Saturday, July 14, 2007

MAJOR ALERT! False Flag Terrorist Attack Warning!

As we have been saying, it's coming!

There will be another attack(s) on American soil or on our carrier groups in the Persian Gulf, unless by screaming bloody murder we can prevent it. If there are new attacks, Iran and or Pakistan will be blamed and the chances of nuclear weapons being used in the ensuing chaos are very good.

There are desperate people planning to do desperate thing. Those desperate people are not in Afghanistan, Pakistan or Iran.

They are in Washington.

We, the people, must make it crystal clear to those desperate people that they will pay with their lives if we are hit again and there is even the slightest suspicion that they are behind the "attack." There will be that suspicion. Count on it!

I don't believe that Chertoff is trying to unduly scare anyone. I think he is trying to warn us. He may well have suspicions about many things he can't prove

If anyone out there knows for sure that something is being planned, again, they must come forward now. If you do not, and something happens causing the death of thousands or millions of American, be they here or serving overseas and, probably, causing a nuclear WWIII, Those of us you are unfortunate to survive it, will find you and you can be assured of not surviving, or wishing you hadn't.

It is that simple. It is not a threat, it is a promise.

BushCo would have to be pretty desperate to try to pull off another "new Pearl Harbor: or a new Gulf of Tonkin. This is not 2001. No one will be shocked into non-thinking mode again. No one will be content to be glued to their TeeVees, from where they have received nothing much more than lies and bad journalism for the last 20 years, not to mention the last 7 years

Many, many more people are questioning the official story of 9/11 and the anthrax attacks.

This is not 2001.

Don't do it.

July 13, 2007

Read More: Homeland Security

Ron Paul warns of staged terror attack

Republican presidential candidate, Rep. Ron Paul, said the country is in "great danger" of the U.S. government staging a terrorist attack or a Gulf of Tonkin style provocation, as the war in Iraq continues to deteriorate.

The Texas congressman offered no specifics nor mentioned President Bush by name, but he clearly insinuated that the administration would not be above staging an incident to revive flagging support.

"We're in danger in many ways," Paul said on the Alex Jones radio show. "The attack on our civil liberties here at home, the foreign policy that's in shambles and our obligations overseas and commitment which endangers our troops and our national defense."

Paul was asked to respond to comments by anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan that the U.S. is in danger of a staged terror attack or a provocation of an enemy similar to the Gulf of Tonkin incident in 1964 before the Vietnam War.

During the radio interview, Paul said the government was conducting "an orchestrated effort to blame the Iranians for everything that has gone wrong in Iraq."

The comments come as several prominent terrorism experts have warned the U.S. is facing an increased risk of attack this summer. Earlier this week, in an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said he had a "gut feeling" the U.S. would be attacked again.

The remark angered some Democrats, who criticized Chertoff for being too vague. And some pundits seized on his remarks, saying the vague warnings were meant only to revive flagging support for the war in Iraq and Bush’s larger war against terrorism.

(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

Cowards are Some of the Most Danfgrous People on Earth,

especially if they have an army at their disposal and atomic devices!

Don't mistake the chronically scared with traditional bullies. That would be a mistake.

The Dicks (Nixon and Cheney) are more alike and both were/are cowards, scared of their own shadows and terrified of the people. That's what makes them dangerous.

Is Cheney Evil or Just a Weasel?

By Susan J. Douglas

Cheney has done some scary things, but likening to him to He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named, we confirm his power rather than undermine it.

The Dark Lord. Voldemort. Darth Vader. The Shadow President. These threatening, macho soubriquets have been applied to Dick Cheney over the past six years, and are in rapid circulation in the wake of recent charges that Cheney’s office, beginning in 2003, refused to submit annual reports about how it classifies secret documents to the National Archives’ Security Oversight Office. Turns out Cheney claims to be above such laws. The Washington Post’s June 24-27 series by Pulitzer Prize winner Barton Gellman and Jo Becker about Cheney’s ruthless and determined consolidation of power in the White House has further burnished the Dark Lord aura.

But the time has come to dispatch these heavily armored nicknames and go with another. I propose “Weasel.” In an era when image is everything, it’s time to change the image and attack the power.

Yes, Cheney has been scary for a long time, has done evil things, and his iron-jawed, gravel-voiced, unflinching assertion of certitude (often in clear contradiction to the Constitution) has protected him and his policies. But by likening him to He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named, we confirm his power rather than undermine it. That’s why I like “Weasel.” Other comparable nominations are most welcome, as long as they convey furtiveness, evasion, prevarication and cowardice.

Obsessed with secrecy and domination, Cheney is a bully. And within every bully lies a coward, someone, for example, who waits 20 hours before notifying the media that he has accidentally shot a friend and then has a woman make the announcement for him. Macho, macho man.

Cheney’s long overdue need for ridicule is why we should be grateful that so many young people get their news from The Daily Show. Cheney’s office made the preposterous assertion that he didn’t have to comply with the Executive Order mandating the annual reports to the National Archives because he wasn’t part of the executive branch. Unfortunately for a dignified correspondent like ABC’s Martha Raddatz, the constraints of her job confined her to reporting, with a straight face, that Cheney has used “the opposite argument in the past, citing executive privilege when asked for information about his travel and visitors to his office.”

Jon Stewart, under no such proscriptions, can provide the level of disbelief that matches the outrageousness of this latest Cheney gambit. What The Daily Show consistently does best is juxtapose video of administration officials making their bogus pronouncements with video clips from the past, showing them saying the exact opposite. So Stewart showed Cheney on tape emphatically asserting executive privilege because he’s in the, er, executive branch. Stewart then looked into the camera to tell Americans that Cheney has always meant “to come up to us personally and say ‘go fuck ourselves.’ “

Now, for the sake of comparison, let’s imagine an administration official who has made a decision that goes very wrong, one in which people, including children, die. This official, only on the job for a month, could have blamed the FBI, which had urged the disastrous course of action, but did not. Instead, the official said, simply, “I’m responsible.”

That official was Janet Reno and she immediately admitted that the decision to assault the Branch Davidian compound in Waco with tear gas, leading to a conflagration that killed more than 80 people, was “obviously wrong.” The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms had begun the confrontation with the Branch Davidians on Feb. 28, 1993, two weeks before Reno was even confirmed; this was a catastrophe she inherited and yet came to own. She did not hide from the press or retreat to an undisclosed location; she appeared on CNN and “Nightline,” and told Ted Koppel, “I think it’s one of the great tragedies of this time.” As Laura Blumenfeld wrote for the Post, “It is clear that a different kind of bird has nested at Justice … . The attorney general’s candor may surprise those used to politicians who duck and cover when things go wrong.” Several months later Reno’s approval ratings were higher than Clinton’s and she had one of the lowest unfavorable ratings of anyone in his administration. Nonetheless, because Reno was also deeply threatening to American gender norms—she simply looked at the masquerade of femininity women are supposed to don and said “No thanks”—she was the ongoing butt of jokes on Leno, Letterman and, of course, Will Ferrell’s SNL “Janet Reno’s Dance Party.” No protective covering for her.

