January 31, 2008

CBC News: U.S. officials won't enforce new border ID rules

A U.S. law requiring Canadians to show proof of citizenship when crossing the border by land or sea takes effect Thursday, but to appease some politicians, American customs officials say it won't be enforced for at least another 18 months.

For months, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security had said that as of Thursday, Canadian and U.S. citizens entering the United States by land and sea would have to show ID, such as a passport, or birth certificate combined with photo ID, proving their nationality, under rules adopted in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

A passport or special travel card will be required for all trips to the U.S. starting in June 2009, but for now, Canadians entering by land or sea can get in without any proof of citizenship.A passport or special travel card will be required for all trips to the U.S. starting in June 2009, but for now, Canadians entering by land or sea can get in without any proof of citizenship.
(Tom Hanson/Canadian Press)

Air travellers have had to show proof of citizenship since January 2007.

But U.S. border officials now say travellers without proper documentation will be allowed into the U.S. until June 2009, and will receive an educational flyer instead of being turned away.

"What we will do is briefly explain to them that they're not in compliance," said Kevin Corsaro, a supervisory officer in the Buffalo, N.Y., field office of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

"We'll give them a tear sheet that explains how to become compliant, and they'll be able to proceed on with their trip.

"This is an educational process," said Corsaro. "We will not refuse a Canadian citizen entry into this country, into the United States, if their only violation is that they do not have proof of citizenship."

Asking for reprieve

The move to relax ID requirements comes after a group of 19 U.S. senators wrote Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff.

Their letter asks Chertoff to continue the system of allowing Canadians and Americans to cross land and sea borders by presenting any government-issued photo ID, such as a driver's licence, and making an oral declaration of citizenship.

The senators — led by Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Ted Stevens of Alaska and Charles Schumer of New York — said Homeland Security should hold off on any changes until June 2009, when the U.S. Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative goes into full effect and passports will be required to cross all U.S. borders.

"We have the longest, most peaceful, friendliest border in the world. We gotta be cherishing that instead of trying to make that border look like a security threat," Leahy told CBC News.

"These new ideas are not going to make either Canada or the United States more secure. We will end up losing hundreds of billions of dollars worth of jobs."

More than 800,000 people enter the U.S. through land and sea ports each day. Between October and December, agents say, they caught more than 1,500 people making false oral declarations.

Get yours at http://www.horse-you-rode-in-on.com/periodic/

Periodic Table of the Criminal Elements

Each row and column of the table is color organized by being either: inert gasbags, loyal bushoids, slowresponsiums, waterboardiums, petroiums etc..........anyway you get the idea.

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Israel admits war crimes

Lebanon: Winograd war probe report sets scene for future war
Lebanon: The Winograd Report in full
Israel continues to refuse to tell international sappers where it dropped its illegal cluster bombs on Lebanon. There are no words to describe how evil these people are.

A UN observer inspecting an unexploded cluster bomb-laden rocket in southern Lebanon. (AP)

Last update - 14:22 31/01/2008

Winograd: Current use of cluster bombs not in line with int'l law

By Yuval Yoaz, Haaretz Correspondent, and The Associated Press

Israel must consider whether it wants to consider using cluster bombs in the future, because its current manner of employing them does not conform to international law. The Winograd Committee made this recommendation in its report on Israel's conduct in the Second Lebanon War as it relates to international law.

In a special appendix dedicated to the use of cluster bombs, the committee determined that, "The cluster bomb is inaccurate, it consists of bomblets that are dispersed over a large area, and some of the bomblets do not explode [on impact] and can cause damage for a long period afterward." The committee thus recommended that non-military elements be involved in assessing their future use in light of international law.

In Beirut, Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora's office said the Israeli probe failed to hold the army accountable for its actions, including the use of cluster bombs. It said the practice was a flagrant violation of international norms, human rights and is tantamount to a daily war crime committed against Lebanese civilians.

The Winograd Committee also recommended reducing to a minimum the presence of the attorney general and the chief military prosecutor in decision-making forums during wartime: the cabinet, security cabinet and Israel Defense Forces General Staff sessions.

The committee said that the activity of the legal advisers should focus on the preliminary stage, in inculcating the principles of international law, as well as on examining the decision-making process after the fact.

The committee ruled that Israel generally complied with war directives laws, which are part of international law, both with regard to the justification for initiating the war and with regard to combat operations themselves.

The committee decided not to examine in depth individual complaints about violations of international law committed by Israel in the course of the war, which included claims about the selection of illegitimate targets, the use of cluster bombs, the disproportionate harming of civilians and infrastructure in Lebanon and the use of civilians as "human shields." Instead, the committee made do with general conclusions, in part because, "We did not find it appropriate to deal with issues that are part of a political and propaganda war against the state."

The committee examined the methods used to instill the precepts of international law among the country's leaders and in army officers and combat soldiers, concluding that, "The authorities are cognizant of the duty to obey international law and acted out of a desire to do so during the war."

Regarding the presence of legal advisers in the field during the course of the war, the committee said: "It is better, in our opinion, to inculcate the general norms prior to action, as a matter of routine.

In the course of action, the decision-makers and the soldiers should be left to operate in accordance with these norms, and afterward the cases should be examined and responsibility determined in the event of a serious deviation from the obligatory norms that were inculcated... The fighting forces, especially at the field level, should focus on combat and not on consultations with legal advisers."

To Impeach Is Our Constitutional Responsibility

Find the Truth About Bush’s Wars Nancy Pelosi, You Must Impeach! President Bush could have achieved his goal of "regime change" in Iraq quickly and without the violence of war. Saddam Hussein offered, weeks before his country was invaded, to leave Iraq and go into exile. President Bush withheld this offer from public view.

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MSNBC: Bill Clinton Tied To Kazakh Mining Deal

Huge Kazakh deal follows financier’s trip with Clinton, precedes donation.See again, peterfpaul.comThe corruption and crime MUST stop!! It's truly intolerable and it IS worse than at any other time in history.

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Soldier suicides reach record level, study shows.

