Court Of Impeachment And War Crimes: A News and Views Round Up: Politics, Obama, Clinton, McCain, Plus Finance, Privacy and Impeachment Issues

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Sunday, April 6, 2008

A News and Views Round Up: Politics, Obama, Clinton, McCain, Plus Finance, Privacy and Impeachment Issues

News: Pure Politics And Reviews Of The Day….

Worth Remembering And Revisiting


By Binyamin Appelbaum

The economy is "right on the cusp" of recession, Eric Rosengren, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, said yesterday, but New England appears to be suffering less than the rest of the nation because the local economy is less dependent on homebuilding and other construction than the economies of Florida, Southern California, and the struggling Sun Belt in between.

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"New England has been better off than other parts of the country," he said, with housing prices declining modestly compared to harder-hit regions of the country.

Evidence of the fallout from a severe slump in the US housing market continued to accumulate yesterday.

The unemployment rate climbed to 5.1 percent in March, the highest level since the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The US Department of Labor reported that employers cut payrolls by 80,000 in March.

Also yesterday, the average price for a gallon of regular gas topped $3.30, a new record, according to the American Automobile Association.

The employment data in particular led many economists to declare that a recession is upon us. The economy shed jobs every month in the first quarter, for a loss of 232,000 jobs this year. The last time job numbers declined for three straight months was in 2003, at the beginning of the Iraq war.

"This magnitude of a rise in the unemployment rate has never occurred in the postwar period without the economy being in recession," Bear Stearns Cos. said in a research note to clients. The investment bank is the most prominent casualty of those woes. It agreed to a government-sponsored buyout by its rival JPMorgan Chase & Co. after its finances were fatally compromised by its involvement in the subprime mortgage industry.

With polls showing the vast majority of Americans concerned about the administration's management of the economy, the three candidates to succeed President Bush all rushed yesterday to assure voters that they could do better.

Senator Hillary Clinton described herself as "Paulette Revere, calling for action to keep the problems from our housing market from spilling over into our economy." She said the government should spend $30 billion on stimulants. Her Democratic rival for the nomination, Senator Barack Obama, called the employment data "the latest indicator of how badly America needs fundamental change." He also said the government should pass a stimulus package, though he did not specify an amount.

Senator John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, said the numbers were a "stark reminder of the economic challenges confronting families." He called on the government to cut taxes, streamline regulation, and open foreign markets to American products.

Yesterday's jobs report shows the problems that started in the housing sector have spread. The nation lost 51,000 construction jobs in March, but also 48,000 manufacturing jobs and 35,000 "professional and business" positions. The net loss was mitigated by more jobs in healthcare and education, as well as the continued expansion of the government.

Still, it is clear that a growing number of American families are losing ground financially. Whether that constitutes a recession is literally an academic question, decided by a panel of economics scholars after the fact once additional data become available.

Rosengren was interviewed yesterday by NECN for "This Week in Business," a weekly show scheduled to air at 12:30 p.m. tomorrow. He said the new employment data was "consistent" with the opening stages of a recession, but without that data he could not tell whether economic growth actually is slowing.

It was one of the first extended interviews Rosengren has granted since taking office in July. It comes at a moment of high interest in the work of the Fed, which is charged with limiting inflation and unemployment, as well as supervising the nation's banks.

Rosengren defended the unprecedented federal bailout of Bear Stearns as necessary to protect the broader economy. "Extraordinary measures occur during extraordinary times," he said.

But he also acknowledged the Fed could have done more to prevent the housing market from overheating, and that its ability to supervise the industry was hampered by an inadequate regulatory structure that ought to be changed.

"Financial markets have evolved," Rosengren said. "Our regulatory framework has not evolved at the same speed."

He said the Fed first needed to address the current crisis, and then should consider various proposals to overhaul government oversight of the financial system.

Binyamin Appelbaum can be reached at

CLINTONITES, IT'S TIME FOR OBAMA By Tripp Jones April 5, 2008

FOR SUPPORTERS of Senator Hillary Clinton, like me, it's time to get behind her rival, Senator Barack Obama.

The exposure of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr.'s outrageous and divisive remarks has injected the raw emotions associated with race relations into the presidential campaign. This new dynamic raises the stakes in an already high-stakes race. Our responsibility as progressive-minded voters is to show Americans a positive alternative to the toxic politics of race. Rallying around Obama now increases our chances of doing just that. Obama has run a positive and inspiring campaign, and has attracted a majority of pledged delegates. It is hard to envision a scenario in which Democratic superdelegates override the will of millions of primary voters and caucus participants. Obama will be the nominee.

Unfortunately, the controversy surrounding Wright presents Republicans with a polarizing wedge issue to exploit with general election voters. This approach not only risks an Obama loss in November - denying us a fresh, capable leader - but it would set the country back in its racial reconciliation process. American 2008 should be better than that.

As we have done at many key junctures in our nation's history, Democrats and other progressive-minded voters must lead the way. The current firestorm is an opportunity to move beyond the anger and resentment that have characterized our nation's dialogue on race. By throwing our enthusiastic support behind Obama now, voters of all political stripes can echo the candidate's refrain, "Not this time."

