Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What Did Bush Tell Gonzales?


by: Murray Waas, The Atlantic

Sources say Alberto Gonzales now claims that President Bush personally directed him to John Ashcroft's hospital room in the infamous wiretap renewal incident. (Photo: Lawrence Jackson / The Associated Press)

Sources say Alberto Gonzales now claims that President Bush personally directed him to John Ashcroft's hospital room in the infamous wiretap renewal incident.

In March 2004, White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales made a now-famous late-night visit to the hospital room of Attorney General John Ashcroft, seeking to get Ashcroft to sign a certification stating that the Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping program was legal. According to people familiar with statements recently made by Gonzales to federal investigators, Gonzales is now saying that George Bush personally directed him to make that hospital visit.

The hospital visit is already central to many contemporaneous historical accounts of the Bush presidency. At the time of the visit, Ashcroft had been in intensive care for six days, was heavily medicated, and was recovering from emergency surgery to remove his gall bladder. Deputy Attorney General James B. Comey has said that he believes that Gonzales and White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, who accompanied Gonzales to Ashcroft's hospital room, were trying to take advantage of Ashcroft's grievously ill state-pressing him to sign the certification possibly without even comprehending what he was doing-and in the process authorize a government surveillance program which both Ashcroft and the Justice Department had concluded was of questionable legality.

Gonzales has also told Justice Department investigators that President Bush played a more central and active role than was previously known in devising a strategy to have Congress enable the continuation of the surveillance program when questions about its legality were raised by the Justice Department, as well as devising other ways to circumvent the Justice Department's legal concerns about the program, according to people who have read Gonzales's interviews with investigators. The White House declined to comment for this story. An attorney for Gonzales, George J. Terwilliger III, himself a former deputy attorney general, declined to comment as well.

Although this president is famously known for rarely becoming immersed in the details-even on the issues he cares the most about-Gonzales has painted a picture of Bush as being very much involved when it came to his administration's surveillance program.

In describing Bush as having pressed him to engage in some of the more controversial actions regarding the warrantless surveillance program, Gonzales and his legal team are apparently attempting to lessen his own legal jeopardy. The Justice Department's inspector general (IG) is investigating whether Gonzales lied to Congress when he was questioned under oath about the surveillance program. And the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) is separately investigating whether Gonzales and other Justice Department attorneys acted within the law in authorizing and overseeing the surveillance program. Neither the IG nor OPR can bring criminal charges, but if, during the course of their own investigations, they believe they have uncovered evidence of a possible crime, they can seek to make a criminal referral to those who can.

In portraying President Bush as directly involved in making some of the more controversial decisions about his administration's surveillance program, Gonzales may, intentionally or unintentionally, be drawing greater legal scrutiny to the actions of President Bush and other White House officials. And what began as investigations narrowly focused on Gonzales's conduct could easily morph into broader investigations leading into the White House, and possibly leading to the appointment of a special prosecutor.

Dan Richman, a former federal prosecutor in Manhattan and professor at Columbia Law School, told me that Gonzales appears to be attempting to walk the thin line of taking himself out of harm's way while at the same time protecting the president, a strategy that very well could work: "I think he is serving his own purposes and the White House's purposes," Richman says.

According to Richman, by invoking Bush's name and authority, Gonzales and his legal team are making it more difficult for investigators to seek a criminal investigation of his actions, or for other investigators to later bring criminal charges against him: "The clearer it is that Gonzales did what he did at the behest of the president of the United States, the safer that he [Gonzales] is legally," says Richman. At the same time, by saying that he is advising the president, Gonzales also makes it easier for those at the White House to claim executive privilege if they do indeed become embroiled in the probe.

Moreover, according to one senior Justice Department official, Gonzales, his legal team, and the White House also know that Justice's IG and OPR are unlikely to press senior White House officials, let alone the president, to answer their questions.

But this legal strategy could also backfire.

One scenario feared by the White House is that the IG or OPR could send a public report to Congress concluding that Gonzales or some other official may have committed a crime. At a minimum, that would make the conduct of Gonzales, or of any other official deemed to be under suspicion, the subject of a criminal investigation.

If the report also raised unanswered questions about possible misconduct by other senior administration officials, or even the president, that could lead to the appointment of a special prosecutor. Some consider this unlikely; Attorney General Mike Mukasey has said that he is not an advocate of special prosecutors, and his critics in Congress have said that Mukasey tends to use his position for the political benefit of the White House. But in the hands of congressional Democrats, a public report accusing Gonzales and other administration officials of misconduct could make it difficult for Mukasey to resist their calls for the appointment of a special prosecutor.

Inside the White House, this is what is called the "nightmare scenario." White House Counsel Fred Fielding, who served in the Nixon White House during Watergate and as a White House counsel during the Reagan administration, has told others in the White House that although he does not consider this a likelihood, it should not be ruled out, and Bush and his staff should be ready for such a contingency. In addition to the Justice Department's IG and OPR investigations regarding the surveillance program, Gonzales is also under investigation by the IG as to whether he lied to Congress about the politicized firings of nine U.S. attorneys. Fielding has told White House colleagues that there is an outside possibility that a special prosecutor could be appointed to conduct a broader investigation.

In the meantime, however, it will be increasingly difficult for the president to claim he was detached from the major decisions regarding his surveillance program. One fiction that has been set aside is that the regrettable incident in Ashcroft's hospital room was the work of overzealous or insensitive staff.

The narrative of a detached Bush delegating to his staff and to his vice president continues to be the predominant one. Gonzales and Vice President Cheney have been only too happy to serve as lightning rods for criticism of the administration, drawing fire away from many of President Bush's most controversial decisions on national-security policy.