Vets’ battle with depression reveals effects of long tours, lack of resources.Don't forget to sign on to attack Bill O'reilly about the homelessness slur he made either!!America, quit bankrupting our future!!From comments posted:Too many of our soldiers are coming home not only physically scarred but emotionally, they are battered and bloodied. The reality of war has devastated our soldiers. We sent them to Iraq with orders to shoot on sight anything that moves. We turned our young men and women into killers and then pay private armies five times more. Support the troops; the irony of that statement. *shaking head* True support of our troops is demanding they be brought home. True support of our troops is impeaching the bastards who sent them there to die for a lie. The think tanks have all bought and paid for plenty of commercials and ads to make you feel like unless you support the war, you do not support the troops; as if supporting their death is some noble cause. Understand the only reason this war is happening is because there are many individuals whom have vested financial interest in maintaining this war. Follow the money. Have you ever heard of the saying "order from chaos"? The ruling elite or the Council on Foreign Relations/Bilderberg/Club of Rome elite have stated that there goal is the depopulation of our earth and to restore order after they create the chaos. In other words, break the country with our bombs and guns (who gets paid for supplying those guns and bombs?) then come in and re-build the country in our own image, to "bring democracy" to the region. (who gets paid for the re-building of all those buildings?) The absolute truth is we here in America are guilty of war-crimes. At this point we have allowed war criminals and war profiteers to set our countries mentality and objective toward this war, which has made us just as guilty. We are endorsing their policies with our silence. The troops are the first victims on our side, we will be next.Peace, Love and Respect,Jen

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ACTIVISM ALERT: In Defense of Free Speech Rights on the National Mall

[pls sign!] We the undersigned are supporting the emergency mobilization of the people demanding that there be no new restrictions on free speech or protest related activities on the National Mall in Washington D.C. This is the real objective of the Bush Administration’s plans for the National Mall.My buddy sez: Free speech zones are one of the most ridiculous infringements on the freedom of speech imaginable. How is speech that is subversive, to be considered truly free, when it is restricted to zones in which no one will see or hear it? How can our government seek to restrict the places where we gather in dissent and protest, to make one voice out of thousands, and still call it a government of the free? How can they possibly seek to restrict places in Washington DC where historic gatherings and demonstrations have taken place? This cannot happen. We cannot allow this to happen.This administration uses fear of terror as a provocation to silence its critics and opposition. They say that the protests and coverage thereof threatens our national security, by showing our country as "weak to the enemy". Our country IS weak, and we MUST have a voice, or there will be nothing left of this country to fight for, if our freedom to fight, vocalize, or organize is diminished.Please join other notable figures of activism and compassion, of truth and justice, and help spread the word, that we must be allowed to have freedom of speech. It must not be suppressed, and it must not be restricted to the laughable concept of "free speech zones".Please go to the link, and sign the petition, to join in with solidarity.

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AG Claims Clear Evidence of Legal Liability Does Not Constit

Attorney General Mukasey testified yesterday that he has no evidence of torture, specifically, of waterboarding. That isn't true, as Emptywheel shows. In fact, he had the report of the CIA about the tapes, and that report states that the tapes show conduct that might violate US laws and treaties barring torture.

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A few interesting articles relating to Sibel Edmonds

Thanks to We Can Change the World!!

I ran across a couple of articles which I found interesting pertaining to Sibel Edmonds- I haven’t fully explored the ramifications of them yet, but thought I’d note them here briefly. The first one, which is a couple of years old, focuses on Judge Reggie Walton; I’ve independently verified quite a bit of the information in it, but not all of it. The second one has to do with large financial transactions during the summer of 2001, and has just been published- article by Jim Hogue.

Judge Reggie Walton: From Oklahoma City to 9/11 to Valerie Plame/Libby Case by W. David Jenkins III

this article focuses on Judge Reggie Walton- dismissed Sibel Edmonds case, presided in the Valerie Plame/Scooter Libby trial, number two under drug czar Bill Bennett in the George HW Bush regime, dismissed a lawsuit on the Oklahoma City bombing in connection with Iraq, financial records for 2003 redacted, etc. http://911citizenswatch.org/?p=794 http://www.webcitation.org/5VEBCQ2jk http://www.webcitation.org/5VEBGGDa3

Follow the Money? God forbid by Jim Hogue


Warning bells about anomalies in the fiscal sector were sounded in the summer of 2001, but not heeded. Among those who has since raised questions was Bill Bergman. As a financial market analyst for the Federal Reserve, he was assigned in 2003 to review the record of July and August of 2001. He noticed an unusual surge in the currency component of the M1 money supply (cash circulating outside of banks) during that period. The surge totaled over $5 billion above the norm for a two-month increase. The increase in August alone was the third largest single monthly increase since 1947, even after a significantly above-average month in July.

Your tax dollars at work!!

pentagon.mil ? (Military)
IP Address 140.185.55.# (The Pentagon)
ISP The Pentagon
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ACTIVISM; Arrest Bush Petition

Arrest Bush Petition

Arrest Bush!

Arrest Bush Petition


Bush and Cheney

This is a petition in support of the Brattleboro Vermont Selectboard efforts to instruct the Town Attorney to draft indictments against President Bush and Vice President Cheney for crimes against our Constitution, and publish said indictments for consideration by other authorities and shall it be the law of the Town of Brattleboro that the Brattleboro Police, pursuant to the above-mentioned indictments, arrest and detain George Bush and Richard Cheney in Brattleboro if they are not duly impeached, and prosecute or extradite them to other authorities that may reasonably contend to prosecute them?

This is a petition in support of the Brattleboro Vermont Selectboard efforts to instruct the Town Attorney to draft indictments against President Bush and Vice President Cheney for crimes against our Constitution, and publish said indictments for consideration by other authorities and shall it be the law of the Town of Brattleboro that the Brattleboro Police, pursuant to the above-mentioned indictments, arrest and detain George Bush and Richard Cheney in Brattleboro if they are not duly impeached, and prosecute or extradite them to other authorities that may reasonably contend to prosecute them?

goal: 1,000
sign petition! Already a Care2 member? log in

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FISA topic, fiscal crisis; Rush and Dirty Dick talk

Interview of the Vice President by Rush Limbaugh of the Rush Limbaugh Show


Via Telephone

2:06 P.M. EST

Q But now I want to welcome back to the program, Vice President Dick Cheney. Always, as I say, a pleasure and thrill to have you here, sir. Welcome back.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, good afternoon, Rush. Good to talk to you again.

Q Good to talk to you. All right, a couple things. We got you for a limited amount of time, and I want to race through a couple of things. I see here today an AP story that the House of Representatives has voted to delay the demise of the wiretap law by two weeks. So we've got a two-week extension on FISA. You know, we're in the middle of a presidential election year, and a lot of people's attention is focused on that, not on FISA and the efforts that you and the people in the administration are doing to continue to detect potential attacks. What's the status of it? What's the big deal with two weeks?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, the legislation is absolutely essential, of course. They passed a six-month extension last August, which expires on Friday, and -- with the idea that they would finish up the legislation by Friday. They've had six months to work on it. One of the main things we need in there, for example, is retroactive liability protection for the companies that have worked with us and helped us prevent further attacks against the United States, and that's the most controversial part.

