Schumer, Feinstein to Support Mukasey: David Addington Smiles

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Why did Dems take control of the Senate anyway?
As I predicted below, Schumer did not prove people like me wrong and has decided, along with Senator Dianne Feinstein, to vote in favor of Michael Mukasey’s confirmation as Attorney General.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

36 comments on “Schumer, Feinstein to Support Mukasey: David Addington Smiles

  1. Sandy says:

    http://www.antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=11856
    November 5, 2007
    AIPAC, ESPIONAGE, AND LEGAL SABOTAGE
    Has the AIPAC spy trial been derailed?
    CBS broke the story three years ago: a high-ranking Pentagon analyst had been caught handing over highly classified information to a foreign government – sensitive intelligence about al-Qaeda, U.S. policy deliberations regarding Iran, and other top-secret information of particular interest to his two American handlers. The spy’s native-born confederates, top officials of one of Washington’s most powerful lobbying groups, passed America’s most closely guarded secrets directly to foreign government officials in hurried meetings in empty restaurants, outside a train station, and over the phone, whispering their T R E A S O N in some of Washington’s darkest corners so as not to leave a paper trail of purloined documents.
    As clever as they were, however, these spymasters apparently outwitted themselves, because the FBI’s counterintelligence unit was on to them from the very beginning: the two core members of the spy nest had been under surveillance for years, along with the foreign officials who operated out of their Washington embassy. The FBI had everything on tape, and they let the Pentagon mole weave enough rope to hang himself with until they moved in on him: confronted with his treason, the mole – the Pentagon’s top Iran analyst, working directly under then-undersecretary of defense for policy Douglas J. Feith – agreed to wear a wire to future meetings with his handlers. An extensive record of treason was documented, until indictments were issued and charges brought against all three. When the news first broke, it was a national scandal – and then the story sank like a stone, for three solid years, while the extensive litigation surrounding the case played out.
    The analyst pled guilty to espionage and was sentenced to 13 years in prison and a substantial fine – with time off for his cooperation in the future trial of his two ex-cohorts. The trial, as I’ve said, has been delayed for nearly three years and is scheduled to finally begin on Jan. 14. But I wouldn’t count on that happening: the trial has been delayed on several occasions through the years, and recent developments augur ill for the speedy resolution of this case.
    You might think this is odd: after all, it seems like an open-and-shut case. With so much evidence accumulated by government prosecutors, one would think this would be a cakewalk. And it would be, if the recipient of this stolen intelligence weren’t Israel. It would be, except the two key figures in this cloak and dagger episode were top officials of AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a Washington powerhouse whose former chief lobbyist once boasted to the New Yorker’s Jeffrey Goldberg: “You see this napkin? In twenty-four hours, we could have the signatures of seventy senators on this napkin.”
    So said Steve Rosen, the spark plug behind AIPAC’s legendary lobbying success – the very same Steve Rosen indicted for espionage, along with his top Iran specialist, Keith Weissman, on Aug. 4, 2005, and whose trial is scheduled for Jan. 14, 2008.
    Rosen and Weissman contacted, cultivated, and befriended Pentagon analyst Larry Franklin for the specific purpose of culling classified information from him. They even promised to put in a good word for him with top Washington officials as a partial reward for his betrayal. However, Franklin, a committed neoconservative ideologue, didn’t need much material incentive: he was convinced that U.S. policy in the Middle East wasn’t nearly as pro-Israel as it ought to be, and he was particularly concerned about Iran.
    Starting in the late summer of 2002 and continuing until the late summer of 2004, these three spun their web of subversion, gathering vital intelligence and passing it on to Israeli embassy officials. And the FBI has a great deal of this on its surveillance tapes, so much of it – “four years of tracking AIPAC staffers,” according to the Jerusalem Post – that the footage could be made into a reality show with a unique “spy versus spy” theme.
    The defense, in what would normally be an open-and-shut case, has been struggling frantically [.pdf] to avoid a trial at all costs. That’s understandable: after all, the FBI has the whole thing – the entire course of their crimes against America – on record. The verbal transmission of classified information, the elaborate arrangements to avoid detection, the open boasting of the analyst’s two handlers that they had a live one on the hook, it’s all there: raw, naked treason. Rather than come up against the incontrovertible facts, the defense has tried hard to divert the energies of the court away from actually bringing this to trial, in the hopes that the administration will back down and drop the charges.
    The defense strategy has been to constantly up the ante, daring government prosecutors to present the full scope of the recorded evidence in open court – and thus compromise the sources and methods of U.S. clandestine services, such as the FBI’s counterintelligence unit. In addition, the nature and specific contents of various U.S. secrets stolen by the Rosen-Weissman-Franklin spy ring and transmitted to the Israelis could come out in open court.
    This is why the government has made several attempts to mask the evidence, proposing that testimony made available to the public would be presented in a kind of code, but that was rejected byJudge T.S. Ellis, for the most part. A mediation process was set up, and for months the lawyers have been haggling over what is admissible evidence and what has to be kept secret in the national interest – with the defense constantly pressuring the court to be as liberal as possible, and government prosecutors arguing for secrecy.
