Sen. Ted Stevens declared his innocence Tuesday after his indictment on charges that he concealed hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of gifts and services from a company in his home state.
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In the 28-page indictment, Stevens was charged with seven counts of making false statements on his Senate financial disclosure forms.
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The 84-year-old senator is a former chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and is renowned for his prowess in steering federal funds to his vast, sparsely populated state.
Stevens is the oldest Republican senator and second in age only to Sen. Robert Byrd, the 90-year-old Democrat from West Virginia.
He has represented Alaska in Washington since 1968 and is up for re-election in November. He is the longest-serving Republican senator in history.
“The Republican approach I think has played itself out. I think it’s fair to say the Republicans were the party of ideas for a pretty long chunk of time over the last 10 or 15 years, in the sense that they were challenging conventional wisdom. Now, you’ve heard it all before. You look at the economic policies, when they’re being debated among the presidential candidates, it’s all tax cuts. Well, we’ve done that, we’ve tried it.”
“I have to say, you know, my leading opponent the other day said that he thought the Republicans had better ideas than Democrats the last ten to fifteen years. That’s not the way I remember the last ten to fifteen years.”
“Her principal opponent said that since 1992, the Republicans have had all the good ideas. I’m not making this up, folks.”
In 1982, in an essay entitled “The Spawn of Annenberg, Part 1”, Harlan Ellison wrote about his visit to San Quentin and the chilling experience of listening to the convicted murderer of a 5-year-old child explain why he couldn’t have done what he obviously had done.
The convict had stomped the boy to death, but explained that he could not have done it because he wears sneakers.
And sneakers are soft.
This film is a must see. About an hour and ten minutes in length.
Rule 608(a): The credibility of a witness may be attacked or supported by evidence in the form of opinion or reputation, but subject to these limitations: (1) the evidence may refer only to character for truthfulness or untruthfulness, and (2) evidence of truthful character is admissible only after the character of the witness for truthfulness has been attacked by opinion or reputation evidence or otherwise.
The Bush administration is a danger to the security of the United States. Nothing could be clearer. Every day this regime stays in power constitutes a threat to our safety—yours, mine, our families, our communities, our country. Even if you discount the subversion of our Constitution and our tradition of liberty, even if you ignore the shameful policies of secret prisons, torture, and lawless detention—just on the basis of national security alone, the impeachment of George Bush and Richard Cheney must be initiated, if only to slow down the destructive machine that threatens our very lives.
If Congress doesn’t impeach Bush and Cheney — or given the time constraints, indict and convict them after they leave office — it won’t matter who’s elected president in 2008. It won’t matter if Democrats take the Senate and House with 80-percent majorities. It won’t matter if the republican party is shut out of every national, state and local election for the next three generations.
If Bush and Cheney skate, an even more dangerous precedent than Nixon’s will be set in stone:
The president is King; Congress is a debating club; the judiciary is a joke; the Constitution is as dead as Ozymandias, and The American Experiment is a historical fluke that failed.
Creature @ State of the Day writes:
Tomorrow, while the iron is still hot, impeachment proceedings must begin against Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Tomorrow, while the ire is up, resolutions must be introduced. Not next week. Not next month. Tomorrow.
Everyone in America who knows anything about the world knows that the attorney general of the United States is a liar and a crook.
No enemy of the U.S. in the last 40 years has had as dim a view of American willpower as neo-conservatives do. To hear them tell the tale, U.S. foreign policy has been one long series of impotent withdrawals.
Here, for example, is Under Secretary of Defense Eric Edelman, in a letter, obtained by the AP, responding to questions from Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) about Pentagon contingency planning for a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq:
Premature and public discussion of the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq reinforces enemy propaganda that the United States will abandon its allies in Iraq, much as we are perceived to have done in Vietnam, Lebanon and Somalia.
Haunted by this dark narrative of failure, the neo-cons are bound and determined not to repeat the weak-willed mistakes of the recent past. Why, even the very discussion of how to get out of this mess will embolden our enemies and undermine our own resolve. Instead, we must march in lockstep forward, chins jutting ahead, ignoring all of the distractions which could so easily turn us into quivering Jello.
Keith Olbermann responds:
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The White House has refused to give Congress documents about the death of former NFL player Pat Tillman, with White House counsel Fred Fielding saying that certain papers relating to discussion of the friendly-fire shooting “implicate Executive Branch confidentiality interests.”
THE PRESIDENT: No, I will. I’ll, like, listen –
Q And leave?
THE PRESIDENT: — internalize, play like I’m going to answer the question, and then smile at you and just say, gosh — (laughter) — thanks, thanks for such a solid, sound question. Here we go, ready? I’m going to cut the ribbon. (Laughter.) Then you yell. I cogitate — and then smile and wave. (Laughter.)
So… the Bush Administration is suborning contempt?
Josh says it a bit better than I did earlier:
- But the White House is urging her to ignore the subpoena. And since, in the words of Taylor’s lawyer, the president is “a person whom [Taylor] admires and for whom she has worked tirelessly for years”, she doesn’t want to testify and thinks she shouldn’t have to.Pleading the fifth is on the books. Various privileges, though most are bogus, can be asserted and litigated. But being a member of the Bush personality cult just isn’t a reason to refuse to testify.