Washington Post reporter Barton Gellman's recently published book on Cheney, The Angler, once again implies that it was Cheney who was running the show. An excerpt published in The Washington Post about the president's role in pressing for the surveillance program was headlined "Cheney Shielded Bush From Crisis." The article was also summarized as follows on the newspaper's Web site: "President was nowhere in the picture as Cheney fought to keep surveillance program on track."

But seemingly contrary to the book's broader conclusions was a story corroborating Gonzales's account to investigators that Bush ordered him and Card to go visit Ashcroft in the hospital. Indeed, if Gellman is correct, Gonzales and Card would never have been admitted to Ashcroft's hospital room without the president's intercession in the first place. Gellman wrote:

The phone started ringing in the makeshift command center next to John Ashcroft's hospital room. Janet Ashcroft had been at her husband's side for six days. He was in intensive care, sedated, recovering from emergency surgery to remove his gallbladder. Mrs. Ashcroft's orders were unequivocal: no calls, from anyone, for any reason. According to two people who saw the FBI's handwritten logs, the White House operator-on behalf of Gonzales or Card, it was unclear which-asked to be connected to the attorney general. The hospital switchboard, following orders, declined.

That evening, the FBI logged a call from the president of the United States. No one had the nerve to refuse him. The phone rang at Ashcroft's bedside. Bush told his ailing cabinet chief that Alberto Gonzales and Andy Card were on their way.

Tipped off by Ashcroft's chief of staff, Acting Attorney General Comey and other Justice Department officials raced to the hospital so they would be there when Gonzales and Card arrived. It will never be known whether Ashcroft would have been competent to understand what they were telling him and whether they would have persuaded him to sign.

Had he gone ahead and done so, he would be have been signing a document facilitating a program that he and his top aides had only recently concluded was of questionable legality.

As Gonzales and Ashcroft made their way to the George Washington University Medical Center, where Ashcroft was recovering from surgery, an upset Mrs. Ashcroft called her husband's chief of staff to tell him that Gonzales and Card were on their way to the hospital. He in turn called Comey.

Comey's account of what transpired next is now well known. Comey, FBI Director Robert Mueller, and Jack Goldsmith, head of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, whose office had recently written a legal opinion concluding that the surveillance program was of questionable legality, have all testified about what transpired just before and during the showdown in Aschcroft's hospital room. But it bears some repeating, if only to show what we now know President Bush set in motion.

Comey was on his way home the evening of March 10, 2004, when he received the call. He ordered his security detail to get him to the hospital immediately.

Comey later told the Senate Judiciary Committee: "I was concerned that, given how ill I knew the attorney general was, that there might be an effort to ask him to overrule me when he was in no condition to do that."

Careening down Constitution Avenue at high speed and with sirens blaring, Comey arrived only minutes before Gonzales and Card did. Similarly alerted, Goldsmith had also raced to the hospital and run up the steps to arrive, out of breath, at Ashcroft's bedside.

On the way, Comey had frantically called FBI Director Robert Mueller. Mueller was so concerned about what Gonzales and Card were attempting to do, according to Comey, that he instructed FBI agents who constituted Ashcroft's and Comey's security details that Comey was not "to be removed from the room under any circumstance."

Within minutes after Comey and Goldsmith reached Ashcroft's bedside, Gonzales and Card also arrived. Comey would later recall to Congress that Gonzales was "carrying an envelope" with him. The envelope contained the certification that President Bush so badly wanted him to sign.

"I was angry," Comey testified. "I thought I just witnessed an effort to take advantage of a very sick man, who did not have the powers of the attorney general because they had been transferred to me."

Gonzales, in an attempt to persuade Ashcroft to sign the certification, simply misled Ashcroft. Gonzales told Ashcroft he had met earlier that day with congressional leaders who, he claimed, supported the continuation of the program without Department of Justice approval, and were determined to find a legislative remedy that would address the legal concerns of Comey and others. Several of the legislative leaders who had been at that meeting with Gonzales and Vice President Cheney say that Gonzales's account of what transpired was simply not true.

In response to Gonzales's and Card's gambits, Ashcroft, according to Comey, "stunned me ... lifted his head off the pillow," and then told Gonzales and Card, "I'm not the attorney general." Mustering all the energy he had left, he pointed toward Comey and resolutely said, "There is the attorney general."

Even in the face of Ashcroft's refusal to certify the program as being within the law, President Bush initially reauthorized the surveillance program on his own. In The Angler, Barton Gellman suggests that this move "may have been the nearest thing to a claim of unlimited power ever made by an American president, all the more radical for having been issued in secret. Not only would the will of Congress be flouted, but if the White House had its way, Congress would never know."

Learning of the reauthorization, Ashcroft, Comey, and more than a dozen officials at the highest levels of government became concerned that if the surveillance program was allowed to continue on as it had been, the government could be engaging in an illegal activity at the direction of the president, and they quietly spoke of resigning en masse.

The mass resignation of so many senior officials of the government would have been all but unprecedented in modern American political history.

One former Justice Department official personally involved in the events said that the only historical precedent would have been the Saturday Night Massacre, when Attorney General Elliot Richardson resigned rather than carry out an order from President Nixon to fire the Watergate special prosecutor, Archibald Cox. With Richardson out of the way, Nixon ordered the new acting attorney general, William Ruckelshaus, to fire Cox; Ruckelshaus also refused and resigned as well. The next in line for succession as acting attorney general was the solicitor general, Robert Bork, who finally fired Cox and ordered the FBI to seal and seize Cox's office.

The former Justice Department official says that the Saturday Night Massacre would have "been nothing compared to what almost came to be ... I mean, it would have been poof! and the attorney general would have been gone. The deputy attorney general would have been gone. Goldsmith-he would have been gone. The FBI director would have resigned."