    Now there has been a major development on this front. No one took seriously the defense’s motion, made a few months ago, that they be allowed to subpoena Condoleezza Rice, Paul Wolfowitz, National Security Council chief Stephen Hadley, and a whole platoon of government officials and former officials. The motion was made on the grounds that these officials, too, had transmitted classified information to AIPAC, and that this is proof that such behavior was and is routine, part of the normal way of doing business in the world of Washington lobbyists. The defendants’ case has always been that they have a First Amendment right to commit espionage, and that their indictment amounted to a government assault on their right to “free speech.” Gee, too bad the Rosenbergs never thought of this unique rationalization for treason, although I doubt it would’ve gotten them anywhere. The AIPAC defendants, however, may have more luck in this department…
    No judge had ever allowed such a thing, at least in recent memory, and no one expected Judge Ellis to look favorably on this request. That he granted the defense motion in all but a few cases is bad news for the government – and good news for the Israel lobby, which may just be spared the embarrassment of having its essential nature as a fifth column for Israel exposed to the light of day.
    In addition to Rice, Wolfowitz, and Hadley, the following can expect to be served with a summons to appear at a trial that may never happen: Larry Franklin’s boss, Douglas J. Feith, former undersecretary of defense for policy; Elliott Abrams, neocon par excellence and Iran-Contra alumnus, who served as Bush’s “deputy national security adviser for global democracy strategy”; Kenneth Pollack, a former National Security Council adviser to Bill Clinton and author of the now infamously influential book The Threatening Storm, which convinced so many liberal Democrats to support the invasion of Iraq; Marc Grossman, former undersecretary of state for political affairs; Marc Sievers, chief political affairs officer at the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv and one of Rice’s chief advisers on Iraqi affairs; David Satterfield, a political officer at our Tel Aviv embassy; William Burns, the American ambassador to Russia; Lawrence Silverman, currently a deputy chief at the American embassy in the Slovak Republic; Matthew Bryza, a deputy assistant secretary of state; and Michael Makovsky, a former staff member of the Office of Special Plans, the policy shop where the “intelligence” pointing to Saddam Hussein’s fabled “weapons of mass destruction” was cooked up into talking points. Franklin also served in that policy shop.
    The idea that the U.S. government is going to allow this is absurd. Rather than expose the entire Israeli covert operation in its midst and permit testimony that would dramatize how much access the Israelis already have to our officials and the policy-making process, the Bush administration now has an ideal excuse to shut this case down. Rice wouldn’t even show up to a congressional hearing to answer questions about prewar intelligence, and she similarly tried to defy the 9/11 Commission on the grounds of “executive privilege.” In spite of her expressed willingness to “cooperate with our legal system,” I fully expect her to show the same disdain for Judge Ellis’ court.
    The recent book by John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt documenting the existence of a powerful Israel lobby has generated a storm of controversy, with the Lobby’s advocates smearing the two professors as “anti-Semites” and the more reasonable members of the foreign policy community at least open to the argument that undue reverence for the Lobby – and its political clout – has distorted the policy-making process, perhaps fatally. Yet even Mearsheimer and Walt go out of their way to emphasize that the Lobby is “not a cabal” and “not a conspiracy,” and, although they mention the AIPAC spy case briefly, they draw no conclusions from it. Perhaps they thought they had enough of a burden in making the case they did make, without sinking the knife in deeper. Yet this case shows that at the very core of the Lobby a cabal was operating, which was – and, for all we know, still is – engaged in a conspiracy to commit espionage on behalf of a foreign power.
    This is undeniable to anyone who has followed the details of this case, and the embarrassment of a public trial would have rendered it irrefutable in the public mind: AIPAC would be ruined, its name and image forever associated with the stealing of U.S. secrets. Almost certainly a trial would force AIPAC to register as an agent of a foreign power, namely Israel, in which case its political effectiveness would be seriously impaired, and for all intents and purposes ended.
    There is going to be tremendous pressure now, coming from the White House as well as the Lobby, to quash this trial before it ruins them all. The odds are that this effort will succeed, if only because the case has slipped beneath the media’s radar. It has been going on, after all, for nearly three long years, during which time the original memory of the FBI’s two raids on AIPAC’s Washington office and the sensational confession and conviction of Franklin have faded in the public mind. Even the nearly unprecedented news that a judge has ordered such a personage as Rice to give testimony in this case hasn’t garnered all that much notice. If the case dies, it will die a largely silent death. If it ever comes to trial, however, it will be the show of the decade, much more entertaining than anything remotely promised by the trial of Scooter Libby.
    Rice’s refusal to testify, and similar refusals by some or all of the currently serving U.S. officials, could torpedo the trial once and for all, or at least delay it indefinitely as the government appeals the judge’s decision. Douglas Feith will never be asked why he was in such a hurry to resign, and Wolfowitz and Hadley will be spared the embarrassment of having to explain how Israeli agents managed to penetrate the Pentagon. The Lobby can breathe a sigh of relief, as can the White House – and, most importantly, from the Israeli point of view, their spy nest can continue to operate without further ado.
    After all, you don’t really believe that Franklin is the only neocon fish caught in AIPAC’s web of espionage, do you? The existence of one spy implies the presence of others, and, in this case, it’s a virtual certainty. A public trial would expose the whole network to the blinding light of day, an ugly scene that both Washington and the Israelis would much rather avoid. To obscure the implications of their espionage, the Lobby has done its best to sabotage this case – and it looks like they may have succeeded.

