In my links of the day I try to find the links under the wire, articles all the top blogs miss. I'm not afraid to go to Al Jazeera, Kurd Media or to the Pakistan student movement page to bring the real daily news to you.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Links of the Day 3/25/2008 Bush officials inform Court that computer hard drives were destroyed

Piss on the law and the Presidential records act right Bush. Make excuses that costs should trump the laws of the United States of America all because you think you’re the commander in chief.

When everyone else know Dick Cheney pulls all the strings and you nothing more than a lawn jockey sitting in the Oval Office. Haa Haa

Just one more reason to demand at least hearings.

We all know why the White House trashed the hard drives on all their computers. Sibel Edmonds told us all about the emails and how the dopes sold nuke secrets all over the world.

I wonder did Bush use the proceeds from the sale of those nuke secrets to buy that property in Paraquay when him and his family make their escape to the same place the Nazi's did after WW2 ?

White House Balks at E-Mail Search

By Jason Leopold
March 24, 2008

The White House’s chief information officer said the Bush administration should not be compelled to search for millions of e-mails on individual computers and hard drives that may have been lost between 2003 and 2005 because it would be too expensive and require hundreds of hours of work, according to a filing the White House made with a federal court.

The court filing late Friday came in response to an order issued by U.S. Magistrate Judge John Facciola demanding that the White House show cause why it should not be ordered to create and preserve a “forensic copy” of e-mails from individual hard drives.

Facciola entered the show cause order in part because the White House admitted that it did not preserve back-up tapes prior to October 2003, meaning that e-mails may have been lost relating to the administration’s invasion of Iraq in March 2003 and its role in blowing the cover of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson in July 2003.

Theresa Payton, the chief information officer at the White House Office of Administration, responded that the White House routinely destroyed its hard drives every three years “in order to run updated software, reduce ongoing maintenance, and enhance security assurance. So it’s unlikely that any lost e-mails would be retrieved anyway.

“When workstations are at the end of their lifecycle and retired... under the refresh program, the hard drives are generally sent offsite to another government entity for physical destruction in accordance with Department of Defense guidelines,” Payton said in a sworn affidavit.

“Even if computer workstations used during the relevant time period are identifiable and locatable, making ‘forensic copies’ (as that term is defined by the court) of the workstations that may or may not contain residual data of e-mails would impose a significant burden,” Payton said.

But even putting aside the hundreds of hours of work involved, Payton said, there is no evidence to support allegations made in a lawsuit filed by two watchdog groups that the White House has lost as many as 10 million e-mails, or that the extra searching would do any good.

“Even if some older computer workstations were in use, finding them and copying their hard drives with the hope that the residual data contains relevant e-mail information would create an ‘awfully expensive needle to justify searching a haystack,’” the White House said in a separate filing.

“Because the allegation of missing e-mail from archives is unconfirmed, because the allegation of missing e-mails from back-up tapes is conjectural, and because the computer workstations are unlikely to house significant, if any, relevant material the costs of a forensic copy process would far outweigh any speculative benefits,” the White House said.

The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and George Washington University’s National Security Archive sued the Bush administration last year alleging the White House violated the Presidential Records Act by not archiving e-mails from 2003 to 2005.

The lawsuit followed an internal investigation by officials in Payton’s office who said computer experts could not locate any e-mails from the office of Vice President Dick Cheney between Sept. 30, 2003, and Oct. 6, 2003.

That was the week when the Justice Department launched an investigation into the Plame Wilson leak and set a deadline for Bush administration officials to turn over documents and e-mails containing any reference to Plame Wilson or her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson.

Additionally, Office of Administration staffers said there were at least 400 other days between March 2003 and October 2005 when e-mails could not be located in either Cheney’s office or the Executive Office of the President.

Payton admitted last January that the White House “recycled” its computer back-up tapes until October 2003, making it much more difficult to retrieve e-mails. However, Payton maintains that while e-mails may have been deleted or “recycled,” they can still be recovered.

At a February hearing before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Payton said she felt "very comfortable" that her office would succeed in recovering lost e-mails from "disaster recovery backup tapes." But her office has so far not attempted to do so.

Documents obtained by Rep. Henry Waxman, committee chair, show that Payton’s office advised former White House counsel Harriet Miers in late 2003 or early 2004 about the administration’s failure to archive e-mails.