If all those men had resigned, top aides to each of them would have resigned as well. Ashcroft's chief of staff and two deputy chiefs of staff said they would go with their boss. Comey's top aides would have resigned with him. The general counsels of the CIA and FBI said they were going to resign as well.

Adding to this constitutional spectacle would have been the fact that the administration's warrantless surveillance program was considered one of the most closely held national-security secrets in government at the time. There would have been no immediate explanation of why a portion of the government just up and resigned at once.

Ultimately, confronted with the possible resignations of his own top aides, Bush backed down. The president agreed to address the concerns of the Justice Department and to make significant changes in the program so that it would be conducted within the law. But the president did not do so without first defiantly telling Comey, "I decide what the law is for the executive branch."

Bush's change of heart apparently had little to do with the rule of law, but rather more to do with political pragmatism and his fear that the entire affair might become public.

Before Gonzales and Card met with Ashcroft in the hospital, Gonzales and Cheney met with congressional leaders so as to enlist their possible aid in finding a legislative means for continuing the eavesdropping program if Comey and others continued to disagree about its legality. Bush personally instructed Gonzales to write notes of what was said at the meeting, according to a report released on September 2, 2008, by the Justice Department's inspector general. The disclosure came because the IG was investigating whether Gonzales had mishandled classified information while attorney general.

A single sentence in the report says: "Gonzales told the OIG [Office of Inspector General] that President Bush directed him to memorialize the March 10, 2004 meeting."

Among those present at the meeting besides Gonzales and Cheney, according to the IG report, were National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden, the speaker of the House of Representatives, the House minority leader, the Senate majority and minority leaders, and the chairmen and vice chairmen of the congressional intelligence committees.

Regarding the notes that Gonzales made about the meeting, the IG report went on to say:

Gonzales stated that he drafted notes about the meeting in a spiral notebook in his White House Counsel's Office within a few days of the meeting, probably on the weekend immediately following the meeting. Gonzales stated that he wrote the notes in a single sitting except for one line, which he told us he wrote within the next day.

A congressional source familiar with the meeting said in an interview that he believed it was significant that Bush personally directed Gonzales to write notes as to what occurred at the meeting. Ordinarily members of Congress don't take notes at briefings concerning such highly classified issues. Very likely, Gonzales's notes are the only ones that exist. [The Justice Department is investigating whether former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales created a set of fictitious notes so that President Bush would have a rationale for reauthorizing his warrantless eavesdropping program. For that story click here.]

The September 2 report by the IG narrowly focused on the question of whether Gonzales "mishandled classified documents" during his tenure as attorney general. The report concluded that Gonzales "violated Department security requirements and procedures" in handling 18 documents, classified as Top Secret or higher. Several were marked as SCI, or "sensitive compartmented information," a category for the most highly classified records in government.

Among the most sensitive of those documents mishandled were the notes that Gonzales made of his March 10, 2004, meeting with congressional leaders.

It is unclear, based on what Gonzales wrote in his notes, what exactly he was told by the congressional leaders during the White House's meeting with them.

But on July 24, 2007, when questioned before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the events of March 10, 2004, Gonzales testified that the members of Congress he met with that day had told him that "despite the recommendation of the deputy attorney general," the government should still "go forward with very important intelligence activities."

Several of the members of Congress who were at the March 10 meeting-House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle among them-have said they said no such thing.

Shortly before Gonzales resigned from office in August 2007, the Justice Department's inspector general, Glenn A. Fine, wrote to inform Congress that he was investigating whether statements made by Gonzales under oath during congressional testimony were "intentionally false, misleading, or inappropriate."

Among the statements that Fine is apparently investigating is one in which Gonzales claimed that the congressional leaders had wanted him to move forward with the program despite Comey's refusal to certify it as legal.

Gonzales is also in legal jeopardy for having earlier told the Senate Judiciary Committee that there had never been any "serious disagreement" about the legality of the administration's surveillance program: "There has not been any serious disagreement about the program the president has confirmed," he testified in February 2006.

At the time Gonzales made that statement, the public had no idea about his late-night hospital-room visit with John Ashcroft-and he apparently had no expectation that it would ever come to light.

In one additional instance, President Bush was the person responsible for a controversial decision regarding his surveillance program.

This involved an effort to prevent his very own Justice Department from investigating the surveillance program in the first place. During 2006 and 2007, I wrote a series of stories for National Journal about how the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility wanted to investigate the administration's surveillance program, but was unable to because its investigators were being denied security clearances to do their work. (Those articles can be found here, here, and here.) Over time, it was revealed that Gonzales had denied those security clearances, and later that Bush himself had made the decision disallowing them.

The story that I wrote for the March 15, 2007, edition of National Journal began as follows:

Shortly before Attorney General Alberto Gonzales advised President Bush last year on whether to shut down a Justice Department inquiry regarding the administration's warrantless domestic eavesdropping program, Gonzales learned that his own conduct would likely be a focus of the investigation, according to government records and interviews.

Bush personally intervened to sideline the Justice Department probe in April 2006 by taking the unusual step of denying investigators the security clearances necessary for their work.

It is unclear whether the president knew at the time of his decision that the Justice inquiry-to be conducted by the department's internal ethics watchdog, the Office of Professional Responsibility-would almost certainly examine the conduct of his attorney general.

At the time the story was published, Gonzales was fighting for his political life. Republicans in Congress had joined Democrats in sharply criticizing Gonzales for his role in the firings of nine U.S. attorneys. A whole new controversy might make his resignation from office imminent.

Gonzales immediately fought back. On March 22, 2007, a senior Justice Department official wrote Congress on his behalf, saying not only that it was President Bush who had made the decision to deny security clearances to the OPR investigators, but also that Gonzales had advised the president that the investigation should be allowed to move forward, and that Bush had overruled that advice.

