Monday, November 06, 2006

The Murder of Habeas Corpus

AMERICA IN CHAOS



View: Terror Storm ** From the great mind that brought you documentaries such as "Martial Law 9/11: The Rise of the Police State" and "Dark Secrets Inside Bohemian Grove" comes a new movie to awaken the masses.

TerrorStorm goes into documented cases of government-sponsored terror before exposing the 7/7 bombings as an orchestrated event and brings another update on the current state of the 9/11 Truth Movement. .




ELECTIONS 2006
BLOOD FOR OILGREED DEATHAMERIKKKA

HACKED


DEATH OF CONSTITUTION






UPDATE November 13th 2006

** The BUSHIT nightmare is not over: It has just begun!!**

Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
--- John F. Kennedy, 1962 White House speech (35th president of the United States of America, 1961-1963)


Every politician and pundit has tried to explain why the Republicans lost big.
They all are wrong.
Now, for the first time, hear the truth.

How can all of them be wrong?

Ever wonder why movie critics promote dreary, boring movies filled with plot twists and convoluted language, while regular guys like straightforward action flicks and the average woman is drawn to heart-rending romantic dramas brim full of domestic strife?

Movie critics don't have lives, that's why. They spend all their time watching movies and searching for deep meanings upon which to comment. They are out of touch and incapable of wanting what the rest of us want when we decide to watch a movie. Critics probably started out okay, as pure fans, but a steady diet of anything will change one's taste ("refining it" is the way they would describe the process, of course). Too close to the trees to see the forest, in other words.

Even more out of touch are the movie studio bosses, who fancy themselves as opinion molders, in any event, with their own expectations shaped from wishful thinking born of the lust for money and power. They should ask newspaper publishers and television network owners, hopelessly out to lunch and claiming befuddlement at the rapid decline of their own audiences, just how that attitude is working out for them!

The same rationale applies to the radio/TV talking heads now pontificating upon why the Republicans took a shellacking in the mid-term elections. Pat Buchanan and others opine that Republicans lost because their party lost touch with its core conservative values. Liberal commentators consider it an awakening and revalidation of leftist thinking.

Politicians seem the most out of touch with the message delivered by America's electorate, with some considering it a mandate for Clintonesque government and others a simple repudiation of war done wrong.

Well, listen up, you morons, particularly those of you in Congress, both coming and going, because I am going to tell you, in plain language and without subtle innuendo, exactly what it is that voters said this past week.

None of you has a mandate for anything. Not one. Had each elected position on last week's ballot carried an option marked "leave this job vacant for the entire term," a much larger number of you now would be seeking new employment than you possibly can imagine.

Very few of you actually are wanted in your position. You newly elected are there simply because we wanted to deliver a message to all of you, not because you somehow are better in our eyes. Those of you heading out the door are leaving for the same reason. Make no mistake about this fact and get over yourselves. Are you listening, incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi? Get over yourself and do it now. Our patience with Congressional hubris and incompetence has grown exceedingly thin.

Here's the message: We are fed up with your bullshit. Let me repeat that in words of one syllable for those of you unaccustomed to listening to your constituents: We are fed up with your bull shit. Admit it - you know the truth when you hear it and this is truth at its simplest and most fundamental level.

This has nothing to do with being Democrat or Republican. Neither do conservative nor liberal values figure into the equation. You are not blameless simply because Bush has proven so frightfully bad at being President. After all, you made possible every single thing that he has done. You were our trump card - our safety net - and you let us down!

Above all, we are sick to death of being the World's bad guys! We want America once again to be at the forefront of the good guys. We don't need or want to run the world.

You have proven yourselves incapable of running small nations that America bombs back into the Stone Age on behalf of foreign interests. You thereby have proven our own inability to select decent leadership for ourselves. Why, you have proven incapable of putting your own political party houses in order! Your individual records of corruption, fiscal mismanagement and sexual misbehavior defy description and thus demonstrate your inability, even, to run your own lives. It is folly to think you capable of running the lives of others, let alone entire nations of people and, least of all, the rest of us.

We are through with tolerating the death of our children in foreign lands for the benefit of special interests, particularly those foreign to America. End that stupid war and do it NOW. Get our sons and daughters back home in time for the holidays. Make no mistake about our resolve in this regard, incidentally.

We have had it with the sex scandals and stupid personal behavior of every sort on the part of you clowns. That explains a good deal of why we voted "yes" on Marriage initiatives everywhere they appeared on the ballot. You are there to work on our behalf, not to fornicate and not to molest our children!

Corruption has to be reduced dramatically, if not eliminated altogether. In particular, you had better stop lining your own pockets with bribes and graft while voting yourselves princely wages and perquisites. Thinking yourselves better than the rest of us is salt in the wound. Even more particularly, you had best shut down the Israeli lobby and start tending to traditionally American interests again. Otherwise, consider what the view might be like while dangling from the end of a rope tied to a lamp post.

