Thursday, February 12, 2009

People Want Bush Crimes Investigated

It is nice to see the country waking up again, after sleeping through an eight-year nightmare.
WASHINGTON — Even as Americans struggle with two wars and an economy in tatters, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds majorities in favor of investigating some of the thorniest unfinished business from the Bush administration: Whether its tactics in the "war on terror" broke the law.

Close to two-thirds of those surveyed said there should be investigations into allegations that the Bush team used torture to interrogate terrorism suspects and its program of wiretapping U.S. citizens without getting warrants. Almost four in 10 favor criminal investigations and about a quarter want investigations without criminal charges. One-third said they want nothing to be done. Poll: Most want inquiry into anti-terror tactics

Here's my question -- what did it take? Why weren't people crying out in 2001 and 2002, when the Bush regime was fabricating propaganda left and right, lying and obviously violating not only the law but common sense and the most elementary voice of conscience? We let them get away with murder for all those years without a squeak, and now ...

I can't say I'm all that happy with my fellow Americans for voting the criminals back into office in 2004.

I'm disappointed that the media populace did nothing when Bush and Cheney were running the country into a ditch but I'm glad to see public opinion shifting. Forty percent want the administration to be charged with crimes if it is found they broke the law, and of course they did. Another quarter just want to have an investigation without charging them, I guess just so we know what happened. And then there is that one-third of people who don't care.
Even more people want action on alleged attempts by the Bush team to use the Justice Department for political purposes. Four in 10 favored a criminal probe, three in 10 an independent panel, and 25% neither.

It gets political at this point, the new administration has to do business with allies of the Bush White House, in Congress and other places. Still, if Obama is going to follow through on his straight talking, he should be able to investigate and prosecute criminals without ruining his relationships with their friends. The surviving Republicans have to know that lawbreaking, even by the rich and powerful, will be punished.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Democrats need to know that too. Tom Daschle did the same things Al Capone was locked up for.

It may surprise you to know that I agree that the matter of torture should be investigated and prosecuted. You obviously wouldn't make it on the jury since you already decided everyone's guilty. Anyway, if it turns out someone is actually convicted, President Obama can decide if a pardon is warranted.

The naming of Justice Department personnel that agree with you is not a crime by any definition.

Bush and Cheney were elected in 2004 because there was no reasonable alternative.

February 12, 2009 11:12 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Senator Patrick Leahy has "proposed a truth commission to investigate abuses during the Bush-Cheney Administration. These abuses may include the use of torture, warrantless wiretapping, extraordinary rendition, and executive override of laws.

During the past several years, this country has been divided as deeply as it has been at any time in our history since the Civil War. It has made our government less productive and our society less civil. In this week when we begin commemorating the Lincoln bicentennial, there is need, again, "to bind up the nation's wounds." President Lincoln urged that course in his second inaugural address some seven score and four years ago.

Rather than vengeance, we need a fair-minded pursuit of what actually happened. The best way to move forward is getting to the truth, finding out what happened, so we can make sure it does not happen again."

Sign the petition to support a Truth Commission

February 13, 2009 9:52 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Salon has another idea: Pardon the Bush miscreants: A truth commission is a good idea. But unlikely. Instead Obama should grant immunity to those who publicly testify about torture and spying.

February 13, 2009 10:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"During the past several years, this country has been divided as deeply as it has been at any time in our history since the Civil War. It has made our government less productive and our society less civil."

This is a phenomenom which began with the sneaky manner of the Clinton administration and was fueled by the Democrats who were frustrated and angry by their electoral failures in 2000 and 2004.

Still, Bea's statement is a crass exaggeration. Most of us don't really take politics or government all that seriously. We get along fine on this country.

We're a twenty-first century wonder, able to assimilate everyone peacefully.

February 13, 2009 11:08 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Still, Bea's statement is a crass exaggeration.

I didn't make any statements other than "Senator Patrick Leahy has" and "Salon has another idea." Then I quoted Leahy and turned Salon's article title into a hyperlink.

Crassness, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder and says a lot more about the beholder than what they behold IMHO.

February 13, 2009 11:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

looking at it that way, you rarely say anything

Leahy, like so many Democrats, talks a bipartisan game but continues to dwell on hyperbole

February 13, 2009 11:29 AM  
Anonymous Robert said...

Now, my question is, does Anonymous dislike Democrats or LGBT people more?

