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Archive for August, 2006

Aug. 30 (Bloomberg) — Rising prices and profits translated into pay packages for oil company chief executive officers that are nearly three times the size of similarly sized businesses, a new study from two watchdog groups said.
In 2005, the CEOs of the largest 15 oil companies averaged $32.7 million in compensation, compared with $11.6 million for all large U.S. firms, according to the study, released today by the Institute for Policy Studies and United for a Fair Economy.

Amid reports of multimillion-dollar pay packages, shareholder activists have sponsored resolutions to limit compensation at companies like Exxon Mobil Corp. and Home Depot Inc. In May, three members of the House of Representatives criticized the retirement benefits of former Exxon CEO Lee Raymond and asked the company to fill a gap in its workers’ pension fund.
“Instead of lining the pockets of executives, they should be investing the money into new sources of energy that go beyond fossil oils,” said Sarah Anderson, director of the global economy project at the Washington-based Institute for Policy Studies, and a co-author of the study.
Anderson’s group researches peace, justice and environmental issues. United for a Fair Economy, a non-profit group based in Boston, tries to raise awareness about the effects of “concentrated wealth and power,” according to its web site.
Combined $512.9 Million

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Armitage said to admit leak on CIA to Novak


“Richard L. Armitage, ex-deputy secretary of state, has acknowledged that he was the person whose conversation with a columnist in 2003 prompted a long, politically laden criminal investigation in what became known as the CIA leak case, a lawyer involved in the case said on Tuesday,” reports Neil A. Lewis for Wednesday’s edition of The New York Times.

Armitage did not return calls for comment. But the lawyer and other associates of Armitage have said he has confirmed that he was the initial and primary source for the columnist, Robert D. Novak, whose column of July 14, 2003, identified Valerie Wilson as a CIA officer.
The identification of Armitage as the original leaker to Novak ends what has been a tantalizing mystery. In recent months, however, Armitage’s role had become clear to many, and it was recently reported by Newsweek magazine and The Washington Post.

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President Bush has been trying to maintain a united Republican Party amid flagging conservative support and a split with the GOP’s liberal wing.

The two wings are so far apart that party strategists no longer envision a united front for the November congressional elections. The strategists said many of the liberals, already alienated from the White House, have been campaigning as opponents of the president in an effort to win re-election as part of an expected Democratic Party sweep of Congress.

”I think we’ve lost our way,” said Sen. Chuck Hagel, a Nebraska Republican and possible presidential contender in 2008. ”And I think the Republicans are going to be in some jeopardy for that and will be held accountable.”

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NSA SUBPOENA

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Senate moves to give Bush more power to wiretap

A bill that expands President Bush’s ability to wiretap American phones and conduct other forms of domestic surveillance will likely appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee next Thursday.

The bill, which was written by judiciary chairman Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA), and which has been widely and publicly excoriated by Democratic members of the committee, contains provisions—such as the institution of program-wide warrants, and warrants that do not expire for a year—that would weaken the strict limits that currently govern the FISA courts.
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) was written nearly 20 years ago and offers guidelines about the legal use of wiretaps on phones inside the United States. It includes provisions for the use of courts to issue warrants if the government’s case against a suspect meets legal scrutiny.

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Two attorneys representing claimants in a lawsuit over wiretapping by the National Security Agency will subpoena the White House today.

Bruce Afran and Carl Mayer, who represent hundreds of plaintiffs in lawsuits against Verizon, AT&T, and the US Government, will announnce today that they are serving both the Bush administration and Verizon with subpoenas.
The announcement is due to arrive at 4:30 PM, outside of Verizon headquarters in New York.
The subpoenas come on the heels of two federal court decisions that were seen as blows to the Bush Administration warrantless spying program.
Earlier this month, federal judge Anna Diggs Taylor ruled the entire program unconstitutional and illegal; another federal judge in San Francisco rejected the Bush Administration’s attempt to dismiss these lawsuits by claiming they breach national security.
Mayer explained that the subpoena seeks to learn “whether the Bush administration has unlawfully targeted journalists, peace activists, libertarians, members of congress or generated an ‘enemies list.'”
Afran said he expected the White House to again claim that the state secrets doctrine forbade it from answering the subpoena, but called the claim “Absolute nonsense.”
“That’s an invitation for presidents to write their own rules and we’ve had judges multiple times say that state secrets is not a defense,” he explained, adding, “We hope the White House will realize the need to cooperate.”

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The Constitution of the United States of America

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

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