There have been many moments in our history when we failed to heed that call. Twenty years ago, as a staffer of Governor Michael Dukakis's presidential campaign, I observed the use of the now-famous "Willie Horton" ad to undermine a good man's character, fan the flames of racial division and distract voters from the most important issues of the time.

Not this time. We have an opportunity to show that we have learned from our mistakes. The first step, which Obama took in his recent speech on race, was to condemn Wright's offensive rhetoric.

The second step is in our hands: Strengthen Obama as the Democratic nominee by uniting behind him now. Amplify his postpartisan message to American voters. Families in Pennsylvania, like those across America, are feeling insecure about their jobs, healthcare, their children's education, and the safety of the nation. They want leaders to be bold and practical in addressing our most serious challenges, and to work across party lines to achieve results. Obama promises to do that.

Those of us who have supported Clinton and continue to believe that she would be an excellent president can play an important part in moving our nation forward by supporting Obama. We can spread the word that he offers the right leadership for these challenging times.

Our support would send a powerful message that the United States is headed in a new direction - on race relations, certainly, but perhaps most importantly, on what it means to be an American.

Tripp Jones is cofounder of Mass INC.


Globe Columnist / April 5, 2008 PHILADELPHIA

THE OVATIONS of 4,000 people at Muhlenberg College in Allentown clearly inspired Barack Obama into theatrics. In bringing up Hillary Clinton's "3 a.m." television ad that attacks Obama's readiness to be commander in chief, Obama raised his hand to his head, thumb by the ear, pinky by his mouth. To more roars and laughter, he said, "John McCain and Hillary Clinton, they had a chance to make a good decision on the most important foreign policy issue of a generation and they got it wrong. There's only one candidate left who got it right and that's who you should want answering that phone call at 3 o'clock in the morning."

Two days later, I asked Obama in an interview whether that moment reflected a refreshed level of confidence. He did admit that the ad "had some immediate media value." But he added that "the more people think about it, the more they think we want someone with good judgment answering those phone calls."

It appears that an increasingly positive judgment is being rendered on Obama in Pennsylvania. With less than three weeks to go before its primary, polls show him slashing Clinton's lead, once more than 20 points in many polls, down to an average of 6.6 percentage points calculated by Real Clear Politics.

"The demographics of ethnic working-class whites still work against him," said Muhlenberg College pollster Chris Borick. "I'm not sure he'll be able to close the gap all the way, but if she [Clinton] needs a 20-point blowout/slam-dunk that many observers say she needs, then he may be accomplishing what he needs to do."

Asked if he thought his rally was helped by his generally praised speech on race in response to controversial clips from his former pastor, Obama said all he knew was that his speech was "heartfelt."

"I think that people always appreciate those moments where a politician's not talking in sound bites but trying to speak honestly about a question," he said. "So I don't know what the political effect of it may be, but I know that as I've been traveling around Pennsylvania, what people really are much more focused on is high gas prices and jobs leaving and the home foreclosure crisis."

Obama was asked what the difference was between his appeal in earlier states where he won the white vote outright and states like Ohio and Pennsylvania. Obama, who has run more of a 50-state campaign than Clinton, said the major difference was familiarity and Clinton started with more of it in Pennsylvania and Ohio because of the popularity of former president Bill Clinton. He said the speculation of his being able to connect with working-class white voters was ironic since his grandparents were of "pretty modest means" who "always had to scrimp to save to just make ends meet."

Asked whether there was a silent double standard that forced him to address the issue of race before any of the other candidates, Obama said, "I'm not sure it's a double standard. My former pastor said some very offensive things for a broad cross-section of the American people and I think any candidate for president would have had to deal with that at some level. I do think that talking about race is something that people try to avoid, although there's this fascination with it, which is part of the reason why we saw so much attention paid to these comments.

"But I think that what people want is common sense. They don't appreciate whether it's coming from my former pastor or from talk radio hosts sensationalizing the issue, overstating the issue, using it for political purposes. . . . There are obviously some wounds that have to be healed and there's some very concrete issues that have to be dealt with in terms of disparities in healthcare, or income or joblessness, legacies of the past. So we don't want to paper those issues over. . . . My speech tried to avoid some of the simplicities that somehow widen division instead of bringing people together."

For the moment, the complex campaign of Obama appears to have avoided being sunk by the simplicities.

Derrick Z. Jackson can be reached at

SOFT MONEY' BATTLE BREWING: Millions raised; attack ads set By Scott Helman

Globe Staff / April 6, 2008

Four years ago, wealthy Republicans bankrolled two influential, loosely regulated political organizations that helped President Bush win reelection with TV ads invoking the 2001 terrorist attacks and maligning the Vietnam War record of Democratic nominee John F. Kerry.

Now, some of the same GOP donors and operatives are planning a similar independent group to help the party hold onto the White House this fall, according to Republicans familiar with the discussions.

The organization is one of several independent groups aligned with both Democrats and Republicans that are busy arming for the general election, in a year that could see record activity by such outside entities. They are plotting strategy, crafting ad campaigns, and raising millions in "soft money" - largely unrestricted contributions from wealthy individuals, corporations, and labor unions.

