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which oversees clandestine eavesdropping in the United States.

Staff writer Amy Goldstein contributed to this report.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. The Lantern has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is The Lantern endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

....And The Truth Shall Set Us Free

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

OMG! Romney Says IAEA Inspectors Not Allwed In Iraq

Mitt Romney, one of the very serious foreign policy people:

[I[f you're saying let's turn back the clock and Saddam Hussein had opened up his country to IAEA inspectors and they'd come in and they'd found that there were no weapons of mass destruction, had Saddam Hussein therefore not violated United Nations resolutions, we wouldn't be in the conflict we're in.

But he didn't do those things, and we knew what we knew at the point we made the decision to get in.

Where the hell was he? Bush has said this three diffrent times that we know of and have posted about; that Saddam wouldn't let the inspectors in.

Say what? We have seen video of the inspectors in Irag before the war started. They had to leave to keep from getting thier butts blown off. The video, as I recall, was of missiles being destroyed. The missles were capable of travelling a further range than was allowed by the U.N. So the missiles were being destroyed. The Iraqis were cooperating.

Seems the Bush administration could not have that.

Now Romney is going to try to peddle the same garbage? This guy needs to be called out on this one!

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. The Lantern has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is The Lantern endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

....And The Truth Shall Set Us Free

Obama and Hillary: In A Dead Heat?

New poll: Is it really tied up?

ELECTION '08 Obama, Clinton in dead heat in survey
June 6, 2007
Political Reporter

So it's a neck-and-neck horse race between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
Or is it?

RELATED STORIES• Obama opposes Defense of Marriage ActSweet on GOP debate: Security, borders, GodSweet blog: Race for the White House

A USA Today/Gallup Poll just found the two Democratic U.S. senators in a statistical dead heat for their party's presidential nomination.

It's not the first time Obama has tied Clinton. An automated telephone survey by Rasmussen Reports in April had the South Sider with 32 percent to the transplanted New Yorker's 30 percent -- another statistical draw.

But virtually every other poll gives Clinton a double-digit lead over Obama. Rasmussen's latest puts her up by 8 percentage points. Clinton's campaign officials are dubbing the USA Today survey an "outlier" -- a statistical fluke.

Some experts questioned the results and suggested Obama should be measured in his celebration.

"Sure, any poll that shows you are picking up on your opponent is good," said Kenneth Janda, professor emeritus of political science at Northwestern University. "First of all, it may reflect reality. And it may energize your base. So that is good news for Obama. However, there are vagaries in polling, and this is a small sample size."

Further complicating matters is that most of the polls are national, and the race for the nomination is run state-by-state. And in key states with early contests, Obama is trailing Clinton and North Carolina Sen. John Edwards in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina in the latest American Research Group surveys.

To help you sort through it all, below are some of the latest major polls on the Democratic race. Only the top three candidates are included because all the others finished in single digits. We used results that excluded former Vice President Al Gore since he has not joined the race.

How the top three Democratic candidates fared in recent polls.,CST-NWS-POLL06.article

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. The Lantern has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is The Lantern endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

....And The Truth Shall Set Us Free

We Don't Want To hear Anymore From James Carville

Check out the company James Carville keeps.

The Smoking Gun:
Though my husband James Carville, a Democratic Strategist and Clinton supporter, shares neither political nor philosophical views with Scooter, he has deep respect for his intellect, his integrity, and joins me in the sentiments expressed here.
I have seen what this trial has done to my own kids, just reading about it.
Did James write a few letters to the Wilsons?

Kos has more:
Let’s see what company he’s in: Donald Rumsfeld, Henry Kissinger, Paul Wolfowitz, John Bolton, Richard Perle, and Douglas Feith. Quite a rogue’s gallery, a virtual “who’s who” of the neocon cabal, proving once again that “national security” is only of concern when it furthers their own agenda.

....And The Truth Shall Set Us Free

Gonzo Still Stonewalling

Seems the Bushites learned the lessons of Watregate:
Lie, Obsfuscate, withold/destroy evidence and otherwise stonewall any and all attempts at getting to the truth of anything they have done. Because, let's face it, doing time for obstruction of justice, perjury or whatever is better than the truth coming out.

Of course, the pardon fix is in so, if they just drag things out long enough, there will be no time served for a damn thing anyway.

Seems to me that that, all by itself, should be taken as proof of guilt when it comes to politicians. Why would one cover-up something that is not criminal, especially when the embarrassment has already been inflicted by the information that is in the public record?