February 13, 2009 11:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Surprised you have the nerve to say that, Robert, when you pal around with people who say things like this:

"The surviving Republicans have to know that lawbreaking, even by the rich and powerful, will be punished."

It takes a lot of nerve to act like Republicans have some propensity to illegal acts after Richardson/Geithner/Daschle.

While I don't condone abuse or torture, things are obviously more complicated than advertised.

Do you guys read the Wall Street Journal? Apparently Obama is starting to see things Bush's way.

Here's your chance to be enlightened by an article from this morning:

"President Obama has done a masterful job disguising his Administration's growing antiterror maturity, but this week produced further evidence that he is erring on the side of keeping the country safe rather than appeasing the political left.

The Justice Department filed to dismiss a federal appeals case involving rendition, embracing an argument developed by . . . the Bush Administration.

In other words, the anti-antiterror lobby is being exposed as more radical than its putative banner carrier.

As Mr. Obama is learning, the left's exertions to disarm the country's counterterrorism arsenal are as dangerous now as they were prior to his election.

In this closely watched case, the American Civil Liberties Union sued the flight-logistics outfit Jeppesen DataPlan in 2007 on behalf of Binyam Mohamed and four other Guantanamo detainees.

The argument was that the Boeing subsidiary was complicit in arranging flights for rendition, a policy that transfers certain terror prisoners seized abroad to other countries for interrogation. Mohamed and his compatriots claim they are the victims of torture overseas.

The Bush Administration argued the case should be dismissed because open proceedings could damage national security by disclosing state secrets.

A lower court agreed.

Most everyone expected the Obama Justice Department to dump the secrecy line when the case came up for review before the left-leaning Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday, apparently including the Ninth Circuit.

Judge Mary Schroeder asked leadingly, "Is there anything that might have happened" to cause Justice to shift its views?

"No, your honor," the Justice attorney, Douglas Letter, replied.

A startled Judge Schroeder tried again.

"The change in Administration has no bearing?"

Mr. Letter reiterated that his positions had been "authorized" and "thoroughly vetted with the appropriate officials within the new Administration."

The Obama Administration says it will invoke the state secrets privilege more sparingly than its predecessor.

But it is really admitting that lifting the hood on classified intelligence-gathering would let terrorists know what to expect, and to shift their operations to avoid detection.

Perhaps the Obama team has also stumbled upon the larger game behind lawsuits like the one against Jeppesen -- which is to intimidate private companies into refusing to cooperate with the government on national security.

The left has failed to achieve its policy ambitions through Congress or by directly challenging the government in court.

So the latest tactic is suing third parties such as Jeppesen -- note that the ACLU is not suing here to win Mohamed's release -- to hamstring the executive branch via the courts.

These companies thought they were doing their patriotic duty by lending a hand.

But the anti-antiterror trial bar uses lawsuits to raise the costs for these private actors of cooperating with the intelligence community, and the legal exposure makes it that much more difficult for the feds to gain private cooperation.

Sometimes the suits shut down such cooperation altogether.

The telecom companies, faced with multibillion-dollar civil complaints over warrantless wiretapping, refused to proceed without legal immunity, and the 2007-2008 political dispute nearly ended the program.

The FISA appeals court revealed last month that one (still anonymous) telecom even sued the government to opt out.

The larger story here is that the anti-antiterror lobby is losing the man it thought was its strongest ally.

During his campaign, Mr. Obama talked as if he really believed that the Bush Administration was uniquely wicked on national security.

Joe Biden cosponsored Senate legislation that would have prevented the executive branch from making state-secrets claims to shelve lawsuits, rather than shielding individual evidence from judicial (and public) scrutiny.

Now it seems that the Bush Administration's antiterror architecture is gaining new legitimacy, just as Eisenhower validated Truman's Cold War framework.

Mr. Obama claims to have banned coercive interrogation techniques, except in those cases where more extreme measures are necessary to save lives.

He says he'll shut down Gitmo in a year or so, but his subordinates -- including Elena Kagan during her confirmation hearings for Solicitor General this week -- admit that indefinite detention will still be necessary for some terrorists.

He walked back his wiretap absolutism even before he was elected.

Now the Administration has endorsed the same secrecy posture that he once found so offensive, merely saying that it will be used less frequently.

We'll see.

These are all laudable signs of Mr. Obama's antiterror progress.

Perhaps some day he'll acknowledge his debt to his predecessor."

February 13, 2009 12:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's some good news, in general, but the constant flip-flopping makes one wonder about Barry's stability.

