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By Brad Friedman on 12/7/2010 2:06pm PT  

Via AP...

LAGOS, Nigeria — Nigeria's anti-corruption agency on Tuesday charged former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney over a bribery scheme involving oil services firm Halliburton Co. during time he served as its top official, a spokesman said.

The charges stem from a case involving as much as $180 million allegedly paid in bribes to Nigerian officials, said Femi Babafemi, a spokesman for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

Halliburton and other firms allegedly paid the bribes to win a contract to build a $6 billion liquefied natural gas plant in Nigeria's oil-rich southern delta, he said.
...
Babafemi declined to comment when asked how likely it was that Cheney would be extradited to Nigeria over the charges.

"We are following the laws of the land. We want to follow the laws and see where it will go," the spokesman said. "We're very convinced by the time the trial commences, we'd make application for appropriate court orders to be issued."

For more on the "very awkward position" the U.S. may soon find itself in regarding the possible legal requirement of sending Cheney to Nigeria, with whom we have a long-standing extradition treaty, see our story from last Friday quoting Constitutional law profession Jonathan Turley on this rather interesting turn of events.

No doubt there are plenty of diplomatic cables flying around on this between the U.S. and Nigerian governments right about now. Let's hope someone shares them with WikiLeaks soon.

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Also: WikiLeaks cables reveal Obama Admin worked with GOP to protect Bush Admin from torture charges in Spain
Tea Bagger Concerns: 'Corrupt' ACORN!...
By Brad Friedman on 12/3/2010 1:22pm PT  

Just thought we should flag this one while Dick Cheney is still around (and while Obama is still in office).

According to Business Week, the former CEO of Halliburton will soon be wanted for arrest on bribery charges by Nigeria, with whom the U.S. has a long-standing extradition treaty. As well, they may also be asking Interpol, whom the U.S. is supposed to be cooperating with, to help in seeking Cheney's arrest. All of this at a time when Rightwingers (and some non-Rightwingers) are calling on Interpol to arrest WikiLeaks' Julian Assange for...something or other.

All of which may put the U.S. in "a very awkward position", according to Georgetown University's Constitutional Law professor Jonathan Turley, who discussed that --- and the Obama Administration's collusion with Republicans to protect the Bush Administration from torture charges in Spain, as we've now learned from recently released WikiLeaks cables --- on MSNBC last night...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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UPDATE: Conyers calls on DoJ to review Bush waterboarding order, reconsider decision to let CIA torture tape destroyers off the hook...
By Brad Friedman on 11/11/2010 3:55pm PT  

If there was ever an article worth reading in its entirety (and it's not a long one), it would be Dahlia Lithwick's "Interrogation Nation" as published yesterday at Slate. Here is one of several key passages as written on the heels of George W. Bush's latest proudly shameless admission that he ordered torture, and this week's announcement that nobody will be held accountable for purposely covering up some of those heinous acts by destroying video-taped evidence...

We keep waiting breathlessly for someone, somewhere, to have a day of reckoning over the prisoners we tortured in the wake of 9/11, without recognizing that there is no bag man to be found and that therefore we are all the bag man.

President Barack Obama decided long ago that he would "turn the page" on prisoner abuse and other illegality connected to the Bush administration's war on terror. What he didn't seem to understand, what he still seems not to appreciate, is that what was on that page would bleed through onto the next page and the page after that. There's no getting past torture. There is only getting comfortable with it. The U.S. flirtation with torture is not locked in the past or in the black sites or prisons at which it occurred. Now more than ever, it's feted on network television and held in reserve for the next president who persuades himself that it's not illegal after all.

We have argued since forever that if Bush and his gang of proudly boasting war criminals were not held to account for their abhorrent crimes, the future would be a dim one indeed, where any president in the future, of any political party, would preside over an ever-lowered bar for criminality. This is that future.

Lithwick's commentary is a chilling and maddening one, but it should be required reading for everyone in these United States --- at least for those who may someday wonder what the hell happened here, on our watch.

In the meantime, pressure is growing again, at least in a few circles which still seem to care about the Rule of Law and the U.S. Constitution, for a probe of Bush's torture orders, particularly in light of his recent admissions and our obligation to do so under the U.N. Convention Against Torture as signed by Ronald Reagan in 1988 and ratified by the U.S. Senate in 1994.

* * *

UPDATE: Late this afternoon, U.S. House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers issued a statement urging the DoJ to "reconsider their decision reconsider the recent decision not to pursue justice against those responsible for destroying videotape evidence involving water boarding by the CIA" and, as importantly commit to "a thorough review of President Bush's now admitted ordering of waterboarding take place."