A senior Justice Department official told me that the letter was approved in advance by the White House: "It was decided that in this instance the attorney general could no longer take the heat for the president ... This time the president was going to take responsibility and deflect criticism for [his attorney general] instead of the other way around."

At the time, it appeared that the president had halted the Justice Department's probe in order to protect his attorney general, whose conduct was going to be a central focus for investigators. But as more information continues to come to light, the president's denial of the security clearances raises an important question: Were the president's actions designed to protect his attorney general-or himself?


Murray Waas is a writer in Washington, DC.


Jobless Claims Pushed to Seven-Year High


by: The Associated Press

Hundreds gather to sign up for a Denver, Colorado, job fair. (Photo: John Moore / Getty Images)

Washington - New claims for unemployment benefits jumped last week to their highest level in seven years due to the impact of a slowing economy and Hurricanes Ike and Gustav, the Labor Department reported today.

The department said new requests for jobless benefits for the week ending Sept. 20 increased by 32,000 to a seasonally-adjusted 493,000, much higher than analysts' expectations of 445,000.

Wall Street was more focused on Washington, though, where lawmakers and the administration appeared to be moving closer to a $700 billion bailout package for the financial system. Stocks rose, with the Dow up more than 200 points in early trading.

The two hurricanes added about 50,000 new claims in Louisiana and Texas, the department said. The four-week moving average, which smooths out fluctuations, rose to 462,500. That's the highest it has been since Nov. 3, 2001.

The level of new claims was the highest since shortly after the 9/11 attacks, when it reached 517,000.

David Resler, chief economist at Nomura Securities, said Thursday's figure is the second-highest since July 1992. Claims have topped 500,000 only a handful of times in the past twenty years, he said, and were consistently above that level during the 1991 recession.

Even excluding the effects of the hurricanes, jobless claims remain at elevated levels. Weekly claims have now topped 400,000 for ten straight weeks, a level economists consider a sign of recession. A year ago, claims stood at 309,000.

The report "reflects a marked deterioration in the job market," Resler wrote in a note to clients. "That deterioration may well accelerate as the distress in the financial markets deepens and the effect of credit impairment spreads to other sectors."

The number of people continuing to draw jobless benefits last week was 3.54 million, up 63,000 from the previous week and nearly a five-year high. The four-week average of continuing claims was 3.49 million.

Other economic indicators Thursday were also negative. The Commerce Department said that orders for big-ticket manufactured goods fell by 4.5 percent in August, far more than the 1.6 percent decline economists expected.

And new home sales fell by 11.5 percent in August, the Commerce Department said in a separate report, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 460,000, the lowest level in more than 17 years.

Hurricane Gustav first had an impact on jobless claims for the week ending Sept. 13. The department said Thursday that Louisiana reported an increase in claims of 18,409 during that week, mostly due to Gustav.

The financial crisis, falling home prices and slowing consumer spending continue to apply the brakes to the U.S. economy. The unemployment rate jumped unexpectedly to 6.1 percent in August, the highest level in five years.

Last week, drug maker Schering-Plough Corp. said it plans to cut 1,000 sales jobs to reduce costs, part of a 10 percent reduction in staff announced in April. Also, the nation's largest chicken producer, Pilgrim's Pride Corp., announced it would reduce 100 jobs besides the 600 job losses it previously announced.

The 3 AM Call


by: Paul Krugman, The New York Times

(Photo: Redhotphones.com)

It's 3 a.m., a few months into 2009, and the phone in the White House rings. Several big hedge funds are about to fail, says the voice on the line, and there's likely to be chaos when the market opens. Whom do you trust to take that call?

I'm not being melodramatic. The bailout plan released yesterday is a lot better than the proposal Henry Paulson first put out - sufficiently so to be worth passing. But it's not what you'd actually call a good plan, and it won't end the crisis. The odds are that the next president will have to deal with some major financial emergencies.

So what do we know about the readiness of the two men most likely to end up taking that call? Well, Barack Obama seems well informed and sensible about matters economic and financial. John McCain, on the other hand, scares me.

About Mr. Obama: it's a shame that he didn't show more leadership in the debate over the bailout bill, choosing instead to leave the issue in the hands of Congressional Democrats, especially Chris Dodd and Barney Frank. But both Mr. Obama and the Congressional Democrats are surrounded by very knowledgeable, clear-headed advisers, with experienced crisis managers like Paul Volcker and Robert Rubin always close at hand.

Then there's the frightening Mr. McCain - more frightening now than he was a few weeks ago.

We've known for a long time, of course, that Mr. McCain doesn't know much about economics - he's said so himself, although he's also denied having said it. That wouldn't matter too much if he had good taste in advisers - but he doesn't.

Remember, his chief mentor on economics is Phil Gramm, the arch-deregulator, who took special care in his Senate days to prevent oversight of financial derivatives - the very instruments that sank Lehman and A.I.G., and brought the credit markets to the edge of collapse. Mr. Gramm hasn't had an official role in the McCain campaign since he pronounced America a "nation of whiners," but he's still considered a likely choice as Treasury secretary.

And last year, when the McCain campaign announced that the candidate had assembled "an impressive collection of economists, professors, and prominent conservative policy leaders" to advise him on economic policy, who was prominently featured? Kevin Hassett, the co-author of "Dow 36,000." Enough said.

Now, to a large extent the poor quality of Mr. McCain's advisers reflects the tattered intellectual state of his party. Has there ever been a more pathetic economic proposal than the suggestion of House Republicans that we try to solve the financial crisis by eliminating capital gains taxes? (Troubled financial institutions, by definition, don't have capital gains to tax.)