Still, he wound up in the right place in the same way he has in embracing Bush national security measures so let's give 'em a round of applause!

"President Barack Obama has changed his mind as to whether the massive stimulus bill that is expected to be approved by Congress today should include one or more strict, "Buy American" provisions in it.

Back before the economy crumbled before our very eyes, Obama espoused the ideals of the Buy American philosophy, even using the phrase in promotional materials.

Now, however, Obama has backed away from mandating such policies.

To the dismay of big labor, as the stimulus bill currently stands, previously included made-in-America restrictions have been dropped."

February 13, 2009 2:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bush plans trip to Canada

February 13, 2009 4:00 PM  
Anonymous Robert said...

My students know, when I bring candy and prizes in the morning, that we are going to play Latin Grammar Bingo Today. One of my students said I should just announce: LGBT.

Too funny.


February 13, 2009 9:04 PM  
Anonymous Derrick said...

What is wrong with making Bush pay for his inhumane actions?


I doubt he looks worthy in the eyes of God.

GOP does NOT mean " Gods Own Party".

February 13, 2009 9:17 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Here's the good news, investigations of the Bush Administration's misdeeds have begun.

The Washington Post reported this week:

Key Witnesses to Be Interviewed in Prosecutor Firings

Thursday, February 12, 2009; A06

A federal prosecutor investigating the dismissal of nine U.S. attorneys during the Bush administration has issued a subpoena to former senator Pete V. Domenici (R-N.M.) and is preparing to interview key witnesses, lawyers following the case say.

Nora R. Dannehy, a public corruption prosecutor who helped convict Connecticut's GOP governor four years ago, was named last year to go to Capitol Hill and
the Bush White House, where government officials declined to provide voluntary testimony to the Justice Department inspector general probing the firings.

At the time, Inspector General Glenn A. Fine urged prosecutors to use their subpoena power to compel documents and testimony about the dismissal of New Mexico U.S. Attorney David C. Iglesias, whose pace on criminal investigations involving Democrats in the state drew complaints from Domenici and then-Rep. Heather A. Wilson (R-N.M.).

The Dannehy investigation appears to be intensifying with the disclosure that she will
interview former White House political affairs deputy J. Scott Jennings as early as today, lawyers involved in the case said. Jennings worked alongside Karl Rove, a top aide to President George W. Bush.

Jennings will "cooperate to the best of his ability" and is not a target in the case, lawyer Mark R. Paoletta said yesterday.

Through lawyer Robert D. Luskin, Rove also has said he will cooperate with Dannehy's investigation. K. Lee Blalack, an attorney for Domenici, declined to comment.

In recent weeks, Dannehy has requested documents through a grand jury operating out of the federal courthouse in Washington. When she was selected by then-Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey last year, she also was asked to examine public statements by former Justice Department officials about their knowledge of the firings.

Drip by drip, here comes the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth from behind the Bush/Cheney/Rove stonewall facade.

It takes a lot of nerve to act like Republicans have some propensity to illegal acts after Richardson/Geithner/Daschle. says the GOP's biggest supporter barryo, who thinks the GOP is blameless in spite of the DOJ firings, Abramoff's guilty pleas, and two-faced "social conservatives" like Larry Craig and Mark Foley. etc.

Let the investigations begin and daylight shine into every corner of the GOP's single party rule from 2000-2006.

February 14, 2009 8:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's fascinating, Bea.

Any idea what crime this prosecutor is investigating?

February 14, 2009 9:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Washington Post this morning noticed the same thing the Wall Street Journal did yesterday.

Obama's philosophy on what's necessary to defend our country is really the same as George Bush's:

"IT WOULD have been hard to distinguish the Obama administration from its predecessor during a San Francisco court hearing this week.

The case involved five men who sued Jeppesen DataPlan in 2007, claiming that the Boeing subsidiary was instrumental in carrying out CIA missions that led to their extraordinary rendition and torture during the Bush administration.

Almost immediately after the suit was filed, the Bush Justice Department invoked the state secrets privilege and argued that the case must be dismissed because of the risk to national security.

A lower court judge agreed, and the plaintiffs appealed.

During argument on Monday before a panel of the San Francisco-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, lawyers from the Obama Justice Department said they were sticking with the state-secrets defense.

The howls of condemnation from some civil liberties advocates were predictable and understandable.

President Obama pledged during the campaign to undo many of the Bush administration's secretive policies, yet in the first opportunity to reverse course, he embraced Bush's approach.

