"Keep your powder dry.",

Pick your fight, give it your best shot, wait for the moment to be right; all battle related cliches with more or less the same meaning: be strategic in your timing to increase your chance of victory. We hear them often whenever caution is urged, and even when inaction is urged. But common to them all is an implicit call TO action, when the moment is right.

For the Democratic Party, and for health care reform, that moment is right now. Tens of thousands of us, each working at our own levels, have worked for years to restore the Democratic Party to strong majority control of both houses of Congress, and to return a Democrat to the White House. Doing so required acts of compromise too numerous to be tallied, some from the left, some from the right. But working together we greatly increased our forces. For what?

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Dawn Johnsen, fmr legal counsel for many women's rights groups and a professor from Indiana, is being blocked in the senate. She has been nominated to become head of the OLC. That is to be legal consel. Its a critical post. She is very progressive, challenging Indiana's criminal voter ID laws, fighting for the right to choose int he courts etc..

Sen Harry reid needs a left wing primary challenger asap. Ive had it with him. See he claims he jsut doesnt have the votes. Hmm-um you dont need 60 votes for the OLC nom! a voice vote has always until now been enough. Bush's OLC guy got a voice vote with reid voting aye.

This is sick and must not be allowed. We must call these jackass Senators and tell them to give her a simple voice vote as precedent demands. This 60 vote crap is insane and not needed msot the time. Sen Bayh-HER ON HOMESTATE'S SENATOR-WONT LIFT A FINGER. THE WHITEHOUSE ISNT DOING MUCH. REID IS WHINNING. ERIC HOLDER HAS PUSHED FOR HER TO BE VOTED ON LAST WEEK. NADA. So we will push.

Sen Ben Nelson had no problem voting for Bush's noms. Sen reid let Bush have voice votes on many. Time for Reid to go-in fact he should have gone long ago. He is Tom Daschle Part II. Let's push them to get the job done here. More below...

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McGovern Blows Lid Off Reid's Torture Plan: Rudman the "Fixer"

CIA whistleblower and savvy political observer Ray McGovern has revealed the bipartisan game-plan to have the "torture thing fixed" by this time, next year, meaning, no accountability, if Harry Reid gets his way.  In Consortium News McGovern writes:

So here's the plan. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, looking toward reelection in 2010, calculates that the last thing he needs is a bonafide investigation that would make him vulnerable to Cheneyesque charges of being weak in the "war" on terrorism. These days, if you take a hard line against torture, you can be made to appear soft on terrorism.  Worse still, other prominent Democrats like Sen. Jay Rockefeller and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi were given intelligence briefings on interrogation, warrantless eavesdropping, and God knows what else....So, Senate team managers Reid and Rockefeller have gone to their bench for an ace utility infielder - quintessential practitioner of "thorough" investigations, Warren Rudman.

McGovern reminds us that Rudman has been "wildly successful in covering up past national security crimes," and that he earned his wings in by working hand in glove with then-Rep. Dick Cheney to limit the scope of the Iran-Contra investigation. Rudman was "the good cop to Cheney's bad."

While Hamilton and Rudman laid most of the blame on Oliver North and other low-level "men of zeal," Cheney led the rear-guard Republican defense, insisting that the Reagan administration had committed no crimes and instead blaming Democrats in Congress for daring to pass laws interfering with the President's powers.

The episode ended with Cheney's "minority report" which laid the foundation for George W. Bush's views on expansive presidential powers.

The next job for hatchetman Rudman was to bury all evidence that challenged the Pentagon's conclusion that Gulf War illnesses were not caused by multiple toxic exposures, in the first major investigation of Gulf War illness.  McGovern says:

Rudman succeeded in sparing the Pentagon embarrassment, but at the price of denying over 200,000 Gulf War veterans the medical care they needed to cope with a wide array of neurological and other maladies. The result was to delay for over a decade medical research, treatment and disability benefits for Gulf War veterans.

If all goes as our distinguished Senators expect, says Ray, "the torture thing will be fixed by this time next year..."

Former Bush official Col. Lawrence Wilkerson's revelation that Bush knew most of those he had at Gitmo were in the wrong place at the wrong time when caught by bounty-hunters, puts a very different sheen on Bush's claim that he was "protecting America" by employing torture.  

    largely unreported is that several in the U.S. leadership became aware of the reality that many of the detainees were innocent of any substantial wrongdoing, had little intelligence value, and should be immediately released.  But to have admitted this reality would have been a black mark on their leadership...Better to claim that everyone there was a hardcore terrorist, was of enduring intelligence value, and would return to jihad if released.

19-year-old Murat Kurnaz disappeared into the House of Horrors That Bush Built even though according to 60 Minutes:

there seemed to be ample evidence that Kurnaz was an innocent man with no connection to terrorism. The FBI thought so, U.S. intelligence thought so, and German intelligence agreed. But once he was picked up, Kurnaz found himself in a prison system that required no evidence and answered to no one.

