"The action I am taking is no more than a radical measure to hasten the explosion of truth and justice. I have but one passion: to enlighten those who have been kept in the dark, in the name of humanity which has suffered so much and is entitled to happiness. My fiery protest is simply the cry of my very soul. Let them dare, then, to bring me before a court of law and let the enquiry take place in broad daylight!" - Emile Zola, J'accuse! (1898) -

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

There Is No Rational Reason Not To Impeach Bush and Cheney Given…

The “Melluva Hess” They Have Created…

Their Buddy Pelosi Can Go With Them.

Justice Department Asks For Stay of Subpoenas

By Keith Perine, QStaffhttp://www.cqpolitics.com/wmspage.cfm?parm1=5


The Justice Department argued Monday that a federal judge should stay his order requiring current and former White House officials to comply with House Judiciary Committee subpoenas, as a means of fostering an out-of-court compromise.

On July 31, U.S. District Judge John D. Bates ordered that White House Chief of Staff Joshua B. Bolten and former White House counsel Harriet Miers were not immune from committee subpoenas -- of Bolten for White House documents and of Miers for documents and testimony -- related to the firings of nine U.S. attorneys in 2006.

The administration is appealing that decision, in a lawsuit that pitted the Judiciary Committee against Bolten and Miers, who refused to comply with the subpoenas after President Bush claimed executive privilege.

On Aug. 7, the defendants asked Bates to stay his order requiring Bolten and Miers to take steps to comply with the subpoenas. A week later, the Judiciary Committee argued that Bates should not do so. Meanwhile, the committee and the administration have begun actively negotiating a compromise.

In its Monday filing, the Justice Department rebutted the committee, telling Bates that a stay “represents the best hope of promoting an accommodation between the two branches.”

The administration also argued that requiring Miers to appear before the committee and decline to answer questions individually, or to require Bolten and Miers to furnish some documents, and more information about withheld documents, as Bates ordered, would dilute their appeal.

“The committee fails to address the fact that, by appearing at a congressional hearing upon judicial order, Ms. Miers would risk forfeiting...immunity and thus the ability to seek meaningful relief on appeal,” the Justice Department told Bates on Monday. “The same is true regarding defendants’ obligations with respect to documents.”

The judge could rule at any time. Once Bates decides whether to stay his order, one side or the other in the dispute will have a greater incentive to try to fashion a compromise that avoids a protracted legal battle.

Statement in English download (PDF) '

America's Outrageous War Economy!'

Pentagon can't find $2.3 trillion, wasting trillions on 'national defense'

Arroyo Grande, Calif. (MarketWatch) -- Yes, America's economy is a war economy. Not a "manufacturing" economy. Not an "agricultural" economy. Nor a "service" economy. Not even a "consumer" economy.

Seriously, I looked into your eyes, America, saw deep into your soul. So let's get honest and officially call it "America's Outrageous War Economy." Admit it: we secretly love our war economy. And that's the answer to Jim Grant's thought-provoking question last month in the Wall Street Journal -- "Why No Outrage?"

There really is only one answer: Deep inside we love war. We want war. Need it. Relish it. Thrive on war. War is in our genes, deep in our DNA. War excites our economic brain. War drives our entrepreneurial spirit. War thrills the American soul. Oh just admit it, we have a love affair with war. We love "America's Outrageous War Economy."

Americans passively zone out playing video war games. We nod at 90-second news clips of Afghan war casualties and collateral damage in Georgia. We laugh at Jon Stewart's dark comedic news and Ben Stiller's new war spoof "Tropic Thunder" ... all the while silently, by default, we're cheering on our leaders as they aggressively expand "America's Outrageous War Economy," a relentless machine that needs a steady diet of war after war, feeding on itself, consuming our values, always on the edge of self-destruction.

Pelosis' Election Year Strategy (We All Knew She Would Create One “Melluva Hess” sooner or later!)
The Washington Independent - Washington,DC,USA
Democrats, led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), have railed against a drilling expansion for months. Yet in a tense election year, ...See all stories on this topic

End the Occupations March and Rally — West Steps of the Colorado State Capitol Building, August 24, 9am

Obama raises $7.8 million in San Francisco
The Associated Press -
Obama was introduced at the dinner by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who called him "a leader God has blessed us with at this time. ...See all stories on this topic

Pelosi and Pickens, Sitting in a Tree...
The Plank on TNR.com - Washington,DC,USA
The Washington Examinar has published an editorial marking some interesting cross-pollination going on between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and billionaire ...See all stories on this topic

Corrupt Big Air & Nancy Pelosi's Appearance of Impropriety
Even as Nancy Pelosi stands foresquare against exploiting our oil and gas resources, it turns out that she invested somewhere between a hundred thousand to a quarter million of her personal money in the T. Boone Pickens firm Clean ...Wolf Howling - http://wolfhowling.blogspot.com/

US May Ease Police Spy Rules

Saturday 16 August 2008 by: Spencer S. Hsu and Carrie Johnson, The Washington Post

The Justice Department has proposed a new domestic spying measure that would make it easier for state and local police to collect intelligence about Americans, share the sensitive data with federal agencies and retain it for at least 10 years.

