Friday, May 26, 2006
NewsTrack U.S. residents don't trust leaders UTICA, N.Y., May 25 (UPI) -- A Zogby Interactive poll finds that U.S. voters are more distrustful than ever of political and corporate leaders. Only 3 percent believe Congress is trustworthy; 7 percent think business leaders are; 24 percent say President George W. Bush can be trusted; and 29 percent trust the courts. The poll was commissioned by Jim Lichtman, an ethics specialist whose latest book is "What Do You Stand For?" Three out of four respondents said they trust politicians less than they did five years ago. Seventy-five percent of those polled said their friends, neighbors and co-workers are trustworthy, and an overwhelming majority -- 97 percent -- described themselves as trustworthy.
Michelle Malkin: media dumbest super whore by Space Cowboy I first came across the right latest media slut during her appearance on the HBO late night political show "Real Time with Bill Mahar" and she was talking about detaining middle eastern looking people in camps because that's her way of limiting terrorist from coming into the country. Funny coming from a person if she was around during World War II her and her family would be locked up in camps along with many Japanese and Asian Americans at that time, if you've been lucky not to catch Malkin I break down who is Michelle Malkin she's the Asian version of Ann Coulter but dumber. To show you how dumb Malkin is on Hardball Malkin claim John Kerry hurt himself to get out of Nam and which able him to get his medals which Matthews nut up on her and made her defend her statement which she took back and left the show with her tail duck between her little legs. Malkin is just another right-wing fembots dolly up with make up, talking points and the guts to say things even the dumb male right wingers wouldn't have the guts to do. Now there's one thing I agree with her on if we're going to go after people because of their religious make up well Michelle you and your family should enrolled in the camps for Muslims after all the largest Muslim population look like you Malkin Indonesia has the largest population of Muslim and from what I recall people from Indonesia don't have brown skin and wool like black hair. In closing folks Michelle Malkin is another more than a right wing media slut who should go back to her day job of doing Asian porn or running Beauty supply store.
CIA LEAK INVESTIGATION Rove-Novak Call Was Concern To Leak Investigators By Murray Waas, National Journal© National Journal Group Inc.Thursday, May 25, 2006 On September 29, 2003, three days after it became known that the CIA had asked the Justice Department to investigate who leaked the name of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame, columnist Robert Novak telephoned White House senior adviser Karl Rove to assure Rove that he would protect him from being harmed by the investigation, according to people with firsthand knowledge of the federal grand jury testimony of both men. In the early days of the CIA leak probe, then-Attorney General John Ashcroft was briefed on a crucial conversation between Robert Novak and Karl Rove. Suspicious that Rove and Novak might have devised a cover story during that conversation to protect Rove, federal investigators briefed then-Attorney General John Ashcroft on the matter in the early stages of the investigation in fall 2003, according to officials with direct knowledge of those briefings. Ashcroft oversaw the CIA-Plame leak probe for three months until he recused himself and allowed Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald to be named to take over the investigation on December 30, 2003. Ashcroft received routine briefings about the status of the investigation from October to December of that year. Sources said that Ashcroft received a special briefing on the highly sensitive issue of the September 29 conversation between Novak and Rove because of the concerns of federal investigators that a well-known journalist might have been involved in an effort to not only protect a source but also work in tandem with the president's chief political adviser to stymie the FBI. Rove testified to the grand jury that during his telephone call with Novak, the columnist said words to the effect: "You are not going to get burned" and "I don't give up my sources," according to people familiar with his testimony. Rove had been one of the "two senior administration" officials who had been sources for the July 14, 2003, column in which Novak outed Plame as an "agency operative." Rove and Novak had talked about Plame on July 9, five days before Novak's column was published. Rove also told the grand jury, according to sources, that in the September 29 conversation, Novak referred to a 1992 incident in which Rove had been fired from the Texas arm of President George H.W. Bush's re-election effort; Rove lost his job because the Bush campaign believed that he had been the source for a Novak column that criticized the campaign's internal workings. Rove told the grand jury that during the September 29 call, Novak said he would make sure that nothing similar would happen to Rove in the CIA-Plame leak probe. Rove has testified that he recalled Novak saying something like, "I'm not going to let that happen to you again," according to those familiar with the testimony. Rove told the grand jury that the inference he took away from the conversation was that Novak would say that Rove was not a source of information for the column about Plame. Rove further testified that he believed he might not have been the source because when Novak mentioned to Rove that Plame worked for the CIA, Rove simply responded that he had heard the same information. Asked during his grand jury appearance his reaction to the telephone call, Rove characterized it as a "curious conversation" and didn't know what to make of it, according to people familiar with his testimony. James Hamilton, an attorney for Novak, said he could not comment on the ongoing CIA leak probe. Ashcroft, now in private practice, did not respond through a spokesperson to inquiries for this article. A spokesman for Fitzgerald said that the special prosecutor's office would not comment on the matter. A spokesman for Rove, Mark Corallo, said, "Karl Rove has never urged anyone directly or indirectly to withhold information from the special counsel or testify falsely." Rove, according to attorneys involved in the case, volunteered the information about the September 29 call during his initial interview with FBI agents in the fall of 2003. Neither Rove nor Novak has been charged in the leak case, and legal sources say that Fitzgerald faces an especially high legal hurdle in bringing charges involving a private conversation between two people. Investigators' ConcernsForemost among the reasons that federal investigators harbored suspicions about the September 29 conversation was its timing. Three days earlier, NBC broke the news that the CIA had asked the Justice Department to launch a probe into the leaking of Plame's identity. During the noon news briefing at the White House on September 29, various reporters asked spokesman Scott McClellan repeatedly whether Justice was indeed investigating the Plame leak. "If someone leaked classified information of the nature that has been reported, absolutely, the president would want it to be looked into," McClellan responded. "And the Justice Department would be the appropriate agency to do so." In fact, Justice was already preparing to announce such a criminal probe, and the department made the formal announcement the following day, September 30. Stanley Brand, a Washington lawyer who has represented numerous clients in several special-prosecutor investigations, said in an interview: "It is the better part of wisdom and standing instruction that witnesses to an investigation do not talk to other witnesses about the case when the case is still pending. It raises the inference that they are comparing each other's recollections and altering or shaping each other's testimony." Brand has advised his clients not to talk to other witnesses in federal criminal investigations, he said, because there is a "thin line between refreshing each other's recollections ... and suborning someone to lie under oath." Mark Feldstein, the director of journalism programs at George Washington University, said that Novak apparently acted outside traditional journalistic standards by reaching out to Rove after he believed that a criminal investigation had commenced: "A journalist's natural instinct is to protect his source. Were there no criminal investigation, it would have been more than appropriate for a reporter to say to a source, 'Don't worry, I'm not going to out you.' But if there is a criminal investigation under way, you can't escape the inference that you are calling to coordinate your stories. You go very quickly from being a stand-up reporter to impairing a criminal investigation." A second reason that federal investigators were suspicious, sources said, is that they believed that after the September 29 call, Novak shifted his account of his July 9, 2003, conversation with Rove to show that administration officials had a passive role in leaking Plame's identity. On July 22, 2003 -- eight days after the publication of Novak's column on Plame -- Newsday reporters Timothy Phelps and Knut Royce quoted Novak as telling them in an interview that it was White House officials who encouraged him to write about Plame. "I didn't dig it out, it was given to me," Newsday quoted Novak as saying about Plame. "They thought it was significant. They gave me the name, and I used it." If Novak's interview with Phelps and Royce was accurate, sources said, it suggests that Rove was actively involved in trying to expose Plame's CIA job. Novak did not speak publicly