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Saturday, March 01, 2008

Dean's Legacy: Embraced By Obama, Rejected By Clinton

The Dean Legacy
[from the March 17, 2008 issue]
On November 7, 2006, all the top Democrats graced the stage of the Hyatt Regency ballroom in Washington for a big election-night victory party. All of them, that is, except Howard Dean, chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). The party leadership had accused Dean of spending too much money on rebuilding moribund parties in red states and not enough on key Congressional races where Democratic pickups could strengthen their narrow majority. The results that night, as Democrats recaptured Congress, seemed to settle the argument in Dean's favor. But key Democrats, including Representative Rahm Emanuel, a former senior adviser to President Clinton, weren't satisfied, and Dean opted to stay away from the celebration, doing TV interviews instead. A week later, Democratic strategist James Carville, another prominent Clintonite, labeled the DNC leadership "Rumsfeldian in its competence," and called on Dean to resign. He floated the name of Harold Ford Jr., now chair of the right-leaning Democratic Leadership Council, as a replacement. There was rampant speculation inside the Beltway that Carville wasn't offering an unsolicited opinion but rather carrying water for the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton.
A few months earlier, The New Republic had reported that Clinton's camp was "laying the groundwork to circumvent the DNC in the event that Clinton wins the nomination." This shadow DNC had a number of integral parts: adviser Harold Ickes would develop state-of-the-art technology to help Clinton reach prospective voters; EMILY's List and Clinton's allies in organized labor would launch an unprecedented effort to turn out supporters, especially women voters; former DNC chair Terry McAuliffe would raise untold sums from wealthy donors and the business community; and communications honcho Howard Wolfson would direct an unrelenting war room. Ever since 1992 the Clintons had used the DNC as an outpost for raising money from big donors, and funding candidates had taken precedence over nurturing progressive organizers. That model would continue into '08. Dean could remain at the DNC as a figurehead but only if he stayed in line.
And then the effort to marginalize Dean collapsed. Partly it's because the party's Congressional takeover--and a subsequent study by Harvard's Elaine Kamarck documenting Dean's contributions toward that end--eventually silenced the Carville-ites. Partly it's because Barack Obama forced the Clintons to devote all their resources to fending off his insurgent candidacy. But another reason the DNC-in-exile never got off the ground was Dean himself. Dean is no longer a marginalized figure, the butt of "Dean scream" jokes, but a man with a powerful constituency in regions where his fifty-state strategy has energized aging, ailing or previously nonexistent state parties. His support to these parties has not only strengthened them but has created an independent power base for Dean himself.
Dean has remained fastidiously neutral and low-key in this presidential cycle. Yet a number of his top supporters believe the Clinton-Obama contest has become a referendum on the kind of grassroots party building and citizen empowerment Dean pioneered as a presidential candidate and continued as DNC chair. On that issue most Deaniacs, not surprisingly, side with Obama. "Ever since the TV era began in 1960, every single presidential campaign in America has been top-down," says Joe Trippi, Dean's '04 campaign guru and an adviser to John Edwards before he dropped out of the race. "Only two have been bottom-up. One was Dean. The other is Obama." >>>cont
Christy said
I don't think there is anything Hillary can do at this point. She is not facing an competitor but a phenomena.
It all seems so surreal.
Kangaroo said
Wonderful isn't it, gives you some faith back in the American Voting Public, maybe they won't be able to steal this ELECTION.

Paul Tait of Reuters reports: "Violent civilian deaths in Iraq rose 36 percent in February from the previous month after a series of large-scale bombings blamed on al-Qaeda, Iraqi government figures showed on Saturday."

Ben Griffin: Former SAS, Banned Speech to Anti-War Rally

Video and Text
Ben Griffin, the ex-SAS trooper who this week revealed the extensive British collaboration with US rendition and torture, was served with an injunction immediately after speaking at the London World Against War rally last night. The government is trying to gag Ben to prevent any more revelations about British involvement in the US policy of kidnapping people and sending them to secret centres for interrogation and torture.

