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Archive for the ‘Congress’ Category

RNC Now Seeks Shelter of Executive Privilege

Posted by nytexan on August 14, 2007

t r u t h o u t | Report: By Jason Leopold

  • The Republican National Committee said it will not abide by a subpoena and turn over documents to a Congressional committee investigating the firings of at least eight US attorneys last year because the RNC is waiting to see if the White House will assert executive privilege over RNC documents at the center of the controversy, according to an outside law firm retained by the RNC.

Are they freaking kidding me!!! So let me see if I understand how Executive Privilege works; you don’t have to work in the White House or even be a passed employee of the White House staff, you just have to have associations with the Bush gang. Well crap that’s have the country that now claim executive privilege.

  • The White House has asserted executive privilege to block senior administration officials from testifying before Congress about their involvement in the decision to fire the federal prosecutors. Moreover, the White House has cited executive privilege in declining to turn over specific documents to Congress that may shed further light on the circumstances behind the attorney firings. The US attorneys believe they were fired for partisan political reasons. In some instances, the US attorneys said they were pressured by Republican lawmakers and RNC operatives to file criminal charges against Democrats at the center of public corruption probes prior to last year’s midterm election as well as individual cases of voter fraud, which the attorneys said was based on weak evidence, in order to cast a dark cloud over Democratic incumbents and swing election results toward Republican challengers.
  • Earlier this year, internal Justice Department documents related to behind-the-scenes discussions involving the US attorney firings revealed some Bush administration officials have primarily used email accounts maintained by the RNC to conduct official White House business in what appears to be a violation of the Presidential Records Act. The RNC is believed to have thousands of pages of documents from White House officials in its possession, dating back to 2005, that could answer lingering questions about the role the administration played in the decision to fire the US attorneys.
  • The latest salvo between the RNC and Congress over the documents under subpoena sets the stage for a legal showdown between the House and RNC Chairman Robert Duncan, who Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers threatened to hold in contempt if documents and internal RNC emails relating to the Congressional probe are not turned over to his committee. Neither Conyers nor a spokesman for the congressman returned calls for comment on Monday. Presumably, any further legal action would take place when Congress returns from its summer vacation next month.
  • In a letter sent on Friday to Conyers, Robert Kelner, an attorney at Covington & Burling in Washington, DC, said the White House counsel’s office instructed the RNC not to “produce Category Two documents at this time.”

Full Read

Posted in Bush, Congress, Conyers, Department of Justice, executive privilege, Judiciary Committee, Oversight, Politics, RNC | 3 Comments »

Gonzales To Oversee Death Penalty

Posted by nytexan on August 14, 2007

This is stunning, Alberto Gonzales the guy who can’t recall where he put his shoes will be in charge of overseeing the death penalty. Obviously there were several items that were missed by the 109th Congress when they reauthorized the Patriot Act. Interesting that the items missed have to do with the Department of Justice.