The proposed changes would revise the federal government's rules for police intelligence-gathering for the first time since 1993 and would apply to any of the nation's 18,000 state and local police agencies that receive roughly $1.6 billion each year in federal grants.

Quietly unveiled late last month, the proposal is part of a flurry of domestic intelligence changes issued and planned by the Bush administration in its waning months. They include a recent executive order that guides the reorganization of federal spy agencies and a pending Justice Department overhaul of FBI procedures for gathering intelligence and investigating terrorism cases within U.S. borders.

Taken together, critics in Congress and elsewhere say, the moves are intended to lock in policies for Bush's successor and to enshrine controversial post-Sept. 11 approaches that some say have fed the greatest expansion of executive authority since the Watergate era.

Supporters say the measures simply codify existing counterterrorism practices and policies that are endorsed by lawmakers and independent experts such as the 9/11 Commission. They say the measures preserve civil liberties and are subject to internal oversight.

White House spokesman Tony Fratto said the administration agrees that it needs to do everything possible to prevent unwarranted encroachments on civil liberties, adding that it succeeds the overwhelming majority of the time.

Bush homeland security adviser Kenneth L. Wainstein said, "This is a continuum that started back on 9/11 to reform law enforcement and the intelligence community to focus on the terrorism threat."

Under the Justice Department proposal for state and local police, published for public comment July 31, law enforcement agencies would be allowed to target groups as well as individuals, and to launch a criminal intelligence investigation based on the suspicion that a target is engaged in terrorism or providing material support to terrorists. They also could share results with a constellation of federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies, and others in many cases.

Criminal intelligence data starts with sources as basic as public records and the Internet, but also includes law enforcement databases, confidential and undercover sources, and active surveillance.

Jim McMahon, deputy executive director of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, said the proposed changes "catch up with reality" in that those who investigate crimes such as money laundering, drug trafficking and document fraud are best positioned to detect terrorists. He said the rule maintains the key requirement that police demonstrate a "reasonable suspicion" that a target is involved in a crime before collecting intelligence.

"It moves what the rules were from 1993 to the new world we live in, but it maintains civil liberties," McMahon said.

However, Michael German, policy counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, said the proposed rule may be misunderstood as permitting police to collect intelligence even when no underlying crime is suspected, such as when a person gives money to a charity that independently gives money to a group later designated a terrorist organization.

The rule also would allow criminal intelligence assessments to be shared outside designated channels whenever doing so may avoid danger to life or property -- not only when such danger is "imminent," as is now required, German said.

On the day the police proposal was put forward, the White House announced it had updated Reagan-era operating guidelines for the U.S. intelligence community. The revised Executive Order 12333 established guidelines for overseas spying and called for better sharing of information with local law enforcement. It directed the CIA and other spy agencies to "provide specialized equipment, technical knowledge or assistance of expert personnel" to support state and local authorities.

And last week, Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey said that the Justice Department will release new guidelines within weeks to streamline and unify FBI investigations of criminal law enforcement matters and national security threats. The changes will clarify what tools agents can employ and whose approval they must obtain.

The recent moves continue a steady expansion of the intelligence role of U.S. law enforcement, breaking down a wall erected after congressional hearings in 1976 to rein in such activity.

The push to transform FBI and local police intelligence operations has triggered wider debate over who will be targeted, what will be done with the information collected and who will oversee such activities.

Many security analysts faulted U.S. authorities after the 2001 terrorist attacks, saying the FBI was not combating terrorist plots before they were carried out and needed to proactively use intelligence. In the years since, civil liberties groups and some members of Congress have criticized the administration for unilaterally expanding surveillance and moving too fast to share sensitive information without safeguards.

Critics say preemptive law enforcement in the absence of a crime can violate the Constitution and due process. They cite the administration's long-running warrantless-surveillance program, which was set up outside the courts, and the FBI's acknowledgment that it abused its intelligence-gathering privileges in hundreds of cases by using inadequately documented administrative orders to obtain telephone, e-mail, financial and other personal records of U.S. citizens without warrants.