Their mission? To tell the story of the war in the terms of those who have actually lived it.

Reporting for Truthout, Maya Schenwar writes, "Thirty-seven years ago, in the midst of a bitter-cold Michigan winter, 109 Vietnam veterans gathered at a Howard Johnson Motel auditorium in Detroit to tell their stories. For three days, they told of ransacking undefended villages, attacking civilians, mutilating bodies, torturing Viet Cong suspects, burning houses, destroying Vietnamese property and livestock and killing innocent children."

Federal Judge Delays Decision on Distribution of Billions of Dollars in Enron Lawsuit

Judge delays decision on Enron funds
Feb 29, 2008 23:25 EST
Enron Corp. shareholders and investors hoping to get their cut of more than $7.2 billion recovered as part of a lawsuit they filed in connection with the company's collapse are going to have to wait a little longer.
A federal judge on Friday delayed a decision on whether to approve a plan to distribute the money, part of a $40 billion lawsuit alleging that financial institutions that worked with Enron participated in the accounting fraud that led to the company's downfall.
U.S. District Judge Melinda Harmon also held off on whether to approve $688 million in attorneys' fees being requested by San Diego-based Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins LLP, the law firm for the lead plaintiffs in the case. If approved, the attorneys' fees would be the largest in a securities fraud case.
After a 4 1/2 hour hearing during which attorneys, Enron investors and former Enron employees argued both for and against the distribution plan and the attorney fees, Harmon said she would make decisions on both issues as soon as possible.
Patrick Coughlin, attorney for the regents of the University of California, who are the lead plantiffs, called the plan to distribute the $7.2 billion "fair and reasonable."
"The plan is doing whatever it can to help employees get whatever they can," he said.
Laurie Kellman, writing for The Associated Press, reports, "Attorney General Michael Mukasey refused Friday to refer the House's contempt citations against two of President Bush's top aides to a federal grand jury. Mukasey said White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and former presidential counsel Harriet Miers committed no crime."

Cheney Document Pushing For Global U.S. Military Dominance Released

"Prevent the Reemergence of a New Rival"
The Making of the Cheney Regional Defense Strategy, 1991-1992
Declassified Studies from Cheney Pentagon Show Push for U.S. Military Predominance and a Strategy to "Prevent the Reemergence of a New Rival"
Ralph Blumenthal of The New York Times reports: "Texans have never seen anything like this stampede to the polls for the March 4 face-off that could prove crucial to the presidential hopes of Mr. Obama's Democratic opponent, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, and provide perhaps the final boost to the all-but-anointed Republican nominee, Senator John McCain." And in The Associated Press, Beth Fouhy says that "Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign has raised the possibility of a challenge to Texas' primary and caucus rules just days before the contest, drawing a warning against legal action from the state's Democratic Party."
According to Mark Clayton of The Christian Science Monitor, "The federal government is weighing a Utah company's request to import large amounts of low-level radioactive waste from Italy - a step critics say could lead the United States to become a nuclear garbage dump for the world."

Friday, February 29, 2008

A Compendium of Crime...