on the matter again until September 29 -- later on the same day as his conversation with Rove in which he assured the president's chief political aide that he would protect him in the forthcoming Justice Department investigation. What Novak said publicly was different from the earlier account in Newsday: "I have been beleaguered by television networks around the world, but I am reserving my say for Crossfire," Novak said on his own CNN program, which is no longer on the air. "Nobody in the Bush administration called me to leak this. In July, I was interviewing a senior administration official on Ambassador [Joseph C.] Wilson's report [on his Niger trip], when [the official] told me the trip was inspired by his wife, a CIA employee working on weapons of mass destruction. Another senior official told me the same thing. "As a professional journalist with 46 years' experience in Washington, I do not reveal confidential sources. When I called the CIA in July, they confirmed Mrs. Wilson's involvement in a mission for her husband on a secondary basis, who is -- he is a former Clinton administration official. They asked me not to use her name, but never indicated it would endanger her or anybody else." In explaining the discrepancy between what he told Newsday a week after he outed Plame and everything he said later regarding Plame, Novak has said that Phelps "badly misquoted" him. Phelps, who is Newsday's Washington bureau chief, denied that, saying he took accurate notes of his interview with Novak and reported exactly what Novak told him. Novak's quotes in Newsday -- that administration officials had encouraged him to write that Plame worked for the CIA, and that she played some role in sending her husband, Wilson, to Niger to investigate claims that Iraq had tried to buy uranium from the African country -- were consistent with the later accounts of the other journalists who had spoken to White House officials for their stories on Plame. Those reporters included Judith Miller of The New York Times and Matthew Cooper of Time magazine. Government witnesses who have testified in Fitzgerald's investigation have consistently told that story, too, sources said. Novak's disclosure of Plame's covert CIA job was part of a broader White House effort to discredit Wilson, who had alleged that the Bush administration had misrepresented intelligence information to make the case to go to war with Iraq. To blunt Wilson's criticism, Rove; I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the then-chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney; and at least one other senior administration official mounted an intensive effort alleging, among other things, that Wilson's CIA-sponsored mission to Niger amounted to nepotism. Rove, Libby, and at least a third administration official told Novak, Cooper, Miller, and Walter Pincus of The Washington Post about Plame's CIA job. Rove has said he discussed Plame with Novak and Cooper. A third reason that investigators are said to be concerned about a possible cover story was the grand jury testimony of both Novak and Rove about their July 9, 2003, conversation. On that day, Novak was still reporting for his July 14 column. Novak and Rove have testified that it was Novak, not Rove, who raised the subject of Plame's CIA job and Wilson's trip to Niger, according to people familiar with the testimony of both men. Rove has testified that he simply told the columnist that he had heard much the same information about Plame, which perhaps was nothing more than an unsubstantiated rumor. Novak's account of the July 9 call matched Rove's. Investigators were suspicious that, if this version was true, the columnist would have relied on Rove as one of his two sources to out Plame as an "agency operative." Ashcroft was advised during the briefing that investigators had strong reservations about the veracity of the Novak and Rove accounts of the July 9 conversation. If Rove had simply said that he heard the same information that Novak did, investigators wondered why Novak would have relied on such an offhand comment as the basis for writing the column. Investigators also wondered why Novak had not at least asked Rove about what else he knew about Plame, sources said. Geneva Overholser, a journalism professor at the University of Missouri, questioned the propriety of Novak's using Rove as a source on the Plame story if, in fact, Rove had passed along only unsubstantiated gossip. "It's very hard for me to believe that any journalist would write a story of such importance based on someone making an offhand comment that 'I heard that too,'" Overholser, who is a former chair of the Pulitzer Prize board and a former editor of The Des Moines Register, said in an interview. "A comment like that could mean that it's just the gossip going around. That means something very different than an affirmation to go with a story. If that was the basis for Novak's story, it was the slimmest of reeds." Weighing the FactsRove and Novak, investigators suspect, might have devised a cover story to protect Rove because the grand jury testimony of both men appears to support Rove's contentions about how he learned about Plame. Rove has testified that he did not learn that Plame was a CIA operative from classified information, that he was not part of a campaign with Libby or other White House officials to discredit Wilson or out Plame, and that any information that he provided Novak and Cooper about Plame's CIA job was only unsubstantiated gossip. According to sources, Rove told the FBI and testified to the federal grand jury that he first heard that Plame worked for the CIA from a person whose name he could not remember. That person, he said, might have been a journalist, although he was not certain. Rove has also said that he could not recall whether the conversation took place in person or over the telephone. Rove has testified that he heard more about Plame from Novak, who had originally called him on July 9 about an entirely different matter. It was only at the end of their conversation that Rove heard that Plame worked for the CIA and had some role in sending her husband on his CIA-sponsored trip to Niger, Rove has testified. Having been told this information by Novak, Rove told the FBI, he simply said he had heard the same thing. Rove told the FBI that on July 11, 2003, two days after his conversation with Novak, he spoke privately with Libby at the end of a White House senior staff meeting. According to Rove's account, he told Libby of his conversation with Novak, whereupon Libby told him that he, too, had heard the same information from journalists who were writing about the Niger controversy. Rove has testified that based on his conversation with the first person he had spoken to (whom he cannot identify), what Novak told him, and what Libby said, he had come to believe that Plame might have worked for the CIA. The grand jury indicted Libby in the CIA leak case last October on five counts of making false statements, perjury, and obstruction of justice for attempting to conceal his own role in leaking information about Plame to the media. Central to those charges are allegations by Fitzgerald that Libby first learned that Plame worked for the CIA from Vice President Cheney and other government officials, not journalists. On July 11, 2003, the same day Rove says he spoke to Libby, Rove told Time magazine's Cooper that Plame worked for the CIA. Although Rove has said he has little recollection of his conversation with Cooper, he has testified that similar to his conversation with Novak, he passed along to Cooper the same rumors about Plame he had originally heard from journalists. Fitzgerald is still investigating Rove for possible perjury and obstruction of justice for Rove's failure to disclose in his initial FBI interview and his initial grand jury testimony that he had provided information about Plame to Cooper. Rove has said that his failure to disclose his conversation with Cooper was because of a faulty memory. As Fitzgerald considers whether to bring charges against Rove, central to any final determination will be whether Rove's omissions were purposeful. Dan Richman, a law school professor at Fordham University and a former federal prosecutor for the Southern District of New York, says that perjury and obstruction cases are difficult to bring. "In many instances, you almost have to literally take the jury inside a defendant's head to demonstrate their intent," he said. As of now, it appears unlikely that Fitzgerald will bring charges related to the September 29 conversation, according to Richman and other legal experts. Even if the prosecutor and his investigative team conclude that Rove and Novak did indeed devise a cover story to protect Rove, it is simply too difficult to prove what happened in a private conversation between two people. A longtime friend of Rove, who doesn't have firsthand knowledge of the CIA leak case but who knows both Rove and Novak well, doubts that Fitzgerald could get a conviction -- "as long as neither [Novak nor Rove] breaks, and there is no reason for them to, no matter how much evidence there is. These are two people who go way back, and they are going to look out for each other." Richman says that a grand jury could consider circumstantial evidence in weighing whether to bring charges, so long as there is also other substantial evidence, and that the prosecutor can present that evidence at trial. "It's possible that prosecutors would view their [September 29] conversation as the beginning of a conspiracy to obstruct justice, given that they had reason to believe that an investigation would soon be under way," says Richman. "It's even more likely that this conversation would help prosecutors shed light on Rove's motivations and intent when he later spoke to investigators."