Miers is said to have immediately informed Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, who was investigating the leak of Plame Wilson’s undercover CIA status. Fitzgerald had subpoenaed White House e-mails sent in 2003.

In January 2006, Fitzgerald informed the U.S. District Court in Washington that he "learned that not all e-mail of the Office of the Vice President and the Executive Office of the President for certain time periods in 2003 was preserved through the normal archiving process on the White House computer system."

That document was filed during the discovery phase of the perjury and obstruction of justice trial against former vice presidential staffer I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby.

On Feb. 6, 2006, the White House then turned over to Fitzgerald 250 pages of e-mails that it said it had “discovered.” The White House offered no official explanation concerning the circumstances regarding the sudden reappearance of the e-mails, nor comment on whether Fitzgerald's allegations that the e-mails had not been automatically archived were true.

At the time, a White House spokeswoman would only tell me that staffers had "discovered" the batch of documents during a search.

The belated delivery of documents calls into question the integrity of Fitzgerald’s probe, suggesting that he may not have obtained all the evidence related to White House officials’ role in the leak in a timely fashion.

Fitzgerald obtained Libby’s indictment on five counts of perjury and obstruction of justice in October 2005 and tried Libby in early 2007, winning a conviction on four counts. Libby was sentenced to 30 months in prison but President George W. Bush spared the former White House aide any jail time by issuing a commutation.

Testimony and documents implicated several other Bush administration officials in the leaking of Plame Wilson’s identity – including Bush’s chief political adviser Karl Rove and Vice President Dick Cheney – but Fitzgerald has brought no one else to trial and has refused to publicly discuss his prosecutorial judgments.

It is unclear if the possibility of missing e-mails impaired Fitzgerald’s inquiry. Anne Weismann, chief counsel for CREW, told me that she believes there “are unanswered questions about what the special counsel knew, particularly as to scope of e-mail problem.”

”We wrote Fitzgerald a letter last April … suggesting that he reopen the investigation,” Weismann said in an e-mail to me. “To date, we have heard nothing. We have also written to Attorney General Michael Mukasey requesting that he appoint a special prosecutor to investigate and likewise have heard nothing.”

CREW filed a federal court motion earlier this month asking that Payton be held in civil contempt for knowingly submitting false, misleading and incomplete testimony in an affidavit filed with a federal court on Jan. 15.

In that affidavit, Payton said one employee in the Office of Administration — Steve McDevitt, who worked with Payton from 2002 to 2006 — conducted the internal e-mail probe and that the findings are in dispute. She added that she was unaware whether e-mails were properly archived.

CREW said Payton’s responses in her affidavit are “false and appear designed to mislead the court into believing that both discovery and any additional interim relief are unnecessary.”

Investigative reporter Jason Leopold is the author of News Junkie, a memoir. Visit for a preview.



22 Mar 2008 // White House Says Computer Hard Drives From Years of Possibly Missing E-Mail Were Destroyed

Bush officials inform Court that computer hard drives were destroyed // 24 March 2008 -

AND…. CREW has been very busy

Last week, the National Republican Congressional Committee called on Democrats to return contributions from Gov. Spitzer, but no similar call has been made for Republicans to return contributions from Sen. Vitter. See which campaigns Sen. Vitter has contributed to:

Supreme Court could rule in on constitutionality of raid at Capitol Hill office of Rep. William Jefferson // 21 March 2008 - 12:58pm

After Scooter Libby was disbarred, questions arise about presidential pardon // 21 March 2008 - 8:52am

Key figure in Foley page scandal, Rep. Tom Reynolds (R-NY), to retire // 20 March 2008 - 9:35am

Law Firm Linked to McCain PAC, Campaign Loan // 21 Mar 2008 NPR's All Things Considered




CPT is a 12-week program that includes having a

soldier write down his experiences so he can learn to put them

back in the context where they belong, as memories, not realities.

This is the "one therapy" for PTSD that VA has been pushing. For an article on the rush to "one therapy," go here...

The problem is, this therapy has proved successful with rape victims, and few others. For more about Cognitive Processing Therapy, use the VA Watchdog search here...

Some are calling this a "cure." Former VA Secretary Jim Nicholson touted this treatment as a "cure" for PTSD. That story here...

For more about veterans and PTSD, use the VA Watchdog search here..