But even President Bush has, in the twilight of his administration, turned to relatively sensible people to make economic decisions: I'm not a fan of Mr. Paulson, but he's a vast improvement over his predecessor. At this point, one has the suspicion that a McCain administration would have us longing for Bush-era competence.

The real revelation of the last few weeks, however, has been just how erratic Mr. McCain's views on economics are. At any given moment, he seems to have very strong opinions - but a few days later, he goes off in a completely different direction.

Thus on Sept. 15 he declared - for at least the 18th time this year - that "the fundamentals of our economy are strong." This was the day after Lehman failed and Merrill Lynch was taken over, and the financial crisis entered a new, even more dangerous stage.

But three days later he declared that America's financial markets have become a "casino," and said that he'd fire the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission - which, by the way, isn't in the president's power.

And then he found a new set of villains - Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored lenders. (Despite some real scandals at Fannie and Freddie, they played little role in causing the crisis: most of the really bad lending came from private loan originators.) And he moralistically accused other politicians, including Mr. Obama, of being under Fannie's and Freddie's financial influence; it turns out that a firm owned by his own campaign manager was being paid by Freddie until just last month.

Then Mr. Paulson released his plan, and Mr. McCain weighed vehemently into the debate. But he admitted, several days after the Paulson plan was released, that he hadn't actually read the plan, which was only three pages long.

O.K., I think you get the picture.

The modern economy, it turns out, is a dangerous place - and it's not the kind of danger you can deal with by talking tough and denouncing evildoers. Does Mr. McCain have the judgment and temperament to deal with that part of the job he seeks?


Divide Iraq into three separate states and get the hell out‏

newsviewsnolose@yahoogroups.com on behalf of dick.mcmanus (dick.mcmanus@yahoo.com)

Divide Iraq into three separate states and get the hell out


"We just can't pull out of Iraq." YES, we can and we must.

What we need to do is divide Iraq into three separate states with the UN and/or NATO keeping them apart. In fact, the US has already ethnic cleaned sunni and shita neighborhoods and that is why the violence has decreased. We have become a world policeman and a nation builder which AWOL Bush professed he was against.

We should use the UN and/or NATO to make sure the oil profits are shared fairly. see enclosed new article.

Corporations as natural persons....

On the issue of corporations as being natural persons....they now get to use money that should be paid to shareholders, to bribe politicians and buy elections.

They can also pay lobbyist to pressure Congress to pass bills in their interests and to hell with the working folks. This has given us outsourcing of jobs and our industries overseas which has resulted in the super rich (the aristocracy) getting wealthier and the working class not building any wealth and lacking health care.

What we need to do is put tariffs back on imports on produces made with sweat shop wages.

But all this said... it is too lack. The biggest issue is we have to reduce our and the worlds population because we done have the resources to feed them and keep their house warm in the winter. See enclosed.

The super rich in America know this and they are preparing to form kingdoms with private armies to protect their estates. This is why the invaded Iraq...to keep the dollar from collapsing, and the Russians and Chinese from having access to the oil and cuting off the US and British oil corporations.

Now Corporations Claim The "Right To Lie"

by Thom Hartmann


Join us in our ROE caucus. Two must read books in order to understand this... Join us in Join our ROE caucus. Two must read books in order to understand this... The Long Emergency by James Kunstler and Power down by Richard Heinberg

Speech by the head of the Cuban delegation to the general debate of the 63rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, New York, September 2008

September 26, 2008:... While a trillion of dollars is spent on weapons in the world, more than 850 million human beings are starving; a 1.1 billion people don't have access to drinking water, 2.6 billion lack sewage services and more than 800 million are illiterate.

More than 640 million children lack adequate housing, 115 million do not attend primary school and 10 million die before the age of five, in most cases as the result of diseases that can be cured.

The populations of the South are suffering with increasing frequency from natural disasters, whose consequences have been aggravated by climate change. Haiti, Jamaica, Cuba and other Caribbean countries are examples of that. Let us make a plea for solidarity especially for our sister country of Haiti as it faces its dramatic situation

Cuba has just been lashed by two intense hurricanes which have devastated its agriculture and seriously affected part of its infrastructure and damaged or destroyed more than 400,000 homes.
September 19, 2008 WASHINGTON -- Satellite images taken at night show heavily Sunni Arab neighborhoods of Baghdad began emptying before a U.S. troop surge in
2007, graphic evidence of ethnic cleansing that preceded a drop in
violence, according to a report published Friday.

The images support the view of international refugee organizations and
Iraq experts that a major population shift was a key factor in the
decline in sectarian violence, particularly in the Iraqi capital, the
epicenter of the bloodletting in which hundreds of thousands were
Some 2 million Iraqis are displaced within Iraq, while 2 million more
have sought refuge in neighboring Syria and Jordan. Previously
religiously mixed neighborhoods of Baghdad became homogenized Sunni or
Shi'ite Muslim enclaves.

The study, published in the journal *Environment and Planning A*,
provides more evidence of ethnic conflict in Iraq, which peaked just
before President Bush ordered the deployment of about 30,000 extra
U.S. troops.