All of Bush's illegal Executive Orders and Signing Statements are to be declared null and void.

The American police state must be dismantled immediately.
We are not the enemy.
Try to use what you have created and you will learn the real meaning of force.
The Military Commissions Act, Warner Defense Authorization Act, both Patriot Acts and all related limitations upon the U.S. Constitution are to be rescinded.

All prosecutions under these un-Constitutional laws are to stop and all previous convictions are to be vacated with records expunged.
The Department of Homeland Security is to be disbanded.
ITs back to being OUR COUNTRY, OUR NATION, NOT A "HOMELAND"
Michael Chertoff is to be investigated and charged if shown to have acted beyond his authority in any regard.

Remove AMERIKKKAN Laws:
Debt slaves

You must stop spending our grandchildren's wealth. Already, you have squandered that built up over generations by our forebears. We realize it is too late to stop the economic freight train now bearing down upon our children and ourselves, but you must stop this madness before we become a nation of debt slaves in perpetuity.

George Bush and Dick Cheney must be impeached, convicted and removed from office. It is not enough to stop their mindless rampage through domestic freedom and international orderliness via Congressional gridlock. We require a symbolic cleansing. We must show the world and our children that no American is above the law. Afterward, along with their Neocon handlers, they are to be bound over for criminal trial for the high crimes they have committed, particularly their war crimes against all of humanity.



All financial market interference and manipulation must stop now. Devalue the dollar to its true worth, vis-a-vis international currencies and release all other countries from any requirement of using the dollar as the world's reserve currency.

Most important of the financial reforms, the Federal Reserve Bank must be dismantled and its private, mostly foreign, owners required to disgorge their ill-gotten gains. This can be accomplished simply by printing a single Federal Reserve Note with the face value of America's entire national debt plus the value of those foreigners' holdings within America and handing it over to them in payment for their holdings and satisfaction of the mind-boggling sums they claim to be owed. Yes, it can be that easy.

The international banking families who own the Federal Reserve Bank created the problem of the incredible shrinking American dollar to mask their own underlying theft of our wealth. Therefore, they cannot complain if there is no inherent value to what they receive for their exceedingly evil machinations of the past 90 years.

There must be an orderly transition to a new American dollar, limited in its growth by an external, non-manipulable standard.
Gold and silver traditionally have served this purpose, merely because their extraction from the ground has matched, approximately, the general increase in the world's population and productivity. This single, simple expedient automatically will eliminate inflation for all time, together with the related impoverishment that it brings to our parents and grandparents.

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OUR LONG NATIONAL NIGHTMARE HAS JUST BEGUN
Like Cornered Rats, GOP Losers More Dangerous Than Ever
By Ted Rall
NEW YORK--"My fellow Americans," assured incoming president Gerald Ford hours after the Watergate scandals forced
Richard Nixon to resign, "our long national nightmare is over."

I'm tempted, in the aftermath of the widest and most stunning electoral repudiation of Republicanism since Watergate, to mark the Democratic recapture of governorships, the House of Representatives (and probably the Senate) as the beginning of the end of Bush's fascism lite, and thus a long overdue vindication of what I've been saying about him since his December 2000 coup d'état.

Back in 2001 and 2002, state-controlled media called me radical. Now, with most Americans seeing things my way, I'm mainstream. Yet I'm more scared now.

"Iraq," I wrote a week before the 2003 invasion, "will probably be Bush's Waterloo." And so it has been: Exit polls found voters more motivated by opposition to the war than any other issue. "There was general revulsion in the country, particularly among Democrats and independents, against the conduct of the war in
Iraq," said pollster John Zogby. "This was, at the grass roots, a referendum against the war and the president. For Republicans, there was significant disappointment about opportunities lost through enormous budget deficits, threats to civil liberties, a failed social agenda, and the war." Although Democrats failed to nationalize the election, Iraq succeeded: a pitiful seven percent of respondents to the latest Gallup survey still want to "stay the course."

A White House controlled by an unpopular, highly partisan lame duck, a rival party majority without enough votes in Congress to override his veto, and the early start of a highly anticipated 2008 presidential campaign add up to one likely result: gridlock. Bush's legislative and military agendas are dead. But our long national nightmare has just begun.

A Frightening New Security State

We'll be cleaning up Bush's mess long after his scheduled abdication on January 20, 2009. But the trillions of dollars in national debt he has run up and his two losing wars will drain our economy for decades to come. We've provoked a new generation of terrorists. Yet even more damaging and nearly impossible to unravel will be the threats to Americans posed by the neofascist national security apparatus the Bushists will leave behind--unless they use it to remain in power.

