Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Rule of Law Goes Out the Window

The leader of the Justice Department team that prosecuted a landmark lawsuit against tobacco companies said yesterday that Bush administration political appointees repeatedly ordered her to take steps that weakened the government's racketeering case.
Sharon Y. Eubanks said Bush loyalists in Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales's office began micromanaging the team's strategy in the final weeks of the 2005 trial, to the detriment of the government's claim that the industry had conspired to lie to U.S. smokers.

She said a supervisor demanded that she and her trial team drop recommendations that tobacco executives be removed from their corporate positions as a possible penalty. He and two others instructed her to tell key witnesses to change their testimony. And they ordered Eubanks to read verbatim a closing argument they had rewritten for her, she said.

Eubanks said Congress should not limit its investigation to the dismissal of the U.S. attorneys. "Political interference is happening at Justice across the department," she said. "When decisions are made now in the Bush attorney general's office, politics is the primary consideration. . . . The rule of law goes out the window."

The most stressful moment, Eubanks said, came when the three appointees ordered her to read word for word a closing argument they had rewritten. The statement explained the validity of seeking a $10 billion penalty. "I couldn't even look at the judge," she said.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Daily Show Explains How to Become a "Loyal Bushie"

The term "loyal Bushie" recently turned up in discussions surrounding the White House Attorneygate scandal. In the video clip below, Jon Stewart talks with Daily Show reporter Rob Riggle, who defines the term and details the different types of "Bushies".
There are several ways to become a 'loyal Bushie. The first is emerging through Barbara Bush's vagina," jokes Riggle. "Obviously, that's the road less traveled." ' Stewart also poked fun at the more than 3,000 emails released by the Justice Department in relation to the firings, by quoting from mock versions.
One mock email read, "Let's fire U.S. attorneys for purely political reasons and make sure we keep all the emails. PS: I am cheating on my wife with an underage boy. PPS: Seriously, Don't delete this."

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Rally in the Valley

I took this picture at today's Rally in the Valley to protest the ongoing Iraq Occupation. It was a huge success. Staged in downtown Fresno, the event featured interesting speakers, great music and informational booths showcasing various peace / social justice groups in the area. One can only wonder if congress will get its shit together and put a stop to Bush's madness, or whether we will be back doing the exact same thing next year. My guess is the later.