Brad intvws City Councilman Paul Koretz, who explains why those who 'vape' should be treated like those who smoke - even while calling it 'much safer than smoking'.
UPDATE: Amer Lung Assoc CEO: Ban 'misguided'...
Green Party candidate David Curtis tells us that online voting can be 'secure and verifiable', despite what computer science and e-voting expert say. But he's not alone among 2014 SoS candidates in the Golden State...
For those who have wondered (particularly when looking at the incredible miscarriages of prosecutorial injustices and improprieties in cases like Gov. Siegelman's), no, Obama has yet to replace Bush's partisan U.S. Attorneys, incredibly enough. But he will, says AG Holder, according to Politico...
President Barack Obama plans to replace a "batch" of U.S. Attorneys in the next few weeks and more prosecutors thereafter, according to Attorney General Eric Holder.
"I expect that we'll have an announcement in the next couple of weeks with regard to our first batch of U.S attorneys," Holder said Thursday during a House Judiciary Committee hearing which stretched out over most of the day due to breaks for members' votes. "One of the things that we didn't want to do was to disrupt the continuity of the offices and pull people out of positions where we thought there might be a danger that that might have on the continuity--the effectiveness of the offices. But...elections matter--it is our intention to have the U.S. Attorneys that are selected by President Obama in place as quickly as they can."
Holder's comments Thursday came in response to a question from Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) "Many jurisdictions are waiting desperately to see what is going to be done. As we understand it, the protocol has been that U.S. Attorneys would hand in their resignations and would give the new administration an opportunity to make new appointments, we don't see that happening quite fast enough," she said, pointing to complaints about prosecutors in Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama.
Gosh. Take your time, kids. Although, in fairness (where any may be due here), the following bears keeping in mind...
If the first U.S. Attorney selections from Obama do come in the next few weeks, he will still be ahead of Bush's timetable. He proposed his first U.S. Attorneys on August 1, 2001.
U.S. Attorneys require confirmation by the Senate and are usually proposed with the concurrence of the senators from that state.
Incredibly, the Bush-appointed prosecutors in the Siegelman case (who are, inexplicably, still on the job!) have now requested an even longer sentence for the former Democratic Gov. of Alabama who was railroaded as part of a Rove-led political prosecution.
RAW STORY offers the amazing details on the twenty-year sentence now being sought by the federal prosecutors to replace the seven years he was originally screwed with. The entire prosecution needs to be entirely thrown out, just as the case against Republican Sen. Ted Stevens was.
And where is AG Eric Holder in all of this? I'd sure as hell love to know, as I asked in my April 13th letter to him on behalf of VR's Restore Justice at Justice campaign requesting an investigation of all illegal, Bush-era political prosecutions. (If you haven't yet, please sign on to that letter, to add your voice!)
My brief interview with Siegelman at last Summer's Democratic National Convention in Denver (originally posted here), is re-posted at left, wherein he warned, if action wasn't taken "Karl Rove is simply going to get in his get-away car and thumb his nose at the Constitution, the Congress and the American People."
What follows below is a letter I sent to AG Eric Holder last week, on behalf of VelvetRevolution.us (of which The BRAD BLOG is a co-founder), calling for his immediate investigation of all political prosecutions at the DoJ during the Bush era, including those of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman and Mississippi attorney/Democratic fundraiser Paul Minor. On the heels of the DoJ's dismissal of charges against Republican Sen. Ted Stevens, the DoJ needs to similarly vacate charges against anyone who was specifically targeted, for political reasons, by the Bush Admin's perversion of justice at the DoJ.
There are now well over 700 organizations and individuals, such as Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Ray McGovern and Scott Horton currently signed on to the letter, and you are invited to do so yourself via the campaign's main page at RestoreJusticeAtJustice.com. More details are over there. We hope you'll both sign on, and help spread the word.
Here is the letter to Holder, sent last week just before Minor's wife passed away, and prior to the release of the Bush regime's appalling torture memos which we will, no doubt, be dealing with in a future campaign...
