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May 1 to 8, 2007

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Gonzales allowed aides some hiring power, records show

A 2006 order gave his chief of staff and White House liaison authority over 135 jobs designated for political appointees.

By Richard B. Schmitt and Tom Hamburger, Times Staff Writers
May 1, 2007



WASHINGTON — U.S. Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales last year gave two of his aides who now are embroiled in the U.S. attorneys affair the power to select dozens of political appointees in the Justice Department, documents show.

In a previously undisclosed move, Gonzales approved an order in March 2006 that delegated to his chief of staff and the department's White House liaison broad authority over 135 department positions designated for political appointees, a copy of the order obtained by The Times shows.

Gonzales' chief of staff at the time was D. Kyle Sampson, who resigned in March after it became known that he was the point man on the controversial firing of eight U.S. attorneys last year.

Not long after the order was signed, the position of White House liaison was filled by Monica M. Goodling, a former Justice Department public affairs officer. She recently resigned because of disclosures about her role in the firings.

The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), said the Gonzales memo should have been turned over to Congress as part of document requests made in the U.S. attorney inquiry.

It is not clear whether the aides' authority extended to interim U.S. attorneys, which do not require confirmation. Those positions, and a law authorizing Gonzales to fill them, have become a lightning rod in the debate over whether the Bush administration tried to bypass the traditional confirmation process and politicize U.S. attorney offices.

Like Gonzales' delegation order, the law authorizing the attorney general to appoint interim prosecutors without Senate hearings was enacted in March 2006.

Democrats said they were concerned about the timing of Gonzales' order — it was issued as plans to replace U.S. attorneys were being hatched — and the secrecy with which the policy was promulgated.

Leahy called the documents evidence "of an effort to hard-wire control over law enforcement by White House political operatives."

"The mass firing of U.S. attorneys appeared to be part of a systematic scheme to inject political influence into the hiring and firing decisions of key Justice employees," Leahy said.

The documents showed that some Justice Department officials had concerns about whether it was legal for Gonzales to delegate the authority to his staff.

A Feb. 24, 2006, memo from Paul Corts, an assistant attorney general, cited concerns in the department's Office of Legal Counsel that delegating the authority might violate the Constitution, which makes government department heads responsible for appointments.

...(a) former senior Justice Department official (said)...:

"Typically, delegations of authority are not done to staff people; they are done to people in the chain of command," the former official said.

"The staff people generally don't have the same level of responsibility and accountability. They could be slipping some political friend or hack into a sensitive position."


The US Attorney Scandal:

A Root and Branch Survey

Edited 8-20-07

On May first, 2007, The LA Times reported that Gonzales delegated hiring for political appointments to two of his top aides in March of 2006.

This delegation of political appointment authority to Sampson and Goodling in March 2006 coincides with Sampson's email of May 06, naming potential replacements for 4 US Attorneys.

The power to hire and fire US Attorneys was now consolidated under the power of the same people, Sampson and Goodling, who also handled political appointments.

If a crime was to be committed in either hiring Attorneys, or making political appointments, it could be blamed on underlings.

The evidence indicates the a uniform standard was utilized for selecting candidates for both career, and political positions. The standard was loyalty to Bush before duty to the rule of law. This is a crime.

The seeds of this crime were planted during Ashcroft's tenure at Justice, when he shifted selection authority for the "honors" program, a highly sought after path for top law students to start their careers at Justice, from career employees to political appointees, who selected candidates based on ideology.

This is arguably illegal and unquestionably unethical. This was the starting point of the US Attorney Scandal.

This lack of ethics became criminal when the US Attorneys were hired and fired based on their loyalty to Bush, rather than their oath to uphold the Constitution and law. The President's standards of service for US Attorneys require them to break the law as the cost of their appointment.

This does not fall within the President's power to appoint US Attorneys.

Because Bush required the US Attorneys to give up their independence as prosecutors to become a US Attorney, the tenure of a US Attorney became dependent on their willingness to use their offices for partisan political prosecutions.

Under Bush, US Attorneys are required to trade their honor and duty for their position.

This is apparently how "Bushies" rise in status, and position, in this administration. This is how Gonzales became Attorney General.

Clearly, partisan politics is at the heart of the US Attorney Massacre. Although Sampson and Goodling were detailed with political appointment power in March of '06, it appears that Sampson was already the point man in the Justice Department in what was already "a two year plan" to replace US Attorneys with "Bushies."

Sampson said this in March, 2007, which puts the inception of the "two year plan" at March of 2005, when Sampson and Goodling were given control over political and professional hiring in the Justice Department.

The evidence indicates that the Bush Administration's unethical hiring and firing practices crossed the line of legality in March of 2005. This is the point when the Administration's use of both US Attorneys and the Justice Department itself, crossed the ethical Rubicon.

Hiring and firing US Attorneys was now based on their willingness to use their offices to influence elections, reward friends, or punish enemies. The Bush Administration embarked on a policy where US Attorneys would be appointed based on their willingness to misuse their offices for illegal political purposes.

The revelations about the political pressure on the prosecutors would have remained secret, if the prosecutors were not fired. Not a peep came out of the US Attorney's mouths when they were pressured by politicians to pursue political prosecutions.