Amazing - Chemtrail Plane switches trail on and off
Major General Taguba Accuses AWOL Bush Of War Crimes
June 19, 2008: The Bush administration is guilty of committing "war crimes" and ought to be held to account, according to retired Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba in a new report on medical evidence of torture at U.S. facilities around the world.
In the new report by Physicians for Human Rights, Taguba wrote, "After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts, and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes. The only question is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account."
NATO's war cirmes against the Serbia and Kosovo
August 20, 2008: In 1999, NATO bombed Serbia and Kosovo for 78-day which killed hundreds of people in hospitals, schools, churches, parks and television studios, and destroyed economic infrastructure.
The former chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia in the Hague was Carla Del Ponte. Carla Del Ponte, this year published her memoir The Hunt: Me and War Criminals. This book reveals unpalatable truths about the West's intervention in Kosovo. Under pressure from Washington and London, an investigation into NATO war crimes at this tribunal were scrapped.
The justification for the NATO bombing was that the Serbs were committing "genocide" in the secessionist province of Kosovo against ethnic Albanians. David Scheffer, U.S. ambassador-at-large for war crimes, announced that as many as "225,000 ethnic Albanian men aged between 14 and 59" may have been murdered.
The tribunal announced the final count of the dead in Kosovo: 2,788. Iinternational teams descended upon Kosovo to exhume the mass graves. The FBI failed to find a single mass grave and went home. The Spanish forensic team did the same and said the stories of mass graves were all war propaganda machines."
Del Ponte in her book states that the KLA kidnapped hundreds of Serbs and transported them to Albania, where their kidneys and other body parts were removed; these were then sold for transplant in other countries. She also says there was sufficient evidence to prosecute the Kosovar Albanians for war crimes, but the investigation "was nipped in the bud" so that the tribunal's focus would be on "crimes committed by Serbia." She says the Hague judges were terrified of the Kosovar Albanians--the very people in whose name NATO had attacked Serbia.
KLA was ethnically cleansing more than 200,000 Serbs and Roma from the province. Kosovo has no formal economy and is run, in effect, by criminal gangs that traffic in drugs, contraband and women.
This included combatants on both sides and Serbs and Roma murdered by the KLA. There was no genocide in Kosovo. The genocide was a lie. The NATO attack had been fraudulent.
We are in a Depression and US generals planning for resource wars
Comment: The super rich are trying to set themselves up financially as kings so they can pay private armies, as the depression and end of peak oil causes a long emergency - an extreme disaster.
"We face a potential return to traditional security threats posed by emerging near-peers as we compete globally for depleting natural resources and overseas markets."
The document, however, contains no such lofty pretences. It goes on to list as a pre-eminent threat to the security of the US and its allies "population growth - especially in less-developed countries - [which] will expose a resulting 'youth bulge'."
This youth bulge, the document goes on to state, will present the US with further "resource competition" in that these expanding populations in the developing world "will consume ever increasing amounts of food, water and energy".
The document goes on to describe in broad-strokes the manner in which its downsized military might ensure survival of the fittest for the US and its allies in future resource wars for water, food and energy.
As a consequence of identifying growing populations in the developed world as a threat in itself, the strategy document highlights a number of paradigm shifts in the way future wars are to be conducted.
Source via Mark Nagel

Global warming pollution increases 3 percent

Sep 25,2008: WASHINGTON - The world pumped up its pollution of the chief man-made global warming gas last year, setting a course that could push beyond leading scientists' projected worst-case scenario. The new numbers, called "scary" by some, were a surprise because scientists thought an economic downturn would slow energy use. Instead, carbon dioxide output jumped 3 percent from 2006 to 2007.

Meanwhile, forests and oceans, which suck up carbon dioxide, are doing so at lower rates than in the 20th century, scientists said.

China's emissions increased 7.5 percent from the previous year, accounted for more than half of the worldwide increase. China passed the United States as the No. 1 carbon dioxide polluter in 2006.

Emissions in the United States rose nearly 2 percent in 2007, after declining the previous year. The U.S. produced 1.75 billion tons of carbon (1.58 billion metric tons).

"Things are happening very, very fast," said Corinne Le Quere, professor of environmental sciences at the University of East Anglia and the British Antarctic Survey. "It's scary."

Developing countries not asked to reduce greenhouse gases by the 1997 Kyoto treaty — and China and India are among them — now account for 53 percent of carbon dioxide pollution.

Nature can't keep up with the carbon dioxide from man, Le Quere said. She said from 1955 to 2000, the forests and oceans absorbed about 57 percent of the excess carbon dioxide, but now it's 54 percent.


Joining the ROE caucuses
We have started a Running on Empty (ROE) caucus of Washington State Democrats . We have also started a national ROE caucus. The goal of this caucus is to bring more emphasis by our Party to the coming end of cheap oil and natural gas which will result in an extreme disaster.

To become a member of our caucus we require some more information from you. If you agree or basically agree with the following statements and you are a Democrat, then we will accept you into our caucus.

1. There are no sustainable energy sources that will rescue us at our current population levels.

2. Population reduction must be a part of any plan to rationally deal with peak oil (the end of cheap oil, natural gas, and coal), global climate change, biological/species decline, and natural resource depletion.

3. Global climate change will only be mitigated with extremely stringent emissions policies that reduce consumption rates and this must be done before fossil fuels are depleted.

4. Absent immediate attention to peak oil, our government and/or political system have no chance whatsoever to react soon enough to help us.

Fred Krupp & Miriam Horn: Earth: The Sequel. The Race to Reinvent Energy and Stop
Global Warming.

"Conspiracy" just means, more than one person being involved in something

News and View you don't have to Lose, news emails, I summarized news items. If you really are interested in the subject, I recommend you go to the link or web address (orgininal source). You can always go to my website and read the archieves at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NewsViewsnolose

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit for research and educational purposes. MY NEWSLETTER has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is MY NEWSLETTER endorsed or sponsored by the originator.

Due to Presidential Executive Orders, the National Security Agency may read this email without warning, warrant, or notice. They may do this without any judicial or legislative oversight. You have no recourse or protection and everything you type may be used against you to detain you in a secret prison.