    Reply

  2. Israellover says:

    Schumer and Feinstein will both be re-elected easily because in neither NY or California do Jew-haters like some around here comprise more that 10% of the electorate, and because others who responsibly disagree with their views do not comprise more that another 30% of the electorate. Live with that fact.

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  3. arthurdecco says:

    Until I read your two sentences, AlanSmithee, I was nodding in agreement. After I finished your rant, I realized you were masturbating.
    Remember, “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.” j. lennon
    Do you have a solution to offer up or only histrionics?

    Reply

  4. AlanSmithee says:

    So what? So the dems caved on Mukasey and you don’t like it. So what do you think you’re going to do about it? Blog about it? Write a stern letter? Hold your breath? Vote third party?
    Yeah, that’s what I thought. You’re going to do exactly jack-shit. Which brings us to the next question…
    Why are you still using up perfectly good oxygen?

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  5. David N says:

    It is truly sad that we are down to this.
    I am thinking more and more about the movie, “Rollerball.”
    For those who don’t remember, it was about more than crunching bones and bodies flying into the rafters and the hero, James Cahn, crawling to victory at the end. The premise of the film was that there were no more governments. Corporations had completely taken over; there were no elections, no laws, no rights. Everyone was owned by one corporation or another; everyone was property, without rights, without dignity.
    And with the politicians we have now, with the media we have now, with the CEOs we have now, with all of them using the sham excuse of the so-called War on Terror to gut the constitution, ignore the laws, and pay attention only to power, money, and greed, we are but moments from the world depicted in that movie.
    To hell with “1984.” A world of unlimited government power is nothing to worry about. A world without government, with unlimited corporate power, is the real threat.
    The rest, like the overlooked fact that torture doesn’t work, is details.

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  6. DonS says:

    Folks, in my post above I said ” . . . a nation BORN IN REVOLUTION for over two years . . .”
    There is an error in that phrase which should be obvious to all. Uh, except if Bush says its not obvious, in which case Congress will agree that there is no error.

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  7. samuel burke says:

    over at patbuchanans site….http://buchanan.org/blog/?p=878
    when all is said and done…these are crimes that if the nazis were commiting against our prisoners would be denounced by the neocons from sea to shining sea and all across the world in the newspapers that matter.
    from jim pittaway
    This is why the inherently narcissistic idea of American exceptionalism is such a two-edged sword. Harnessed to coherent ethics and healthy appraisals of ourselves and others, it becomes a challenge for us to do better and a vehicle for enhancing social cohesion among citizens. Combined with entitlement, impatience, and a need to control, it produces the Iraq War, Guantanamo, and thousands of little Abu Ghraib moments. Our sense of entitlement justifies inhabiting our own special moral and ethical universe, just like the antisocial, and because we are never properly appreciated or understood, we can perpetrate crimes against innocents and guilty alike and justify lying about them to ourselves and others, just like those folks who come through my office two or three times a week.

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  8. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “I can’t figure out why anyone in his/her right mind would want to be President in 2009.”
    Well, because Congress has allowed the future president carte blanche to completely ignore the Constitution and the will of the people by their criminal refusal to hold the Bush Administration accountable. Considering that the only motivations that are successful in Washington these days is corruption and megalomania, people like Hillary or Guilianni are chomping at the bit to wear the crown. I am constantly amazed that people like Steve hold these monsters up as some sort of demonstration of a working democracy. Is Steve, for all his opinions and connections, this unbelievably ignorant of his surroundings and the current state of affairs, or is he actually a willing participant in the wholesale dismantling of our once representative form of government? I find it hard to believe he could be so starstruck by these monsters that he could be rendered so naive and intellectually impotent.
    Sorry Steve, but your part in this is becoming almost surreal. Its your comment about Ron Paul having not “done enough” that pushed me over the edge. When you can muster the time to fabricate a fantasy about what exactly Obama or Hillary have “done” above and beyond what Ron Paul has “done”, perhaps I can better understand where you are coming from.
    I have searched my own knowledge, high and low, and all I can figure out that they have “done” is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Unless, of course, you consider selling out to AIPAC, refusing to hold this Administration accountable, and feeding us the SAME LYING BULLSHIT about Iran that Bush is feeding us, “doing something”. Oh, and Hillary’s ability to garner the fullfledged suuport of the arms industry is definitely “doing something”. And this piece of shit Obama’s statement about Bush’s executive abuses not meeting his standard of grave abuse is certainly telling. It might not tell us what Obama has “done”, but it sure as hell tells us what he thinks he can get away with “doing”, doesn’t it?