Just in from Conyers' office. Rove and Miers will testify, under oath [see explanation in update below], in "transcribed depositions under penalty of perjury"...
Wednesday, March 04, 2009
House Judiciary Committee Secures Rove and Miers Testimony in U.S. Attorney Firings
In an agreement reached today between the former Bush Administration and Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Karl Rove and former White House Counsel Harriet Miers will testify before the House Judiciary Committee in transcribed depositions under penalty of perjury. The Committee has also reserved the right to have public testimony from Rove and Miers. It was agreed that invocations of official privileges would be significantly limited.
In addition, if the Committee uncovers information necessitating his testimony, the Committee will also have the right to depose William Kelley, a former White House lawyer who played a role in the U.S. Attorney firings.
The Committee will also receive Bush White House documents relevant to this inquiry. Under the agreement, the landmark ruling by Judge John Bates rejecting key Bush White House claims of executive immunity and privilege will be preserved. If the agreement is breached, the Committee can resume the litigation.
Chairman Conyers issued the following statement:
"I have long said that I would see this matter through to the end and am encouraged that we have finally broken through the Bush Administration's claims of absolute immunity. This is a victory for the separation of powers and congressional oversight. It is also a vindication of the search for truth. I am determined to have it known whether U.S. Attorneys in the Department of Justice were fired for political reasons, and if so, by whom."
U.S. House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) has subpoenaed Karl Rove today, yet again (the third time, for those keeping score at home), to give sworn, public testimony before the committee on February 23rd concerning the politicization of the U.S. Dept. of Justice during the Bush Administration.
Today's subpoena was sent to Rove's attorney Robert D. Luskin. It's accompanied by a brief, two-page letter [PDF] in which the Congressman politely refuses a request by the attorney to delay Rove's appearance, yet again. The previous subpoena required Rove's appearance on Feb. 2nd, but was delayed at his request and rescheduled for the 23rd at that time.
Following the previous subpoena, Rove told Fox "News" that he would refuse to testify, and committee member Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) responded on MSNBC by saying that he would either testify, or go to jail.
At the end of today's letter, refusing Luskin's request for further delay, Conyers, rather amusingly, notes:
[G]iven Mr. Rove's public statements that he does not intend to comply with the subpoena, I am puzzled as to why Mr. Rove needs a mutually convenient date to fail to appear.
RAW STORY's John Byrne reports that request for comment from Luskin was responded to with an auto-reply email stating that Luskin would "be out of the office and unable to check emails or voicemails until February 23, 2009."
UPDATE 2/14/09: "White House counsel Gregory Craig issued a statement late Friday encouraging former Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove to cut a deal with Congress, an indication the new administration has begun to put pressure on President George W. Bush's former chief adviser." More details...
UPDATE 2/16/09: "Representatives of the Bush White House are no longer advising former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove that he is protected by executive privilege as regards testimony about the alleged political prosecution of an Alabama governor.
"In an exchange with Raw Story, Rove’s Washington, D.C. attorney, Robert Luskin, also said Rove won’t invoke his Fifth Amendment right to protect himself from self-incrimination, if and when he testifies about the firing of nine US Attorneys and the prosecution of the former governor." More details...
Video: Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) gets nowhere as he attempts to grill Attorney General Michael Mukasey on the investigation into Karl Rove's influence in the federal prosecution of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman.
Update (from Brad): Wow. Remarkable exchange. Made either more or less astounding by the reminder that it was Schumer himself who, with Diane Feinstein, sealed the confirmation of Mukasey. Regretting that one yet, Senator?
(P.S. Good catch, Jon! Don't let me stop you from posting an update that includes the answer to Sheldon Whitehouse's question at the end there! )
The torment and imprisonment of former Alabama governor Don Siegelman, allegedly via the hands of Karl Rove and his political hitmen operatives, has been extensively covered by The BRAD BLOG.
Over the weekend, Velvet Revolution.us (co-founded by The BRAD BLOG) sat down with him for an exclusive video-taped interview in Alabama. The entire interview will be posted soon, but we have posted two excerpts on YouTube. Both are embedded below.