Mary Cheney: Chip Off the Old Blockby Steve Young May 18, 2006—HOLLYWOOD (apj.us)—Wednesday afternoon, on CNN's Situation Room, Wolf Blitzer asked Mary Cheney if President Bush or her father, Vice President Dick Cheney, have made any mistakes in dealing with Iraq. Her answer? "I think that they have handled Iraq exactly right." Taken aback, Blitzer want to make sure he had heard right. "No mistakes?" Mary was nonplused. "No mistakes." Wolf tried again. "2000 dead soldiers. $300 billion dollars." Still, Mary thought Dad and W had been perfecto. Couldn't have done better. She reminded Wolf that millions could vote and a new government was in place. She reminded me that she certainly had the talking points down. What amazed Mary is that the people against the war, like John Kerry (she referenced him in 2004), have no ideas for dealing with Iraq. Guess the John Murtha tape--along with plummeting polls--haven't gotten to Mary yet. Old chestnuts never die, it seems; they just get recycled by this administration as less and less Americans swallow them. That this woman finds a problem with John Kerry using her sexuality to make a political point, yet is just swell with her father and his boss(?) losing over 2400 US soldiers (and counting) and 100,000 Iraqis (along with the multi-fold family/friend emotional devastations) while presiding over our ever-exploding war debt, is some perplexing caution. The Cheney bloodline, which includes a Vice President bent on sending young men into harm's way yet fought tooth and nail not to serve his country during wartime, may be coming to an end (after a 14-year-long relationship, Mary and her partner have yet to discuss children). Now that is what I call exactly right. Steve Young is a Senior Fellow at the Extreme Far Centrist Foundation' Political Husbandry Conservation Centre and Stereo Repair. In his spare time, he is also an author, comedy writer, columnist, LA talk show host and author of "Great Failures of the Extremely Successful."(What? You STILL haven't bought it? Then visit http://www.greatfailure.com/). You can also check out the satirical side of Steve every Sunday in the LA Daily News.
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Liberty Over Safety By Robert ParryMay 19, 2006 Until now, every generation of Americans has traded safety for liberty. From the Lexington Green to the Normandy beaches, from the Sons of Liberty to the Freedom Riders, it has been part of the American narrative that risks are taken to expand freedom, not freedoms sacrificed to avoid risk. The Founders challenged the most powerful military on earth, the British army, all the while knowing that defeat would send them to the gallows. The American colonists spurned their relative comfort as British subjects for a chance to be citizens of a Republic dedicated to the vision that some rights are “unalienable” and that no man should be king. Since then, despite some ups and downs, the course of the American nation has been to advance those ideals and broaden those freedoms. In the early years of the Republic, African-American slaves resisted their bondage, often aided by white Abolitionists who defied unjust laws on runaways and pressed the government to restrict slave states and ultimately to eliminate slavery. With the Civil War and Abraham Lincoln’s emancipation of the slaves, the United States underwent a painful rebirth that reaffirmed the nation’s original commitment to the principle that “all men are created equal.” Again, the cause of freedom trumped safety, a choice for which Lincoln and thousands of brave soldiers gave their lives. In the latter half of the Nineteenth Century and into the Twentieth, the Suffragettes demanded and fought for extension of basic American rights to female citizens. These women risked their reputations and their personal security to gain the right to vote and other legal guarantees for women. When fascist totalitarianism threatened the world in the 1930s and 1940s, American soldiers turned back the tide of repression in Europe and Asia, laying down their lives by the tens of thousands in countless battlefields from Normandy to Iwo Jima. The march of freedom continued in the United States in the 1950s and 1960s, as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights fighters – both black and white – risked and sometimes lost their lives to tear down the walls of racial segregation. For two centuries, this expansion of freedom always came with dangers and sacrifices. Yet, the trade-off was always the same: safety for liberty. Reversed March Only in this generation – only on our watch – has the march reversed. Instead of swapping safety for liberty, this generation – traumatized by the 9/11 attacks and under the leadership of George W. Bush – has chosen to trade liberties for safety. Instead of Patrick Henry’s stirring Revolutionary War cry of “give me liberty or give me death,” this era has Sen. Pat Roberts’s instant-classic expression of self over nation. “You have no civil liberties if you are dead,” the Kansas Republican explained on May 18 before the Senate Intelligence Committee, which he chairs. Roberts’s dictum echoed through the mainstream media where it was embraced as a pithy expression of homespun common sense. But the commentators missed how Roberts’s preference for life over liberty was the antithesis of Henry’s option of liberty or death. Roberts’s statement also represented a betrayal of two centuries of bravery by American patriots who gave their own lives so others could be free. After all, it would follow logically that if “you have no civil liberties if you are dead,” then all those Americans who died for liberty were basically fools. Roberts’s adage reflects a self-centeredness, which would shame the millions of Americans who came before, putting principle and the interests of “posterity” ahead of themselves. If Roberts is right, the Minutemen who died at Lexington Green and at Bunker Hill had no liberty; the African-Americans who enlisted in the Union Army and died in Civil War battles had no liberty; the GIs who died on the Normandy beaches or Marines who died at Iwo Jima had no liberty; Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights heroes who gave their lives had no liberty. If Sen. Roberts is right, they had no liberties because they died in the fight for liberty. In Roberts’s view – which apparently is the dominant opinion of the Bush administration and many of its supporters – personal safety for the individual tops the principles of freedom for the nation. This security-over-everything notion has emerged as the key justification for stripping the American people of their “unalienable rights,” liberties that were promised them in the Declaration of Independence and enshrined in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. But the American people are now told that the President is exercising “plenary” – or unlimited – powers as long as the indefinite “war on terror” continues. Bush has been ceded these boundless powers with only a meek request from the populace that he make life in the United States a little safer from the threat of another al-Qaeda attack. Discretionary Rights So, Bush holds discretion over the constitutional guarantee of a fair trial, the right to know the charges against you and to confront your accuser, the protection against warrantless searches and seizures, the delicate checks and balances designed by the Founders, the prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment, the power to wage war, even the right to freedom of speech. In claiming “plenary” powers as Commander in Chief and arguing that the United States is part of the battlefield, Bush has asserted that all rights are his, that they are given to the people only when he says so, that the rights are no longer “unalienable.” Like before the Declaration of Independence, the American people find themselves as “subjects” reliant for their rights on the generosity of a leader, rather than “citizens” possessing rights that can’t be denied. [For details, see Consortiumnews.com’s “The End of Unalienable Rights.”] As a trade-off for accepting Bush’s unlimited powers, the American people have gotten assurances that Bush will make protecting them his top priority. Yet, the presidential oath says nothing about shielding the public from danger; rather it’s a vow to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Since George Washington first took the oath, it has been the Constitution that is paramount, because it enshrines the liberties that define America. Within that presidential oath and within the nation’s historic commitment to freedom, there is no assurance against risk or danger. There is no government guarantee of safety, nor is there a promise that harm might not come to American citizens. Indeed, it has been assumed by all previous generations of Americans – dating back to the beginning of the Republic and ending only with today’s fearful generation – that risk and danger were part of the price for maintaining and spreading freedom.