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and the Justice Department concluded that no part of the case could be litigated without risking a national security breach."

February 14, 2009 9:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

btw, memba how Obama was gonna fix it all up for us in the world community?

so far,

Iran said they'd be happy to talk if the U.S. agreed to stop giving aid to Israel and, while we're at it, they'll keep on with their nuclear program

North Korea is now testing missiles that will reach Alaska

the Arab street is hanging Obama in effigy because of his words during the Gaza crisis

of course, they're still happy in Montreal and Berlin

that and 3.50 will get you a vente at Starbucks

February 14, 2009 9:28 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

It's good to know you have such high expectations for the Obama Adminstration to solve the world's problems that you think it should be done already, even though Obama's only been President for 25 days. But in fairness, keep in mind it took Bush/Cheney eight entire years to screw things up this badly so it may take even a can-do guy like President Obama a bit more than 25 days to straighten things out.

BTW, I think it's really cute the way you take Obama's validation of a Bush policy in a single case so deeply to heart that you have to crow about it here.

February 14, 2009 10:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm always cute on VD.

As the Wall Street Journal pointed out yesterday, it's not just that case but instead the case is the latest in a series of signs that Obama has been enlightened by his security briefings. Good for him but we need to keep this in mind when unpatriotic nuts like you start convicting people without a trial.

btw, I wasn't talking about Obama solving the world's problems. I was talking about him repairing the damage you imagine our image has suffered in the world. He's been running around meeting world leaders and making policy statements for two years. World leaders already know him well and signs are that nothing has changed.

February 14, 2009 10:22 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

That's fascinating, Bea.

Any idea what crime this prosecutor is investigating?

You should probably ask the lawyers defending Dominici, Rove, Gonzales, Goodling, etc. to get an idea of the charges that might be brought against their clients.

Actually probably the best one to ask would be the lawyer representing Don Siegelman now that the judge has ordered him released from prison.

February 14, 2009 10:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"You should probably ask the lawyers"

This is not another one of those cases where you don't know what you're talking about, is it?

btw, have you figured out yet how Bush "messed up" our economy?

He'd been following the same policies we've been using since the early 80s.

You seem very informed. (wink-wink) Please explain it to us.

February 14, 2009 10:48 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

He'd been following the same policies we've been using since the early 80s.

Oh really? What happened to PAYGO under Bush/Cheney? Let's see, oh yeah:

The PAYGO rules were allowed to lapse in the House and watered down in the Senate, which made it easier for lawmakers to approve President George W. Bush's tax cuts and a Medicare prescription drug plan. The White House admitted that the Medicare prescription drug plan would not meet the PAYGO requirements:

"Any law that would reduce receipts or increase direct spending is subject to the PAYGO requirements of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act and could cause a sequester of mandatory programs in any fiscal year through 2006. The requirement to score PAYGO costs expires on September 30, 2002, and there are no discretionary caps beyond 2002. Preliminary CBO estimates indicate that the bill would increase direct spending by $340 billion over the next ten years. The Administration will work with Congress to ensure fiscal discipline consistent with the President's Budget and a quick return to a balanced budget. The Administration also will work with Congress to ensure that any unintended sequester of spending does not occur."

Oh that's a real knee-slapper, "a quick return to a balanced budget" under Bush/Cheney!! Their own leadership failed to reach their own goal.

February 14, 2009 11:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, Bea has a substantive comment we can discuss.

Bea, Newt Gigrich's PAYGO was in effect for about five years. At the end of that time, we were in a recession which was cut short by Bush's tax cut.

You still haven't argued how the deficits contributed to any economic problems. By historical standards, until this fall, the deficit was not large as a percentage of GDP by historical standards. Deficits actually stimulate the economy, which is why Obama is pushing a 2 trillion increase in our deficit now.

You keep saying "Barry's gotta do it", failing to understand the massive and historic problems faced by George Bush: collapse of the internet bubble, 9/11, antrax scare, Enron, Katrina, Barney Frank...

Bush had to do it too.

February 14, 2009 11:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mexico City set new world record for World's Largest Group Kiss, 39,897 people

Viva Valentines

February 14, 2009 11:51 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

You keep saying things like

Keynesians believe the government should spend a lot of money, even if it has to be borrowed. Supply-siders believed money should be funnelled to private sources who will spend the money more efficiently.


Tax cuts are an efficient way to stimulate the economy, increased governmental spending is not.

