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A man who claims he lost his job with a vendor for the Missouri Department of Corrections because of an anti-Bush letter has settled his federal lawsuit with the state for $150,000.
The Columbia Daily Tribune reported on its Web site Friday that Tim Kniest said the settlement equals three years of back pay. Read more.
The Judiciary Committee should have dragged this out for a few years just to give plausibility to the length of time they always told us an impeachment would take. And it was supposed to feel a little more traumatic too.
By David Swanson
A judge gropes and harasses his female employees, lies about it to investigators, is tried and convicted, and is on his way to prison. The U.S. House of Representatives springs into action, activating something none of us even knew existed during the entire eight-year hell of Cheney-Bush: the House Judiciary Committee Task Force on Judicial Impeachment. And what did Judge Groper do on Wednesday? He chose not to show up, as requested by Congress, for his own impeachment hearing.
Over on the Senate side of Capitol Hill, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee recently asked a federal judge not yet convicted of authoring memos to facilitate torture if he wouldn't mind coming in to talk, and Jay Bybee replied "Um, let me think about it . . . no. You go ahead without me," or something roughly to that effect.
Convicted federal judge says he will resign next year
Juan A. Lozano, Associated Press | Dallas Morning News
A convicted federal judge told President Barack Obama in a letter Tuesday that he would resign from the bench in June 2010, nearly a year after he begins serving prison time for lying about the sexual abuse of two assistants.
U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent would draw a full salary of $174,000 a year and benefits until the resignation takes effect, said his lawyer, Dick DeGuerin. Kent decided on the delay so his wife could retain her medical benefits, DeGuerin said. He said Kent's wife has serious medical problems.
The resignation was submitted a week after denial of Kent's request to retire on disability due to depression – which would have meant full salary for the rest of his life. By resigning, he gets nothing after next year.
DeGuerin said Kent, 59, is resigning to avoid the "spectacle" of an impeachment process by Congress.
The lawyer also said it would probably take a year for the impeachment process to be completed in Congress and, "with him resigning, it's not necessary."
The House Judiciary Committee has scheduled a hearing on the matter today. Read more.
Thanks to Bob Schacht and Progressive Democrats of Hawaii:
Whereas, four memos issued by the Office of Legal Counsel between August 1, 2002 and May 30, 2005 were released on April 16, 2009 by the United States Department of Justice relating to prisoner interrogation during President George W. Bush's administration which outline how the Bush administration conducted torture; and
Whereas, the memos were written to provide legal immunity for acts that are clearly illegal, immoral and a violation of this country's most basic values; and
Whereas, the Obama administration has an obligation to pursue what is clear evidence of a government policy sanctioning the torture and abuse of prisoners, in violation of international law and the Constitution; and
Judge Jay Bybee, one of the torture memo authors, is sitting this week in the Las Vegas 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Bush rewarded him for "legalizing" torture by giving him a lifetime appointment on this court. Can you go and protest his presence.
Court starts at 9:00 every day starting tomorrow through Thursday (he's not sitting on Friday), at Lloyd D. George United States Courthouse, 333 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Courtroom 7C, Las Vegas.
If you need to know more about Bybee, ask me.
Here are some signs to print off and bring -
We demonstrated last Thursday in almost all the 9th Circuit locations around the West, and will again on 6/25. Let's organize a BIG one in Vegas!
Here's his statement:
If there’s another terrorist attack, it will be because the mess the Bush administration ignored in Pakistan and Afghanistan spun beyond anyone’s control well before Americans could throw the bums out.
Of course it could also be because of the mess the Bush and Obama administrations created there and in Iraq and elsewhere. My point is not to agree with Rich but to notice that he thinks we somehow threw Bush and Cheney out and that he wishes we'd done so sooner. This is a common sentiment among columnists now that it's too late.
A Texan even. But he's already on his way to prison, so the legislative branch is playing catch up, not claiming any power. And, as with all impeachments in recent years, sex is front and center. (Somehow rapes of prisoners still doesn't qualify Dubya, and it's hard to imagine Conyers impeaching him even once he, too, is on his way to prison).
By Damon Agnos, Seattle Weekly
On the same day that the Telegraph reported that the unreleased pictures at Abu Ghraib include shots of prisoners being raped (something the US government disputes), the Seattle Times put up an op-ed in which a bunch of local lawyers call for the resignation of Jay Bybee, a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals judge (the 9th circuit covers the West Coast.
From Fox Talking Head:
But look, this is all about, fundamentally a battle of vengeance. The Democrats did not impeach George Bush, so now they want to represent his entire administration as being a criminal enterprise. And the Republicans are fighting back by saying, look, you, Nancy Pelosi, in 2002, in the aftermath of 9/11, you agreed that this was OK. But now, you know, years later, she wants to join the hanging party of Bush.
