Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Holy Cow: Top Dems Are Serious About Investigating Bush's Criminal Acts

Holy Cow: Top Dems Are Serious About Investigating Bush's Criminal Acts



"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) –


As President Barack Obama reverses some of ex-President George W. Bush's most controversial "war on terror" policies, a consensus seems to be building among Democratic congressional leaders that further investigations are needed into Bush's use of torture and other potential crimes. 


On Wednesday--the first working day of the Obama administration--Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he would support funding and staff for additional fact-finding by the Senate Armed Services Committee, which last month released a report tracing abuse of detainees at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib to Bush's Feb. 7, 2002, decision to exclude terror suspects from Geneva Convention protections.


Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, who issued that report, echoed Reid's comments, saying "there needs to be an accounting of torture in this country." Levin, D-Michigan, also said he intends to encourage the Justice Department and incoming Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate torture practices that took place while Bush was in office. 

Two other key Democrats joined in this growing chorus of lawmakers saying that serious investigations should be conducted. 

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-Rhode Island, a former federal prosecutor and a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a floor speech, "As the President looks forward and charts a new course, must someone not also look back, to take an accounting of where we are, what was done, and what must now be repaired." 

Democratic Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland told reporters: "Looking at what has been done is necessary." 

On Jan. 18, two days before Obama's inauguration, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi expressed support for House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers's plan to create a blue-ribbon panel of outside experts to probe the "broad range" of policies pursued by the Bush administration "under claims of unreviewable war powers." 

In an interview with Fox News' Chris Wallace, Pelosi specifically endorsed a probe into the politicization of the Justice Department, but didn't spell out a position on Conyers's plan to examine the Bush administration's torture and rendition policies, which could prove embarrassing to Pelosi and other Democratic leaders who were briefed by the CIA about these tactics. 

Still, when Wallace cited Obama's apparent unwillingness to investigate the Bush administration, Pelosi responded: "I think that we have to learn from the past, and we cannot let the politicizing of the--for example, the Justice Department--to go unreviewed. Past is prologue. We learn from it. And my views on the subject--I don't think that Mr. Obama and Mr. Conyers are that far apart." 

The emerging consensus among top congressional Democrats for some form of investigation into Bush's controversial policies has surprised some progressives who had written off the leadership long ago for blocking impeachment hearings and other proposals for holding Bush and his subordinates accountable. 

In 2006, for instance, Pelosi famously declared that "impeachment is off the table," and prior to Election 2008, the Democratic leadership largely acquiesced to Bush's demands for legislation that supported his "war on terror" policies, including a compromise bill granting legal immunity to telecommunications companies that assisted in Bush's warrantless wiretaps. 

A Changed Tone 

Since the election--in which the Democrats increased their congressional majorities and won the White House--key Democrats have begun releasing more information about Bush's abuses of power. 

Besides Levin's findings on mistreatment of detainees, Conyers published a 487-page report entitled "Reining in the Imperial Presidency: Lessons and Recommendations Relating to the Presidency of George W. Bush"--that calls for the creation of a blue-ribbon panel and independent criminal probes into the Bush administration's conduct in the "war on terror." 

Conyers urged the Attorney General to "appoint a Special Counsel or expand the scope of the present investigation into CIA tape destruction to determine whether there were criminal violations committed pursuant to Bush administration policies that were undertaken under unreviewable war powers, including enhanced interrogation, extraordinary rendition, and warrantless domestic surveillance." 

Last year, Bush's Attorney General Michael Mukasey appointed U.S. Attorney John Durham as special counsel to investigate whether the destruction of CIA videotapes that depicted interrogators waterboarding alleged terrorist detainees violated any laws. Durham was not given the authority to probe whether the interrogation techniques themselves violated anti-torture laws. 

"At present, the Attorney General has agreed only to appoint a special U.S. Attorney to determine whether the destruction of videotapes depicting the waterboarding of a detainee constituted violations of federal law," Conyers's report said. 

"Despite requests from Congress, that prosecutor has not been asked to investigate whether the underlying conduct being depicted--the waterboarding itself or other harsh interrogation techniques used by the military or the CIA--violated the law." Appointment of a special counsel would be in the public interest (e.g., it would help dispel a cloud of doubt over our law enforcement system)." 

Additional evidence about the Bush administration's actions is expected to become available in the coming weeks as the Obama administration loosens the secrecy that has surrounded Bush's "war on terror," a phrase that Obama and his team have effectively dropped from Washington's lexicon. 

Obama's aides have indicated that there soon may be a "public airing" of secret Justice Department legal opinions and other documents that provided the underpinning for the Bush administration's brutal interrogation policies. 

Levin also indicated that he expects to release the full Armed Services Committee report--covering an 18-month investigation--in about two or three weeks.  Levin added that he would ask the Senate Intelligence Committee to conduct its own investigation of torture as implemented by the CIA. 

Meanwhile, Republicans have grown increasingly worried that Holder, as Attorney General, will launch a criminal investigation into Bush's interrogation policies. They delayed a vote on his nomination demanding that he respond to questions about whether he intends to investigate and/or prosecute Bush administration officials. 