Story here...

Story below:


There is no cease fire in Basra. It’s all a lie! And as for Sadr he is no religious man or he would be talking like Mohammad did.

Iraqi security forces sweep Basra

Iraqi security forces have clashed with fighters from the Mahdi Army of Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr in the southern city of Basra, amid demands by the group that detained members be released.

Mortar and gun fire was heard on Tuesday after security forces entered the neighbourhood of al-Tamiya, a Mahdi Army stronghold, the AFP news.

Clashes later spread to five other neighbourhoods, including al-Jumhuriya, Five Miles and al-Hayania, the Mahdi Army's main stronghold in Basra, 550km south of Baghdad. "We began operations at 5am [0200 GMT]," Major Karim al-Zubaidi, a police spokesman, said.

"There is fighting between security forces and the Mahdi Army." The fighting erupted soon after a night-time curfew was imposed on Basra province, and hours after Nuri al-Maliki, the prime minister, arrived in the city on a visit. Basra province was handed over to Iraqi control by British forces in mid-December.

Maliki in Basra

Al-Maliki is said to be personally overseeing the operation in Basra against the Mahdi Army, a British army spokesman said. "The prime minister came down to Basra from Baghdad yesterday along with a delegation. He is overseeing the operation. He is at an Iraqi military base," Major Tom Holloway said.

James Bays, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Iraq, said: "[The British forces] are sort of on standby if they are really needed ... they could help out this operation in a number of ways, with air support for this operation, either with bombing or surveillance useful to Iraqi forces on the ground." "There are groups of competing militia on the ground. The main ones are al-Sadr's fighters ... but there are lots of other splinter groups. On top of that there are criminal gangs and smugglers in Basra."

Motives questioned

Sheikh Ahmed al-Ali, a member of al-Sadr's office in Basra, said the group could not understand why Iraqi security forces had launched an operation against it. "The al-Sadr trend in Basra has frequently said that it supports the Iraqi government and the Iraqi forces in Basra," he told Al Jazeera.

"Al-Mahdi Army is not a military army, as some believes. It is a doctrinal army that serves the society. And that is why al-Mahdi Army has had a great role in supporting the Iraqi security forces in Basra." A number of presidential palaces and Iraqi security and military bases in Basra city came under intensive attack during the assault, Fadel Abdul Hassan, an Iraqi journalist, told Al Jazeera. Mahdi Army forces also stormed the main Iraqi army base in Shatt al-Arab camp in the city, he said.

Announcing the operation late on Monday, General Mohan al-Furayji, the Iraqi commander in charge of security in the south of Iraq, said vehicle access from neighbouring provinces would be temporarily closed during the evening hours from Wednesday and until Friday.

Teaching at schools and universities has also been suspended from Tuesday until Thursday.

Civil disobedience

Amid the security operation in Basra, hundreds of people marched through western Baghdad on Tuesday to protest against arrests of al-Sadr loyalists.

Leaders of al-Sadr's bloc in Baghdad called for its supporters to close their shops and businesses in protest at members' arrests.

The call was heeded on Monday in Amil and Baiyaa, two predominantly Shia neighbourhoods of Baghdad.

Police said Mahdi Army members issued general strike orders in three other areas of southwestern Baghdad and in Mahmudiya, about 30km south of the capital.

"This civil disobedience may be called for in the rest of Baghdad and maybe in southern provinces if the government does not free our detainees," Ali al-Mayali, a politician loyal to al-Sadr, said on Monday.


See the you know what is hitting the fan in Iraq.

03/24/08 MCT: Is 'success' of U.S. surge in Iraq about to unravel?

A cease-fire critical to the improved security situation in Iraq appeared to unravel Monday when a militia loyal to radical Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada al Sadr began shutting down neighborhoods in west Baghdad and issuing demands...

03/25/08 AFP: Sadr followers stage Baghdad protest

Hundreds of Iraqi Shiites loyal to radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr marched through the streets of western Baghdad neighbourhoods on Tuesday protesting the arrests of their leaders.

03/25/08 WaPo: Sadr Followers Shutter Stores, Plan Rally

Followers of influential Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr launched a civil strike Monday to protest raids and mass arrests by Iraq's security forces, underscoring the growing frustrations of Sadr's group, which U.S. military officials say is playing...