DiAnne brought to us this list of corrupt Bush Administration officials who have either resigned or need to. It was posted on the Home page. If you're like me, sometimes you might forget to check the home page. So I'm posting it here where everyone can see it and comment on it. I will also be sending this compilation to my email list. How else can we spread the truth?)I wanted to share here this list of corrupt Bush Administration officials who either have resigned or need to. The research was done by some of the staff at Talking Points Memo. Since the list could be endless, they narrowed it down with a requirement that there had to have been a criminal probe or had completely corrupted the office they held. So these people are bad, since Karl Rove didn't even make the cut. They also had to be political appointees or such insiders that they may as well have been.
Indicted / Convicted/ Pled Guilty
* Eric G. Andell - deputy undersecretary of newly Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools - pleaded guilty to one count of conflict of interest for using government travel for personal causes
* Claude Allen - Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy- resigned, pled guilty to shoplifting from Target stores.
* Lester Crawford - Commissioner, FDA - resigned after only two months on the job. He pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts, making a false writing and conflict of interest.
* Brian Doyle - Deputy Press Secretary, Department of Homeland Security - Resigned in wake of child sex scandal. He pleaded no contest to seven counts of use of a computer to seduce a child and sixteen counts of transmitting harmful material to a minor. He is to register as a sex offender.
* Steven Griles - Deputy Secretary at the Interior Department - is the highest-ranked administration official yet convicted in the Jack Abramoff scandal.
* John T. Korsmo – Chairman of the Federal Housing Finance Board – pleaded guilty in 2005 to lying to the Senate and an inspector general. He swore he had no idea how a list of presidents for FHFB-regulated banks were invited to a fundraiser for his friend's congressional campaign. On the invites, Korsmo was listed as the "Special Guest."
* Scooter Libby - Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff - resigned after being indicted for lying to a grand jury and investigators in connection with the investigation stemming from the leak of Valerie Wilson’s covert CIA operative's identity. President Bush commuted Libby's sentence by removing the thirty months in prison he was to serve.
* David Safavian - Office of Federal Procurement Policy at the Office of Management and Budget - convicted of lying to ethics officials and Senate investigators about his ties to lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
* Robert Stein - former comptroller for Coalition Provisional Authority, Iraq - pleaded guilty to conspiracy, bribery, conspiracy to commit money laundering, possession of a machine gun, and being a felon in possession of a fire arm.
* Roger Stillwell - desk officer, Interior Department - pleaded guilty to failing to report Redskins tickets and free dinners from Jack Abramoff.
Resigned Due to Investigation, Pending Investigation or Allegations of Impropriety
* Philip Cooney - chief of staff, White House Council on Environmental Quality - oil industry lawyer with no scientific expertise, resigned after it was revealed he had watered down reports on global warming.* George Deutsch - press aide, NASA - resigned amid allegations he prevented the agency's top climate scientist from speaking publicly about global warming.
* Michael Elston - chief of staff to Deputy Attorney General McNulty - announced his resignation. Despite allegations that he’d threatened at least four of the eight fired US Attorneys, McNulty said Elston had served the Justice Department "with distinction for nearly eight years."
* Kyle Dustin “Dusty” Foggo - appointed executive director of the CIA - resigned and was ultimately indicted on bribery charges related to the Duke Cunningham scandal.
* Alberto Gonzales - Attorney General - resigned without explanation amidst investigations of the firings of U.S. Attorneys, the politicization of the Justice Department, warrantless surveillance, and the torture and mistreatment of detainees.
* Monica Goodling - senior counsel to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales - resigned amidst investigation of firings of U.S. Attorneys.
* Michelle Larson Korsmo - deputy chief of staff, Department of Labor - Helped her husband with his donor scam. Left her Labor plum job before news broke that she and her husband were the targets of a criminal probe.
* Howard "Cookie" Krongard - State Department inspector general -- accused of not properly investigating State Department contractor fraud in Iraq and Afghanistan; retaliating against whistleblowers; not telling the truth about his brother's ties with Blackwater.
* Julie Macdonald - former deputy assistant secretary at the Interior Department - resigned after an she improperly leaked information to private organizations, bullied staff scientists and broke federal rules."
* Paul McNulty - Deputy Attorney General for the Department of Justice – resigned, after questions about his involvement in the U.S. attorney firings and his testimony to Congress about the firings.* Richard Perle - Chairman, Defense Policy Board - resigned from Pentagon advisory panel amid conflict-of-interest charges.
