Good Riddance to Decade That Began With Theft of the Presidency

I am a big fan of John Nichols. This is an important post. I think it’s important to remember how this nightmare of a decade started..

Good Riddance to Decade That Began With Theft of the Presidency by John Nichols

The British press has taken to referring to the passing decade as “the Noughties” has made quite a big deal of trying to identify the political, economic and cultural trends of period from 2000 to 2009.

It is an amusing pastime that has some value, but only if we’re focused on identifying the root cause of what made the Noughties such a miserable decade.

If we are serious about the task, there is not much mystery.

The original sin of the good-riddance decade came in December of 2000, when the United States Supreme Court intervened to stop a complete recount of the votes in Florida and then declared George Bush to be the president.

This extreme judicial activism was not merely a devastating assault on American democracy. It set in motion the Bush presidency, and with it the pathologies that the Bush-Cheney administration imposed on the country in the form of unnecessary wars, failed economic policies, assaults on civil liberties and crudely divisive and hyper-partisan governance.

Bush, Dick Cheney and aides are surely to blame for much of what ailed America during the 2000s, and for what will ail America for decades to come.

But it was the U.S. Supreme Court’s unprecedented meddling in the presidential election process – an intervention that would have horrified the founders of a republic that was supposed to enjoy a separation of executive, legislative and judicial powers – made the Bush-Cheney interregnum possible.

Continue reading…

Rep. Massa: Cheney “has political Tourette’s”

Raw Story:

Rep. Eric Massa tells MSNBC’s Ed Schultz that he is tired of the hypocrisy of former Vice President Dick Cheney and Sen. Jim DeMint on national security.

Rep. Massa says at one point that Cheney suffers from “diarrhea of the mouth”. Personally, I am embarrassed for Cheney every time he comes out and pretends he has ANY credibility on any subject, yet it doesn’t stop him from trying to hammer away at President Obama, accusing him of things that he and Bush were guilty of. You know.. Incompetence, cowardice, etc.. Schultz and Massa were correct. It’s time for the Dems to start hitting back at these crazy claims and throw the truth right back at them – especially at Dick Cheney. Hitting back hard. This man has done enough damage, and hopefully it won’t be much longer before it comes back to bite him in the butt. Hard.

Rep. Massa:

“I am sick and tired of the former vice president of the United States taking shots not only at this administration, for problems he was largely and personally responsible for, but by an extension at those of us who served in the military and bring that experience,” Massa said on MSNBC’s The Ed Show.

“This man suffers from a horrible case of political Tourette’s [syndrome], and it’s about time that we stand up and kick right back because I’m sick and tired of him kicking us in our shins,” Massa said…

….”We need to grow a spine and stand up and show America exactly who did what,” Massa said, pointing to Cheney’s role in the events leading to the Christmas day attempt and the fact that the Bush administration took several days longer than Obama to address the 2001 shoe-bomber incident.

“It was Dick Cheney personally responsible for the release of the masterminds of the Christmas airline terror plot,” he said, accusing the former vice president of shifting his culpability to Democrats.

“It makes no difference what we do, this man suffers from political diarrhea of the mouth, and unless we stand up and call it as it is he’s going to keep on getting away with it,” Massa said…

…The New York Democrat also lashed out at Sen. Jim DeMint as “personally responsible for placing you, the traveling American public at risk” by “placing a hold on the nominee of the director of the Transportation Security Agency.”

People like Jim DeMint and people like Dick Cheney need to go away so we can solve the problems they’ve created,” Massa said.

I wholeheartedly agree.

Don’t miss this article by Eugene Robinson in the Washington
post
today:

Dick Cheney’s lies about President Obama

Bruce Fein wants an expanded CIA probe

On yesterday’s Hardball, host Chris Matthews interviewed Bruce Fein, an Associate Deputy Attorney General to President Ronald Reagan, and Fein argued that the Justice Department should expand a probe into the CIA’s interrogation techniques — including the possibility of targeting former Vice President Dick Cheney.