Shortly after 9/11 Bush began the first of a long series of power grabs that have transformed him from the leader of a country beholden to its people to an authoritarian despot. He signed a secret executive order granting himself the right to declare anyone in the world, including a U.S. citizen, an "enemy combatant"--without proof--and order him assassinated. Violating federal law and privacy rights, Bush authorized the NSA to listen to our phone calls and read our e-mail.
FBI,
CIA and HomeSec goons "disappeared" thousands of people into a horrible new matrix of concentration camps and secret prisons.

On October 17, 2006 Bush signed the Military Commissions Act. The new law, scarcely mentioned in the media, is breathtaking for the breadth of its attack on basic rights. Under the MCA either the president or the secretary of defense may declare you an "enemy combatant"--as usual, without proof.
Under that designation you may be jailed, without the right to an attorney, for the rest of your life. You can even be tortured. Your U.S. citizenship can't protect you. And it's all "legal."

Concentration Camps

In January 2006 HomeSec awarded a $385 million contract to Kellogg, Brown and Root, the subsidiary of Halliburton Co., to build "temporary detention and processing capabilities"--internment camps--"in the event of an emergency influx of immigrants into the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs."

The question, asks Progressive magazine editor Ruth Conniff, "is what is the government planning to do with mass roundups of people?" After all, Bush and other Republican leaders have spent five years calling Democrats and others who disagree with them traitors and terrorists. Following so much hateful rhetoric, you can't blame liberals for wondering whether they too are about to be declared "enemy combatants." They're not paranoid; they're just paying attention.

And Now, Martial Law

About a week ago some left-wing bloggers began circulating rumors that Bush had secretly signed something called the "John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007" that "allows the president to declare a 'public emergency' and station troops anywhere in America and take control of state-based National Guard units without the consent of the governor or local authorities, in order to 'suppress public disorder.'" I couldn't find the text of the law at the time, formerly H.R. 5122, or a reliable media account, so I decided not to report on it.

I can now confirm the bloggers' account. Bush signed the JWDAA hours after the MCA, in a furtive closed-door White House ceremony. There is, buried deep down in Title V, Subtitle B, Part II, Section 525(a) of the JWDAA, a coup. The Bush Administration has quietly stolen the National Guard away from the states.

Here's the relevant section of Public Law 109-364:

"The [military] Secretary [of the Army, Navy or Air Force] concerned may order a member of a reserve component under the Secretary's jurisdiction to active duty...The training or duty ordered to be performed...may include...support of operations or missions undertaken by the member's unit at the request of the President or Secretary of Defense."

The National Guard, used to maintain order during natural disasters and civil disturbances and the sole vehicle available under U.S. law to enforce a declaration of martial law, has previously been controlled by state governors. They have now been stripped of that control. Thanks to the JWDAA, Bush or Rumsfeld can now deploy National Guardsmen in American cities without obtaining permission from state governors.

Section 526 of the Warner Act goes further still. It states that the "Governor of a State...with the consent of the [military] Secretary concerned, may order a member of the National Guard to perform Active Guard and Reserve duty..." The key word is "may." A governor can no longer deploy the Guard in his or her state without first getting Rumsfeld's permission.

Patrick Leahy (D-VT) sounded the alarm during senatorial debate, but U.S. state-controlled media ignored him. The Warner Act, he said, "includes language that subverts solid, longstanding posse comitatus statutes that limit the military's involvement in law enforcement, thereby making it easier for the President to declare martial law...We fail our Constitution, neglecting the rights of the states, when we make it easier for the president to declare martial law and trample on local and state sovereignty."

Only one governor, Kathleen Blanco of Louisiana, made a fuss over the Warner Act. A spokesman for the National Governors Association requested a wimpy "clarification" concerning what circumstances might prompt Bush to impose martial law. As far as I can determine this column marks the first time the JWDAA has been mentioned in the mainstream media.

Now the dark men who engineered America's post-9/11 police state have watched the public reject their policies. The incoming Democratic majority Congress will be able to hold hearings and launch investigations that could lead to their indictments and removal from office.

John Dingell, the liberal incoming chairman of the Commerce Committee did nothing to dissuade GOP fears of "a blizzard of subpoenas": "As the Lord High Executioner said in 'The Mikado,'" Dingell recently joked, "I have a little list."

A year of crisis commences.

As ugly secrets surface, Bushists will turn desperate.

Democracy has failed their grand schemes; token resignations like Rumsfeld's come too little, too late.
Only tyranny can save their skins.

Will the beleaguered neocons led by Cheney and Bush, cornered like rats, unleash their brand-new police state on their political opponents? Or will they tough it out and suck up the fines and prison sentences to come? The next year or two could go either way.