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  9. Sandy says:

    And, speaking of TREASON, POA, how about this:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11/02/AR2007110201554_pf.html
    Rice, Others Told to Testify in AIPAC Case
    By Jerry Markon
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Saturday, November 3, 2007; A06
    A federal judge yesterday issued a rare ruling that ordered Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and more than 10 other prominent current and former government officials to testify on behalf of two pro-Israel lobbyists accused of violating the Espionage Act at their upcoming criminal trial.
    The opinion by U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III in Alexandria directed that subpoenas be issued to officials who include Rice, national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley, former high-level Department of Defense officials Paul D. Wolfowitz and Douglas J. Feith, and Richard L. Armitage, the former deputy secretary of state.
    Their testimony has been sought by attorneys for Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman, former employees of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, who are accused of conspiring to obtain classified information and pass it to members of the media and the Israeli government.
    Attorneys for Rosen and Weissman say Rice and the other officials could help clear them because they provided the former lobbyists with sensitive information similar to what they were charged for, according to Ellis’s ruling and lawyers familiar with the case. Prosecutors have been trying to quash the subpoenas during secret hearings and in classified legal briefs, but Ellis wrote that the testimony could help “exculpate the defendants by negating the criminal states of mind the government must prove.”
    Legal experts said it would be highly unusual for such a parade of senior officials to testify at a criminal trial. Although former president Ronald Reagan and former attorney general Edwin I. Meese III testified at a trial arising from the Iran-contra affair in the 1980s, judges usually decline to grant such subpoenas on the grounds that high-level officials are too busy or that the information can be obtained from other sources.
    “It’s certainly been a long time, if ever, since a district court ordered the government to produce witnesses who currently occupy such sensitive national security positions to testify at trial in a matter of this sensitivity,” said David Laufman, a Washington lawyer who previously handled national security cases in the U.S. attorney’s office in Alexandria.
    Legal experts said Ellis’s ruling leaves the government with difficult choices and sets up a potential clash between the executive and judicial branches. Prosecutors might try to appeal, but it is unclear whether an appellate court would take the case, because the ruling came before the lobbyists’ trial, scheduled for Jan. 14.
    Prosecutors also might invoke some sort of privilege and refuse to allow the officials to testify on the grounds that it could reveal sensitive information about national security and U.S. foreign policy. That would likely lead to sanctions from the judge, which could include dismissals of the indictment.
    The State Department referred questions to the Justice Department, which declined to comment. Tony Fratto, a White House spokesman, said the administration is “aware of the order.” He declined to comment further.
    Attorneys for the two former lobbyists said they welcomed the ruling.
    “For over two years, we have been explaining that our clients’ conduct was lawful and completely consistent with how the U.S. government dealt with AIPAC and other foreign policy groups,” the two lawyers, Abbe D. Lowell and John Nassikas, said in a joint statement. “We are gratified that the judge has agreed that the defense has the right to prove these points by calling the Secretary of State and all of these other government officials as our witnesses.”
    The lobbyists are the first non-government civilians charged under the 1917 espionage statute with verbally receiving and transmitting national defense information.
    Rosen and Weissman were indicted in 2005 on charges of conspiring to violate the Espionage Act by receiving national defense information and transmitting it to journalists and employees of the Israeli Embassy who were not entitled to receive it. The topics ranged from the activities of al-Qaeda to information about possible attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq, according to court documents.
    Rosen, of Silver Spring, was AIPAC’s director of foreign policy issues and was instrumental in making the committee a formidable political force. Weissman, of Bethesda, was a senior analyst. AIPAC fired them in 2005.
    Among those ordered to testify are William Burns, the U.S. ambassador to Russia; Elliot Abrams, deputy national security adviser; and Kenneth Pollack, former director of Persian Gulf affairs for the National Security Council.
    Staff writer Peter Baker and researcher Julie Tate contributed to this report.
    ——————————————————
    They have ALREADY predicted that the whole case will be DISMISSED!!!
    If you know of any MORE corrupt government, let me know! I can’t think of any on a par with this one.

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  10. DonS says:

    The operative definition of torture, delineated as the “the only relevant definition of torture” in the memo linked to in this story, is contained in the United Nations Convention Against Torture, ratified into law (United States Code):
    http://tinyurl.com/2xjb9x
    It was natural and commonplace, not to mention “criminal law, centuries of Anglo-American law, longstanding policy of The United States, “ to repudiate torture.
    Who ever thought that “we” would have to hedge, dumb down, play footsy with the definition of torture, enabling some enthusiastic sadists in the military and the CIA (not to mention rendition nations), aided and abetted and very likely specifically authorized by a fascist administration out of control.
    “9/11 changed everything”.
    Its as if no other nation has ever suffered a terrorist attack.
    Suddenly our system of law, justice, and policy that had served a nation BORN IN REVOLUTION for over two years was instantly obsolete.
    American “exceptionalism” taken to its sickest conclusion — fine for the rest of the “civilized” world, but they’d better understand we’re different.
    As if just repeating ad nauseam, louder and more insistently “the United States does not torture” somehow makes believers. Like some dumb yahoo shouting to make himself heard by someone with another language. Worse, as if we have neither language nor logic to counter the message of Big Brother.
    What would have happened had the 9/11 attacks not succeeded in causing the carnage they did? Would American deaths, of those on the planes, still have been sufficient and so much more precious than any other signatory to the UN anti-torture convention, to justify jettisoning it, along with all other legal markers of civilized behavior? Somehow, in the hands of this government and its bipartisan enablers, I don’t think it would have made much difference.