Former top White House official goes to trial Jury to decide fate of Abramoff associate Safavian in criminal case By Joel Seidman WASHINGTON - After five guilty pleas in the influence-peddling investigation of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, the first criminal trial is set to begin Monday. David Safavian, the former chief of staff of the General Services Administration, then the top White House procurement officer, and a longtime friend and associate of Abramoff, is charged with five counts of making false statements and obstructing investigations into a golfing trip to Scotland he took with Abramoff and U.S. Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, in August 2002. If convicted, Safavian faces up to 25 years in jail and more than $1 million in fines. The golf trip took place at a time when Abramoff expressed a keen interest in acquiring several properties controlled by GSA. Months before the trip, Ney allegedly lifted a gambling ban benefiting an Abramoff tribal client, by inserting the language into an election reform bill. The trial comes at a crucial time for Ney, who is now under investigation by both the Department of Justice and the House Ethics Committee. On Friday, two aides to Ney received subpoenas; Bill Heaton, chief of staff, and Paul Vinovich, committee staff director. The clerk of the House announced the subpoenas according to House rules. One of the prosecution's expected key witnesses will be Neil Volz, a former chief of staff to Ney, who just a week ago pleaded guilty to entering into a conspiracy with Abramoff to corrupt public officials and violate lobbying rules. Prosecutor Peter Zeidenberg said, in a pretrial hearing, that Volz likely will testify about suggestions from Safavian about creating language, to be inserted into legislation, that could have helped convey some GSA-owned property to Abramoff and his clients. Abramoff sought leases on the Old Post Office in downtown Washington and a former Navy facility in the White Oak section of Silver Spring, Md. Abramoff will not appear as a witness at the trial — but his presence will certainly be felt. Prosecutors intend to introduce more than 200 e-mails between Abramoff and Safavian. In fact, prosecutors have signaled that the e-mails will make up the bulk of their case against Safavian. Prosecutors say at 8:37 p.m. on July 27, 2002, a Saturday night, Abramoff sent two e-mails to Safavian, then the newly appointed chief of staff at the GSA. One message went to Safavian's government e-mail address. "Superb!!" Abramoff wrote, expressing delight that Safavian had been cleared by the GSA's general counsel to go on the Scotland trip. The second message, sent to Safavian's personal e-mail, read: "If you can spare a moment, please let me know where I can call you this weekend. If not, chat on Monday. Regards." More e-mail exchangesOn July 28, additional e-mail exchanges between Abramoff and Safavian show that the lobbyist wanted Safavian's advice on editing a letter to the GSA, seeking use of facilities at the former Naval Surface Weapons Research Center in Silver Spring for a private school Abramoff and his wife had founded. "How about this?" Abramoff asked Safavian in an e-mail with a draft of the letter. Prosecutors will present the e-mails as portraying a sordid relationship between a government official and a wily lobbyist who dangled the good life; peppering Safavian with invitations to play racquetball or golf or to meals at his downtown restaurant, Signatures. Abramoff even offered Safavian a chance to join his "band of merry men" at the Greenberg/Traureg lobbying firm, when Safavian left government service. In exchange, according to prosecutors, Abramoff sought favored treatment and privileged inside information. Defense attorney: Correspondence between old friendsBarbara Van Gelder, Safavian's attorney, argues that her client did nothing wrong. The e-mails, she suggests, reflect the communications between two old friends. And, she has said in court, that Abramoff did not have a formal business relationship with the GSA at the time of the Scotland golf trip. But the e-mails do provide a rare glimpse of how Abramoff did business in Washington. Along with queries for information on GSA properties, Abramoff was also looking for bargains from his friends. On Aug. 21, 2002, Abramoff sent an e-mail to his friend Safavian at GSA. "I have a need to buy a stretch limo for the restaurant," Abramoff wrote, referring to Signatures. "Are there any coming up on any of the GSA drug property sales?" Safavian, according to court documents, wrote back that the GSA does not auction off seized cars. But he added that he was willing to assist: "Let me call a friend at the Marshal's Service. They handle drug seizures." Abramoff replied: "I was thinking of the druggies bounty. No problem. Thanks, see you Friday." Joel Seidman is an NBC News producer covering Washington.
Back to Story - Help Attorney Gen.: Reporters Can Be Prosecuted Sun May 21, 3:31 PM ET Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said Sunday he believes journalists can be prosecuted for publishing classified information, citing an obligation to national security. The nation's top law enforcer also said the government will not hesitate to track telephone calls made by reporters as part of a criminal leak investigation, but officials would not do so routinely and randomly. "There are some statutes on the book which, if you read the language carefully, would seem to indicate that that is a possibility," Gonzales said, referring to prosecutions. "We have an obligation to enforce those laws. We have an obligation to ensure that our national security is protected." In recent months, journalists have been called into court to testify as part of investigations into leaks, including the unauthorized disclosure of a CIA operative's name as well as the National Security Agency's warrantless eavesdropping program. Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, said she presumed that Gonzales was referring to the 1917 Espionage Act, which she said has never been interpreted to prosecute journalists who were providing information to the public. "I can't imagine a bigger chill on free speech and the public's right to know what it's government is up to — both hallmarks of a democracy — than prosecuting reporters," Dalglish said. Gonzales said he would not comment specifically on whether The New York Times should be prosecuted for disclosing the NSA program last year based on classified information. He also denied that authorities would randomly check journalists' records on domestic-to-domestic phone calls in an effort to find journalists' confidential sources. "We don't engage in domestic-to-domestic surveillance without a court order," Gonzales said, under a "probable cause" legal standard. But he added that the First Amendment right of a free press should not be absolute when it comes to national security. If the government's probe into the NSA leak turns up criminal activity, prosecutors have an "obligation to enforce the law." "It can't be the case that that right trumps over the right that Americans would like to see, the ability of the federal government to go after criminal activity," Gonzales told ABC's "This Week." The Media spent six years covering these guys asses and this is the thanks they get..
Dixie Chicks, Valerie Plame & Bush By Robert ParryMay 16, 2006 A politician's reaction to dissent is often the true test of a commitment to democracy. Great leaders not only tolerate criticism, but welcome disagreement as part of a fair competition of ideas leading to the best result for society. Certainly, no one who truly cares about democracy favors punishing critics and demonizing dissenters. But just such hostility has been the calling card of George W. Bush and his backers over the past five years as they have subjected public critics to vilification, ridicule and retaliation. While Bush doesn’t always join personally in the attack-dog operations, he has a remarkable record of never calling off the dogs, letting his surrogates inflict the damage while he winks his approval. In some cases, however, such as the punishment of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson and his wife, CIA officer Valerie Plame, Bush has actually gotten his hands dirty. [See below.] The Bush-on-the-sidelines cases are illustrated by what happened to the Dixie Chicks, a three-woman country-western band that has faced three years of boycotts because lead singer, Natalie Maines, criticized Bush as he was stampeding the nation toward war with Iraq. During a March 10, 2003, concert in London, Maines, a Texan, remarked, “we’re ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas.” Two days later – just a week before Bush launched the Iraq invasion – she added, “I feel the President is ignoring the opinions of many in the U.S. and alienating the rest of the world.” With war hysteria then sweeping America, the right-wing attack machine switched into high gear, organizing rallies to drive trucks over Dixie Chicks CDs and threatening country-western stations that played Dixie Chicks music. Maines later apologized, but it was too late to stop the group’s songs from falling down the country music charts. On April 24, 2003, with the Iraq War barely a month old, NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw asked Bush about the boycott of the Dixie Chicks. The President responded that the singers “can say what they want to say,” but he added that his supporters then had an equal right to punish the singers for their comments. “They shouldn’t have their feelings hurt just because some people don’t want to buy their records when they speak out,” Bush said. “Freedom is a two-way street.” So, instead of encouraging a full-and-free debate, Bush made clear that he saw nothing wrong with his followers hurting Americans who disagree with him. Pattern of Attack Other celebrities who opposed the Iraq War, such as Sean Penn, got a similar treatment. Bush’s supporters even gloated when Penn lost acting work because he had criticized the rush to war. “Sean Penn is fired