The nightmare is not over.

Opinion - Ted Rall

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‘Turning the lights on’ in Congress

Congressmen Dingell, Conyers likely to exercise ‘power of the purse’
Updated: 10:25 a.m. MT Nov 10, 2006

Can the Democrats live up to their brand name? How about making some progress towards restoring habeas corpus? Or maybe stopping those presidential signing statements?

For more on the constitutional issues now facing the Democratic majority in the next session of Congress, "Countdown" host Keith Olbermann talked to Jonathan Turley, George Washington University law professor and noted constitutional law expert.

View Video: - Read the transcript below.

KEITH OLBERMANN, HOST, "COUNTDOWN": Are the circumstances better? The Republican total control on government has been broken. Is somebody going to now unravel our least-favorite act of the 21st century, the Military Commissions Act? And what would be involved in getting it unraveled?

JONATHAN TURLEY, CONSTITUTIONAL LAW PROFESSOR, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: Well, first, someone has to find where the boxes are to turn lights back on in Congress. I mean, this has been an institution that has just been a non-entity. There’s been nothing happening in Congress in terms of oversight or serious review or hearings.

You know, the Democrats often had to hold hearings that were quasi-oversight hearings in the basement, because they would lock them out of committee rooms.

So you've got to find all those keys and all those switches, I expect.

But, yes, it’s a better day, I think, for everyone. It doesn’t really depend upon what your politics are, the system works better when you have branches that look over each other’s shoulders. And Republicans should feel more comforted in an important way, because mistakes are less likely when the Congress is asking, "How are you doing this? What are you getting back? How efficient is it?"

Now, in terms of things like the military tribunals and the torture rules, we’ll have to see the appetite of the 110th Congress, the new Democratic majority, to go back and mix it up. Clearly, their base would like them to do that. But we’ll see what the intestinal fortitude of these leaders are.

OLBERMANN: Do they even have to do anything, or is there a damper effect just by the presence of Democrats in control of Congress? I mean, did somebody’s odds of winding up unjustly, if there’s a justly, I don’t know, but unjustly in Gitmo just drop precipitously, simply because of the prospect of oversight and subpoenas and such?

TURLEY: Well, I think that, quite frankly, I believe that American citizens will be more protected in their civil liberties now that we have a branch that will serve a check and a balance. There's a suspicion that the humming you hear around the city is not an early spring but paper shredders going on through the night, because most of Republicans, I think, expects a flurry of subpoenas to come out in January.

And they expect that there will be misconduct that is likely to be revealed. It often does when you go through a period of dormancy, where there’s no oversight.

But once again, I think that all citizens can feel a little bit better. You know, one of the reasons we have a government of checks and balances is not just for this type of partisan bickering, but it’s just that government works better when there’s more than one set of eyes on a problem.

OLBERMANN: Even with control of both houses of Congress, though, the president made a habit of issuing these signing statements for any part of any piece of legislation he did not intend to comply with. Do the Democrats have a means of attacking that?

TURLEY: They do. The most powerful means they have is the power of the purse. And some of these new chairmen are known to exercise that power, people like John Dingell who’ll be over at Commerce, and John Conyers. These are guys that do not suffer fools lightly. I expect that they’re going to use every piece of power they have to protect the integrity of Congress.

Those signing statements have been condemned by lawyers of both parties as essentially circumventing our constitutional system. And so the president’s going to have to cut that stuff out. He’s now not an individual who’s exercising virtually unlimited power. He’s going to have to share that power. And that means he’s going to have to learn how to do it.

OLBERMANN: We mentioned the Terrorist Surveillance Act and the president’s hopes of ramming that through the lame duck Congress before the Democrats arrive. Is there anything procedurally the Democrats can do about this now? Am I remembering my Robert’s Rules of Order class from Cornell correctly? Should a Democrat now vote for it, then he gets the right to ask for another vote in the new year? Or is that just book stuff and not practical stuff?

TURLEY: Well, first of all, if they approve it, then they’re not going to get it back in the 110th Congress. Why they would approve it, I don’t know. And why the president’s insisting on it, I don’t know.

Here’s a guy who insisted he’d never needed authority to do this, even though many of us believed he committed dozens of federal crimes in carrying out this program. And now suddenly, he can’t wait till the 110th to get it approved. It’s much too urgent.

If the Democrats had took that deal, they really don’t deserve the majority.

OLBERMANN: As always, great thanks for joining us. And I suspect you and I are breathing a little earlier tonight.

TURLEY: Thanks, Keith.

OLBERMANN: Thank you, sir.

