Archive for June 9th, 2007

by- Suzie-Q @ 6:31 PM MST

The Senate plans to take up a no-confidence vote against Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on Monday, a sponsor of the measure announced Friday.

“If all senators who have actually lost confidence in Attorney General Gonzales voted their conscience, this vote would be unanimous,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a statement announcing the vote. “However, the President will certainly exert pressure to support the Attorney General, his longtime friend. We will soon see where people’s loyalties lie.”

Gonzales has faced myriad calls for his resignation from lawmakers in both parties, but Republicans have so far been hesitant to endorse the no confidence vote.

The measure would be non-binding and would not force Gonzales to leave his post as the nation’s top law enforcement officer. But the political symbolism if the Senate formally declared itself to have lost faith in Gonzales’s ability to perform his duties would deal another blow to the scandal-wracked Bush administration.

The attorney general is under fire for his role in the US Attorney firing scandal, in which Democrats accuse Gonzales and the White House of conspiring to oust federal prosecutors who did not advance their political will.


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Believe It Or Not In The Middle East

by- Suzie-Q @ 3:44 PM MST

40 Years of Lies

When I was a schoolboy, I loved a column which regularly appeared in British papers called “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!”. In a single rectangular box filled with naively drawn illustrations, Ripley – Bob Ripley – would try to astonish his readers with amazing facts:

“Believe It or Not, in California, an entire museum is dedicated to candy dispensers … Believe It or Not, a County Kerry man possesses an orange that is 25 years old … Believe It or Not, a weather researcher had his ashes scattered on the eve of Huricane Danielle 400 miles off the coast of Miami, Florida.” Etc, etc, etc.

Incredibly, Ripley’s column lives on, and there is even a collection of “Ripley Believe It or Not” museums in the United States.

The problem, of course, is that these are all extraordinary facts which will not offend anyone. There are no suicide bombers in Ripley, no Israeli air strikes (“Believe It or Not, 17,000 Lebanese and Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon”), no major casualty tolls (“Believe It or Not, up to 650,000 Iraqis died in the four years following the 2003 Anglo-American invasion of Iraq”). See what I mean? Just a bit too close to the bone (or bones).

But I was reminded of dear old Ripley when I was prowling through the articles marking the anniversary of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. Memoirs there have been aplenty, but I think only the French press – in the shape of Le Monde Diplomatique – was prepared to confront a bit of “Believe It or Not”.

It recalled vividly – and shamefully – how the world’s newspapers covered the story of Egypt’s “aggression” against Israel. In reality – Believe It or Not – it was Israel which attacked Egypt after Nasser closed the straits of Tiran and ordered UN troops out of Sinai and Gaza following his vituperative threats to destroy Israel. “The Egyptians attack Israel,” France-Soir told its readers on 5 June 1967, a whopper so big that it later amended its headline to “It’s Middle East War!”.

Quite so. Next day, the socialist Le Populaire headlined its story “Attacked on all sides, Israel resists victoriously”. On the same day, Le Figaro carried an article announcing that “the victory of the army of David is one of the greatest of all time”. Believe It or Not, the Second World War – which might be counted one of the greatest of all time, had ended only 22 years earlier.


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by Geezer Power …1:19 PM PDT

When in Rome…

Pope addresses “worrying situation in Iraq” with Bush
by Mark Silva

VATICAN CITY: In weeklong travels through Europe, President Bush has promoted his vision of “a freedom agenda” and thanked allies for support with wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but here at The Holy See, in his first audience with Pope Benedict XVI, the president was reminded that all is not well in the world.

The Vatican, describing the private meeting of the pope and president today as “cordial, said later that they had addressed “the international political situation” – including “the worrying situation in Iraq.”

On the streets of Rome, battalions of police, some in riot gear, contained several thousand protesters, with the main boulevard leading to St. Peter’s Basillica and the Vatican cordoned off.

A few quotes by Duhbya to the Pope:

“I’ve got a very strong AIDS initiative”

“These programs cannot be effective without loving people on the ground, helping a neighbor in need”

“I want to thank you for being a part of (this) international army of compassion”

The good news is that Bush didn’t tell us “I looked the man in the eye and I seen his soul.”