  • Attorney General Alberto Gonzales could see his influence over death penalty decisions increase under new regulations expected to be approved soon by the Justice Department, the Los Angeles Times reports.
  • Implementing a “little-notice provision in last year’s reauthorization of the Patriot Act,” the Justice Department rules give Gonzales authority that had previously been held by federal judges to decide whether states are providing adequate council for defendants in death penalty cases, according to the Times.
  • “The move to shorten the appeals process and effectively speed up executions comes at a time of growing national concern about the fairness of the death penalty, underscored by the use of DNA testing to establish the innocence of more than a dozen death row inmates in recent years,” reports Richard B. Schmitt in the Times Tuesday.
  • On the same day the Times story appeared, Gonzales addressed the Fraternal Order of Police National Conference in Louisville, Ky. Although the attorney general did not mention his soon-to-expand death penalty influence, he did invoke his nephew’s service in Iraq.
  • “Recently, some in the media have questioned how I deal with the recent challenges in the Department. It’s simple. You see I have a nephew stationed in Iraq. I visited with him on Saturday and we talked about his challenges,” Gonzales said. “Yes, I face criticism, but he faces bullets. I sleep comfortably in my own bed next to my wife. My nephew sleeps with his buddies in a converted meat packing building.”
  • Gonzales has faced withering criticism from Congress over his role in firing nine US Attorneys last year and a host of other scandals. In Louisville, Gonzales joked about his and other administration officials’ frequent appearances before congressional committees investigating his conduct.
  • “And as Defense Secretary Robert Gates has noted, ‘In Washington, most of my public remarks tend to begin with someone asking me to raise my right hand,'” Gonzales said.
  • Among the topics that have come up during Gonzales appearances in hearing rooms on Capitol Hill was his handling of a previous death penalty case. TPM Muckraker revisits an exchange between Gonzales and Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), the Judiciary Committee’s ranking Republican.
  • Specter and Gonzales sparred over the Justice Department’s decision to overrule a federal prosecutor who decided not to seek the death penalty for Rios Rico, who had been convicted of murder in Arizona. The US Attorney overseeing the case previously, Paul Charlton, testified that deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty and Gonzales had deliberated on the case for “five to 10 minutes” before deciding to seek the death penalty.
  • Gonzales said he could not recall anything about the case of his discussions with McNulty about it.
  • “Well, Mr. Attorney General, I’m not totally unfamiliar with this sort of thing,” Specter chided Gonzales. “When I was district attorney of Philadelphia, I had 500 homicides a year. I didn’t allow any assistant to ask for the death penalty that I hadn’t personally approved. And when I asked for the death penalty, I remembered the case.”

Posted in Congress, Department of Justice, Gonzales, National, Patriot Act, Politics | 1 Comment »

Another GOP Leaders Leaks State Secrets

Posted by nytexan on August 10, 2007

The GOP is always the first to say that the democrats are not patriotic or the democrats are not tough on the terrorist. However, these knuckleheads think it’s just fine to publicly leak government secrets.

From ABC The Blotter:

For the second time in as many weeks, a senior House Republican may have divulged classified information in the media.

In an opinion article published in the New York Post Thursday, Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., reported the top-secret budget for human spying had decreased — the type of detail normally kept under wraps for national security reasons.

“The 2008 Intelligence Authorization bill cut human-intelligence programs,” Hoekstra wrote in the piece, in which he also criticized “leaks to the news media.”

Formerly the chairman of the intelligence committee, Hoekstra is now its highest ranking Republican. In its recent budget authorizations, that committee kept from public view all figures and most discussion of spending on such classified items as human spying. Hoekstra’s apparent slip was first noted on the liberal Web site, Raw Story

“If Mr. Hoekstra wants to break ranks and disclose that information, that’s fine with me,” said Steven Aftergood, a government secrecy expert who has long pushed to declassify overall spending on intelligence. “But it is the sort of thing he has harshly criticized in the past.”

Indeed, Hoekstra’s penchant for openness appears to be selective. He has aggressively attacked unnamed opponents guilty of such leaking, accusing them of “recklessly and illegally” disclosing secrets “for political or other motives” in reports published by his committee.

He’s even exacted punishment for suspected transgressions. Last October, Hoekstra stripped the credentials of a Democratic committee aide he believed may have leaked a then-classified document to The New York Times. A month later, he quietly reinstated the aide’s access.

Hoekstra spokesman Jamal Ware said his boss’ op-ed discussed the spending without disclosing the underlying classified information.

““This is a partisan push being made by Democrats and their surrogates…there’s nothing there,” he said. Ware added that he himself had used similar language in a May press release, which stated the intelligence spending bill “cuts human intelligence programs.”

Secrets are apparently hard to keep these days. On July 31, House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, allegedly disclosed a secret court ruling during a television interview with Fox News’ Neil Cavuto.

“There’s been a ruling, over the last four or five months, that prohibits the ability of our intelligence services and our counterintelligence people from listening in to two terrorists in other parts of the world where the communication could come through the United States,” Boehner said.

Government officials have since confirmed to reporters that Boehner was discussing classified information, although the GOP leader denies it.

Posted in Boehner, Congress, GOP, intelligence, Pete Hoekstra, Politics, Republican | 2 Comments »

Demanding Congress To Reverse Their Capitulation

Posted by nytexan on August 8, 2007

I received the email below from MoveOn.org and thought you would like to sign the petition.