Q Like the phone --

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Right. And so far they haven't been able to get it done. So what has been agreed to is to give them 15 more days to wrap it up and finish it up here. It's -- the President has been holding their feet to the fire. They claim they can get it done in 15 more days. And the battle right now is focused on the Senate; the House has already passed a version of it. And -- but we do badly need this legislation. It's been essential in terms of protecting the country against further attacks, vital -- one of the most vital things the President has done since 9/11, and it would be a tragedy if this authority weren't extended.

Q The opposition in the Senate primarily from Democrats, correct?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Correct. People who don't want to -- or, I guess, want to leave open the possibility that the trial lawyers could go after a big company that may have helped those companies - helped, specifically, at our request. And they've done yeomen duty for the country. And this is a so-called terrorist surveillance program; it's one of the things it was called earlier. It's just absolutely essential to know who in the United States is talking to al Qaeda. And it's a program that's been very well managed. We haven't violated anybody's civil liberties. It's in fact a good piece of legislation.

Q Yes, it's amazing that it's a political issue. I want to ask you, is the Democrats' opposition to this oriented toward, you know, payback for a big constituency of theirs, the trial lawyers? Is it purely political, trying to damage George W. Bush because of their pent-up resentment of his success? Or is it something else?

There's a story -- I forget where it is, I just finished reading it; it's at Politico.com. I think with Rudy Giuliani's defeat last night, that the politics of 9/11 are finished, they're over; that nobody is going to succeed running on 9/11 and thus the continued threat. Is this really part of an effort by some in the Senate to try to convince the American people we don't face a threat anymore, and there's no reason to run the risk of violating people's civil liberties, blah, blah, blah?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, it's been focused especially on the Democrats in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Pat Leahy, chairman of the committee, has opposed parts of the statute that we think are essential in terms of going forward, including specifically this retroactive liability provision. But I don't like to question people's motives. I assume he's got reasons why he believes the way he does, but the fact is it's their inability to resolve that issue that's delayed passage on this legislation.

I think there are people out there, frankly, Rush, that don't like what we've done, that are opposed to the bold action and tough decisions the President has made since 9/11. I think there were a lot of people who were panicky in the aftermath of 9/11, but now that we've demonstrated our ability to defend the country for the last six-and-a-half years, they want to act as though there's no threat and we don't need to take these important measures.

But the fact of the matter is, the threat is still there, it still exists. I look at it every day in our intelligence brief. We need to perpetuate and protect our capabilities here, as well as in terms of our ability to interrogate prisoners.

Q You may not be able to answer this, but if you feel confident that two weeks can take care of this retroactivity in protecting I think there are 40 civil lawsuits that have been filed against the phone companies -- what do the opponents of this want in exchange for going along?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, I think the fact of the matter is at this point, they don't have the votes; that is, I don't think they can prevail. I think there are a number of Democrats, for example, who've indicated they will vote with us on the key issue on this legislation in the Senate, but to date it's been hung up through various parliamentary maneuvers. But I think eventually we'll -- we will get the legislation, as I say, I do think the votes are there. But they want more time to let the opponents sort of air their grievances and probably vote on some more amendments before we go to final passage.

Q Is there any surprise on your part? Do you feel any surprise that this issue has not -- specifically this issue that we're talking about -- that it has not been discussed front and center in the presidential campaigns?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, I think -- I can't speak, obviously, for the Democrats. I don't know where they are on these issues. I think generally they have not been as supportive of the kind of robust strategies as the Republicans. I know most of the Republican candidates have in fact been solidly supportive of what we've been doing on the global war on terror, and I think there's probably less enthusiasm, if I can put it in those terms, on the Democratic side for some of those same measures.

Q All right. Moving on because our time is dwindling. A New York Times story today -- headline: "White House Shows Signs of Rethinking Cut in Troops." To pull a quote here: "Mr. Bush has made no decisions on troop reductions to follow those he announced last September In his address to Congress, Mr. Bush spoke of those reductions, but not of any future ones." What is the story? I don't think there's a story here. It seems like he's delivered on the reductions he spoke of. He hadn't indicated any others, as he's waiting on another assessment from General Petraeus. So what are they trying to stir up here?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, it sounds to me like they're trying to stir something up; I would agree with you, Rush. The fact is the President said last fall that we would pull out a brigade about the end of the year; that we'd have another review in March when General Petraeus could come back and give us his recommendations going forward; and in the meantime that we would go back to the pre-surge level. We had 15 brigades in Iraq when we started the surge. We added five brigades; they are now in the process of coming out, and we'll get back to pre-surge levels by this summer. But we have not made a decision to go below that. That will depend very much on circumstances on the ground.

The last thing we would want to do at this stage is, having made the enormous progress that's been made over the last year, with a dramatic drop in casualties and number of incidents, number of attacks by insurgents and so forth, and with all of the bad guys that we've rounded up and killed, you'd like -- hate to see that reversed by going too fast or taking out troops too soon. But we are keeping the commitment that was made previously and, as the President said, he'll listen very carefully to his commanders on the ground, and specifically General Petraeus, in terms of what he thinks he needs to complete the mission.

Q It's fascinating. I predicted this. I find it fascinating that this issue is not even a part of the presidential campaign, particularly on the Democrat side, precisely because of what you just said. The news is robust and positive, and it serves them no purpose, but they're still working behind the scenes with the FISA thing and other things to eventually weaken the country.

Quick -- one more quick question, topic before we go, and that's the economic stimulus. I saw a poll -- it might be Rasmussen, I'm not sure -- only 42 percent of the American people are really cool to this. There's a greater number combined, not cool, or not always happy about it -- think it isn't going to matter that much. We got a Fed rate cut of a half point that was just announced today. So what is your overall feeling on the economy and where it's headed?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, I think we're experiencing a bit of a slowdown. We don't believe we're going to have a recession though; a recession would be two negative quarters back to back. And I think the action that the Fed has taken has been very positive. We think the stimulus package will have a positive effect. It's obviously -- we're talking here only about 1 percent of GDP that's directly affected by it. But the President believes that getting a stimulus package through on a short-term sort of one-shot basis will be helpful in terms of consumer spending.

So our hope is that we can get through this rough patch, and then continue and resume the growth of 3 to 4 percent in the future that we've enjoyed in the past. We've had now over, what, 52 months of uninterrupted job expansion in the economy. It's an all-time record in terms of longevity. We're hopeful we can keep that up, and I don't see any reason we can't.

