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Beltway Dems Regurgitate Right-Wing B.S. on Iraq; Grassroots Fights Back
By David Sirota
The Philadelphia Inquirer has a great piece today (attached) on how many of the highest-profile Democrats - other than the courageous Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) - are still unwilling to take a serious position on the Iraq War. I must say, there are very troubling signs in the article in terms of Democrats continuing to regurgitate dishonest right wing lies (a phenomenon our side seems to be prone to), and continuing to listen to the professional election losers (aka. "The Consulting Class") and the club of foreign policy elitists (aka. the "The Strategic Class") in Washington, D.C. But there are also some very encouraging signals this insulated Beltway Establishment is being shaken to its core.
At a meeting with representatives of Valley Grassroots For Democracy, Daniel Tamm and John Heaner, Congressman Brad Sherman (D-27th CD) agreed to co-sponsor H. Res. 375 - the Resolution of Inquiry, introduced by Democratic Bay Area Representative Barbara Lee. The resolution requests the President and directs the Secretary of State to transmit to the House of Representatives all information in their possession relating to communication with officials of the United Kingdom between January 1, 2002, and October 16, 2002, relating to the policy of the United States with respect to Iraq. You can read a copy of H. Res. 375 at http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/downloads/roi-onepage.pdf
There are now 48 co-sponsors of H Res 375. The four latest are Congressmen Barney Frank, Elijah Cummins, Rush Holt, and Gregory Meeks.
In the photo, Ven Neralla (top), Legislative Director for Congresswoman Barbara Lee, tells members of Progressive Democrats of America's Virginia Chapter about the Resolution on Saturday, August 20.
The Resolution will likely be voted on in the House International Relations Committee between Sept. 6 and Sept. 16. The more congress members who co-sponsor, the more likely some committee members are to both vote Yes and engage in a serious debate in the committee.
The ranking Democrat on the committee is Tom Lantos.
Here's a report on efforts to lobby him from Ashley Evans on August 18:
MR. BUSH, TEAR DOWN THAT STONE WALL!
A daily service of the DNC, "Mr. Bush, Tear Down That Stone Wall!" will highlight a specific fact that has been revealed and what Americans deserve to know about the White House's involvement in the improper and possibly illegal disclosure of an undercover CIA agent's identity for political gain.
WHAT'S BEEN UNCOVERED
Fitzgerald Had History of Pursuing Perjury In Previous Investigations. According to individuals familiar with his case history, special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has pursued perjury charges in a significant portion of the cases he has investigated. The Los Angeles Times reported, "Fitzgerald's tendency to invoke the laws against lying comes from two things, colleagues say: the particular way he uses grand jury testimony when he conducts an investigation, and his deep-seated aversion to being lied to." [Los Angeles Times, 8/15/05 ]
By STEVE HARTSOE, Associated Press Writer
Congressman Walter Jones said Thursday he has about 50 co-sponsors on a joint resolution that calls on President Bush to announce by year's end a plan for withdrawal from Iraq.
The resolution — introduced in June by Jones, another Republican and two Democrats — calls on the president to begin executing the withdrawal by Oct. 1, 2006. It does not set an end date.
"I think that people have finally understood what we're doing," Jones said after a meeting at the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, noting that people have mistakenly thought the resolution was binding.
By Alan Elsner
In the solidly Republican state of Nebraska, voters are expressing deep anxiety about rising gasoline prices and the war in Iraq, a possible early warning sign for President George W. Bush in one of his most reliable strongholds.
When Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel (news, bio, voting record) traveled around his home state this week, citizens at every stop brought up Iraq policy and the inexorable rise in fuel prices.
"Is there anything the United States can do to get some stability in crude oil prices in the world, because it affects everything we do?" Larry Ahlers, a manager at medical device manufacturer Becton and Dickinson in Broken Bow, asked Hagel in one of dozens of such encounters.
Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) is calling for an investigation into the role of former Attorney General John Ashcroft in the outing of undercover CIA operative Valerie Plame. Conyers' call comes after a new report by investigative journalist Murray Waas that a special prosecutor was appointed in the case in large part because FBI investigators had begun to specifically question the veracity of accounts provided to them by Karl Rove. We speak with Conyers and Waas. [includes rush transcript]
Congresman Rush Holt's Resolution (H. Res. 363) has 76 cosponsors so far. Here is the summary of what it does:
"Requesting the President and directing the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Attorney General to transmit to the House of Representatives not later than 14 days after the date of the adoption of this resolution documents in the possession of the President and those officials relating to the disclosure of the identity and employment of Ms. Valerie Plame."
Ask your congress member to co-sponsor.
List of who is already co-sponsoring.
Congressman John Conyers (D-MI) and Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) will be issuing a formal request for an immediate investigation with the US Inspector General's office into John Ashcroft - former US Attorney General, Raw Story has learned.