The new GOP group is still in embryonic form, Republicans strategists say, but it is being led by operatives who ran the 2004 Republican group Progress for America, and will probably be funded at least partly by "alumni" of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, the group that used TV ads four years ago to challenge Kerry's well-documented heroism in Vietnam.

One Republican strategist familiar with the plans said Republicans expect Senator Barack Obama, who leads rival Hillary Clinton in the Democratic race, to be their opponent and have begun assembling material to turn voters against him.

"They're beginning to put the book together on Obama," said the strategist, who discussed the effort on condition of anonymity.

Campaign finance rules limit individual donations to candidates to $2,300 per person, per election, and the candidates must publicly disclose their contributors. But loopholes in the law allow independent groups to operate more freely, permitting unlimited donations to the 527 organizations, named for a section of the tax code, and to 501(c)4 entities, tax-exempt nonprofits that can engage in some political activity if their primary mission is "social welfare."

It is too early to get a complete picture of third-party spending planned for 2008, in part because many of the groups keep their intentions and activity cloaked from public view. But in a presidential race that is already breaking fund-raising records, 527s, nonprofit organizations, and unions appear poised to spend at least $500 million combined to help swing the election to the candidates they favor, according to analysts and news accounts.

Early indications suggest a greater level of activity this cycle than in 2004, when independent spending - led on the right by the Swift Boat group and Progress for America, and on the left by organizations called America Coming Together and the Media Fund - was a major force. Four years ago, 527 groups raised $424 million, according to the Campaign Finance Institute, a nonpartisan organization affiliated with George Washington University that studies money in politics.Continued...

Colombia Breaks Ties With Clinton Strategist, Cites 'A Lack Of Respect'

(My God He Can’t Even “Get No Respect” In Columbia!)

WASHINGTON - The Colombian government said yesterday that it has fired Mark Penn's public relations firm after the chief campaign strategist for Democrat Hillary Clinton apologized for meeting with Colombian officials pushing a trade deal with the United States.

Colombian officials said they terminated their contract with lobbying and public relations giant Burson-Marsteller in response to a statement released Friday by Penn, the firm's chief executive, calling the meeting an error in judgment. Clinton opposes the trade deal.

"The Colombian government considers this a lack of respect to Colombians, and finds this response unacceptable," government officials said in a news release. The government will continue its push for a free trade agreement with the United States, they added.

The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that Penn had met with the Colombian ambassador March 31.

Clinton advisers said the meeting was not connected to the campaign, but made clear the candidate was not happy to learn of it. Penn later issued a statement expressing regret.

The Colombian government is trying to secure congressional passage of the agreement signed in 2006 by President Alvaro Uribe and the Bush administration.

According to Justice Department filings, Colombia agreed last year to pay Burson-Marsteller $300,000 to help "educate members of the US Congress and other audiences" about the trade deal and secure continued US funding for an antinarcotics program. Clinton and Barack Obama, her Democratic rival, oppose the deal. Clinton told the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO this week that the United States needs new trade policies before it has new trade deals. "That includes no trade deal with Colombia while violence against trade unionists continues in that country," she said.

Penn's political consulting firm, Penn, Schoen & Berland, has been paid $10.8 million so far by Clinton's campaign.


Worthy Of Visitation:


April 06, 2008 9:49 AM

In Eugene, Ore., Saturday. Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., attempted to change the measure by which anyone might assess who criticized the Iraq war first, her or Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., by saying those keeping records should start in January 2005, when Obama joined the Senate. (A measure that conveniently avoids her October 2002 vote to authorize use of force against Iraq at a time that Obama was speaking out against the war.) She claimed that using that measure, she criticized the war in Iraq before Obama did.

But Clinton's claim was false.

Clinton on Saturday told Oregonians, "when Sen. Obama came to the Senate he and I have voted exactly the same except for one vote. And that happens to be the facts. We both voted against early deadlines. I actually starting criticizing the war in Iraq before he did."

It's an odd way to measure opposition to the war -- comparing who gave the first criticism of the war in Iraq starting in January 2005, ignoring Obama's opposition to the war throughout 2003 and 2004. (And Clinton's vote for it.)

But even if one were to employ this "Start Counting in January 2005" measurement, Clinton did not criticize the war in Iraq first.

Scrambling to support their boss's claim, Clinton campaign officials pointed to a paper statement Clinton issued on Jan. 26, 2005, explaining her vote to confirm Condoleezza Rice as Secretary of State.

"The Administration and Defense Department's Iraq policy has been, by any reasonable measure, riddled with errors, misstatements and misjudgments," the January 2005 Clinton statement said. "From the beginning of the Iraqi war, we were inadequately prepared for the aftermath of the invasion with too few troops and an inadequate plan to stabilize Iraq."

But Obama offered criticisms of the war in Iraq eight days before that, directly to Rice, in his very first meeting as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Jan. 18.

Obama pushed Rice on her answers to previous questioners regarding the effectiveness of Iraqi troops, and he criticized the administration for conveying a never-ending commitment to a US troop presence in Iraq.