Olbermann - Countdown


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The Subpoena wars. - House Arrest
by Jeffrey Rosen

On the eve of losing the House, the Republican National Committee sent journalists a frantic e-mail. "Who is Rep. John Conyers (D-MI)?" the missive asked, referring to the man now slated to lead the House Judiciary Committee. "A radical Democrat who would promote an agenda of investigation, obstruction, impeachment and disarmament."

As far as GOP bogeymen go, Conyers has some credibility. During the past two years alone, he has requested investigations of the administration's renditions of suspected terrorists, Condoleezza Rice's possible transgression of Hatch Act prohibitions against campaigning on the job, and Justice Department attempts to obstruct the hydra-headed Jack Abramoff investigation. And, of course, the RNC also pointed to Conyers's proposals for the possible impeachment of President Bush.

But, while Republicans paint a nightmare scenario of subpoena-mad Democrats, they fail to capture its truly melodramatic conclusion. Yes, Democrats will attack hard. As one staffer told me, "[T]he memos I've seen suggest that Congress has strong power to investigate. We'll try to find the best test case, and, if we can show that Republicans are part of a cover-up, it's a good fight for us." But Democrats also insist that they will take care to avoid the errors of Clinton-era Republicans, who were spoiling for impeachment as soon as they seized the House in 1994 (see Michael Crowley, "Subpoena Envy," November 6).

Restraint, however, may not be enough to prevent a constitutional confrontation that could make Monicagate look tame. That's because any conflict could escalate quickly when the White House, invoking its radical theory of unilateral executive authority, refuses to cooperate with Democratic investigations. Congress may then hold the White House officials in contempt, setting up legal battles that could make their way to the Supreme Court while paralyzing the government in the process. One likely spark for this kind of conflagration is a Democratic investigation into the National Security Agency's (NSA) secret surveillance program.

Here's how a constitutional collision could unfold. After the new Congress begins in January, Chairman Conyers sends letters to the Justice Department and the White House counsel demanding secret documents that cast light on the scope and mechanics of the snooping. The questions might include whether Bush obstructed justice when he denied the security clearances that the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility needed to investigate the program.

True to form, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Bush ignore the letters. Conyers responds by issuing subpoenas for documents and testimony. Gonzales then insists that the documents are protected by executive privilege. The Judiciary Committee, followed by the full House, votes to hold Gonzales in contempt of Congress--a federal crime with a punishment of up to a year in prison. After Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House, certifies the contempt citation, she then forwards it along to the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, demanding that he haul Gonzales before a grand jury.

What happens next? The U.S. attorney might well ignore the request, leading House Democrats to sue in federal court for an order mandating the prosecution of Gonzales. Here, the legal precedents are in the Democrats' favor. During the Teapot Dome scandal in the 1920s, Congress investigated the attorney general's failure to prosecute Harding administration corruption, and executive officials refused to respond to subpoenas. The Supreme Court issued two important decisions, sustaining the arrest of the attorney general's brother for contempt of Congress and upholding the contempt conviction of a witness who refused to answer questions on the grounds that the courts were already investigating Teapot Dome.

The last time the House cited an executive official for contempt was in 1982, when Anne Gorsuch, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, asserted executive privilege and refused to respond to a subpoena from House members investigating the Superfund scandal. A grand jury ultimately declined to intervene in the fight. The White House eventually agreed to provide limited access if Democrats dropped the contempt citation.

It's difficult to imagine the Bush administration being similarly accommodating. A White House that has insisted that its executive authority gives it the right to stretch or ignore laws with which it disagrees is not likely to fold under threat of congressional contempt. If Gonzales and Bush decide to fight a congressional contempt citation all the way to the Supreme Court, it's hard to predict what the Court would do. In United States v. Nixon in 1974, the Court rejected Richard Nixon's claim of absolute executive privilege and ordered him to turn over the tapes that had been subpoenaed by the Watergate special prosecutor. The Court suggested that it might reach a different result in a case involving "a claim of need to protect military, diplomatic, or sensitive national security secrets." But other cases have held that Congress has broad power to subpoena even confidential information, because courts presume that congressional committees will act responsibly and won't lightly vote to make classified material public--which they're legally free to do. As the Roberts Court's performance in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld suggests, it is not shy about standing up to the president to defend the powers of Congress. And, in a head-to-head judicial conflict with Congress, Bush could plausibly lose.

Regardless of how the Supreme Court ruled in Conyers v. Gonzales, there would be subsidiary legal battles raging for months as the contempt case made its way up to the Supreme Court. Democrats and Republicans would fight about whether to force Gonzales to testify by granting him the necessary immunity--immunity grants require a two-thirds vote by the relevant committee--and the scope of his immunity might provoke lawsuits of its own. All these fires would be raging from a single investigation into the NSA scandal. At the same time, a series of related battles and lawsuits might be erupting from parallel investigations into Iraq war intelligence, Halliburton cronyism, and the misuse of presidential signing statements.