The Democratic-controlled Congress did the unthinkable on Saturday night: They gave President Bush and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales more unchecked power to wiretap Americans without a warrant.1 Yes, that’s the same Attorney General who is currently mired in scandal and probably committed perjury on this very issue.2

Why’d they do it? Because the president used fear to intimidate them and it worked.3

Enough is enough. We have to send a strong message to Congress that there is not rade-off between fundamental liberties and security. Preserving our Constitution is essential to our security—we can’t lead on freedom around the world when we’re actively undermining the rule of law at home.

A good place to start is by having hundreds of thousands of us sign on to this petition demanding that Congress reverse their capitulation to Bush and the politics of fear. If enough of us speak out we’ll send a clear message that Americans aren’t buying the administration’s scare tactics.

We’ll make sure to deliver your comments to your representative and senators within the week.

The President used fear of another terrorist attack to bully Congress into giving him more unchecked power and they gave in to his scare tactics. While most Democrats voted against these expanded powers, Democratic leaders in Congress didn’t put up much of a fight and they didn’t stand up and say ‘no’ to Bush. We’ve seen this play out before—most notably when almost every member of Congress voted for the Patriot Act—many without even reading it.4

They do this because they’re afraid of being seen as weak on security—and because they buy the conventional wisdom that voters don’t really care about constitutional freedoms. If enough of us sign, we can make it plain just how broad support for preserving the Constitution is.

The only good news here is that these new unchecked powers that Congress gave the Bush administration aren’t permanent. They’ll expire in six month sand we have to make sure that Congress doesn’t renew them then.

Here’s how the Washington Post’s editorial board described what happened:5

“The Democratic-led Congress, more concerned with protecting its political backside than with safeguarding the privacy of American citizens, left town early yesterday after caving in to administration demands that it allow warrantless surveillance of the phone calls and e-mails of American citizens, with scant judicial supervision and no reporting to Congress about how many communications are being intercepted. To call this legislation ill-considered is to give it too much credit: It was scarcely considered at all. Instead, it was strong-armed through both chambers by an administration that seized the opportunity to write its warrantless wiretapping program into law—or, more precisely, to write it out from under any real legal restrictions.”

To keep focus on this, we’re helping start a new long-term effort called the AmericanFreedom Campaign to keep the pressure on Congress and make sure they fix this mess instead of making these powers permanent. We hope you can help over the coming months.

It’s Congress’s job to act as a check on the president’s authority—not as a rubber-stamp. They have to know that we’re watching them and we’re demanding real accountability for this overreaching president.

Click here to add your name to the petition:

http://pol.moveon.org/capitulation/o.pl?&id=10919-6618849-kXLs_w&t=5

President Bush still hasn’t responded to Congress’ subpoenas demanding the legal rationale for his warrantless wiretapping. If they don’t rein him in now, it is unlikely that he—or any president that comes after him—will ever comply with this kind of necessary oversight.

Thanks for all you do,

–Nita, Wes, Justin, Carrie and the MoveOn.org Political Action Team
Tuesday, August 7th, 2007

Sources:

1.”House Approves Wiretap Measure,” Washington Post, August 5, 2007
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=2869&id=10919-6618849-kXLs_w&t=6

2. Senator May Seek Gonzales Perjury Probe, Washington Post, July 26, 2007
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=2870&id=10919-6618849-kXLs_w&t=7

3. The Fear of Fear Itself—NYTimes Editorial, New York Times, August 7,2007
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/07/opinion/07tue1.html

4. Rep. Jim McDermott, Congressional Record: July 8, 2004,
http://www.fas.org/irp/congress/2004_cr/h070804.html

5. Warrantless Surrender,Washington Post, August 7, 2007
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=2871&id=10919-6618849-kXLs_w&t=8

 

Posted in Bush, Congress, Democrat, Gonzales, Pelosi, petition, Politics, Reid | 6 Comments »

John Cornyn’s Recent Votes Against Americans

Posted by nytexan on August 7, 2007

John Cornyn a disgrace to Texas. Once again Senator do nothing Cornyn has voted with Bush and against Americans. What’s most disgraceful about Cornyn is that he voted against the SCHIPS program.