The US Attorneys only started squawking afterwards, only after they were fired. True honor would have appeared much earlier. Duty and Honor would have required them to report any attempts by crooked politicians to manipulate prosecutions by the US Attorney's Office.

You can expect no better than this when the US Attorneys were appointed by the same crooked politicians who were demanding illegal prosecutions of political enemies. After all, all of these US Attorneys were appointed by Bush.

This is when the standards of political and professional hiring practices merged. The Administration's unethical career employee hiring practices became clearly illegal, but well hidden behind delegating the appointment power to loyal underlings who provided legal cover for their bosses by formalizing the decisions made by their bosses in Justice and in the White House.

In March of 2005 the Administration delegated the authority to goodling and Sampson required to create a program to replace US Attorneys who would not pursue parisan prosecutions with those who would. By May of 2006 Sampson had his sights on at least four US Attorneys. The Administration was ready to put their plan to completely politicize US Attorney prosecutions into motion.

The first clue that firings were more than a normal change of US Attorneys came out of New Mexico, when Domenici's dissatisfaction with the failure of US Attorney Iglesias to prosecute political enemies reverberated through the White House and Justice department.

Domenici's complaints echoed far and wide. N. Mexico's Repub party chief, Weh, echoed Domenici's anger to Karl Rove, who assured him that their uncooperative US Attorney would be replaced.

Rove knew Iglesias would not play ball, and use his office to influence elections, reward friends, or punish enemies. Domenici's dissatisfaction was communicated to the highest levels of the White House, even getting Bush to call Gonzales about Iglesias.

This was an active attempt to use the power of the white house to drive forward a prosecution for political reasons. This is a crime, and a conspiracy to subvert justice extends down from the president, to Domenici, and on down to Weh.

Bush's call to Gonzales puts him at the center of the crime. Bush directly participated pressuring Gonzales on behalf of Domenici. Domenici's pressure on Iglesias was clearly illegal. Rove also moved on Domenici's complaints, contacting both Gonzales and Miers about removing Iglesias.

Remember that Iglesias' crime was refusing to be politically pressured to pursue political prosecutions using the office of the US Attorney.

The White House was a clearing house and focus point for applying illegal political pressure to influence US Attorney prosecutions, not to mention the activity in the rest of the executive branch departments.

Iglesias is clear about the nature of the situation : Domenici and Wilson pressured him for political prosecutions. Iglesias believes, and the evidence indicates, that Domenici and Wilson used all of their political powers to first apply political pressure on him to prosecute, and then used their influence to have him fired when he would not comply with their illegal demands.

The matter ended up on Goodling's desk, and Iglesias was added to the list of US Attorneys marked for political extinction. The message these firings sent is clear: The same fate awaits any other US Attorney who dares to act independently in the face of the Administration's partisan political demands.

Rove's involvement in the firings goes much deeper than participating in Iglesias' firing. Rove had his sights set on influencing the '08 presidential election by politically manipulating federal prosecutions.

Rove identified 11 key states for winning the '08 presidential election. Since '05, the Administration has replaced 9 of 11 US Attorneys in those states with "Bushies" willing to pursue political prosecutions. Rove identified Florida, Colorado, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Arkansas, Michigan, Nevada, and New Mexico as the key states.

Rove set his sights on the US Attorney's office in Little Rock, where he orchestrated the ouster of "Bud" Cummings and installed one of his political aides, Tim Griffin. A two year effort was orchestrated by Sampson to fire Cummings for daring to be an independent prosecutor, and hold an office desired by one of Rove's sidekicks.

Griffin is a perfect agent for Rove's election plans. Griffin stands accused of suppressing Dem voters during the '04 presidential election in Florida. Perfect. Rove, as mentioned above, identified the key states where politicized US Attorneys would be vital to steal the next presidential election by bringing trumped-up charges against political enemies, and using law to suppress Dem voters in states where the election would be close. To make it work, they needed to know which US Attorneys in the key states would not play ball, and replace them with someone who played hardball, like Griffin.

In Minnesota, one of the key states for the next presidential election named by Rove, Rachel K. Paulose, an under-experienced, and unqualified former Gonzales aide was appointed as US Attorney to replace Thomas B. Heffelfinger, who resigned after appearing on the firing list. Heffelfinger was on Sampson's hit list for replacement for refusing to suppress the indian vote in Minnesota, which votes heavily Democratic.

Heffelfinger has not himself cited political pressure as the cause of his resignation, but the pressure put on the others was likely put on Heffelifinger as wel. It looks like Heffelfinger has a strong case of being pissed off, but is still loyal to the crooks who pissed him off.

Paulose stepped into an office which had used Federal Law as a political weapon, as demanded of loyal "Bushies," under Steven Biskupic, another Minn. US Attorney. Biskupic pursued a shabby prosecution that convicted an innocent Democrat state employee, which was overturned for the lack of any evidence whatsoever.

Paulose was appointed in the wake of this imploding political prosecution. It looks like the appointment of Paulose was the final straw of prosecutorial corruption for three senior career prosecutors; they resigned, rather than work under Paulose. Paulose's arrival apparently complimented Biskupic, and created an unacceptable level of partisanship that honest Attorneys could not tolerate.

