Thursday, March 15, 2007

Fitzgerald Turns Down Waxman

From my "Capital Games" column at

Members of the Libby Lobby--those conservatives who have urged George W. Bush to pardon Scooter Libby--have decried special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald and derided the case he brought against Dick Cheney's former chief of staff as a political persecution. "The criminalization of politics," virtue cop/gambling addict Bill Bennett called it. This attack is the culmination of a campaign that has depicted Fitzgerald as a run-amok prosecutor who abused his power to follow an agenda.

Fitzgerald, though, has refused to cooperate with this campaign. Just ask Representative Henry Waxman, who was hoping to draw the prosecutor as a witness to a congressional hearing this week on the CIA leak case. Fitzgerald apparently had no interest in appearing at an event where he would have an easy opportunity to score political points and settle scores. More on that in a moment.
Fitzgerald has taken plenty of incoming from various quarters. For years, he has been pummeled by media rights champions for his decision to pursue reporters with subpoenas (which led to the imprisonment of then-New York Times reporter Judith Miller for 85 days). But Jack Shafer, media follower for Slate and once a denouncer of Fitzgerald and his methods, recently offered a post-verdict reassessment:

The press (including me) may have overreacted in regarding special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald as some sort of Torquemada, and our fears of a shredded First Amendment are starting to look a little overwrought.

Like other journalists, I had shared Shafer's concern about the precedent Fitzgerald established. (Conspiracy declared: Shafer is a friend.) But it's clear that there has not been a tremendous chilling effect, in that stories about CIA prisons, fired US attorneys, FBI abuses, and the like continue to appear. Official sources still leak--whether as whistleblowers informing the public of government misdeeds or as bureaucratic feuders looking to stab a foe in the neck.

So the portrayal of Fitzgerald as Wrecker of the First Amendment has been overblown, though--to be nuanced about it--he leaves behind a record that could be cited by other prosecutors to come. But what about the rightwing complaint that the Libby case was a political assault?

Fitzgerald claims to be an independent (in political party terms), and throughout the case he insisted the prosecution of Libby was not about the Iraq war or how the Bush administration had steered the country into the mess there. Libby advocates can dismiss these indicators; they can note it's easy to claim partisan independence (what's really in his heart?) and argue it was tactically wise for Fitzgerald to deny the case was related to the war. But there's more that undermines the conservative case against Fitzgerald.

At the trial, Fitzgerald chose not to call Dick Cheney or Karl Rove to the stand. If this prosecutor was looking to cause political damage, he passed up two grand opportunities. He could have grilled each for hours. With the vice president, he could have asked a series of potentially embarrassing questions about Cheney's involvement in the campaign to undermine former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, an administration critic. Cheney, according to Libby, was the first official to tell Libby that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA's Counterproliferation Division, which is a unit in the agency's clandestine operations directorate. Fitzgerald could have questioned Cheney about that and about Cheney's own efforts to gather information on the Wilsons and to leak selective pieces of intelligence to administration-friendly reporters (such as Judy Miller and the editorial page editors of The Wall Street Journal. He could have interrogated Cheney about the vice president's curious lack of curiosity when Libby volunteered to tell the boss everything about his involvement in the leak affair. Cheney, according to Libby, indicated to Libby he didn't want to know. (See here.)

Fitzgerald could have had a field day with the vice president. And he was prepared to do so--if Libby's defense attorneys were to place Cheney on the stand. But after Fitzgerald refrained from calling the vice president as a witness, Libby's lawyers decided it would be risky, if not foolish, to do so.

Ditto for Rove. With Rove on the stand, Fitzgerald could have asked Bush's top strategist about his role in the leak. (Rove leaked to Bob Novak for the column that outed Valerie Wilson as a CIA officer, and he also disclosed information about her to Matt Cooper, then of Time. ) Fitzgerald could have also asked Rove why he told White House press secretary that he was not involved in the leak, how he managed to keep his job (given the White House position that anyone connected to the leak would be dismissed), and what Bush had known about Rove's leak-related shenanigans.

Rove and Cheney on the stand--it would have been murder for the administration. Fitzgerald, though, didn't pull the trigger. Such restraint undercuts the charge he mounted a political prosecution.