You really have to wonder how anyone could deny children healthcare. The republicans jumped up and down saying this bill should not continue. I find that astonishing since the SCHIP’s programs, which has been highly successful, was originally drafted and applauded by the republicans in the 1990’s. Yes, the republicans do speak out of both sides of their mouths. Everything really is political theater for them.

Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007

Vote Agreed to (83-14, 3 Not Voting)

The Senate passed this bill that would provide greater transparency in the legislative process.
Sen. John Cornyn voted NO


Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2007

Vote Passed (68-31, 1 Not Voting)

The Senate passed this bill that would add 3 million lower-income children to the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Sen. John Cornyn voted NO


Protect America Act

Vote Passed (60-28, 12 Not Voting)

The Senate passed this bill which would temporarily expand the executive branch’s authority to spy on suspected foreign terrorists without a court order, when communications are passing through the U.S.

Sen. John Cornyn voted YES

Posted in Congress, Cornyn, GOP, Republican, SCHIPS, Senate | 10 Comments »

Watchdog Calls For Probe On John Boehner

Posted by nytexan on August 6, 2007

An ethics watchdog charged Monday that House Minority Leader John Boehner broke the law and endangered national security by releasing classified information last week in a Fox News interview.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has asked the Justice Department’s Counterespionage Section to investigate whether Boehner violated US law by releasing the information.

The Ohio Republican told Neil Cavuto of a classified ruling by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court that led to Congress expanding President Bush’s authority to spy on overseas communications.

“By revealing classified information, the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives appears to have compromised national security for partisan political gain,” CREW’s executive director, Melanie Sloan, said in a news release. “We urge the Justice Department to immediately commence an investigation.”

CREW cites a July 31 interview Boehner gave on Fox News.

“There’s been a ruling, over the last four or five months, that prohibits the ability of our intelligence services and our counterintelligence people from listening in to two terrorists in other parts of the world where the communication could come through the United States,” Boehner said.

CREW argues that Boehner could face up to 10 years in prison for willfully communicating classified national defense information, “which would be used to the injury of the United States.”

Although Boehner has previously criticized illegal leaks for political gain, the liberal watchdog group says his remarks to Cavuto appeared to be an effort to blame Democrats for failing to pass legislation modifying the FISA law. Congress finally adopted an update to the FISA law that eliminated the Court’s objection by allowing warrantless surveillance of international communications routed through the United States.

The following video of Boehner’s comments was posted by ThinkProgress on YouTube:

Posted in Congress, FISA, GOP, Headlines, John Boehner, national security, News, Politics | 7 Comments »

Bush Ability to “Strike Fear” Trumps The Bill Of Rights

Posted by bosskitty on August 5, 2007

House Approves Wiretap Measure

White House Bill Boosts Warrantless Surveillance

By Ellen Nakashima and Joby Warrick Washington Post

The Democratic-controlled House last night approved and sent to President Bush for his signature legislation written by his intelligence advisers to enhance their ability to intercept the electronic communications of foreigners without a court order.

The 227 to 183 House vote capped a high-pressure campaign by the White House to change the nation’s wiretap law, in which the administration capitalized on Democrats’ fears of being branded weak on terrorism and on a general congressional desire to act on the measure before an August recess.

If BushCo can strike fear into the hearts of our elected representatives, forcing them to enable illegal and unconstitutional acts, then we have elected nothing! This is now a ghost democracy fraught with Black Ops and Shadow Government. Civil war or revolution is no longer an option … because every move we make is scrutinized. Americans are all suspects now. Americans are the enemy. Americans will become the zombies from George Orwell’s ‘1984’ where hidden microphones and informers in order to catch potential “thoughtcriminals” who could endanger the security of the Dystopian GOP Party.

180px-1984_social_classes_altsvg.png

The original statute was enacted after the revelation of CIA abuses in the 1970s, and it required judicial oversight for most federal wiretapping conducted in the United States.