"I am concerned about this notion that was pursued by Senator Biden and others that we've made significant progress in training troops," Obama told Rice "Because it seems to me that in your response to Senator Alexander that we will not be able to get our troops out absent the Iraqi forces being able to secure their own country, or at least this administration would not be willing to define success in the absence of such security.

I never got quite a clear answer to Senator Biden's question as to how many troops -- Iraqi troops -- don't just have a uniform and aren't just drawing a paycheck, but are effective enough and committed enough that we would willingly have our own troops fighting side-by- side with them. The number of 120,000 you gave, I suspect, does not meet those fairly stringent criteria that Senator Biden was alluding to. I just want to make sure, on the record, that you give me some sense of where we're at now."

Obama concluded his brief q&a by saying "if our measure is bring our troops home and success is measured by whether Iraqis can secure their own circumstances, and if our best troops in the world are having trouble controlling the situation with 150,000 or so, it sounds like we've got a long way to go. And I think part of what the American people are going to need is some certainty, not an absolute timetable, but a little more certainty than is being provided, because right now, it appears to be an entirely open-ended commitment."

The misrepresentation of the record is symbolic of the re-writing of history Clinton has attempted on her record regarding the war in Iraq.

Because the larger context is more important. And Clinton's written criticism of the war in a press statement in January 2005 received little attention compared to the press surrounding her trip to Iraq the next month, in February 2005.

Upon returning she argued that setting a deadline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops would aid the enemy.

“I don’t think it’s useful to set a deadline because I think it sends a signal to the terrorists and the insurgents that they just have to wait us out,” she said.

Describing her trip to Iraq, she said, "It’s regrettable that the security needs have increased so much. On the other hand, I think you can look at the country as a whole and see that there are many parts of Iraq that are functioning quite well."

She also interpreted a series of suicide bomb attacks as an indication that the insurgency was failing.

“The concerted effort to disrupt the elections was an abject failure," she said. "Not one polling place was shut down or overrun. The fact that you have these suicide bombers now, wreaking such hatred and violence while people pray, is to me, an indication of their failure.”

In an interview with NBC's Meet the Press on Feb. 20, 2005, Clinton said that withdrawing some troops or setting a date for withdrawal would be a "mistake."

"I don't believe we should tie our hands or the hands of the new Iraqi government," Clinton said. "We don't want to send a signal to the insurgents, to the terrorists that we are going to be out of here at some, you know, date certain."

"We have just finished meeting with the current prime minister, the deputy prime minister and the finance minister, and in our meetings, we posed the question to each of them as to whether they believed that we should set a firm deadline for the withdrawal of American troops," Clinton said. "To a person, and they are of different political parties in this election, but each of them said that would be a big mistake, that we needed to make clear that there is a transition now going on to the Iraqi government. When it is formed, which we hope will be shortly, it will assume responsibility for much of the security, with the assistance and cooperation of the coalition forces, primarily U.S. forces."

Clinton said that "what the American people need to know is, number one, we are very proud of our young men and women who are here," and second, "there can be no doubt that it is not in America's interests for the Iraqi government, the experiment in freedom and democracy, to fail. So I hope that Americans understand that and that we will have as united a front as is possible in our country at this time to keep our troops safe, make sure they have everything they need and try to support this new Iraqi government."

She soon told New York Daily News editors and reporters that it was important for Democrats to combat the idea that they're soft on national security issues like Iraq.

"If you can't persuade a majority of people that you're going to be strong and tough where we need to protect America and our [national] interests, you can't cross the [electoral] threshold," she said.

That same month, while Clinton was talking up the need for Democrats to project strength, and claiming a withdrawal deadline would be sending a signal to the terrorists, Obama was meeting with his constituents, sounding quite skeptical about the war and reiterating his opposition to the decision to go to war to begin with.

The Bloomington, Ill., Pantagraph reported that during a town hall meeting, asked about the Iraq war, "Obama said poor planning by the Bush administration has left Iraq woefully incapable of handling its own security. He expressed hope that more intensive training will be provided for Iraqi forces, saying such measures could allow most American troops to return home next year. While Obama said the recent Iraqi election is an encouraging sign for democracy, he questioned Bush’s rationale for the Iraq invasion. ’I didn’t see the weapons of mass destruction at the time, I didn’t think there was an imminent threat from Saddam Hussein.'"

Clinton made this latest questionable claim the same day that she came under fire for repeatedly telling a story that turned out not to be true about a poor pregnant woman losing her baby and her own life after being denied hospital treatment because she couldn't afford a $100 fee. The New York Times discovered that the woman in question was never denied treatment, and that she did have insurance. “We implore the Clinton campaign to immediately desist from repeating this story,” said a representative of the hospital.

The Clinton campaign said that the senator had been told the story by a sheriff's deputy, and had not been able to fully check its accuracy. "We did try but were not able to fully vet it,” Clinton campaign spokesman Mo Elleithee said. “If the hospital claims it did not happen that way, we respect that."

This latest incident also comes less than two weeks after Clinton had to back off a description of a plane landing during a 1996 trip to Bosnia that she had claimed was under sniper fire. Video evidence surfaced proving that claim false and Clinton admitted that she "misspoke."