Even if the Supreme Court eventually ruled against Congress in Conyers v. Gonzales, Congress could always enforce contempt citations on its own. In a little-used procedure, Congress has the power to punish recalcitrant witnesses for "inherent contempt." As Morton Rosenberg of the Congressional Research Service points out in an invaluable 1995 report on investigative oversight that House Democrats are now heavily consulting, the defiant witness can be brought before the House or Senate by the sergeant at arms, tried, and locked up in the capitol jail. (In 2004, a citizen-activist was sentenced to a six-month term there for "disrupting Congress" by demanding to testify at a judicial confirmation hearing.) This inherent contempt procedure hasn't been invoked by Congress for more than 70 years, because a cumbersome trial for contempt has the potential to grind Congress to a halt. But, if the White House is obdurate and the courts are unsympathetic, congressional Democrats might decide that a contempt trial--unlike a presidential impeachment--would be good politics as well as good theater. And, of course, the House is always free to impeach Gonzales for his refusal to cooperate, which might be less politically risky than an impeachment of Bush.

The history of congressional investigations suggests that Congress can score political points by challenging a defiant White House, but only when it maintains some sense of proportion. Whitewater, for example, was a gift to Bill Clinton's opponents--until House Republicans embarked on their quixotic pursuit of impeachment. This time around, House Democrats say they will assimilate the lessons of the recent past and provoke Bush into overreacting to their subpoenas while keeping their cool. Of course, this restraint may be undone by a few hotheaded colleagues in the mood for payback. Regardless of who wins this match of constitutional chicken, it may occupy most of Bush's attention until he departs office in January 2009--a moment that the nation, by that point, will greet with exhaustion and relief.

Jeffrey Rosen is the legal affairs editor at The New Republic.

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American democracy still works
November 7th



The basic mechanics of American democracy, imperfect and defective though they may be, still function. Chronic defeatists and conspiracy theorists — well-intentioned though they may be — need to re-evaluate their defeatism and conspiracy theories in light of this rather compelling evidence which undermines them (a refusal to re-evaluate one's beliefs in light of conflicting evidence is a defining attribute of the Bush movement that shouldn't be replicated).

Karl Rove isn't all-powerful; he is a rejected loser. Republicans don't possess the power to dictate the outcome of elections with secret Diebold software. They can't magically produce Osama bin Laden the day before the election. They don't have the power to snap their fingers and hypnotize zombified Americans by exploiting a New Jersey court ruling on civil unions, or a John Kerry comment, or moronic buzzphrases and slogans designed to hide the truth (Americans heard all about how Democrats would bring their "San Francisco values" and their love of The Terrorists to Washington, and that moved nobody). It simply isn't the case that we are doomed and destined to lose at the hands of all-powerful, evil forces.

All of the hurdles and problems that are unquestionably present and serious —
a dysfunctional and corrupt national media,
apathy on the part of Americans,
the potent use of propaganda by the Bush administration,
voter suppression and election fraud tactics,
gerrymandering and fundraising games — can all be overcome.

They just were.

Bush opponents haven't been losing because the deck is hopelessly stacked against them. They were losing because they hadn't figured out a way to convey to their fellow citizens just how radical and dangerous this political movement has become. Now they have, and as a result, Americans see this movement for what it is and have begun the process of smashing it.

That work is far from over, but it can be achieved — unquestionably – by those willing to fight for that result and who figure out how to perusade a majority of American of the rightness of their views. That's exactly how our democracy is supposed to work. By: Glenn Greenwald

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Dem Scrutiny of Drugs, Defense Expected

Wednesday November 8, 10:59 am ET
By Brad Foss, AP Business Writer
With Democrats in Control of House, Scrutiny Likely to Grow on Drugs, Defense Industries

WASHINGTON (AP) -- By boosting the power of Democrats in Congress, voters likely set in motion legislative efforts to lower the price of pharmaceuticals and rein in military spending.

But with the two parties stalemated in the Senate, where it usually takes 60 votes to pass major legislation, companies such as Merck & Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp. may find themselves beset more by unwelcome rhetoric than any hurtful changes in law.

Companies in the technology, biotechnology and homeland security businesses may benefit, analysts said, from anticipated Democratic efforts to increase the number of visas available to foreign-born workers, promote stem-cell research and inspect more incoming cargo containers.

To be sure, few major changes in corporate America are expected to result from Democrat-led initiatives -- with the exception, perhaps, of a proposed increase in the minimum wage that may find considerable Republican support. But the extra political spotlight on certain sectors could cast a shadow that nevertheless darkens their prospects on Wall Street.

