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Archive for April 28th, 2007

Protesters Demand Impeachment While Bush Speaks!

by- Suzie-Q @ 8:46 PM MDT

Raw Story

Miami – Hundreds of protesters gathered at the Kendell Miami-Dade College campus where President George W. Bush spoke on Saturday afternoon. Roughly 200 protesters were clustered near temporary fences and an estimated 600 altogether spent the better part of the afternoon marching and holding signs alongside a main road near the college campus.

The protesters were commemorating “National Impeachment Day” with a peaceful march while Miami police looked on. The president was escorted in and out of the campus through an entrance on the far side of the campus, where he could not see the protests. Two pro-Bush supporters rode their bicycles in front of the protesters screaming “Commies,” but by and large, the rally drew few administration supporters.

National Impeachment Day was organized by a large coalition of center and left of center groups, including A28, Democrats.com, and Progressive Democrats for America. The protesters, however, did not focus only on the topic of impeachment, but also on reasons for impeachment, carrying signs such as “Out of Iraq” and “No blood for oil.”

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After Katrina, U.S. Did Not Accept Most Offers of Aid

by- Suzie-Q @ 8:40 PM MDT

Overall, the United States declined 54 of 77 recorded aid offers from three of its staunchest allies: Canada, Britain and Israel, according to a 40-page State Department table of the offers that had been received as of January 2006.

WaPo

Sunday, April 29, 2007; Page A01

As the winds and water of Hurricane Katrina were receding, presidential confidante Karen Hughes sent a cable from her State Department office to U.S. ambassadors worldwide.

Titled “Echo-Chamber Message” — a public relations term for talking points designed to be repeated again and again — the Sept. 7, 2005, directive was unmistakable: Assure the scores of countries that had pledged or donated aid at the height of the disaster that their largesse had provided Americans “practical help and moral support” and “highlight the concrete benefits hurricane victims are receiving.”

Many of the U.S. diplomats who received the message, however, were beginning to witness a more embarrassing reality. They knew the U.S. government was turning down many allies’ offers of manpower, supplies and expertise worth untold millions of dollars. Eventually the United States also would fail to collect most of the unprecedented outpouring of international cash assistance for Katrina’s victims.

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by- Suzie-Q @ 5:10 PM MDT

Firedoglake

The hits just keep on coming from Deborah Jeane Palfrey, whose DC escort service’s phone records are being mined by ABC News for an upcoming 20/20 that must have some Beltway Boys’ panties in a twist. First Harlan Ullman was named by Ms. Palfrey two weeks ago. He’s the guy who coined the phrase “shock and awe.”

Yesterday, another Rolodex card fell outta Ms. Palfrey’s handbag. The ABC investigative team dialed the number and:

Deputy Secretary of State Randall L. Tobias submitted his resignation Friday, one day after confirming to ABC News that he had been a customer of a Washington, D.C. escort service whose owner has been charged by federal prosecutors with running a prostitution operation. Tobias, 65, director of U.S. Foreign Assistance and administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), had previously served as the ambassador for the President’s Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief.

President Bush’s Ambassador for his abstinence-based anti-AIDS plan for Africa wasn’t exactly, um — abstinent? Oh, wait:

According to ABC News, Tobias said he contacted the escort service “to have gals come over to the condo to give me a massage” and that there had been “no sex” involved.

Yeah, right. Where do they GET these guys? Well, he’s:

a former chief executive of pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly & Co…. [and] AT&T vice chairman.

Wasn’t President Bush going to restore honor and integrity in Washington? I can’t wait for more honor and integrity to fall out of Ms. Palfrey’s Rolodex. She’s the frosting on the cake being baked by Chairman Waxman and Chairman Conyers.

PS for Hugh — What number are we up to now on the Bush Scandal list?

UPDATE — IRONY ALERT (thanks, Christy!) According to Think Progress this morning:

Former U.S. AID director Randall Tobias, who resigned yesterday upon admitting that he frequented a Washington escort service, oversaw a controversial policy advocated by the religious right that required any US-based group receiving anti-AIDS funds to take an anti-prostitution “loyalty oath.” Aid groups bitterly opposed the policy, charging that it “was so broad — and applied even to their private funds — that it would obstruct their outreach to sex workers who are at high risk of transmitting the AIDS virus.” But President Bush wouldn’t budge. He signed a 2003 National Security Presidential Directive saying prostitution “and related activities” were “inherently harmful and dehumanizing.”


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Is The Lovefest Over??

by- Suzie-Q @ 2:20 PM MDT

New York Times

WASHINGTON, April 28 — No foreign diplomat has been closer or had more access to President Bush, his family, and his administration than the magnetic and fabulously wealthy Prince Bandar bin Sultan of Saudi Arabia.