Siegelman wants you to let Congress know that Rove must face the consequences of his actions. So do we.
Rove has been subpoenaed to testify before Congress tomorrow, July 10th, regarding the politicization of the Justice Department. The House Judiciary Committee wants to question Rove about his knowledge of the persecutionprosecution of former Alabama Democratic Gov. Don Siegelman and the U.S. Attorney firing scandal.
But Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, has informed the Judiciary Committee that Rove will not attend the hearing.
Luskin has offered to make Rove available to the committee behind closed doors and not under oath. Luskin also insists that there be no transcript of the questioning and that Rove would not respond to written questions from the panel.
The Judiciary Committee has rejected that so-called "compromise."
We join Siegelman's request, as stated in his interview, in asking you to please contact the House Judiciary Committee and your House Representative to politely but firmly insist that they hold Karl Rove in contempt of Congress.
You can call the House Judiciary Committee at 202-225-3951 and you can email them via this page.
You can call your House Rep. at 202-224-3121. More contact info for your specific Representative can be found here.
As Siegelman notes about Rove during the VR interview, in the first posted excerpt (seen at right)...
This is a guy who has told Congress that he will not show up under subpoena unless he is not sworn to tell the truth, unless he has the questions in advance, and unless he is assured that nobody is writing down his answers. Now does that sound like somebody who's prepared to tell the truth?
We won't know the truth until Congress digs it out, and that's why it is so incredibly important that anybody that reads your blog or listens to it or watches it gets on the phone, gets on their computer, or writes Congress and tells them to hold Karl Rove in contempt if he does not show up to testify on July 10th.
[H]e needs to be held in contempt, needs to be arrested, needs to be brought in and made to sit before Congress and answer questions.
In the second excerpt (video at right, below), Siegelman goes on to point out that only Congress currently holds the power to reveal the truth about what went on in this sordid affair...
Is the photo at left beginning to seem less and less absurd?
Looks like we're headed for an interesting game of chicken next month in the House Judiciary Committee surrounding Rove's subpoena to appear before it to answer questions in the Don Siegelman affair (and perhaps others) on July 10. RAW has the story worth putting on your radar, with no less than two House Judiciary members hinting that they may be willing to take extra steps (e.g., use of "inherent contempt" to have Rove arrested by the House Sergeant at Arms if need be) should he refuse to testify.
If Rove refuses to appear, says Rep. Wasserman-Schultz, "then we have to take the next step." And Rep. Sanchez notes, "We really need to set our foot down and show there are consequences to people who laugh in the face of Congressional subpoenas."
Tea leaves sure, but interesting ones, worth watching. The point is also made that the Committee may continue with this particular investigation, even as a new President takes office. Would be a whole different ballgame under those conditions. Presuming that new President isn't McCain, in any case. Hmmm...
Last Thursday Keith Olbermann began an excellent conversation with George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley on the Karl Rove subpoena matter by stating, "Joe Wilson's dream of watching Karl Rove frog marched out of the White House in handcuffs is long since gone. But a new dream has been born tonight. What about a Turdblossom perp walk out of the front door of Fix News."
As seen in the video at right, the freshly shorn former Ambassador responds to the news and our question at a small gathering where he was speaking in Los Angeles. He said he was unsure whether or not Congress will be able to "get to" Rove, though he was certainly behind the effort.
"Whether they will actually be able to get to Karl I don't know," Wilson told us. "But it's great to keep the pressure on him. It forces him back on defense." He then added: "It's amazing to me the extent to which these guys have operated with absolute impunity, absolute disregard for American law and American jurisprudence."
Following below is the entire 40 minutes or so of Wilson's talk to the small gathering last week in Los Angeles, covering all aspects of his ordeal with the Bush administration...
(Washington, DC)-Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), issued a subpoena to former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove for testimony about the politicization of the Department of Justice (DOJ), including former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman's case. Yesterday, Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, sent a letter to the Committee expressing that Rove would not agree to testify voluntarily, per the Committee's previous requests.