Commentary about Dick Cheney should now strip him of his various creepy veneers because they give him the cover that makes his power seem all that much more unassailable. As the indefatigable Rep. Henry Waxman, the Post and others go after him for his serial assaults on democracy and the rule of law, the macho language surrounding him should give way to images evoking an utter inability to ever face the music. Cheney et al. have attacked others who threaten their power with variations on the “girly-man” slur. But when you think about standing tall and alone, having true courage and taking the heat for your mistakes, who is the true girly-man: Janet Reno or Dick “Weasel” Cheney?

Susan J. Douglas is a professor of communications at the University of Michigan and author of The Mommy Myth: The Idealization of Motherhood and How it Has Undermined Women.

More information about Susan J. Douglas

(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

It's Time For Bush and Cheney to go....we are really beyond caring how.

Coz none of those statements is true.

We're are headed for a meltdown like no one has ever seen

...And The Truth Shall Set Us Free

Un-Freaking-Believable! Now Bush is hiding behind Tillman's corpse?

White House Denies Request for Documents in Ex-NFL Player's Death

By Josh White
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, July 14, 2007; A03

The White House has refused to give Congress documents about the death of former NFL player Pat Tillman, with White House counsel Fred F. Fielding saying that certain papers relating to discussion of the friendly-fire shooting "implicate Executive Branch confidentiality interests."

Reps. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) and Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.), the leading members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, objected to the refusal yesterday in letters to the White House and the Defense Department.

White House and Pentagon officials have turned over about 10,000 pages of material, but Waxman and Davis said those papers do not include critical documents that would show communications between senior administration officials and top military officers shortly after Tillman was killed in Afghanistan in 2004.

Tillman's celebrity, as one who gave up a professional football contract to join the Army after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, made his death major news. The military at first concocted a heroic story about how Tillman, a specialist posthumously promoted to corporal, had been killed in a fierce firefight with the enemy, despite obvious evidence that he had been shot by his own men at close range. More than a month later, a military investigation reported publicly that the death was not linked to enemy fire.

"The main focus of the committee's investigation is to examine what the White House and the leadership of the Department of Defense knew about Corporal Tillman's death and when they knew it," Waxman and Davis said in a letter to Fielding. "Unfortunately, the document production from the White House sheds virtually no light on these matters."

After an oversight hearing in April -- in which Tillman's family members testified -- - -the committee sought the documents to learn about the alleged cover-up and the high-level discussions about how to spin the case.

Waxman and Davis plan to hold another hearing on Aug. 1.

(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

Kunich Pissed off At Edwards and Clinton

Can't say we blame him, if the quotes, which we have not heard, are true

But you really cannot call 10 people, standing on stage behind podiums, giving sound-bite answers, a debate either.

There has got to be a better way, People!

How to start:

Get the "big money" completely out of politics. Asses every taxpayer a given amount, not to exceed $10.00/year for national campaigns and elections.

Primary candidates will not be able to accept over $10.00/month contributions from any individual donor, including corporations, which are considered individuals under the stupid law.

Americans own the air-waves and should expect the right to be exposed to each and every candidate, from whatever political party:

Give each Candidate a chance to lay out his/her agenda regarding both domestic and foreign policy, uninterrupted for....say.... and hour and a half. Then allow real journalists and citizens to question them on issues where there are questions about the candidate's plans for our future.

Let there be debates among those candidates who come out in the top three in every party to, finally, determine which candidate will be the party's choice. We should, at least, have three parties, if not more.

The GOP and the Democrats fail to really represent anyone anymore.

I hate to say it but it's true.

There are more of these ideas than can be written in one post among us , Latenrners,



Democrat Dennis Kucinich responded angrily Friday to a conversation overheard between Hillary Rodham Clinton and John Edwards, in which the two spoke of limiting the number of candidates invited to participate in presidential forums.

"Candidates, no matter how important or influential they perceive themselves to be, do not have and should not have the power to determine who is allowed to speak to the American public and who is not," Kucinich said in a statement released by his campaign.

Asked about Kucinich's complaint during a campaign stop in Iowa, Edwards insisted that what he said to Clinton had been misinterpreted.

Edwards said he wasn't in favor of barring any of the eight Democrats from future gatherings, but rather wanted to see them separated into two groups of four each, chosen randomly.

"The result would be that we would have a much more serious discussion and people would actually be able to see what the differences are between us," he said.

The Edwards-Clinton exchange was picked up by several broadcasters on an open microphone after an NAACP forum in Detroit on Thursday. All the Democratic contenders took part in the program, including Barack Obama, Bill Richardson, Chris Dodd, Joe Biden, Mike Gravel and Kucinich.

As the candidates exchanged greetings when the forum ended, Edwards was heard telling Clinton that by fall, "We should try to have a more serious and a smaller group."

Clinton agreed, saying the forums were "trivialized" with too many candidates crowding the stage.

Kucinich, who typically polls in the low single digits, clearly felt the slight was directed at him.

"Imperial candidates are as repugnant to the American people and to our democracy as an imperial president," Kucinich said, adding that his campaign would take steps to stop any effort to limit participation in the forums.

(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

Minor Alert

Light Blogging Over the Weekend

....And The Truth Shall Set Us Free

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Inconvenient Truths Of The Libby Saga

July 13, 2007 - 6:58am.

Let's not forget the real lesson of the Plame affair

The Scooter Libby/Valerie Plame Wilson controversy threatens to linger for months. Exhibit A is the House Judiciary Committee's hearing Wednesday on President Bush's commutation of the former vice-presidential aide's jail sentence. He was convicted of lying about his role in identifying Plame as a CIA officer.

Amid the political fisticuffs over Libby's punishment, one important issue remains overlooked: exposing CIA officers, especially in wartime, is stupid, dangerous behavior. Many of my fellow Republicans have convinced themselves that Plame was not covert, so it's no biggie that former State Department official Richard Armitage unmasked her to veteran columnist Robert Novak, who then published her identity.

"Plame was not covert," former federal prosecutor Victoria Toensing insisted in the Feb.18 Washington Post. "She worked at CIA headquarters and had not been stationed abroad within five years."

"It was a desk job," Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said of Plame's duties. He added, on CBS' "Face the Nation," "I think many people in Washington understood that her employment was at the CIA and she went to that office every day."

These arguments crumble in two key ways:

First, as a March 16 House Oversight Committee hearing demonstrated, Plame indeed served undercover. "I was a covert officer of the Central Intelligence Agency," Plame swore. "I worked in the Counterproliferation Division of the CIA, still as a covert officer whose affiliation with the CIA was classified."

Within the last five years, Plame added, "I also traveled to foreign countries on secret missions to find vital intelligence." Like generals based overseas who remain generals while occupying Pentagon posts, Plame said, "covert operations officers who are serving in the field, when they rotate back for a temporary assignment in Washington, they, too, are still covert."

Either Plame spoke the truth or she perjured herself before members of Congress, journalists, and TV cameras. If so, CIA Director Michael Hayden must have lied, too. He approved this statement to the committee: "At the time of the publication of Robert Novak's column on July 14, 2003, Wilson's CIA employment status was covert. This was classified information."