In response to a clip of Dick Cheney saying (in his interview with Chris Wallace of Fox Noise) that even if they violated the rules (laws), don’t investigate, and don’t even think of indicting..:

“What I find most dangerous about Mr. Cheney’s statement is that he really suggests that the rule of law means nothing as long as you’re trying to go after terrorists. We have a way to do these things. Go to Congress and you have them amend the law—a ticking time-bomb exception or something like that. The executive branch doesn’t unilaterally declare the law no longer serves any purpose because we’re going after terrorists. That’s what despotic governments do. We are the United States of America. Rule of Law is our ultimate safety and guarding of our liberties.”

“I think there should be an investigation, and perhaps a pardon would be appropriate under the circumstance, but certainly a full-fledged investigation. If there are no mitigating circumstances a prosecution is appropriate. If there are, then that’s the pardon, and that’s the situation where the president would have to take full accountability like President Ford did with Mr. Nixon.”

I agree. Let the investigation go where it must. This country needs to see accountability so we as a nation can regain our confidence that we really ARE a country based on the Rule of Law, that there really are lines that cannot be crossed, that those laws really work—for ALL of us (including our elected leaders and lawmakers).

John Yoo ordered to testify on torture

John Yoo, the former Bush administration lawyer connected to the torture program put in place by the Bush Administration, has been ordered to testify in court about accusations that his work led to the torture of a detainee. More at ThinkProgress and Raw Story.

From Raw Story:

Former Bush administration attorney John Yoo was ordered on Friday by a federal judge in San Francisco to testify in an appeal brought by Jose Padilla, an American citizen who was held for more than three years and allegedly tortured while in U.S. military custody.

Yoo was one of several administration lawyers who authored legal memos which outlined a legal range for torture, a war crime under the Geneva Convention relative to the prisoners of war.

“Judge [Jeffrey S.] White denied most elements of Mr. Yoo’s motion and quoted a passage from the Federalist Papers that in times of war, nations, to be more safe, ‘at length become willing to run the risk of being less free,’” noted The New York Times.

Yoo, while at the Office of Legal Council in 2002, authored a majority of the department’s opinions on torture along with Jay Bybee, who now serves as a judge on the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and Steven Bradbury, the former OLC chief who now practices law in Washington, D.C…

Read more on this story…

It’s the Torture, Stupid

Who cares what Speaker Nancy Pelosi knew and when she knew it? That isn’t the point. The point is what it is that she is accused of knowing – That the Bush Administration, in violation of both US Law and International Treaty, tortured people. Continue reading

Torture Supporters Still Supporting Torture

On Friday, May 8, MSNBC’s “The Ed Show” was guest-hosted by MSNBC contributor Lawrence O’Donnell. His first segment was on Dick Cheney’s continuing “Torture Worked Tour,” and his guests were Torture Supporters Frank Gaffney and David Rivkin. I couldn’t help but notice that O’Donnell’s style could never be confused with Rachel Maddow’s. For neither guest did O’Donnell offer words of welcome and appreciation for coming on the show, nor did he give them any thanks for being there when he was done. In fact, he treated them both rather dismissively, and for good reason. Gaffney and Rivkin should be dismissed.

(The full segment can be found on MSNBC’s website. When I figure out how to embed it here, I will.)

The segment began with a recap of Dick Cheney’s recent interview Continue reading

Torture Used to Link Saddam With 9/11

by Marjorie Cohn (Posted with permission)

When I testified last year before the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties about Bush interrogation policies, Congressman Trent Franks (R-Arizona) stated that former CIA Director Michael Hayden had confirmed that the Bush administration only waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Abu Zubaydah, and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashirit for one minute each. I told Franks that I didn’t believe that. Sure enough, one of the newly released torture memos reveals that Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times and Zubaydah was waterboarded 83 times. One of Stephen Bradbury’s 2005 memos asserted that “enhanced techniques” on Zubaydah yielded the identification of Mohammed and an alleged radioactive bomb plot by Jose Padilla. But FBI supervisory special agent Ali Soufan, who interrogated Zubaydah from March to June 2002, wrote in The New York Times that Zubaydah produced that information under traditional interrogation methods, before the harsh techniques were ever used.