In Nevada, another key "Rove" state, Daniel Bogden worked hard to prosecute political corruption, rather than push corrupt political prosecutions. That, and his willingness to pursue a corruption investigation against Repug Gov. Jim Gibbons, was enough to get him fired.

In Washington State the US Attorney, John McKay, refused to use his office for political prosecutions, and he too was fired.

Mckay was pressured to use his office to intervene in the hotly contested 2004 Washington Governor's election. McKay was pressured by Ed Cassidy, Chief of Staff for Doc Hastings, (R- Washington) who is also senior Republican on the Ethics Committee.

McKay's refusal to play political hard ball brought him to the attention of Harriet Miers, Bush's White House Counselor, for not pursuing political prosecutions. Mckay was chastised for angering Washington State Republicans, then he was fired.

Cassidy is now a top aid for Repub. House leader Boehner of Ohio. Cassidy's role in pressuring McKay is to be investigated by Hastings, who is the Senior Republican on the Ethics Committee, and will be a judge for the ethics case against Cassidy, despite the fact that Cassidy is being investigated for acts he committed while working for Hastings.

Hastings was was Cassidy's boss when Cassidy pressured McKay to begin prosecutions against Democrats in Washington. It is highly unlikely that Hastings was not aware of, and in on, the attempt to politicize McKay's office.

Carol Lam, US Attorney in Southern California, caused such a stir in the Justice Department, if not the halls of Congress, with her expanding prosecutions of Duke and his friends, that on May 11, 06, Sampson emailed Gonzales, writing that, "The real problem we have right now with Carol Lam...leads me to conclude that we should have someone ready to be nominated on 11/18, the day her four year term expires." Lam marked herself for political execution by honestly prosecuting Duke, Wilkes, and Foggo, some of the best connected men in Congress. Before Lam started hanging them out to dry. (use the database for abstracts on these three)

As the clamor over the political firings increased, Congress invited Justice Representatives to appear and provide information on the firings. Goodling prepared McNulty, second in charge at Justice, to testify before Congress in early Feb.. '07, where McNulty lied to Congress about the nature of the firings, allegedly based on information provided by Goodling.

In March, 07, Sampson testified to the Senate Judicial Committee that,"I did not have in mind any replacements for any of the seven who were asked to resign." This contradicts his Emails of Jan. and May, 06, to the White House, naming four potential replacements for the to-be-fired US Attorneys. Sampson openly lied to Congress.

Gonzales' denials that he was involved in the firings, and his statements that he had "No Discussions" about the firingings, and he had no intentions of avoiding Senate confirmation for the new US Attorneys were bald-faced lies. Gonzales' compounded these lies when he repeated them to the American People during his March 13 press conference.

Gonzales' lies have been exposed by the testimony of his former chief of staff, Sampson, and by the emails and Justice Department documents released to Congress. The evidence clearly exposes Gonzales as a liar.

Sampson's testimony was clear: Gonzales was "regularly briefed about the evolving two-year plan to oust the attorneys," proving Gonzales lied to Congress and the American People.

Sampson's testimony was reinforced by M.A. Battle, former head of the US Attorney's Office in the Justice Department. Battle's statements confirm Sampson's testimony that Gonzales lied about not participating in the firings. Battle also directly contradicts Gonzales' statement that the Attorneys were fired for "performance problems."

Battle stated that 7 of the 8 fired Attorneys had "no performance problems." Battle complimented the fired US Attorneys for being among the top attorneys in the country.

James B. Comey, the deputy attorney general from 2003 to 2005, and a Republican, recently testified before Congress about the performance of the fired US Attorneys. He ranked them "among the department's most able prosecutors," with the exception of one. (Ryan of SF was apparently the sole "performance problem" in the group fired) The charges of "performance problems" the Administration threw at their own US Attorneys were false, and dishonorable.

In addition to his political crimes, Gonzales has professional problems. Gonzales has filled our US Attorney positions with biased, unqualified political insiders who are incompetent to be US Attorneys.

But don't worry. Apparently many of these US Attorneys never really do the job they were appointed to do. Gonzales is keeping a flock of US Attorneys in the Justice Department, where he uses them as his Officeboys, only sending them to their district offices to carry out the Administration's political will.

Nonetheless, the evidence is clear and compelling: Bush, Rove, Miers, Domenici, Wilson, Weh, Sampson, Goodling, and Gonzales, and dozens of unnamed coconspirators, conspired to fire US Attorneys who would not prostitute themselves and their offices for partisan political purposes.

I suggest a special prosecutor be appointed to track this to its root.

Also See:

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Fired U.S. attorneys are called some of the best

James B. Comey, a former deputy attorney general, testifies before Congress and contradicts the White House and Justice Department.

By Richard B. Schmitt
Times Staff Writer


May 4, 2007

WASHINGTON — A former high-ranking Justice Department official offered praise Thursday for most of the U.S. attorneys who were fired last year, saying he considered some of them to be among the department's most able prosecutors.

James B. Comey, who served as deputy attorney general from 2003 until 2005, often contradicted the White House and the Justice Department, which have said the eight U.S. attorneys were fired for performance reasons.