Conyers' statement goes on to say: "We are a nation of laws, not men, and the domestic and international laws - including the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment - governing the use of torture are clear in their scope and application. There is no exception for the President or any other official and no lawyer's opinion can provide immunity from these laws."

The full statement follows below...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 8/18/2010 6:10pm PT  

-- Brad Friedman

Tonight, it's been announced, the last U.S. "combat brigade" has left Iraq, some 7 years, 4 months and 29 days after they were sent there for specious and deadly reasons by the Administration of George W. Bush.

Coincidentally, it is just over 5 years to the day since 14 Marines from a base in the Cleveland, Ohio, suburb of Brook Park were killed by a roadside a bomb in Iraq. The incident, the deadliest bombing there at the time, when "just" 1,820 U.S. troops had died to date, led Bush to tell "the people of Brook Park" that he "hope[d] they also take comfort in the understanding that the sacrifice was made in a noble cause."

That statement brought one very courageous woman --- Cindy Sheehan, whose son had also been killed in Iraq --- down to Crawford, Texas, where Bush had been vacationing at his ranch, in hopes of asking him in person "what noble cause" her son, and those from Cleveland, and from so many other cities and towns around the U.S., had died for.

Sheehan faced down an extraordinary gathering of seething hatred on the blistering hot Central Texas prairie for several weeks in response, in hopes of getting an answer from her son's Commander-in-Chief to that simple question. (And yes, it was nothing short of seething hatred, which we saw first-hand as we covered the extraordinary moment on the ground for this blog and during more than 50 hours of live radio broadcasts, smack dab in the center of it all.) She was joined, in support, by dozens of other family members of the fallen, scores of U.S. Armed Service veterans and thousands of regular, patriotic U.S. citizens on that cow pasture near Bush's home.

5 years later, nearly to the day, after that extraordinary summer and extraordinary display of American courage, the last U.S. "combat troops," we're told, have left Iraq, leaving "just" 50,000 behind, theoretically for logistical and training purposes.

4,415 U.S. troops, including U.S. Army Specialist Casey Sheehan, never came home from Iraq. At least not alive. Tens of thousands more have had their lives forever shattered due to permanent physical and emotional injury. Hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis were also slaughtered and maimed in the bargain.

And tonight, after all of that time, we're still left wondering: What was that "noble cause"?

* * *

UPDATE 8/19/10: NYU's Nir Rosen tweets wryly: "american combat troops pull out of iraq. the remaining fifty thousand are armed only with sticks, fly swatters, pepper spray and nunchucks"

And we later followed with: "Last one out of Iraq, turn out the lights (as soon as they get electricity back)."

Video from MSNBC's exclusive coverage of the last U.S. "combat brigade" leaving Iraq and entering into Kuwaiit follows below...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Ernest A. Canning on 8/13/2010 8:45pm PT  

Guest Editorial by Ernest A. Canning

Sorry, Mr. Gibbs, but your description of a "professional left" whose critiques of your boss, President Barack Obama, should be disregarded as the "crazy" musings of "people who ought to be drug tested" reflects that you are both authoritarian and out-of-touch.

The vast majority of citizens who supported the President in 2008 favor positions on policies that are far more progressive than anything which has emerged from either the corporate-controlled Democratic "leadership" in Congress or the Obama White House. The majority of Americans are by no means obligated to ignore the "democracy deficit" or the betrayal of the President's promise to bring "change we can believe in."

While one can readily agree that many of the Obama administration's policies are an improvement over those which are advanced by the reactionary fascist billionaires, and their mindless "Tea Party" followers, there are many instances in which the policies of the current administration threaten more harm than those of its predecessor. E.g,, those documented by a recent ACLU report (see Democracy Now video below) in which the current administration has created policies that may "enshrine permanently within the law policies and practices that were widely considered extreme and unlawful during the Bush administration."

Perhaps most disturbing is that the President's zeal to please his true constituency --- corporate America, Wall Street and the military-industrial complex --- comes from the same Presidential candidate whose soaring and lofty, yet deceptive campaign rhetoric gave rise to hope in so many that Election Day 2008 would mark a return to economic fairness, transparency, a restoration of the rule of law, an end to the fear-driven perpetual "war on terror," and a restoration of nature's ecological balance.

The title of Studs Turkel's powerful book is Hope Dies Last.