"The drug industry is on the top of the list of industries that would be uncomfortable if Democrats are successful in the elections," said Ira Loss, an analyst at Washington Analysis.

That's because Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who is slated to become speaker of the House, has promised to push for legislation that would allow the government to negotiate directly with drug companies to purchase medicines for Medicare. Such negotiation is forbidden under current law and the drug industry equates the concept to price controls.

Pelosi has pledged that Democrats also would move to raise the minimum wage -- a policy change that could affect fast-food restaurants such as McDonald's Corp., as well as other retailers -- and she said her party would make it harder for companies to use the bankruptcy process to force concessions from workers on pensions and pay.

Some economists say raising the minimum wage might not have that big of an impact on retailers, whose labor costs would theoretically go up, or on workers, who would presumably be lifted out of poverty. "There's a huge gap today anyway between the minimum wage and average hourly earnings," Wachovia Securities economist Mark Vitner said.

Generally speaking, Democrats have said they will differ from Republicans by being tougher watchdogs of corporate wrongdoing and government spending and bigger defenders of consumers and labor unions.

Still, "there are not going to be wholesale changes in economic policy" because neither party has an overwhelming majority in either the House or Senate -- and this may explain the recent rally in the stock market, said Vitner.

Jay Timmons, senior vice president of policy at the National Association of Manufacturers, said he does not expect the partisanship that defined recent campaigns to last very long.

Sure, the Democrats will want to distinguish themselves from the Republicans early on -- by shifting the emphasis in energy policy from, say, increasing the supply of oil to reducing the demand for it. But Timmons said pragmatism -- and an eye toward the 2008 presidential election -- will naturally pull both parties closer to the center.

"Nancy Pelosi is very shrewd," Timmons said. "She's going to want to build a majority that lasts more than two years and the way to do that is to reach out to nontraditional allies."

That is not to say Democrats do not have plans to shake up business as usual after a dozen years in the minority.

Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., who will take charge of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said he would try to run things "from the middle." He advocated stiffer enforcement of environmental violations and tougher energy efficiency standards for home appliances but steered clear of a strong position on raising automobile fuel efficiency.

Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., who will chair the Financial Services Committee, said building more affordable housing and forcing public companies to disclose more information on executive pay packages are near the top of his agenda.

"The debate will shift dramatically from the first day," said Bill Samuel, legislative director of the AFL-CIO, though he conceded that the Democrats' slim majority in the House would limit the effectiveness of their agenda.

With many political analysts viewing the Democrats win of the House as evidence of waning support for the war in Iraq, some Wall Street analysts are bracing for the possibility that military spending may gradually slow.

Even if Republicans manage to maintain control of the Senate, Arizona Sen. John McCain, a frequent critic of free-spending defense programs, is expected to take over as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee after Sen. John Warner, R.-Va., steps down because of term limits. McCain has a history of being tough on the defense industry, forcing the Air Force to change the terms of a Lockheed cargo plane contract and helping to uncover wrongdoing by Boeing and a Pentagon official in a separate Air Force tanker contract.

Lockheed Chief Financial Officer Chris Kubasik tried to ease jitters recently, saying the company has "worked well with both parties" and that its business, mostly long-term big ticket contracts, can withstand periodic political changes in Washington.

Associated Press Writers Theresa Agovino, Paul Elias, Marcy Gordon, Stephen Manning, Scott McFetridge, Bruce Meyerson, Eileen Powell, Jordan Robertson, Ellen Simon and Alex Veiga contributed to this report.

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GATES WORST than Rumfield - CIA Torture Chief!

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Gates Has History of Manipulating Intelligence
By Jason Leopold
t r u t h o u t | Report

Wednesday 08 November 2006

Robert Gates, the former director of the CIA during the presidency of George H.W. Bush who was tapped Tuesday by the president to replace Donald Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense, is part of Texas's good ol' boy network. He may be best known for playing a role in arming Iraq's former dictator Saddam Hussein with American-made weapons in the country's war against Iran in the 1980s.

Gates, who currently is president of Texas A&M University, came under intense fire during confirmation hearings in the early 1990s for being unaware of the explosive situation in Iraq in the 1980s, and the demise of the Soviet republic.

Gates joined the CIA in 1966, and spent eight years there as an analyst before moving over to the National Security Council in 1974. He returned to the CIA in 1980, and a year later was appointed by Ronald Reagan to serve as deputy director for intelligence. Five years later, he was named deputy director for the agency, the number two post in the agency. In 1989, he was appointed deputy director of the National Security Council and in 1991, when the first Bush administration was in office, he was named director of the spy shop.