Q What would you say to people listening who are alarmed at the -- well, what do you have, the housing crisis, sub-prime crisis; the people in their homes who see their equity, or the value of their home plummeting. You've been around in politics a long time. You've been through economic cycles -- member of Congress, various administrations. What would you say to people who are feeling a little bit uneasy about the value of their home? How long is it going to be before this rebounds?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, we clearly have to work our way through the current glut, if you will, in the housing market. We've got a large inventory of unsold homes out there, and that's affecting the price -- and they can have consequences for everybody. But the economy -- I think the economy is very resilient, and we'll work our way through this. Obviously, you know, you want to do everything you can to help those folks who are most adversely affected by it, but you can't repeal the laws of economics. We've got to get through this patch. The President has got work being done by Hank Paulson over at Treasury, and Alphonso Jackson at HUD, to try to provide support and opportunities for refinancing for some of those folks who are most directly affected by this. But you also need to be careful here to make sure the government doesn't do something that makes the situation worse instead of better. And I think we'll --

Q Which it can easily do. (Laughter.)

THE VICE PRESIDENT: It wouldn't be the first time. I can remember, Rush, back in the '80s when I was in Congress, we had another housing crisis, and the homebuilders got upset, and they started mailing two-by-fours in to us. I ended up with my office chockablock full of two-by-fours with stamps on them from all over Wyoming, my home state. (Laughter.)

Q Yes, but we came through it. This is what people need to realize.


Q We always come through these things, and we end up stronger in the end. Well, look, I appreciate your time. It's always nice to talk to you, and I appreciate the update on the FISA situation because it's really off the radar with the presidential campaign going on. So thanks so much for that, and your time, again.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: No, it's a vital issue, Rush. And it's -- love your show. It's a pleasure to talk to you again.

Q Thank you. Vice President Dick Cheney, and we'll be right back after this.

This morning's press briefing .. the WH spins again

Nobody asked ole Tony about the Mukasey testimony .

Aren't you just SO surprised??

But this is interesting!!

Q One more on fundraising. The President is doing five events, I believe, in three days. Can you just speak to that a little bit? Does this sort of set the tone in terms of his political intentions in raising money?

MR. FRATTO: He's certainly committed to going out and raising money for the party and Republican candidates, and so you'll see him doing a lot of this. This will be I think a very successful trip in terms of raising money. The President has far more requests for fundraising stops than we can possibly fill, so I know we'll try to find ways to make it work with the President's schedule. But he is certainly committed to making sure that Republican candidates have the resources they need going into this very important election year.

Q Tony, why are all the fundraisers closed to the press?

MR. FRATTO: I'm sorry?

Q Why are all the fundraisers closed to the press?

MR. FRATTO: I think we have -- sometimes we have fundraisers that are open, some -- these are in private residences, I believe. Yes, private residences are closed, and -- I don't know. I don't actually -- never really knew the reason -- (laughter) -- but I'm happy with the practice. (Laughter.)

Q Why do you have all these Congress -- members of Congress on the plane with you on this ride?

MR. FRATTO: Why do we have members with us?

MR. JACKSON: They're House members. Several of them are going to their districts.

Q They're just hitching a ride, basically?

MR. JACKSON: They care about the President's trade agenda. (Laughter)

MR. FRATTO: He was asked why we have House members with us on the plane. I think that some of them will be -- they'll be attending these events, and they're home for the -- they'll be home for the weekend, right? Yes. So they'll be attending events in their home districts -- (inaudible) the events that the President is attending.

Q So just hitching a ride?

MR. FRATTO: No. I think they'll be participating. Yes, they're participating. Actually, one thing I forgot to mention at the top, Governor Schwarzenegger will be with us; as I think you all know, he'll meet us at the airport, and he'll participate both in the event at Robinson Helicopter and at the fundraiser. Okay?


MAYHEM EXPECTED IN CALIFORNIA ON SUPER TUESDAY, ACCORDING TO MEDIA REPORTS!Election Results May be Delayed Until the Next Morning After the Election!County Registrars Help Sound the Alarm!ALERT! We just read the headline (via RAW STORY) at California's Bay Area NBC affiliate, and we are terrified:Huge Delay Expected In Calif. Super Tuesday Voting Results"Huge delay"?! What? Why? How could it be? The first graf of the article said it all. My God...it's true...SAN JOSE, Calif. --- California voters are unlikely to know the results of Tuesday's presidential primary election until the next morning, a spokeswoman for the California State Association of Counties (CSAC) said Wednesday."The next morning"? Are they insane?! Thankfully, California's County Registrars are getting the word out now before it's too late. And thankfully, we live in a country where the media are all too happy to help warn us about such impending tragedies! Now we understand why those Registrars have been on such an anti-Bowen (CA's Sec. of State) rampage since she put in place new requirements that would require Election Officials to do stuff like actually count paper ballots (albeit on machines) before announcing results, and other crazy notions like that.We only hope the state and country can survive this ordeal!The important warning from CSAC Executive Director Paul McIntosh is then echoed by a similar comment from the not-similarly-shameless-at-all, Steve Weir of CACEO:“There are very few contests on the February ballot, which will help expedite the counting process,” said Steve Weir, Contra Costa County Clerk-Recorder and president of the California Association of Clerks and Election Officials. “However, we are still looking at early Wednesday morning before we’ll have our numbers ready. This does not bode well for the upcoming elections in June and November, when the number of contests will be substantially higher.”Wednesday morning?! Jesus fucking christ! With so much of California's National Guard in Iraq, who will be able to calm the riots and panic in the streets?!!But it's not just the North Bay area which must now be on Red Alert, according to the same NBC 11 report:South Bay To Suffer Same ProblemOh, Jesus...Say it isn't so!...The South Bay will "Suffer" as well?!...Santa Clara County voters are unlikely to know the local results of Tuesday's presidential primary election until the next morning as well, a spokeswoman for the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters said Wednesday.Traditionally, the registrar's office has almost all county ballots counted by midnight.However, because of new state rules that limit the number of touch screen voting systems that can be used at polling places, it will be at least Wednesday morning before the county's election results are known, according to registrar's office spokeswoman Elma Rosas."Because we're moving from touch screen to paper ballots it is going to delay the process. We're estimating that we'll have most of the ballots counted by 6 a.m.," Rosas said."6 a.m."?! The morning after the election?! Thank God NBC 11 has given us ample warning, so we can prepare now to "suffer" this "huge delay" in the wake of the limited number of touch screen voting systems our voters get to use. And all for what?! Just so that we can try to count the votes accurately?! This is madness!We're outraged, and The BRAD BLOG will begin the Recall Bowen Movement just as soon as this unparalleled crisis blows over, believe you us!But lest you think only Bay Area California residents will be the ones forced to weather this hellstorm! As we reported earlier today, the Los Angeles Times warned us yesterday that:In San Bernardino, a test run of paper ballots in November found that optical scanners could count only 10,000 votes per hour. That means it could take more than 17 hours, starting at 10 p.m., to handle the 175,000 votes expected, said Registrar Kari Verjil.Jesus. We're not math experts, but by our calculations, the people of San Bernardino may have to until 3pm on Wednesday to know who won or lost! Are they kidding?!As we urged in that previous report: For god's sake, please, people, send blankets, water. and other emergency disaster supplies to the people of San Bernardino, and the other residents certain to be affected in these disaster areas, ASAP! 17 hours without instant election results?! Oh, the humanity...Please contact NBC 11 here immediately if you have any additional tips to help them advance their invaluable coverage of this crucial story in advance of Election Day.We're all Californians now, people. We're all Californians now. United we stand...And God Bless America... COMMENT #10 [Permalink]... Dredd said on 1/31/2008 @ 6:41 am PT...Floridiot #7Have no fear, the LA "Times they are a changin" reality. The LA Times declared EI activists the victors in the movement.But: All things election are in tatters, machines rule the election world, electioneers throw a tantrum if humans have to count the ballots to check up on the machines, major races have been stolen in quite recent memory, and the LA Times calls that victory? Perhaps they should set their sights a bit higher? This Amurcon election fiasco has been going on for forty years, the government has known about it all along, and one person "certifies" the machines. Currently we don't know about the actual results, so as social medicinal pablum we have faith in the results. The election scene is religious in nature based on faith, not scientific and therefore based on actual hand counts of ballots kept pure with a solid chain of custody. The LA Times must have been sarcastic? (Dredd Sedd). I guess we should not worry and just be Hoppy, cause one day they say one thing and the next day they say another.Flippus Floppus Maximus in "Amurkan elekshuns".