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said he wants to ask Holder whether he intends to investigate the Bush administration and intelligence officials for torture 

Last week, at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Holder was asked about the practice of waterboarding, a form of simulated drowning that the Bush administration has acknowledged using against three terror suspects. Holder answered that "waterboarding was torture." 

Cornyn said Holder's view means there is a possibility that investigations might be on the horizon. 

"Part of my concern, frankly, relates to some of his statements at the hearing in regard to torture and what his intentions are with regard to intelligence personnel who were operating in good faith based upon their understanding of what the law was," Cornyn said Wednesday. 

Jason Leopold is the former Los Angeles bureau chief of Dow Jones Newswires where he spent two years covering the energy crisis and the Enron bankruptcy. He just finished writing a book about the crisis, due out in December through Rowman & Littlefield. 

The Existentialist Cowboy: Thinking Clearly About Bush Atrocities ...
By Len Hart 
As the US is signatory to treaties prohibiting 
Bush's actions, what has Brookings to say about the undeniable fact that George W. Bush committed war crimes violating both US Codes and US treaty commitments, crimes for ...
The Existentialist Cowboy - http://existentialistcowboy.blogspot.com/


Should Obama prosecute Bush and Cheney? « Dandelion Salad
The Real News spoke to David and Dr. E. Faye Williams, chair of the National Congress of Black Women about whether Obama should pursue prosecution of 
Bush and Cheney for war crimes. Dr. Faye believes that while Obama does not want to ...
Dandelion Salad - http://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/


Token Conservative · Don’t go down the road of criminalizing ...
As late as November, I saw the followers of the mysterious, once-Democrat Lyndon LaRouche seeking signatures on petitions to 
impeach Cheney and Bush. With a new administration in office, that effort seems to have lost ...
Token Conservative - http://www.tokenconservative.com/






The Era of Not Getting It: The Marie Antoinettes of the Meltdown

Arianna Huffington


There is plenty of debate about what President Obama's stimulus bill should look like -- as well there should be, given all that is at stake. But there is a growing consensus that the guiding principle in that debate should be Obama's call for a "new era of responsibility."

Helping fuel that consensus is the saga of the rise and fall of former Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain, the poster child for the era of irresponsibility. The condemnation of his behavior is completely bipartisan (although we haven't heard yet what John McCain thinks of one of his biggest fundrasing bundlers).

On this week's Left, Right, and Center, my conservative pal Tony Blankley made the perfect comparison: "Thain and these CEOs have been studying at the Marie Antoinette School of Public Presentation," he said. "The crassness and the stupidity are stunning... They ought to be boiled in oil."

Marie Antoinette and her "let them eat cake" became the symbol of Not Getting It -- of not realizing, until it was too late, that a new era had begun. And just like Marie Antoinette, Thain didn't get it, even as Bank of America CEO Kenneth Lewis was leading him to the corporate guillotine.

In fact, Thain had such a run of not getting it that TPM was able to compile a top ten list of his greatest moments….


Four Things the Republicans Don't Want You to Know About the Economy

Keith Boykin

1. Tax cuts don't always work.

2. Higher taxes don't necessarily hurt.

3. Democrats are better at balancing the budget.

4. Democrats create more jobs.


Deluge of Layoffs Hits Economy

latimes.com — U.S. companies slashed nearly 60,000 jobs Monday, adding impetus to the Obama administration's efforts to reach agreement on a plan to pump $825 billion into the economy over a two-year period. But it's unclear whether even that massive influx of funding and tax cuts would be enough to get companies hiring again in the near term. The cuts by firms including Caterpillar, General Motors, Texas Instruments, Home Depot, Sprint Nextel and Pfizer brought the total of jobs shed so far this month to 187,550, more than November or December and well over double the number of January 2008, according to employment firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.


Bank Bailout Could Cost $4 Trillion

money.cnn.com — The cost of the bank bailout is likely to be much higher than $700 billion. While the Obama administration hasn't asked Congress for more money yet, some experts warn that government spending on support for struggling financial services companies will ultimately reach into the trillions of dollars. The first half of the $700 billion program to help banks has already been spent — mostly on buying up preferred shares of troubled banks. Part of the remaining $350 billion may be used to purchase troubled assets from bank balance sheets and place them in an "aggregator bank." And while taxpayers will surely recover some of that sum eventually, more money is likely to be needed in order for the bank rescue to work.


How to Rescue the Bank Bailout

cnn.com — Throwing hundreds of billions of dollars at the banks has failed to restore them to health, or even to resuscitate the flow of lending. Every day brings further evidence that the losses are greater than had been expected and more and more money will be required. The question is at last being raised: Perhaps the entire strategy is flawed? Perhaps what is needed is a fundamental rethinking.