Second, so what? Even if Plame were not covert, naming her as a CIA officer was utterly reckless. Imagine a moderate Pakistani Muslim named Kamal who hates al-Qaeda and wants to cleanse his Islamabad neighborhood of a bomb-making terrorist cell. He considers calling his neighbor, Mr. Donovan, who works at the U.S. Embassy and perhaps can help foil these wicked zealots. Then, Kamal clicks on al-Jazeera and witnesses all this hullabaloo about a CIA operative, sees her picture repeatedly, and listens to endless talk-show chatter on CNN International about her blown cover. Kamal wonders if someday Donovan might get dragged into the spotlight. And what might Kamal's machete-wielding neighbors think if he were friends with an infidel spy? Kamal sighs, sips his tea, and shuts his mouth.

If Kamal stays quiet, why should overseas governments sing?

"Leaks like these undermine our ability to conduct liaison relationships with friendly foreign intelligence services because they are afraid these sorts of things will end up in the press, especially when we are at war," says Peter Brookes, a Heritage Foundation senior fellow and former intelligence officer. "This could cost American lives."

Brookes also worries that such fiascos "could turn away bright young people who might want to join the Agency but won't now because they are afraid of being exposed and finding their lives in jeopardy."

Libby's defenders correctly ask why Richard Armitage completely has skated away. The State Department functionary who outed Plame to Novak has endured no evident consequences for his at least careless and arguably unlawful loose lips. Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald deserves the silver medal for aggravated injustice, just behind disgraced Duke Lacrosse persecutor Mike Nifong, who scored the gold. Fitzgerald knew all along that Armitage was Novak's source, yet he told Armitage to hush while he maneuvered others into his cross hairs.

All of this suggests mercy toward Libby, despite the inconvenient truth that a federal jury convicted him of perjury and obstruction of justice. All told, a key lesson of this entire sordid affair should be that, especially in war, bureaucrats and journalists should clam up about the names of CIA officers.

New York commentator Deroy Murdock is a columnist and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace (at Stanford University. E-mail him at deroy.murdock(at) )

(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're All Gonna Die... or maybe just the lucky ones.

We're All Gonna Die
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Columnist

Friday 13 July 2007

We are all wired into a survival trip now.

- Hunter S. Thompson

Who can forget the incredible scandal that erupted back in May of 2002? Around about the middle of that month, details began to emerge about the August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing that specifically warned Bush about Osama bin Laden's determination to strike the United States.

Wait. Actually, everyone forgot, because two days later, the Bush administration unleashed a blizzard of dire warnings about impending terrorist attacks. FBI Director Robert Mueller intoned such attacks were "inevitable," and the Department of Homeland Security announced the imminent, explosive destruction of all American railroads, along with the Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty.

Who can forget the incredible scandal that erupted back in June of 2003? Over the course of two days, reports emerged about serious doubts held by the CIA regarding the credibility of the administration's claim Iraq tried to buy uranium from Niger. On the heels of this, Congress unfurled its 9/11 report, which criticized all levels of the Bush administration for its performance before and during the attacks.

Wait. Actually, everyone forgot, because the Bush administration unleashed another blizzard of warnings about impending terrorist attacks. Specifically, the Department of Homeland Security warned terrorists were, once again, preparing to attack the United States with suicide missions using commercial airliners as bombs.

Who can forget the incredible scandal that erupted back in December of 2003? 9/11 Commission chairman Thomas Keane declared the attacks of 9/11 should have been prevented. The next day, a Federal appeals court ruled against the administration on the case of suspected terrorist Jose Padilla, stating Padilla could not be held indefinitely without being charged.

Wait. Actually, everyone forgot, because the Bush administration increased the terrorism threat level to Orange and claimed more suicide planes were about to come zooming out of the sky. Six international flights were diverted due to potential terrorist actions of some passengers who were later identified as an insurance salesman, an elderly Chinese woman and a five-year-old boy.

Who can forget the incredible scandal that erupted back in May of 2004? Secretary of State Colin Powell appeared on Meet the Press and stated the intelligence on Iraqi WMD he'd been given for his UN presentation had been "inaccurate and wrong and, in some cases, deliberately misleading." Horrifying new pictures of the torture, rape and murder of prisoners by Americans at Abu Ghraib prison became public. The American military accidentally bombed a wedding party in Iraq, killing 40 civilians.

Wait. Actually, everyone forgot, because FBI Director Mueller and Attorney General John Ashcroft announced they had reports from multiple sources of al Qaeda's "specific intention to hit the United States hard." The threat levels were not raised, but dire warnings of impending catastrophe were offered by the administration for the next several days.

The recipe is simple, like the directions on the back of a shampoo bottle. Damaging reports of Bush administration malfeasance emerge. Warnings of imminent terrorist-borne doom immediately follow, all spread far and wide by said Bush administration. Lather, rinse, repeat.

There are many more instances of this curious timing to be found, but apparently, no one in the administration is concerned this dubious pattern - spreading fear among the populace to change the subject, an act of terrorism itself - might start to wear thin.

Who is going to forget the incredible scandals of June and July of 2007? The Bush administration leaves Nixon in the dust by commuting the prison sentence of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby. This action strongly suggests the existence of a quid pro quo between Libby and Bush's people to cover up the criminal activities of powerful officials like Vice President Dick Cheney, who had recently claimed his office wasn't part of the executive branch to avoid handing papers over to the National Archives.

The administration deploys spurious claims of Executive Privilege to avoid subpoenas regarding the patently illegal NSA wiretapping of American citizens. That privilege is extended to deny Congressional access to Harriet Miers, former White House counsel, regarding the issue of fired US attorneys. Contempt charges are threatened against Miers, and the NSA subpoena stonewall comes closer to getting openly challenged in court. Alberto Gonzales is exposed as having lied to the Senate in his testimony about FBI abuses of the Patriot Act.

Few of the benchmarks for success in Iraq are met. Desperate to halt a tide of GOP defections from his Iraq policy, Bush again coughs up the totally discredited link between 9/11 and Iraq, saying, "The same people that attacked us on September the 11th is a crowd that is now bombing people, killing innocent men, women and children." The House again votes to withdraw American troops from Iraq. A new Harris poll on Bush's approval rating is published. The number reads 26 percent.


Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff all but guarantees devastating new terror attacks against the United States this summer. He bases this warning on a "gut feeling." White House spokesman Tony Snow threatens that withdrawal from Iraq would bring terrorism "to a shopping mall near you."

Meanwhile, al Qaeda is alleged to be as secure in Pakistan and Afghanistan as they were before 9/11, yet no one in the administration connects this new security to the drain of resources happening in Iraq. Additionally, no one in the administration points out the fact that, if Chertoff's gut is indeed correct, and we are indeed attacked again, responsibility for that attack will fall upon those who manufactured war in Iraq. Never mind the fact that if an attack is allowed to happen, even a minor one, more of our constitutional rights and protections will be eviscerated by the very same people who failed to stop it again.

Will everyone forget about the scandals of June and July 2007 amid these deadly warnings of coming death?

Lather, rinse, repeat.

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

Edwards: Bush almost delusional

Edwards, not being a psychiatrist, used the words, "borders on delusional."

Bush is delusional or criminally insane. We don't have to be so polite.

Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards slammed President Bush for connecting insurgents in Iraq with the terrorists who attacked the US on Sept. 11, 2001. The former Democratic senator said that the president's remarks "border on the delusional," and accused him of ignoring his own key role in allowing al Qaeda to gain strength in Iraq.

