Tag: Holder

What to do now?

Nick Egnatz, is a VietNam vet, who has written an essay and is someone with whom I have rallied with, from time to time, here and there.  I am showing the entire essay, because the “thought content” may become lost were I not to do so!  

I reserve my personal comments or thoughts (and, frankly, I’m still mesmerizing over the thoughts he portrays in his diary)!  

I must say, up-front, I do not disagree with the accuracy of the circumstances, as he portrays them to be!  Nor, do I think his solutions absurd, but . . . . . !  We all search for remedies — maybe, Nick’s right and maybe, he’s wrong!  What do you think?

The Progressive Dilemna

The Progressive DilemmaSubmitted by Nick Egnatz on Wed, 2010-09-29 19:49

A self described representative democracy in which the only two political parties are both funded and controlled by elite corporate interests is a contradiction in terms. Control of the population through government propaganda and a monopoly corporate media have made the domination of the American working class and poor by the wealthy corporate elite consensual. The enormity of the crime against true democratic values is so complete that substantive reform of the present system is an impossibility.

A dilemma is a situation in which one is forced to choose between equally distasteful options. That has always been our consignment as Americans when we venture to the polls (either vote for a wishy/washy Democrat or let the even worse Republican win). Every two years we are told that the fate of our democracy rests on our decision. Well it doesn’t because we don’t have a democracy, representative or otherwise. We have a plutocracy (rule by the wealthy). Our two political parties answer out of necessity to the corporate world. No one represents the people and the monopoly corporate media will not allow for a discussion of democratic alternatives.

The chickens have come home to roost from the last 30 years of economic neoliberal globalization policies championed by both political parties. Supply side economics of massive tax cuts for the wealthy and deregulation of the very modest checks on American capitalism necessitated by the Great Depression have made us the most unequal industrial democracy on earth. Imperial wars of aggression and massive bailouts of the very speculators who engineered the financial collapse leading to the Great Recession have allowed both corporate parties to take the stance that there is no money left for the people’s needs. This is poppycock. How can a consumer driven economy recover if the working class and poor have no jobs or money?

To cut spending on social programs with political cover, Obama came up with the brilliant idea of a Budget Deficit Commission made up of bipartisan hacks from both our two corporate parties, representatives from the corporate world of greed and a single union president. Green Party and socialists need not apply and in fact there are no even mildly progressive Democrats (an oxymoron if there ever was one) on the commission. The Commission is not a result of legislation from our Congress. It was formed by Executive Order. This is the way dictators govern, but that’s another issue. The Commission is charged to cut the Budget Deficit by cutting social programs only and leaving the military spending intact. If and when 14 of the Commission’s 18 members agree on policy it will go straight to Congress for a vote with no amendments allowed.

Co-chairman of the Commission Alan Simpson, former Republican Senator from Wyoming received some notoriety recently by referring to seniors on Social Security as “lesser people”, calling Social Security a “cow with 310 million tits” and asking the question of Vietnam veterans “what have they done for us lately?’ None of this bothered our President enough to ask for Simpson’s resignation. Their recommendation is due in December, after the election.

We are expected to accept the government propaganda that the unemployment rate is 9.6%, when that figure does not include those no longer receiving or who never received unemployment compensation, part time workers desiring full time work or workers disdainfully referred to as having given up looking for work. Including all these would bring the unemployment figure to 22%. But that still doesn’t count those working for less than a livable wage, this would easily bring the figure well beyond the 30% range. This assault on the working class has been the goal of the neoliberal globalization policy accepted as gospel by both corporate political parties since Ronald Reagan started selling it in the 70s and 80s when he set out to save the country from the scourge of a prosperous working class. The Great Communicator pushed his dogma of bad government/good corporations with the same smile he used to push Twenty Mule Team Borax soap to TV viewers years earlier.

More than three million families have already been foreclosed and torn from their homes. Another 11 million families are “underwater” (owing more that the home is worth). Research firm First American Core Logic reports that Nevada with 65% of home mortgages underwater, Arizona with 48%, Florida with 45%, Michigan with 37% and California with 35% lead the nation in this foreboding statistic.

The Republicans propose fiscal austerity for the poor and working class and continued tax cuts for the wealthy corporate class to find our way our of the Great Recession. Obama and the Democrats say that economic growth will do the trick. Both so called solutions are illogical. We are expected to believe that if the big bad bankers would just pretty please start loaning money to businesses, the economy will start humming and everything will be hunky dory?