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  11. Linda says:

    POA,
    We really agree almost totally and merely express ourselves differently. I have other conditions beyond these and the deepest concern about future nominees to SCOTUS. So that’s why I’d vote Democratic. I don’t think a third party candidate could win, though I really like Michael Bloomberg. He’s too smart to run. I can’t figure out why anyone in his/her right mind would want to be President in 2009.
    Unfortunately most of the people in this country are too involved in their own lives, either don’t understand how important these issues are or don’t care enough to be involved in MAJOR dissent–so we get the ineffective, corrupt, and failing government the country deserves. It makes you angry, and it makes me sad and angry.
    I joked for decades since 1968 that I thought that might be the year when this country started to decline. I don’t joke about that any more because it’s coming true.

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  12. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “I will be voting on Super Tuesday and in November–just haven’t decided for whom–and it will be the one closest to that position from the two major parties. Anyone who doesn’t vote is giving up a very precious right and giving up all hope of turning this country around. And it will be a Democrat, and not a third party candidate, because it really matters who is appointed to the Supreme Court.”
    Theres a disconnect here. You outline the conditions that a candidate must hold to earn your vote, and they are condidtions that are obviously not going to be met by any of the candidates. Then, in the second breath, you state that you are going to vote the Democratic ticket.
    I will NO WAY vote for “the lesser of two evils”, because, in so doing, I am still rewarded with evil. It is painfully obvious that the electoral process has become a sham, both in the assumed and insincere postures that are bandied before the public by these treasonous con artists, and the actual logistical process as well, where one can in no way be confident his vote is counted as cast. As much as I would like to believe that my vote is “counted”, and that I am voting for someone that is “representing” my interests, it is foolish at this point to actually believe it.
    Have we learned NOTHING these last seven years? Do you feel “represented” by these fucking corrupt criminals and cowards on the left side of the aisle? The whole thing is a charade, and our “representatives” complete disregard for the integrity of the Justice Department and the Executive branch should convince even the most ignorant of us that we have long ago been sold down the river. How long do we blindly follow the script, and sheepishly waddle to the polls, only to get SCREWED once again by these lying posturing criminal elitists? It is time for MAJOR dissent, and we quite simply no longer have the balls, or the will, to wage it.

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  13. B.N. says:

    So, the president got his will once again. why, in heaven, should he and Cheney stop their abuse of power patterns? My colleague David Epstein is right, a refresher course on basic American values is needed–as we know now, not only for decision-makers in the White House:
    http://www.reflectivepundit.com/reflectivepundit/2007/11/a-refresher-cou.html

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  14. Linda says:

    POA,
    I will be voting on Super Tuesday and in November–just haven’t decided for whom–and it will be the one closest to that position from the two major parties. Anyone who doesn’t vote is giving up a very precious right and giving up all hope of turning this country around. And it will be a Democrat, and not a third party candidate, because it really matters who is appointed to the Supreme Court.
    I’d like to see the media/debates/and public for the next year pin the candidates down on this and other issues like the military-industrial-complex.
    We can have better campaigns, candidates, and governance.

    Reply

  15. erichwwk says:

    As the Democratic Party seems every bit as complicit in enabling fascism by refusing to recognize the war crimes of this administration, and address the roots of militarism and fascism in this country, I also don’t see voting in the next Presidential election as a meaningful exercise either.
    see eg “Weapons Industry Dumps Republicans, Backs Hillary” @ http://tinyurl.com/2llzxb
    “As long as you have a military class, it does not matter what form your government is: if you are to be armed to the teeth, you must obey the only men who can control the great machinery of war. Elections are of minor importance” — Woodrow Wilson

    Reply

  16. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “The person who gets my vote will be the one who declares as follows that he/she will, as his/her first act as President:…….”:
    After reading your conditions, it is obvious you won’t be voting in the next Presidential election.

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  17. Linda says:

    John Dean’s suggestion (from link above) of appointing a special prosecutor is a good idea and similar to one I had yesterday afternoon. However, I don’t think it would ever be done while Bush is President. It’s clear that it doesn’t matter at all whether we have a confirmed or an acting AG for the next 14 months.
    It’s clear that this Administration, in what it considers a national emergency, did use water boarding at least three times against top Al Qaeda detainees, believes it got actionable intelligence, and wants to reserve the option of using it again for Bush and any future President if the situation warrants it–of course, that would be decided secretly by the President.
    The opposing position, of course, is that torture is illegal under U.S. and international law–no matter what the emergency. So this really is a question to be pressed with everyone running in the Presidential primaries.
    The person who gets my vote will be the one who declares as follows that he/she will, as his/her first act as President:
    1. Appoint a special prosecutor to investigate and make public exactly what did happen.
    2. In advance, grant immunity from prosecution to everyone in the Bush Administration involved.
    3. Absolutely condemn any torture/rendition, etc. that was done as the most horrible, illegal, and unconstitutional thing ever done by the U.S.
    4. Make a speech before the UN and apologize
    5. Seek legislation that makes everyone doing such a thing henceforth a federal offense with a mandatory life sentence.
    I did consider making it a capital offense punishable by death by drowning; however, that would be unconstitutional.
    I’m getting very tired of all the candidates of both parties, but the one who will pledge the above will get my vote.