And what’s happening in……. AFGHANISTAN!

3 American soldiers have been killed but you wouldn’t know it. Afghanistan is the forgotten war. Just like Bush not caring where Usama bin Laden is.

SEE it’s all about corporate profits and nothing to do with freedom and democracy!

03/25/08 guardian: 40% of Afghan aid returns to donor countries, says report

Afghanistan is being deprived of $10bn (£5bn) of promised aid, and 40% of the money that has been delivered was spent on corporate profits and consultancy fees, according to a hard-hitting report by aid agencies released today.

03/24/08 Reuters: Oil trucks bombed on Pak-Afghan border

Suspected militants in Pakistan have attacked oil tankers supplying fuel to foreign forces in Afghanistan, destroying 36 tankers and wounding up to 70 people, officials and residents said.

03/24/08 AFP: Gunmen shoot dead five Afghan mine clearers Unknown gunmen ambushed a convoy of mine clearers in northern Afghanistan, killing five and wounding seven, the director of their UN-funded mine company told AFP Monday.


Now I know why Belarus expelled our diplomats and we closed our Embassy on Friday.

Belarus says uncovers U.S. spy network

Reuters US Online Report Top News

Mar 25, 2008 05:45 EST

MINSK (Reuters) - The intelligence agency in Belarus, an ex-Soviet state locked in a diplomatic row with Washington, confirmed on Tuesday that a espionage ring working for the United States had been uncovered in the country.

"We hereby confirm that the information about this group being exposed is completely true," said a representative of the service, still known by its Soviet-era initials KGB. "A group conducting espionage for the United States has been uncovered."

State television, tightly controlled in the country of 10 million, had reported last weekend that a spying network made up of 10 Belarussian nationals had been exposed, but gave no details of concrete charges against them. The U.S. embassy issued a statement saying it had no spies working in Belarus.

(Reporting by Andrei Makhovsky, Writing by Ron Popeski)


Sigh, well you have the info on how to contact the UN Human Rights Committee and the Chinese Embassy’s here in the U.S.

If Tibet is to gain her freedom we must strike now while China begs for acceptance in the world. China must stop now!


And Bush says SCREW Tibet and human rights and Democracy! Tibet has no OIL! Gees if only they had oil.

I’m still going to the Olympics so I can be a big shot.!

From The Times March 25, 2008

Paramilitaries open fire on hundreds of monks and nuns at Tibet rally

Jane Macartney in Beijing

Paramilitary police opened fire on hundreds of monks, nuns and Tibetans who tried to march on a local government office in western China yesterday to demand the return of the Dalai Lama.

Residents of Luhuo said that a monk and a farmer appeared to have been killed and about a dozen people wounded in the latest violence in Tibetan areas of China. Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency, said that one officer was killed when police confronted a “lawless mob” in Luhuo.

The demonstration began at 4pm when about 200 nuns from Woge nunnery and a similar number of monks from Jueri monastery marched towards the Luhuo Third District government office. They were joined by several hundred farmers and nomads, witnesses said.

Shouting “Long Live the Dalai Lama” and “Tibet belongs to Tibetans”, they approached the office. The paramilitary People’s Armed Police appeared and ordered the crowd to turn back. Witnesses said that shots were fired and two people appeared to have died.

They identified one as Congun Dengzhu, a farmer, and the second as an unknown monk.

Security was already tight in Luhuo county, as in other Tibetan communities in China. The turmoil began with a riot in Lhasa on March 15, in which Chinese officials say 19 people were killed when Tibetans rampaged through the Tibetan capital, stabbing ethnic Han Chinese and setting fire to Chinese shops and offices.

The latest demonstration, in a remote corner of a province that abuts Tibet and has a mainly Tibetan population, came after the authorities in Lhasa issued their Number Eight list of those most wanted in connection with the violence.

The new list, issued by the Tibetan Autonomous Region Public Security Bureau rather than by Lhasa city authorities, of eight people brought the number of those now being sought to 53. State-run television has been showing grainy photographs of those who are wanted, which have been taken from video footage and photographs that were taken during the riot on March 15.

The man whose picture appeared as number 52 on the list features in one of the most well-known images from that day of violence, in which a group of Tibetans can be seen setting light to a Chinese flag while a young man in Tibetan dress and carrying a machete-type knife stands in the background.