Gonzales still withholding key information on Attorneys, says letter from House investigators
Michael Roston

Published: Tuesday June 5, 2007

A letter sent to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales by the House Judiciary Committee alleges that the Justice Department has failed to turn over information in a variety of categories requested in the course of the US Attorneys investigation. A top House Democrat subsequently made a veiled threat to issue more subpoenas.

"I must again reiterate several long-standing requests for documents and other information from the Department of Justice, a number of which were made months before the May 10 hearing," Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee said in a Monday letter to the Attorney General obtained by RAW STORY.

After noting that progress has been made in fulfilling earlier subpoenas, Conyers added a warning.

"I hope to avoid a more formal legal process, but reiterate again that this information should be provided as soon as possible," he wrote.

Conyers outlined the information he was seeking in an attachment with the letter. On the US Attorneys investigation, the information he sought included: documents concerning contact between Rep. Rick Renzi (R-AZ) and fired US Attorney for Arizona Paul Charlton; Answers to questions and unredacted documents on the resignation of former Minnesota US Attorney Tom Heffelfinger; and, unredacted documents on the firing of US Attorney for Kansas City Todd Graves.

The House Judiciary Committee was also seeking information pertaining to national security-related matters outside the scope of the US Attorneys investigation, such as a report on US residents detained on suspicion of terrorism, answers to questions for the record on the FBI's use of National Security Letters, and answers to questions raised after the testimony of former Deputy Attorney General James Comey on the National Security Agency's domestic wiretapping programs.

In addition to the follow-up on earlier information, Conyers forwarded 26 pages of detailed questions for the record to Gonzales, which were supplemental to questions asked after the Attorney General's May 10 hearing before the House Committee. Conyers sought answers by June 18.

Many of the questions for the record concerned revelations arising from the May 23 hearing with Monica Goodling, the former White House Liaison at the Justice Department. The Committee sought: information on discussions between Gonzales and other Justice Department employees about the process that led to the firing of the Attorneys, since March 8; Gonzales's awareness of inaccuracies in the Feb. 6 testimony of Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty; the Attorney General's awareness of and involvement in Monica Goodling's political criteria for hiring decisions on career employees; White House involvement in personnel decisions by Goodling; and, whether or not Goodling received any bonuses or raises during her tenure at the Justice Department, and for what reasons.

Questions in the document were also submitted by Reps. Hank Johnson (D-GA), Bobby Scott (D-VA), Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), and Brad Sherman (D-CA). The questions concerned a variety of subjects in addition to the US Attorneys firings.

An additional 22-page document came from Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), the Ranking Republican on the Committee, with 52 questions on the details of the firings of various US Attorneys. However, the questions were drafted prior to Goodling's hearing.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. The Lantern has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is The Lantern endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

....And The Truth Shall Set Us Free

DOJ Rethug Hackery Goes On.......Schlozman

The really scary thing about these people is they don't seem to realize the difference between right and wrong.

Schlozman admits boasting of Republican hires
Nick Juliano

Published: Tuesday June 5, 2007

As the latest Justice Department official to appear before congressional investigators, Bradley Schlozman admitted Tuesday afternoon to boasting about his success in hiring Republicans or conservatives into career attorney positions within the department.

Although he denied taking political considerations into account, the former acting US Attorney for the Western District of Kansas admitted under questioning from Sen. Chuck Schumer, R-N.Y., that he may have touted the new hires' conservative credentials in conversation. Schumer asked if Schlozman ever "boasted" about hiring Republican lawyers.

"I probably did make statements like that," said Schlozman, who also oversaw the Justice Department's Civil Rights Divison.

Schlozman also acknowledged receiving recommendations on potential hires from a top official in conservative lawyers' group the Federalist Society.

The politicization of hiring decisions within the Department of Justice -- whose career attorneys are expected to operate independent of partisan concerns -- is at the heart of an ongoing scandal surrounding the dismissal of at least nine US Attorneys.

Senators also grilled Schlozman about his role in handing down indictments in a voting fraud case just before the 2006 election. The indictments against voter-registration recruiters for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, which works to increase registration among minority voters.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the committee's chairman, pressed Schlozman, who at the time was acting US Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, on why he went forward with the indictments even though Justice Department regulations recommend holding off on voter fraud prosecutions until after the election.

Leahy seemed flabbergasted by Schlozman's assertion that he didn't think the prosecutions would have any effect on the election. Critics argue that stringent voter-fraud prosecutions, especially leading up to an election, suppresses turnout among minority voters, who traditionally support Democrats.