Lobbying Tops $3 Billion in 2008

usatoday.com — Despite the sharp economic downturn, lobbying spending in the nation's capital surged past $3 billion last year as industries and special-interest groups wooed Congress and federal agencies on a host of issues, including taxpayer bailouts for financial companies and automakers. The record $3.3 billion lobbying price tag is up from $2.9 billion in 2007. Lobbying could soar to higher levels this year as Congress and President Obama hash out a $825 billion stimulus package. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce spent the most of any group, pumping more than $62 million into lobbying in 2008. The business group pressed a range of issues, from opposing efforts making it easier for unions to organize to pushing Congress to pass a $700 billion bailout for the financial industry in October.


Rove Ordered to Testify on Firings


washingtonpost.com — House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers Jr. issued a new subpoena to former Bush White House aide Karl Rove, months after Rove deflected an earlier effort to compel his testimony about the firing of nine U.S. attorneys and other political disputes that swirled around the Justice Department. Conyers's committee subpoenaed Rove on May 22, calling on him to testify about his contacts with department officials in the Bush era. But Rove rebuffed the summons, saying he was barred from testifying because of executive privilege. Yesterday's subpoena may test the limits of that power for the first time since George W. Bush left office, legal experts said.


New Bush/Rove Privilege Fight Looms

George W. Bush is signaling that he intends to extend his broad claims of executive privilege into his post-presidency by keeping political guru Karl Rove from testifying to Congress, writes Jason Leopold. January 27, 2009


The Republic Needs Bush's Prosecution

Despite Official Washington's eagerness to move on, the future of the American Republic requires that George W. Bush and others face the rule of law, argues Ivan Eland in this guest essay. January 27, 2009


Democrats Inch Toward Torture Probe

To the surprise of progressives and consternation of Republicans, top Democrats are backing the idea of investigating torture and other crimes under George W. Bush, reports Jason Leopold. January 23, 2009


Searching for Bush's Prosecutor

Barack Obama faces mounting pressure to appoint a prosecutor to examine George W. Bush's crimes, TheRealNews reports. January 19, 2009


Bush's Deficit May Doom America

The fiscal mess that George W. Bush is leaving behind may complete America's transformation from a great republic to a banana republic, as Robert Higgs notes in this guest essay. January 15, 2009


An Empire That America Can't Afford

Though the unipolar moment has passed for the American Empire, Barack Obama is having trouble coming to grips with this new reality, Ivan Eland observes in this guest essay. January 13, 2009


Bush/Cheney: 'Most Impeachable'

House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers seeks deeper probes into abuses by "most impeachable" President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, Jason Leopold writes. January 14, 2009


FiveThirtyEight.com: Politics Done Right: So Just Who ...
More liberal members of 
congress were more likely to vote for the bailout, holding other variables constant. Interestingly, party affiliation did not appear to be a determinant of voting on this particular bill, except insofar as it was ...
FiveThirtyEight.com: Politics Done Right - http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/




British Pub Beer Sales Tumble by 10 Per Cent

U.K. beer sales in pubs fell by 9.9 per cent in the final quarter of 2008, putting a further big dent in the Treasury's duty revenues, according to figures out today. The decline, revealed in the latest U.K. Quarterly Beer Barometer, means that British beer drinkers quaffed 1.4 million fewer pints in pubs, bars and restaurants than during the last three months of 2007. (timesonline.co.uk)


Rove subpoenaed by Conyers - John Bresnahan and Andy Barr ...
Conyers had previously subpoenaed former White House Counsel Harriet Miers and Josh Bolten, 
Bushformer White House chief of staff, seeking any information they had. Conyers is also seeking White House documents related to the firing of ...
TOP 10 Blogs - http://www.politico.com/


CNN’s Jack Cafferty Compares Speaker Pelosi to Chinese Dictator ...
During his regular “Question of the Hour” segment on Monday’s Situation Room, CNN commentator Jack Cafferty compared House Speaker 
Nancy Pelosi’s idea to spend hundred of millions of dollars on contraception as a cost-reducing measure ...
NewsBusters.org - Exposing Liberal... - http://newsbusters.org/


By Gene Cappa
Poll: Should Obama Ask Chief Justice Roberts To Prosecute Bush For War Crimes?

Just like Truman appointed Chief Justice Robert Jackson to prosecute the Nazis leaders so Obama should ask Chief Justice John Roberts to prosecute George W. Bush for war crimes.


BuzzFlash Mailbag for January 27, 2009
BuzzFlash - Chicago,IL,USA
What about a REALLY, REALLY important story, like PROSECUTING 
Bush and Cheney for WAR CRIMES? Why isn't the mainstream media grabbing onto this story? ...


Kucinich wants Federal Reserve Under Government Control ...
Last Tuesday, the AP reported on a leaked
 Congressional Budget Office (CBO) “analysis” that had concluded that “it will take years before an infrastructure spending program proposed” by President Barack Obama “will boost ...
POLITICAL VLOGZ - http://vlogz.wordpress.com/


Just For Fun Try These

: Birthday Calculator

From Secretary Kleinman My Secretary  Of Comedy Relief…Unveted  and unavailable to answer subpoenas.




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