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Election Results May be Delayed Until the Next Morning After the Election! | County Registrars Help Sound the Alarm!OH OHOH OHOH OH

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Pandemonium!! The market is SPEAKING!! Alex Wallenwein

January 31, 2008
by Alex Wallenwein

Markets in Uproar After Fed Loses All Traction
From Merriam Webster's Online Dictionary:

Pandemonium. noun; Etymology: New Latin, from Greek pan- + daimo-n evil spirit -- more at demon. Date: 1667. 1: the capital of Hell in Milton's "Paradise Lost." 2: the infernal regions: hell. 3: not capitalized : a wild uproar : tumult.

Today, Wednesday January 30, 2008, the last stops to a total collapse of the US financial structure were pulled out. The elevator cable is now cut, with the elevator carriage at the 45th floor of a 50-floor skyscraper. If you believe you can "jump" to avoid getting crushed when the carriage hits the concrete floor below - good luck!

The "puller" of the last stop was none other than "Chopper Bernie" Ben Bernanke.

On January 22, he pulled an unannounced 75 bp emergency cut. Today, he followed suit, trying to give the markets what they were screaming for all along: another whopping 50 bp cut.
It didn't work.

After the announcement, the Dow had a fairly lame bump of about 170 points to the north - but I guess it got too cold up there. By closing time, the Dow ended up 36 points back down south on the day. The reason? Three words:

Bond * insurance * disaster.

Ambac and MBIA (and to an even greater extent Security Capital Assurance, Ltd.) are two bond insurance companies whose credit ratings were infamously downgraded in recent weeks. Moody's cut Ambac's credit rating from AAA to AA. Just today, CNBC reported that further ratings cuts are in the works for these companies as the problems associated with the bond insurance business appear to be "much worse" than previously thought.

A bond insurer's primary line of business is to insure bond issues by municipal and other local governments. The insurer guarantees to the buyers of the bonds that the governmental entity in question will timely make its interest and principal payments. That way, the municipalities get to take advantage of lower borrowing costs (interest) as such guarantees make their bonds more attractive in the open markets.

The reason Ambac, MBIA (and to an even greater extent Security Capital) have suffered these downgrades is that their cash positions became shaky when large portions of their reserves had to be used for payouts on their various policies.

That means their customers - municipalities and other local governments - were defaulting on their scheduled payments to bond investors. The point in time when this started happening strangely but meticulously coincided with the implosion of the subprime lending market and the metastasis of the subslime cancer to other parts of the global body economic: June-July of 2007.
Now, what could make municipal governments unable to make their scheduled interest payments on issued bonds? What is their major source of income?

Property taxes.

When people default on their mortgages en masse, the collection of property taxes naturally becomes just a bit more difficult, wouldn't you agree?

The World Bank has this to say on the subject:
"4.05 Taxes on land and buildings are the most common form of direct revenue for local municipal governments. The ad valorem tax, or the property tax, is usually local government's largest single revenue source. Property tax revenues are normally general purpose revenues contributing to a broad range of municipal services, particularly physical infrastructure such as roads and drainage."

Since we now know that the travails of Ambac and MBIA are much worse than originally thought (and they were already thought to be worse" before), what does that tell us about the real default rate of subslime and other mortgage debt? Could that also be "much worse" than officially reported?

You bet!

Conclusion: We have very likely been lied to about the true extent of the mortgage default crisis. What else is new?

And since that very mortgage debt was leveraged up to about the fifth layer of the earth's stratosphere, if there are that many, or maybe even as far as the outer reaches of our solar system, the problems that arise out of the US subslime morass will soon make Godzilla look like a toy puppet in comparison.

A lot of city governments also listened to the "expert advice" of professional financial analysts and started hedging their liabilities by investing in derivatives of the interest-rate kind. Guess what those hedges were built on? More mortgage-morass from hell!

As the true dimensions of the subslime monster in all of its horrific splendor become vaguely discernible to the naked eye - and vaguely conceivable by the human brain - Godzilla quickly fades into nothingness.

So, not to be left behind, Bernie has begun to empty his magazine on this monster - with mostly negative actual effect. A few more rounds, and the chamber will be completely empty. Unfortunately, he has nothing to fall back on since he must have been pumping out printed money to buy up the long term treasuries everybody else was selling for quite a while - with equally negative effect, as it seems.

In the end, if a 125 bp rate cut by the Fed in an eight-day period doesn't light a serious fire under the stock market, then the "wood" in the furnace must be seriously wet - as in under water.

At the same time, long term rates have bottomed out and are now on the way back up, as can be seen on this chart:
And that means whatever clandestine long term treasuries-buying Bernie has been guilty of as of late appears to be in the process of being hopelessly overwhelmed by precipitous selling from other sources.

And you k now what that means!

When massive amounts of money are exiting long term US treasuries and do not appear to be finding their way to the US stock markets, then where do you think thy are going? When the traditional, much-touted "safe haven" instruments no longer promise to be safe and appear to be a "haven" only for shipwrecks in the making (i.e., guaranteed future losses due to inflation), then only one kind of safe haven remains:

Gold. Silver. Platinum. Precious metals ETFs, and hopefully soon ... PM stocks!