After the verdict, Representative Waxman, the Democratic chairman of the government reform committee, wrote to Fitzgerald and asked the prosecutor to talk to him and Representative Tom Davis, the senior Republican on the committee, about meeting with and/or testifying before the committee regarding "your views and the insights you obtained during the course of your investigation." In a March 14 letter, Fitzgerald, who is also US attorney in Chicago, turned them down, explaining that the Libby case was still pending (due to possible appeals) and that he did not believe "it would be appropriate for me to offer opinions." In a polite brush-off, he suggested that Waxman review the material introduced during the trial. (Despite receiving regrets from Fitzgerald, Waxman is going ahead with the March 17 hearing featuring Valerie Wilson.)

Fitzgerald is no grandstander. He did not exploit the opportunity to inflict maximum damage on the Bush administration. He brought a narrow case against Libby and convinced a jury. Trying to distort the narrative, Libby's comrades claim that Fitzgerald's endeavor was pure politics. The evidence shows they don't have a case.

Posted by David Corn at March 15, 2007 03:18 PM


capt said...

Mr. David Corn,

The fact that Fitzgerald found a balance between the WH criminals and the media (somehow keeping them both happy?) is not a feather in his cap. Makes the product of the process seem more like equivocation than the scales of justice. We are still one presidential pardon from where the whole thing started.

I think the whole thing stinks. The general public has not even noticed the fact that Busheney's slime machine has been exposed. Where is the outrage at Bush and Dick and that whole gang of liars? We deserve everything we are willing to tolerate. Maybe there is something in the water?

Thanks for all of your work!


capt said...

Sunni Arab Member of Parliament Criticizes al-Maliki Government

The USG Open Source Center carries a translation of remarks of Khalaf al-Ulayyan, a member of parliament from the Sunni Iraqi Accord Front, made in Amman recently. Al-Ulayyan implies a conspiracy by the al-Maliki government to expel several Sunni Arab members of parliament on the grounds that they are related to the insurgency. He complains that the Shiites of Sadr City in East Baghdad are being treated by the Americans with kid gloves, while the Sunni Arabs are facing a harsh crackdown. Sunni Arabs such as al-Ulayyan are the ones who declared themselves willing to participate in a government under American Occupation, and if even they are this bitter, imagine what the ordinary Sunni Arabs are thinking!


*****end of clip*****

You have to read the whole piece. Amazing.


Saladin said...

"The whole thing stinks."
Capt, that's what I said at the very beginning of this idiotic fiasco! What anyone thought this was ever going to prove, beyond the well known fact that libby is a consummate liar, I still don't know.

capt said...


True enough but I have to admit Fitzgerald was in the unenviable position where anything he did and everything he didn't do was going to be met with my disapproval.

I know I expect too much.


kathleen said...

David great points. Fitzgerald could have grilled Rove and Cheney. I sure wish he had. Our nation and all living things on the planet would be safer for it.

Thank goodness Journalist do not have any more protection than they all ready have. We certainly do want the inside Mainstream Media (watched this at the Libby trial) to have any more protection than they all ready have. We do not need a federal "Source Law" We need an "Officials Secrets Act".

Aipac's Rosen was taped saying "sure glad we do not have an official secrets act". Knowing that any classified intelligence that he either passed onto journalist or received from journalist was protected. Who knows how long journalist (allegedly Bob Woodward) have been passing classified intelligence off to foreign officials and others.

The public needs protection from people like Judy Miller, Kenneth Pollack and others who pushed this illegal and immoral war.


Has Feith left the country yet?

kathleen said...

Byron York at National Review has consistently attempted to undermine the investigation of Valerie Plame's outing. Just what is Byrons inability or refusal to not understand how serious this outing is? I'll put money on Byron being all over Clintons blowjoh. These are the prioriites of the Republican party.

Hello Byron Fitzgerald has determined Plame's undercover status. She was still classified as covert. How many times do you have to hear this.

Ten Questions for Valerie Plame Wilson
She’s set to testify before the House tomorrow. Here’s what the public needs to know.

