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White House Report Seeks To Mask Monumental Failure Of 'Faith-Based' Initiative

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Bush Initiative Was Focused On Politics, Not Policy, Charges Church-State Watchdog Group

By Americans United for the Separation of Church and State

Today’s White House report on President George W. Bush’s “faith-based” initiative seeks to mask the shortcomings of a badly failed policy, says Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

“The Bush initiative played crass politics with social service funding and jeopardized civil rights and civil liberties,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director. “All the PR spin in the world can’t turn this monumental Bush failure into a success.

“President Bush should have gotten the Golden Globe,” Lynn continued, “for playing a ‘compassionate conservative’ while doing precious little to actually help disadvantaged Americans.”

Americans United has spearheaded opposition to the Bush faith-based plan from its inception. A wide array of religious, civil liberties and civil rights groups has joined forces to oppose central elements of the Bush plan.

Lynn said Americans should remember that the Bush administration failed to get its faith-based initiative through Congress because it endangered basic civil rights and civil liberties. It would have subjected Americans in need to unwelcome proselytism in publicly funded programs and allowed faith-based agencies to discriminate on religious grounds in hiring for government-funded jobs.

When Congress said no, Lynn added, Bush forged ahead through executive orders.

“President-elect Obama has promised to roll back the Bush administration’s civil rights and civil liberties infractions,” said Lynn, “and we hope he will keep his commitment.”...(Click here for remainder).


Steven Joseph Christopher Charged With Threatening Obama On The Internet

By Chris Talbott
Huffington Post

JACKSON, Miss. — A Wisconsin man was arrested Friday in Mississippi after authorities said he threatened on the Internet to kill President-elect Barack Obama.

Steven Joseph Christopher, 42, was taken into custody by the Secret Service in Brookhaven, Miss., and charged with threatening to assassinate Obama for what he claimed was "the country's own good," federal prosecutors said. The criminal complaint was sealed until Christopher's appearance in federal court.

Federal Judge James C. Sumner ordered Christopher held until a bail hearing next Thursday.

"Threats against the president-elect will be taken very seriously," Dunn Lampton, U.S. attorney for the southern district of Mississippi, said in a release. "Use of Internet chat rooms to express those threats is as much a crime as uttering the words. Threats of this nature will be pursued swiftly and vigorously."

An affidavit from Secret Service Special Agent Kelly Adcox released by Lampton's office quotes Christopher as saying he has nothing personal against Obama and that he's not a racist. Authorities said Christopher made the threats Jan. 11 and 15 on the Web site for remainder).


Pentagon lawyer asks an end to Guantanamo trials now

By Carol Rosenberg
Miami Herald

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVY BASE, Cuba — Citing politics and torture, the Pentagon's chief defense counsel for war crimes issued an urgent appeal on Friday to a top Bush administration official to withdraw all charges against alleged terrorists here.

''The perception of pervasive torture now saddles the incoming Administration and its efforts to set these proceedings on a just course,'' Air Force Col. Peter Masciola wrote a former military appeals judge, Susan J. Crawford, known as the Convening Authority for Military Commissions.

Masciola noted that the Obama administration intends to revise the Guantanamo war court and urged Crawford to halt next week's hearings before the Pentagon put dozens of witnesses, judges, reporters, attorneys and other court personnel onto a flight from Andrews Air Force Base on Saturday.

Next week, two military judges have scheduled hearings.

Army Col. Stephen Henley is hearing motions in the case of five men accused of conspiring in the mass murder in nearly 3,000 people in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, notably alleged al Qaeda kingpin Khalid Sheik Mohammed. Army Col. Patrick Parish is hearing motions to suppress evidence ahead of the Jan. 26 trial of Canadian ''child soldier'' Omar Khadr....(Click for remainder).


Why Two Bush Appointees Are Refusing to Leave

Two U.S. attorneys appointed by Dubya are refusing to leave the Justice Department when Obama takes office. Their explanation: they've got too many corrupt Democrats to prosecute!

By Scott Horton
The Daily Beast

An internal report issued this week by the Justice Department brought attention to the Bush Administration’s efforts to “burrow” partisan ideologues deep in career civil service positions at the department. But even a few of Bush’s political appointees at Justice are giving the new Obama administration trouble. Though their lease may technically run out on January 20, U.S. Attorneys Mary Beth Buchanan of Pittsburgh and Alice Martin of Birmingham are resolved to stay in their posts. The Daily Beast has learned that both are arguing to the Obama transition team that their efforts to convict Democrats should guarantee them an extended stay into the Obama presidency.

In their scathing report, Justice Department investigators concluded that former Civil Rights Division acting head Bradley Schlozman attempted to purge the division of those suspected of liberal sentiments and to replace them with fellow neoconservative ideologues, whom he called “comrades.” During the Bush terms, nearly two-thirds of the professional staff of the Civil Rights Division left and new hires were—in violation of criminal statutes—carefully vetted for partisan political fidelity. Notwithstanding the Inspector General’s recommendation that criminal action be brought, Schlozman will not be prosecuted. Bush Justice Department officials continue their perfect record of impunity, refusing to initiate criminal actions against partisan Republicans found to have broken the law by politicizing the Department.

The political appointees present Obama and his new attorney general, Eric Holder, with a different headache. By tradition, political appointees serve at the pleasure of the president, and when a new president comes to office those who held their commissions from his predecessor tender their resignations. This year, however, Buchanan and Martin appear girded to make a last stand like Japanese soldiers who never got word that the war was over....(Click for remainder).


LA-Sen: Vitter burnishing his conservative credentials

So ole Diaper Boy has some problems with Hillary Clinton. Apparently the depth of GOP hypocrisy is bottomless.
By brownsox
Daily Kos

You've got to hand it to David Vitter - when you're positioning yourself to the right of Jim DeMint, you've really brought conservative nuttery to a new level.

Today, the Louisiana Senator was the only member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Republican or Democratic, to vote against the nomination of his colleague Sen. Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State.
Sen. David Vitter , R-La., was the only member to vote against the nomination, and he did so by proxy. In a statement released before the vote, Vitter said, “Sen. Clinton is certainly a smart, capable colleague, and I take no pleasure in voting against her confirmation."
Of course you don't, Dave.
"But I must do so for one compelling reason. I believe President Clinton’s business and foundation dealings are a multi-million dollar minefield of conflicts of interest. And this could produce explosions at any minute, particularly concerning the Middle East where we least need them.”

Sen. Jim DeMint , R-S.C., supported Clinton’s nomination, but expressed continuing concerns about a possible conflict interest regarding the Clinton Foundation.
So why was Vitter the lone holdout? With Diaper Dave's reputation sullied from his now-publicized affection for prostitutes, the senator appears to be stretching as far to the right as he can, so as to avoid a serious challenge in the Republican primary for his 2010 election....(Click for remainder).


Jonathan Turley: Prosecute Bush

Professor Jonathan Turley was on Countdown with Keith Olbermann, "Holder must prosecute Bush-Era war crimes, essential to discourage future abuses."



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