Former Justice Department official Jamie S. Gorelick said the new FBI guidelines on their own do not raise alarms. But she cited the recent disclosure that undercover Maryland State Police agents spied on death penalty opponents and antiwar groups in 2005 and 2006 to emphasize that the policies would require close oversight.

"If properly implemented, this should assure the public that people are not being investigated by agencies who are not trained in how to protect constitutional rights," said the former deputy attorney general. "The FBI will need to be vigilant -- both in its policies and its practices -- to live up to that promise."

German, an FBI agent for 16 years, said easing established limits on intelligence-gathering would lead to abuses against peaceful political dissenters. In addition to the Maryland case, he pointed to reports in the past six years that undercover New York police officers infiltrated protest groups before the 2004 Republican National Convention; that California state agents eavesdropped on peace, animal rights and labor activists; and that Denver police spied on Amnesty International and others before being discovered.

"If police officers no longer see themselves as engaged in protecting their communities from criminals and instead as domestic intelligence agents working on behalf of the CIA, they will be encouraged to collect more information," German said. "It turns police officers into spies on behalf of the federal government."

Civil liberties groups also have warned that forthcoming Justice Department rules for the FBI may permit the use of terrorist profiles that could single out religious or ethnic groups such as Muslims or Arabs for investigation.

Mukasey said the changes will give the next president "some of the tools necessary to keep us safe" and will not alter Justice rules that prohibit investigations based on a person's race, religion or speech. He said the new guidelines will make it easier for the FBI to use informants, conduct physical and photographic surveillance, and share data in intelligence cases, on the grounds that doing so should be no harder than in investigations of ordinary crimes.

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said that updating police intelligence rules is a move "in the right direction. However, the vagueness of the provisions giving broad access to criminal intelligence to undefined agencies . . . is very troubling."

Staff writers Joby Warrick and Ellen Nakashima contributed to this report.

Velvet Revolution (VR) is working with Ohio election attorneys Cliff Arnebeck, Bob Fitrakis and Henry Eckert to discover the truth about recent information indicating that Karl Rove was the architect and director of a strategy to manipulate elections through the use of computers. Rove's cyber guru, Michael Connell, has worked for the Bush family for over 20 years and helped Bush Sr., Jeb and Bush Jr. "win" their elections using his computer skills.

Whistleblowers, including a Republican cyber security expert, say that several of these and other national elections have been rigged through various invisible and illegal means, including vote tabulation manipulation, improper partisan use of the Justice Department to target Democrats and uncooperative U.S. Attorneys, and the laundering of hundreds of millions of corporate dollars funneled into fake advocacy groups directed against Democrat candidates running for public office.

Ex-Alabama Governor Don Siegelman has stated publicly that Rove was the person who directed Siegelman's rigged election and criminal prosecution. GOP cyber sleuth Stephen Spoonamore has stated publicly that the leadership of the GOP has been "lying and stealing elections" and doing so through computers.

According to the attorneys, Rove's goal with this strategy is to establish a unitary executive branch with a supportive judiciary, a weak legislature and a fearful press. Corporate sponsors of this strategy, such as tobacco, energy, telecom, and pharmaceutical companies, are rewarded with hands-off government, deregulated oversight, stringent limits on class-action damages, and the stacking of high courts with pro-business/anti-consumer Justices.

VR's campaign is in support of the Ohio attorneys' use of a federal civil lawsuit in a new legal strategy of taking targeted discovery and depositions of those who have been identified as being involved with, or having knowledge of, Rove's "CyberGate," including Rove, Michael Connell, Jack Abramoff, Michael Scanlon, Bob Ney, Brett Rapp, Ken Blackwell and others. The attorneys intend to file a racketeering lawsuit, under RICO, against those identified in this case and will refer any proof of criminal activity to both state and federal authorities for criminal prosecution.

This legal strategy will require significant resources for lawyers, expert witnesses, videotaped depositions, public relations, and investigators. The attorneys will need to go toe to toe with the top lobbyist law firms, which will be hired to represent these targets. One of those targets is the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has spent close to a half billion dollars on lobbying since George Bush was inaugurated. The attorneys assert that Rove has used the Chamber to bankroll many of the illegal attacks by using fake front groups posing as advocacy organizations. The attorneys will need to respond immediately to what we expect to be a smear campaign by those implicated in this attack on democracy. Press and FEC reports show that Rove and Connell are now working for the McCain presidential campaign.

Are these people now working for John McCain because they have promised him a win no matter what? The "Protect Elections, Prosecute Rove" campaign will ensure that McCain knows exactly what these people have done and hold him to his promise of a clean election.