By Byron York

Valerie Plame Wilson, the woman at the heart of the CIA-leak affair, is scheduled to testify tomorrow before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. There she will, for the first time, face questions about her role in the Niger uranium matter that eventually became the basis of the CIA-leak investigation. Here are a few questions Mrs. Wilson might be asked:
1) In a 2004 report, the Senate Intelligence Committee quoted a memo you wrote to the deputy chief of the CIA’s counterproliferation division (CPD) on February 12, 2002. In it, you suggested your husband for a trip to Niger to investigate reports that Iraq had sought uranium there. According to the Senate report, you wrote, “My husband has good relations with both the PM [prime minister] and the former Minister of Mines (not to mention lots of French contacts), both of whom could possibly shed light on this sort of activity.” Was that all your memo said? Was there any more? If so, what did it say?

AT National Review

kathleen said...

Would they just please kick Rove's ass once and for all.

-Mails Show Rove Role in US Attorney Firings
By Jan Crawford Greenburg
ABC News Thursday 15 March 2007

E-mails directly contradict White House assertions that the notion originated with Harriet Miers.
New unreleased e-mails from top administration officials show the idea of firing all 93 U.S. attorneys was raised by White House adviser Karl Rove in early January 2005, indicating Rove was more involved in the plan than previously acknowledged by the White House.

The e-mails also show Attorney General Alberto Gonzales discussed the idea of firing the attorneys en masse while he was still White House counsel - weeks before he was confirmed as attorney general.

The e-mails directly contradict White House assertions that the notion originated with recently departed White House counsel Harriet Miers and was her idea alone.

Two independent sources in a position to know have described the contents of the e-mail exchange, which could be released as early as Friday. They put Rove at the epicenter of the imbroglio and raise questions about Gonzales' explanations of the matter

Saladin said...

Capt, Fitzy has some shady dealings in his background. I never had any expectations, so I'm not at all disappointed!

This just in!

Satire: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed Confesses, and Wants His Fingers Back

WASHINGTON (UCS News) -- Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the suspected mastermind of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks, admitted to those attacks and numerous others during a U.S. military hearing on Saturday. After his confession he requested that his interrogators return six missing fingers and remove the electrodes from is testicles.

In a statement from him, read by a U.S. military representative, he said, "I was responsible for the 9/11 operation, from A to Z." The transcript continues with the list of operations he was responsible for, including the Richard Reid shoe bomber attempt to blow up an airliner over the Atlantic Ocean, the Bali nightclub bombing in Indonesia, Rudolph Giuliani's second divorce, the US failure in Iraq, E.Coli poison outbreaks in Spinach and the shocking conditions found at Walter Reed army medical center.

The list of some 29 operations he was responsible for is followed by a shorter list of operations he was partially responsible for, including an assassination attempt against then-Pope John Paul II while he was visiting the Philippines.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed admitted that he timed the release of his confession to help bolster the sagging poll numbers of President George W. Bush. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed also stated that he has been tortured nearly every day since he arrived at the Guantanamo Bay detainment camp.
Sounds about right.

Saladin said...

A chilling inheritance of terror
By Syed Saleem Shahzad
Asia Times

Oct. 30, 2002

KARACHI - Ever since the frenzied shootout last month on September 11 in Karachi there have been doubts over whether Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the self-proclaimed head of al-Qaeda's military committee, died in the police raid on his apartment.

Certainly, another senior al-Qaeda figure, Ramzi Binalshibh, widely attributed as being the coordinator of the September 11 attacks on the United States a year earlier, was taken alive and handed over to the US. The latest information is that he is on a US warship somewhere in the Gulf.

Now it has emerged that Kuwaiti national Khalid Shaikh Mohammed did indeed perish in the raid, but his wife and child were taken from the apartment and handed over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), in whose hands they remain.

Initially, the joint ISI-FBI plan was to take Shaikh Mohammed alive so that he could be grilled, especially as he was believed to have knowledge of other al-Qaeda cells in Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and elsewhere. However, as a plainclothed officer climbed the stairs toward the third-floor apartment, a hand grenade was thrown, and he retreated. Reinforcements then arrived, and for the next few hours a fierce gun battle blazed.

Subsequently, to their surprise, the raiders learned that Ramzi Binalshibh had been netted in the swoop. And nothing further was said of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.

But now it emerges that an Arab woman and a child were taken to an ISI safe house, where they identified the Shaikh Mohammed's body as their husband and father. The body was kept in a private NGO mortuary for 20 days before being buried, under the surveillance of the FBI, in a graveyard in the central district of Karachi.
I wouldn't think it very effective to torture a dead guy, eh?