Even during the darkest days of the Bush/Cheney cabal, there was the hope that the foundering American ship of state could be righted by way of the electoral process. By raising the hopes of the American people during the course of the 2008 campaign, only to dash those hopes by betraying his own rhetoric, President Obama has, in some measure, caused more harm than the Bush/Cheney regime...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Says 'evidence overwhelming' they 'participated in criminal conspiracies to violate federal law and guaranteed civil liberties of hundreds, maybe thousands of human beings'...
By Brad Friedman on 7/12/2010 4:17pm PT  

Wow. Seriously. Just...really...Wow.

Fox "News" analyst and former NJ Superior Court Judge Andrew Napolitano was featured on a segment of C-Span's BookTV over the weekend, to discuss his book, Lies the Government Told You: Myth, Power, and Deception in American History.

While being interviewed by Ralph Nader, Napolitano says what Bush and Cheney did while in office was "blatantly unconstitutional, and in some cases criminal."

When asked by Nader what the consequences should be, the judge says, in no uncertain terms: "They should have been indicted! They absolutely should have been indicted! For torturing, for spying, for arresting without warrant."

Wow. Guess his contract on Fox must be up. If it wasn't, we suspect it is now. The text transcript and video --- with Napolitano explaining that the "evidence...is overwhelming" that Bush and Cheney "participated in criminal conspiracies to violate the federal law and the guaranteed civil liberties of hundreds, maybe thousands of human beings --- follows below. Take a look...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 2/22/2010 12:08pm PT  

My promise to "Tea Partiers" (the phony ones, not the real Ron Paul ones who were legitimately Tea Partying long before you Tea Baggers even began to completely misunderstand what the Boston Tea Party was about):

When you start calling for accountability for those in the Bush/Cheney Torture Operation who directly and indirectly violated both the U.S. Constitution and the Rule of Law, I'll start taking you and your claims about defending the Constitution seriously.

Until then, you are phony patriots and easily-played partisan stooges, who don't give a damn about our Constitution and the values that this country actually stands for.

* * *

A few reminders --- among many more --- about the real Tea Parties, and the man who inspired them, while being utterly marginalized by the GOP --- and who, ironically enough, was the runaway winner of this weekend's CPAC straw poll for the GOP's 2012 Presidential nomination --- are below for those clueless Tea Bagging pretenders referenced above...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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The discussion not being had about the 'War on Terror'...
By Brad Friedman on 1/4/2010 5:05am PT  

The baseball metaphors were theirs. I just thought I'd pick up on them.

Over the holiday weekend, there was a bit of an "academic" tête-à-tête in the upper-blogosphere over President Obama's handling of the arrest, detention and prosecution of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Detroit "Underwear Bomber," as it compared to George W. Bush's almost exactly similar handling of the arrest, detention and prosecution of Richard Reid, the "Shoe Bomber," and other alleged terrorists by the former administration.

While there were swell arguments into which "both" sides could firmly dig their heels, as usual, the conversation that the people of this country really need to be having was shunted far aside in favor of the one Dick Cheney and Karl Rove prefer to be having...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Rachel Maddow, journalist, fact-checker, explains what the others apparently haven't been able to
UPDATED: A Democrat finally pushes back...
By Frank Schaeffer on 12/31/2009 6:44am PT  

Guest blogged by Frank Schaeffer (with a little help from Rachel Maddow)

I am the father of a Marine who served his country with honor in Afghanistan and Iraq. In that role --- as part of the military family --- I call on anyone who cares about this country to speak out against the Republican Party, its leaders and followers and tell the truth: they are trying to cash in on the Detroit/terror attempt in a way that has clearly crossed a line. They are over the line of not just good taste, but into an area that has to be called what it is: unpatriotic, un-American cynicism on a new level.

I was going to write a post on this but Rachel Maddow said it better on MSNBC last night...


Please watch and pass on. One last thing: why is Rachel Maddow the only journalist who seems to be doing her job on this (and so many other matters!) of actually fact-checking?

UPDATE/ADDENDUM FROM BRAD: With all due respect to the indispensable Rachel, and our friend Frank Schaeffer, Glenn Greenwald and a few others in the blogosphere, were also early on this particular beat, as the non-Rachel corporate media were predictably performing their usual failure. And, if we may say so ourselves, we had a word (okay, a coarse and infuriated rant) or two on these very same matters, while guest hosting last night's Mike Malloy Show ourselves. That rant, at least a good chunk of it, can be downloaded here [MP3] or heard by hitting the play button below...