"The president's remarks today defending his Iraq policy without regard to actual facts border on the delusional," Edwards said in a statement released Thursday, hours after a Bush press conference. "The president claimed that the same people attacking U.S. troops today are the ones who perpetrated 9/11."

Speaking to reporters in the newly opened White House briefing room, Bush defended his war strategy and continued to conflate the war in Iraq with the terror attacks that brought down the World Trade Center.

"The same folks that are bombing innocent people in Iraq were the ones who attacked us in America on September the 11th," Bush said.

Edwards said that assertion ignores recent history, and the fact that there was no relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda prior to US troops invading.

"It must be nice to live in a world where your actions have no consequences," he said. "There was no group called Al Qaeda in Iraq before the president's disastrous mismanagement of the war gave them a foothold, a fact the president flagrantly ignores."

Democrats in the Senate this week are debating a Pentagon funding bill to which they are attaching measures aimed at reducing the US presence in Iraq. Keying off an interim report issued today that shows the Iraqi government is meeting less than half is required benchmarks for political progress, war critics are saying now is the time to begin bringing troops home.

"We've been told over and over again we can't expect a military victory in Iraq; it will take a political victory for us to finally see stability," Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said at a Capitol Hill press conference Thursday. "And yet, as the benchmark assessment reports tell us, there's little evidence of political progress in Iraq today, and certainly more violence and more death."

Sen. Hillary Clinton, the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination, said Bush's report was an attempt to "put the best face on a failed strategy."

"Even the President's own portrait cannot paint over the reality on the ground: our strategy in Iraq is failing," Clinton said in a prepared statement.

Sens. Carl Levin, D-Mich., and Jack Reed, D-R.I., have introduced an amendment this week that would begin a drawdown of US forces within four months with a goal of having only a limited US presence in Iraq by April 31, 2008. That amendment has drawn support from some Republicans, including Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe, as public opinion continues to turn against President Bush's strategy in Iraq.

Tying the war in Iraq to the hunt for al Qaeda, Sen. John D. Rockefeller, who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, said invading Iraq prevented the US from "finishing them off when we had the chance in 2002 and 2003." He pinned the blame for reports of al Qaeda's increasing strength firmly on the decision to continue occupying Iraq.

“If we really want to protect our homeland and our citizens from attack, we must end our involvement in the Iraqi civil war and refocus on destroying the al Qaida organization that still wants to attack us here at home,” Rockefeller said.

President Bush indicated that he would continue his policy of vetoing any Congressional measure that attempted to establish a deadline for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq.

At a White House press conference, a reporter asked Bush if he was still "committed to vetoing" any deadlines.

"You mean in this interim period? Yeah," Bush said. "I don't think Congress ought to be running the war. I think they ought to be funding our troops."

Bush insisted that he was "interested in their opinion" and would continue to work with Congress, but Bush said he hoped an amendment that would have nearly all troops out of Iraq by the end of April does not pass the Senate.

The only way Congress will be able to end the war, Bush implied, would be to cut off funding for the military mission.

"Congress has all the right in the world to fund. That's their main involvement in this war, which is to provide funds for our troops," Bush said. "What you're asking is whether or not Congress ought to be basically determining how troops are positioned. ... I don't think that would be good for the country."

(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

More Moral Waivers For Army

...and we really want street gang members coming back here as the best trained urban fighters in the world?

More entering Army with criminal records

WASHINGTON -- Nearly 12 percent of Army recruits who entered basic training this year needed a special waiver for those with criminal records, a dramatic increase over last year and 2 1/2 times the percentage four years ago, according to new Army statistics obtained by the Globe.

With less than three months left in the fiscal year, 11.6 percent of new active-duty and Army Reserve troops in 2007 have received a so-called "moral waiver," up from 7.9 percent in fiscal year 2006, according to figures from the US Army Recruiting Command. In fiscal 2003 and 2004, soldiers granted waivers accounted for 4.6 percent of new recruits; in 2005, it was 6.2 percent.

Army officials acknowledge privately that the increase in moral waivers reflects the difficulty of signing up sufficient numbers of recruits to sustain an increasingly unpopular war in Iraq; the Army fell short of its monthly recruiting goals in May and June.

Since Oct. 1, 2006, when the fiscal year began, more than 8,000 of the roughly 69,000 recruits have been granted waivers for offenses ranging in seriousness from misdemeanors such as vandalism to felonies such as burglary and aggravated assault.

Army officials say the majority of such recruits committed relatively minor offenses and have not been in prison. They point out that waivers are granted only after a careful review of each soldier's history -- and only when the applicant has shown remorse or changed behavior.

But former military officials and defense specialists said they fear that enlisting more soldiers with criminal backgrounds will increase the risk of disciplinary problems and criminal activity among soldiers in uniform.

"Somebody who has demonstrated themselves to be guilty of misbehavior in civilian life has a good chance of behaving in the same way in the military," said John Hutson , judge advocate general of the Navy until 2000 and now dean of the Franklin Pierce Law Center at the University of New Hampshire.

Hutson said he witnessed the consequences of allowing former criminal offenders to join the ranks in the 1970s, the last time the military enlisted high numbers of soldiers with criminal histories. The numbers of recruits with criminal pasts who were allowed to join in the 1970s is not available, according to the Army. But Hutson said such soldiers often showed up in military court for committing new offenses.

"There were all kinds of what I call 'frustration offenses,' " he said, citing drug use, burglary, and violent behavior. "Some people are incapable of coping with the regimen of military life so they act out in all kinds of ways."

Moral waivers must be approved by an officer of the rank of lieutenant colonel or higher and are required when an Army applicant has been found guilty of committing four or more minor offenses such as littering or disorderly conduct -- or two to four misdemeanors such as larcency, trespassing, or vandalism.

Applicants who have committed a single felony such as arson, burglary, aggravated assault, breaking and entering, or marijuana possession must also receive a moral waiver to join. Applicants with more than one felony -- or with a single conviction for a more serious crime such as homicide, sexual violence, or drug trafficking -- are not eligible.

"In most cases we see, the charges were from a period of time when the applicant was young and immature," said a two-page statement from the Army Recruiting Command, based in Fort Knox, Ky., provided in response to queries from the Globe.

"We look at the recent history such as employment, schooling, references, and signs of remorse and changed behavior since the incident occurred as part of the waiver process," the statement said. "The Army does not rehabilitate enlistees who receive waivers; they have already overcome their mistakes."

Allowing former criminals to fight for their country "is the right thing to do for those Americans who want to answer the call of duty," the statement said.

But other Defense Department officials maintain that the rise in criminal waivers is also a direct result of the Army's struggle to meet recruiting targets.

"There is terrific pressure put on the recruiters," said Alan Gropman , a professor at the Pentagon's National Defense University. "They have to meet their mission so they request more waivers. In order to make the numbers they have to lower the standards."

Since 2003 the Pentagon has taken unprecedented steps to try to meet its recruiting goals, including lowering education standards, raising the maximum age, and steadily increasing the amount of bonuses for new volunteers. But granting more waivers for criminals, specialists said, could end up backfiring.

One former senior Defense official, who remains a consultant to the Pentagon, said there is growing concern in the ranks that members of street gangs have been joining the military and then engaging in criminal activity.