Saladin said...

March 15, 2007 -- Guest Anonymous Column --

Giuliani, Clinton Battered Candidates as 9/11, OKC bomb Unravel.

According to the anodine USA Today, Republican presidential candidate Rudolph Giuliani couldn't find time in his busy schedule to seek the endorsement of the the International Association of Firefighters, which will host a bipartisan candidate forum in March. But the New York press reports that the former mayor was not invited, citing the group's press release: "The fundamental lack of respect that Giuliani showed our FDNY members is unforgivable - and that's why he was not invited. Our disdain for him is not about issues or a disputed contract, it is about a visceral, personal affront to the fallen, to our union and, indeed, to every one of us who has ever risked our lives by going into a burning building to save lives and property." With the recent revelation of CNN and BBC reporting, on Sept. 11, 2001, that World Trade Center 7, also known as the Saloman Brothers Building, had collapsed before it actually fell, suspicions about Giuliani's advance knowledge of what was obviously a preplanned demolition have again come to the fore. Was it, as seems likely, the mayor's emergency management office that warned the firefighters and news agencies the building would collapse? On 9/11, WTC7 became the third, after WTC1 and WTC2, steel frame building to ever collapse.

On the Democratic side, the junior senator from New York is an easy target for opponents who know the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City under her husband's watch was an inside job. As Terry Nichols and former FBI officials add new revelations to the many others that have been piling up since April 1995, Hillary Clinton is open to accusations of being married to the author of a grave terrorism event or, at the very least, to a participant in its cover-up. President Clinton's eulogies for the victims may soon be seen for what they were - cynical lies laying the groundwork for laws legalizing a crackdown. Once the gloves come off in the 2008 campaign, Hillary will find herself needing to likewise cover-up this misdeed and defend the gaping wounds in her character.

The truth about 9/11 and OKC bomb is so damaging that neither candidate will be able to withstand scrutiny on the key issue of state-sponsored terror.

micki said...

In the United States of America, people are entitled under our laws to a fair hearing, a fair trial, if you will, before they are presumed guilty.

That's one reason why the Libby trial was important. Saladin, if you prefer another method, you should move to a country of your choice that condones vigilante justice, which you appear to support.

Self-appointed doers of justice don't cut it in this country.

capt said...

U.S. officials raise doubts about Sheikh Mohammed's confession


"I have never known a criminal - either terrorist or otherwise - that didn't exaggerate," said Michigan Representative Mike Rogers, a former FBI agent and the top Republican on the terrorism panel of the House of Representatives intelligence committee.

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said authorities would decide the credibility of Mohammed's claims if he is tried.

"These are his words," Whitman said.


*****end of clip*****

Sure, some self-promotion and grandiose self-delusion, how much of that is from being tortured or brainwashed? How many years does it take for Stockholm syndrome?


Saladin said...

Micki, your hostility makes you irrational. I never said anything about refusing a fair trial, whatever that means nowadays, I only commented about my expectations of the outcome re: proving him a liar. And I was right. If you don't like my commentary, why on earth do you still read it? You think you make me angry? I saw your comment at DWF. You wish, but that would require me to care what you think. Since you are so obviously biased where my commentary is concerned I suggest you just skip past, like you've threatened to do in the past. You'll feel much better. And if you don't like the idea of free speech maybe you might be happier in China?

Saladin said...

Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth."

- Henry David Thoreau

Not empty platitudes

capt said...

Khalid the confessor draws skeptics in US

As has been reported more or less universally today, al-Qaida's alleged number three, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, has confessed to just about every terrorist attack planned or committed in recent years, from September 11 to mooted attempts to kill president Clinton and the late pope.

However, the 26-page transcript of the unclassified section of his military hearing at Guantanamo Bay, released by the Pentagon, is not just remarkable for the 31 offences Mohammed admits to.

You are also struck by his seeming insouciance at confessing to such a litany of offences.

While human rights groups around the world are condemning what they see as the unfairness of the tribunal system, the man at the centre of the storm sounds positively breezy.

"Do you have any questions concerning the tribunal process?" asks the tribunal president. "Okay by me," the defendant responds.


