You are currently browsing the monthly archive for February 2009.
An internal Justice Department report on the conduct of senior lawyers who approved waterboarding and other harsh interrogation tactics is causing anxiety among former Bush administration officials. H. Marshall Jarrett, chief of the department’s ethics watchdog unit, the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), confirmed last year he was investigating whether the legal advice in crucial interrogation memos “was consistent with the professional standards that apply to Department of Justice attorneys.” According to two knowledgeable sources who asked not to be identified discussing sensitive matters, a draft of the report was submitted in the final weeks of the Bush administration. It sharply criticized the legal work of two former top officials—Jay Bybee and John Yoo—as well as that of Steven Bradbury, who was chief of the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) at the time the report was submitted, the sources said. (Bybee, Yoo and Bradbury did not respond to multiple requests for comment.)
But then–Attorney General Michael Mukasey and his deputy, Mark Filip, strongly objected to the draft, according to the sources. Filip wanted the report to include responses from all three principals, said one of the sources, a former top Bush administration lawyer. (Mukasey could not be reached; his former chief of staff did not respond to requests for comment. Filip also did not return a phone message.) OPR is now seeking to include the responses before a final version is presented to Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. “The matter is under review,” said Justice spokesman Matthew Miller.
Federal authorities examining the early, chaotic days of the $125 billion American-led effort to rebuild Iraq have significantly broadened their inquiry to include senior American military officers who oversaw the program, according to interviews with senior government officials and court documents.
Court records show that last month investigators subpoenaed the personal bank records of Col. Anthony B. Bell, who is now retired from the Army but who was in charge of reconstruction contracting in Iraq in 2003 and 2004 when the small operation grew into a frenzied attempt to remake the country’s broken infrastructure. In addition, investigators are examining the activities of Lt. Col. Ronald W. Hirtle of the Air Force, who was a senior contracting officer in Baghdad in 2004, according to two federal officials involved in the inquiry.
It is not clear what specific evidence exists against the two men, and both said they had nothing to hide from investigators. Yet officials say that several criminal cases over the past few years point to widespread corruption in the operation the men helped to run. As part of the inquiry, the authorities are taking a fresh look at information given to them by Dale C. Stoffel, an American arms dealer and contractor who was killed in Iraq in late 2004.
Typical republican greed, Cheney must be envious
Now we have a new president – and we have a new boogeyman – the economic meltdown. .
Now don’t get me wrong. Anyone who’s read this column over the past few years knows I’ve been Chicken Littling about the financial house of cards for a long time. And, now that it’s finally collapsed, it’s even worse than I predicted, and getting worse by the day.
Which is why Obama and his team are on the tube night and day talking about nothing else — as if Americans are concerned about nothing, which isn’t true.
71% of Americans are in favor of an investigation into the possible misuse of the Department of Justice by the Bush administration according to a Gallup poll released yesterday.
One reason for this surprisingly robust groundswell for investigations may be that each day, formerly secret Bush-era documents surface that truly shock the conscience.
Just yesterday the ACLU got it’s hands on a truly smoking gun memo written for then Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld. This document informed Rumsfeld that those he’d tasked with beating information out of suspected terrorists had not just tortured them, but tortured some of them, to death. In other words, they murdered them.
No, I’m not kidding. Here read the original document yourself.
The look and tone of the Treasury Secretary reminds me of the third grade. The smartest kid in the class, the one teachers loved, was the boy who always raised his hand and waved it impatiently while some other student fumbled for an answer. If the teacher stepped out of the room for a moment, bedlam usually followed and this kid would try to restore order. “Be quiet or I will tell.” Kids threw things and tormented him until the teacher returned.
Timothy Geithner reminded me of that type as he lectured the country on how the Obama administration intends to save the financial system. The country is apparently responding in kind — hurling blistering comments at him and the “best and brightest” who are now in high office. How could these smart people be so dumb about things everyone else already understands? Americans do not need to be told, as Geithner did, that they have “lost faith.” The remark is condescending and infuriates further.
What people wanted to hear, in plain English, were hard answers and an honest acknowledgment of the extreme irregularity of events — government is rushing to rescue the very private interests that led us to sorrow. Instead, Geithner told us he has a “plan.” He will share the details at some later date. Be calm. Stay tuned.
Funny how so few of them are Democrats……….
Darwin Day is a global celebration of science and reason held on or around Feb. 12, the birthday anniversary of evolutionary biologist Charles Darwin. This year marks the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth.
On this website you can find all sorts of information about Charles Darwin and the Darwin Day Celebration. If you are hosting a Darwin Day event, you can post information about it on our events listing. You can also locate Darwin Day programs near you by searching our events section.
CNN) — Luis Caplan served the poor of the South Bronx for decades out of a small medical office. His leg was amputated after a bout with cancer in 1990, yet he continued to work for another five years.
Now, his savings has nearly been wiped out because of the economic crisis. At the age of 71, he faces losing his apartment if things don’t change soon. The government bailed out the big institutions, but “what happens to the little people,” he asks.
“What happens to the real middle class? What happens to me?” he says, choking back tears. “It’s awful. It’s really awful.”
With Congress working to pass the $800 billion stimulus bill, millions of Americans — especially those with homes they’re trying to sell or about to be foreclosed on — are asking the same thing: What’s in it for me?
Cuba’s President Castro Sends Positive Signals to the New Obama Administration
The Obama administration has taken note of remarks both by Cuban President Raul Castro and by his brother, former President Fidel Castro, expressing, in part, positive sentiments about Barack Obama and the significance of his presidency, according to a senior State Department official. Both Castros, using somewhat different language, have said they view Obama as intelligent and sincere in wanting to change U.S. foreign policy and see his presidency as historic.
The Castros’ remarks have come since the U.S. election and have continued occasionally in interviews, comments to the media, and, in the case of Fidel Castro, his frequent articles in the Cuban press. “I think the statements are important. They’ve registered,” said the State Department official.
U.S. policy toward Cuba, including the various restrictions that flow from a 47-year-old economic embargo, will be reviewed by Obama administration agencies. During the campaign, Obama said that he intended to remove restrictions on travel and remittances to Cuba by Cuban-Americans and that he favored well-prepared “direct diplomacy” with the island’s communist government.
HOPKINS VILLAGE, Belize — Sitting down here in Central America, happily abusing my health, occasionally, between the hangovers and the bouts with sand fleas and mosquitoes comes an insight or two, or at least what passes for insight in my lowbrow take on life. One of these is just how damned lucky the Third World is that it cannot afford a sophisticated mental health system. By that I mean the kind like in the “developed countries,” where murder and suicide rates are quintuple what they are here in this village. Not that we are without own village resources. My Garifuna buddy Eljay, was in what we would call a depressed state a few months ago and went to a local “spirit doctor.” The wizened old spirit mojo man cured Eljay with a single utterance: “Quit smokin’ da ganja for one month.” It worked. Total cost: About $2.50 and a pound of red beans.
Typical GOP disregard for for the rest of us…..
Wall Street bankers, with their $18 billion in bonuses, private jets and gaudy conferences, are causing headaches for the GOP.
President Obama has proposed capping compensation for executives at banks that take taxpayer bailout money at $500,000. Republicans hate the idea — a position puts them uncomfortably on the side of people currently about as popular as child-porn producers and subprime mortgage brokers.
Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-AZ) blamed the “tone deaf” bankers for creating the political environment that allows Obama…