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Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Salvation for Salazar? 

OK, maybe Salazar's mistaking "La Caza" for "La Raza" might, in the end, not matter. It looks like Gonzales might be hosed either way:

CREW’s complaint alleges that by misstating the facts surrounding the conversation in the judge’s chambers Gonzales may have violated 18 U.S.C. §1001, which makes it a federal crime to make false statements to a congressional committee. The complaint further alleges that Mr. Gonzales has violated two Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure: 8.04(a)(2) which prohibits lawyers from committing crimes that reflect adversely on their honesty or trustworthiness; and 8.04(a)(3) which prohibits lawyers from engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.

CREW’s Executive Director Melanie Sloan stated, “The marked contrast between the version of events Mr. Gonzales provided to the Senate Judiciary Committee and the version told by the three other individuals involved – the prosecutor, the defense lawyer and the judge – is enough to require the State Bar of Texas to investigate this matter.” Sloan continued, “Violations of the bar rules can lead to disbarment. The Senate should delay voting on Mr. Gonzales’s nomination until this matter is cleared up or face the prospect of having an Attorney General who has lost his bar license.”

This sounds a lot like the Kerik withdrawal, no? This gives the GOP the same "out"...they can admit to something smaller to withdraw Gonzales and end discussion of the larger issue...Gonzales may go, but they'll try to avoid discussion of the torture...just like Kerik withdrew for having a Mexican Maid instead of millions made through insider dealing.

-Vulf

We Agree 

No on Gonzales from the dailykos
Tue Jan 25th, 2005 at 20:43:07 UTC

Unprecedented times call for unprecedented actions. In this case, we, the undersigned bloggers, have decided to speak as one and collectively author a document of opposition. We oppose the nomination of Alberto Gonzales to the position of Attorney General of the United States, and we urge every United States Senator to vote against him.

As the prime legal architect for the policy of torture adopted by the Bush Administration, Gonzales's advice led directly to the abandonment of longstanding federal laws, the Geneva Conventions, and the United States Constitution itself. Our country, in following Gonzales's legal opinions, has forsaken its commitment to human rights and the rule of law and shamed itself before the world with our conduct at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib. The United States, a nation founded on respect for law and human rights, should not have as its Attorney General the architect of the law's undoing.

In January 2002, Gonzales advised the President that the United States Constitution does not apply to his actions as Commander in Chief, and thus the President could declare the Geneva Conventions inoperative. Gonzales's endorsement of the August 2002 Bybee/Yoo Memorandum approved a definition of torture so vague and evasive as to declare it nonexistent. Most shockingly, he has embraced the unacceptable view that the President has the power to ignore the Constitution, laws duly enacted by Congress and International treaties duly ratified by the United States. He has called the Geneva Conventions "quaint."

Legal opinions at the highest level have grave consequences. What were the consequences of Gonzales's actions? The policies for which Gonzales provided a cover of legality - views which he expressly reasserted in his Senate confirmation hearings - inexorably led to abuses that have undermined military discipline and the moral authority our nation once carried. His actions led directly to documented violations at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo and widespread abusive conduct in locales around the world.

Michael Posner of Human Rights First observed: "After the horrific images from Abu Ghraib became public last year, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld insisted that the world should 'judge us by our actions [and] watch how a democracy deals with the wrongdoing and with scandal and the pain of acknowledging and correcting our own mistakes.'" We agree. It is because of this that we believe the only proper course of action is for the Senate to reject Alberto Gonzales's nomination for Attorney General. As Posner notes, "[t]he world is indeed watching." Will the Senate condone torture? Will the Senate condone the rejection of the rule of law?

With this nomination, we have arrived at a crossroads as a nation. Now is the time for all citizens of conscience to stand up and take responsibility for what the world saw, and, truly, much that we have not seen, at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere. We oppose the confirmation of Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General of the United States, and we urge the Senate to reject him.

Signed, Daily Kos Management (past and present):

kos
Steve Gilliard
Steve Soto
Meteor Blades
Theoria
DHinMi
Trapper John
DemfromCt
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Update by kos: If you blog, and agree with these sentiments (and blog about them), please send me the link to the corresponding post and I will add it to this list.
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Letter to Senator Salazar 

The Honorable Ken Salazar
United States Senate
B40A Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-0606

Dear Senator Salazar,

I am writing you to express my dismay at your possible support of Albert Gonzales for Attorney General. I volunteered for your campaign because of the admiration I held for you, but I am troubled with your support for Gonzales. The Democratic Party has recently sought answers to explain its poor showing at the polls. One theme revolved around values. Some believe the Democrats needed to restate their views in simple, straight-forward language of values and morals. That it was time “to parse what we believe in. Especially right and wrong.” Ellen Goodman, Boston Globe. Ted Kennedy added, “There's no doubt we must do a better job of looking within ourselves and speaking out for the principles we believe in, and for the values that are the foundation of our actions. Americans need to hear more, not less, about those values.”