China says it has acted with restraint in response to the unrest. It said that its paramilitary had opened fire on protesters in Aba, a nearby district of Sichuan province, last week, wounding four people. Tibetans have said that several people were killed.

A police spokeswoman said that five people had been detained in Lhasa in relation to arson during the riot. She said that three Tibetan women in their twenties faced arson charges and had confessed. An investigation was still under way in the two other cases. Officials said last week that 24 people had been arrested and more than 150 had given themselves up.

At least 245 Tibetans were detained in Nepal yesterday after police used bamboo batons to break up a crowd of 500 demonstrators at a pro-Tibet rally near a United Nations office in Kathmandu, police said. Nepal recognises officially the One China policy that says Tibet and Taiwan are indivisible parts of the country.

The government-in-exile of the Dalai Lama in India said yesterday that the death toll in the clashes had risen to 130 but it gave no breakdown or details of the casualties.

Foreign journalists have been barred from approaching any Tibetan areas where unrest has been reported and the numbers are extremely difficult to verify.

Security is tight across Tibetan areas of China. Civil servants in many districts have been ordered to report to their offices every day and to take part in “patriotic education”.




China asks US to oppose Taiwan's 'Independence'

BEIJING: China has asked the US to keep up its promise on the Taiwan issue and oppose the self-ruled island's ‘Independence’ and attempts to join the UN and other international organizations.

The referendum on Taiwan joining the UN, which had angered China, held in tandem with the Presidential poll on Saturday last had failed to muster enough support.

Ma Ying-jeou, who is in favour of closer ties with Beijing unlike his predecessor pro-independence Chen Shui-bian who had organized the referendum, had scored a landslide victory to take over as President of Taiwan.

Taiwan split from the mainland during the civil war in 1949, but is considered by China as a renegade province which is part of it. Beijing has blocked Taiwan's earlier 15 attempts to get back to the UN after it lost the seat to China in 1971.

"There's only one China in the world and Taiwan is an inalienable part of Chinese territory," Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said. Qin said, "we urge the United States to adhere to one-China policy and the three Sino-US joint communiqus, oppose "Taiwan's independence", oppose Taiwan's joining the United Nations and other international organizations which is only open to sovereign nations."

China's response came following a call by US President George Bush to the two sides of the Taiwan Straits to pursue peace and stability through dialogue and refrain from unilateral moves that would change the cross-Straits situation.


FCC Auction: 'The Big Get Bigger'

The wireless spectrum auction fails to pave the way for new competitors; instead, AT&T and Verizon Wireless solidify their positions

by Spencer E. Ante

So much for creating a new national competitor in the U.S. wireless business.

On Mar. 20, the Federal Communications Commission revealed the top bidders in a just-ended auction of the nation's most desirable remaining airwaves. The winners? By a wide margin, it was the nation's two biggest cellular operators, AT&T (T) and Verizon Wireless, the mobile venture owned by Verizon (VZ) and Vodafone (VOD). Those two companies bid a combined $16.3 billion, accounting for more than four-fifths of the auction's record proceeds of $19.6 billion. AT&T paid $6.64 billion for 227 licenses, while Verizon Wireless spent $9.63 billion for a handful of large regional licenses.

"I think the big just got bigger," says Rebecca Arbogast, an analyst with Stifel Nicolaus, a research firm based in Washington, D.C. "No matter how you look at it, they clearly bulked up in this auction."

Google (GOOG), which had set off an industry hullabaloo by pressing the FCC to attach "open access" requirements to the spectrum being auctioned, walked away with nothing (, 2/14/08). But the Internet search giant still achieved a victory: Last July, the FCC ruled the winners of certain blocks of spectrum would have to allow any wireless device to connect with the network using those airwaves. "They are the happy loser," says Arbogast. "They got nothing. I think they wanted nothing. But they got open access."


The War On Democracy by John Pilger

Just Watch it.


AL FRANKEN IS IN TROUBLE! Come on people if you live in a safe blue state or your state is not running a Senator for re-election think about helping Al and Minnesota give Coleman the boot.

The latest Coleman-Franken horserace poll numbers

In the latest publicly available horserace poll on the Minnesota U.S. Senate race, incumbent Republican Sen. Norm Coleman leads his likeliest DFL opponent Al Franken opponent by 51-41 percent, with 7 percent undecided.