A spokesman for the Army's Criminal Investigative Division said he was not aware of any formal investigation into gang activity in the Army.

But David Isenberg , a senior analyst at the British American Security Information Council, a nonpartisan Washington think tank, said studies from past decades indicate that soldiers with criminal histories were more likely to violate military regulations.

"The worse . . . moral background you came from, the lousier job you did, not only in terms of your personal performance but in dragging down unit cohesion," said Isenberg, a Navy veteran.

Even some of the staunchest supporters of the Iraq war believe the Army is signing up too many people with criminal histories.

"The military depends on good order and discipline and we should be seeking the type of recruits most likely to fill that profile," said Elaine Donnelly , president of the Center for Military Readiness, a conservative advocacy group in Washington.

Bryan Bender can be reached at

© 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

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Edwards Wins In Climate Control Poll

If we don't solve the climate crisis, nothing else we do will be worth a jar of spit.

ABC News' Raelyn Johnson reports: MoveOn.Org, the liberal grass-roots organization, declared former senator and Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards the winner Wednesday of their unscientific, online ballot, asking members which '08 Democratic candidate has the best plan to combat global warming.

After an online presidential forum where MoveOn members were asked to watch streaming web video of the '08 Democratic candidates outlining their proposals to address global warming, the liberal advocacy group sent its 3.3-million members an email asking, "which candidate’s position on dealing with the climate crisis do you prefer?"

MoveOn.Org received about 95,000 online responses. Of those, Edwards received 33 percent of the votes cast, twice as much as the next two candidates. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio., and Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., each garnered almost 16 percent of the total votes. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., won about 15 percent of the vote.

"The enormous response we got from our members on this issue emphasizes how important it will be for our next president to make solving the climate crisis a top priority in 2008," said Eli Pariser, Executive Director of Political Action.

The unscientific vote was open to anyone who joined by providing an email address. Individual email addresses were only allowed to vote once. The ballot reflects the views of those who chose to participate rather than all MoveOn.Org members.

The grass-roots organization has not officially endorsed Edwards. However, they will begin running ads in Iowa and New Hampshire next week giving kudos to the climate change plans of three Democratic candidates who topped their climate change ballot: Edwards, Kucinich and Clinton.

Global warming was one of the first issues Edwards began talking about after announcing his candidacy last December. His energy plan calls for an 80 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2050; calls for new uses for coal; and encourages Americans to conserve energy and cut carbon emissions.

Edwards, along with other Democratic presidential candidates, is running a "carbon neutral" campaign, meaning the campaign has purchased carbon offsets for the greenhouse gas emissions created by his campaign travel, and the energy used in his campaign headquarters and field offices.

In April, MoveOn.Org announced Obama and then Edwards topped a similar ballot asking members "which candidate would be best able to lead the United States out of Iraq?"

MoveOn is planning another online presidential forum on health care for later in the year.

(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

U.S. Intel. Community Throws Cold Water On Bush Iraq Fantasy

Not that it will do one whit of good.

The man believes only what he wants to believe, and most of the Goopers in Congress are just like him; out-to-lunch, permanently.

New U.S. intelligence assessment casts doubts on Bush's Iraq policy

  • Posted on Wed, July 11, 2007

WASHINGTON — The Shiite Muslim-dominated government of Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki has made only "halting efforts" to end the power struggle fueling the war between Iraq's religious and ethnic communities, a new U.S. intelligence report said Wednesday.

Even if the bloodletting can be contained, Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish leaders will be "hard pressed" to reach lasting political reconciliation, the report stated.

The report, reflecting the consensus of all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, cast new uncertainty about the chances of success for President Bush's plan to contain the war through the deployment of an additional 28,000 U.S. troops, mostly in and around Baghdad.

The conclusions also appeared to be bleaker than a White House assessment produced by the top U.S. officials in Baghdad, which found that Iraqi politicians have made satisfactory progress on some of the 18 benchmarks set by Congress in May.

The new intelligence findings were contained in a 23-page Global Security Assessment presented to the House Armed Services Committee by Thomas Fingar, the chairman of the National Intelligence Council, the intelligence community's top analytical body.

"The struggle among and within Iraqi communities over national identity and the distribution of power has eclipsed attacks by Iraqis against (U.S.-led) Coalition Forces as the greatest impediment to Iraq's future as a peaceful, democratic and unified state," said the report by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

While there have been some "positive developments, communal violence and scant common ground between the Shias, Sunnis and Kurds continues to polarize politics," it said.

Bush, facing growing pressure to change policy from key Republican senators, many of whom face re-election next year, has blamed the worsening violence on al Qaida in Iraq, a Sunni terrorist group inspired by Osama bin Laden. But the new report repeats a January intelligence assessment that the conflict is a "self-sustaining sectarian struggle between Shia and Sunnis" for which al Qaida in Iraq attacks have served as "effective accelerants."

The report rendered judgment on two benchmarks: submission of a draft petroleum revenue-sharing law to parliament — which stalled immediately — and the formation of an independent election commission as a first step toward local elections.

But the report said Maliki's "agenda is still only at its initial stages."

Other tests of progress set by Congress include legislation allowing the return of senior members of the former ruling Baath Party to government jobs, reforming the constitution and disarming sectarian militias.

The benchmarks also call for deployment of three Iraqi army brigades in the U.S.-led Baghdad security operation, even-handed law enforcement by Shiite-dominated Iraqi security forces, an end to politicians' intervention in military operations and an increase in the number of Iraqi forces capable of operating independently.

The White House assessment, based on a report submitted earlier this week by Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, and Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Baghdad, will be somewhat more upbeat, according to two military officials who read it.

It will say that the Maliki government has made satisfactory progress on about half the benchmarks, largely those requiring it to provide resources and forces to the Baghdad security operation.

The government, however, has performed unsatisfactorily on the other half, mostly those dealing with political measures, said the two officials, who declined to elaborate. They requested anonymity because the report is confidential.

"We can only say that it's mixed at this point," White House spokesman Tony Fratto said when asked to characterize the report's overall findings.

Bush and top U.S. diplomatic and defense officials have repeatedly said that the war can be ended only through a political settlement.

A former senior military official who advises the Pentagon said there is mounting concern that hard-line Sunni and Shiite leaders, believing their side can prevail over the other in an all-out conflict, do not intend to implement the benchmarks so they can hasten a U.S. troop withdrawal.

"Both sides believe there is no point in having part of the pie if they can have the whole pie, and they are both convinced they can overwhelm their opponent," said the official, who requested anonymity to protect his relationship with the Pentagon.

Posted on Wed, July 11, 2007

McClatchy Newspapers 2007
(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

Contempt, Mrs. Miers?

Junior's biggest fan risks contempt.

For what?

Just to protect some idiotic monarchical theory like, "unitary Executive?"

I don't think so, Tim

House panel rejects Bush privilege claim


Associated Press Writer 20 minutes ago

House Democrats on Thursday took the first step toward holding former White House counsel Harriet Miers in contempt of Congress after she defied a subpoena — at President Bush's order — and skipped a hearing on the firing of U.S. attorneys.

Over the strenuous objections of Republicans, a subcommittee cleared the way for contempt proceedings by voting 7-5 to reject Bush's claim of executive privilege. He says his top advisers, whether current or former, cannot be summoned by Congress.