from an acting job and finds out that actions bring about consequences. Whoa, dude!” chortled pro-Bush MSNBC commentator Joe Scarborough. Scarborough, a former Republican congressman, cited as justification for Penn’s punishment the actor’s comment during a pre-war trip to Iraq that “I cannot conceive of any reason why the American people and the world would not have shared with them the evidence that they [Bush administration officials] claim to have of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.” [MSNBC transcript, May 18, 2003] In other words, no matter how reasonable or accurate the concerns expressed by Bush’s Iraq War critics, they could expect retaliation. With Bush’s quiet encouragement, his supporters also denigrated skeptical U.S. allies, such as France by pouring French wine into gutters and renaming “French fries” as “freedom fries.” Bush’s backers even mocked U.N. arms inspector Hans Blix for not finding WMD in Iraq in the weeks before the U.S. invasion. CNBC’s right-wing comic Dennis Miller likened Blix’s U.N. inspectors to the cartoon character Scooby Doo, racing fruitlessly around Iraq in vans. As it turned out, of course, the Iraq War critics were right. The problem wasn’t the incompetence of Blix but the fact that Bush’s claims about Iraq’s WMD were false, as Bush’s arms inspectors David Kay and Charles Duelfer concluded after the invasion. But the critics never got any apologies or repair to the careers. As CBS’s “60 Minutes” reported in a segment on May 14, 2006, the Dixie Chicks were still haunted by the pro-Bush boycott three years later. “They have already paid a huge price for their outspokenness, and not just monetarily,” said correspondent Steve Kroft. Sometimes, Iraq War supporters even turned to threats of violence. During one tour, lead singer Maines was warned, “You will be shot dead at your show in Dallas,” forcing her to perform there under tight police protection, said the group’s banjo player, Emily Robison. In another incident, a shotgun was pointed at a radio station’s van because it had the group’s picture on the side, Robison said. Though the Dixie Chicks are still shunned by many country-western stations, they have refused to back down. Indeed, one of their new songs – entitled “Not Ready to Make Nice” – takes on the hatred and intolerance they faced for voicing an opinion about Bush and the Iraq War. As Kroft noted, “Not Ready to Make Nice” received favorable reviews and became one of the most downloaded country songs on the Internet, but it still “fizzled on the charts” as Bush supporters called up stations and demanded that it never be played. Asked to explain why these tactics work, Maines said, “when you’re in the corporate world, and when that’s your livelihood, and when 100 people e-mail you that they’ll never listen to your station again, you get scared of losing your job. And why did they need to stand up for us? They’re not our friends. They’re not our family. And they cave.” [CBS’s “60 Minutes,” May 14, 2006] The Plame Case But what’s most troubling is that this intolerance toward dissent is not simply overzealous Bush supporters acting out, but rather loyal followers who are getting their signals from the top levels of the Bush administration. For instance, a new federal court filing by special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald revealed that Vice President Dick Cheney apparently instigated the campaign to punish former Ambassador Wilson for his criticism of the administration’s claims that Iraq had sought enriched uranium from Africa. After reading Wilson’s July 6, 2003, opinion article in the New York Times, Cheney scrawled questions in the space above the article, according to the court filing. Cheney’s questions would soon shape the hostile talking points that White House officials and their right-wing supporters would spread against Wilson and his CIA officer wife, Valerie Plame. “Those annotations support the proposition that publication of the Wilson Op-Ed acutely focused the attention of the Vice President and the defendant – his chief of staff [I. Lewis Libby] – on Mr. Wilson, on the assertions made in his article, and on responding to these assertions,” according to a May 12, 2006, filing by Fitzgerald. Cheney’s questions addressed the reasons why the CIA sent Wilson to Niger in 2002 to check out – and ultimately discredit – suspicions about Iraq allegedly seeking “yellowcake” uranium from Africa. “Have they [CIA officials] done this sort of thing before?” Cheney wrote. “Send an Amb[assador] to answer a question? Do we ordinarily send people out pro bono to work for us? Or did his wife send him on a junket?” Though Cheney did not write down Plame’s name, his questions indicate that he was aware that she worked for the CIA and was in a position (dealing with WMD issues) to have a hand in her husband’s assignment to check out the Niger reports. Over the next several days, White House officials, including Libby and Bush’s political adviser Karl Rove, allegedly disseminated information about Plame’s CIA identity to journalists in the context of knocking down Wilson’s critical article. In effect, the White House tried to cast Wilson’s trip as a case of nepotism arranged by his wife. On July 14, 2003, Plame was publicly identified as a CIA operative in a column by right-wing commentator Robert Novak, destroying her career at the CIA and forcing the spy agency to terminate the undercover operation that she had headed. A CIA complaint to the Justice Department prompted an investigation into the illegal exposure of a CIA officer. Initially, when the investigation was still under the direct control of Attorney General John Ashcroft, Bush and other White House officials denied any knowledge about the leak. Bush pretended that he wanted to get to the bottom of the matter. “If there is a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is,” Bush said on Sept. 30, 2003. “I want to know the truth. If anybody has got any information inside our administration or outside our administration, it would be helpful if they came forward with the information so we can find out whether or not these allegations are true.” Yet, even as Bush was professing his curiosity and calling for anyone with information to step forward, he was withholding the fact that he had authorized the declassification of some secrets about the Niger uranium issue and had ordered Cheney to arrange for those secrets to be given to reporters. In other words, though Bush knew a great deal about how the anti-Wilson scheme got started – since he was involved in starting it – he uttered misleading public statements to conceal the White House role and possibly to signal to others that they should follow suit in denying knowledge. Failed Cover-up The cover-up might have worked, except in late 2003, Ashcroft recused himself because of a conflict of interest, and Fitzgerald – the U.S. Attorney in Chicago – was named as the special prosecutor. Fitzgerald pursued the investigation far more aggressively, even demanding that journalists testify about the White House leaks. In October 2005, Fitzgerald indicted Libby on five counts of perjury, lying to investigators and obstruction of justice. In a court filing on April 5, 2006, Fitzgerald added that his investigation had uncovered government documents that “could be characterized as reflecting a plan to discredit, punish, or seek revenge against Mr. Wilson” because of his criticism of the administration’s handling of the Niger evidence. Beyond the actual Plame leak, the White House oversaw a public-relations strategy to denigrate Wilson. The Republican National Committee put out talking points ridiculing Wilson, and the Republican-run Senate Intelligence Committee made misleading claims about his honesty in a WMD report. Rather than thank Wilson for undertaking a difficult fact-finding trip to Niger for no pay – and for reporting accurately about the dubious Iraq-Niger claims – the Bush administration sought to smear the former ambassador and, in so doing, destroyed his wife’s career and the effectiveness of her undercover work on WMDs. Plame has since quit the CIA. The common thread linking the Plame case to the attacks on the Dixie Chicks and other anti-war celebrities is Bush’s all-consuming intolerance of dissent. Rather than welcome contrary opinions and use them to refine his own thinking, Bush operates from the premise that his “gut” judgments are right and all they require is that the American people get in line behind him. Bush then views any continued criticism as evidence of disloyalty. While Bush will tolerate people voicing disagreement, he feels they should pay a steep price, exacted by Bush’s loyalists inside and outside the government. So, when Bush’s supporters malign his critics as “traitors” and spit out other hate-filled expressions bordering on exhortations to violence, Bush sees no obligation to rein in the intimidating rhetoric. Instead, Bush almost seems to relish the punishments meted out to Americans who dissent. Remember how the right went after Bill Clinton? Every two bit right wing slack jaw red state yokle didn't mind taking low blows at the President from 1992 to 2000 yet if you say something tame as the Dixie Chicks lead singer said, oh it's down right disgraceful down right anti American and those same right wing slack jaw red state yokles who yuck up every Clinton joke, repeated every false story about Clinton they read off Newsmax or Free Republic have the balls to call into country stations and demand that the Dixie Chicks to be taken off the radio for a tame comment like I'm ashame the President from Texas hell it's better than what most right wing piece of trash said about Clinton. No wonder Bush followers are 29% they're crazy they shown their idea of freedom and democracy is being crtical of leaders who names don't have Rs after them. As for the CIA leak friends I sum it up in a question: What do you think would happen if President Al Gore and Vice President Joe Lieberman were connected to leaking a CIA agent to the press for politcal payback??? Wonder ole Rush still call her a desk jockey?