Privacy and civil liberties advocates, and many Democratic lawmakers, complained that the Bush administration’s revisions of the law could breach constitutional protections against government intrusion. But the administration, aided by Republican congressional leaders, suggested that a failure to approve what intelligence officials sought could expose the country to a greater risk of terrorist attacks.

Democrats facing reelection next year in conservative districts helped propel the bill to a quick approval. Adding to the pressures they felt were recent intelligence reports about threatening new al-Qaeda activity in Pakistan and the disclosure by House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) of a secret court ruling earlier this year that complicated the wiretapping of purely foreign communications that happen to pass through a communications node on U.S. soil.

 

Posted in 1984, 4th Amendment, Accountability, administration, appropriation, Bill of Rights, Black Ops, Bush, Cheney, civil liberties, civil rights, collaborators, Congress, conspiracy, Constitution, Contempt, Corruption, cover up, criminal, Democracy In Action, dictatorship, disinformation, domestic spying, Excuses, Executive Branch, Fear, FISA, Founding Fathers, Gonzales, GOP, Homeland Security, House of Representatives, Hypocracy, King George, Law, Legacy, Lord Cheney, Monarchy, national intelligence, Orwellian, Oversight, Patriot Act, President, profiteers, Reich, resonsibility, Senate, Shadow Government, Tax Dollars, terrorists, The Divider, The Liar, Theocracy, threat, War Crimes, War on Terror, wiretapping | Leave a Comment »

King George Wins Wiretapping For All Foreigners

Posted by bosskitty on August 4, 2007

Associated Press
House Approves Foreign Wiretap Bill

WASHINGTON –

The House handed President Bush a victory Saturday, voting to expand the government’s abilities to eavesdrop without warrants on foreign suspects whose communications pass through the United States.

The 227-183 vote, which followed the Senate’s approval Friday, sends the bill to Bush for his signature. He had urged Congress to approve it, saying Saturday, “Protecting America is our most solemn obligation.”

Oh well.  What did you really expect?  FISA  neutered,  the 4th Amendment a memory.

The administration said the measure is needed to speed the National Security Agency’s ability to intercept phone calls, e-mails and other communications involving foreign nationals “reasonably believed to be outside the United States.” Civil liberties groups and many Democrats said it goes too far, possibly enabling the government to wiretap U.S. residents communicating with overseas parties without adequate oversight from courts or Congress.

The 227-183 vote, which followed the Senate’s approval Friday, sends the bill to Bush for his signature.

10:38 P.M. –
On agreeing to the resolution Agreed to without objection.
10:37 P.M. –
Considered as privileged matter. On approving the Journal Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: 205 – 187 (Roll no. 837).

S. 1927:

to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 to provide additional procedures for authorizing certain acquisitions of foreign intelligence information and for other purposes

(Click here to see how everyone voted

Many congressional Democrats wanted tighter restrictions on government surveillance, but yielded in the face of Bush’s veto threats and the impending August recess.

“This bill would grant the attorney general the ability to wiretap anybody, any place, any time without court review,  without any checks and balances,”  said Rep. Zoe Lofgren,  D-Calif.,  during the debate preceding the vote.   “I think this unwarranted, unprecedented measure would simply eviscerate the 4th Amendment,”  which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures.

The House of Faux Representatives must have a VERY good reason to appease the King.  I am sure the Sunday morning talk shows will be filled with excuses and explanations.  This bill is a great tool not bound by accountability.  Gonzales  will be the decider when and where to use his expanded powers.  Woe, I mean Wow,  I feel safer already.  Time to learn sign language.  I think I’ll wear moccasins, too.  They make no sound as you tiptoe across the border into Canada.