*****end of clip*****

What an embarrassment this has become.


capt said...

Bigotry That Hurts Our Military

As a lifelong Republican who served in the Army in Germany, I believe it is critical that we review -- and overturn -- the ban on gay service in the military. I voted for "don't ask, don't tell." But much has changed since 1993.

My thinking shifted when I read that the military was firing translators because they are gay. According to the Government Accountability Office, more than 300 language experts have been fired under "don't ask, don't tell," including more than 50 who are fluent in Arabic. This when even Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice recently acknowledged the nation's "foreign language deficit" and how much our government needs Farsi and Arabic speakers. Is there a "straight" way to translate Arabic? Is there a "gay" Farsi? My God, we'd better start talking sense before it is too late. We need every able-bodied, smart patriot to help us win this war.

In today's perilous global security situation, the real question is whether allowing homosexuals to serve openly would enhance or degrade our readiness. The best way to answer this is to reconsider the original points of opposition to open service.

First, America's views on homosexuals serving openly in the military have changed dramatically. The percentage of Americans in favor has grown from 57 percent in 1993 to a whopping 91 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds surveyed in a Gallup poll in 2003.

Military attitudes have also shifted. Fully three-quarters of 500 vets returning from Iraq and Afghanistan said in a December Zogby poll that they were comfortable interacting with gay people. Also last year, a Zogby poll showed that a majority of service members who knew a gay member in their unit said the person's presence had no negative impact on the unit or personal morale. Senior leaders such as retired Gen. John Shalikashvili and Lt. Gen. Daniel Christman, a former West Point superintendent, are calling for a second look.

Second, 24 nations, including 12 in Operation Enduring Freedom and nine in Operation Iraqi Freedom, permit open service. Despite controversy surrounding the policy change, it has had no negative impact on morale, cohesion, readiness or recruitment. Our allies did not display such acceptance back when we voted on "don't ask, don't tell," but we should consider their common-sense example.

Third, there are not enough troops to perform the required mission. The Army is "about broken," in the words of Colin Powell. The Army's chief of staff, Gen. Peter Schoomaker, told the House Armed Services Committee in December that "the active-duty Army of 507,000 will break unless the force is expanded by 7,000 more soldiers a year." To fill its needs, the Army is granting a record number of "moral waivers," allowing even felons to enlist. Yet we turn away patriotic gay and lesbian citizens.

The Urban Institute estimates that 65,000 gays are serving and that there are 1 million gay veterans. These gay vets include Capt. Cholene Espinoza, a former U-2 pilot who logged more than 200 combat hours over Iraq, and Marine Staff Sgt. Eric Alva, who lost his right leg to an Iraqi land mine. Since 2005, more than 800 personnel have been discharged from "critical fields" -- jobs considered essential but difficult in terms of training or retraining, such as linguists, medical personnel and combat engineers. Aside from allowing us to recruit and retain more personnel, permitting gays to serve openly would enhance the quality of the armed forces.

In World War II, a British mathematician named Alan Turing led the effort to crack the Nazis' communication code. He mastered the complex German enciphering machine, helping to save the world, and his work laid the basis for modern computer science. Does it matter that Turing was gay? This week, Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said that homosexuality is "immoral" and that the ban on open service should therefore not be changed. Would Pace call Turing "immoral"?

Since 1993, I have had the rich satisfaction of knowing and working with many openly gay and lesbian Americans, and I have come to realize that "gay" is an artificial category when it comes to measuring a man or woman's on-the-job performance or commitment to shared goals. It says little about the person. Our differences and prejudices pale next to our historic challenge. Gen. Pace is entitled, like anyone, to his personal opinion, even if it is completely out of the mainstream of American thinking. But he should know better than to assert this opinion as the basis for policy of a military that represents and serves an entire nation. Let us end "don't ask, don't tell." This policy has become a serious detriment to the readiness of America's forces as they attempt to accomplish what is arguably the most challenging mission in our long and cherished history.

The writer was a Republican senator from Wyoming from 1979 to 1997.


*****end of clip*****

He might not be 100% right on all counts but it is nice to hear another older GOP statesman confirm that homophobia is "completely out of the mainstream of American thinking" a statement that rings true while others like Coulter spew hate speech and try to hide behind false humor. Hate is never funny and it looks bad on anybody that wears it.