From Mediamatters.org Limbaugh, Imus, Carlson touted Drudge story on DNC even after Drudge issued apparent retraction Summary: Rush Limbaugh, Don Imus, and Tucker Carlson touted a report by Matt Drudge claiming that according to "sources," Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairman Howard Dean had authorized a secret effort to aid Louisiana Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu in his attempt to unseat incumbent New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin -- even after Drudge issued an apparent retraction. Nationally syndicated radio host Rush Limbaugh and MSNBC hosts Don Imus and Tucker Carlson touted an anonymously sourced report by conservative internet gossip Matt Drudge even after Drudge issued an apparent retraction. On May 21, Drudge posted an item on his website claiming that according to "sources," Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairman Howard Dean had authorized a secret effort to aid Louisiana Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu in his attempt to unseat incumbent New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin, who won re-election on May 20. Drudge claimed that "Dean came to the decision to back the white challenger, over the African-American incumbent Nagin, despite concerns amongst senior black officials in the Party that the DNC should stay neutral," and also wrote that according to "[p]reliminary campaign finance reports", many of Landrieu's contributions "came from out of state white Democrat leaders and financiers, including a $1,000 contribution from Sen. Ben Nelson's (D-NE) PAC." The May 21 item, which has since been removed from Drudge's website, is available through the independently run Drudge Report Archives: The Democratic National Committee (DNC) secretly placed political operatives in the city of New Orleans to work against the reelection efforts of incumbent Democrat Mayor Ray Nagin, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned. DNC Chairman Howard Dean made the decision himself to back mayoral candidate and sitting Lieutenant Governor Mitch Landrieu (D-LA), sources reveal. Dean came to the decision to back the white challenger, over the African-American incumbent Nagin, despite concerns amongst senior black officials in the Party that the DNC should stay neutral. The DNC teams actively worked to defeat Nagin under the auspice of the committee's voting rights program. [...] Preliminary campaign finance reports indicate many of Landrieu?s [sic] contributions came from out of state white Democrat leaders and financiers, including a $1,000 contribution from Sen. Ben Nelson's (D-NE) PAC. Drudge did not quote his purported "sources," nor did he explain what, if any, connection they have to the DNC. On May 22, the weblog Raw Story reported that DNC communications director Karen Finney called Drudge's item "absolutely false." Finney told Raw Story, "We did have poll watchers out to make sure people weren't disenfranchised but it wasn't on behalf of any candidate. ... It's completely outrageous." Drudge subsequently posted a second item -- marked "MAY 22, 2006 12:26:02 ET" -- in which he noted that according to the DNC, his original report was "unequivocally and absolutely false." Drudge's May 22 item stated: "The DRUDGE REPORT takes chairman Dean and his spokesman at their word." The original item no longer appears on Drudge's website. From Drudge's apparent retraction, posted May 22: The Democratic National Committee strongly denies it placed political operatives in the city of New Orleans to work against the reelection efforts of incumbent Democrat Mayor Ray Nagin. Well-placed DRUDGE REPORT sources claimed DNC Chairman Howard Dean made the decision himself to back mayoral candidate and sitting Lieutenant Governor Mitch Landrieu (D-LA). The DNC says the report is "unequivocally and absolutely false." DNC Communications director Karen Finney explained: "The DNC does not as a policy get involved in Democratic primaries... The only thing that the DNC did was a campaign helping ensure that displaced voters had an opportunity to vote." The DRUDGE REPORT takes chairman Dean and his spokesman at their word. On the May 22 broadcast of his radio show, which airs live from noon to 3 p.m. ET, Limbaugh repeatedly touted Drudge's initial report. Near the beginning of his show, apparently before Drudge posted his second item on the issue, Limbaugh read Drudge's initial report aloud. Limbaugh then asked listeners, "[Y]ou haven't seen anything in this in the mainstream press, have you?" Limbaugh added, "Can you imagine if this were two Republicans and the RNC was working to defeat the black candidate?" During the final hour of Limbaugh's show, well after Drudge posted his second item, a caller informed Limbaugh that Drudge's initial report was "just 'sources,' you know, I mean, it's not really, he's not linking to anything. It just seems like a rumor." Nonetheless, Limbaugh continued to tout Drudge's initial report, telling listeners: "Here we have a report on the Drudge Report that Nagin was dissed by the DNC, that they wanted Mitch Landrieu to win, and we know why. And there's no curiosity about this." Limbaugh added: "If the situation had been reversed and if it were the RNC which had dissed a black candidate and sought to undermine him -- even a Republican over -- preferring a white guy -- you would have not heard the end of it. It would be the focus of the news today, tomorrow, and the next day." On the May 22 edition of MSNBC's Imus in the Morning, co-host Charles McCord read Drudge's initial report. Imus then told listeners that Landrieu "is not going to be mayor; brother Ray is." McCord responded, "Brother Ray. You betcha. Despite Howard Dean's best efforts, apparently, and that of the Democratic National Committee." Imus's May 22 show aired before Drudge issued his apparent retraction later that day. But Imus in the Morning returned to the issue on May 23. In a segment in which he impersonated Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA), regular guest Larry Kenney purported to explain "why the Democratic Party and its chairman would involve themselves in a naked attempt to manipulate the outcome of a legitimate municipal election." Kenney said that "Dr. Dean, along with myself and other senior party leaders, have decided to step on the black man." On the May 22 edition of MSNBC's The Situation, host Tucker Carlson told viewers that "a battle broke out when Matt Drudge reported that the Democratic National Committee had secretly backed Nagin's challenger, Mitch Landrieu, in the race. The DNC responded by calling that report dead wrong." Carlson made no mention of the fact Drudge had already stated that he now "takes chairman Dean and his spokesman at their word." An apparent reference to Drudge's initial report also appeared in a May 23 St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial, which asserted that "Landrieu had the help of the Democratic National Committee." From the May 22 broadcast of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show: LIMBAUGH: How about what the Democratic National Committee tried to do to "School Bus" Ray Nagin? You heard about this? The DNC was working against him. The DNC was actively trying to defeat Ray Nagin in the mayoral race in New Orleans. DNC secretly placed political operatives in the city of New Orleans to work against the re-election efforts of "School Bus" Ray Nagin. DNC chairman Howard Dean made the decision. This is a Drudge Report exclusive. Howard Dean made the decision himself that -- and you haven't heard about this. The drive-by media is not interested in this. If Landrieu would have -- Mitch Landrieu, [Sen.] Mary Landrieu's [D-LA] brother. And by the way, speaking of this, I mean, the reason that Mitch Landrieu -- I mean, this guy was lieutenant governor. That's a stepping stone to big things. Took a step back trying to be mayor of New Orleans. Why is that? Because Mary Landrieu's re-election depends on New Orleans being repopulated with enough liberal Democrats to put her over the edge. And the stories in the New Orleans Times-Picayune and others say that the reason Nagin actually triumphed here is because he has experience as a businessman. He was in the cable TV business, and he appealed to conservatives in New Orleans. Whereas Mitch Landrieu is your -- you know, average, you know, standard-bearing liberal. And just -- it just wasn't all that appealing. Howard Dean made the decision himself to back Mitch Landrieu. Dean came to the decision to back the white challenger over the African-American incumbent, "School Bus" Nagin, despite concerns among senior black officials in the party that the DNC should stay neutral. The DNC teams actively worked to defeat Nagin under the auspices that the committee's voting rights program. The party's field efforts also coincided with a national effort by Democrat contributors to support Mitch Landrieu, who had out-raised "School Bus" Nagin by a wide margin: $3.3 million to just barely $541,000. Preliminary campaign finance reports indicate that many of Landrieu's contributors -- contributions came from out-of-state white Democrat leaders and financers according -- or including a $1,000 contribution from Senator Ben Nelson's PAC. He's a Democrat from Nebraska. The defeat of Mitch Landrieu is the latest setback for Dean's often-criticized field operation. Now I'm just -- you haven't seen anything in this in the mainstream press, have you? Have you seen -- I mean, I know you've seen the fact that "School Bus" Nagin won. But have you seen the story