"Those claims are not legally valid," Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-Calif., said of Bush's declaration. "Ms. Miers is required pursuant to the subpoena to be here now."

Republicans complained that Democrats were choosing showy, televised proceedings and the threat of court action to force the testimony rather than agree to Bush's offer for private, off-the-record interviews.

In the absence of an agreement with the administration, House leaders and committee members were likely to pursue contempt proceedings against Miers but were still talking about when, according to some Democratic officials.

"We would not be discharging our responsibility today if we were to simply drop this," Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., said during the hearing.

The White House showed no sign of giving in.

"If the House Judiciary Committee wants to avoid confrontation, it should withdraw its subpoenas," said White House spokesman Tony Fratto. "The committee is rejecting accommodation because they prefer just the kind of political spectacle they're engaged in now."

Miers' testimony emerged as the battleground for a broader scuffle between the White House and Congress over the limits of executive privilege. Presidents since the nation's founding have sought to protect from the prying eyes of Congress the advice given them by advisers, while Congress has argued that it is charged by the Constitution with conducting oversight of the executive branch.

Bush's invocation of executive privilege comes during the Democrats' probe of whether the firings were really an effort by the White House to fire and replace federal prosecutors in ways that might help Republican candidates. Democrats say testimony by numerous aides that Bush was not involved in deciding whom to fire undercuts his privilege claim.

Administration officials acknowledge that the firings were botched in their execution, but they insist there was no improper motive for them. They point out that U.S. attorneys are political appointees and that the president can fire them for almost any reason.

The probe has prompted calls by Democrats and a few Republicans for the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. With Bush's support behind him, Gonzales shows no sign of stepping down.

The dispute extended to Congress' request for information on other matters, including the FBI's abuses of civil liberties under the USA Patriot Act and Bush's secretive wiretapping program.

But it is a pair of congressional subpoenas for two women who once were Bush's top aides that has moved the disagreement to the brink of legal sanctions and perhaps a court battle.

Former White House political director Sara Taylor appeared Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee and in a tentative performance sought to answer some lawmakers' questions and remain mum on others, citing Bush's claim of privilege. Senators didn't seem eager to cite her with contempt, but Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said he had not yet made that decision.

Miers, in contrast, chose to skip the House hearing Thursday, citing White House Counsel Fred Fielding's letter to her lawyer conveying Bush's order not to show up. In letters sent the night before to Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers and Sanchez, Bush and Fielding cited several legal opinions that they said indicated that the president's immediate advisers had absolute immunity from congressional subpoenas.

Incensed, Democrats held the hearing anyway. Addressing an empty chair at the witness table with a nameplate reading "Ms. Miers," Sanchez and Conyers left little doubt that contempt proceedings by the full Judiciary Committee — and later the full House — would be the next step unless Miers and the administration change their positions.

"If we do not enforce this subpoena, no one will ever have to come before the Judiciary Committee again," Conyers, D-Mich., said.

"What we've got here is an empty chair. I mean, that is as contemptuous as anybody can be of the government," said Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn. "I resent the fact that this lady is not here."

Republicans accused Democrats of proceeding in the absence of evidence of wrongdoing by Miers or any White House officials.

Rep. Chris Cannon of Utah, the ranking Republican on Sanchez' subcommittee on commercial and administrative law, warned Democrats that a contempt citation would fail evidentiary standards in court.

"You can't go to the courts essentially and say, 'We don't know what we don't know, therefore give us a subpoena so we can find out,'" Cannon said.

"There is no proof whatsoever that Harriet Miers likely holds some smoking gun with respect to the U.S. attorney situation," added Rep. Ric Keller, R-Fla.

The citation would first be debated and voted upon by the full Judiciary Committee. If approved, it then would go to the full House where it would be debated and require a majority for approval.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., would then refer the matter to the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, "whose duty it shall be to bring the matter before the grand jury for its action," according to the law. The man who holds that job is Jeff Taylor, a Bush appointee.

Legal scholars said the issue of Miers' immunity is far from clear-cut. No president has gone as far as mounting a court fight to keep his aides from testifying on Capitol Hill.


Associated Press writer Matt Apuzzo 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, July 11, 2007

Healthcare Crisis, BIG TIME!

If you get our drift...

There is no freakin' excuse for this!

Americans must demand our health care rights. No matter what it takes!

Uninsured patient billed more than $12,000 for broken rib.

Hell, he might as well shoot himself!

Friday, March 30, 2007

There are 47 million people in this country without health insurance. Richmond resident Joey Palmer is one of them.

He learned how costly this can be after fracturing a rib in a relatively minor motorcycle accident and subsequently being hit with a bill for more than $12,000 from San Francisco General Hospital.

"There's no way I could pay something like that," Palmer, 32, told me. "I'm not a bum, but I'm not making a lot of money right now. How is anyone supposed to pay a bill like that?"

Iman Nazeeri-Simmons, director of administrative operations at San Francisco General, said she sympathizes with Palmer's situation.

"It's not us," she said. "It's the whole system, and the system is broken. We need to look closely at making changes and at how we can deliver care in a rational way."

Palmer's story illustrates the broader problem of runaway health care costs in the United States and a system that leaves millions of Americans to fend for themselves.

It also underlines the importance of universal coverage that guarantees affordable health care to anyone, anywhere -- a goal that's become a central issue in California and in the current presidential campaign.

"We are the only developed country that doesn't cover all its people," said Stan Dorn, a senior research associate at the nonpartisan Urban Institute. "We also spend a lot more than the rest of the developed world."

The United States spent an average of $6,102 per person on health care in 2004 (the latest year for which figures are available), according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Canada spent $3,165 per person, France $3,159, Australia $3,120 and Britain a mere $2,508. At the same time, life expectancy in the United States was lower than in each of these other countries and infant mortality was higher.

But those are just statistics. When you talk about America's health care crisis, you're really talking about people. And Palmer's experience speaks volumes.

He was riding his motorcycle through San Francisco's Presidio on Sept. 19. It was late afternoon. Palmer was heading toward the Golden Gate Bridge and then home to Richmond.

Suddenly his brakes locked, sending the motorcycle into a slide. Palmer slammed into a guardrail. He was pretty shaken up, but he could tell he wasn't badly hurt.

A passer-by saw the accident and called for help. An ambulance arrived within minutes.

Palmer said he told the paramedics that his ribs felt banged up, possibly broken, but that he was basically OK. He said he preferred to be treated in Contra Costa County, where he lives and would probably qualify for reduced hospital rates because of his income level.

Palmer is a woodworker who specializes in the decorative touches on wealthy people's yachts. He said he made only about $7,500 last year, getting by primarily with the assistance of relatives.

Palmer said the paramedics were concerned that he may have sustained internal injuries and insisted that he be treated immediately at a hospital. So he was driven by ambulance to San Francisco General, the only trauma center in the city.

Palmer got lucky here. The ambulance was from the Presidio Fire Department, which is run by the federal government and doesn't charge for ambulance service. Had the trip been made by a private ambulance company, it likely would have cost Palmer between $700 and $1,000.

On the other hand, what Palmer didn't know is that as soon as the paramedics radioed ahead to say they were bringing in an accident victim, San Francisco General, as per the hospital's procedures, issued a trauma alert to its staff.