" The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible."
~ Bertrand Russell (1872 - 1970), Marriage and Morals (1929) ch. 5


Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

Actually, Khalid Sheikh Munhammad is a fall guy.

The real culprit is Colonel Mustard, with the Knife, in the Conservatory.

Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

Arrrggh. Sorry about that "n" in KSM's name. Maybe I should just use his initials from now on. :)

capt said...

The Last Days of Constitutional Rule?

The Bush administration's greatest success is its ability to escape accountability for its numerous impeachable offenses.

The administration's offenses against US law, the US Constitution, civil liberties, human rights, and the Geneva Conventions, its lies to Congress and the American people, its vote-rigging scandals, its sweetheart no-bid contracts to favored firms, its political firing of Republican US Attorneys, its practice of kidnapping and torturing people in foreign hellholes, and its persecution of whistle blowers are altogether so vast that it is a major undertaking just to list them all.

Bush admits that he violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and spied on US citizens without warrants, a felony under the Act. Bush has shown total disrespect for civil liberty and the Constitution and has suffered rebukes from the Supreme Count. The evidence is overwhelming that the Bush administration manufactured false "intelligence" to justify military aggression against Iraq. The Halliburton contract scandals are notorious, as is the use of electronic voting machines programmed to miscount the actual vote.

The chief-of-staff to Vice President Cheney has been convicted for obstructing justice in the outing of a covert CIA officer. Proof of torture is overwhelming, and the Bush administration has even had the temerity to have permissive legislation passed after the fact that permits it to continue to torture "detainees." The Sibel Edmonds and other whistle blower cases are well known. The Senate Judiciary Committee has just issued subpoenas to Justice (sic) Dept. officials involved in the scandalous removal of US Attorneys who refused to be politicized.

Yet the Democrats have taken impeachment "off the table." Many Democrats and Republicans and a great many Christians can contemplate illegal military aggression against Iran, but not the impeachment of the greatest criminal administration in US history. Far from being scandalized by what the entire world views as an unjust invasion and occupation of Iraq by the US, leading Democratic and Republican candidates for the 2008 presidential nomination rushed to inform the Israel Lobby, AIPAC, that they, if elected, will keep US troops in Iraq.


*****end of clip*****

By not holding the slugs accountable we encourage future slugs to do the same and worse.

How many wars of aggression can a president start? So far as many as he/she wants.


Saladin said...

I guess that dead guy was a different KSM?

Saladin said...

March 15, 2007
Important: Huge Problem with KSM Confession
Raw Story

In his confession, KSM claims:

"I was responsible for planning, training, surveying, and financing for the New (or Second) Wave of attacks against the following skyscrapers after 9/11: ...Plaza Bank, Washington state"

The Plaza Bank was not founded until 2006 according to their official Web site:

" Founded in early 2006, with a vision of creating the leading commercial bank in the Pacific Northwest, Plaza Bank’s story quickly captured the hearts and passion of some of the region’s leading business minds. From Jack Creighton, former CEO of Weyerhaeuser and United Airlines, to former Seattle Mariner Edgar Martinez, and nationally acclaimed salon operator Gene Ju├írez, the story of a bank founded to bring “class to the mass” simply could not be contained."

I think we can say for quite certain that whomever is being held as KSM was either caught recently or that his entire confession is a fraud.
I guess they think the people are SOOOO stupid they will actually fall for this BS. They aren't even trying to make it look legit anymore.

micki said...

I'm all for free speech, fair trials, and not solving disputes with guns, for starters.

It's important to be aware of divergent viewpoints, that's one reason I (sometimes) read what you post. I usually scroll past your screeds, because I came to realize long ago, that they are pretty much the SSDD.

Saladin said...

"those in power must invent noble lies and pious frauds to keep the people in the stupor for which they are supremely fit"

Leo Strauss
The neoconman hero.

Saladin said...

Is someone here advocating solving disputes with guns? Or engaging in vigilante justice? Is vigilante justice better or worse than no justice at all? You don't read any of my posts to obtain a divergent view point, you're well aware of my political skepticism, you're just looking to provoke enmity, as you have shown numerous times with your comments, apparently every single comment I make you disagree with, or you just choose to ignore those you do agree with and concentrate on anything negative you can pick out. Feel free Micki, but I won't participate in a high school pissing match. Most people who comment here are very tolerant of "divergent" view points, you just aren't one of them.

