BREAKING: Monica Goodling Resigns! Alberto Gonzales next?

"I am hereby submit my resignation to the Office of the Attorney General, effective April 7, 2007. It has been an honor to have served at the Department of Justice for the past five years," Goodling said."

Don't let the door hit you on the way out!

You served the Administration not the people like you're supposed to serve. You will not be missed. Crook.

Alberto Gonzales, here we come.

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The Bush -- Police States of America

The Bush -- Police States of America

Indisputable fact revealing President Bush, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and the U.S. Justice Departments subjugation of an entire state population to civil rights violations reminiscent of 1930s Germany.

The Bush Justice Dept. and FBI refuse to prosecute crimes against the civil rights of U.S. citizens.  Yet, Bush claims to be spreading rights and liberties throughout the world while at the same time he supports terrorist civil rights atrocities against the people of the United States perpetrated by our own government officials.

See full Story: 7/03/37120.shtml

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Why I'm a Democrat

The discussion about John Edwards and his new house brought memories of my childhood and adolesence floating out.  A book has been advertised for a while called, "Why Mommy is a Democrat." In my case, I needed no explanation.  My mother an her entire family were Democrats, vehement Democrats, and the reason was one word: Roosevelt.

A lot of what they said, of course, made no sense to a child.  He closed the banks.  Why was that a good thing?  But two things quickly got imprinted.  A lot of the members of my mother's family got their first jobs because of Roosevelt.  Small, local jobs that taught them valuable skills and gave them crucial experience that led directly to  a lifetime of middle class work as accountants or billers or nurses. These jobs weren't do nothing and were not a path to nowhere.  In a time when hope was scarce, Roosevelt delivered in a personal and convincing manner.

Even more than that, these middle aged people may have respected an Eisenhower and even loved a JFK but Roosevelt enjoyed a status that was next to God.  They'd passionately fight anybody who had the least criticism of him even decades after FDR's death.  It didn't take much thought to realize that anybody who was able to generate so much passion so long after did a lot of good.

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Whatever happened to Johnny Walker Lindh?

Remember the kid who was captured along with Taliban fighters on the tail end of the invasion of Afganistan?  Few really sympathized with the kid at the time - 911 being a fresh wound.  Right wingers railed on him, and his hometown county of Marin, making him a symbol of the ravages of permissive liberal parenting.

While in military custody he was apparently tortured into some kind of confession and brought back to the US to face 11 charges involving several death penalties.  I don't remember that we were ever really given the details of those charges.  Because of the coerced confession the case started to go south for the prosecution very quickly, and the government offered him a plea bargain of two counts (fighting with the Taliban and carrying weapons) with a 20 year sentence.  

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The Tort Liability Index: Why You Should Feel Free to Ignore It

The Pacific Research Institute recently published a report titled "Tort Liability Index: 2006." This report purports to show that "a poor civil-justice system lowers the standard of living for ordinary citizens" and that "meaningful legal reform on the other hand pays dividends in the form of stronger economic growth and higher personal income."

"A poor civil-justice system lowers the standard of living for ordinary citizens?"

Last time I checked, not so many middle and working class families are talking about how they are really scared of being sued in the civil justice system if an SUV they manufactured in their kitchen rolls over and kills a family of five.

"Meaningful legal reform on the other hand, pays dividends in the form of stronger economic growth and higher personal income?"

Although a dubious assertion without methodologically rigorous support, assume, for the sake of argument, that this statement is true.

The issue then becomes: even if a non-existent or severely weakened civil justice system would make economic growth soar, would you want to live in such a world?

Even if business boomed around you, would you want to live in a world in which you could do nothing if a corporation's negligence, disregard, or indifference damaged human life as part of their business plan?

In a world without the civil justice system, we are left with only highly understaffed administrative agencies to regulate corporations. Some people are left with no protection at all. Indeed, this culture of corporations unregulated is likely all too familiar to many living in the developing world. I wonder if the authors have recently passed through many developing nations and observed their standards of living?

The most "flashy" statement the report makes is that:

"The President's Council of Economic Advisers estimated that the nationwide excessive costs of the tort system were $136 billion in 2000 - the equivalent of more than three months of groceries, six months of utilities, or eight months of health-care costs for the average family."

Where would such a statistic so damning to our civil justice system come from? What is the President's Council of Economic Advisers? This Council is:

"[C]omposed of three members who shall be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and...each of whom shall be a person who, as a result of his training, experience, and attainments, is exceptionally qualified to analyze and interpret economic developments, to appraise programs and activities of the Government...and to formulate and recommend national economic policy to promote employment, production, and purchasing power under free competitive enterprise."

What more reputable body could one cite for information about our national economy?

Unfortunately, it appears...just about any. The Council relied heavily on a report done by Tillinghast-Towers Perrin. And who is Tillinghast-Towers Perrin you may ask? Their self-description states that:

"The Tillinghast business of Towers Perrin provides consulting and software solutions to insurance and financial services companies and advises other organizations on risk financing and self-insurance."

This is a company that focuses on helping insurance companies make money.

The enormous flaws of the Tillinghast study are described in detail in a report by the Economic Policy Institute.  Most discrediting, as found by the Institute:

"Although TTP's estimate is widely cited by journalists, politicians, and business lobbyists, it is impossible to know what the company is actually measuring in its calculation of tort costs, and impossible to verify its figures, because TTP will not share its data or its methodology, which it claims are 'proprietary.'

Indeed, Tillingahst has even  admitted that "the costs tabulated in this study are not a reflection of litigated
claims or of the legal system." (U.S. Tort Costs: 2004 Update, at 4).

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