The poll was taken Wednesday by SurveyUSA, using robotic phone interviews with 644 registered Minnesota voters. The margin for sampling error is +/- 3.9 percentage points (which means that Coleman’s lead is rated as “statistically significant.”) The poll was sponsored by KSTP-TV, which broadcast the results last night.

Here is SurveyUSA’s breakdown of the internals of the poll.

It would be unwise to take very seriously, eight months before the general election, this poll, or the previous one, also taken by SurveyUSA for KSTP a month ago, which showed the race Franken 47; Coleman 46.

It's hard to imagine anything that has happened in the past month that would cause the race to swing from Franken up one to Coleman up 10. I attribute it to the vagaries of early polling in a race that hasn't taken shape yet.

I do have it from a reliable Democratic insider that the previous poll had helped the national party bigwigs feel much better about the Dems' chances of picking up the Minnesota seat. For most of last year, there was a palpable nervousness on the Dem side that they had a golden opportunity to knock Coleman off, but not a candidate who could get it done.

Franken has long been the likeliest Dem endorsee and nominee. His fame from his previous life in show business and his proven early prowess as a fund-raiser were bankable assets of the kind that gets the national party focused on a pickup opportunity (plus the obvious fact that Minnesota is a purple state that has been trending blue).

But Dems were (and are) concerned about how Franken's candidacy would hold up when the Republicans started publicizing the long list of crude, sarcastic, hyper-partisan comments that Franken has made or written during his career. This remains one of the central questions to be answered over the course of this year. Franken recently told my esteemed MinnPost colleague Doug Grow that his plan for dealing with that problem is jujitsu."

And I guess we'll find out how that works later this year. If you are reading this post, you are very likely aware of some of these remarks. But the less politically attentive public probably isn't, and the MNGOP and Team Coleman will find some to make them more famous (it will be interesting to see how they go about it, since many of the remarks will not be suitable for TV ads).

But my Democratic insider said that, despite the Dem nervousness, the party big cigars were long past the point of looking for someone else to get into the race. (Tim Walz, R.T. Rybak, Tarryl Clark, Alan Page — Arne Carlson was even discussed, although he was Republican during his active political career.)

And they were heartened by Franken's consistent big fund-raising numbers and then by the February poll and some others that showed Franken within striking distance of Coleman.

Of course the big cigars know better than to overreact to a February or March poll. But my source told me they were comparing Franken's numbers to those of three other races in which vulnerable Repub incumbents were being challenged by Democrats in purple northern states (specifically Maine, where the incumbent is Sen. Susan Collins; New Hampshire, John Sunnunu; and Oregon, Gordon Smith) and Franken seemed to be leading that group of Dem challengers both in fund-raising and in trial heats.


Help Al get his 2,008th person to donate $20. 08

He’s at 1,899 only 109 people to go.


I post this only so I can bash Mondale for:

1) waiting so long to say something of importance, ignoring years of criminal offenses by Cheney and Bush

2) the Constitution is quite clear Mr. EX VP about impeachment, Cheney and Bush should be whether it tears up the country on not! >.<<


Mondale issues blistering attack on Cheney

Former Vice President Walter Mondale today accused the current vice president, Dick Cheney, of a wholesale assault on the Constitution, the balance of powers, and the system that evolved since World War II to coordinate intelligence and defense policy.

"They wrecked that system," Mondale said this morning at a University of Minnesota scholarly conference on the vice presidency.

This isn't some academic difference of opinion over the proper balance between branches of the federal government, Mondale said, during a question and answer session after his prepared remarks:

"I think this was a brutal, deliberate policy to ignore a wide range of written laws and constitutional principles and the legitimate powers of Congress…It's different than anything we've seen in American history and I think it ought to be seen not as two responsible positions, but ought to be seen as a dramatic challenge to American's system of government."

In the case that led to the conviction of Cheney's top aide, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Mondale said Cheney functioned as "an ideological enforcer, silencing dissent, punishing critics, to sustain a flawed war policy based on cooked facts. It's all there. Read the case."

Mondale challenged an occasional theme that arises in interpreting the Cheney vice presidency, holding that because Cheney had no presidential ambitions of his own, he was more useful and faithful to the president. On the contrary, Mondale argued, this freedom from higher political ambition freed Cheney to disrespect the Congress, the American people and the law.