Right. There may be some imagined if probably bogus privilege the Bushies can try to claim. They could use that claim to try to block her from testifying by going through the courts. But there’s no “I want to testify but I can’t because they’re telling me not to” rule that makes any sense.
I know I should not write on politics, but this hits me where I live. I was talking with a friend about his affair with a married woman whose husband is assigned away from the US. It is a sad story, and it is one I have heard mirrored many times. It is one with all the other stories that, like mad cats drawn from the same sack, scratch and claw at us. So forgive me being weak, and writing on a topic that should be forbidden to anyone who must by profession be faceless, blank and without core or surface soul. Forgive me for saying this.
Come home America, come home.
It is time to come home from distant wars against fictions and phantoms. It is time to come home to your wives who miss you, to your children who need you, to your families that feel the pain of missing souls.
It is time to come home America, home to the cities that have been flooded, the forests left untended, the fields left untilled. It is time to come home America, to the work left undone, the minds left unschooled. It is time to come America, to the home you did not leave behind, because no home ever lasts if left unrepaired.
It is time to come home America, and when you do, you will ask how you ever let that home be put into hands such as the ones that now have it. You will wonder at how they ever seemed to be giants, and on the back of which ant the cameras were mounted to make them look that way.
It is time America to come home. Home to the words which we written on parchment, printed on paper, but engraved on hearts and minds, with stylus of firearms, and ink mixed of blood and gunpowder: “when it becomes destructive to these ends… to alter or abolish it.”
Look at the man who wields the seal of 13 arrows and 13 stars, of 13 leaves and 13 olives, of 13 stripes and countless hopes and dreams. Ask yourself a single question: is he worthy of placing your sons lives in his hands? Hands that have signed so many laws unjust, unwise and unAmerican. Hands which have rubber stamped commands from other unelected. Ask yourself if his words are to be trusted, coming from the same mouth that has spat out so many of us on to the ground.
I have spent my life studying ruins, and I feel this home becoming one. I have spent my life studying kings, and know their portraits by heart. And in history’s wake I feel, I know and must believe because without this belief there is no hope in me: that all the crosses of gold and silver crowns, must in history’s turn be struck down. But I am not the one to do it, I can only call to you, who are still across the sea, or buried in your own affairs, to look up, and see. See that we are losing our America, from mountains blasted for blacker coal, to roads that crack and creak, to nursing wards for veterans that stink and reek, to schools that are dour and bleak.
Come home America, while there is yet time, let not the sands cover us, nor the waters wash us away. It is not out there that our freedom lives, but here. It is not a Vatican in Baghdad that we must build, but a shining city on hill which we must rebuild, our golden domes pealing, our silver stars tarnished, our private places violated by rude disruption, for an adventure we did not wish, nor want. Let dead caesars have their triumphs, let forgotten pharaohs have their obelisks. Let emperors have their might tombs, let them have them, one and all their arcs and boulevards.
Ask your son, your daughter, your wife, your lover. Each will tell you what I say here. “I don’t know why were are there, I just want you home.”
To our public servants I can only ask: “What do you think we changed the government for? We demanded only a few simple things. End the flow of corruption, end the war, and end the reign of error.” You have voted for another year for corruption to flow, already. You have not voted to end the war, yet. You have said that you will not act to remove those who have committed hight crimes and misdemeanors, ever. We sent you once to Washington, we can send you right back home again if you forget why we sent you there.
I don’t know what else to say, it is an old story, of Ulysses coming home, and cleaning the house of suitors that sought to suck the blood and treasure from his house and steal his wife. To servants who had forgotten their duties, and to all the animals save two that had forgotten his scent. He came home and bent his bow and slew the suitors on sight. But to bend his bow, the great hero first, had to come home.
Please, please, please. It is time to set right what has gone so horribly wrong.
Joe Wilson quoted by Spencer Ackerman @ TPM Muckraker:
“From my viewpoint, the president has stepped in to short circuit the rule of law and the system of justice in our country. In so doing, he has acknowledged Mr. Libby’s guilt for, among other things, obstruction of justice, which by definition is covering up for somebody in a crime. By commuting his sentence, he has brought himself and his office into reasonable suspicion of participation in an obstruction of justice. The commutation of (Libby’s) sentence in and of itself is participation in obstruction of justice.”
The following is a public statement issued by George Bush today announcing his decision to issue a line-item reprieve of Lewis Libby’s sentence. Hat-tip and thanks to Paul Kiel from whom this text was copied.
The United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit today rejected Lewis Libby’s request to remain free on bail while pursuing his appeals for the serious convictions of perjury and obstruction of justice. As a result, Mr. Libby will be required to turn himself over to the Bureau of Prisons to begin serving his prison sentence.
I have said throughout this process that it would not be appropriate to comment or intervene in this case until Mr. Libby’s appeals have been exhausted. But with the denial of bail being upheld and incarceration imminent, I believe it is now important to react to that decision.