My ON-LINE book SOME UNKNOWN HISTORY OF THE U.S. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SomeUnknownUSHistory/
and http://groups.yahoo.com/group/RunningOnEmptyCaucusDemocratsUSA

FW: John McCain hopes you delete this!‏

Hello T. Scott,

If you're like tens of millions of others, you've gotten an email with a subject line like that. A forward of an email with a catchy, titillating subject.

Only they are never about John McCain. They're about Barack Obama. And they are almost always filled with distortions, misstatements, and outright lies.

We started TruthFightsBack.com to deal with smears, and those types emails were a big motivator for us. And, thanks to all of you, TruthFightsBack has been a great success.

But we can do better. We know that when you get a smear email, you want to get the truth fast, and you want it laid out in a way that can convince the undecided, swing voters. So we began a new project of TruthFightsBack.com called the Center for Political Accuracy focused specifically on this aspect of fighting anonymous smear emails in real-time, and we've got an exciting new tool to use in this battle.

You can email me at brian@politicalaccuracy.com with your smear and our system can read your smear and get me our researched response immediately, and I'll email back a reply debunking the original email. This can all happen in 10 minutes or less, so you can be armed with the truth and reply to everyone who got the original smear.

Just copy this email address into your address book, and make sure to email me right away next time you get a smear.


Thank you so much for joining the fight against smears.

Brian Young

Contributions or gifts to Campaign For Our Country are not tax-deductible for federal income tax purposes.

An individual may contribute a maximum of $5,000 per calendar year.

Corporations and individuals are strictly prohibited from reimbursing another person for making a contribution to Campaign For Our Country. To comply with Federal law, we must use best efforts to obtain, maintain, and submit the name, mailing address, occupation and name of employer of individuals whose contributions exceed $200 per calendar year.

Bailout bill fails; the people are having an impact‏

September 29, 2008

Dear T. Scott,

Thank you for taking action to stop the bailout. We had a major breakthrough today when the House of Representatives voted down the bill by a 228 to 205 margin. This is a real opportunity to keep pushing for more reforms.

Please call Congress at 202-224-3121 and demand -- "Bailout homeowners, not the bank owners." The U.S. needs to build its economy from the ground up not from the top down. Tell Congress to reconsider this bill and develop a bill that builds the economy not bails out speculators who undermine the economy.

We have made a lot of progress since Bush-Paulsen came forward with their 2 page blank check. The more than 100 page bill is moving in our direction but not far enough. If this bill is to pass it needs to put emphasis to ensure homeowners have their mortgages rewritten so they can afford to stay in their homes rather than lose them to the banks.

This populist revolt is heartening. Let's keep up the pressure. Call 202-224-3121 and go to www.FreshAirCleanPolitics.net and send a letter to Congress. Tell your friends to do the same.

The people are having an impact.


Kevin Zeese

Executive Director

Campaign for Fresh Air and Clean Politics
2842 N. Calvert St.
Baltimore, MD 21218


Copyright 2006-2008 Campaign for Fresh Air & Clean Politics All rights reserved.

IMA MAIL ON WEBOTH‏ From: Representative Adam Smith

September 29, 2008

Dear T. Scott,

Thank you for contacting me regarding the financial recovery package recently considered by Congress; I appreciate hearing your thoughts and concerns on this issue. This package failed by a vote of 205-228. I voted for this legislation, and I'd like to take a moment to explain my thinking about this complex problem.

Like many Americans, I had major concerns with the Bush Administration's initial financial recovery proposal. It contained no help for ordinary Americans struggling with their mortgage payments, no oversight and no protection for taxpayers. It was a major power grab attempt by the Administration in the form of a $700 billion blank check and Congress correctly rejected that plan. I also worried about the true extent of this economic crisis - would it just punish Wall Street people who acted unwisely? Or would it impact us all? And, if the latter was true was action by Congress required?

After listening to many of my constituents, small business owners, local bankers, and many others in the business and financial world, I have concluded that this crisis is more serious than just the normal downside of the business cycle; that failure to act by Congress could turn a severe economic slow down into a panic-a run on banks and all financial institutions that could plunge us into a deep and lasting recession; and that the plan before Congress, while offering no guarantees, represented a prudent and necessary step to prevent this much more painful economic outcome.

I now believe strongly that this crisis affects all Americans. If it only impacted the financial institutions on Wall Street who made outrageously risky investments then I would not have supported this plan. But the credit crunch and the economic slow down will hit us all. Loans for college, cars, homes, or any other consumer need will be almost impossible to obtain. As this reality spreads, businesses in all communities in our country will be forced to cut back, leading to significant job loss. The markets will go down also, placing in jeopardy pensions, 401K plans, and many other investments for all people in our country.

I also want to make clear that significant economic hardship is coming no matter what we do. Our nation has lived on credit for far too long, from the federal government's growing debt right down to average households where we have been collectively spending more than we earned for years. The housing boom only made it worse, enticing people in all walks of life to take on even greater debt with the illusion that the ever rising value of homes would always cover that debt. Wall Street made all of this immeasurably worse with risky financial deals designed to maximize short term profit with no thought whatsoever to long term consequences. Now we all have to find a way to mitigate the damages and begin digging our way out of the mess.

Over the past week, through bipartisan cooperation and thoughtful deliberation, Congress delivered a plan that addresses the drastic shortcomings of the Bush Administration's proposal and protects the interest of taxpayers. The revised plan helps to prevent home foreclosures crippling the American economy. It cuts the requested $700 billion in authorized purchasing of troubled assets by the Secretary of the Treasury in half, and requires Congressional review for future payments. It has a profit-sharing provision that ensures tax payers benefit from the use of their money and requires in five years that the President put forth a plan to recoup the taxpayers' money from institutions that benefit. I am particularly pleased that this provision was included, as it makes certain that taxpayers receive a maximum return on our money.