The request - released to Raw Story - cites conflict of interest on the part of Ashcroft in his failure to promptly recuse himself during the initial investigation into the outing of CIA agent Valerie Wilson. Ashcroft was US Attorney General at the time.
The CIA filed charges with the FBI and Justice after columnist Robert Novak made Wilson's identity public in July of 2003. It has since been learned, as part of a case currently in front of a grand jury, that Karl Rove - Senior Advisor to President Bush, was the source for several reporters on the Wilson story.
Dear DFA Organizer,
This email includes some important final suggestions for your congressional meeting this week. At the bottom, it includes information about how to report back the results of your meeting.
Primary Goals of the Meetings
1) To deliver DFA's petition calling on Congress to hold full hearings on the Downing Street Memos and whether the President misled us into war.
2) To ask your Congressperson to support Rep. Lee's Resolution of Inquiry (ROI). If passed, the ROI would require the White House and the State Department to "transmit all information relating to communication with officials of the United Kingdom between January 1, 2002, and October 16, 2002, relating to the policy of the United States with respect to Iraq."
The Problem With Howard Dean
By David Swanson
Question: How is Howard Dean like the Bible?
Answer: There is no position for which you cannot, with a little research, find both support and opposition in the pronouncements of Howard Dean.
Today DailyHowler.com exulted: "DEAN GETS IT! Hurrah! Hooray! A million kudos! Howard Dean says that Democrats have to start telling the truth!!!
Quite an accomplishment, no doubt, but is that ALL that Dean said? And what did he say about the war?
Here's the section of Dean's recent interview with CBS that elicited such cheering:
August 12, 2005
Dear Mr. Swanson:
Thank you for getting in touch with me regarding the Bush Administration's claims about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (WMD) used to justify going to war. I agree with you that we need a thorough, effective and objective investigation of the intelligence on Iraq and how it was used.
As a Senator and a member of the Select Committee on Intelligence, I was presented information that led me to believe that Saddam Hussein had biological and chemical weapons and the means to use them. Bush Administration officials also said that Iraq had links to terrorism and was developing nuclear weapons. This has been called into question in light of what UN inspectors and U.S. forces have found - and not found - on the ground in Iraq.
August 11, 2005
Mr. Brett Gerry Ms. Margaret P. Grafeld
Associate Counsel Information and Privacy Coordinator
Office of Counsel to the President Office of Information Programs & Services
The White House A/RPS/IPS/RL
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. U.S. Department of State, SA-2
Washington, D.C. 20502 Washington, D.C. 20522-6001
Re: Freedom of Information Act Request
Dear Sir and Madam:
On June 30, 2005, I and 51 other Members of Congress requested access to “all agency records, including but not limited to handwritten notes, formal correspondence, electronic mail messages, intelligence reports and other memoranda,
Congressmen Chris Van Hollen and James McGovern have joined the growing list of those who want to knwo whether Bush lied to Congress.
By Rep. John Conyers
August is typically a month of no news. Congress goes on its summer recess. The President takes a long vacation. A very long one. For those in the White House press corps who are not so fortunate to be assigned to bake in the Crawford, Texas sun, they too take vacations (though not as long as the President's).
This August is different. If you listen closely enough, you can hear the slow drip of scandal turning into a waterfall of corruption and coverups in the Bush White House. On the internet, new pieces of the puzzle are coming together. My friend and the proprietor of this blog, Arianna Huffington seems to have the best sources inside the New York Times newsroom and has led many of us to begin asking whether Judith Miller's refusal to testify is not what it seems.
New Boss for Fitzgerald? Sheehan in Crawford
By Rep. John Conyers
I just read Murray Wass' excellent piece in the American Prospect describing a private meeting between Judith Miller and Scooter Libby on July 8, 2003, two days after Ambassador Wilson's now famous column questioning the WMD assertions of the Administration, and before Novak's outing of Wilson's wife -- based on two administration sources. This is a very comprehensive piece, and adds much critical information to what we know about Treasongate. Wass also explains that one of the key hold ups in Fitzgerald's investigation is that Libby has not yet issued a specific privelege waiver to Miller allowing her to tell the prosecutor what she knows about these alleged crimes. Given that the president said he wanted full cooperation so that the prosecutor could get to the bottom of the security leak, and that he he raised the bar for dismissal to committing a federal crime, this is nothing less than outrageous. Needless to say, I intend to pursue this matter further in the coming days.
Congessman Pete DeFazio has joined the list of Congress Members co-sponsoring Congresswoman Lee's Resolution of Inquiry. That makes 42 co-sponsors, plus Lee makes 43. Keep 'em coming!
IRAQ WAR: WHEN WILL THE KILLING STOP?