The time for that is not yet, though - but we are getting very, very close. Until recently, I was bearish on gold and other PM stocks because I did not know how close the reversal in treasury prices was. That appears to have already happened, now.

A little more time is needed for confirmation, just to be sure. Monitor subscribers will know when that time comes.

Got gold?

Is the answer in the skies!!

Spectacular Sky Show: Venus, Jupiter and the Moon

Joe Rao
SPACE.com Skywatching Columnist
Fri Jan 25, 9:46 AM ET

The most spectacular celestial sights over the next couple of weeks are reserved for the early morning sky. Two bright planets will converge, then be joined by the moon.

Kenneth L. Franklin (1923-2007), the former Chairman and Chief Astronomer at New York's Hayden Planetarium, would often make reference to our "dynamic and ever-changing sky."

Such an eloquent description certainly fits our current morning sky, for these final days of January and the first days of February will be an exceptional time for predawn sky watchers with a beautiful pairing of the two brightest planets, Venus and Jupiter. They will appear closest together in the dawn sky of Friday, Feb. 1, and a few mornings later, the waning crescent moon will later drop by to join them.

Dazzling "double planet"

For the past several months, dazzling Venus has been prominent in our morning sky. And about a week ago, brilliant Jupiter also began to emerge from out of the glare of the Sun.

The two planets are currently rising out of the east-southeast horizon about two hours before sunrise.

From now through the end of January, the gap between the two will noticeably close, until on Feb. 1 they'll be separated by just over one-half degree, which is roughly the apparent width of the moon (The width of your fist, held at arm's length roughly corresponds to 10 degrees). Jupiter will shine brilliantly at magnitude -1.9, yet it will appear only 1/7 as bright as Venus, which will gleam at magnitude -4.0.

Together they will make for a spectacular "double planet" low in the dawn twilight. In the mornings thereafter they will appear to slowly separate, but before they have a chance to get too far apart the moon will join the picture.

Celestial summit meeting

At last quarter (half) phase on Jan. 30, the moon will stand alone, high toward the south at sunrise. But with each passing morning, as it wanes to a slender crescent, it will shift toward the east, ultimately into the same region of the sky as our two planets.

Early on Sunday morning, Feb. 3, the moon will sit well off to the west (right) of the planets. On the following morning, Monday, Feb. 4, the show will reach its peak when, about 45 minutes before sunrise, Venus, Jupiter and the moon — the three brightest objects of the night sky — will form a striking isosceles triangle, with the two planets 3 degrees apart and the moon marking the vertex of the triangle just over 5 degrees below the "dynamic duo."

Imagine the astrological significance that the ancients might have ascribed to a celestial summit meeting such as this!

You might want to check your southeast horizon in advance to make sure that there are no tall trees or buildings that might obstruct your view of the moon which will be sitting very low to the horizon.

Like a painting, this celestial tableau might, at first glance may appear rather flat and one-dimensional. But by gazing at this scene long enough, our minds can perhaps picture these objects strung out across the solar system, along our line of sight as they really are.

Beyond our moon — figuratively a stone's throw away at 247,000 miles (397,000 kilometers) — we first reach Venus, about 510 times farther out, or 126 million miles (203 million kilometers) from Earth. The lesser gem flanking Venus — Jupiter, largest of all the planets — is nearly 4 and a half times more distant than Venus at a distance of 560 million miles (901 million kilometers).

Generally speaking, at least for the immediate future, conjunctions between Venus and Jupiter will come in pairs. The first conjunction takes place in the morning sky, followed about 10 months later by another in the evening sky. Then, after about two and a half years, Venus and Jupiter are again in conjunction, again in the morning sky.

When Venus and Jupiter next get together, it will be in the evening sky late next fall, on Dec. 1. After that, we'll have to wait until May 2011 (morning sky) and Mar. 2012 (evening sky) for the next set of Venus-Jupiter conjunctions.

Joe Rao serves as an instructor and guest lecturer at New York's Hayden Planetarium. He writes about astronomy for The New York Times and other publications, and he is also an on-camera meteorologist for News 12 Westchester, New York.

Visit SPACE.com and explore our huge collection of Space Pictures, Space Videos, Space Image of the Day, Hot Topics, Top 10s, Multimedia, Trivia, Voting and Amazing Images. Follow the latest developments in the search for life in our universe in our SETI: Search for Life section. Join the community, sign up for our free daily email newsletter, listen to our Podcasts, check out our RSS feeds and other Reader Favorites today!

IMPEACHMENT TOOLKIT: update 1/30/2007 Does NUREMBERG apply??



Anonymous wrote on January 30, 2008 7:05 PM:

I find the DoJ AG response troubling for several reasons. One of them TPMM cited: The Nuremberg defense.

Second, the AG appers to have a conflict: As a Judge, he appears to have had a requirement to have reviewed whether the FISA-captured information was used as a pretext for this abuse.

Third, the AG appears focused, as does Congress on the irrelevant issue of "torture": Geneva prohibits _abuse_: whether waterboarding is or is't "torture" is the wrong track. Self-evidently, waterboarding is abuse. AG's insistentce that this was "authorized" amounts to a slap against Geneva; and the absurd notion the President -- or someone else -- "authorized" war crimes. That isn't a defense, but _evidence_. AG needs to disclosed, as a witness, _who_ authorized the war crimes. AG needs to recuse himself.

Fourth, going back to Nuremberg, civilian policy makers were prosecuted for war crimes, and judges were indicted at the Justice Trial. AG's responses today suggest that a war crimes investigaiton needs to be opened.

Fifth, the purpose of having prosecutors is to enforce the law under the Exeuctive Branch. When the Executive Branch will not enforce the law, the Framers intended the legilsature -- through impeachment -- to have a tool to remove agents the President refused to remove. Taking impeachment "off the table" and the decision to "not impeach" leaves us back where the Nuremberg Justice Trial was: A country that refuses to either impeach or prosecute war crimes is not civilized. AG's assertions about the rule of law, investigations, and duty are meaningless when the basice premise of Nuremberg is thrown out the window.

I would prefer Congress open an investigation into the AG's response. Given the Congress' lack of interest in enforcing the law, and the DOJ AG's assertion that he will not enforce the law on this narrow issue as well -- through investigations -- I would ask that the State Attorney GEnerals be immediately contacted for purposes of drafting indictments gaainst the AG and Members of Congress for their joint decision to not enforce Geneva. If the State AGs are not going to do this, then we need to broaden the list of prosecutions/indictments to include the State AGs over alleged breaches of their oath of office, and their decision to "not protect" the Constitution against domestic enemies.