Hillary Low-balled Bill's Pay in Forms
In public financial disclosure forms, Hillary Clinton listed Bill Clinton's income from companies run by two major political backers as "over $1,000" when the couple's tax records show the former President earning six- and seven-figures from the two sources. April 6, 2008

Yoo's Memo Hints at Bush's Secrets
In a just-declassified 2003 memo, Justice Department lawyer John Yoo said George W. Bush could order abuse of captives to extract information. But one provocative footnote said Bush also could ignore constitutional rights while undertaking domestic military operations. April 6, 2008

Beijing's Reality Intrudes on Shangri-la
China's desire for international respect from the Olympic Games is colliding with Tibet's resistance to Chinese encroachment on its mystical Buddhist traditions. In this special report, veteran war correspondent Don North looks at the darkening clouds over Shangri-la. April 5, 2008

(The Late) M.L. King Still Silenced
In his last years of life, Martin Luther King Jr. spoke out forcefully against the Vietnam War and American militarism, drawing cold contempt from major U.S. media outlets. Now, 40 years after his death, the news media still ignores one of King's last great battles. April 4, 2008

A Good Thing from the Bush Years
There have been a lot of negatives from George W. Bush's presidency, including a disastrous war and a damaged economy. But let's look at a positive: his disdain for reality has created a common cause for honest American journalists and patriotic CIA analysts. April 1, 2008

Building a Legal Framework for Torture
In 1988, after the United States signed the Convention Against Torture, President Ronald Reagan noted that it obligated nations to prosecute any torturer found within their borders. To escape that responsibility, George W. Bush's lawyers turned logic inside out. April 3, 2008

All Power to the President
The release of a five-year-old Justice Department memo underscores how far the advocates for George W. Bush's unfettered power were ready to go. But the enduring threat is that four U.S. Supreme Court justices -- one shy of a majority -- favor that imperial presidency. April 2, 2008

Delusionary, Dancing Bush
Chaos in Iraq is again undercutting George W. Bush's pronouncements about his military successes. Yet, as Bush dances through his final 10 months in office, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern notes how scary Bush's delusions can be for the world. March 31, 2008

Telling Truth Early
As we start our spring fundraiser, we thought readers might be interested in why we do what we do. One of our chief goals is to provide readers important information that they haven't encountered elsewhere, even if sometimes they don't want to hear it. March 31, 2008

PBS on Iraq: A Compilation of Deceit
A PBS documentary on the Iraq War broke little new ground, but compiled the extraordinary record of the Bush administration's deceit. In this guest essay, Middle East expert Morgan Strong noted one new motive for the war: the desire to have Iraq recognize Israel. March 30, 2008

When a Great Power Goes Mad
The collective unreality that dominated Washington during the rush to war in Iraq has retreated but not disappeared. Indeed, it seems to be reemerging in a new form, which attributes the catastrophe in Iraq to some honest mistakes by well-meaning people. March 28, 2008

Readers' Comments
With all the news about Iraq and the presidential campaign, readers had a lot to say. Here is a selection. March 29, 2008

National Pentagon Radio?
Years ago, Americans could expect greater journalistic independence from PBS and NPR. But a long campaign of right-wing pressure on their funding has turned the two media outlets into shadows of their former selves, as media critic Norman Solomon notes in this guest essay. March 28, 2008

Hillary Sinks with the 'Kitchen Sink'
The Bush family wrote the book on how to neutralize your own high negatives by driving up those of your opponent. But Hillary Clinton has found that her similar approach, throwing the "kitchen sink" at Barack Obama, may have only dragged her down more. March 27, 2008

US Document Confirms Iraq Dungeon
The top U.S. commander in western Iraq says detainees at a jail in Fallujah are living in sub-human conditions, according to a classified memo leaked to a whistleblower Web site. March 27, 2008

Dr. Hamilton and Mr. Hyde
Former Rep. Lee Hamilton is the Democrat that the Republicans always want to handle one of their touchy national-security investigations because he never pushes too hard. That, however, has left some important questions for Hamilton to answer. March 27, 2008

A Few Big Lies: Not Handling Iraq Truth
Mainstream American journalists and politicians have a new excuse for why they were so oblivious to the Iraq War risks five years ago -- that no one could have foreseen the likely disaster. But that simply isn't true: many brave people spoke up but were ignored. March 26, 2008

Frontline's Timid Iraq Retrospective
Over two nights, PBS Frontline served up a four-hour retrospective on "Bush's War" in Iraq, focusing on bureaucratic rivalries and incompetence. But, as former CIA analyst Ray McGovern observes, Frontline averted its eyes from many of the tougher questions. March 26, 2008

Why Is Hillary Clinton Lying?
Hillary Clinton's whopper about braving sniper fire in Bosnia is perhaps most troubling because it's not an isolated case. She's been "misspeaking" about both domestic and foreign issues, often in the context of attacking her chief rival or puffing up her record. March 26, 2008

4,000 Dead, Zero Accountability
George W. Bush observed the grim landmark of 4,000 dead U.S. soldiers in Iraq with a promise to continue the war through to "victory," a scenario as unlikely as the opposite, that Bush will be held accountable for his actions. Bush might even get to hand over power to a Republican successor who foresees 100 more years in Iraq. March 25, 2008