I’m not an economist, but I have been a small businessman and I have been told on more than one occasion that I have half a brain. The road to recovery is both simple and difficult. For businesses to thrive, for the economy to hum, the business owners simply need customers with money in their pockets. The first step is to put our citizens back to work at a livable wage and the economy will flourish. It will be difficult, to the point of impossibility, for corporate politicians to consider the people at the bottom first, but that is what needs to be done.

War and Secrecy — Secrets Here, Secrets There, Everywhere Secrets!!!! [Update!]


I am very glad to know that Seymour Hersh is shedding/exposing some light to the military dominance in all matters of war!   See Ministry of Truth’s Sy Hersh: “Battlefield Executions”. . . .

We’ve had “secret death squad executions” going on in Pakistan and Afghanistan for quite some time now, which were unbeknownst not only to our military, but, supposedly, even to Obama.  But, whether it’s secret or otherwise, we’ve just been killing people right down the line, Iraq, etc.  See Blackwater’s Secret War in Pakistan Revealed (Operated by the JSOC, US Joint Special Operations Command, which was Cheney’s original execution squad, if I’m not mistaken) and Death Squads in Afghanistan.  Just a couple of other examples of our secretive behavior.   Wonder if there’s any count on those activities?

Open Thought for the Day

From a commenter at reddit, on the subject of Associate Attorney General David Margolis, with Holder’s approval, reducing the conclusion of the DOJ’s Office of Professional Responsibility report on Yoo and Bybee’s Torture Memos  to Bush to say that they showed only “poor judgment“:

If Obama’s ‘Justice Department’ had conducted the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials, all of the Nazis would have gone free – ‘Merely Poor Judgement, the Holocaust was just a policy mistake’!

There is a road, no simple highway,

Between the dawn and the dark of night,

And if you go no one may follow,

That path is for your steps alone…

Obama & Holder Off The Hook & Worthy Of Your Support Now

Just in case you had any cancerous unpatriotic anti democratic poisonous lingering doubts about Holder and Obama’s honesty and integrity and willingness to buck the tide of public opinion and be rule of LAW kind of guys instead of your standard disingenuous political calculators, here’s just what you need to get your head straightened out and get yourself back into GoBama mode again.

AP via TPM Monday…

The Supreme Court has thrown out an appeals court ruling ordering the disclosure of photographs of detainees being abused by their U.S. captors.

In doing so Monday, the high court cited a recent change in federal law that allows the pictures to be withheld.

The justices issued a brief, and expected, order Monday directing the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York to take another look at a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union to obtain the photos of detainee abuse. President Barack Obama at first didn’t oppose the release, but he changed his mind, saying they could whip up anti-American sentiment overseas and endanger U.S. troops.

The administration appealed the matter to the Supreme Court, but also worked with Congress to give Defense Secretary Robert Gates the power to keep from the public all pictures of foreign detainees being abused.

Gates invoked his new authority in mid-November, saying widespread distribution of the pictures would endanger American soldiers.

The ACLU has said it will continue fighting for the photos’ release.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who served on the 2nd Circuit until August, did not take part in the court’s consideration of the case, Department of Defense v. ACLU, 09-160.

That would be the SC top heavy with Bush appointees, btw. Like Sonia (it wasn’t me) Sotomayor (I didn’t do it and you shouldn’t think about it). Rah. Rah.

Besides that, this follows on the heels of, back in October, the Obama White House “ordering” Congress to amend the FOIA to give SecDef Gates the authority to withhold “protected documents”, so we can clearly see from all of these actions that we have all badly misjudged Obama and that he really is intent, nay, determined at all costs, to uphold and follow the rule of law, even if he has to do Congress’s job and make the law he intends to follow.

And that’s the way it is.

Even if you feel a little tortured about it.

Obama Administration Continues to Cover Up Cheney’s Crimes

From the Washington Post :

federal judge yesterday sharply questioned an assertion by the Obama administration that former Vice President Richard B. Cheney’s statements to a special prosecutor about the Valerie Plame case must be kept secret, partly so they do not become fodder for Cheney’s political enemies or late-night commentary on “The Daily Show.”

Ugh.  But it gets even better.  

But career civil division lawyer Jeffrey M. Smith, responding to Sullivan’s questions, said Bradbury’s arguments against the disclosure were supported by the department’s current leadership. He told the judge that if Cheney’s remarks were published, then a future vice president asked to provide candid information during a criminal probe might refuse to do so out of concern “that it’s going to get on ‘The Daily Show’ ” or somehow be used as a political weapon.