Mondale said: "The other morning, Mr. Cheney was on 'Good Morning America.' A reporter asked him: 'Well, polls now show that two thirds of the American people are opposed to this war. Shouldn't that mean something?' And [Cheney] said, 'So?'

"Y'know, maybe he didn't say it correctly or say it the way he meant it. And I don't say that public opinion should govern everything. But public opinion deserves respect and the president and the vice president ought to be worried about it.

"I think our vice president ought to wake up every morning, like I did, wondering what he can do to enhance public support and respect. And I believe an election-free unaccountable vice president, clothed with some of the aura and power of the president may, as this vice president has, act as though he were beyond accountability to anybody but the president — beyond the reach of the Congress, the court, the press, the Constitution and the American people.

"It scares me and I think we ought to be thinking about it this fall as we pick a vice president."

In a blistering close to his 30-minute presentation at the Humphrey Institute for Public Policy, Mondale said that in looking back on his tenure as Jimmy Carter's vice president, he took pride in three claims: "We told the truth; we obeyed the law; and we kept the peace." The Bush-Cheney administration, Mondale said, "can't say any of that with a straight face about those first four years. And it's cost us terribly. Let's not make that mistake again."

Scholars views on Mondale, Cheney
It's not surprising that Mondale feels this way, and he has criticized Cheney publicly before. The event, sponsored by the Humphrey Institute's Center for the Study of Politics and Governance (CSPG) and the journal Presidential Studies Quarterly, was supposed to be about the upcoming choice of running-mates for the 2008. And the other scholars and former public officials who spoke devoted most of their remarks to the assigned theme.

But Mondale clearly decided to seize the occasion to go further, deeper and stronger than ever before into what must be described as his disgust with the way Cheney used the office that Mondale once held.

Mondale may have special standing on the topic. Scholars of the vice presidency are unanimous that he was a breakthrough figure in turning the office into an important part of the executive branch, based on an understanding that he reached with Carter. The same scholars agree that Cheney now holds the title of most powerful vice president ever. Mondale said he wasn't sure whether Cheney had Bush's agreement for some of the policies he pursued, or whether he had turned the vice presidency into an independent power center, a possibility that Mondale clearly thinks would be far outside the Constitution.

Mondale said his criticisms of Cheney had nothing to do with policy differences. He had no fundamental objections to the way other vice presidents have worked. While fielding questions from the audience and from Larry Jacobs, director of the CSPG, Mondale reiterated the criticisms he had made in his prepared remarks.

When Jacobs asked what the administration could do about the problem, Mondale replied: "It's not that difficult. If you're doing something that's against the law, stop it…We never thought we had the right to ignore laws that were clearly applicable to the president."

Although Mondale's strong word choices about what he sees as Cheney's abuses of power were consistent with many arguments made by those who argue for an impeachment drive against Cheney and/or Bush, Mondale explicitly rejected the idea, saying impeachment "just tears us apart — wouldn't get anywhere."

The second audio link below contains the question and answer session. Warning, it's about 30 minutes long and includes not only an expansion of Mondale's criticisms of Cheney and Bush, but also questions about likely running mates for this year's presidential nominees and other topics.

Go here to listen to the speech if you must.


I know it’s not Saturday but thought these 3 Action Alerts were important enough to post now.

On March 13-16 Iraq Veterans Against the War hosted a solemn series of testimonials by veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan invasions and occupations. Under the banner of Winter Soldier Iraq & Afghanistan, these testimonials provide a heart wrenching reality-check for America. These testimonials, delivered by American service members awaken compassion for the the young Americans who fell prey to those who championed, allowed or profited from our disastrous foreign policy and the illegal, unnecessary and immoral invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Now it is time to listen to the stories of the young people whose innocence was stolen from them - replaced with a lifetime of nightmares. Listen to the story of Kristofer Goldsmith (pictured to the left) and others from across this country, regardless of how painful it may be.

More importantly, let's join together to make our politicians listen. They owe this to America's veterans and to all of us. It is only fair that we insist that our complicit Congress witness some portion of the consequences of their action or inaction. They must see what has been inflicted on our own young people. Then we must all consider that however horrifying these stories are, they are most certainly dwarfed in number and loss by the millions of Iraqi stories we will never hear.