Saladin said...

And now for an important "screed!" (I hope this isn't too similar to the last one!)

Got Milk? You're Under Arrest

Alan Scholl
Friday, March 16, 2007

In many states, you can possess it, but the law prohibits its sale. It is a violation of federal law to transport the substance across state lines with the intent to sell it. In many states, undercover investigators are at work trying to uncover the furtive networks that produce and distribute the stuff. Dealers have been pulled over and spectacular quantities of the contraband substance have been seized by triumphant investigators. Is this a tale from the War on Drugs?

Not exactly. But it is a tale from the war many states are conducting on those who sell raw milk.

That's right, there is a dangerous underground of dairy devotees who prefer to drink their milk straight from the cow, sans pasteurization and homogenization – and government is increasingly out to stop them. Some states, in fact, equate the sale of raw milk with the sale of drugs. Consider this from Washington Post reporter Thomas Bartlett:

The issue of selling raw milk is, legally speaking, dicey. To determine exactly how dicey, I call Ted Elkin, deputy director of the Office of Food Protection and Consumer Health Services at the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Elkin is in charge of making sure the state's dairy laws are enforced.

"So," I begin carefully, "Maryland's position on raw milk is . . .?"

"Raw milk is illegal for sale," Elkin says. "Period."

"Huh," I reply.

To help drive this point home, he compares selling raw milk to selling pot.

"Interesting," I say. At that moment, I am standing in my kitchen with the fridge door open, staring at my gallon of possible contraband.

This seems positively surreal, like some parody of the war on drugs aired on Saturday Night Live.

Proof that the war on contraband milk is taken all too seriously by some state officials, Bartlett's conversation with Elkin next turned frighteningly serious. Noting that Maryland lacks the resources to track down all users of raw milk, Elkin suggested that the state might eventually catch them. "Using an analogy, Elkin explains that a small-time heroin dealer in Baltimore might be able to elude the authorities for quite a while," Bartlett wrote of his interview with Elkin. "So, during our conversation, raw milk was compared to marijuana and heroin. What's more, Hitler's secret police were mentioned – in passing, sure, but still."

Just like the War on Drugs, the War on Raw Milk is serious business. Just ask farmer Richard Hebron. According to Time magazine, in October of last year the Michigan man was pulled over by police near Ann Arbor. According to Time, when police pulled him over, they "ordered him to put his hands on the hood of his mud-splattered truck and seized its contents: 453 gal. of milk." Hebron had already been the subject of a large sting operation conducted by state Ag officials.

As Time reported, "An undercover agricultural investigator had infiltrated the co-op as part of a sting operation that resulted in the seizure of $7,000 worth of fresh-food items, including 35 lbs. of raw butter, 29 qt. of cream and all those gallons of the suspicious white liquid. Although Hebron's home office was searched and his computer seized, no charges have been filed. 'When they tested the milk, they couldn't find any problems with it,' says Hebron. 'It seems like they're just looking for some way to shut us down.'" Similar sting operations have been conducted in other states, including in Wisconsin, America's erstwhile "Dairy State," where one might expect officials to have a slightly more generous attitude toward the state's beleaguered dairy farmers.

Why the fuss over raw milk? Before the advent of pasteurization, raw milk was widely consumed and was implicated in disease outbreaks in during the 19th century that caused many deaths in American cities. But that milk, according to some, was often contaminated in ways that would be inconceivable today.

"Milk was commonly mixed with additives to gain profit," wrote author Laurie Winn Carlson in her book Cattle, a history of the cow. "Then, to make it look whole, additives were mixed in, such as carbonized carrots, grilled onions, caramel, marigold petals, chalk, plaster, white clay and starch. To replace the cream that had been removed, emulsions of almonds and animal brains were dissolved in the liquid to thicken it."

Today, raw milk supporters say, the product is safe. In California where the sale of raw milk is legal, Organic Pastures Dairy says it has sold more than 40 million servings of raw milk without complaint. Moreover, raw milk advocates say the product is part of a healthy diet. Pasteurization, they say, destroys important enzymes and beneficial bacteria that exist in milk. Drink raw milk, they say, and your arthritis pain will cease, your asthma will go away and you'll lose weight. Give it to young children and they will be less likely to get sick and suffer from allergies.