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  18. erichwwk says:

    Steve, thanks again for your reporting and stand on this. I hope you take the next step, and propose an action plan for those with time and money to support the rule of law.
    John Dean’s ending comment from the post “easy e” cites:
    “Before the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee completely cave-in to Bush, at minimum they should demand that Judge Mukasey appoint a special prosecutor to investigate if war crimes have been committed. If Mukasey refuses he should be rejected. This, indeed, should be a pre-condition to anyone filling the post of Attorney General under Bush.
    If the Democrats in the Senate refuse to demand any such requirement, it will be act that should send chills down the spine of every thinking American.”
    This nomination does indeed draw the line, and make it clear whether the Democratic Party is of any value as a check against dictatorship, and worthy of our support, financial and otherwise.

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  19. al75 says:

    Schumer cave on Mukasey is terribly depressing. I can’t accept some of the wilder characterizations equating Schumer with Lieberman. But he has betrayed the US constitution today. It’s a terrible decision, and I’ll never be able to look at him the same way.
    So cowardly to announce on a Fri afternoon, too. Does he think we won’t notice?

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  20. easy e says:

    “…Before the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee completely cave-in to Bush, at minimum they should demand that Judge Mukasey appoint a special prosecutor to investigate if war crimes have been committed. If Mukasey refuses he should be rejected. This, indeed, should be a pre-condition to anyone filling the post of Attorney General under Bush.
    If the Democrats in the Senate refuse to demand any such requirement, it will be act that should send chills down the spine of every thinking American.”
    See Dean on Mukasey at TPM
    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/057806.php

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  21. Linda says:

    CA will be stuck with Feinstein for another five years as she was re-elected last year when I no longer lived in CA and couldn’t vote against her again as I did in 2000. I am pretty much a life-long Democrat, but I try to vote for the best candidate. Tom Campbell was the best one for Senate from CA in 2000. Anybody who lives in CA should watch her votes closely as she pretty consistently does things like this. She voted for the Bush tax cuts–better than Lieberman–but not much.

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  22. liz says:

    Steve, I want to offer a possible explanation for Schumer’s switcheroo. If you go look at his picture on HuffPo right now, with Diane Feinstein on the front page, I quickly noticed his big time Bells Palsy.
    Bells Palsy is a neuro condition. It could perhaps be from that tick bite Schumer got a while back. He was treated for Lyme Disease. Lyme produces Bells Palsy amongst many other things in it’s later stages.
    There is a lot of controversy about treatment for this disease but suffice it to say, I am an old RN and I have Lyme. It’s real and it is bad. It’s cycles and it certainly affects reason and judgement. Bells might indicate Schumer is having problems with the Lyme post treatment but don’t expect for anyone to utter that but me.
    Go look at that picture and notice the forehead, the right side is not as wrinkled or expressioned, the right eye is most definitely different from his left, the little shadow at the corner of mouth on the right side and then look at his chin…. not the same as the left. It really looks as though the right side is paralyzed as Bells frequently causes.
    But since he flipped and rolled over too, it is well worth mentioning.
    Also recall the President was treated for Lyme Disease recently too.
    But know most Americans are unable to access treatment.
    I think it is very curious and something obviously that bears watching.

    Reply

  23. easy e says:

    IT’S NOT ONLY THE ISRAEL LOBBY
    Other Interests Benefit from the Chaos
    by Jon Basil Utley
    The new, public debate about the Israel lobby is missing a major point ? the lobby’s allies, the many other interests in America that want chaos in the Middle East. For example, in the Walt-Mearsheimer book there is no listing in the index for “military-industrial complex.” For all its vaunted power, the Israel lobby could not dominate America’s Mideast policies without cover and active support from other powerful groups. Although AIPAC promotes the lobby’s image in Congress as being all powerful, it isn’t. The book does specify Christian Zionists as an integral part of the lobby, but it neglects many others.
    Another important question is how, when polling data shows that most Jews opposed the Iraq war, did the Likud/settler minority faction take over the whole Israel lobby? Although a minority with an agenda will often win over an amorphous majority, that is not a sufficient explanation. Indeed Jews are at the forefront of the fight against the war and the consequent encroaching police state here in America. Some of the most honest reporting on Israel comes from Jewish media: Ha’aretz in Israel and The Forward in America. What happened?
    It was Likudniks headquartered at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington who first undermined the Oslo Peace Accords. They also urged attacking Iraq long before 9/11. Some, such as David Wurmser, even predicted that the attack could result in Iraq being “ripped apart,” splintered into warring tribes for years. Polls show that most Israelis also want peace and support a Palestinian state (in fact, they voted out Likud); meanwhile, the Likudniks want America to attack Iran and Syria. They appeal to those who see a greater Israel “from the Nile to the Euphrates.”
    The Allies
    The first major ally is the military-industrial complex, now funded by the new system of hidden congressional earmarks. Arnaud de Borchgrave first wrote about there being 15,000 defense budget earmarks. These allow a congressman to slip contracts into the budget for favored constituents, who then donate money to the congressman’s reelection committee and may also provide well-paid jobs in their districts. These encourage warmaking, or at least threats of war, as never before. It’s hard to hide money in the budget for “a bridge to nowhere,” but a missile to nowhere will never be questioned, as its sponsors cloak their profits in “national defense.”
    Among the beneficiaries are the new mercenaries, all the companies subcontracted by the Department of Defense to provide everything from kitchen services to bodyguards and intelligence. All of these are very well paid and now have an interest in promoting unending wars. Add to this the new power of think tanks taking money from war-wanting corporations and foundations to hire skilled polemicists and propagandists to work the 24-hour news cycle.
    The complex has seen military spending triple since 9/11. The collapse of communism had threatened them. As they faced lower budgets, they offered a plan to keep military budgets high. The bin Laden attack suited them perfectly. Hundreds of billions were then appropriated for the complex, even for weapons irrelevant to the war on terror. Unbelievable profits rolled in. But few question the waste, and all the Republican presidential candidates (except Ron Paul) and most of the Democrats want to increase it further.
    Next come the religious fundamentalists’ dominant minority of Armageddonites, those who see Israel’s expansion as expediting the return of Christ. They see Bush as God’s agent. They saw, in the words of Tom DeLay, that the war in Iraq was a prelude to the chaos necessary to bring about the “end times.”
    Then there’s Big Oil. Although long ago it opposed the Israel lobby for antagonizing the Muslim world, more recently it has cast its lot with imperialism. Kevin Phillips argues in his book American Theocracy that Big Oil supported the Iraq war. It feared that Washington had made American interests so unwelcome in much of the Muslim world that future concessions and contracts would be going to Chinese, French, Italian, Indian, and Russian companies. In this view, conquering Iraq and placing major military bases on its soil would sustain a friendly government that would give first choice to American interests. Needless to say, it’s not working out that way. Iraq’s oil production is minimal, and even Saudi Arabia chose a French company over American rivals for its last big postwar contract. The war also further revived Russian nationalism and aroused major anti-American forces in Central Asia so that American oil companies are weakened there as well. But at least oil was a tangible reason for war, a reason most recently backed up in Alan Greenspan’s biography.
    American “Conservatives”
    Then come many leading American conservatives. Mostly ignorant of the outside world and still fighting the Cold War against the United Nations, they see the world as allied against America. They strongly sympathized with Bush’s go-it-alone agenda. Many have a knee-jerk response to military spending, that more is always better. Others feel hostility toward Arabs and Muslims and see Israelis as being “like us.”
    During the first Iraq war in 1991, when I was a co-founder of the Committee to Avert a Mideast Holocaust, I saw how many conservatives still resented losing the Vietnam War and wanted to prove to recalcitrant Third Worlders that we could “win” such wars. Others are anti-Semitic and use support for Israel as a cover. Others admire Israel for doing what America could not: smash its enemies without caring about winning hearts and minds. Fox News’ TV generals today often express such sentiments for unleashing “total war” (a euphemism for killing more civilians) as the way to win in Iraq. Support for war among traditional conservatives was promoted by National Review, the Wall Street Journal editorial page, and the Heritage Foundation, which excluded virtually all antiwar voices. The common thread among these writers, many of whom I know, was an abysmal ignorance of the world outside Europe. A subset were Englishmen (and some Irishmen), e.g., National Review’s former editor, who dreamed of playing Greece to America’s Rome. They pine for the old British Empire and long for America to replace it.
    Finally there are the neoconservatives, the brains of the War Party, the influential think-tankers and lifetime Washington policy wonks. Though many are Jewish, their support for belligerence is motivated mainly by the desire of some intellectuals for excitement, relevance, and power. It’s a common trait of those who have never been out in the real world, especially business or the military. Remember that before 9/11 they were demanding a confrontation with Russia and then war with China over the U.S. spy plane incident. For them, any war would do; it did not have to be against Iraq. In fact, their founder, Irving Kristol, wrote in the Wall Street Journal in 1996 that America needed a real enemy, one “worthy of our mettle.” Long before 9/11 others (John Bolton, for example) were urging the U.S. to abandon treaties and, indeed, ignore international law because it would constrain the imperialist policies they promoted.
    In conclusion, this alliance of interests should be better understood. Aside from more wars, the risk, as Kevin Phillips has said, is that unending war with the Muslim world may do to America what the World War I did to England: weaken us irreparably.
    http://www.antiwar.com/utley/?articleid=11840
    Powerful U.S. economic interests are obviously using each other to achieve their mutual aims. That the Israel Lobby has been at the forefront certainly can’t be argued.

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  24. Bob Morris says:

    They didn’t cave. They didn’t do it because they are cowrds. They did it because they AGREE with BushCo.