ANOTHER UPDATE FROM BRAD: Finally, a Democrat manages to grow a pair, and pushes back --- loudly and directly --- at the outrageous, appalling, hypocritical, anti-American attacks from Cheney and the rest of the America-hating Right...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Rep. Nadler on Fox, Sen. Whitehouse on MSNBC agree, no legal choice but to investigate torture allegations, wherever they may lead...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/4/2009 1:40pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Former U.S. Attorney and Rhode Island Attorney General Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) recently wrote in National Law Journal:

The judicial branch...has determined that waterboarding is torture...The Bush administration has admitted to waterboarding captives. The corpus delicti of that crime exists. For there to be investigation now is unexceptional.

The only exceptional thing is the parties involved: the former vice president of the United States, his counsel David Addington, Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) lawyer John Yoo and their private contractors Bruce Jessen and Jim Mitchell, psychologists who designed the torture program.

During a Sept. 2, 2009 segment of MSNBC's Countdown, Keith Olbermann interviewed Whitehouse about his National Law Journal piece (video below) and quoted former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who praised Attorney General Eric Holder's appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate CIA employees who exceeded the guidelines contained in the infamous Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) torture memos.

Olbermann's interview included a Fox "News" segment in which Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) was cut-off by a Fox anchor while making the following crucial point...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 8/29/2009 4:21pm PT  

From RAW's coverage of Cheney's upcoming "interview" on Fox in which the war criminal continues his public defense/deception on his use of illegal torture against detainees [emphasis ours]:

"The approach of the Obama administration should be to come to those people who were involved in that policy and say, 'How did you do it? What were the keys to keeping this country safe over that period of time?'" Cheney stated. "Instead, they're out there now threatening to disbar the lawyers who gave us the legal opinions."

Just prior to that moment, according to the transcript, Cheney also says: "The fact of the matter is the lawyers in the Justice Department who gave us those opinions had every right to give us the opinions they did. Now you get a new administration and they say, well, we didn't like those opinions, we're going to go investigate those lawyers and perhaps have them disbarred."

I don't believe I've seen any noteworthy discussion about disbarring any torture lawyers in the public domain other other than from VelvetRevolution.us' DisbarTortureLawyers.com campaign [Disclosure: The BRAD BLOG is co-founder of VR], and certainly not from the Obama Administration, with which we have no relation...not by a long shot.

So, unless I'm wrong, it seems we (VR) have succeeded in getting Cheney's attention, at least.

Good. Let's hope they're all disbarred for the shameful example they've proven to be to both their country and their profession.

But disbarring Cheney's torture attorney stooges is hardly enough, of course. And no doubt, that's why he's kicking back into full save-his-ass mode this weekend, in light of Holder's announced torture probe following the release of the CIA Inspector General's devasting torture report [PDF] and more CIA docs said coming on Monday. Yes, it's another full media blitz from the Cheneys, as both he and Mary Liz will be making appearances on the Sunday Shows this weekend where Republican Insiders are allowed full, unfettered access to our public airwaves, allowed to lie with impunity, with the assurance that nobody will counter or fact-check them, and where they will even be able to refer to stories they've previously planted in major papers via "anonymous sources" as proof of the case they will make. (See both Greenwald and Wheeler today on how WaPo has now completely discredited itself, Judith Miller-style, once and for all).

So with Cheney defending his stooge lawyers, and on full-throated Orwellian attack yet again against Team Obama's so-far pathetic baby step towards accountability, I'm reminded, for some reason, of the scene from Rambo in which he's been captured, detained, tortured, and shackled, before being allowed by his captors to radio back to his base to prove he's being held by the enemy, but is still alive. With everything absolutely stacked against him, he asks to speak to the man on his own team who, as it turns out, turned traitor to allow him to be captured in the first place, leading to one of the great twists in 80's action film history.

The quick scene follows. Replace "Murdock" with "Cheney," and Rambo with me, and that's a little bit of how I'm feeling this afternoon...

{The video from Rambo has been removed following a copyright complaint from Studio Canal and Lionsgate}

[Message to Secret Service: No, that is not a threat of violence. Thank you.]

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Still fail to discuss Scahill bombshell
Official source idiocy reigns
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/20/2009 11:23am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

On Aug. 20, 2009 The New York Times published a front-page article:

[Emphasis added]The Central Intelligence Agency in 2004 hired outside contractors from the private security contractor Blackwater USA as part of a secret program to locate and assassinate top operatives of Al Qaeda, according to current and former government officials.

A substantially similar article appeared in the Washington Post and in the Los Angeles Times.

The New York Times article provided limited background information on Blackwater aka Xe, referencing what amounted to a massacre of 17 unarmed Iraqi civilians gunned down by Blackwater mercenaries in Nisoor Square as simply an instance in which Blackwater had been "accused of using excessive force."