During contentious Senate confirmation hearings in October 1991 - which are bound to come up again - Gates's role in cooking intelligence information during the Iran-Contra scandal was revealed. It was during those hearings that senators found out about a December 2, 1986, 10-page classified memo written by Thomas Barksdale, the CIA analyst for Iran. That memo claimed that covert arms sales to the country demonstrated "a perversion of the intelligence process" that is staggering in its proportions.

The Barksdale memo was used by Gates's detractors to prove he played an active role in slanting intelligence information during his tenure at the agency under Reagan. Eerily reminiscent of the way CIA analysts were treated by Vice President Dick Cheney during the run-up to the Iraq war three years ago, when agents were forced to provide the Bush administration with intelligence showing Iraq was a nuclear threat, Barksdale said he and other Iran analysts "were never consulted or asked to provide an intelligence input to the covert actions and secret contacts that have occurred."

Barksdale added that Gates was the pipeline for providing "exclusive reports to the White House," intelligence that was "at odds with the overwhelming bulk of intelligence reporting, both from U.S. sources and foreign intelligence services."

In testimony before the Senate on October 1, 1991, Harold P. Ford, former vice chairman of the National Intelligence Council, described an aspect of Gates's personality that mirrors many of the top officials in the Bush administration today.

"Bob Gates has often depended too much on his own individual analytic judgments and has ignored or scorned the views of others whose assessments did not accord with his own. This would be okay if he were uniquely all-seeing. He has not been ..." Ford said.

At the hearing, other CIA analysts said Gates forced them to twist intelligence to exaggerate the threat posed by the former Soviet Union. Analysts alleged a report approved by Gates overstated Soviet influence in Iran that specifically led the late President Ronald Reagan into making policy decisions that turned into the Iran-Contra scandal.

Jennifer Glaudemans, a former CIA analyst, said at the 1991 Gates confirmation hearings that she and her colleagues at the CIA believed "Mr Gates and his influence have led to a prostitution of [Soviet] analysis."

Melvin Goodman, Glaudemans's former boss at the CIA, also said that under Gates, the CIA was "trying to provide the intelligence analysis ... that would support the operational decision to sell arms to Iran."

Gates testified at his confirmation hearing in October 1991 that he was aware the United States was selling arms to Iran in exchange for hostages. But he denied that he had any knowledge that Oliver North, the former National Security aide, was diverting money from arms sales to Iran to secretly aid the Nicaraguan contras.

But White House memos released at the time showed that North and John Poindexter, the national security adviser at the time, engaged in classified briefings with Gates on numerous occasions about Iran-Contra. Poindexter testified that he discussed the situation with Gates, but Gates said at his Senate confirmation hearings he had "no recollection" about those conversations.

Alan Fiers, a former CIA officer who served as an agency liaison along with North and met weekly with Gates, testified at Gates's confirmation hearings that he discussed specific details of the covert operation with Gates.

"Bob Gates understood the universe, understood the structure, understood that there was an operational - that there was a support operation being run out of the White House," and "that Ollie North was the quarterback," Fiers said at Gates's confirmation hearing in 1991. "I had no reason to think he had great detail, but I do think there was a baseline knowledge there."

If confirmed, Gates would arguably be overseeing a war that removed a dictator he personally helped to prop up. Tom Harkin, a senator from Iowa, described Gates's role in intelligence sharing operations with Iraq during a time when the United States helped arm Saddam Hussein in Iraq's war against Iran.

"I also have doubts and questions about Mr. Gates's role in the secret intelligence sharing operation with Iraq," Harkin said during Gates's confirmation hearings on November 7, 1991. "Robert Gates served as assistant to the director of the CIA in 1981 and as deputy director for intelligence from 1982 to 1986. In that capacity, he helped develop options in dealing with the Iran-Iraq war, which eventually evolved into a secret intelligence liaison relationship with Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Gates was in charge of the directorate that prepared the intelligence information that was passed on to Iraq. He testified that he was also an active participant in the operation during 1986. The secret intelligence sharing operation with Iraq was not only a highly questionable and possibly illegal operation, but also may have jeopardized American lives and our national interests. The photo reconnaissance, highly sensitive electronic eavesdropping, and narrative texts provided to Saddam may not only have helped him in Iraq's war against Iran, but also in the recent gulf war."


Jason Leopold is a former Los Angeles bureau chief for Dow Jones Newswire. He has written over 2,000 stories on the California energy crisis and received the Dow Jones Journalist of the Year Award in 2001 for his coverage on the issue as well as a Project Censored award in 2004. Leopold also reported extensively on Enron's downfall and was the first journalist to land an interview with former Enron president Jeffrey Skilling following Enron's bankruptcy filing in December 2001. Leopold has appeared on CNBC and National Public Radio as an expert on energy policy and has also been the keynote speaker at more than two dozen energy industry conferences around the country.

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