Why, then, the relentless waterboarding of these two men? It turns out that high Bush officials put heavy pressure on Pentagon interrogators to get Mohammed and Zubaydah to reveal a link between Saddam Hussein and the 9/11 hijackers, in order to justify Bush’s illegal and unnecessary invasion of Iraq in 2003. That link was never established.

Continue reading

Lawrence O’Donnell Smacks Down Liz Cheney

Liz Cheney was allowed to spew lies on MSNBC with Norah O’Donnell. That video is everywhere. What doesn’t show up here is right after that segment Lawrence O’Donnell was visibly angry that he wasn’t on to refute Ms. Cheney’s claims. He pointed out that just like her father, Dick Cheney, Liz would never appear in a segment where somebody could point out her lies.

Janice Karpinski to Cheney: Where Were You Five Years Ago?

Dick Cheney on Fox News:  “I formally asked that they be declassified now. I haven’t announced this up till now, I haven’t talked about it, but I know specifically of reports that I read, that I saw that lay out what we learned through the interrogation process and what the consequences were for the country.”

Former Brigadier General Janis Karpinski  wonders why Cheney did not  make these claims when active service members were facing charges for abuses at Abu Ghraib.  She claims that Donald Rumsfeld  and his subordinates ordered these activities and that he and Cheney remained silent during these prosecutions.

Turley: Obama gets low grade on prosecuting Cheney

Raw Story:

On 60 Minutes, the president fired back at comments made by former Vice President Cheney about his foreign policies. He even repudiated Bush/Cheney torture policies and Guantanamo Bay.

Did Obama do enough? Rachel Maddow is joined by George Washington University professor Jonathan Turley.

Turley just can’t say it any clearer than this. There is NO need for a “Truth Commission”. Congress has ALL the evidence necessary to call for a criminal investigation into war crimes for the Bush/Cheney torture programs. There is no question, no debate or ambiguity here.

Turley: “This would be the shortest investigation in history”.

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Countdown discusses Seymour Hersh’s claim of a Cheney “assassination ring”

On Wednesday March 11, 2009, Eric Black reported on MinnPost.Com a stunning statement by investigative journalist/author Seymour Hersh (of The New Yorker):

At a “Great Conversations” event (MP3) at the University of Minnesota last night, legendary investigative reporter Seymour Hersh may have made a little more news than he intended by talking about new alleged instances of domestic spying by the CIA, and about an ongoing covert military operation that he called an “executive assassination ring.”
Hersh spoke with great confidence about these findings from his current reporting, which he hasn’t written about yet.

The evening of great conversation, featuring Walter Mondale and Hersh, moderated by [U of M Political Scientist Larry] Jacobs and titled “America’s Constitutional Crisis,” looked to be a mostly historical review of events that have tested our Constitution, by a journalist and a high government official who had experience with many of the crises.

Continue reading

Don’t miss these articles…

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A number of important articles have been written since the secret legal memos from the Bush Administration were recently released. We have been told there are more memos soon to released that may prove even more disturbing that these, but for now, here are three articles that came out today that need to be read and discussed.

First, by Robert Parry (Consortium News): How Close the Bush Bullet

Second, from Naomi Wolf (Common Dreams): Yoo and The Subversion of Liberty Narrowly Averted

If you haven’t read Naomi Wolf’s book “The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot“, then go out and find yourself a copy. It is a warning for all our citizens—a clarion call. EVERY American should read it and know what to watch for in order to preserve what we as a nation throughout history have fought and died for. She actually created a film based on her book here.

And third, from Marjorie Cohn: Memos Provide Blueprint For Police State

How close did we come to losing our country as we know it? Are we still in danger from what was changed with the knowledge or consent of “We The People”? What is being done now to prevent this from happening again? Will President Obama take the steps necessary to give back the powers grabbed by President Bush and restore this enormous breach of public trust and loss of rights and freedoms under our Constitution?