In "Blackwater = Murder, Inc." I covered the explosive allegations made in sworn statements by two former Blackwater employees --- murder, weapons smuggling, corruption, and the use of child prostitutes. I argued:

The failure of the bulk of the corporate press to responsibly cover this explosive story is manifestly irresponsible. The ramifications of permitting a President to create a private, unaccountable army of mercenaries --- one which was permitted to have a heavily armed presence inside a U.S. city, a presence that took precedence over saving the lives of Katrina victims --- are truly frightening.

Now, that same corporate press learned from "official sources" that Blackwater is linked to former Vice President Richard B Cheney's "assassination wing." It repeats, without challenge, the official source contention that the only ones targeted by the "assassination wing" were senior al Qaeda officials --- this despite Jeremy Scahill's and Keith Olbermann's revelation that John Doe 2, reportedly a former member of Blackwater's management, alleged:

Mr. Prince views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe.

These articles reveal as much about the sorry state of mainstream media journalism as they do about Blackwater...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Death by Torture, Ghost Detainees and the Disappeared
The global assault on decency & the rule of law
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/13/2009 8:34am PT  

Guest Blogged by Ernest A. Canning
Part V of a Five-Part Special Series
(Part I is here. Part II is here. Part III is here. Part IV is here.)

"This report tells the largely untold human story of what happened to detainees in our custody when the Commander-in-Chief and those under him authorized a systematic regime of torture. This story is not only written in words: It is scrawled for the rest of these individuals’ lives on their bodies and minds. Our national honor is stained by the indignity and inhumane treatment these men received from their captors...

"After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts, and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the...administration...committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account." Retired Maj. Gen. Anthony Tuguba, "Preface" to Report by Physicians for Human Rights.

In Part I of this five-part series, I took care to distinguish the post-9/11 application of torture techniques by the U.S. military from the role played by the CIA and demonstrated how the Bush/Cheney decision to torture predated the quasi-legal Justice Department memos. In Part II, I covered the CIA's dark beginnings, including links not only to former Nazi war criminals but to those Americans who provided financial support to Hitler's Germany, including the late Senator Prescott Bush, George W's paternal grandfather. I also demonstrated how academic studies, performed as part of the CIA's maniacal quest to crack the code of human consciousness, culminated in KUBARK, the CIA's 1963 torture manual. In Part III, I showed how the KUBARK torture techniques, applied by US-trained foreign surrogates, became an essential component of the covert dimension of a US-led corporate Empire --- a means for exerting control over populations resistant to the injustice of a system that values the obscene wealth of a few over the needs of the many. Part IV covered “extraordinary rendition.”

Here we will deal with the direct application of KUBARK techniques at CIA “black sites,” why we cannot rely on the government as a source of truth, death by torture and the disturbing yet unresolved question as to how many have joined the ranks of the “disappeared”...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 8/11/2009 11:43pm PT  

From the sub-title used with the LATimes story over the weekend about AG Eric Holder's long-rumored, now reportedly "all but certain" plan to appoint a special prosecutor to examine torture during the Bush Adminstration:

Insiders say Atty. Gen. Eric Holder is close to naming a prosecutor to look into reports of excessive waterboarding and other unauthorized methods.

So non-"excessive waterboarding" is now legal?

From the article itself...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 7/26/2009 10:45am PT  

In response to AP's Friday headline announcing "Conyers wants criminal probe of Bush 'abuses,'" David Swanson posts this "important breaking sarcasm"...

Holder Joins Conyers in Demanding Action

House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers has called on Attorney General Eric Holder to open a criminal investigation into the misdeeds of former president George W. Bush and former vice president Richard B. Cheney.

Holder, in turn, has now called on Conyers to open impeachment proceedings against former head of the Office of Legal Council Jay Bybee, now a judge in the Ninth Circuit.

Conyers, in response, has demanded that Holder open a complete investigation of 14 different areas of criminal enterprise and appoint an independent counsel, offering a list of eight possible candidates.

Holder, in reply, has insisted that Conyers reissue all of the subpoenas his committee has failed to enforce over the past two and a half years and use the Capitol Police to enforce them at once.

In response, Conyers' office has issued a new report on the need to weed out corruption and undo politically motivated prosecutions by the U.S. Department of Justice.

This morning, the attorney general remarked at a televised press conference, "Chairman Conyers proposed five months ago to extend to 10 years the statutes of limitations on crimes allegedly committed under the previous administration. Introducing a bill might be a way to begin making that happen. Just an idea. I'm no expert."

Surprisingly, John Conyers removed a large Easter bonnet that had been disguising him, stood up in the back of the room and shouted...

See Swanson for the rest...

ReddIt this story!



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