This financial recovery package also ensures strong independent and Congressional oversight and transparency mechanisms throughout this process, and imposes strict limitations on excessive compensation for CEOs and executives of participating financial institutions. The plan requires strong oversight by a board appointed by bipartisan leaders of Congress as well as strict over sight by the Government Accountability Office. It makes sure to prevent the further enrichment of the people who contributed so much to creating this crisis in the first place, and that any actions by the Treasury Secretary are transparent and open to scrutiny and review

This was not an easy vote and I do not believe for a second that this legislation will somehow solve all our economic problems. We must make major changes in how we regulate our financial institutions. We must also change our spending priorities in Congress and throughout our nation so that we build a fiscally sound economy-one that focuses on long-term sustainable growth, not just short-term profit.

This bill was not a perfect solution and it is not exactly how I would have drafted it. However, I do believe that it would have helped reduce and reverse the negative trends in our economy today. Now that the bill has been defeated, I will continue to consider all views and options and work with my colleagues to build consensus for a solution that will protect Americans from more economic harm.

Again, thank you for contacting me. I hope this has helped explain my thoughts on this complex issue. Please feel free to contact me in the future should you have additional comments or concerns.


Adam Smith

Member of Congress


McCain's Health Plan: You're on Your Own

By Jared Bernstein, Huffington Post. Posted September 29, 2008.

An estimated 20 million people would lose employer coverage under McCain's plan.

With less than 40 days to go until the presidential election, let's assess where things stand.

Obama appears to be building an edge in the polls and has some upward "mo." That said, the election appears to be a lot closer than it should be given this fact: on two of the issues that concern voters the most -- the economy and the war -- the policies of the Bush administration are widely viewed as dismal failures. Yet McCain's plans are clearly an extension, if not an "amping up," of precisely those policies.

There's a third issue of great concern -- health care -- which should also favor Obama, but it hasn't been discussed much, something I'll try to rectify in a moment.

Another reason the election feels closer than it should be is the strange, erratic, even histrionic campaign being run by McCain. Most recently, it's the "economy's fundamentals are sound," the whole "will-he, won't-he" on the first debate, the distracting, self-aggrandizing way he placed himself in the bailout debate, the politics-first choice of Palin. It all points to the kind of unpredictable, seat-of-your-pants, gut (vs. reality)-driven leadership style of the last eight years.

And, as noted above, his policies seem to derive from a meeting where he and his advisors took a close look at the last eight years and said, "Damn, that's good. Let's double down."

You might think that voters who haven't already made up their minds would look at these bad policy choices along with all this recent flailing about, and feel more than a little squeamish about handing the reins to this team.

Yet, it's close. There are lots of reasons for that and I won't try to sort them out. One factor that has perhaps been underappreciated is that even now that folks are starting to pay attention, they often don't believe that the candidates will do what they say they're going to do. If that's the case, why bother listening to their differences (negative campaigning is effective here as well)? Better to make the call based on gut reactions.

That's a mistake. Both candidates will put great effort into implementing their plans. When John McCain says he's out to cut corporate taxes by a third and pursue "victory" in Iraq, I believe him (a Democratic majority in Congress would try to block him, but I don't want to bank on their success).

So, with no disrespect to gut reactions, and to complement the beginning of the debating season, I recommend we head for the weeds to take a closer look at the other big issue of voters' minds: health care.

The current system is unraveling...that much is known. And the two candidates have very different plans to fix it. Here are some things voters should know about them.

McCain: A $3.6 Trillion Tax Increase and a Shove Into the Open Market

In the first presidential debate, McCain argued that he wants every family "to have a $5,000 refundable tax credit so they can go out and purchase their own health care." To which Obama later responded: "... you may end up getting a $5,000 tax credit. Here's the only problem: Your employer now has to pay taxes on the health care that you're getting from your employer. And if you end up losing your health care from your employer, you've got to go out on the open market and try to buy it."

You see, the 140 million of us who get health care for ourselves and our families through our jobs do not pay taxes, either income or payroll, on this part of our compensation. The McCain plan ends that exclusion, and thus becomes a $3.6 trillion tax increase over 10 years on workers. What was a tax-free part of your compensation is now taxable income. You'll pay income tax on it and you'll pay payroll taxes on it.

Once that happens, your employer's incentive to offer coverage is diminished, and experts estimate that around 20 million people will lose employer coverage.

So, you're thinking: Wait a minute. McCain's health care plan makes part of people's income newly taxable and that leads to millions losing health coverage. That can't be all there is to it.

Of course not. As he said in the debate, he'll take that revenue from the tax increase, and give it back to you as a tax credit, so you can go buy health care on the open market, or as the health care wonks call it: the non-group market (the group market is where your employer shopped for coverage for the group formed by you and your co-workers). In fact, the McCain team claims that the plan is revenue neutral: they taketh by subjecting more of your compensation to the income and the payroll tax, and giveth back through the subsidy.

But there are two very big wrinkles here. First, when it comes to brokering a deal with insurance companies, there's strength in numbers. Shopping for health care in the non-group market is not most people's idea of a good time. They have no obligation to cover you -- you as much as cough in there, and they're likely to have you escorted out. As my EPI colleagues Bivens and Gould wrote in a new paper, "the individual market is characterized by poor information about policies, discriminatory pricing, coverage exclusions, refusal to cover preexisting conditions, and denials of policy renewal. Even worse, other planks of the McCain plan actually call for removing many of the (already insufficient) consumer protections that currently exist." (BTW, see their paper to be the first on your block with an estimate of the number of folks who might lose coverage in your state.)


See more stories tagged with: obama, health care, mccain, health care reform, tax credit

Jared Bernstein is a senior economist and director of the Living Standards Program at the Economic Policy Institute in Washington D.C.