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By Anthony @ 20:30 BST

by Allen L Roland

June 8, 2007 at 16:38:53

As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there’s a twilight where everything remains seemingly unchanged, and it is in such twilight that we all must be aware of change in the air, however slight, lest we become victims of the darkness.” Justice William O. Douglas

I feel the erie twilight of oppression descending on America because we are just one “Major incident” away from Martial law and Bush assuming legal dictatorial rule over our Republic.

It is also seen in Dick Cheney’s speech to the West Point graduating class on May 25th when Cheney said ~ ” your first day of Army life, each of you raised your right hand and took and oath. And you will swear again today to defend the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. That is your vow, that is the business you’re in ”

However, Dick ‘ the natural state of man is war ‘ Cheney once again got it wrong ~ for the Military vow is the same as the presidential vow and reads as such ~ I will support and defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

A constitution that both Bush and Cheney have openly ridiculed as being irrelevant in their ongoing War on Terror which is, in reality, a War of Terror.

And that is the important change in the air ~ which may well lead to the darkness of oppression. We have been systematically untethered from our Constitution by the Cheney/Bush administration and are in dire danger of falling into the abyss of Oppression.

The similarities with Germany in the late 1930’s are freightening and ominous and we may be beyond the point of no return ~ particularly in light of Congress’s recent blank check to Bush’s illegal occupation of Iraq and recent surge.

James Rothenberg and Otto Hinckelmann take this a step further and make the case ” that the invasion of Iraq took place without UN authorization (illegally according to Kofi Annan) and therefore was an outright act of aggression, the “supreme international crime,” the crime for which the Nazi defendants were condemned.”

Excerpt: “The difference between the totalitarian ruler and the democratic ruler is that the totalitarian can dispense with legal pretense. The similarity is that both can always find legal experts who will inevitably determine that the law permits the Leader to do what he thinks he needs to do.”

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Posted by Anthony @ 20:17 BST

David Edwards and Muriel Kane
Published: Friday June 8, 2007

Keith Olbermann reported Thursday on the Habeas Corpus Restoration Act of 2007, calling it “a historical restoration project, the reconstruction of one of the cornerstones of American democracy.”

The Military Commissions Act, passed last year by the Republican Congress, stripped away the fundamental Constitutional right of habeas corpus. Now the Senate Judiciary Committee, in voting for the Restoration Act, has taken the first step in restoring it. Olbermann asked constitutional law scholar Jonathan Turley about the argument by supporters of the Military Commissions Act that habeas corpus has been suspended before in times of war without destroying the Republic.

Turley responded to that argument in three different ways, saying first that the nation’s survival of previous suspensions of habeas corpus “says more about the Republic than the actions of the earlier presidents. This is a system of government that was designed to be idiot-proof — and God knows we’ve tested that through the years. … This was one of the most disgraceful moments of the last Congress, and it will be equally disgraceful to see many Republicans vote to fight the effort to bring back the Great Writ.”

Turley went on to explain that habeas corpus is not a dangerous luxury or some sort of lawyer’s trick to get crooks out of jail, but “is actually the foundation for all other rights. When the government throws you into a dungeon for what you say or who you pray to, it’s habeas corpus that’s the right that allows you to see the enforcement of the other rights.”

Finally, Turley emphasized that suspending habeas corpus has actually made us less safe: “The greatest irony of the Bush administration is that his legacy will be to show the dangers of walking away from those rights that define us. We’re very much alone today. … We’re viewed as a rogue nation. And it is a dangerous world to live in when you’re alone.”

The following video is from MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann, broadcast on June 7.

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Afternoon Jukebox… War (What Is It Good For?)

by- Suzie-Q @ 12:08 PM MST

Frankie Goes To Hollywood – War

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The Lame Duck Has Landed…

by- Suzie-Q @ 10:14 AM MST

The breakthrough on the “grand bargain” on immigration a few weeks ago had brought new life to a White House under siege, putting a long-sought goal suddenly within reach. After many grim months, there was almost giddiness at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

But that early euphoria only made the grand bargain’s grand collapse on Thursday night all the more of a blow, pointing up a stubbornly unshakable dynamic for President Bush in the final 19 months of his term: With low approval ratings and the race to succeed him well under way, his ability to push his agenda has faded to the point where he can fairly be judged to have entered his lame duck period.