    Reply

  25. arthurdecco says:

    “May Schumer and Feinstein pay at the polls for their tacit approval of torture.” Posted by badgervan
    And how will that happen? By having Americans vote for the Rethuglican candidate who will pretend to oppose them – who will be equally vile…and in all likelihood, as indecently attached to Israel as these two traitors are?
    You don’t get it. The game is rigged! There aren’t two political parties in America anymore – there’s only one – everything believed real about “Republicans versus Democrats” is tricks – smoke and mirrors – a Carney show for yokels who think they live in a democracy.
    Americans, as a block, have to figure out a way to squeeze out the pustule corruption that has fouled their halls of Justice and Responsible Government. Because this Corruption, with all of its sticky-fingered, craven participants, is sucking the soul out of your country – (what’s left of it, leastways), while infecting the general population with a malaise unseen in America before this.
    The majority of your country’s citizens are strangling – gasping for rationality and hope while choking on fear, despair, angst and anger!
    Don’t you think its time to stop treating symptoms and focus on removing the contagions? ALL of them?!? No matter their claimed political affiliation? If they support Israeli, or anyone else’s interests other than America’s in contravention of their oaths of office, they should be charged, removed from office, prosecuted, found guilty and imprisoned.
    In my opinion, Guantanamo seems apropos for their indefinite incarceration.

    Reply

  26. easy e says:

    Speaking of AIPAC……..
    Rice to face subpoena in AIPAC spy case.
    http://thinkprogress.org/2007/11/02/rice-to-face-subpoena-in-spying-case/
    and
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,,-7045494,00.html

    Reply

  27. cognate says:

    “Why did Dems take control of the Senate anyway?”
    Just a change of costume for AIPAC.

    Reply

  28. jim says:

    Outrageous!!
    They let the country down, they let the Dems down.
    There must be clear consequences. Schumer is so damn arrogant and Diane is evidencing senility.
    Shum them and push them aside.

    Reply

  29. JohnH says:

    Initially a lot of people around the world were willing to give the American people a pass because they didn’t vote for Bush’s policies. Then they reelected Bush, essentially endorsing his policies. Then the American people repudiated Bush’s policies by electing the opposition party, redeeming the tattered image of American democracy a bit. But then the opposition party repudiated the voters who elected them. It’s no wonder a lot of foreigners think that America’s model of democracy is a failed one. And Congress keeps putting one nail into the coffin of American democracy after another.

    Reply

  30. badgervan says:

    Our elected legislators take an oath of office swearing to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America. Last time I checked, the welfare and protection of Israel wasn’t mentioned in our Constitution. Way, way too many “Israel First”ers at the top levels of our government. They will be our downfall.
    Lieberman, Feinstein, Schumer, Addington, Lantos, etc., etc. – where does their true loyalty lie? I’m a proud America Firster, and have had it with those who put the protection of other countries ahead of, or equal to, the protection and well being of my country.
    May Schumer and Feinstein pay at the polls for their tacit approval of torture.

    Reply

  31. Lurker says:

    Feinstein’s husband, Richard Blum, company won a $400 MILLION no-bid contract to rebuild Iraq — this before the invasion even started.
    I will do my damn best to kick Feinstein out of the U.S. Senate, and to make sure that she stands trial for her complicity for supporting Israel over the U.S. and the tremendous war crimes and atrocities directed towards the Iraqi people, soon to be the Iranian people, that her support has caused.
    Call her office, she’s a F-ing war-profiteer, Israel Firster and she and Schumer, Emanuel, Israel, etc., and ad nauseam, are going to KILL our children in World War III (FOR ISRAEL) if we don’t stop them:
    415 393 0707

    Reply

  32. Dee Hall says:

    It doesn’t really need take fancy technology to know that the capital of Palestine is Jerusalem.

    Reply

  33. samuel burke says:

    they may be driving the car but we’re in the back seat.
    blowback will be the operative word going forward.

    Reply

  34. jon says:

    recall initiative anybody?
    What do these Democrats stand for again? Apparently, not for the Constitution or against torture. Good to know.

    Reply

  35. hayduke says:

    well what can one say. money talks and bullshit walks? you called it Steve, sadly at that. both senators seem to have other motives that outweighed voting on behalf of the citizens of the united states. I used to think alot of schumer and even feinstein. both have proved me wrong, and now the consequences make the democrat party (sic) look like a bunch of freaking weenies. hate to say it, and I will still vote for their nominee in 08, but damn couldn’t we show a bit of spine or trust the american people with the compelling info that they consistently withhold. gets pretty old, yeah it does indeed.
    so what do you think about a hillary/ jim webb ticket? is it possible. that is the combo my wife and I are betting right now….

    Reply

  36. Punchy says:

    At this point, I give up.
    One by one, Senators looked at the issue and realized the mistake they made. Schumer was completely unable to reevaluate his go-to guy. Schumer is a joke of a Senator.
    The Dems can’t even stay strong on a guy who refuses to confirm what a majority of the country already knows, and even hints that the Pres. be allowed to act outside the law. The Dems are a spineless, souless party.

    Reply

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