By Congressman Charles Rangel
With the deaths of 21 Marines in two days this week, the body count of U.S. troops killed in Iraq rose dramatically to 1,815 and counting. Even as newspapers and TV stations broadcast the death toll, we were still counting on the churches, synagogues and mosques to show that they recognize the inhumanity of this immoral war.
Aren't there passages in the Bible, the Koran and the Torah which command that killing for a fraudulent cause has to stop? Why is no one speaking out?
At least 23,000 civilians have also died in the Iraqi killing field and the U.S. is stuck in a quagmire. With conflict surging, last May 30th Defense Secretary Rumsfeld boasted that the insurgency was "in the last throes." In the days after that insurgents killed well over 100 U.S. troops and more than 600 Iraqis.
On Tuesday, August 2, Sen. Diane Feinstein's office issued the following press release:
Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) is urging the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence to complete its investigation into the use of intelligence by policymakers prior to the Iraq War, with additional attention paid to the “ Downing Street Memo
By SCOTT SHEPARD
Cox News Service
WASHINGTON — As Congress tip-toes into the controversy over the leak of CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity, some lawmakers and analysts worry that the criminal investigation of the matter could be undermined by any congressional grant of immunity from prosecution, as has happened in the past in politically charged investigations.
The cases of key Iran-contra figures Oliver North and John Poindexter underscore their worries: both were prosecuted and convicted by independent counsel Lawrence Walsh, but their convictions were overturned because Congress had granted them immunity in order to compel them to testify in the congressional investigation of the Reagan administration's arms-for-hostages deals.
Welcome to Part II of my Online Town Hall Meeting on the War in Iraq
Congressman Charlie Rangel (NY-15)
I would like to thank you for your participation in part two of my e-town hall meeting on the War in Iraq. The questions have been informative and stimulating. More than anything, they demonstrated just how much you care about our troops, about our government and America. Following are the responses to some of the questions that time did not allow covering last week.
Why were so many people misled about the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?
By Congressman John Conyers
When the Downing Street Minutes began to gain some notoriety in May and June, the President and Prime Minister Blair answered a question about them briefly. Interestingly, both seemed to want to spend the most time talking about the minutes' contention that the President had always intended to go to war (despite the President's public pronouncements to the contrary). That was a smart thing to do, in a political sense, because the President's state of mind is a much more difficult allegation to prove, requiring subjective interpretations of the President's actions.
New Blogger, More Bolton, and Other News
LINK TO ORIGINAL
Good morning, everyone.
Joining our cast of bloggers today is Leon Hadar, a research fellow in foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute, a journalist, a professor, and a gentleman. Leon is the author of the just published Sandstorm: Policy Failure in the Middle East (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005)."
Overnight, AP's Liz Sidoti reported on Senator Biden's request for information on whether Bolton testified before the Fitzgerald grand jury, providing significant exposure to the story (Google News shows around 150 newspapers picked it up). Hidden in the bowels of Sidoti's piece was a bit of new information - Representative Jane Harman is looking into the production of the State Department memoranda that identified Wilson's wife:
Forty members of Congress have now co-sponsored Congresswoman Barbara Lee's Resolution of Inquiry. Many more will almost certainly do so if asked by their constituents.
More Info. and What You Can Do.
Ranking Member Tom Lantos, California, 12th District (a report on lobbying Lantos)
Howard L. Berman, California, 28th District
Gary L. Ackerman, New York, 5th District
Eni F. H. Faleomavaega, American Samoa
Eliot L. Engel, New York, 17th District
Earl Blumenauer, Oregon, 3rd District
Grace F. Napolitano, California, 38th District
Adam B. Schiff, California, 29th District
Ben Chandler, Kentucky, 6th District
Ron Paul, Texas, 14th District
Henry J. Hyde, Chairman, Illinois, 6th District
Christopher H. Smith, Vice Chairman, New Jersey, 4th District
Sanford Bishop Jr.
Harold Ford Jr.
Jesse Jackson Jr.
Eleanor Holmes Norton
Eleanor Holmes Norton
Nick Rahall II
FORUM: THE DOWNING STREET MEMOS
Has Bush Conspired to Lie to Congress and the American People about the Basis for the Iraq War?
Date, Location and Speakers:
Sunday, July 31, 6:30-8:30pm
Arlington St. Church
Arlington & Boylston Streets, Boston
Representative, Massachusetts 4th Congressional District
Gloria L. Fox
State Representative, Seventh Suffolk District (Boston)
Discussion of what we can do in response to this information.
The speakers will include Representative Barney Frank, State Representative Gloria Fox and John Bonifaz, a Boston-based attorney who specializes in constitutional law and is co-founder of www.afterdowningstreet.org. Mr. Frank and Mr. Bonifaz will discuss the Downing Street Memos and their implications, while Ms. Fox will discuss the impact of the illegal Iraq War on Boston and other inner cities. After questions and answers, a discussion will ensue about the need to launch a full investigation of these stunning and disturbing revelations.