Comey told a House Judiciary subcommittee that six of the former prosecutors had been doing a good job, and that only one was among those he considered to be weak performers.

The testimony of the career prosecutor and onetime Republican political appointee was among the most devastating for the White House and Justice Department, and appeared to complicate efforts by the administration to defuse a controversy that has threatened the two-year tenure of Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales.

"James Comey is a respected prosecutor who served the American people well as a U.S. attorney as well as deputy attorney general," said House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.). "Today, we further confirmed that the department's stated reasons for firing the six U.S. attorneys who testified before this committee had little or no basis in fact."

Comey heaped praise on many of the fired prosecutors, and said he admired their integrity, management skills and dedication.

He said Daniel G. Bogden, the former U.S. attorney in Nevada, was as "straight as a Nevada highway and a fired-up guy" who "made tremendous strides" in reducing violent crime in Las Vegas.

He said John McKay, the fired U.S. attorney in Seattle, "was one of my favorites," in part because he pushed new technology to share information between state and federal authorities.

Justice Department officials have said one reason McKay was fired was that he pursued such technology.

Comey said he met with Carol C. Lam, the former U.S. attorney in San Diego, because her district was lagging in gun prosecutions. He said her performance did not justify her firing, and he considered her an effective prosecutor.


Another Gonzales Lie Exposed: US Attorneys NOT Fired for "Performance Problems"

From the Congressional Record, House of Representatives:


[Page: H3698]  GPO's PDF

   (Mr. PALLONE asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute.)

   Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, Attorney General Gonzales cancelled a vacation and an entire week of work so he could prepare for his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday on the expanding U.S. Attorney scandal, but it does not seem to have helped him very much.

   Despite all that prep time, the Attorney General could still not remember why most of the prosecutors had been fired by him in the first place. Worse yet, Gonzales said he could not recall attending a meeting where the discussion of the fate of these prosecutors was debated.

   Democratic and Republican senators alike grew increasingly frustrated throughout the day as the Attorney General answered ``I do not recall'' to more than 70 questions. It was so bad that conservative Republican Senator

[Page: H3699]  GPO's PDF
Jeff Session
s said that he was concerned about Gonzales' recollection, considering that these events only took place last December.

   Either the Attorney General is deceiving the Senate about what he remembers or he is so lacking that he can sit through discussions about the potential firing of eight U.S. Attorneys and simply not remember being there. Neither bodes well for Gonzales . It's time the President sets aside his friendship and asks his Attorney General to step aside.

From the Transcript of Gonzales' Interview:

WASHINGTON, March 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Transcript of media availability with Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales: 2:20 P.M. EDT

ATTORNEY GENERAL GONZALES: What I know is that there began a process of evaluating strong performers, not-as-strong performers, and weak performers. And so far as I knew my chief of staff was involved in the process of determining who were the weak performers. Where were the districts around the country where we could do better for the people in that district, and that's what I knew. But again, with respect to this whole process, like every CEO, I am ultimately accountable and responsible for what happens within the department. But that is in essence what I knew about the process; was not involved in seeing any memos, was not involved in any discussions about what was going on. That's basically what I knew as the Attorney General.

Also See:

Corruption Updates 39 , 5th article on the page, "GOP official urged Rove to fire prosecutor"

Corruption Updates 48 , 9th article on the page, "Ex-Justice Official's Statements Contradict Gonzales on Firings"

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Washington Monthly, June 06,


The End of Legal Bribery

How the Abramoff case could change Washington.

By Jeffrey Birnbaum


Deep in the plea agreements won by Justice Department lawyers are admissions by the defendants--Abramoff and his cronies, ex-DeLay aides Tony C. Rudy and Michael Scanlon--that they conspired to use campaign contributions to bribe lawmakers. Even though these gifts were fully disclosed and within prescribed limits, the government said they were criminal, and the defendants agreed. This aspect of the case has received little attention. But it is sending shudders down K Street. If such prosecutions were to become commonplace, the paid persuaders of Washington and their big-money clients would be dealt a body blow. If prosecutors begin to assert as a matter of routine that lobbyist gifts and campaign contributions are a form of bribery, it could open up a whole new front on the decades-old (and largely ineffective) effort to break the nexus of money and politics in the capital.

"More than in the past, the Department of Justice seems to be trying very hard to tie campaign contributions to legislative acts by members of Congress and to draw the inference that there's a criminal connection between the two," says Robert K. Kelner, chairman of the election law and political law practice at Covington & Burling. "If they succeed then I think it will change the standard advice that lawyers will give their clients about political contributions and also change common practices on Capitol Hill."


For decades, opinion polls have shown that voters think their politicians are bought and sold by the rich and connected. But these same voters have also seen any number of campaign finance "reforms" put in place, only to watch the system become evermore driven by dollars.

Unlike overhaul efforts in the past, though, which have relied on politicians cleaning up the very system that keeps them in power, the Justice Department's Abramoff case opens up the possibility of genuine change. Imagine, for instance, if the oil companies and their executives could no longer link their campaign contributions to their interests in energy legislation. Or if trial lawyers couldn't do the same with tort reform legislation. Robbed of much of their ability to bend the power structure with donations and other gifts, these industries would have less reason to give at all. They'd be forced instead to rely on the persuasiveness of their arguments rather than the power of their pocketbooks.