Fitzgerald, in a 2008 letter to Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) cited by CREW, drew a distinction between interviews that he conducted under standard investigative secrecy rules and the meetings he held with Bush and Cheney. Fitzgerald said “there were no ‘agreements, conditions, and understandings between the Office of Special Counsel or the Federal Bureau of Investigation’ and either the President or Vice President ‘regarding the conduct and use of the interview or interviews.’ ”

So the Change You Can Believe In administration is arguing, with an apparent straight face that this isn’t a cover up of treason by Richard Bruce Cheney, that’s a 1st amendment issue.  Let me calm down and try to suss this out.  

The claim made originally by war criminal Bradbury, that the Vice President may not participate in a criminal probe in which he is himself the prime suspect, because Jon Stewart might make fun of him.  Not because he may incriminate himself.  And we can’t know about this, not because it might provide proof that Cheney is a criminal, but because in the future, when a Vice President breaks the law, he may, out of a fear of embarrassment, not cooperate with criminal investigations against him.  

The Verdict





The following are excerpts from comments at RawStory today

on Jeremey Gantz’s story It’s official: No U.S. prosecution of Bush officials

To Give Obama Some Small Credit Where Due

Crossposted from Antemedius

Yesterday was a very dark day. Most who know me know how hard and unmercifully I slammed Obama and Holder, but Obama especially since he is Holders superior, for their excusing and shielding of CIA torturers from prosecution based on nothing more than the universally repudiated Nuremburg defense of “just following orders”. Many may even think that I was and am being too inflexible in my criticisms and direct comparison of Obama to Bush over this matter with my opinion that he is also shielding Bush and Cheney with his actions.

Protecting and shielding war criminals.

That remains my opinion, and will remain my opinion unless and until a Special Prosecutor is appointed and George Bush and Dick Cheney are sitting in a prisoners dock charged with war crimes for which there is more than ample evidence, above and beyond their own public confessions and gloating, that they committed.

To be honest I really don’t care whether the CIA Interrogators are ever prosecuted. They will have to live with what they did, and they will probably be shunned for the rest of their lives by anyone with any remnants of humanity left in their souls.

It is one thing to shield the followers of orders. It is an entirely different thing to shield and protect the issuers of those orders. To do so is to be complicit in the crimes and no better and in fact worse than the perpetrators, in my opinion.

But to give Obama some small credit where due, he and Holder did leave themselves an opening, and in fact not only left an opening but created that opening with their actions yesterday. We can even speculate that perhaps did what they did yesterday they did in an attempt to create enough public anger and drum up enough public support to make it politically possible to prosecute Bush and Cheney.

If, and it’s a very big if that still appears very doubtful, If Obama and Holder did what they did yesterday as setup for future prosecutions of Bush and Cheney then they will earn a little of my respect back.

Bush and Cheney must be prosecuted.

Glenn Greenwald this morning:

In the United States, what Obama did yesterday is simply not done.  American Presidents do not disseminate to the world documents which narrate in vivid, elaborate detail the dirty, illegal deeds done by the CIA, especially not when the actions are very recent, were approved and ordered by the President of the United States, and the CIA is aggressively demanding that the documents remain concealed and claiming that their release will harm national security.  When is the last time a President did that?  

Panetta: No Prosecution Of… CIA Interrogators

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration will not prosecute CIA officers who participated in harsh interrogations that critics say crossed the line into torture, CIA Director-nominee Leon Panetta said Friday.

Asked by The Associated Press if that was official policy, Panetta said, “That is the case.”

It was the clearest statement yet on what Panetta and other Democratic officials had only strongly suggested: CIA officers who acted on legal orders from the Bush administration would not be held responsible for those policies. On Thursday, he told senators that the Obama administration had no intention of seeking prosecutions for that reason.

Panetta, in an interview with the AP after a second day of confirmation hearings with the Senate Intelligence Committee, said that he arrived at that conclusion even before he began meeting with CIA officials.

“It was my opinion we just can’t operate if people feel even if they are following the legal opinions of the Justice Department” they could be in danger of prosecution, he said.

Panetta demurred on saying whether the Obama administration would take legal action against those who authorized or wrote the legal opinions that, for a time, set an extremely high legal bar for an action to constitute torture.

“I’ll leave that for others,” Panetta said

There’s more…

Why Panetta? Since when does Panetta make the call for DOJ? Where is confirmation from Holder?

More than 39,000 people have signed this petition

Formal Petition to Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a Special Prosecutor to investigate and prosecute any and all government officials who have participated in War Crimes.

Add your signature to it today, if you haven’t yet.

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It was about 21,000 Wednesday morning.

Will prayers help?