Prince Bandar has mentored Mr. Bush and his father through three wars and the broader campaign against terrorism, reliably delivering — sometimes in the Oval Office — his nation’s support for crucial Middle East initiatives dependent on the regional legitimacy the Saudis could bring, as well as timely forewarning of Saudi regional priorities that might put it into apparent conflict with the United States. But now, current and former Bush administration officials are wondering if the longtime reliance on Prince Bandar has begun to outlive its usefulness.

Bush administration officials have been scratching their heads over steps taken by Prince Bandar’s uncle, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, that have surprised them by going against the American playbook, after receiving assurances to the contrary from Prince Bandar during secret trips he made to Washington.


Dire Straits – Money For Nothing

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Terror Attacks Up… Rice Considered Hiding The Data!!

by- Suzie-Q @ 10:50 AM MDT

The carpetbagger Report

In 2004, the State Department’s report on global terrorism showed a decline in international attacks, a result which was hailed by administration officials as proof of the efficacy of the president’s strategy. Soon after, we learned that the State Department cooked the books and undercounted — by half — the number of people killed in terrorist attacks.

In 2005, the State Department decided it didn’t want to publish the report on global terrorism anymore.

The good news is, due to an outcry, the document is back. The bad news is, well, all of the news is bad.

A State Department report on terrorism due out next week will show a nearly 30 percent increase in terrorist attacks worldwide in 2006 to more than 14,000, almost all of the boost due to growing violence in Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. officials said Friday….

Based on data compiled by the U.S. intelligence community’s National Counterterrorism Center, the report says there were 14,338 terrorist attacks last year, up 29 percent from 11,111 attacks in 2005. Forty-five percent of the attacks were in Iraq.

Worldwide, there were about 5,800 terrorist attacks that resulted in at least one fatality, also up from 2005.

The figures for Iraq and elsewhere are limited to attacks on noncombatants and don’t include strikes against U.S. troops.

If, in 2004, an initial report showing a decline in attacks was proof that Bush’s strategy was working, doesn’t an increase in attacks a few years later necessarily show that Bush’s strategy is failing?

As for the politics, Condoleezza Rice reportedly considering hiding the bad news.

More

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HE’S BACK!~Bill Moyers Interviews Jon Stewert

by- Geezer Power @ 7:15 AM PDT


Bill Moyers has returned to PBS and will host his show weekly on Friday at 9:00 PM. He left public broadcasting in 2004 when the Corporate Government installed their operatives as the chair and vice chair of CPB (corporatation for public broadcasting). Moyers being number one on their hit list quietly left PBS and his show that was then called “NOW” became a half hour show with David Brancaccio .

Bill Moyers chats with Jon StewartThe NEW YORK TIMES declared that when Jon Stewart took over as anchor of Comedy Central’s THE DAILY SHOW, he “breathed new life into a show that hadn’t even seemed to need it.” In 2003, Stewart said of his role hosting the show, “Liberal and conservative have lost their meaning in America. I represent the distracted center.” As declared on the show’s site, “THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART is the most important television show ever, with the most important guests, hosts, and news – current event news, pop culture news, sports news, entertainment news – of all time.”

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by- Suzie-Q @ 6:35 AM MDT

Randall L. Tobias

ABC- The Blotter

Deputy Secretary of State Randall L. Tobias submitted his resignation Friday, one day after confirming to ABC News that he had been a customer of a Washington, D.C. escort service whose owner has been charged by federal prosecutors with running a prostitution operation. Tobias, 65, Director of U.S. Foreign Assistance and administrator of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), had previously served as the Ambassador for the President’s Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief.A State Department press release late Friday afternoon said only he was leaving for “personal reasons.” On Thursday, Tobias told ABC News he had several times called the “Pamela Martin and Associates” escort service “to have gals come over to the condo to give me a massage.” Tobias, who is married, said there had been “no sex,” and that recently he had been using another service “with Central Americans” to provide massages.

Tobias’ private cell number was among thousands of numbers listed in the telephone records provided to ABC News by Jeane Palfrey, the woman dubbed the “D.C. Madam,” who is facing the federal charges. In an interview to be broadcast on “20/20″ next Friday, Palfrey says she intends to call Tobias and a number of her other prominent DC clients to testify at her trial.

“I’m sure as heck not going to be going to federal prison for one day, let alone, four to eight years, because I’m shy about bringing in the deputy secretary of whatever,” Palfrey told ABC News.

Palfrey maintains she ran a sexual fantasy business that was legal and that if any of the women who were working for her had sex, they did so in violation of her rules and without her knowledge. She says there are a number of other prominent Washington, D.C. men who will be on her witness list. “I’ll bring every last one of them in if necessary,” Palfrey said.

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by- Suzie-Q @ 6:30 AM MDT

Raw Story

A senior Justice Department official has resigned in connection with the investigation of lobbyist Jack Abramoff, according to a McClatchy report.