Campaign finance laws are built on a legal fiction. To wit: Electoral donations are considered within the law even though they are actually bribes at root. Think of them as "legalized bribery." Through bundled contributions and PAC giving, industries, labor unions, and interest groups of all stripes try to persuade lawmakers to vote their way on the issues they care most about. Donors do not express their desire just that way. They use euphemisms like "buying access" to wink and nod their way toward the same thought. But the truth is the truth. Interests give money to buy votes.


What in our elections is NOT BRIBERY?

What is Democracy?

Democracy means ending bribery by limiting Campaign Contributions so they may ONLY come From Citizens Qualified to Vote in the Elections they Contribute to,


Special interests have short-circuited the voters’ power by turning their free speech rights into a weapon, and turning it against our democracy.

Political victory is now the reward for the best-funded candidate. A viable candidacy, let alone victory, is completely dependent on winning the campaign contributions arms race. The special interests dominate this race, not the voters.

This excludes local voters from even deciding who will be a viable candidate. Voters do not get to select the candidates who run in their own elections. The candidates we vote for are chosen by the special interests.

Voters are offered a poor selection of candidates who represent the outside special interests that fund them, rather than their constituent’s interests and values. Sadly, many voters have lost faith in our system, and no longer vote.

Our initiative puts democracy back into our political system. Our initiative makes the voters the most important part of our elections. Our initiative limits special interests to the legitimate exercise of their due free Speech rights, and stops them from bribing our politicians, and controlling our elections. Manipulating elections and candidates with money is bribery, not a free speech right.

We are non-partisan, focused solely on fixing the structural problems in our polity, rather than fighting for the advantage of a particular group or position. Our goal is a democracy that brings all perspectives to the table.

Help us promote and pass the Political Reform Initiative

Also See:

Corruption Updates 24 , 4th article on the page, "Big Oil Owns Interior Dept"

Articles about how the Democrats represent Corporations

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'Poppy Quarter' Behind Spy Coin Alert

Associated Press Writer

12:56 PM PDT, May 7, 2007

WASHINGTON — An odd-looking Canadian quarter with a bright red flower was the culprit behind a false espionage warning from the Defense Department about mysterious coins with radio frequency transmitters, The Associated Press has learned.

The harmless "poppy quarter" was so unfamiliar to suspicious U.S. Army contractors traveling in Canada that they filed confidential espionage accounts about them. The worried contractors described the coins as "filled with something man-made that looked like nano-technology," according to once-classified U.S. government reports and e-mails obtained by the AP.

The confidential accounts led to a sensational warning from the Defense Security Service, an agency of the Defense Department, that mysterious coins with radio frequency transmitters were found planted on U.S. contractors with classified security clearances on at least three separate occasions between October 2005 and January 2006 as the contractors traveled through Canada.


Give a Quarter, Go to Gitmo

These are the people who claim the right to kidnap, endlessly detain, and secretly try anyone they want

As indicated by the Poppy Quarter incident above, Our Government is operating at a high level of paranoia.

Our Government's response to this incident demonstrates how paranoia leads to hair-triggered, hair-brained reactions to arguably innocent incidents.

That's why our Constitutional Checks and Balances are so important: Judicial Review will protect the accused if the President goes crazy and starts arresting, no, "detaining" and torturing people in secret prisons.

Besides Judicial Review, Congress has a body of law which prohibits torture, and regulates the treatment of regular combatants. Outside of war, these acts are criminal, and legitimately belong in the Courts.

Finally, we have the protections of the Constitution. The power of the Constitution is only as strong as the duty of the officeholders to obey its limits and impose the Constitutionally mandated checks and balance son the other branches of government.

We need to return these protections to our people by re imposing these checks and balances on our government

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Early Departures From Bush Security Team

Associated Press Writer

3:17 PM PDT, May 7, 2007

WASHINGTON — Top members of President Bush's national security team are leaving in one of the earliest waves of departures from a second-term administration -- nearly two years before Bush's term ends.

As rancor in the nation rises over handling of the war in Iraq, at least 20 senior aides have either retired or resigned from important posts at the White House, Pentagon and State Department in the past six months.

Some officials, however, speaking only privately, say some people may be leaving to avoid being associated with the increasingly unpopular Iraq conflict.

About six in 10 Americans say the United States made a mistake in going to war in Iraq and almost as many say they think it's a hopeless cause, according to recent AP-Ipsos polling. Less than a third support Bush's handling of the war.

At the White House, four top officials have stepped down, including Crouch; Meghan O'Sullivan, another deputy national security adviser who worked on Iraq; Tom Graham, the senior director for Russia, and director for Asian affairs Victor Cha, point man for the Koreas.

O'Sullivan's departure has set off a search for a "war czar" to oversee operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, a job reportedly turned down by a number of senior or retired generals.

Graham's resignation comes as tensions with Russia rise over U.S. missile defense plans in Europe, and Cha leaves amid concerns over North Korea's failure to comply with deadlines to eliminate its nuclear weapons programs.

Former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld resigned under fire in November and is not included in the list of 20.