Either these people in the DOJ, Congress, and the State level enforce the law; or they are subject to prosecution for refusing to fully assert their oath. Either or. Time to stop the legislative hearings, and get on with the war crimes indictments: Either investigate to defend the Constitution and Geneva obligations as the SUpreme Law; or those who refuse, but have a duty to act, could become targets for that prosecution effort. Let's stop pretending there are legitimate excuses for inaction on these issues of Geneva: If the US refuses to enforce the law, other nations may take similarly situated persons and treat them the same: Waterboard them without trial, access to evidence, or ability to have access to legal counsel. If that's what the US goernment officials want, then that is evidence of a mental reservation, not a legitimate defense for malfeasance or inaction.

Please contact your State AG's and share with them the above. Time for the States and local citizens to do what the US Congress and AG refuse to do: Fully defend the US Constitution.
Anonymous wrote on January 30, 2008 7:37 PM:

This is non-sense: "All of that depends on whether certification was given, whether permission was given and whether it was permissibly relied on."

AG is acting as if this is speculative: Whether "certification" was or wasn't given; whether "permission" was or wasn't given; and whether "permissibly relied on" did or didn't occur. If this is "uncertain" why is there no AG plan to find out the answers? He appears to be using the "lack of infofmration" about these issues to assert, in my view incorrectly, that "no investigation" is needed.

That's, in my personal opinion, idiotic: It acts that we not _start_ an investigation until those things are known; yet, wet have the _certain_ outcome: A tape of alleged illegal abuse.

Whether certification, permission, or reliance existed is _not_ to be decided as a _preliminary_ matter _before_ starting the investigatin; but the _conclusions_ for the _court_ to make on whether to adjudicate guilt or innocense.

I would respectuflly ask the Congress to reconsider the AG's responses and ask if he's fully removed his Judicial hat; and ask that he reconsider his role: His role, is to accept that there was a a tape; there were interrogations; and the _questions that need to be investigated_ include before presenting the facts to the Court:

A. Was there evidence on the tape;
B. Was the tape destroyed to hide that evidence from the court;
C. Who provided "permission" to conduct prisoner abuse
D. Who relied on "permissions" to implement the abuse
E. Who raised the issue of "certification" -- was this _before_ or _after_ the alleged abuse was imposed on the prisoner;
F. The question of "permissibly relied upon" isn't the question, but whether the _defendant_ as a _defense_ can say that _they_ reasonably relied upon.

I'm concerned that the AG is acting as a defense counsel in re F. abuse, as it is the obligation of the _defense_ to prove that the orders were reasonable; that they defendant _did_ reasonably rely on orders; and that there was _no_ hint that the direction, orders, and guidance was illegal. This is a burden the defendant needs to provide at trial as a defense, and not an issue for the AG to consider as to whether to _investigate_.

It cannot be seriously argued by _defense_ counsel that permission, certificaction, or legality of orders existed when Geneva bars _all abuse_. It appears the AG is pretending, out of convenience as are the alleged defendants, that there is "confusion" about whether waterboarding is or isn't torture as a _preliminary_ issue, as a bar to all investigations. Non-sense. The reverse is true: Geneva, in barring all abuse, would put the burden on the defendant to prove at trial the orders were reasonable. Yet, tape destruction is evidence that is contrary to intersts: The tape was destroyed _after_ the court ordered it be retained; adverse inferences in cases of spoliation are relevant: The tape was destroyed to hide relevant evidence to answer the questions of certification, permissions, and defenses -- the act itself is evidence the certification was not lawful; the permissions were contrary to Geneva; and the reliance was not reasonable.


Anonymous wrote on January 30, 2008 7:41 PM:

The fundamental qustion is: Has the President or anyone "authorized" the CIA to commit Geneva violations?

If they're waterboarding, yes.

Anonymous wrote on January 30, 2008 8:00 PM:

I'm surprised to hear of the uncertainty, given the Geneva issues: " But as Mukasey made clear, that may or may not happen." How can it be _unclear_ whether they need to _investigate_ to determine whether the _conduct on the tape_ was or wasn't illegal? If there's lack of clarity, then an investigation needs to occur to _determine_ that answer. Or what method does the AG's staff divine to arrive at a clear answer outside an investigation?

Anonymous wrote on January 30, 2008 8:10 PM:

LarryB wrote on January 30, 2008 7:37 PM

"The CIA was explicitly authorized to torture "Al Queda" detanees by their chain of command. No one is suggesting that they were operating as rogue agents."

This starts with a false permise: That the basis for the analysis is "torture". Incorrect, the issue under _Geneva_ is whether there was or wasn't _abuse_. How can anyone say that the CIA was _lawfully_ "authorized" to commit war crimes, and impose abuse? That's absurd.

The way the CIA operates overseas: They violte the law all the time. But the issues of war crimes, when not resolved, has a boomerang effect: Each time the US government agent commits a war crime, but the US refuses to prosecute, other nations may through the principle of reciprocity and retalation commit _like_ abuses against similarly situated prisoners.

The problem: The US, by detaining and abusing non-combatant civilians, held them without access to lawyers, and on accusation alone without evidence, is that other nations' fighters may do the same to US persons accused, without getting access to lawyers or evidence of being illegal combatants. Any American could be charged as being an illegal combatant, and abused.

People who "authorize the CIA to commit Geneva violations" are issuing illegal orders; it's the burden of the CIA agent _at trial_ to show that the order was reasonable; that they rasonably relied on that order; and that the order was lawful. Yet, when tapes are destroyed, it suggests the opposite: That they knew the orders were "authorizing" illegal abuse; that they could not reasonably rely on the defense of "legality" and "reasonableness" to justify following direction to violate Geneva; and that they knew, or should have known, the expectation that the evidence of that abuse would be hidden/destroyed was not reasonable as "clearance" to proceed with the abuse.

It appears the CIA agents believed that they thought the tape would never see the light of day; that someone working with the tapes made some sort of certification that they would not disclose the content of the tapes; and that the CIA agents believed that they could rely on this certification of non-disclosure as a shield to further discovery. Once we're moving outside the narrow lane of covert operations, but expanding to the broader umbrella of war crimes, simple agreements bewteen CIA agents and other contractors are not arguably enforceable.

If the AG will not investigate the tape's destruction or the contents of the tape, then he needs to answer the opposite issue: Whether he will investigate the _disclosure_ of the tape, and the fact that the tape was destroyed. If there was "no crime" in destroying the tape, and the tapes' contents were "not a problem," then the issue turns on its head: Who has allegedly "disclosed" the exitence of the tape? That question won't get answered as the disclosure of alleged war crimes evidence is not, in theory, actionable. The opposite is true: There is likely a statute the DoD-DoJ-CIA personnel were relying on to justify disclosing the existence of the tape.


