Ron Paul for president

I will not support this nomination for reasons that I can set forth at length, but I suggest to the remnant Republicans who want to save your party in some form: support his candidacy. He has earned trust and respect for his own integrity.


Did you ever want to be part of something good?


House Democrats: White House liaison has no right to plead Fifth

Reps. John Conyers (D-MI) and Linda Sánchez (D-CA) suggest that White House liaison Monica Goodling doesn’t have a basis to invoke that right and, therefore, shouldn’t be exempted from testifying before the House Judiciary Committee.

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Update: Here is the full letter. Hat-tip Paul Kiel.

Dear Mr. Dowd:

We are in receipt of your letter of March 30, 2007, requesting that we communicate with you, rather than the Department of Justice, regarding the House Judiciary Committee’s interest in questioning your client, Monica Goodling, Esq.

On behalf of the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law, we write to request that your client, Ms. Goodling, voluntarily appear to be interviewed by our staff in the next week and to discuss the justification for her apparent decision to invoke her Fifth Amendment privilege to questions relating to her role in the termination of several United States Attorneys and the Department’s response to requests by the Congress for information relating to the terminations.

We have reviewed Ms. Goodling’s declaration and the letters you sent to us and Senator Leahy, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and we are concerned that several of the asserted grounds for refusing to testify do not satisfy the well-established bases for a proper invocation of the Fifth Amendment against self- incrimination. In addition, of course, the Fifth Amendment privilege, under long-standing Supreme Court precedents, does not provide a reason to fail to appear to testify; the privilege must be invoked by the witness on a question-by-question basis.

The interview we seek could obviate the need to subpoena Ms. Goodling and require her to appear at a public hearing and require her to invoke the privilege to specific questions. We believe that such a proceeding, consistent with the Constitution and Supreme Court precedents, would permit the public to see and hear the specific questions to which Ms. Goodling is asserting the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination and to permit the Congress and the public to draw appropriate inferences from her invocation of the privilege and the Department of Justice’s failure to insist that she waive the privilege. See Baxter v. Palmigiano, 425 U.S. 308 (1976); Brinks, Inc. v. City of New York, 71 7 F.3d 700 (2d Cir. 1983); United States v. District Council of New York City, 832 F. Supp. 644 (S.D.N.Y. 1993) [where the court upheld the position of the Department of Justice that adverse inferences should be drawn in a civil case against an employer for the invocation by its employee of his Fifth Amendment privilege].

Most of the assertions in your letters to Sen. Leahy and in Ms. Goodling’s declaration do not constitute a valid basis for invoking the privilege against self-incrimination. The fact that a few Senators and Members of the House have expressed publicly their doubts about the credibility of the Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General in their representations to Congress about the U.S. Attorneys’ termination does not in any way excuse your client from answering questions honestly and to the best of her ability. Of course, we expect (as we are sure you do) your client to tell the truth in any interview or testimony. The alleged concern that she may be prosecuted for perjury by the Department of Justice for fully truthful testimony is not only an unjustified basis for invoking the privilege and without reasonable foundation in this case but also so far as we know an unwarranted aspersion against her employer.

Even with full Court-ordered immunity, a witness is required, under penalty of perjury, to tell the full truth. As we are sure the Department of Justice, in particular, would agree, it would be extremely poor public policy if a witness were permitted to be excused from testifying simply on the basis of her concern that truthful testimony would not be credited by responsible prosecutors and that she could be subject to an unwarranted perjury prosecution. Neither the Department nor the Congress could operate properly if witnesses were free to disregard their duty to provide truthful testimony on this basis. In any event, it is particularly inappropriate in this situation, where the Congress makes no prosecutorial decisions and any decision to prosecute would have to be made by the Department of Justice, which employs your client.

The references in your letters to Mr. Libby and Mr. Safavian are particularly unwarranted and inappropriate. Both of those individuals, former high-ranking officials in the Bush Administration, were found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt by juries of their peers, in cases brought by Presidentially appointed U.S. Attorneys, of knowingly and intentionally lying or providing false information primarily to Executive branch agents or officials. Neither matter involved truthful testimony by the defendants. Both of them were found to have deliberately misrepresented facts, which we are confident you do not expect Ms. Goodling to do. If her testimony is truthful, she will have nothing to worry about in terms of a perjury prosecution, which, of course, rests in the exclusive control of the Department.

Based in part on what we believe are inappropriate considerations for the invocation of the Fifth Amendment, we seek an opportunity to have the staff question Ms. Goodling, in your presence, in order to make a determination of whether there is any valid basis for her to invoke the privilege in response to specific questions. We note that Mr. Kyle Sampson, the Attorney General’s former chief of staff who worked closely with Ms. Goodling on these matters, advised the Senate recently under oath that he knew of no valid basis for her assertion. If there is no valid basis, we will want to afford her an opportunity (as several other Department employees have agreed to take) to answer in a straight-forward fashion in a private, confidential setting all questions relating to her knowledge about the firings of the U.S. Attorneys, the role in these terminations of the White House with which she served as liaison and the Department’s explanation about these matters to the Congress.