His close associate and chief of intelligence Stephen Cambone followed him out the door as did Peter Rodman, the assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs. Army Secretary Francis Harvey was fired over shoddy conditions at Walter Reed hospital.

Another Pentagon official, Richard Lawless, the senior policy coordinator for Asia, is expected to leave this summer.


The Rats are Jumping off the Burning Ship

The recent failure of the Bush Administration to find a war "Czar," is indicative of a war that has slipped out of the control of the President.

More evidence is coming out of the White House indicating that Bush's war and foreign policy are in complete disarray.

The evidence coming out of the White House is the senior staff that are jumping off the ship like it's on fire.

Bush's Senior White House staff is taking a hike. Judging by how Iraq fell apart under O'Sullivan, and how Graham and Cha have done nothing more than supervise the deterioration of our relationships with Russia and N. Korea, maybe it's better that they have fled screaming.

The deeper problem with Bush's global imperialist foreign policy, and why the Dems' soft version of globalism will also fail, lies in who our "leaders" are and how they get elected.

Bush and Clinton are fighting among themselves for political control of our government. To do this successfully, all candidates, as well as the Bushes and Clintons, depend on massive bribes from the most powerful corporations in our country to finance their political careers.

Thus both will advance trade, tax, and social policies that will damage the welfare of the country, and the world, for the profits of the few who bribed them.

Neither Bush or Clinton can face up to the facts on the ground in the middle east honestly enough to find a final solution for the historic injustices that have been visited on the middle east.

Their bribes, and therefore their political viability, depends on their silence.

Now Bush has to assemble another crew, the third string, to manage this deteriorating mess.

But, the best and most experienced generals and statesmen available are refusing to manage this disastrous military, political and economic blunder.

Time to attack Iran!

Also See:

Corruption Updates 25 , 2nd article on the page, "US REPUB SENATOR FEARS WAR ILLEGAL WHY DID IT TAKE THREE YEARS"

Corruption Updates 49 , 1st article on the page, "3 Generals Spurn the Position of War 'Czar'"

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Global Warming Campaign Accelerated

Associated Press Writer

8:56 AM PDT, May 8, 2007

WASHINGTON — General Motors Corp., and nearly a dozen other major companies, have joined the growing number of businesses calling for limits on greenhouse gases to combat global warming.

General Motors on Tuesday became the first automobile manufacturer to join the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, a coalition of corporate executives that wants Congress to enact an economy-wide mandatory cap on carbon dioxide emissions.

The group announced the addition of 14 new members including General Motors, PepsiCo, Royal Dutch Shell's U.S. subsidiary and two environmental organizations. Shell, which became the third oil company to join the group, had made its decision known last week.

Also joining the industry coalition, known as USCAP, were: Alcan Inc., the Canadian-based aluminum company; American International Group; Boston Scientific; ConocoPhillips; tractor manufacturer Deere & Co.; Dow Chemical Co.; Johnson & Johnson; the technology conglomerate Siemens Corp.; Marsh Inc., and two environmental groups, the National Wildlife Federation and the Nature Conservancy.

The coalition announced in January its intention to press Congress for so-called cap-and-trade legislation to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Its original 10 members included BP America, Duke Energy Corp., General Electric Co., and DuPont Co.


Corporations try to Make Money from Global Warming without identifying or Addressing Root Cause:

Massive American Growth
The corporations are gearing up for a worthless "cap and trade" system that will not address the fundamental root of our global warming problem: The doubling of the American population during the last 40 years.

Our continuing growth, combined with China's equaling our C02 output this year assures one of two outcomes: either we stop our growth in its tracks, and still suffer the consequences of major weather disruptions, or we continue to grow, and completely destroy our environment's capability to sustain half of the planet's present population.

Bush and these "Green" corporations will find a climate policy that does nothing to significantly change or diminish our trajectory of growth and the damage it is doing to the climate. The politicians and corporations will do nothing that threatens their profits.

In fact, it would be logical to presume that these corporations plan to add profits trading CO2 to the profits they make creating it, while doing nothing to stop the quantitative expansion of consumption and production.

Also See:

Corruption Updates 36 , 6th article on the page, "China about to pass U.S. as world's top generator of greenhouse gases"


Read more about political Censorship of Science

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Justice Department looking into prosecutor hirings

Accusations that an aide considered politics raise concerns of partisan practices at the agency.

By Richard B. Schmitt
Times Staff Writer

May 3, 2007

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department said Wednesday that it had launched an internal probe into whether a chief figure in the U.S. attorneys affair had violated policy and possibly federal law — by injecting party politics into the selection of career prosecutors.

The investigation of Monica M. Goodling, once the Justice Department's White House liaison, widens the probe into allegations of partisan hiring and firing at the agency and complicates the Bush administration's efforts to weather the scandal.

"This is a troubling assertion that, if true, suggests politics infected the most basic operations at the Justice Department," said Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. "This only underscores our commitment to hear directly from Ms. Goodling about her role in this process, and at the Justice Department, to establish who should be held accountable."

Goodling, the department said, is being investigated in connection with helping review candidates for career positions in certain U.S. attorneys' offices around the country.