Basically, that means a page was sent to doctors and anesthesiologists on call at the time. That page alone cost Palmer $4,659, and he hadn't even set foot yet inside the hospital.

The actual hospital experience was, to put it mildly, a nightmare. After blood was drawn for a variety of tests (the cheapest of which cost $44 and the priciest $107), some X-rays were taken ($423).

Then, Palmer said, he was left in a room ($2,070) with a junkie "who was having a real bad trip." He asked to be moved elsewhere but was told no other rooms were available. So Palmer ended up on a gurney in the hallway.

And he waited there for five hours.

Palmer's bill indicates that he was twice given Vicodin ($22) to ease his pain during this interval, but he insists he took no medication.

"I finally saw someone and asked if I could check myself out," he said. "The guy said they were still waiting for the results of my CT scans. I said that I hadn't had any CT scans. It turns out they forgot to put me on the list."

So Palmer was put on the list for CT scans. And he waited another hour.

At last the CT scans were taken ($3,334) and then another round of X-rays because, Palmer said, the first batch apparently hadn't been done correctly.

"Finally a doctor came to me -- it's now almost 2 in the morning -- and said, yes, I had a fractured rib and some bruised muscles," Palmer recalled. "That was that. End of conversation."

Shortly afterward, he said, a clerical staffer approached with discharge papers for Palmer to sign.

"She asked how I intended to pay for everything," Palmer said. "I told her I didn't have any insurance. She looked at me and then asked if there was anyone I could sue."

Several weeks later, he received a bill for $11,082 in hospital charges and a separate bill for $922 in doctors' fees.

Palmer's hospital visit was expensive and time consuming, but it wasn't unique. Many people could cite similar (and similarly costly) experiences in receiving "emergency" medical care at U.S. facilities.

"We view health care as a chance to make as much money as you can," said Dorn at the Urban Institute. "The goal of health care should be improving people's health."

San Francisco General's Nazeeri-Simmons was unable to comment on Palmer's lengthy hospital stay because she didn't have access to his medical records. But with Palmer's permission, she was able to examine his billing file.

"These charges are comparable to the entire health care market," Nazeeri-Simmons said. "They aren't out of line with what other hospitals are charging. They're actually lower."

Not always. Trauma activation charges, for example, typically range from about $2,000 at some Bay Area hospitals to $7,000. At Marin General Hospital, the charge can run as high as $12,636.

Nazeeri-Simmons said a sliding scale is offered for low-income San Francisco residents. But Palmer, as a resident of Contra Costa County, wasn't eligible for the program.

"If you were uninsured and making less than $10,000, you would pay nothing," Nazeeri-Simmons said. "But that's only if you live in the City and County of San Francisco."

After receiving his bill, Palmer complained to the hospital about how much he was being charged. Nazeeri-Simmons acknowledged that a second look was given to the bill at Palmer's request "and we decided to eliminate the trauma activation charge."

That reduced the amount due by $4,659. But Palmer still owes more than $7,000 for an eight-hour hospital visit that involved, by his estimate, only about 15 minutes of actual care.

"It's unfortunate that he's in the situation he's in," Nazeeri-Simmons said. "But what is an individual hospital to do? Are we supposed to eat the costs?"

She said a government-run program similar to systems in place in all other developed democracies would almost certainly keep costs in check while ensuring that everyone has access to treatment (without being impoverished in the process).

"Universal coverage would mean that a Joey Palmer doesn't get left out in the cold just because he was in the wrong county," Nazeeri-Simmons said.

For his part, Palmer said he'll try to pay off his hospital bill as best he can. And then, if he can swing it, he'll leave the country. He's thinking seriously about moving to France.

"If you get sick over there," Palmer mused, "you can go to any hospital and it won't cost a fortune."

He said that with a tone of quiet disbelief.

David Lazarus' column appears Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. He also can be heard Saturdays, 4 to 7 p.m., on KGO Radio. Send tips or feedback to

This article appeared on page C - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle

(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

Hold Her In Contempt of Congress!

Miers’ Attorney Says She Will Not Attend Hearing

July 11th, 2007 by Jesse Lee

Today, attorney George T. Manning, representing former White House Counsel Harriet Miers, rescinded his prior confirmation that Ms. Miers would attend the House Judiciary Committee’s hearing on Thursday in response to a subpoena and would assert executive privilege to certain questions posed by the Committee, as directed by the President.

Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers and Subcommittee Chairwoman Linda Sánchez responded to Mr. Manning today:

July 11, 2007


Mr. George Manning
Jones Day
1420 Peachtree St., NE, Suite 800
Atlanta, GA 30309-3053

Dear Mr. Manning:

We write in response to your letter dated July 10, which was not faxed to us until 7:15 pm last night. We are disappointed and very concerned by your statement that, based upon a July 10 letter to you from White House Counsel Fred Fielding, your client Harriet Miers intends to disregard the subpoena that was duly issued to her by the Committee on the Judiciary, and refuse even to appear at tomorrow’s hearing of the Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law. A congressional subpoena, such as the one issued to Ms. Miers, carries with it two obligations: the obligation to appear, and the obligation to testify and/or produce documents. Even if a witness intends to assert privilege in response to a subpoena, that intention to assert privilege does not obviate the obligation to appear.

We are aware of absolutely no court decision that supports the notion that a former White House official has the option of refusing to even appear in response to a Congressional subpoena. To the contrary, the courts have made clear that no present or former government official – even the President – is above the law and may completely disregard a legal directive such as the Committee’s subpoena. In fact, both present and former White House officials have testified before Congress numerous times, including both then-serving and former White House counsel. For example, former White House Counsel Beth Nolan explained to our Subcommittee that she testified before Congressional committees four times, three times while serving as White House counsel and once as former White House counsel. A Congressional Research Service study documents some 74 instances where serving White House advisers have testified before

Congress since World War II.1 Moreover, even the 1999 OLC opinion referred to in Mr. Fielding’s July 10 letter refers only to current White House advisers and not to former advisers and acknowledges that the courts might not agree with its conclusion. Such Justice Department opinions are not law, state only the Executive Branch’s view of the law, and have no legal force whatsoever. We note finally that another former White House adviser subpoenaed by the Senate Judiciary Committee in the U.S. Attorney matter, Sara Taylor, appeared today pursuant to Congressional subpoena and testified about many of the relevant facts while also declining to testify about other relevant facts based on the assertion of executive privilege.

A refusal to appear before the Subcommittee tomorrow could subject Ms. Miers to contempt proceedings, including but not limited to proceedings under 2 U.S.C. § 194 and under the inherent contempt authority of the House of Representatives.

We are prepared at the hearing tomorrow to consider and rule on any specific assertions of privilege in response to specific questions. We strongly urge you to reconsider, and to advise your client to appear before the Subcommittee tomorrow pursuant to her legal obligations. The Subcommittee will convene as scheduled and expects Ms. Miers to appear as required by her subpoena.


John Conyers, Jr.