that the DNC was trying to defeat Nagin? You haven't seen it, and you're probably not going to see it. Can you imagine if this were two Republicans and the RNC was working to defeat the black candidate? Now that doesn't happen. Because in the Republican Party these days, the future of the party happens to be [Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate] Lynn Swann, [Maryland Lt. Gov. and Senate candidate] Michael Steele, and [Ohio secretary of state and gubernatorial candidate] Ken Blackwell. And then [Secretary of State] Condoleezza Rice. I mean, there are a number of rising stars. It's in the Democratic Party where they sandbag [2002 gubernatorial candidate] Carl McCall in New York. They tried to sandbag "School Bus" Nagin. And there are couple of other examples of this. Just amazing. And I wanted to mention this at the top of the program, because I doubt that you have seen it anywhere. [...] CALLER: You were discussing the DNC's operations against Nagin in New Orleans in his last election this Saturday. LIMBAUGH: That's true. CALLER: And well, you know, I saw that report, too, on the Drudge Report. It doesn't, it's just "sources," you know, I mean, it's not really, he's not linking to anything. It just seems like a rumor. Kind of a drive-by kind of move here on his part. [...] LIMBAUGH: There was a report on a blog, [caller] -- an absolute bogus report on a blog that said [White House senior adviser] Karl Rove had been indicted secretly and privately two Fridays ago. Thirty-five drive-by media reporters called Rove's lawyer asking for comment: "Is it true?" Here we have a report on the Drudge Report that Nagin was dissed by the DNC, that they wanted Mitch Landrieu to win, and we know why. And there's no curiosity about this. None. In fact, if there's any curiosity at all its only: "Well, you know, Nagin is a turncoat. Supported [Rep. Bobby] Jindal [R-LA]. He actually leans Republican in a couple ways. Endorsed Bush in 2000. No big deal. The DNC wouldn't support him." But the point is -- he's black. New Orleans is a chocolate city, and New Orleans is a city that the Democrats desperately want to hold and so forth. And Nagin's victory came from white voters. And the Democrats are out there -- they're trying to hold this city under their control so that -- and Nagin still is a Democrat, regardless. I mean, even if it was -- even if he has flirted with supporting some Republicans. All I'm saying to you is: If the situation had been reversed and if it were the RNC which had dissed a black candidate and sought to undermine him -- even a Republican over -- preferring a white guy -- you would have not heard the end of it. It would be the focus of the news today, tomorrow, and the next day. From the May 22 edition of MSNBC's Imus in the Morning: McCORD: According to the Drudge Report this morning, the Democratic National Committee, led by Dr. Howard Dean, secretly placed political operatives in the city of New Orleans to work against the re-election efforts of incumbent Democrat Mayor Ray Nagin and for, of course, the candidacy of Mitch Landrieu. IMUS: Swamp Thing, yeah. McCORD: And It did not work out. But -- IMUS: Really? McCORD: DNC Chairman Howard Dean made the decision himself to back Landrieu, according to Drudge's sources, made the decision to back the white challenger over the African American incumbent despite concerns amongst senior black officials in the party that the DNC ought to stay out of it and stay neutral. But the DNC teams actively worked to defeat Nagin under the auspices of the committee's voting rights program. The defeat of Mitch Landrieu the latest setback, according to this, for Dean's often-criticized field operations. IMUS: Well, the Swamp Thing is still the attorney general, right? McCORD: Yeah, well, lieutenant governor. IMUS: Or lieutenant governor, I mean. McCORD: Yeah. IMUS: Well, OK. Well, he can go do that. McCORD: Yeah. IMUS: He is not going to be mayor; brother Ray is. McCORD: Brother Ray. You betcha. Despite Howard Dean's best efforts, apparently, and that of the Democratic National Committee. From the May 23 edition of MSNBC's Imus in the Morning: KENNEY (impersonating Kennedy): Good morning to you, Imus. And thank you for this opportunity to address a couple subjects that I have considerable currency and importance to me and my fellow Democrats. First and foremost, of course, the matter of my party chairman, Dr. Howard Dean, and the campaign he led to try to derail the re-election of the incumbent mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin, whom we just heard from. Many are asking why the Democratic Party and its chairman would involve themselves in a naked attempt to manipulate the outcome of a legitimate municipal election. I am happy to answer that question. While Democrats historically have been viewed as the party most sympathetic to the African-American population, and indeed to all minorities, the fact of the matter is that I, along with Dr. Dean and others, believe that as a political matter, one needs to choose one's minorities was considerable care. Let me say this with the delicacy, forethought, and circumspection it deserves. Not all minorities are created equal. Whether a taco-eater, rice-sucker, cotton-picker, what have you, Mayor Nagin, whom I congratulate, by the way, on his victory, is a moron. And the white dude in the race with the crop-circle hair, Mitch Landrieu, is every bit a match for Mayor Nagin in the intellect arena; that is, he has none. But we have decided that in spite of our reputation as embracing all of mankind without favoritism or preference, hypocrisy, too, has its place. Therefore, Dr. Dean, along with myself and other senior party leaders, have decided to step on the black man. Specifically why, I don't really know. The DNC's gyration basis and amplification subcommittee is still formulating a response to that question. And we will get back to you when chairlady [Barbra] Streisand is ready to make an announcement. From the May 22 edition of MSNBC's The Situation with Tucker Carlson: CARLSON: Now to the almost unbelievable results of the New Orleans mayor's race. Ray Nagin's re-election in a city that is still reeling nine months after Hurricane Katrina shocked observers across the country. And a battle broke out when Matt Drudge reported that the Democratic National Committee had secretly backed Nagin's challenger, Mitch Landrieu, in the race. The DNC responded by calling that report dead wrong.
Bush Snubs Gore Film on Global Warming By TERENCE HUNT, AP White House CorrespondentMon May 22, 9:51 PM ET Is President Bush likely to see Al Gore's documentary about global warming? "Doubt it," Bush said coolly Monday. But Bush should watch it, Gore shot back. In fact, the former Democratic vice president offered to come to the White House any time, any day to show Bush either his documentary or a slide show on global warming that he's shown more than 1,000 times around the world. "The entire global scientific community has a consensus on the question that human beings are responsible for global warming and he has today again expressed personal doubt that that is true," Gore said in an Associated Press interview from France where he attended the Cannes Film Festival. Bush and Gore have had bitter disagreements about the environment and other issues. Bush defeated Gore in a disputed presidential election that was finally settled by the Supreme Court in 2000. Gore's documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth," chronicles his efforts to bring greater attention to the dangers of climate change. "New technologies will change how we live and how we drive our cars, which all will have the beneficial effect of improving the environment," Bush said. "And in my judgment we need to set aside whether or not greenhouse gases have been caused by mankind or because of natural effects and focus on the technologies that will enable us to live better lives and at the same time protect the environment." Gore said the causes of global warming should not be ignored. "Why should we set aside the global scientific consensus," Gore said, his voice rising with emotion. "Is it because Exxon Mobil wants us to set it aside? Why should we set aside the conclusion of scientists in the United States, including the National Academy of Sciences, and around the world including the 11 most important national academies of science on the globe and substitute for their view the view of Exxon Mobil. Why?" "I'm a grandfather and he's a father and this should not be a political issue," Gore said. "And he should ask the National Academy of Sciences ... whether or not human beings are contributing to global warming." The White House said Bush already has acknowledged the impact of human behavior on global warming. "The president noted in 2001 the increase in temperatures over the past 100 years and that the increase in greenhouse gases was due to certain extent to human activity," said White House deputy press secretary Dana Perino. "Since then he has committed tens of billions of dollars to the science and technology programs that he initiated and we are well on our way to meeting the president's goal of reducing greenhouse intensity by 18 percent by 2012," she said. Gore's movie debuted at last winter's Sundance Film Festival and opens in U.S. theaters Wednesday. The Bush brat is own by the oil companies you this news shouldn't be a shock to anyone that been following what's been going on. If Al Gore wanted Bush to see the movie just tell him it's one of those Ah-nuld movies or better yet a cartoon movie.