Finally, I think it is important to challenge Colin Powell's truism that "If you break it, you own it." I think he is very wrong. We "broke" Iraq, BUT we "own" nothing there. Nothing but the devastation. It is time to abandon excuses, delays and illusions. Just as in Vietnam, America cannot fix Iraq. There is no role for the US there except through reparations, and most likely those should be delivered by others. "Out Now!" was and must once again be our mantra and our demand.

In peace, grief, and solidarity,

Bill Moyer
Executive Director
Backbone Campaign

PS - While in DC Backbone Campaign also supported the PDA Healthcare Not Warfare launch at Busboys and Poets with our new giant inflatable doctor and attended the Take Back America conference, tabling with our friends at Code Pink.

Please Mark the 4,000th American Death in Iraq by Asking Congress to: Watch the Winter Soldier Testimonials & End the Occupation NOW The US Cannot "Fix" What We've Broken, So Let's Stop Breaking Countries and People

Take Action:

Call the Congressional switchboard at 1-877 851 6437 and ask for the office of the politician you want to speak to. Insist that they watch the Winter Soldier 2008 testimonials and stop paying for the occupation of Iraq.

Testimonials can be heard at:

(Seattle area) Attend a vigil organized by Peace Action of WA - All at 7pm.
Dress warm, and bring a candle, sign or both.

Green Lake: South Shore of Green Lake, near N. 64th street.

Lake Forest Park: Corner of Ballinger Way NE and Bothell Way

NE.Edmonds/Lynnwood: Corner of Hwy 99 and 196th ave.


I sure would like to know which U.S. authorities gave Iran permission to bomb Iraq and the Kurds. And once again our media remains silent on the continued genocide of the Kurds.

I thought Bush/Cheney hated Iran as they continue to bang the war drum against Iran. But yet it’s ok to kill those damn Kurds who dared to keep their oil and thumb their noses at Americian oil companies.!

I urge everyone to please call the White House switchboard and DEMAND Bush stop telling Iran it’s ok to bomb the Kurds.

The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500.

Phone Numbers Comments: 202-456-1111

Switchboard: 202-456-1414

FAX: 202-456-2461

The enemy of my enemy is my friend Huh George?

: "US agreed on bombing Kurdistan by Iran" :

London ( 25 March 2008: The Iranian authorities have been bombing and shelling the border regions for the last three days. The Kurdistan Presidential Council has condemned the Iranian act in a formal statement which was broadcast via media outlets, and urged the Iranian authorities to stop bombing which caused instability in the region and displaced the villagers. learned from informed and high ranking Iraqi sources that the US authorities have agreed with the Iranian authorities to the bombardment and approved of it. The consensus reached when the US met the Iranian authorities in Baghdad. No further information was provided.


The petition

We the undersigned express our objection to the prospect of the George W. Bush library, museum, and think tank being established at Southern Methodist University. As United Methodists, we believe that the linking of his presidency with a university bearing the Methodist name is utterly inappropriate. We urge the Board of Trustees of Southern Methodist University and the South Central Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church to reject this project.


Maybe Pakistani’s will be ok, seems they are on the way to healing their country and the Judiciary.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Yousaf Gilani elected Prime Minister of Pakistan

Islamabad, March 24: Yousuf Raza Gilani was elected as the new Prime Minister on Pakistan on Monday with a thumping majority in the National Assembly. He recieved 264 votes against the 42 votes bagged by Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, the opposition candidate fielded by the PML-Q and its allies. Supporters shouted “Long Live Bhutto!” and “Go, Musharraf, Go!” as the result was announced. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, sitting in the public gallery, wiped away tears and then shook hands with Mr. Gilani.

PM Yusuf Gilani orders detained judges freed

ISLAMABAD, March 24 (Reuters): Newly elected Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani ordered on Monday the immediate release of all judges detained by President Pervez Musharraf after he imposed emergency rule in November. “I order the immediate release of detained judges of the superior judiciary,” Gilani told the National Assembly, shortly after it overwhelmingly voted for him to become prime minister.
Gilani also appealed to judges to resolve disputes through parliament, not through protests. The prime minister also said he will ask parliament to pass a resolution seeking a U.N. probe into the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.

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Bush' Way of Bringing the Troops Home

Bush' Way of Bringing the Troops Home
If Not Now When?

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