* Susan Ralston - assistant, White House - resigned amidst revelations that she had accepted thousands of dollars in gifts from Abramoff without compensating him, counter to White House ethics rules.
* Janet Rehnquist - Department of Health and Human Services - resigned in the face of an investigation into her alleged efforts to block a politically dangerous probe on behalf of the Bush family.
* James Roche - secretary, U.S. Air Force - resigned in the wake of the Boeing tanker lease scandal, after it was revealed he pushed for Boeing to win a $23 billion contract.
* Kyle Sampson - chief of staff for Attorney General Gonzales - resigned amidst the investigation of firings of U.S. Attorneys.
* Joseph Schmitz - Inspector General, Defense - Resigned amid charges he personally intervened to protect top political appointees.
* Bradley Schlozman - resigned from the Justice Department after actively politicizing the department. He's currently under investigation by the Department's inspector general.
* Thomas Scully - Administrator, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services - after Scully resigned, Department of Health and Human Services inspector general found Scully pressured the agency's actuary to underestimate the cost of Medicare reform bill by $100 billion until after Congress passed the bill.
* David Smith - deputy assistant secretary for fish, wildlife, and parks, Interior Department - resigned after shooting a buffalo and accepting its skeletal remains and meat as an illegal gratuity.
* John Tanner - Voting Rights Section Chief, Justice Department - resigned and moved to the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices. Under suspicion for aiding efforts to politicize the voting section,he angered lawmakers with his comments that such voter protection laws discriminate against white voters because "minorities die first".
* Sara Taylor - Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Political Affairs, Karl Rove´s top aide - resigned amidst the U.S. attorneys investigation and other probes of Rove´s alleged politicization of the government.
* Ken Tomlinson - Board Chairman, Corporation for Public Broadcasting - resigned at release of an inspector general report concluding he broke laws in spending CPB money to hire politically connected consultants to search for "bias". A separate investigation found he was running a "horse racing operation" out of his office.
* Carl Truscott - Director, Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Bureau - resigned. A report by the Justice Department's inspector general found that Truscott wasted tens of thousands of dollars on luxuries, millions on whimsical management decisions and violated ethics rules by ordering employees to help his nephew with a high school video project.
* Paul Wolfowitz - World Bank President - resigned after a committee report found that he broke ethics rules by giving his girlfriend a substantial raise.
Nomination Failed Due to Scandal
* Linda Chavez - nominated, Secretary of Labor - withdrew her nomination amidst revelations that an illegal immigrant lived in her home and worked for her in the early 1990s.
* Timothy Flanigan - nominated, Deputy Attorney General withdrew his nomination amidst revelations that he'd worked closely with Abramoff when he was General Counsel for Corporate and International Law at Tyco, a client of Abramoff's.
* Bernard Kerik - nominated, Secretary, Department of Homeland Security - withdrew his nomination amidst a host of corruption allegations. Pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor relating to improper gifts totaling tens of thousands of dollars while a New York City official in the 1990's. Kerik was indicted on sixteen counts for bribery, tax fraud, and false statements.
* William Mercer - the former associate deputy attorney general and US Attorney for Montana - withdrew his nomination to be the permanent number three official at the Department of Justice due to his role in the U.S. attorney firings.
* Hans von Spakovsky - Commissioner, FEC - nomination to another term after his recess appointment failed due to allegations that he'd worked at the Justice Department to suppress minority voter turnout.
Under Investigation But Still in Office
* Stuart Bowen - Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) - was admired for successes investigating allegations of waste and fraud in Iraq, but now allegations prompted four government investigations into Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR).
* Lurita Doan - Administrator of the U.S. General Services Administration - still in office, despite investigations by both the Office of Special Counsel and the House oversight committee that found that Doan had "crossed the line" by suggesting that the GSA use its resources to help Republicans get elected.
* Alfonso Jackson - Secretary of Housing and Urban Development - following reports that Jackson told a business group he once canceled a contract after the contractor criticized Bush, an investigation by HUD inspector general found that while Jackson told his deputies to favor Bush supporters, there was "no direct proof that a contract was actually awarded or rescinded because of political affiliation."
Rats have left the sinking ship but it's still infested. We need to run the bums out.