Calif. candidate accents rival's illness By STEVE LAWRENCE, Associated Press WriterTue May 23, 9:32 PM ET A candidate for the California state Assembly says voters should pick him because his opponent — a heart transplant recipient — could die in office. "Can you imagine the costs to taxpayers for a special election when poor health renders him unable to fulfill the duties of office?" former Modesto City Councilman Bill Conrad wrote in a mailing to voters. "Republicans deserve a strong candidate ...." Conrad faces Tom Berryhill in the GOP primary for the 25th Assembly District. The primary is June 6. The mailer says in bold red letters, "Tom Berryhill doesn't have the HEART for State Assembly," and suggests that he might not survive the two-year term if elected because he had a heart transplant five years ago. Berryhill, the son of a former state legislator, said his health is fine. He described the mailing as one of the harshest things he's seen in 40 years of politics. "I think the voters are going to reflect that (fact) come June 6," he said in a telephone interview. "I think they are going to send a great big, old loud message that it just doesn't work here in the Central Valley." Conrad's flier said the average life span of a heart transplant recipient is seven years, anti-rejection drugs taken by recipients weaken their immune systems and severe stress shortens their life expectancy. Berryhill, 52, said his heart problems stemmed from exposure to pesticides and herbicides while working on his family's farm, resulting in a heart valve replacement when he was 21 and a heart transplant in 2001. "What (Conrad) failed to tell you is if you live through three years without any rejection, you have a normal life span," he said. Conrad, 48, said he raised the health question as a way to draw attention to other issues in the race. "It's not about his heart; it's about his qualifications," he said. "Hopefully, they will look at my qualifications, too." He also defended the fairness of the mailing. "The bottom line is the voters will decide. At least they have a choice," Conrad said. Down the coast in San Diego on Tuesday, another Republican with a history of heart-related health problems campaigned for a GOP House candidate. Vice President Dick Cheney has had four heart attacks, though none since he became vice president in January 2001; quadruple bypass surgery to clear clogged arteries; two artery-clearing angioplasties; and an operation to implant a pacemaker.
Marines 'to face charges over the Haditha massacre'By Toby Harnden(Filed: 21/05/2006) American military investigators have concluded that United States Marines may have killed up to 24 innocent Iraqis, including seven women and three children, in an alleged massacre, writes Toby Harnden. Three marine officers whose troops are suspected of involvement in the killings have already been relieved of their commands. They are believed to be likely to face charges when a separate, criminal, investigation is complete. Pentagon officials confirmed that 24 civilians, rather than the previous given figure of 15, died in Haditha, in western Iraq, last November when troops from Kilo Company, of the 3rd Bn, 1st Marine Regiment, apparently ran amok after one of their men was killed. Duncan Hunter, the Republican chairman of the House armed services committee, has said that he will hold public hearings on the incident, which appears to have been covered up initially by those involved. The Bush administration fears that the growing scandal over the shootings could lead to war crimes trials and a wave of international condemnation that will further diminish support for the Iraq war in the run-up to the mid-term congressional elections. The congressman John Murtha, an anti-war Democrat who is a former marine colonel and decorated Vietnam veteran, has claimed that innocent civilians were slaughtered "in cold blood". The American military authorities in Iraq initially reported that one marine and 15 Iraqi civilians, travelling on a bus, were killed by a roadside bomb, and eight insurgents were shot dead in a subsequent gun battle. Mr Murtha said: "I understand the [military] investigation shows that there was no fire fight, there was no explosion that killed the civilians in a bus. ''There was no bus. There was no shrapnel, there was only bullet holes inside the house where the marines had gone in. So it's a very serious incident, unfortunately." Last month, Lt Col Jeffrey Chessani, the battalion commander of 3/1 Marines, Capt James Kimber and Capt Lucas McConnell, both company commanders, were removed from their jobs and reassigned to staff positions. According to a US Marine Corps spokesman, the officers were sacked because of "multiple incidents that occurred throughout their deployment" that resulted in a loss of confidence in their leadership. Senior Democrats have accused the Bush administration of trying to hide the true nature of what happened. "This is a tragedy," said Nancy Pelosi, the Democrat leader in the House of Representatives. "It's important for the administration to release the [military] report." The incident, although on a vastly smaller scale, has prompted comparisons with the My Lai massacre on March 16, 1968, in which several hundred Vietnamese villagers, mainly women and children, were killed by American troops.
Monday, May 22, 2006
Is Bush a Lunatic? By Molly Ivins, AlterNetPosted on May 17, 2006, Printed on May 22, 2006http://www.alternet.org/story/36327/ I hate to raise such an ugly possibility, but have you considered lunacy as an explanation? Craziness would make a certain amount of sense. I mean, you announce you are going to militarize the Mexican border, but you assure the president of Mexico you are not militarizing the border. You announce you are sending the National Guard, but then you assure everyone it's not very many soldiers and just for a little while. Militarizing the border is a totally terrible idea. Do we have a State Department? Are they sentient? How much do you want to infuriate Mexico when it's sitting on quite a bit of oil? Bush knows what the most likely outcome of this move will be. He was governor during the political firestorm that ensued when a Marine taking part in anti-drug patrols on the border shot and killed Esequiel Hernandez, an innocent goat-herder from Redford, Texas. That's the definition of crazy -- repeatedly doing the same thing and expecting a different result. I suppose politics could explain it, too. It's quite possible that lunacy and politics are closely related. It's still damned hard cheese for the Guard, though. The Guard is heavily deployed in Iraq, currently 20 percent of those serving, down from 40 percent last year. Some soldiers are sent back for multiple tours. Lt. Gen. James Helmly, head of the Army Reserve, said the Reserve is rapidly degenerating into "a broken force" and is "in grave danger of being unable to meet other operational requirements." Happy hurricane season to you, too. The Guard is also short on equipment and falling short on recruiting goals. But right-wingers are very unhappy with Bush right now, and this is a strong, red-meat gesture that will make them happy, even if it does nothing to shut down the border. You want to shut down illegal immigration? You want to use the military as police? Make it illegal to hire undocumented workers and put the National Guard into enforcing that. Then rewrite NAFTA and invest in Mexico. Meanwhile, further proof that the entire party is cuckoo comes to us with the passage of another $70 billion tax cut for the rich. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities says the average middle-income household will get a $20 tax cut, while those making more than $1 million a year will get nearly $42,000. The Washington Post editorialized, "Budgetary dishonesty, distributional unfairness, fiscal irresponsibility -- by now the words are so familiar, it can be hard to appreciate how damaging this fiscal course will be." Both President Bush and Veep Cheney are still going around claiming if you cut taxes, your tax revenues increase. No, they don't. Now we're just in whackoville. It's not true. Their own economists tell them it's not true, but they go about claiming it is with the same desperate tenacity they clung to false tales of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. How pathetic. Speaking of lunacy, the saddest report from Iraq is that American soldiers showing signs of psychological distress and depression are being kept on active duty, increasing the risk of suicide. The Hartford Courant reports that even soldiers who have already been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress syndrome are kept on duty. This has led to an increase in the suicide rate -- 22 soldiers in 2005. And as I have reported before, the military is unprepared to deal with the flood of head cases coming back from Iraq. How many ways can we mistreat our own soldiers, while the right makes this elaborate show of devotion to "the troops"? The consistent pattern that runs through all these problems is the failure to distinguish fantasy from reality. Mexican immigrants keep crossing the border because they can get jobs here -- and most of those jobs are provided by companies whose CEOs support George W. Bush. That's where he can have an impact on the problem, should he choose to do so. The $70 billion tax cut is part of a continuing right-wing fantasy going back to the Laffer Curve. Of course, clinging to demonstrably false economic precepts is understandable when you benefit from them, but at some point reality does intervene. As for the Iraq fantasy and those who pushed it on a reluctant country through lies, disinformation and bending intelligence -- isn't there a law against that? Molly Ivins writes about politics, Texas and other bizarre happenings.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Sorry folks haven't been around due to finishing up finals for school but the Space one will be here kicking conservative ass for the summer. It's going to be the same ole exposing a GOP scandal blog with a slight more edge, conservatives beware, right wingers hide under your blankets and freepers get a cup on because I'm coming for ya