Posted in 4th Amendment, Accountability, administration, Armageddon, betrayal, Bill of Rights, Bush, Cheney, civil liberties, civil rights, Congress, conspiracy, Constitution, Contempt, Corruption, criminal, Deception, Democracy In Action, dictatorship, disinformation, domestic spying, Excuses, Executive Orders, Fear, FISA, Founding Fathers, Gonzales, Homeland Security, House of Representatives, Hypocracy, Impeach, intelligence, King George, Law, Lord Cheney, Mike McConnell, national intelligence, Oversight, Patriot Act, Pelosi, Politics, profiteers, Republican, resonsibility, Senate, Tax Dollars, taxpayers, The Divider, The Liar, Theocracy, War Cost, wiretapping | 5 Comments »

Bush Wants To Listen And Watch Our Every Word

Posted by bosskitty on August 4, 2007

Bush urges Congress to pass wiretap bill

Lawmakers hustle to act before recess

WASHINGTON — Congress is rushing to expand the military’s authority to wiretap phone calls and e-mails on US soil. The Bush administration, warning that terrorists may soon attack again, is pressuring lawmakers to approve the legislation before they leave town this weekend for their annual August vacations.

The proposal, the details of which remain murky, had received little public discussion before this week and has not undergone the normal committee review process. It would apparently give the National Security Agency legal approval to resume one type of the warrantless wiretapping that President Bush authorized after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Doesn’t history remind us that Stalin and Hitler built excuses to spy on their own people to control anyone who opposed their political agendas.  What will your congressman do?  Do you have representation?  Are our ‘inalienable rights’  a terrorist conspiracy?  Our Founding Fathers would be in Guantanamo for fighting for ‘inalienable rights’ as Americans!

Bush, the reincarnation of Hitler,  does this all because his imaginary God has spoken to him and given him the Armageddon Agenda. 

Posted in Armageddon, Bush, Cheney, civil liberties, civil rights, Congress, Corruption, cover up, covert, Declaration of Independence, dictatorship, Excuses, Executive Branch, Gonzales, Homeland Security, Human Rights, Impeach, King George, Law, national intelligence, Nazi, Outsource, Oversight, President, profiteers, Prophesy, Reich, Shadow Government, The Divider, The Liar, trolls, War Crimes, War on Terror, wiretapping | 6 Comments »

Tough Choices: Who Should We Fear, Them Or Us

Posted by bosskitty on August 4, 2007

Maliki: timetable for US withdrawal not possible

Iraqi PM says neither Baghdad nor Washington can set timetable for withdrawal of US troops from Iraq.

Collapsing Bridges vs. War in Iraq

The Bush administration’s spending priorities – including an estimated $1 trillion for an unnecessary war – will cost the lives not only of US soldiers and Iraqi civilians but American citizens who will die from a decaying infrastructure and other government neglect, argues Stephen Crockett.

Daily demonstrations of corporate corruption, political corruption, missing cash, misused assets, and general bribery reminiscent of third world dictatorships. Corruption is an epidemic in the United States of America. Why? The ‘shock and awe’ of America’s decline is overwhelming. Republicans and Democrats share this disgusting tragedy. Republicans currently hold center stage and are too arrogant about being entitled to break every law this country has. Why? Aren’t tired of the word “FREEDOM” being used for everything from War to Viagra? What exactly are Americans FREE to do? Free to be lazy and complacent? Free to be led by the nose into total chaos by self-serving politicraps? America’s passion has been hi-jacked and is held hostage by political marketing!

Does anyone remember Nikita Khrushchev:

“Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build a bridge even where there is no river.”

He was the instigator of Soviet missile forces in Cuba and the Cuban missile crisis, the builder of the Berlin Wall, launched Sputnik and started the Cold War and the space race.  Nikita was a comic but worthy enemy.  His uneducated wisdom does ring true today.

We are victims of our own success and will be hung by our own rope, so espoused Nikita Khrushchev.

 

Posted in Accountability, administration, Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, Anti-War, Armageddon, Army Corp of Engineers, “Corporate Corruption”, Bush, Casualties, civil liberties, civil rights, Cold War, Collateral, Congress, Contractors, Corporate corruption, Deception, Democracy In Action, destruction, disinformation, economics, Excuses, Fear, FEMA, History, King George, Nikita Khrushchev, Oil, Outsource, Patriot Act, Pentagon Corruption, Politics, President, profiteers, Promises, Prophesy, resonsibility, Scandal, Statistics, Tax Dollars, taxpayers, The Divider, The Liar, Theocracy, War Cost, Waste | 1 Comment »