From the very beginning of the investigation into the leaking of Valerie Plame’s name, I made it clear to the White House staff and anyone serving in my administration that I expected full cooperation with the Justice Department. Dozens of White House staff and administration officials dutifully cooperated.
After the investigation was under way, the Justice Department appointed United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois Patrick Fitzgerald as a Special Counsel in charge of the case. Mr. Fitzgerald is a highly qualified, professional prosecutor who carried out his responsibilities as charged.
This case has generated significant commentary and debate. Critics of the investigation have argued that a special counsel should not have been appointed, nor should the investigation have been pursued after the Justice Department learned who leaked Ms. Plame’s name to columnist Robert Novak. Furthermore, the critics point out that neither Mr. Libby nor anyone else has been charged with violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act or the Espionage Act, which were the original subjects of the investigation. Finally, critics say the punishment does not fit the crime: Mr. Libby was a first-time offender with years of exceptional public service and was handed a harsh sentence based in part on allegations never presented to the jury.
Others point out that a jury of citizens weighed all the evidence and listened to all the testimony and found Mr. Libby guilty of perjury and obstructing justice. They argue, correctly, that our entire system of justice relies on people telling the truth. And if a person does not tell the truth, particularly if he serves in government and holds the public trust, he must be held accountable. They say that had Mr. Libby only told the truth, he would have never been indicted in the first place.
Both critics and defenders of this investigation have made important points. I have made my own evaluation. In preparing for the decision I am announcing today, I have carefully weighed these arguments and the circumstances surrounding this case.
Mr. Libby was sentenced to thirty months of prison, two years of probation, and a $250,000 fine. In making the sentencing decision, the district court rejected the advice of the probation office, which recommended a lesser sentence and the consideration of factors that could have led to a sentence of home confinement or probation.
I respect the jury’s verdict. But I have concluded that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive. Therefore, I am commuting the portion of Mr. Libby’s sentence that required him to spend thirty months in prison.
My decision to commute his prison sentence leaves in place a harsh punishment for Mr. Libby. The reputation he gained through his years of public service and professional work in the legal community is forever damaged. His wife and young children have also suffered immensely. He will remain on probation.The significant fines imposed by the judge will remain in effect. The consequences of his felony conviction on his former life as a lawyer, public servant, and private citizen will be long-lasting.
The Constitution gives the President the power of clemency to be used when he deems it to be warranted. It is my judgment that a commutation of the prison term in Mr. Libby’s case is an appropriate exercise of this power.
Michael Kamburowski, the Australian immigrant hired as a top official in the California Republican Party, was ordered deported in 2001, jailed three years later for visa violations — and has filed a $5 million wrongful arrest lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, according to U.S. District Court documents.
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Christopher Matthews, a Canadian citizen with no experience in statewide politics, was hired this month after the California Republican party applied for, and received, an H1B visa specifically to fill the role of “political director,” according to U.S. Department of Labor data.
Hat-tip Donna Woodka.
Update: Phoenix Woman has more:
Lordy, the jokes just write themselves, don’t they? (Though I’d rather see an H-1B, which is intended to boost the American economy, go to him rather than to somebody Bill Gates hired at cut-rate wages to be trained here so that particular somebody can then go back to China or India and help Gates finish the job of totally offshoring Microsoft, as it’s all too obvious he intends to do.)
I agree with Charles, we should offshore the Republican party. Maybe they can help out in Iraq?
No, that might be worse than what Bush did to them. They deserve friendship, not our cast-offs.
Dick Cheney has claimed “executive privilege” a number of times, most notably when asked to disclose his energy policy meetings. Legislators have no such privilege. May we see the documents now?
More than that. Do you know the technical grounds for the impeachment charges brought against Richard Nixon? Subpoenas. Nixon ignored them, and so he had to go. Any congressional committee may now subpoena anything it wants from Cheney’s office. Not a single document in the joint is protected by executive privilege. Not a single person working under Cheney may claim executive privilege. Dick Cheney has made very clear that he is not part of the executive branch of government.
Please read first:
SPEAKER: WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY DANA PERINO
QUESTION: Part of the rationale the Vice President’s Office gave is that as president of the Senate he’s part of the legislature — that he was legislative branch, almost distancing himself from the executive branch.
PERINO: You know, I saw those reports yesterday, as well. And I think that while that’s an interesting constitutional discussion about the separation of powers and different branches, between executive branch and legislative branch and different functions, under the role — as his unique role as the vice president of the United States.
Scout Prime has details.
Stay away from artificial sweeteners.
An addictive synthetic neurotoxic stimulant ought to be regulated as a drug, not a food additive.
I just find the links Danny, I don’t post the video. Maybe I help you find the link so you can notify the poster by reproducing it here.
P.S. This video deserves to be spread widely.
She didn’t mean to do it.
Remember, she has immunity. Whatever acts she undertook they were not of her own devising, she was working for people who wanted it done.
Hat-tip Paul Kiel.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, the three-times-married, twice-divorced and admitted adulterer, decried a “growing culture of radical secularism” Saturday as he lionized the life of Liberty University’s late founder, Jerry Falwell, in an address to the school’s 2007 graduating class.
Update: New video from Brave New Films:
Update 2: More from Donna Woodka.