White House Balks at E-Mail Search
The White House told a federal court that searching individual computers for allegedly lost e-mails about the Iraq invasion and the outing of a covert CIA officer would be too costly and too time-consuming. The hard drives of many older computers have already been destroyed, said a senior aide to President Bush. March 24, 2008

Obama's 'Michael Douglas Moment'
Barack Obama's speech on race recalled the climactic scene from "The American President" when Michael Douglas decries the politics of division and urges "serious people" to address "serious problems." But the unanswered question from both the movie and Obama's speech is whether today's media/political circus will give way. March 22, 2008

Hillary's Problem with the Truth
Hillary Clinton's insistence that she is a tested crisis manager appears to have led her into a new exaggeration, a tale of derring-do on a 1996 trip into war-torn Bosnia. The Washington Post's fact-checker awarded the former First Lady "four Pinocchios" for the "whopper." March 22, 2008

Five Years On, How to Leave Iraq
Though other factors may have contributed more to the drop in Iraq's violence, George W. Bush is hailing the success of his "surge." What is clear is that the "surge" bought Bush more time to run out the clock, as Ivan Eland notes in this guest essay. March 22, 2008

Obama's Passportgate: Historical Echo
The State Department's disclosure that three contractors penetrated Barack Obama's passport files on three occasions this year recalls a similar case in 1992 when President George H.W. Bush's operatives searched through Bill Clinton's files in a bid to challenge his patriotism. Bush's tracks were then covered by a GOP prosecutor. March 21, 2008

The Road to 'Operation Iraqi Freedom'
As the war in Iraq enters its sixth year, a common refrain from politicians is "don't dwell on the past, think about the future," an argument that distracts Americans from lessons that this history can teach. In this guest article, Jason Leopold recalls that troubling history. March 20, 2008

Obama's Greater Challenge
By addressing America's divisions about race, Barack Obama gambled that a U.S. political system dominated by angry talk-show hosts and "gotcha" campaign consultants can rise to a higher level. In this guest essay, Brent Budowsky challenges Obama to go even further. March 19, 2008

Iraq War as War Crime (Part One)
The Iraq War -- now ending its fifth bloody year -- represents a terrible human tragedy and a stunning strategic blunder. But it also was a systemic failure of American political and journalistic institutions, which failed to check George W. Bush's imperial impulse and enabled a grotesque war crime. Part One of a two-part series. March 18, 2008

Iraq War as War Crime (Part Two)
From the start of George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq -- five years ago -- the toll on Iraqi civilians and on out-gunned Iraqi soldiers was staggering. Indeed, that appears to have been part of the message Bush's neocon advisers wanted to send to other countries that might think of resisting Washington's imperial ambitions. March 19, 2008

Viewing Iraq 'Winter Soldier' Testimony
Nearing the fifth anniversary of the Iraq War, U.S. veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan gave painful testimony about the routine brutality inflicted on citizens of those countries. But -- unlike similar "Winter Soldier" hearings during the Vietnam War -- mainstream U.S. media couldn't entirely black these out. March 17, 2008

Ex-US Attorney Cites GOP Voter Abuse
In an upcoming book, fired U.S. Attorney David Iglesias writes that George W. Bush's Justice Department pressed federal prosecutors around the country to prosecute "voter fraud" cases even when the evidence was slim. March 17, 2008

Clinton's Child-Health Hype
A staple of Hillary Clinton's stump speeches -- that she rebounded from the catastrophe of her 1994 health-care plan to help enact a popular state-by-state child health insurance program three years later -- looks to be mostly a fabrication. March 17, 2008

St. Patrick's Day & Irish Resistance
Like many other holidays, the frivolities around St. Patrick's Day had a more sobering historical context, as Daniel Patrick Welch reminds us in this guest essay. March 16, 2008

Neck Deep, Iraq War & Campaign '08
The U.S. news media's habit of turning politics into trivia is back, as if no lessons were learned from the last two presidential campaigns, which gave the nation the catastrophe of George W. Bush's two terms. That's a key reason we wrote the book, Neck Deep, so the Bush Legacy could be defined and the painful history wouldn't be repeated. March 16, 2008

Happy Fifth Birthday, DHS!
The U.S. government's post-9/11 "reforms" have often proved inept or ineffectual, but none has compiled a more dubious record than the Department of Homeland Security, which just turned five. In this guest essay, Ivan Eland offers a report card. March 15, 2008

Suddenly, a Dangerous Turn
Two events have depressed hopes for a U.S. military disengagement from the Middle East. One was the sudden resignation of Admiral William Fallon, a key opponent of air strikes against Iran. The other is the harsh Clinton assault on Barack Obama, the most dovish of the three remaining presidential candidates. March 14, 2008

In Case You Missed These Stories
Once a month, we plan to look back at some of the previous month's special stories that might have flown by without getting the attention they deserved. Here's a selection from February. March 13, 2008