Anonymous wrote on January 31, 2008 12:54 AM:

I hope the public can see the absurdity of this: "Whitehouse to Mukasey: Why Not Investigate Torture?": This, from a Congress that refuses to investigate the President. Public to Congress, "Why, before asking the AG to investigate, are you not investigating?"

There is nothing stopping the Senators asking these questions of the AG from communicating to the House: "We would like for you to investigate the President." Inter-branch communications are not binding; but they are possible. The Senate needs to go on the record: They've asked the AG why he's not investigating; they need to do the same with the House: "Why is there no investigation of this President's impeachable offenses?" Indeed, the Senate committees do have the power to, independent of the House, to review the illegal activity. But rather than conduct fact finding, they're pleading with a separate branch of government. That is not a check, that is assent and subservience by the Senate to the AG. Enough!

Indeed, when Congress refuses to investigate the President's impeachable offenses, why should the AG bother responding to questions about why the AG is or isn't investigating. This Congress, rightly or wrongly, has said with its words and actions: "We are not going to investigate; but we are going to waste time asking why the AG isn't investigating what we refuse to independently investigate." Hypocrisy!

The Congress is a separate and co-equal branch of government: It does not report to the AG's timelines. Yet, this appears lost on these Members of Congress despite their oath to enforce the Constitution against domestic enemies.

The public is not well served by a Congress that, with the promise of elections, does not deliver. There is no need for the Congress to "discuss with the AG whether or not to investigate": There are standing committees in Congress that can independently investigate, but refuse.

The pattern of abuses aren't telling us new information: It's from the same criminal element recklessly running this nation's governance into the ground. How dare the Senate lazily inquire as to whether the AG is or isn't doing something, _while_ the Congress continues to vote for war funding to export a system of governance that even the US Congress doesn't take seriously.

The Congress well knows the importance of investigations, but refuses. Inaction, on top of an oath compelling a defense of the Constitution and Geneva Conventions, is not a defense but evidence of alleged malfeasance in re war crimes.

Some may believe the public is stuck with this charade of governance. We're not. There are ways to punish lawfully the Members of Congress: Grand Jury indictments can be issued against Members of Congress for their alleged malfeasance. Time for the public to move lawfully outside Congress, the Executive Branch, and courts, and work directly with the grand juries to organize evidence related to Member of Congress alleged complicity with these war crimes.

Nuremberg established that new laws can codify retroactively things that people should know are illegal. Before Nuremberg there were no explicit laws binding Geneva as a legal obligation to the specific jurists. Similarly, in the wake of this disaster, other laws can be retroactively codified that will fully promulgate the legal responsibilities of the legislature: Things that they should have known to do, but refused.

Arguably, any agreement to not investigate is not one that the courts or Congress or the President will dare to examine seriously: They view inaction as a higher calling. This charade needs to end: Inaction is evidence of not fully meeting one's 5 USC 3331 oath of office obligations. The public needs to openly discuss gathering evidence of Member of Congress alleged 5 USC 3331 violations; prepare indictments; and remind the Members of Congress: Either you do what you are expecting of the AG -- to lead an investigation; or you're facing the prospect of jail time where you can think about what you should have done, but refused.

We could go on and on about how the Secret Service daily protects the Magna Carta; how the sworn officers faithfully defend the Constitution each night as it descends into the bowels of the capitol. The sworn officers of the Capitol Police, Secret Service, and other uniformed officers need to examine their oath: Are they fully defending the Constitution and the Supreme Law against all domestic enemies in all the branches? The case can be made that they know full well there's a problem; and are not -- as they could -- securing search warrants to prosecute the President, Members of Congress, and lawyers for their alleged complicity for these war crimes.

The law isn't something people take into their own hands. It is something that should daily be asserted as a starting point; not as a questionable, debatable, possibility. This Congress and AG appear to have it backwards: The oath binds them to certainty; and this late in the game -- 2008, seven years after this non-sense started -- it's not credible that the Senate and AG are still debating whether or not there should be an investigation. This late in the game, the reasonable grand jury would conclude: The prosecutions of Members of Congress and this second AG are long overdue.

Then let's have that. Let's see some leadership by the unformed officers of the Secret Service; and let's see some real discussion within the Senate and House Sergeant at Arms office: How much longer are you going to let this arrogance, reckless disregard for law compel you to remain silent, not take action, and refuse to serve search warrants upon all three branches of government? Daily, American citizens -- on accusation alone -- are forced to assent to this abusive intrusion _without warrants_. Surely, the law enforcement professionals policing the nation's capital could discuss and secure warrants to defend this Constitution against the domestic enemies wandering, confused in the District of Columbia.

It is time to stop shirking, and not fear whether we are offending anyone. This leadership has offended its oath, the rule of law, and its good name: As a Republic. But we the People are above this. As _the_ sovereign, We the People can work with the grand juries, guide them, and well communicate that we fully support grand jury indictments against the Members of Congress who know enough to challenge the AG on investigations, but feign confusion over whether investigations should or shouldn't occur against the President. We don't have to wait for the 2008 election, because this process isn't linked with the voters: It's linked with We the People and oversight. If it takes one week, or four years is irrelevant: It needs to start now. Not maybe, not perhaps, not "when we feel like it", but now.

Anonymous wrote on January 31, 2008 1:06 AM:

I have trouble with this assertion: "Please don't be led astray by the red herring of worrying about the agents. In spite of their Nuremberg defense for their actions, I can't see how it benefits anyone to prosecute them, when the real criminals are those who gave the orders."

There's nothing before us -- as a public, outside the investigation -- to know whether the agents are or are not red herrings; or that they should be given preference to go after "bigger fish." That asks that we ignore the current decisions to not go after the big fish.

The above approach would ask that we ignore the agents as "red herrings"; but pretend that the real trail is somewhere else. Indeed, Congress and the AG refuse to follow the real trail. Getting them to awaken using a red herring appears to be a good start. If they're going in the wrong direction, they might adjust; but if they're still asleep, their idea of adjusting is to roll over.

Anonymous wrote on January 31, 2008 1:33 AM:

The Senate debate on telecom immunity fails to consider the alternative: That, without immunity, there must be an investigation into criminal activity. Time for the telecom immunity-debate to discuss also the AG's refusal to investigate all alleged illegal activity in re the contents of the CIA tape.

These are not separate incidents, but part of the same pattern of abuses which warrant an impeachment investigation.