The agency declined to say what "prohibited considerations" Goodling might have taken into account, but said that it is against policy and possibly federal law to consider "party affiliation" in deciding whether to hire a career lawyer.

According to people familiar with the investigation, who requested anonymity because the probe is ongoing, Goodling allegedly sought information about party affiliation while vetting applicants for assistant U.S. attorney positions.

Goodling has become a focus of the scandal because she was part of a group of young White House and Justice Department politicos with little or no prosecutorial experience who acted as gatekeepers for U.S. attorney positions.

Interim and acting U.S. attorneys do not usually have the authority to hire personnel, the theory being that career prosecutors often outlast their political bosses, and should be selected only when the U.S. attorneys have been Senate-confirmed.

The Justice Department statement Wednesday indicated that the department had granted waivers to a number of those offices so they could hire personnel. But it declined to provide specifics.

Also Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee issued new subpoenas to Gonzales, seeking e-mails in the possession of the department involving presidential advisor Karl Rove.


Justice Department Investigates Itself:


Also See:

Corruption Updates 39, 3rd article on page, “Rove's role in firings is focus

Corruption Update 43 2nd article on the page, "GONALES CAUGHT IN OPEN LIES TO CONGRESS"

Corruption Updates 46, 8th article on the page, "Prosecutor Posts Go To Bush Insiders:Bush packing US Attorney posts with biased insiders"

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Lam defends her performance as a U.S. attorney

Statements indicate fired prosecutors are becoming convinced politics were behind their firings.

By Richard A. Serrano
Times Staff Writer

May 3, 2007

WASHINGTON — In a strongly worded defense of her four-year tenure as U.S. attorney in
San Diego, Carol C. Lam told congressional investigators that she was constantly given conflicting instructions from Washington and was expected to bring more prosecutions with fewer resources. According to written statements released Wednesday — her first public comments since testifying two months ago about her firing — Lam also said she was given just weeks to clear out of her office and was informed by Justice Department officials that her ouster was "coming from the very highest levels of the government." And, she said, Washington wanted her to pretend as though it was her decision to leave office. When Michael A. Battle, then a Justice Department supervisor for U.S. attorneys, called her in December to tell her she was being terminated, she said, "He advised me to simply say publicly that I had decided to pursue other opportunities." Lam's statements, and those of five other fired federal prosecutors, are contained in written responses to the House Judiciary Committee

The responses, released by the House panel, also show that several of the ousted prosecutors are becoming increasingly convinced they were dismissed for political rather than performance reasons. Daniel G. Bogden, the former U.S. attorney in Las Vegas, said Justice Department officials told him he was being replaced to make room for future Republican officeholders. He said acting Associate Atty. Gen. William Mercer told him that with the Bush administration in its final years, the GOP wanted to promote up-and-comers to federal judgeships and political offices. Looking back at what has happened since his ouster in December, Bogden said his removal "may have been due, in part, to an effort to politicize the Department of Justice."

Former U.S. Atty. Paul Charlton of Phoenix said that Michael Elston, an aide to the deputy attorney general, suggested that if Charlton did not publicly complain about being removed, Gonzales would not speak ill of him on Capitol Hill. "Elston was offering me a quid pro quo agreement," Charlton said. "My silence in exchange for the attorney general's." John McKay, the fired prosecutor in Seattle, said he too felt threatened. "Mr. Elston's tone was sinister," McKay said, and "he was prepared to threaten me further if he concluded I did not intend to continue to remain silent about my dismissal." Another fired prosecutor, H.E. "Bud" Cummins III of Little Rock, Ark., said he was told that he was being pushed aside to make room for a protege of White House political director Karl Rove. He said Elston urged him not to complain — a suggestion Cummins shared with the other fired prosecutors. "They were offended and viewed the statements made by Elston as a threat," Cummins said. "One remarked, 'What's next? A horse head in the bed?' " Mercer and Elston have not spoken publicly about the firings. But they and other top Justice Department officials, including Gonzales, have maintained that the prosecutors were dismissed for performance reasons. Yet several of the fired prosecutors said in the written statements that they could not get a truthful answer from Battle when he called to tell them they were being terminated.

Lam said that after Battle told her she had to go, she pleaded with Elston for more time because of "pending investigations and several significant cases that were set to begin trial." Her office was in the final preparations for grand jury indictments of defense contractor Brent R. Wilkes and Kyle Dustin "Dusty" Foggo, a former top CIA official, on corruption charges arising out of the bribery conviction of former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-Rancho Santa Fe). Lam said Elston told her that her request for more time was "not being received positively," and "he insisted that I had to depart in a matter of weeks, not months, and that these instructions were 'coming from the very highest level of the government.' " She said that though she never had felt Washington sufficiently supported her in San Diego, it was only later that she learned Justice officials were publicly saying she was fired for performance reasons.

The complete responses from the six former U.S. attorneys can be viewed at http://judiciary.house.gov.


Wronged Corruption Prosecutor Lam Speaks Out:

Justice Department Threatened Fired Attorneys

Also See:

Corruption Updates 54, 2nd article on the page, "Fired U.S. attorneys are called some of the best: Another Gonzales Lie Exposed: US Attorneys NOT Fired for "Performance Problems"

US Attorney Link List

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Healthcare reform's unlikely ally: big business

A big-business coalition, breaking ranks with smaller firms, will lobby Sacramento and D.C. to expand coverage to all.