Are all such claims true? Who knows. But one thing is true: Selling raw milk should not be illegal.

"There are 65,000 child-porn websites," Nancy Sanders, a raw milk supporter, mother and pediatric nurse told Time. "Why doesn't the government go after those?"

With dangerous criminals like dairy farmer Richard Hebron on the loose peddling such dangerous stuff, those state governments don't have time.
Put your hands in the air and back away from the milk!

micki said...

Please help Al Gore in his efforts.


micki said...

Thank Al Gore for his Leadership
There may be no single person who has done more for our environment than Al Gore.  That's why I'm so pleased that Vice President Gore has accepted my invitation to testify before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on March 21st! And I want you to help me give him the warmest welcome possible. -- Barbara Boxer (D-CA)

capt said...

Kucinich: 'Impeachment may well be the only remedy which remains to stop a war of aggression against Iran'

During a speech on the House floor on Thursday, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) declared that "impeachment may well be the only remedy which remains to stop a war of aggression against Iran." The 2004 presidential candidate, who is running again in 2008, told RAW STORY that his House floor statement "speaks for itself."

"This House cannot avoid its constitutionally authorized responsibility to restrain the abuse of Executive power," Kucinich said on the floor today. "The Administration has been preparing for an aggressive war against Iran. There is no solid, direct evidence that Iran has the intention of attacking the United States or its allies."

Kucinich noted that since the US "is a signatory to the U.N. Charter, a constituent treaty among the nations of the world," and Article II states that "all members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state," then "even the threat of a war of aggression is illegal."

"Article VI of the U.S. Constitution makes such treaties the Supreme Law of the Land," Kucinich continued. "This Administration, has openly threatened aggression against Iran in violation of the U.S. Constitution and the U.N. Charter."

Kucinich added, "This week the House Appropriations Committee removed language from the Iraq war funding bill requiring the Administration, under Article 1, Section 8, Clause 11 of the Constitution, to seek permission before it launched an attack against Iran."

According to the Associated Press, "Conservative Democrats as well as lawmakers concerned about the possible impact on Israel had argued for the change in strategy."

"The Iran-related proposal stemmed from a desire to make sure Bush did not launch an attack without going to Congress for approval, but drew opposition from numerous members of the rank and file in a series of closed-door sessions last week," David Espo reported for the AP. "Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., said in an interview there is widespread fear in Israel about Iran, which is believed to be seeking nuclear weapons and has expressed unremitting hostility about the Jewish state."

"It would take away perhaps the most important negotiating tool that the U.S. has when it comes to Iran," Berkley told the AP, while Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY) added, "I didn't think it was a very wise idea to take things off the table if you're trying to get people to modify their behavior and normalize it in a civilized way."

The AP article continued, "Several officials said there was widespread opposition to the proposal at a closed-door meeting last week of conservative and moderate Democrats, who said they feared tying the hands of the administration when dealing with an unpredictable and potentially hostile regime in Tehran. "

With the language on Iran removed from the Iraq funding bill, Kucinich now believes that impeaching Bush may be the "only remedy" left to prevent him from mounting an aggressive military campaign against Iran.

"Since war with Iran is an option of this Administration and since such war is patently illegal, then impeachment may well be the only remedy which remains to stop a war of aggression against Iran," Kucinich said today.

A press release sent to RAW STORY by Kucinich's office notes that the Congressman "has consistently spoken out on the House floor and been an advocate for bringing to light the war this Administration is appearing to prepare against Iran," but this is the first time that he's raised the specter of "impeachment" there. Many Democrats insisted before and after last year's midterm elections that impeachment was "off the table."

In January, RAW STORY first reported that while making an unannounced appearance at a media reform conference, Kucinich was pressed by bloggers in attendance about impeachment.

"Telling the crowd that while he didn't think immediate action was wise, due to fears that Bush might 'accelerate the war even more,' the congressman warned that 'if Bush attacks Iran, all bets are off,'" Miriam Raftery reported. "'The President is clearly trying to provoke Iran,'" he said, adding that the Bush administration is 'treading on the thinnest ice it has ever been on.'"


capt said...

New Thread!