"It is unfortunate that Mr. Rove has failed to cooperate with our requests," Conyers said.
"Although he does not seem the least bit hesitant to discuss these very issues weekly on cable television and in the print news media, Mr. Rove and his attorney have apparently concluded that a public hearing room would not be appropriate. Unfortunately, I have no choice today but to compel his testimony on these very important matters."
Separately, Chairman Conyers recently received a letter from DOJ's Office of Professional Responibility (OPR) indicating that the office has opened an investigation into allegations of selective prosecution of Siegelman and others.
Included below and attached are the relevant documents:
Full text of the cover letter sent to Robert Luskin, Karl Rove's attorney (attached and below); [Download here]
The following email comes from Mark Crispin Miller, NYU media professor, and author of the landmark election integrity book, FOOLED AGAIN.
It includes an email exchange from yesterday with the finally-free-on-bond former Democratic Governor of Alabama Don Siegelman, concerning his allegations that his 2002 election was electronically flipped. (A rarely seen video interview, featuring Siegelman in 2004 discussing details of what he believes happened, is at posted at end of this article.)
Yesterday I emailed Don Siegelman, as I had a few matters to discuss with him.
Here's the crucial part:
At 12:12 AM -0400 4/9/08, Mark Crispin Miller wrote:
The other, more important thing is this: As you may or may not know, the one aspect of your long ordeal that the press has stubbornly refused to mention--or, I think, even to perceive--is the theft of that election in 2002. Like you, I believe that that was crucial; but the press, quite typically, won't mention it. Frankly, I believe that they, and most leading Democrats, are in denial about it, as its implications are too frightening. Just as they've looked away from all the evidence of vast election fraud throughout Bush/Cheney's reign, therefore, they've also looked away from the subversion of that gubernatorial race in Alabama. And so that chapter of your story is unknown to most Americans, even those who've lately heard the rest of it.
The former chief of the Justice Department's Voting Rights Section, who stepped aside in December after apologizing for remarks about minority voters, is now working on election-related issues for the Alabama Law Institute.
John Tanner, who is being paid by the Justice Department under a federal program, also will teach at two Alabama law schools.
The law institutes's president, Alabama House Speaker Pro Tem Demetrius Newton, said he personally contacted Tanner when he heard the long-time voting rights specialist wanted some time away from Washington. At the institute, a part of the University of Alabama, Tanner's work includes developing handbooks for public officials on getting Justice Department approval of election-law changes.
"He's the expert on that," Newton, D-Birmingham, said Monday.
Expert on that, indeed.
The article goes on to note that the DoJ is "paying Tanner's salary and benefits to work in Alabama through next spring." About which Bob McCurley, director of the Alabama Law Institute, said, "It's not costing me anything."
And well worth the price at that!
But that's not all that should be taken note of here. There are at least two very important dots that need connecting here between Tanner, Alabama, the Siegelman case and an unprecedented order by the DoJ in 2006 taking away control of elections from the AL Secretary of State and handing it to the Republican Governor who ousted him under, um, less than crystal-clean circumstances...
Alabama's former Democratic Governor Don Siegelman, at the center of an alleged conspiracy to take him down --- a conspiracy with an extraordinary body of bi-partisan evidence to support it, and Karl Rove's direct involvement in it --- has finally been released from jail pending appeal.
We're on a few other beats for the moment, so for the latest, we'll refer you to RAW STORY's coverage, where Larisa Alexandrovna has done a great deal of heavy lifting on this story over the past several months.
Our own numerous stories on this woeful tale, including an occasional exclusive or two --- and some still grossly-undercovered aspects of Siegelman's story, such as the electronic election fraud he alleges was employed by state Republicans to unseat him --- can be read here.
UPDATE: Dan Abrams' coverage of Siegelman's pending release below...
(Hat-tip for the heads up to The BRAD BLOG's Alan Breslauer, with balls the size of Alabama, as seen in the photo at top-left.)