Pentagon General Counsel Resigns

Ross Tuttle reports for The Nation, "William J. Haynes, the Pentagon's chief legal officer and overseer of Guantanamo's Military Commissions, is stepping down, amid mounting controversy over the tribunal process, so he can 'return to private life,' the Department of Defense announced late on Monday.... Haynes will leave behind a commissions process that is embattled and discredited - and he bears much of the blame."

Republicans Take Down Don Siegelman - Part 1

Republicans Take Down Don Siegelman - Part 2

McCain’s Canal Zone Birth Prompts Queries About Whether That Rules Him Out

Countdown:Drudge Report Blows Prince Harry’s Cover In Afghanistan

Download Play Download Play
File this one under Prince Harming. Apparently, Matt Drudge thought he had an exclusive on Prince Harry’s whereabouts serving in the military in Afghanistan. It turns out that he didn’t get the exclusive, but as Keith Olbermann points out on Thursday’s Countdown, he does get all the blame - the blame for endangering Harry by revealing his location which had been kept a secret. More from The Independent UK:

Sunni Forces Losing Patience With U.S.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Marine Corps unit deploys to Iraq for a record fifth tour

When FP recently surveyed more than 3,400 retired and active duty military officers holding the rank of major or above, 60 percent told us that they believe the U.S. military today is weaker than it was five years ago at the start of the Iraq war. Asked why, a majority told us they believe it is due to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the pace of troop deployments those missions require.
It is not uncommon for Marine Corps units, in particular, to serve two, three, or even four deployments to Iraq. But yesterday, something unique happened. The 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment (3/4) based at Twentynine Palms, California, reportedly became the first Marine Corps unit to be deployed to Iraq a record five times.

Iraq war 'caused slowdown in the US'

THE IRAQI WAR-"Was A Central Cause Of The Sub-Prime Banking Crisis Threatening The World"
Wilson, Europe correspondent February 28, 2008
THE Iraq war has cost the US 50-60 times more than the Bush administration predicted and was a central cause of the sub-prime banking crisis threatening the world economy, according to Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz.
The former World Bank vice-president yesterday said the war had, so far, cost the US something like $US3trillion ($3.3 trillion) compared with the $US50-$US60-billion predicted in 2003.
Professor Stiglitz told the Chatham House think tank in London that the Bush White House was currently estimating the cost of the war at about $US500 billion, but that figure massively understated things such as the medical and welfare costs of US military servicemen.
The spending on Iraq was a hidden cause of the current credit crunch because the US central bank responded to the massive financial drain of the war by flooding the American economy with cheap credit.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Off to the Gold Coast for 3 days.

Imperial Power
Scott Ritter - 3 Minute Video
Becoming That Which We Have Rejected.
By Chris Hedges
Iraq no longer exists as a unified state. It is a series of heavily armed fiefdoms run by thugs, gangs, militias, radical Islamists and warlords who are often paid wages of $300 a month by the U.S. military.
Where's The Iraqi Voice?
By Noam Chomsky
According to Iraqis, there is hope of national reconciliation if the invaders, responsible for the internal violence, withdraw and leave Iraq to Iraqis.

Analysis by Ali al-Fadhily and Dahr Jamail
The Iraqi government has issued instructions to all security and health offices not to give out the body count to the media. Dozens of bodies are found every day across Baghdad, residents say. Morgue officials confirm this.

In Case You Missed It
Dahr Jamail - Unembedded Journalist talks about his amazing experiences reporting the Iraqi side of the war. Torture, white phosphorus and deadly attacks unfold in graphic stories of the American occupation.

Report: Rove Wanted Dirt on Alabama Governor

The Associated Press reports, "A former Republican campaign worker claims that President Bush's former top political adviser, Karl Rove, asked her to find evidence that the Democratic governor of Alabama at the time was cheating on his wife, according to an upcoming broadcast of '60 Minutes.'"
According to Stephen Graham of The Associated Press, "Days after opposition parties triumphed in elections, lawyers chanting for President Pervez Musharraf's resignation were tugging at the barricades around the home of the judge whose ouster and house arrest helped trigger Pakistan's political crisis."

Alex Gibney's Oscar winning film documents the Bush Administration's reckless disregard for human rights and the rule of law.

