Over The Cliff
Click image for larger version
Promoting Progressive/Liberal Ideals and Change in American Politics.
Today, Monsanto and DuPont control 60 percent of the U.S. corn and soybean seed market. They join three other companies, Syngenta, Dow and Bayer, as the world's leading suppliers of seed and chemicals for commercial crops worldwide. Source
March 13, 2007
The latest round of disclosures from the Department of Justice raise new and troubling questions about the firing of six United States Attorneys.
We have just received documents from the Justice Department in the last hour and are in the process of reviewing them. At a minimum, we believe these documents show a coordinated effort, initiated by the White House, to purge every United States Attorney in the country.
Until recently, the Justice Department persisted in stonewalling the Congress with claims that these firings were “performance related.” Now, these documents prove that assertion to be categorically false. We now know the original plan was to fire all the United States Attorneys. It is absurd to think that the performance of every United States Attorney in the country was sub-par and that they deserved to be fired. So this is about something else.
Is it about political cronyism? Is it about partisan pressure on public corruption investigations?
We don’t know because the Justice Department and the White House continue to hide behind rationalizations and cover stories that are obviously not true. It is time to come clean.
I have directed my staff to engage with the Justice Department and White House to bring in officials who may have knowledge of these issues for depositions. If they fail to come forward voluntarily, we are prepared to consider further subpoenas.
Media accounts have raised questions about the President’s and the White House role in this matter. The public deserves a full accounting of their involvement. I think the president may want to consider making himself available to answer questions from the press on this matter.
The important thing to remember is that this is an ongoing investigation and we will seek coordination with and cooperation from the White House and the Justice Department to get to the bottom of this first. We will not put the cart before the horse by demanding resignations and issuing subpoenas without first asking these individuals to voluntarily answer our questions so that we might get a better sense of what has happened and who should be held accountable.
But we will get to the bottom of this crisis in our Justice Department with or without cooperation. The United States Attorneys are entrusted with tremendous power in our criminal justice system. Using the United States Attorneys as political pawns undermines their critical work in fighting terrorism and risks subjecting the power of the prosecutor to partisan whims.
If that happened here, we deserve the truth and we deserve more accountability than the resignation of a staff member. We are looking to establish better accountability not just in how the Justice Department handled the firing of these US Attorneys, but we want to them to account for their mishandling of the national security letters.
We will markup a bill in our committee this Thursday that repeals the provision in the Patriot Act allowing US Attorneys to be appointed without Senate confirmation and next week we will hold hearings on the use of national security letters. Next Tuesday we will be holding an issue on the NSL Scandal. We are going to use our oversight authority to the best of our ability to hold this Administration accountable for their actions. - Text Source
At the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations in November 2005, Senator Obama called for: (1) a reduction in the number of U.S. troops; (2) a time frame for a phased withdrawal; (3) the Iraqi government to make progress on forming a political solution; (4) improved reconstruction efforts to restore basic services in Iraq; and (5) engaging the international community, particularly key neighboring states and Arab nations, to become more involved in Iraq. In January 2006 he traveled to Iraq and met with senior U.S. military commanders, Iraqi officials and U.S. troops in Baghdad and Fallujah.
Senator Obama introduced legislation in January 2007 to offer a responsible alternative to President Bush's failed escalation policy. The legislation commences redeployment of U.S. forces no later than May 1, 2007 with the goal of removing all combat brigades from Iraq by March 31, 2008 -- a date consistent with the bipartisan Iraq Study Group's expectations. The plan allows for a limited number of U.S. troops to remain in Iraq as basic force protection, to engage in counter-terrorism and to continue the training of Iraqi security forces. If the Iraqis are successful in meeting the 13 benchmarks for progress laid out by the Bush Administration, this plan also allows for the temporary suspension of the redeployment, provided Congress agrees that the benchmarks have been met. - Source
Lewis "Scooter" Libby, who has been found guilty of trying to block a CIA leak investigation, is one of the highest-ranking White House officials ever to stand criminal trial.
He was enmeshed in the inquiry into the leaking of the identity of a CIA operative - who happened to be the wife of a prominent critic of White House Iraq policy.
As chief aide to Vice-President Dick Cheney, Mr Libby had been involved in almost every major decision made by the Bush administration. - BBC News
“There is a cloud over the vice president,” the prosecutor, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, told the jury in summing up the case last month.
Mr. Cheney was not charged in the case, cooperated with the investigation and expressed a willingness to testify if called, though he never was. Yet he was a central figure throughout, fighting back against suggestions that he and President Bush had taken the country to war on the basis of flawed intelligence, showing himself to be keenly sensitive to how he was portrayed in the news media and backing Mr. Libby to the end.
With Tuesday’s verdict on Mr. Libby — guilty on four of five counts, including perjury and obstruction of justice — Mr. Cheney’s critics, and even some of his supporters, said the vice president had been diminished.
“The trial has been death by 1,000 cuts for Cheney,” said Scott Reed, a Republican strategist. “It’s hurt him inside the administration. It’s hurt him with the Congress, and it’s hurt his stature around the world because it has shown a lot of the inner workings of the White House. It peeled the bark right off the way they operate.”
- New York Times