By World Can't Wait, Honolulu
This morning more than 50 people responded to a call made by World Can't Wait-Hawai`i to demand the prosecution of Jay Bybee, the signatory to the now-notorious 2002 “torture memo” authorizing waterboarding, walling, sleep deprivation and other horrific forms of torture. The crowd was diverse. Lawyers and long-time activists. Pacifists and revolutionaries. Office workers and retirees. Some stayed for the morning. Some could only escape from their offices for an hour.
From Chris Floyd:
...the Italian bank BNL was one of BCCI's main tentacles. BNL's Atlanta branch was the primary conduit used to send millions of secret dollars to Saddam for arms purchases, including deadly chemicals and other WMD materials supplied by the Chilean arms dealer Cardoen and various politically-connected operators in the United States such as weapons merchant Matrix Churchill.
SAN FRANCISCO -- Pressure is mounting against two former Bush administration attorneys who wrote the legal memos used to support harsh interrogation techniques that critics say constituted torture.
John Yoo, a constitutional law professor at the University of California, Berkeley, is fighting calls for disbarment and dismissal, while Judge Jay Bybee of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals faces calls for impeachment.
Justice Department investigators have stopped short of recommending criminal charges, but suggest in a draft report that the two men should face professional sanctions. A number of groups across the country agree.
"We believe there is a lot of evidence to suggest that war crimes were committed," said Laura Bonham, deputy director of the Progressive Democrats of America. "We believe the memos provided the Central Intelligence Agency with the cover they needed to begin torturing detaines for information."
By Dave Lindorff
In December 2001, an appellate judicial panel in the state of New York ruled that Yonkers City Court Judge Edmund G. Fitzgerald had to step down from his bench and leave his position following his disbarment for allegedly “misusing” $9000 in a client’s account prior to his election as a judge. In 2007, the North Carolina courts faced something of a dilemma when state judge James Ethridge, who had been disbarred the prior October by the North Carolina State Bar for “swindling an older woman of her house and savings” as an attorney six years earlier, refused to quit his judicial position. Under state law in North Carolina, judges are required to be licensed lawyers, so Judge Ethridge was barred from holding court or signing court orders, but he continued to collect his salary. Only the state’s Judicial Standards Commission, or the state legislature, through an impeachment, could remove him from his job.
By David Swanson
That's right, children, it's national Nancy Day, honoring the occasion on May 7, 2006, when Nancy Pelosi first allowed Tim Russert to badger her into agreeing that she wouldn't permit the impeachment of Saint George or Father Dick, not even if they barbequed children on the White House lawn.
The right honorable Republican National Committee had just sent out a press release reading, roughly, as follows: "Skin me, Miss Nancy, snatch out my eyeballs, t'ar out my yeras by de roots, en cut off my legs, but don't deprive me of mah rightful impeachment. Don't fling me in dat immunity-patch."
Bybee, a graduate of Brigham Young University and its law school, should show himself capable of better judgment -- and of remorse -- by resigning his lifetime appointment. If he does not, Congress should begin impeachment proceedings to force him from the bench.
From Nan Aron:
As the Washington Post reported on April 25, Bybee flew to Washington early in the Bush administration to be interviewed by then-White House counsel Alberto Gonzales for a possible opening on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Gonzales reportedly told him that while they waited for an expected retirement on that circuit, the White House would like Bybee to head up the Office of Legal Counsel in the Justice Department. That office is supposed to be the legal watchdog that gives impartial and professional analysis about whether executive orders or other actions by the administration are legal and constitutional.
In other words, Bybee knew that if he did the Bush administration's bidding he had a prestigious judgeship waiting for him. Asked to come up with some legal theory for why the administration could engage in illegal torture, Bybee complied, producing a memo that objective observers say would not be worthy of a first-year law student.
Book Can Now Be Ordered, Book Tour Being Planned
You can now pre-order my book at Amazon.com
By Dave Lindorff
For almost a generation, the Democrats in Congress have been able to pretend to be the party of ordinary working people, the party of progressives, and the inheritor of the mantel of Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal, all the while doing little of substance and catering primarily to the interests of Wall Street and the nation’s corporate interests.
The Democrats managed this sleight of hand for so long by claiming that while they had the best of intentions, reality, in the form of their inability to pass legislation, even when they were in the majority in both houses of Congress, that could avoid being filibustered to death by a Republican minority.
That situation has continued to this day, with the party currently having 58 seats in the Senate.