Continue reading

No-mo Gitmo!

President Barack Obama began overhauling U.S. treatment of terror suspects Thursday, signing orders to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center, shut down secret overseas CIA prisons, review military war crimes trials and ban the harshest interrogation methods.

Now, I was thinking, perhaps it shouldn’t be closed entirely. It would be the ideal facility to house, try, and hold members of the previous administration for international war crimes, crimes against humanity, state-sponsored terrorist acts….

Cheney Throws Down Gauntlet, Defies Prosecution for War Crimes

by Marjorie Cohn

Dick Cheney has publicly confessed to ordering war crimes. Asked about waterboarding in an ABC News interview, Cheney replied, “I was aware of the program, certainly, and involved in helping get the process cleared.” He also said he still believes waterboarding was an appropriate method to use on terrorism suspects. CIA Director Michael Hayden confirmed that the agency waterboarded three al-Qaeda suspects in 2002 and 2003.

US courts have long held that waterboarding, where water is poured into someone’s nose and mouth until he nearly drowns, constitutes torture. Our federal War Crimes Act defines torture as a war crime punishable by life imprisonment or even the death penalty if the victim dies.

Under the doctrine of command responsibility, enshrined in US law, commanders all the way up the chain of command to the commander in chief can be held liable for war crimes if they knew or should have known their subordinates would commit them and they did nothing to stop or prevent it.

Why is Cheney so sanguine about admitting he is a war criminal? Because he’s confident that either President Bush will preemptively pardon him or President-elect Obama won’t prosecute him.

Both of those courses of action would be illegal.

Continue reading

Turley: Cheney actions ‘unambiguously a war crime’

Raw Story

Professor Jonathan Turley talk with Keith Olbermann about Vice President Dick Cheney’s defense of waterboarding and other forms of coercion used on detainees.

I actually watched this two times last night. Turley makes it perfectly clear: Cheney committed War Crimes. Plain and simple. Unambiguous. So, will anyone do anything about it? Was this admission of Cheney’s – on National TV – thumbing his nose at the entire world before he leaves office, knowing full well nobody will do a damned thing about it?


Dick Cheney and Alberto Gonzales under indictment!

Pinch me!! From YouTube:

Cheney is accused of investing some $85 million in the Vanguard group that houses federal inmates. The grand jury accuses Cheney and Alberto Gonzalez of engaging in organized criminal activity.

AP: Cheney, Gonzales indicted in South Texas county

Vice President Dick Cheney and former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales have been indicted on state charges involving federal prisons in a South Texas county that has been a source of bizarre legal and political battles under the outgoing prosecutor.

The indictment returned Monday has not yet been signed by the presiding judge, and no action can be taken until that happens.

Continue reading

Plame, Wilson to take CIA leak lawsuit to Supreme Court

Raw Story

Former CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson and her husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson, plan to take their civil lawsuit against Bush administration officials to the Supreme Court after a federal circuit court refused to rehear the case on Monday.

Wilson v. Cheney, filed in 2006, charges that Bush administration officials such as Vice President Cheney, and aides Karl Rove and I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, violated Plame’s constitutional rights in allegedly engineering the outing Plame, who was undercover at the time, as retaliation against her husband, an Iraq war critic, who had been sent to Niger in 2002 to investigate the possible sale of yellowcake uranium to Iraq. While Wilson reported back that such sales were unlikely to have taken place, President Bush asserted to the contrary in his 2003 State of the Union address, prompting Wilson to speak out publicly in a July 6, 2003 New York Times piece entitled “What I Didn’t Find in Africa.”

Read on..

Their chances might be getting better now that Scott McClellan has started speaking out..

In this clip, Scott McClellan is speaking at the (November) 2008 Miami Book Fair on C-SPAN Book TV, and he SAYS that George Bush admitted authorizing the leaking of parts of the classified NIE which resulted in the  ‘outing’ of Valerie Plame. Outing a covert CIA operative in a time of war is treason. George Bush, while President of the United States, committed treason by authorizing leaking of classified intelligence in order to destroy his ‘political enemies’.