By Jordan Rau
Times Staff Writer

May 7, 2007

SACRAMENTO — Abandoning the business lobby's traditional resistance to healthcare reform, a new coalition of 36 major companies plans to launch a political campaign today calling for medical insurance to be expanded to everyone along lines Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is proposing for California.

Founded by Steve Burd, chairman of the Safeway grocery chain and an ally of the governor, the coalition could boost efforts in
Sacramento and Washington, D.C., to overhaul healthcare laws. It also formalizes a growing division over the issue among businesses.

Such large firms already provide medical coverage to their employees and have become increasingly frustrated as premiums have increased over the years. That has made them more willing to look to the government for solutions.

California's Chamber of Commerce and the state's restaurant association led the successful ballot fight in 2004 to repeal a state law requiring companies with more than 50 workers to provide insurance.

The chamber and restaurant group are skeptical of Schwarzenegger's proposal and those offered by Democratic legislative leaders.

Schwarzenegger's plan would require all individuals to obtain health insurance, hospitals and doctors to subsidize insurance for the poor, and companies to spend a set amount on employee healthcare.

In Sacramento, the coalition could lean hard on Republican legislators, who have come out against the idea of forcing people to buy insurance. GOP leaders — who side with business on many issues — say it is unrealistic to aspire to universal coverage. Instead, they say, the state should emphasize better access to medical care.

"For Republican legislators, the business community has been an important constituency," said Adam Mendelsohn, Schwarzenegger's spokesman. "And when you have businesses standing up and saying, 'The healthcare system is problematic for us; fix it,' that presents a dynamic that has been missing in previous healthcare debates."

But Scott Hauge, director of Small Business California, an association with 2,700 member companies, said Burd's effort drives a "wedge" into the business lobby that hurts his efforts to press legislators to contain rising healthcare costs.

Burd's political efforts have drawn derision from Safeway workers, who accuse him of hypocrisy.

That is because the company, which is based in Pleasanton, Calif., and other grocers are in a dispute with unions over how long new employees must wait to acquire health benefits, among other issues. Hourly employees wait a year or more; their families wait 30 months.

"This is coming from the guy who eliminated healthcare" for thousands of workers in Southern California, said Michael Shimpock of SG&A Campaigns, a Pasadena media and political consulting firm hired by the United Food and Commercial Workers union to speak about the negotiations.


Big Business Wants US to Subsidize their Healthcare:

Just Like we do for ILLEGALS

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Drought a drain on flora, fauna

By Rong-Gong Lin II
Times Staff Writer

May 8, 2007


...in 2007...Southern California is poised to experience its driest year on record.

The relentlessly dry weather has made this a spring like no other across the region, wreaking havoc on the ecosystem.

Downtown Los Angeles has recorded less than 4 inches of rain since July 1 — less than a quarter of normal. The region was hit Monday with another round of high heat, low humidity and dry winds, prompting officials to issue a red flag warning for brush fires. (It will continue through tonight.)

The effects of the prolonged dryness can be seen and felt all around. Seasonal ponds are cracked dry, leaving no haven for some frog eggs or fairy shrimp to hatch. Some flower-dependent butterflies are staying dormant for another season.

Plants aren't bearing berries; some oak trees aren't sprouting acorns. Bees are behaving strangely.

John Harvey, a Ventura County ranch owner for 30 years, said he will have to sell half his herd of 350 mother cows by summer.

"This is the worst year I can ever remember," said Harvey, president of the Ventura County Cattlemen's Assn.

"Look at how miserable they are, these seeds," said longtime ranger Giuseppe Pira, pointing to the shriveled berries of a California toyon shrub, which normally should be plump and green in the spring.

Many of the plants in the park show signs of stress. Leaves droop and seed pods are wilted. Even if a shrub's leaves are green, they are brittle to the touch.

Because there has been so little rain, Pira said, dust is sticking to the leaves, giving them a sickly look and making plants more susceptible to disease.

"This is entirely different in my years of experience, no flowers, no nothing," Pira said. "Even the bees — they don't have much to eat."

Fewer flowers means a poor honey season for California beekeepers, who rely on wildflower nectar to feed their bees.

"It looks like we're going to have one of the worst years for honey production in Southern California," said Red Bennett, owner of Bennett's Honey Farm in Fillmore.

The dry weather has resulted in more fires that have been harder to extinguish this winter and spring. A study of moisture levels of plants like sagebrush across Los Angeles County found that they have half the water content this month that they had in May 2006.

Vegetation is parched in forests, and in some spots there will be less surface water for coyotes, bears and mountain lions to drink from, said Stanton Florea, fire information officer for Angeles National Forest.

"There's not enough green forage," said Steve Loe, a forest biologist for San Bernardino
National Forest.


This is Only the Beginning

Also See:

Corruption Updates 39 , 10th article on the page, "Top Scientists Warn of Water Shortages and Disease Linked to Global Warming"

Corruption Updates 47 , 10th article on the page, "Permanent drought predicted for Southwest:Climate Already Changed..."

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