John Podesta who 4 days before the bombs hit Baghdad told Democratic congress members not to impeach Bush or Cheney, to let the war go forward, and to consider any number of dead bodies a price worth paying for an electoral calculation, John Podesta who doesn't sneeze without Obama's permission, John Podesta wants Bybee impeached. Is that good enough for you, Mr. Conyers? Your F&$&%^#&)! Party wants it. Either someone's blackmailing you, or you've completely lost your faculties, or you're about to try to put impeachment back in our Constitution. Right?
VICTORY: CA Dem Party Will Pass Resolution of Impeachment Inquiry Into Bybee Today. UPDATE: Passed
by dday | Daily Kos
Several weeks of hard work have paid off, and the California Democratic Party, the largest Democratic Party in the country, is poised to provide a major tool in the fight for justice and accountability for the Bush torture regime. The Resolutions Committee included on their consent calendar the resolution to begin a Congressional inquiry into Judge Jay Bybee and other lawyers who wrote opinions justifying and providing the fig leaf of a rationale for torture, with all punishments allowable under the law, including impeachment. The language was softened slightly from the original resolution, but as Congress must begin the inquiry to get to impeachment, this has the same practical effect and can be used.
UPDATE: It passed moments ago. Yes!!!!
On a Saturday night in May last year, Jay S. Bybee hosted dinner for 35 at a Las Vegas restaurant. The young people seated around him had served as his law clerks in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, the post Bybee had assumed after two turbulent years at the Justice Department, where as head of the Office of Legal Counsel he signed the legal justifications for harsh interrogations that have become known as the "torture memos."
Five years along in his new life as a federal judge, Bybee gathered the lawyers and their dates for a reunion, telling them he was proud of the legal work they had together produced.
Fixing the Facts and Legal Opinions Around the Torture Policy: The Case for 'Looking Forward' to the Impeachment of Jay S. Bybee
Fixing the Facts and Legal Opinions Around the Torture Policy: The Case for 'Looking Forward' to the Impeachment of Jay S. Bybee
Guest Blogged by Ernest A. Canning | BradBlog
At the same time he took a step forward, releasing the four Justice Department torture memos he described as a "dark and painful chapter in our history," President Barack Obama assured CIA employees, who tortured under cover of these quasi-legal sophistries, they would not be prosecuted. The President said this was "a time for reflection, not retribution...nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past." White House Press Secretary Robert Gibb explained that the President insisted on "looking forward." U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder not only seconded the President's promise not to prosecute, but vowed to provide legal counsel to defend these war criminals and to pay the damages awarded to their victims.
Great Britain's Times Online, quoting an unnamed former official, suggested there may be cases where the CIA exceeded the DOJ guidelines; perhaps even killed detainees. The President's hint at immunity does not extend to officials who exceeded the guidelines. Although the President, in his remarks, made no mention of those who ordered torture, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel told ABC's George Stephanopoulos last Sunday that the President did not believe "those who devised the policy" should "be prosecuted."
The President's promise not to prosecute generated a firestorm of protest from the legal community. Law Professor Jonathan Turley blasted the effort to equate law enforcement with "retribution."
He is trying to lay the ground work for principle when he is doing an unprincipled thing....President Obama himself has said that waterboarding is torture, and torture itself violates four treaties and is considered a war crime. So the refusal to allow it to be investigated is to obstruct a war crimes investigation.…There aren't any convenient or inconvenient times to investigate war crimes. You don't have a choice....You have an obligation to do it, and what I think the President is desperately trying to do is to sell this idea that somehow it's a principled thing not to investigate war crimes because its going to be painful…It will be politically unpopular because an investigation will go directly to the doorstep of President Bush…and there's not going to be a lot of defenses that can be raised for ordering a torture program.
Anybody with an active conscience can understand why President Barack Obama ordered the Bush administration's "terror memos" released, overruling his own CIA director. No intelligence secrets were revealed. Much of the information in the documents had previously been widely reported. They weren't classified "Top Secret" to protect national security, but the craven careerists who wrote them, and the White House officials who ordered it done.
To a one-time constitutional-law professor like Obama, the memos' legalistic rationalization of methods indistinguishable from those of the Soviet KGB or South African secret police must have been sickening. Besides shaming themselves and their country, their authors have sullied their profession.
By Frank Davies, Mercury News
WASHINGTON — For six years, a little-known federal judge, Jay Bybee, has worked in a Las Vegas courtroom, hearing cases for the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Now, a furious debate over the use of torture by the Bush administration, fueled by the release of a memo written by Bybee giving legal protection to harsh interrogation tactics, has led to calls from liberal groups for his impeachment.
"He authorized illegal, unconscionable acts, and he should be held accountable," said Rick Jacobs, who chairs the Courage Campaign, a progressive grass-roots group in California. His group launched a petition drive seeking impeachment, and he hopes to spur the California Democratic Party to endorse that position at its convention this weekend in Sacramento.