First, don't forget, Bush/Cheney had to borrow to pay for their tax cuts for the rich.
Second, give us some examples of specific tax cuts that have created jobs or will prevent foreclosures.

President Obama's now approved Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Plan includes spending that will create jobs, for example, $6 billion for improvements to drinking-water systems will mean a lot of very labor-intensive construction and civil engineering jobs. There's $5 billion to weatherize old buildings, which will to put idle construction workers back on the job and save energy in the long run. Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, told a key Democratic lawmaker that his bank would impose a three-week foreclosure moratorium through March 6 and government-controlled mortgage finance units Freddie Mac and Fanny Mae said they would freeze home foreclosures. Later this week President Obama will be promoting other ideas to further stem foreclosures in Phoenix. Watch for it. Bush's bank bail out spending is providing funds to lend for mortgages, construction and business investment loans as well.

Don't forget to show us tax cuts that have produced jobs and others that will prevent foreclosures.

The reason I said Obama has no choice but to borrow the money is because Bush squandered hundreds of billions of dollars Clinton/Gingrich surplused on his blunder into Iraq. That invasion was purely Bush's choice, it was not necessary to save American lives or interests. In fact, it has cost America tens of thousands of her sons' and daughters' lives, limbs, and mental health. This is the some of the saddest news the Bush's Iraq blunder has caused IMHO: The Army said 24 soldiers are believed to have committed suicide in January [2009] alone -- six times as many as killed themselves in January 2008, according to statistics released Thursday.

The Army said it already has confirmed seven suicides, with 17 additional cases pending that it believes investigators will confirm as suicides for January.

If those prove true, more soldiers will have killed themselves than died in combat last month. According to Pentagon statistics, there were 16 U.S. combat deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq in January.

"This is terrifying," an Army official said. "We do not know what is going on.

barryo said Bush had to do it too.

No he didn't, barryo, he had plenty of choices, especially about invading Iraq. We have seen during his reign of error the many bad choices he made; those bad choices are why the majority of Americans voted for change last November. Here are a few of Bush's bad choices:

--Bush chose to invade Iraq even though it was the guests of Afghanistan's Taliban government, al Qaeda, who attacked us on 9/11.

--Bush chose to stand before that Mission Accomplished banner on May 1, 2003, even though he had failed to capture bin Laden, every one of his al Qaeda fighters and had failed to find Iraq's bogus WMD.

--Bush chose to ignore North Korea, who he designated as a part of his Axis of Evil back in 2002, and now they are "testing missiles that will reach Alaska."

--Bush chose to pardon Scooter Libby even though he'd promised to fire anyone in his Administration who had anything to do with blowing Valerie Plame's cover.

--Bush chose a horse show coordinator to head FEMA and then told him in front of TV cameras he was doing one heckuva job while New Orleans residents were still stranded on their roofs, begging for rescue.

--Bush chose to give tax cuts to the few highest wage earners in the US instead of poor people and he vetoed legislation to expand SCHIP, twice, until he finally agreed to expand it, temporarily.

--Bush chose to allow much needed Farsi-speaking military personnel to be discharged because they are gay but allowed the military to issue 125,000 "moral waivers" for criminals convicted of aggravated assault, robbery, burglary and vehicular homicide.

--As President, Bush chose to decline invitations to address the NAACP for five years, but as a candidate in 2000, was happy to accept an invitation to speak at Bob Jones University, which banned interracial on-campus dating at that time.

Bush "the decider" has had plenty of choices to make over the years. The problem is that he made the wrong choice, time after time. His bad choices left three options for President Obama:
1. do nothing (Rove's option)
2. raise taxes to pay for targeted stimulus spending
3. borrow more money and raise the deficit to pay for targeted stimulus spending.

As President Obama reminded us in his first Press Conference:

We find ourselves in a rare moment where the citizens of our country and all countries are watching and waiting for us to lead. It's a responsibility that this generation did not ask for, but one that we must accept for the future and our children and our grandchildren. And the strongest democracies flourish from frequent and lively debate, but they endure when people of every background and belief find a way to set aside smaller differences in service of a greater purpose.

That's the test facing the United States of America in this winter of our hardship. And it is our duty as leaders and citizens to stay true to that purpose in the weeks and months ahead. After a day of speaking with and listening to the fundamentally decent men and women who call this nation home, I have full faith and confidence that we can do it. But we're going to have to work together.

Thanks to Bush, we're all in this mess together. Thanks to Obama's wise leadership, we will dig our way out of this mess together too.

February 15, 2009 11:45 AM  

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