In all, 38 of the 48 Senate Republicans effectively voted against the White House on the crucial procedural vote on the immigration bill, leaving the president’s No. 1 domestic priority somewhere between stalled and dead.

The White House has similarly been through a sharp reversal on the domestic politics of the Iraq war. After receiving a lift last month in the defeat of Democratic efforts to link war finances to Iraq withdrawal dates, the White House acknowledged Friday that it could not renominate Mr. Bush’s chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Peter Pace, because of expected opposition on Capitol Hill.

For a president whose muscular assertions of executive authority had overshadowed Congress for years, it was a striking indicator of how the balance of power in Washington has shifted away from him.


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U.S. Attorney Hit List As Early As 2005?

by- Suzie-Q @ 9:34 AM MST

What’s the Motive?

Carol Lam was one outstanding United States Attorney. She nailed down one of the biggest political corruption cases in recent history with a guilty plea from former Republican Congressman Randal “Duke” Cunningham in November, 2005. His crimes included conspiracy to commit bribery, mail and wire fraud.

The San Diego Republican admitted to taking over $1.0 million alone from San Diego defense contractor Brent Wilkes. The jailed Cunningham is now serving an eight year sentence for this and other crimes. In one of her last official acts, Lam indicted Wilkes for bribing former CIA senior executive “Dusty” Foggo, who was also indicted. These crimes allegedly took place over a period as far back to 2002.

A recently released Department of Justice email carried by Talking Points Memo Document Collection raises an interesting question. The message is dated”3/7/2005” from leoleonard to MaryBeth Buchanan:

Leo Leonard, the sender, is apparently this Republican activist. He’s listed by Media Transparency as the Director, Lawyers Division of the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies.

Mary Beth Buchanan, the presumed recipient of the memo, is the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania. She was a John Ashcroft protégé. Her role at Justice was central. Her bio states that, “At the request of the Attorney General, Ms. Buchanan also served from June 2004 until June 2005 as the Director of the Executive Office for United States Attorneys.”

Think Progress and TPM.com blogger cici1414 quickly suggested that the memo from leoleonard to MaryBeth was indeed about replacing Lam with attorney Mary Walker, a hard right Republican.

If so, what was so hot that Lam was in the neoJustice crosshairs as far back as the date of the Email, March 7, 2005.


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Posted by anthony @ 14:13 BST

by Chris Marsden
Global Research, June 9, 2007

The Bush administration has used discussions between Israeli Transportation Minister and former Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns to insist that there should be no talks between Israel and Syria.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters Wednesday June 6, “We’re not going to manage Israeli foreign policy. But let’s take a look at Syria’s behavior over the recent past, and I don’t think you’re going to find many indications of Syria showing the rest of the world that they are interested in playing a constructive, positive role in trying to bring about a more peaceful, secure region.”

McCormack accused Syria of continuing to support terrorist groups in Lebanon and in the Palestinian territories and cited its links to Iran.

The possibility of opening a dialogue with the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Damascus had earlier been mooted at a special security cabinet meeting that same day in Israel by President Ehud Olmert. The meeting was called to discuss the growing threat of war with Syria.

Olmert took the occasion to stress that Israel wanted peace with Syria and must be wary of miscalculations that could lead to war. He also stated that he did not rule out direct dialogue with Syria, without any preconditions. The newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported that Olmert had also relayed a secret message to Damascus saying Israel would return Golan to Syria in exchange for a comprehensive peace. This included the insistence that Syria severed all ties to Iran, the Lebanese Shia Islamist movement Hezbollah and “the Palestinian terror organisations and stop funding and promoting terror.”

The framing of Olmert’s demands is deliberately provocative and strongly suggests that his pose is largely motivated by an attempt to shore up his crisis-ridden coalition government with Labour.

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