Spitzer & America's Perverse Ethics
The U.S. news media can't get enough of the prostitution scandal that brought down New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, but the same media won't give a minute to a serious debate over the impeachable war crimes of George W. Bush. In this guest essay, Rabbi Michael Lerner looks at the perverse state of America's ethics. March 12, 2008

Nadler Disses Voters on Impeachment
New Yorkers from Rep. Jerrold Nadler's district held a town hall meeting to urge the chairman of the House Judiciary panel on the Constitution to move on Dick Cheney's impeachment. But -- as Ray McGovern writes -- Nadler was a no-show, in line with other key Democrats. March 11, 2008

Clinton's Up-Is-Down World
As the Democratic race gets nastier, Hillary Clinton's campaign has taken some lessons from George W. Bush's situational ethics toward truth and fairness. The question for Democrats is whether they object to this harsh brand of politics or feel it's the only way to win. March 10, 2008

Bush, Colombia & Narco-Politics
The Bush administration defended Colombia's government for its attack against leftist guerrillas inside Ecuador - a position echoed by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. But there is another dark side to the story, a reality that Official Washington wants to ignore. March 9, 2008

Honoring Two Activist ParentsIn 1946, the U.S. government put 42,000 of its own sailors in close proximity to two nuclear explosions to test the effect on humans. For the next half century, one of those sailors, Anthony Guarisco, worked with his wife, Mary, to alert the world to the nuclear threat. In this guest essay, their son Vincent pays tribute to their lives. March 6, 2008

Losing Iraq and Afghanistan
The Bush administration has gotten the U.S. press corps and much of the public to focus on minor security gains in Iraq and on finger-pointing at allied troop levels in Afghanistan. In this guest essay, Ivan Eland looks at the troubling bigger picture. March 6, 2008

Guess What? Obama Is Winning Texas
Hillary Clinton beat Barack Obama by a 51-48 margin in the Texas primary and claimed a net gain of four delegates. But Obama appears to be more than erasing Clinton's advantage by winning the Texas caucus phase, as historian Lisa Pease reports. March 6, 2008

Hillary Plays the 'Gender Card,' Again
Hillary Clinton's campaign achieved two key goals in its March 4 victories: portraying Sen. Clinton as the victim of gender bias to solidify her support among older white women, and giving whites and Hispanics new reason to see Barack Obama as an unqualified "black candidate." March 6, 2008

Lost History: How the Neocons Did It
If you want to know how the neoconservatives got control of the most powerful nation on earth, Robert Parry’s Lost History is a must-read. (To read more, click here.)

Maine ACLU News l

MCLU Seeks Public Records on REAL ID Waiver
Today, the Maine Civil Liberties Union Foundation filed a public records request with the Office of Governor John E. Baldacci for records relating to the debate over REAL ID. After more than a week of back and forth between the Governor’s Office and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the two parties announced yesterday that Maine was granted a waiver in exchange for promises by the Governor to propose changes to Maine driver license law. Just last year, Governor Baldacci signed into law a statute prohibiting Maine’s participation Real ID.

DHS/Baldacci Deal Threatens Mainers' Privacy
Today, the US Department of Homeland Security issued a waiver of its REAL ID implementation deadline to Maine, despite the fact that REAL ID implementation is still against the law in Maine. The waiver was granted in response to promises by Governor John Baldacci to propose legislation tightening the standards for Maine driver licenses and adopting new surveillance practices for applicants. DHS has now granted waivers to all fifty states despite the fact no state will be REAL ID compliant by May 11 and seven states have passed legislation prohibiting the implementation of REAL ID.

MCLU Blasts DHS Blackmail of Maine; DHS Singles Out Maine with Special Demands It Makes of No Other State
Today the Department of Homeland Security issued a list of demands to the state of Maine that exceed those placed on any other state in the country. DHS granted waivers to every state in the country including Montana and South Carolina, which did not request waivers, as well as all sixteen other states who have passed resolutions or legislation in opposition to REAL ID. The demands include a establishment of a costly facial recognition surveillance system that government studies show doesn’t work, proof of legal status or a scarlet-letter license scheme, and participation in the SAVE system, which only fourteen states in the country are currently doing according to the DHS website.

MCLU Welcomes New Board President
Portland attorney Christopher Branson was recently elected President of the Maine Civil Liberties Union. Branson is a lawyer with the firm of Murray, Plumb and Murray, where he has practiced since 1991 and been a director since 1999. When not advocating for civil liberties, he specializes in helping Maine businesses in various practice areas including venture capital, intellectual property, and regulatory compliance.

MCLU Applauds Representatives Allen and Michaud for Rejecting Telecom Immunity
The MCLU praises the house vote, 213 to 197 in favor of a surveillance program that does not include retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies that provided information to the National Security Agency, under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). This vote allows the Maine Public Utilities Commission complaint case to move forward in the courts. Both Reps Tom Allen and Michael Michaud voted in favor of protecting Mainers’ privacy.

Senators' Letter Shows Leadership in Rejecting Arbitrary REAL ID Deadline
The Maine Civil Liberties Union today praised Maine’s two Senators for calling on the Department of Homeland Security to scrap its May deadline for compliance with the controversial REAL ID program. “Senators Collins and Snowe publicly recognized that Homeland Security’s May 11 deadline is both arbitrary and unfair,” said Shenna Bellows, Executive Director of the MCLU. “We commend our Senators for standing up on behalf of Mainers’ privacy against the federal government’s fear-mongering.”