Will he and Dick Cheney ever be held to account?

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Bush Spy Revelations Anticipated When Obama Is Sworn In

Will we FINALLY learn the full extent of the damage done by this Bush/Cheney presidency (cabal)?

From Wired:

When Barack Obama takes the oath of office on January 20, Americans won’t just get a new president; they might finally learn the full extent of George W. Bush’s warrantless domestic wiretapping.

Since The New York Times first revealed in 2005 that the NSA was eavesdropping on citizens’ overseas phone calls and e-mail, few additional details about the massive “Terrorist Surveillance Program” have emerged. That’s because the Bush administration has stonewalled, misled and denied documents to Congress, and subpoenaed the phone records of the investigative reporters.

Now privacy advocates are hopeful that President Obama will be more forthcoming with information. But for the quickest and most honest account of Bush’s illegal policies, they say don’t look to the incoming president. Watch instead for the hidden army of would-be whistle-blowers who’ve been waiting for Inauguration Day to open the spigot on the truth.

“I’d bet there are a lot of career employees in the intelligence agencies who’ll be glad to see Obama take the oath so they can finally speak out against all this illegal spying and get back to their real mission,” says Caroline Fredrickson, the ACLU’s Washington D.C. legislative director.

New Yorker investigative reporter Seymour Hersh already has a slew of sources waiting to spill the Bush administration’s darkest secrets, he said in an interview last month. “You cannot believe how many people have told me to call them on January 20. [They say,] ‘You wanna know about abuses and violations? Call me then.’”

Read this entire article..

I can’t wait..

Palin’s Pipeline to Nowhere

New details came out today regarding Palin’s Pipeline. It turns out to be worse than the fact that a) it won’t be built for years and b) it won’t make the lower 48 energy independent.

No, it’s starting to look like Palin picked the people to build it herself.

Gov. Sarah Palin’s signature accomplishment — a contract to build a 1,715-mile pipeline to bring natural gas from Alaska to the Lower 48 — emerged from a flawed bidding process that narrowed the field to a company with ties to her administration, an Associated Press investigation shows.

No wonder she was hand-picked to succeed Cheney. She’s already got the whole business of handing business to business croneys down cold.

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Author: Cheney has been first ‘deputy president’

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This is an interview with Bart Gellman, who is author of the newly released book called “Angler”. I just picked it up two days ago and can’t wait to dive in.. Jon Stewart has fun with this interview.

Bart Gellman originally did a series in the Washington Post called ANGLER: The Cheney Vice-Presidency (a four part series).


In Harper’s Magazine, Scott Horton has 6 questions for Bart Gellman on his new book “The Angler”.

Former Haliburton Exec Pleads Guilty

As a Haliburton executive Albert “Jack” Stanley is well known in the world of Big Oil for his ability to secure billion dollar contracts in third world countries.

In the wake of his admission in a guilty plea last week that he had resorted to bribes, kickbacks and high-level corruption to secure deals in Nigeria, however, Stanley now lies at the center of a widening scandal in the oil industry that has implications for corporations and governments across the globe.

Stanley’s case is the first in what federal officials believe will be a string of indictments in coming months against U.S. corporate executives who have participated in bribing foreign officials in recent years.

Previously Stanley had said that Vice President Dick Cheney, who was CEO of Halliburton at the time, had no knowledge of the bribes. At the time though Stanley was not a cooperating witness. Stanley’s sentence will be determined based on his compliance with the plea agreement. Stanley’s attorney, Larry Veselka, has said that his client will cooperate fully in any investigation. Cheney’s office has refused to comment citing continuing litigation.

And the FBI is actively involved in this case so this case is not likely to disappear into the realm of the Justice Department.

The active involvement of the FBI is particularly worrisome to such people. In contrast to white-collar investigations handled by the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission, the FBI is believed to be prepared to use techniques more familiar to investigations of organized crime, including wiretapping and undercover agents.

There is much, much more to this story from ProPublica and PBS’ “Frontline”.

HT joe cantwell

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