How Did America Become a Country That Tortures?
They're a very frail people and I was surprised it had taken that long for one of 'em to die in our custody.
- Pfc. Damien Corsetti, Military Intelligence, Bagram

If the FBI had felt that there was a case to answer for, they wouldn't have taken me into Bagram where I was held, heard the sounds of a woman screaming next door, had me hogtied and threatened to send me to Egypt in order to get me to sign this.
- Moazzam Begg, Now 2006 July 28
Cynthia Fuchs reviews the Oscar-winning documentary "Taxi to the Dark Side" for PopMatters: "In December 2002, a 22-year-old Afghan taxi driver named Dilawar was picked up and delivered to the Bagram Air Force Base prison. Five days later, he was dead. Sgt. Thomas Curtis, one of the Military Police at Bagram, remembers, 'There was definitely a sense of concern because he was the second one. You wonder, was it something we did?' As detailed in Alex Gibney's devastating documentary, Taxi to the Dark Side, Dilawar's demise was officially termed a homicide, like the first detainee to die at Bagram, Habibullah."

Battle Company Is Out There

Elizabeth Rubin reports for The New York Times: "I went to Afghanistan last fall with a question: Why, with all our technology, were we killing so many civilians in air strikes? ... After a few days, the first question sparked more: Was there a deeper problem in the counterinsurgency campaign? More than 100 American soldiers were killed last year, the highest rate since the invasion. Why were so many more American troops being killed? To find out, I spent much of the fall in the Korengal Valley and elsewhere in Kunar province alongside soldiers who were making life-and-death decisions almost every day - decisions that led to the deaths of soldiers and of civilians."

George W. Bush created "the greatest foreign policy disaster in American history."

Fall Of The House Of Bush--A Book Review
By Olga Bonfiglio
Although most Americans regard September 11 as the single event that changed the world, journalist Craig Unger would argue that the 2000 presidential election served as a convergence of the Neoconservatives, Christian Fundamentalists and George W. Bush created "the greatest foreign policy disaster in American history."

Remember Katrina

By Rob Kall

Bush's dumping and leaving almost a quarter million Katrina victims, mostly black, in Texas, may be a big gift to Obama.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Aesthetics of Occupation

Layla Anwar, An Arab Woman Blues
...A myopic, ignorant, Westerner wrote to me and said: "How do I hook a worn out, patriotic old rag? How do I reel in an unwanted, rusted Iraqi tin can? More to the point, how do I manage carnal knowledge of its contents? How can you say you are unwanted? How can you think you have no future?" Why can't people conceive of the personal and the collective as one ? A common destiny, that we carry inside of us, like some collective gene pool. This is not about me, this is about us. And us, as we stand today, have no future. We have been robbed of a vision of a future. That is fact. And if someone can still come up with so much ignorant "philosophical" crap -- then they have understood nothing at all about occupation, mass genocide, torture, rape... loss of reference, loss of trust, loss of meaning...loss of Life in a philosophical sense, since you are all so bent on philosophy. They have not confronted that deep existential abyss of occupation with no end in sight. A hideous occupation with all of its facets and consequences... continua / continued

Demolitions continue on shaky ground

The Sydney Morning Herald
The farmers of Beit Ula spent two years preparing their new groves of fruit and nut and olive trees, clearing rocks, building stone terraces and digging deep cisterns to catch the scarce rainwater. It took the Israeli Army less than a day to destroy it. "We heard they were here at 6.30 in the morning, when it was still dark," said Sami al-Adam, one of eight farmers whose terraces were bulldozed on January 15. "There must have been dozens of soldiers with jeeps and bulldozers and they brought a lot of Filipino workers, or maybe they were Thai, who pulled up the trees and cut them and buried them so we wouldn't be able to plant them again," he said.... continua / continued
He said the troops have been on standby to offer backup to Iraqi forces in the south for the past two years but were no longer needed, Houston said.==
THE bill for Australia's involvement in the war in Iraq is set to top $2bn by 2010, Australian Defence Force chief Angus Houston says.
U.S. Army Central is establishing a permanent platform for "full spectrum operations" in 27 countries around southwest Asia and the Middle East, its commander says.
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