MCLU Blasts Senator Susan Collins for Pandering to the Bush Administration and Selling Mainers' Privacy Down the River
The Maine Civil Liberties Union condemned a letter sent by Senator Susan Collins today that attempts to pressure Governor John Baldacci into complying with the federal Real ID Act against the will of the people and legislature of Maine. “Maine was right to reject Real ID,” said MCLU Executive Director Shenna Bellows. “For Senator Collins to ask the Governor to defy our state law is an insult to Maine’s elected officials – and to ordinary Mainers, whose privacy will be sacrificed to this costly, misguided program.”

Court Won't Review ACLU's Challenge to Surveillance Program
Maine civil liberties advocates are denouncing today’s refusal by the U.S. Supreme Court to review the Bush administration’s warrantless surveillance program. The case, ACLU v. NSA, was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of prominent journalists, scholars, attorneys and national nonprofit organizations who say that the unchecked surveillance program is disrupting their ability to communicate effectively with sources and clients.


1. John McCain voted against establishing a national holiday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Now he says his position has "evolved," yet he's continued to oppose key civil rights laws.1

2. According to Bloomberg News, McCain is more hawkish than Bush on Iraq, Russia and China. Conservative columnist Pat Buchanan says McCain "will make Cheney look like Gandhi."2

3. His reputation is built on his opposition to torture, but McCain voted against a bill to ban waterboarding, and then applauded President Bush for vetoing that ban.3

4. McCain opposes a woman's right to choose. He said, "I do not support Roe versus Wade. It should be overturned."4

5. The Children's Defense Fund rated McCain as the worst senator in Congress for children. He voted against the children's health care bill last year, then defended Bush's veto of the bill.5

6. He's one of the richest people in a Senate filled with millionaires. The Associated Press reports he and his wife own at least eight homes! Yet McCain says the solution to the housing crisis is for people facing foreclosure to get a "second job" and skip their vacations.6

7. Many of McCain's fellow Republican senators say he's too reckless to be commander in chief. One Republican senator said: "The thought of his being president sends a cold chill down my spine. He's erratic. He's hotheaded. He loses his temper and he worries me."7

8. McCain talks a lot about taking on special interests, but his campaign manager and top advisers are actually lobbyists. The government watchdog group Public Citizen says McCain has 59 lobbyists raising money for his campaign, more than any of the other presidential candidates.8

9. McCain has sought closer ties to the extreme religious right in recent years. The pastor McCain calls his "spiritual guide," Rod Parsley, believes America's founding mission is to destroy Islam, which he calls a "false religion." McCain sought the political support of right-wing preacher John Hagee, who believes Hurricane Katrina was God's punishment for gay rights and called the Catholic Church "the Antichrist" and a "false cult."9

10. He positions himself as pro-environment, but he scored a 0—yes, zero—from the League of Conservation Voters last year.10

John McCain is not who the Washington press corps make him out to be. Please help get the word out—forward this email to your personal network. And if you want us to keep you posted on MoveOn's work to get the truth out about John McCain, sign up here:


1. "The Complicated History of
John McCain and MLK Day," ABC News, April 3, 2008

"McCain Facts,", April 4, 2008

2. "McCain More Hawkish Than Bush on Russia, China, Iraq," Bloomberg News, March 12, 2008

"Buchanan: John McCain 'Will Make Cheney Look Like Gandhi,'" ThinkProgress, February 6, 2008

3. "McCain Sides With Bush On Torture Again, Supports Veto Of Anti-Waterboarding Bill," ThinkProgress, February 20, 2008

4. "McCain says Roe v. Wade should be overturned," MSNBC, February 18, 2007

5. "2007 Children's Defense Fund Action Council® Nonpartisan Congressional Scorecard," February 2008

"McCain: Bush right to veto kids health insurance expansion," CNN, October 3, 2007

6. "Beer Executive Could Be Next First Lady," Associated Press, April 3, 2008

"McCain Says Bank Bailout Should End `Systemic Risk,'" Bloomberg News, March 25, 2008

7. "Will McCain's Temper Be a Liability?," Associated Press, February 16, 2008

"Famed McCain temper is tamed," Boston Globe, January 27, 2008

8. "Black Claims McCain's Campaign Is Above Lobbyist Influence: 'I Don't Know What The Criticism Is,'" ThinkProgress, April 2, 2008

"McCain's Lobbyist Friends Rally 'Round Their Man," ABC News, January 29, 2008

9. "McCain's Spiritual Guide: Destroy Islam," Mother Jones Magazine, March 12, 2008

"Will McCain Specifically 'Repudiate' Hagee's Anti-Gay Comments?," ThinkProgress, March 12, 2008

"McCain 'Very Honored' By Support Of Pastor Preaching 'End-Time Confrontation With Iran,'" ThinkProgress, February 28, 2008

10. "John McCain Gets a Zero Rating for His Environmental Record," Sierra Club, February 28, 2008

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