The exchange grew heated when Schlozman tried to insist that the Justice Department does not time prosecutions based on election dates.

"Yes they do!" Leahy yelled, burnishing the "Red Book" of department regulations that contains the recommendation to avoid prosecutions around Election Day.

Testifying later in the day, Schlozman's predecessor as US Attorney in Kansas, Todd Graves, said he was aware of the Justice Department's reticence to filing election fraud charges so close to an election.

"It surprised me that (charges against ACORN organizers) had been filed that close to an election," Graves said.

Graves, who was asked to resign in January 2006, said he did not hold a grudge against anyone in the Justice Department. The Washington Post has reported that the circumstances surrounding Graves' dismissal mirror those of eight other US Attorneys who were fired for allegedly political reasons.

Graves told the committee he had been planning on leaving the US Attorney's office that year to pursue private practice and had assumed he had been asked to step down early to give
President Bush a chance to find his replacement before the 2006 congressional elections. He acknowledged, though, that Schlozman was not well-known in Missouri legal circles before he took over.

"I was sort of indifferent" about Schlozman, Graves told the committee. "I'd never heard of him before i talked to him on the phone."

A review of Schlozman's hires by the Boston Globe found a decidedly more conservative bent in the attorneys he hired. Half of the 14 lawyers he hired were members of either the conservative Federalist Society or the Republican National Lawyers Association. No career lawyers hired in the two years before Schlozman took over were members of such groups.

Schlozman gave conflicting accounts of whether he received recommendations from either group, and he told Schumer he had encouraged applicants to remove political information on their resumes on at least a few occasions, though he would not be specific.

Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wisc., asked whether Schlozman ever received recommendations from a variety of conservative lawyers and department officials. He denied receiving job candidates from Monica Goodling, who admitted she "crossed the line" in injecting politics into hiring decisions, and former Gonzales Chief of Staff Kyle Sampson.

But Schlozman did admit receiving guidance from Leonard Leo, the executive vice president of the Federalist Society.

"I may have gotten a recommendation from him for a candidate," Schlozman told Feingold, but he continued to offer no specifics.

Schlozman has been accused of injecting politics into hiring decisions within the Justice
Department's Civil Rights Division, which is in charge of ensuring equal access to the polls for all Americans. As RAW STORY reported last month, an internal Justice Department investigation was expanded to include an examination of hiring practices within the division he previously oversaw.

Career lawyers within the Civil Rights division have said Schlozman was a key figure in moving the division's mission away from its original mandate to increase access to voters who had traditionally faced discrimination. They allege Schlozman emphasized on voter fraud cases critics say are designed to disenfranchise the very voters civil rights laws are aimed at helping.

"It is typical in Republican administrations [that] the political appointees generally have a very different approach to the laws than the career attorneys in that office," Noel Francisco, who worked in the White House Counsel's office earlier in the Bush administration, told Legal Times.

"The attorneys in that office have a reputation for advancing a liberal interpretation of the laws."

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. The Lantern has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is The Lantern endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

....And The Truth Shall Set Us Free

Ed Gillespie: Have prior knowledge of Criminal Probe?

This country has gone to hell in a handbasket!

Potential Bush aide may have had foreknowledge of political probe
Nick Juliano

Published: Monday June 4, 2007

Former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie, who is reportedly being considered as a replacement for White House aide Dan Bartlett, may have had early knowledge of a criminal probe into a potential state Senate candidate in Virginia, where Gillespie is now head of the Republican Party, according to a Virginia political blog.

Blogger Ben Tribbett tells the Washington Post that he was told about indictments against candidate Mark D. Tate before they were released. In a timeline on his blog, he implies Gillespie, who supports Tate's opponent, also knew of the indictments in advance.

"Tate and others have also questioned why party insiders -- including Gillespie -- seemed to have prior knowledge of the investigation," Sandhya Somashekhar reports for the post. "More than three weeks before the grand jury was to decide, Gillespie called Tate and asked him to consider dropping out, Tate said."

According to The Politico, Gillespie's name has emerged as a possible replacement for Bartlett, announced last week he would step down from his position as Counselor to President Bush in the White House.

Tate, the state senate candidate, was indicted late last month on charges of election fraud and perjury. Tribbit, who blogs at Not Larry Sabatto, said he was told by a spokesman for Virginia's Republican party that Gillespie encouraged Tate to drop out of the race if he was indicted, weeks before the Loudon County grand jury's charges against him became public.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. The Lantern has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is The Lantern endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

....And The Truth Shall Set Us Free