Linda T. Sánchez

Chairwoman, Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law

cc: The Honorable Lamar S. Smith

The Honorable Chris Cannon

Judiciary Committee release in extended entry:

Miers’ Attorney Says She Will Not Attend Hearing Judiciary Panel to Consider Privilege Claims Tomorrow

( Washington, DC)- Today, an attorney for former White House Counsel Harriet Miers rescinded his prior confirmation that Ms. Miers would attend the House Judiciary Committee’s hearing on Thursday in response to a subpoena and would assert executive privilege to certain questions posed by the Committee, as directed by the President.

In a July 10 letter addressed to Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. and Subcommittee Chairwoman Linda Sánchez, attorney George T. Manning said the decision was based on a letter from current White House Counsel Fred Fielding further directing Miers not to even appear at the hearing.

“I am extremely disappointed in the White House’s direction to Ms. Miers that she not even show up to assert the privilege before the Committee,” Conyers said. “We understand that the White House has asserted privilege over both her testimony and documents, and we are prepared to consider those claims at tomorrow’s hearing.”

“It is disappointing that Ms. Miers has chosen to forego this opportunity to give her account of the potential politicization of the justice system,” Sánchez added. “Our investigation has shown – through extensive interviews and review of documents – that Ms. Miers played a central role in the Bush Administration’s decision to fire chief federal prosecutors.

“The White House had previously offered to allow Ms. Miers to talk with our Committee – without an oath or transcription – so I presume that her testimony is not a grave threat to the health of the executive branch. I am hopeful that Ms. Miers will reconsider the White House’s questionable assertion of executive privilege and give her testimony on the firing of U.S. Attorneys.”

The Committee also notes that today Sara Taylor, the former White House Political Director, appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Although Ms. Taylor declined to answer certain questions based on the President’s assertion of executive privilege, she answered many other questions substantively. Most importantly, Ms. Taylor did not attempt to simply ignore her subpoena and not even appear at the hearing, and her appearance before the Senate Committee permitted full consideration of the President’s assertion of privilege.

Ms. Miers is scheduled to appear before the Judiciary Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law tomorrow, July 12, at 10 a.m. in 2141 Rayburn House Office Building. The Subcommittee will meet as scheduled.

“As a former public official and officer of the court, Ms. Miers should be especially aware of the need to respect legal process, and we expect her to appear before the Committee tomorrow as scheduled,” Conyers said.

(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

Boxer Calls For Impeachment

Rave on, Barbara!

A Senator Speaks Up

Congress | Impeachment

Barbara Boxer: "Impeachment should be on the table" - Ed Schultz Show 7/11/07

She was the only Senator who cared to examine the credibility of the election results in Ohio.

She is the only Senator willing to stand with 54 percent of Americans for the rule of law now.

What would we do without Barbara Boxer?

Please call her at 202-224-3553 and thank her, and ask her to please speak with Nancy Pelosi.

Email Sen. Boxer here.

(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

Chertoff gets grief over "gut remarks"

Before we condemn this man, whom I do not trust any further than I can throw him, we might want to consider that even bad people can sometimes try to do good.

Is he trying to warn us of a black ops attack; another false flag op?

There are some people who are awfully desperate, and we aren't taking about the very dead Osama.

U.S. security czar under fire for 'gut feeling' comment

Sheldon Alberts, CanWest News Service

Published: Wednesday, July 11, 2007

WASHINGTON -- Americans have spent almost six years now trying to figure out the Bush administration's colour-coded terrorist threat system.

Now they have another terror warning to puzzle over -- Michael Chertoff's "gut feeling."

The U.S. secretary for homeland security came under sharp criticism Wednesday after saying he had a hunch America would be the target of a major al-Qaeda attack this summer.

Remarks to the Chicago Tribune's editorial board, Chertoff said his assessment was based on past summertime terror plots, increased al-Qaeda training activities in south Asia, and a recent spike in public statements by Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden's second-in-command.

"All of these things have given me a gut feeling that we are in a period of vulnerability," Chertoff said. "Not that I have a specific threat that I have right now but ... I want to be somewhat more vigilant."

President George W. Bush quickly distanced himself from Chertoff's remarks, with spokesman Tony Fratto saying "there continues to be no credible, specific intelligence to suggest that there is an imminent threat to the homeland."

The Associated Press reported Wednesday that the U.S. government has concluded al-Qaeda has rebuilt its operating strength to levels similar to those in 2001. Citing a new confidential threat assessment, the news service said the terrorist organization had regained capabilities despite American efforts to cripple it.

Counter-terrorism experts were baffled that Chertoff would be so flippant and unspecific with remarks about terrorist threats, in the wake of last month's botched bombing attacks in London.

Bruce Hoffman, a professor in security studies at Washington's Georgetown University, called Chertoff's remarks highly irresponsible because they provide Americans with no context to evaluate the seriousness of the threat.

"One would hope that six years after 9/11 -- and the creation of a new agency devoted to homeland security -- that the department's secretary would be able to provide something more empirical than just a gut feeling there may be an attack," Hoffman said. "We should be beyond gut feelings, and be capable of getting actual hard intelligence, if it exists."

Chertoff's comment "introduces more uncertainty than sound judgment and analysis" because it gives no information to local police forces or first responders about specific protective measures that should be taken, Hoffman added.

Representative Bennie Thompson, chairman of the House of Representatives homeland security committee, asked Chertoff to "clarify" his remarks and convene a classified meeting with congressional leaders to review intelligence.

"What colour code in the Homeland Security Advisory System is associated with a gut feeling?'" Thompson wrote in a letter to Chertoff. "What sectors should be on alert as a result of your gut feeling?' What cities should be asking their law enforcement to work double shifts because of your gut feeling?' Are the American people supposed to purchase duct tape and plastic sheeting because of your gut feeling?'"

After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the U.S. implemented a five-level colour-coded terror threat system, with green indicating the lowest risk and red representing a severe risk of attack. The government has not changed the nation's threat level - currently ranked as elevated, or yellow -- in the wake of Chertoff's comments. The threat also remains high, or orange, for domestic and international flights.

Experts are also puzzled by Chertoff's comment that "summertime seems to be appealing" for al-Qaeda plotters.

While the 9/11 attacks occurred in late summer and the London subway bombings in July, 2005, Hoffman said there is ample evidence that the threat from al-Qaida is a year-round phenomenon. He cited as evidence the Madrid bombings in March, 2004, and the Bali bombing in October, 2002.

"In my view, the way we have to be thinking is that this is a threat 12 months out of the year, not just the summer holidays," Hoffman said.

In the same remarks, Chertoff also rekindled American concerns about terrorists sneaking into the U.S. across the border from Canada. Echoing similar remarks he has made in the past, Chertoff said Bush administration plans to require passports or another secure travel document at the Canada-U.S. land border are vital to preventing the threat.

"All this seems reasonable, but all I have heard in the last six months are complaints about this," Chertoff said. "I have heard complaints about people from the northern border who say it is going to make it less convenient and that it is going to affect our business.

"I say, Well, what do think is going to happen to your business when a guy comes across the border with a phony document and blows up a target in Buffalo or in Detroit?'"

He added: "Do you think the American public is going to then allow the border to remain open or are they going to suddenly clamp down?"

Despite his concerns about security at the northern border, Chertoff's department was recently forced to push back the implementation of the passport requirement at least until mid-2008 because the State Department has been unable to meet the U.S. demand for passports.

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....And The Truth Shall Set Us Free