We look forward to your prompt reply so that we can make the necessary arrangements for the early interview we request, or if there is no agreed interview, to consider the follow-up steps the Committee should take. Thank you for your consideration.


Chairman Chairwoman, Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law

ABC News’ bizarre “scoop” on Iran’s nuclear program

Last night, the Public Relations Department of ABC News sent around emails breathlessly touting an “exclusive report from ABC News’ Chief Investigative Correspondent Brian Ross” which, the PR email noted, would “air this evening on ‘World News with Charles Gibson.'” The email included a link to

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Montel, today

Montel Williams From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch today. Hat-tip Cannabis News.

Medical use of marijuana should be legalized
By Montel Williams

You probably know me as a talk show host and, perhaps, as someone who for several years has spoken out about my use of medical marijuana for the pain caused by multiple sclerosis. That surprised a few people, but recent research has proved that I was right: right about marijuana’s medical benefits and right about how urgent it is for states to change their laws so that sick people aren’t treated as criminals. The Illinois General Assembly is considering such a change right now.

If you see me on television [10 a.m. weekdays on Channel 4 in St. Louis], I look healthy. What you don’t see is the mind-numbing pain searing through my legs like hot pokers.

My doctors wrote me prescriptions for some of the strongest painkillers available. I took Percocet, Vicodin and Oxycontin on a regular basis, knowingly risking overdose just trying to make the pain bearable. But these powerful, expensive drugs brought me no relief. I couldn’t sleep, I was agitated, my legs kicked involuntarily in bed and the pain was so bad I found myself crying in the middle of the night.

All these heavy-duty narcotics made me nearly incoherent. I couldn’t take them when I had to work, because they turned me into a zombie. Worse, these drugs are highly addictive, and one thing I knew was that I didn’t want to become a junkie.

When someone suggested I try marijuana, I was skeptical. But I also was desperate. To my amazement, it worked after the legal drugs had failed. Three puffs and within minutes the excruciating pain in my legs subsided. I had my first restful sleep in months.

I am not alone. A new study from the University of California, published in February in the highly regarded medical journal Neurology, leaves no doubt about that.

You see, people with MS suffer from a particular type of pain called neuropathic pain: pain caused by damage to the nerves. It’s common in MS but also in many other illnesses, including diabetes and HIV/AIDS. It’s typically a burning or stabbing sensation, and conventional pain drugs don’t help much, whatever the specific illness.

The new study, conducted by Dr. Donald Abrams, looked at neuropathic pain in HIV/AIDS patients. About one-third of people with HIV eventually suffer this kind of pain, and there are no FDA-approved treatments. For some it gets so bad that they can’t walk.

This was what is known as a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, the “gold standard” of medical research. And marijuana worked. The very first marijuana cigarette reduced the pain by an average of 72 percent, without serious side effects.

What makes this even more impressive is that U.S. researchers studying marijuana are required to use marijuana supplied by the federal government, marijuana that is famous for its poor quality and weakness. So there is every reason to believe that studies such as this one underestimate the potential relief that high-quality marijuana could provide.

In my case, medical marijuana has allowed me to live a productive, fruitful life despite having multiple sclerosis. Many thousands of others all over this country — less well-known than me but whose stories are just as real — have experienced the same thing.

Here’s what’s shocking: The U.S. government knows marijuana works as a medicine. Our government actually provides medical marijuana each month to five patients in a program that started about 25 years ago but was closed to new patients in 1992. One of the patients in that program, Florida stockbroker Irvin Rosenfeld, was a guest on my show two years ago. If federal officials come to town to tell you there’s no evidence marijuana is a safe, effective medicine, know this: They’re lying, and they know it.

Still, 39 states subject patients with illnesses like MS, cancer or HIV/AIDS to arrest and jail for using medical marijuana, even if their doctor has recommended it. It’s long past time for that to change.

Illinois state Sen. John Cullerton, D-Chicago, has introduced a bill — SB 650 — to protect patients like me from arrest and jail for using medical marijuana when it’s recommended by a physician. Similar laws are working well in 11 states right now.

The General Assembly should pass the medical marijuana bill without delay. Sick people shouldn’t be treated as criminals.

Television talk show host Montel Williams is the author, with Lawrence Grobel, of “Climbing Higher” and other books.

Special to the Post-Dispatch


I planned to make a post which would be called Synchronization, the music was to be the song, “Time After Time” by Cyndy Lauper. I intended to produce some synchronicity but did not know what it was to be.

I went to and searched for “time after time”.

The first result follows:

I was first introduced to Eva Cassidy on April 1. She may be invisible, but she seems to be doing her thing.

Recommended listening:

For the unrequited, fulfillment comes eventually if you keep faith

It might not come from where and when you expect.