If Democrats need to emphasize our values, I can think of no better value than supporting human rights by opposing torture in particular. If we cannot simply state our unequivocal opposition to torture, then what moral credibility do we have on other issues? You should be aware of Mr. Gonzales' role in establishing torture as an official and presumptively legal policy by the Bush Administration. He led the way by trying to assert the war on terror and the people involved fell outside the protections of the Geneva Convention; by arguing the war on terror rendered “obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and . . . quaint some of its provisions”; and by supporting the view that the President can order TORTURE when acting in his role as Commander in Chief, notwithstanding the Constitution, notwithstanding laws, or treaties duly enacted or ratified by the Congress and signed by the President. Even though he tried to promote his purported opposition to torture during his confirmation hearings, recent documents reveal his assertion that prohibitions against torture do not apply to the CIA.

Your introduction and possible support derive partly from your admiration of his life story. Certain issues, like torture, transcend otherwise admirable qualities. A life story and ethnicity only excuses so much. An “Up from poverty” life story elicits admiration partly because of the character needed to face and overcome the challenge. When a person rises from poverty as a minority, the life story is all the more admirable because of the additional societal obstacles that must be overcome. But character must not only be about one’s past but also about the present and future. We can admire the past and be appalled by the present and, if anything, feel remorse that the present does not live up to the past.

History will remember this vote. For many people, like my wife and I, we take the view that “A Yes Vote For Gonzales Condones Torture.” An FBI agent wrote about what he saw at GTMO, “On another occassion (sic), the A/C had been turned off, making the temperature in the unventilated room probably well over 100 degrees. The detainee was almost unconscious on the floor with a pile of hair next to him. He had apparently been literally pulling his own hair out throughout the night.” This image will haunt me for some time. I hope you will keep this image into mind when you consider your vote for Gonzales.

Sincerely,

Lupus

Sunday, January 23, 2005

On a more positive note... 

MoveOn.org is trying to rally folks...

Dear MoveOn member,

Today, as Bush's corporate donors celebrate their victory, it may feel like the progressive America we're all fighting for is very far away. But it doesn't have to be that way.

In 1994, just two years after a big presidential defeat, Republicans with a pro-corporate, right-wing agenda swept to power in the House. From there, they gained control of all three branches of government. It's our turn. If we can convert the passion and energy of the progressive movement we've built together into power on the ground, we can take back Congress and make 2006 our 1994.

Today, we're launching our plan to do that. Together, MoveOn members will build an organized network of neighbors and friends in every Congressional district to stop the Bush agenda. We'll organize press events, we'll hold living room meetings with our neighbors, and we'll meet with local leaders on the issues we care about most -- Social Security, right-wing judges, media reform, and more. We'll develop a national message together. And then we'll use this field network to take back the House in 2006. It's bold, it's audacious, and it's yours: the plan comes directly from tens of thousands of your comments about MoveOn's future.

...Newt Gingrich's "Contract with America" swept in 54 new Republican representatives in 1994 and brought conservatives to power. The 15-seat gain that Democrats need in 2006 is modest by comparison. And we have three key advantages over Republicans in 2006:

1. Republican leaders have dramatically overreached -- they've staked the Party's future on a deceptive and extreme agenda. And now that they control all three branches of government, they're responsible for everything that happens. By exposing right-wing corruption and deception one community at a time, we can block their agenda and turn their strength against them.

2. A good team of dedicated volunteers can make a big difference in a House race -- much more so than in the race for President. So our energy in 2006 will have an ever larger impact.

3. We have enormous momentum from our presidential campaign. Today, the progressive movement is bigger and stronger than it has been in decades. Hundreds of thousands of new leaders got involved in politics in 2004, and we developed new tools that revolutionized grassroots organizing and fundraising. At MoveOn, our Leave No Voter Behind Campaign showed that by linking our members together locally, and focusing on systematic voter outreach, we could have an unprecedented impact -- literally turning out more voters than Kerry's victory margin in at least three key battleground states, and turning out hundreds of thousands more in battleground neighborhoods nation-wide.

In 2004 we ran a field program in 10,000 neighborhoods in the swing states. To win in 2006, we're going to use what we've learned to repeat it in every neighborhood in America. We'll ask MoveOn members and their friends to form local teams and commit a few hours a month, starting now. We'll use a variety of new and creative tactics to reach millions of people at their homes and through the media, to build the broad, national momentum for change that it will take to sweep aside our opposition.

In key swing districts where conservative incumbents are vulnerable, we'll take extra steps to publicly hold them accountable for every vote they cast against the public interest. And instead of starting three months before the election, we'll begin now to recruit leaders, persuade voters, and build a grassroots base for victory.

...By combining the strategies MoveOn members are most passionate about, we can stop the Republican agenda, win at the ballot box, and put the country on a progressive path.

Thanks, guys. It is nice to see a positive attitude in the face of some rather grim headlines...I encourage all Bite readers to support MoveOn.org or Dean's Democracy for America--offset the negatives with the many positives that are out there.

-Vulf

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