“Making the situation more awkward for the embattled Department, the official, Robert E. Coughlin II, was deputy chief of staff for the criminal division, which is overseeing the Department’s probe of Abramoff,” says the report. “He stepped down effective April 6 as investigators in Coughlin’s own division ratcheted up their investigation of lobbyist Kevin Ring, Coughlin’s long-time friend and a key associate of Abramoff.”

Coughlin insisted he resigned voluntarily. “I was not asked to resign,” Coughlin was quoted as saying. “It’s important to me that it’s made clear that I left voluntarily.”

Coughlin appears to be the first Justice Department official to come under scrutiny in the wide-ranging probe that has implicated a veteran congressman, a deputy Cabinet secretary, a White House aide and eight others. Abramoff has pleaded guilty to three counts in the corruption probe and could face up to 11 years in prison.

It was unclear whether Coughlin is a target in the investigation, which would mean he is under intense scrutiny, or whether he is a subject in the investigation, which would mean investigators have not yet determined whether he committed any wrongdoing.

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Viguerie urges Gonzales impeachment

posted by anthony @ 14:15 BST

Press TV
Sat, 28 Apr 2007 04:05:38

Conservative activist Richard A. Viguerie called vehemently on Capitol Hill to impeach Alberto Gonzales if he doesn’t resign himself.

“If Attorney General Alberto Gonzales continues to refuse to resign, it’s time for Congress to impeach him — and Republicans must take the lead,” says conservative activist Richard A. Viguerie.

As the man who pioneered political direct mail, Viguerie has been called “the Funding Father” of the conservative movement.

He is the author of Conservatives Betrayed: How George W. Bush and Other Big Government Republicans Hijacked the Conservative Cause (Bonus Books, 2006).

“No other choice is available,” says Viguerie. “Gonzales has refused to resign so far, despite demands from Republican Senators and Representatives that he do so.”

“And President Bush has erected a wall around the White House, shutting out reality, giving his long-time political crony unconditional support. If his boss won’t fire him, and Gonzales refuses to leave voluntarily, he must be made to leave involuntarily.”

“President Bush is already a lame duck with the lowest public support since Richard Nixon, so in a sense he has nothing more to lose. What should scare Republicans, however, is that once again Bush seems willing to bring the entire Republican Party to destruction with him. The Republicans have already lost the House and the Senate. If they want to have any chance of retaining the White House or making gains in Congress in 2008, they must break decisively with this politically suicidal president,” he added.

Impeachment of a Cabinet member is authorized by the Constitution. Charges of impeachment must be passed in the House, and then the official is tried by the Senate.

A president cannot grant a reprieve or pardon for impeachment. If impeached, the official is removed from office and is disqualified to hold and enjoy any other federal office.

Grounds for impeachment, under Article 2, Section 4 of the Constitution, are “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” (“Misdemeanors” is a constitutional term that does not have the current meaning of an offense less serious than a felony, according to the American Bar Association.)

In a final note, Viguerie added:

“In his testimony before the Senate last week, he said he ‘could not remember’ deeds or actions more than 70 times, including many recent events. This strains everyone’s credulity except the president’s.”

“If nothing else, he should be removed from office for Memory Deficit Disorder. You cannot run a Justice Department with well over 100,000 employees when your mind supposedly is that blank.”

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Wolfowitz panel finds Ethics Breach

posted by anthony @ 14:04 BST

Press TV
Sat, 28 Apr 2007 12:24:58

It has emerged that the World Bank Committee has nearly completed a report stating that Paul Wolfowitz breached its banking ethics.

Three senior bank officials said the committee are still debating on whether to explicitly recommend that Mr. Wolfowitz resign.

Wolfowitz is scheduled to appear before the committee with his attorney on Monday morning and mount his defense against demands that he should resign over engineering a pay rise for his girlfriend.

The bank’s 24-member board of directors will convene that afternoon to discuss the report and sources suggest that they could announce their vote the same day, The Washington Post reported.

Wolfowitz’s attorney said he has vowed to continue the fight to keep his job. “He will not resign under this cloud,” he said.

The committee is composed of members of the bank’s governing board. Bank officials say the timing of the report and its conclusions have come at a time when they can have maximum impact in what has become a full-blown campaign to get Wolfowitz to go.

The White House remains supportive of Wolfowitz, even though Bush’s staff has staged an open revolt aimed at persuading him to leave. European officials have repeatedly lobbied for his resignation.

Already unpopular because of his direct role as architect of the Iraq war, his management style had antagonized bank staff and European financial contributors long before the ethics scandal.

A draft of the report reviewed by the committee late Friday declared Wolfowitz had violated World Bank regulations in three areas, breach of contract, breach of ethics rules and undermining the reputation of the bank.

While this report deals only with the way he handled Ms Riza’s pay rise, the committee is prepared to investigate a range of other alleged breaches of ethics and internal governance rules.

A bank board is already investigating his hiring of former White House aides, also on generous pay deals, to work in his close circle of advisors after he took over the World Bank in June 2005.

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