Eric Holder Sworn In As Attorney General Tuesday

You may find VP Joe Biden’s remarks interesting here….

“Welcome back to the Justice Department. As we gather here to day it’s worth remembering the mission statement that guides this great department.”

To enforce the law and defend the interest of the United States according to the law. To ensure public safety against threats foreign and domestic. To provide federal leadership in preventing and controlling crime. To seek just punishment for those guilt of unlawful behavior, and to ensure fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans.”

“There’s no mention in that mission statement of politics. There’s no mention in that mission statement of ideology. And that’s how it should be, because there is no place for politics or ideology in this building.”

With the appointment of Eric Holder as Attorney General, we’re going to be returning to a standard that has governed this great department at it’s greatest moments in my view. No politics. No ideology.

Who Is This New Attorney General, Eric Holder?

This is a merging of two prior essays about Eric Holder

Eric Holder, Jr.
Photo: George Washington University

Barack Obama announced on December 1, 2008 his nomination of Eric H. Holder, Jr. to serve as Attorney General, to take over the running of The Department of Justice in Obama’s new administration from Bush appointee Michael Mukasey.

Eric Holder knows what Republican Senators Barrasso, Brownback, Burr, Coburn, Cochran, Cornyn, Crapo, Ensign, Kaybee, Hutchison, Inhofe, Johanns, McConnell, Risch, Shelby, Thune and Wicker, who voted against his confirmation by the Senate Monday, February 02, 2008, also know.

Eric Holder knows that Bush and Cheney deserve fair trials. Fair trials in courts of law, not crucifixion by media and bloggers.

One would hope that Mr. Holder will make a better and more honest Attorney General who will uphold the law than Michael Mukasey was, who like all representatives of Mr. Bush have done, has during his tenure waffled, spun, twisted in the wind, squirmed, sweated, excused, equivocated, and otherwise bullshitted America and the world as George Bush’s acolyte under hot lights and pointed interrogations from Congress over evidence of torture ordered at the highest levels of the Bush administration, the president and vice president, that the least informed people in the world all know is well defined, immoral, and illegal under international law, US law, and international treaties. (see addendum)

A war crime, in simpler terms. A war crime that Vice President Cheney has in recent days confessed publicly that the Bush administration intentionally engaged in.

Mr. Holder is the target of the Docudharma/Democrats.com sponsored Citizens Petition for a Special Prosecutor to Investigate Bush War Crimes. Don’t forget to sign the petition if you haven’t already.

Who is Eric Holder? What are his views and philosophy on the questions of torture, war crimes, secret prisons hidden away from the rule of law, and Bush’s “war on terror”?

What can we expect his reactions to be to the petition for a Special Prosecutor? We have only his own words and background to look to for clues.

Mr. Holder has been a partner with the law firm Covington & Burling LLP since 2001.

Now We Will Find Out…

RawStory this afternoon:

The United States Senate has confirmed Eric Holder, President Obama’s nominee for attorney general, by a vote of 75-21, making him the first African-American to hold the office.

His Republican opponents in the Senate said they felt Holder is hostile to the rights of gun owners and questioned his support of President Bush’s terror war.

Reportedly, among the no votes were Senators Barrasso, Brownback, Burr, Coburn, Cochran, Cornyn, Crapo, Ensign, Kaybee, Hutchison, Inhofe, Johanns, McConnell, Risch, Shelby, Thune and Wicker.

During the confirmation hearing, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) scolded Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) after several Republicans demanded Holder pledge he would not prosecute US interrogators who followed the Bush administration’s orders to torture prisoners.

“No one should be seeking to trade a vote for such a pledge,” said the Vermont Democrat.

“When Cornyn rose to announce his vote against Holder, he did not make such a demand,” reports the AP. “However, he accused the nominee of changing his once-supportive position – on the need to detain terrorism suspects without all the rights of the Geneva Convention – to one of harshly criticizing Bush administration’s counterterrorism policies.”

During the hearing, Holder stated directly, “Waterboarding is torture.”

Now that he has been confirmed, it is within his authority to reverse President Bush’s order granting his former advisers blanket immunity against testimony before Congress. Three of President Bush’s close advisers — Karl Rove, Harriet Miers and Josh Bolton — are facing congressional contempt citations.

“The confirmation of Eric Holder as our new Attorney General is a momentous day for the rule of law,” said Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI). “During his confirmation hearings, Eric Holder clearly and unequivocally stated that no one, including the president, is above the law. Those were welcome words after eight years of Bush Administration policies that undermined our Constitution and damaged the integrity of the Department of Justice.”

Will prayers help?

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