Russia Tightens Grip iht.com Even as Russia pledged to begin withdrawing its forces from neighboring Georgia on, American officials said that the Russian military has been moving launchers for short-range ballistic missiles into South Ossetia, a step that appears intended to tighten its hold on the breakaway territory. The Russian military deployed several SS-21 missile launchers and supply vehicles to South Ossetia. From the new launching positions north of Tskhinvali, the South Ossetian capital, the missiles can reach much of Georgia, including Tbilisi, the capital.

U.S. Lacks Options on Tough Rhetoric ft.com Stung by the criticism, the Bush administration has adopted an increasingly muscular and high-profile approach to the conflict between Russia and Georgia, including the launch of a humanitarian mission to the war zone involving U.S. military forces. President Bush sharpened his rhetoric, warning that Russian "bullying and intimidation" would not be tolerated. But experts warn that Washington has few effective instruments to match its tough words. Military intervention has been ruled out, and European allies are resisting U.S. pressure to expel Russia from the Group of Eight industrialized nations and bar it from the World Trade Organization.

Clive Crook
Washington Remains Hobbled by Iraq ft.com So far, reaction in the US to Russia's invasion of Georgia has been all Vladimir Putin could have wished. Exhausted in every way by its experience in Iraq (a failure not much mitigated by recent progress there), its authority and sense of purpose quite depleted, the U.S. looked slower and less decisive than Europe in its initial response, and that is saying something.

Stephen Zunes
The U.S. and Georgia huffingtonpost.com The international condemnation of Russian aggression against Georgia is in large part appropriate. But the self-righteous posturing coming out of Washington should be tempered by a sober recognition of the ways in which the United States has contributed to the crisis.

Michael Dobbs
'We Are All Georgians'? Not So Fast. washingtonpost.com Actually, the events of the past week are better understood against the backdrop of the complicated ethnic politics of the Caucasus, a part of the world where historical grudges run deep and oppressed can become oppressors in the bat of an eye.

Record Number of Contractors in Iraq csmonitor.com The American military has depended on private contractors since sutlers sold paper, bacon, sugar, and other small luxuries to Continental Army troops during the Revolutionary War. But the scale of the use of contractors in Iraq is unprecedented in U.S. history, according to a new congressional report that may be the most thorough official account yet of the practice. As of early 2008, at least 190,000 private personnel were working on US-funded projects in the Iraq theater, the Congressional Budget Office survey found. That means that for each uniformed member of the US military in the region, there was also a contract employee — a ratio of 1 to 1.

Prosecutors Target Blackwater Staff reuters.com U.S. prosecutors have sent letters to six Blackwater security guards involved in a 2007 Baghdad shooting, in a move that could lead to groundbreaking criminal indictments. Bodyguards from U.S. security firm Blackwater Worldwide opened fire in a traffic jam last September, killing 17 Iraqi civilians while escorting a convoy of U.S. diplomats through the capital under a contract with the State Department. The Iraqi government called it a "massacre" and demanded the right to try the guards. Iraqis were further upset when the State Department renewed Blackwater's contract. The question of where and how the contractors can be tried has yet to be publicly resolved, and the incident set off debate in Washington on the use of contractors in war.

Army Faces Major Deficit washingtonpost.com The Army's growth plans and the demands of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are contributing to a shortfall of thousands of majors, critical mid-level officers whose ranks are not expected to be replenished for five years, according to Army data and a recent officers survey. Majors plan and direct day-to-day military operations for Army battalions, the units primarily responsible for waging the counterinsurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan. Throughout the Army, majors fill key roles as senior staff members, putting together war plans, managing personnel and coordinating logistics. The gap in majors represents about half of the Army's current shortage of more than 4,000 officers, and officials say there are no easy solutions to the deficit.

Ray McGovern
Out Damned Blot: A Letter to Colin Powell counterpunch.org If you were blindsided, well, here's an opportunity to try to wipe off some of the blot. There is no need for you to end up like Lady Macbeth, wandering around aimlessly muttering, Out damned spot...or blot. You now have a unique opportunity to do some rehab on your reputation.

Thomas Palley
Social Origins of the American Corporate Predator State thomaspalley.com The predatory nature of contemporary U.S. governance is quintessentially linked to corporations, and it is also a uniquely American phenomenon.

James K. Galbraith
What is To Be Done? tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com These days everyone is playing from the Keynesian play-book. The problem is that no-one admits to it. And the question is, to what end? To what purpose should the policy tools be put? We have a problem of government. It needs to be dealt with in two broad phases. The first concerns dealing with predators. The second is the program going forward.

Terrence Mcnally And Susan Jacoby
How Anti-Intellectualism is Destroying America alternet.org Sad but true: Intelligence is a political liability in the U.S. Author of The Age of American Unreason Susan Jacoby explains why.