Kurnaz says shocked him with electricity, and that he was hoisted up on chains suspended by his arms from the ceiling of an aircraft hangar for five days.

"Every five or six hours they came and pulled me back down. And the doctor came to watch if I can still survive to not. He looked into my eyes. He checked my heart. And when he said okay, then they pulled me back up,"

Other documented, sadistic practices:

   · Peroneal Strikes. Peroneal strikes are a specific form of savage beating, consisting of blows to the soft tissue and nerves just above the knee. The falsely accused prisoner beaten to death at Bagram had been given so many peroneal strikes that a coroner testified that his leg tissue had `"basically been pulpified.'"

   · Slamming A Prisoner's Head Into Concrete Walls. In this torture a towel is wrapped around a prisoner's neck and is then used to propel the prisoner head first into a concrete wall. This torture was so fraught with risk of serious injury to or death of a prisoner that the CIA kept a doctor on hand at all times to guard against death or crippling injury.

   · Additional "Stress Positions" And Electric Shocks. "Palestinian hangings," they were hung by the arms with their feet on a drum through which electric shocks were applied to their feet; the shocks would cause the feet to "dance."

Former prosecutor and tireless accountability activist Elizabeth De La Vega warns us against jumping the gun in appointing a special prosecutor too soon, before a cohesive and irrefutable public narrative of the criminal activity is developed and an opportunity is given for victims to be heard in an open forum.  She fears the appointment of an SP before open commissions with subpoena powers do their work will result in congresscritters clamming up with "no comment during an ongoing official investigation" gambit.

The narrative must indeed be focused, and public.  Investigative commissions must have a narrow title like "Commission on the Torture and Detention of the Innocent," otherwise the defenders of torture will shift the debate onto ground they like, that of the non-existent "ticking-bomb" scenario.  And it must be public, broadcast on CSPAN full-blast.

It was all done in your name, for the world to see.  Only our loud shouts that this cannot stand has forced the politicians to address it this far.  Only continuous calls will tell the world that this is our leaders.  This is not the American people.

Please circulate and forward this post to your congressmember and to the White House.

Former Air Force Interrogator Mathew Alexander

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Sen. Burris to DC .......

Looks like we are at last going to have the 58th Senator in place before inaguration. What ever family feauds we might have it is important for us to get over the Burris problem. Sen Reid should not pick up public fights unless he could control their outcome. I am glad President(elect) Obama told Reid to get over it.

Here is a report from Politico:

Following a decision by the Illinois Supreme Court, Jesse White, the Illinois secretary of state, has certified Roland Burris' appointment to the Senate, removing a major roadblock against Burris' ascension to the body.

According to his office, White has signed a certificate saying that Burris' appointment document is "true and accurate."

The move came just hours after Illinois' top state court ruled that White's approval was not necessary for a valid appointment to the Senate for Burris by Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

The Illinois House earlier in the day had impeached Blagojevich by a vote of 114-1. Blagojevich has been indicted on a number of federal corruption charges, including allegations that he attempted to "sell" President-elect Barack Obama's seat in the Senate to the highest bidder.

Burris' attorneys argued White's certification, following the earlier state court ruling, meant there was no reason that the Burris' appointment should not be accepted by Democratic leaders.

"We've done everything we've been asked to do," said Timothy W. Wright III, Burris' attorney on Friday evening. "We're hoping they respond tonight, this weekend, as soon as possible."

Wright added that he was not aware of a case where an appointment by a state's chief executive, coupled with certification of that appointment by the secretary of state, had been rejected by the Senate.

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The liberal hometown paper says "Seat him" .......

And I agree. Even though Blgo's actions might be quite disgusting the senate Democrats are skating on thin ice and sounding as arrogant as Bushies and repugs.

It looks like Dem leaders are pretending to be the "Decider-in-chiefs" and if they think they could impose their choices on the people of Illinois they are mistaken. What ever the allegations might be against Blago we should not overlook the fact that he has been duly elected twice by the people of Illinois. Abuse of power by any majority does not bode well for our Country.

Here is the Sun-times editorial:

January 2, 2009

Roland Burris is the next U.S. senator from the state of Illinois.

Nothing is going to change that, or should.

Burris was appointed to the Senate by the sitting governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, a man who is in deep legal trouble, but who has been convicted of no crime to date and has yet to be impeached. It was Blagojevich's job to appoint a replacement to complete the Senate term of President-elect Barack Obama, and that's what he has done.

Secretary of State Jesse White, despite what Blagojevich's foes might wish, has no legal or constitutional grounds to refuse to sign off on the appointment. If a secretary of state could kill gubernatorial appointments merely because a governor is an unpopular goof, there would be no end to it. The secretary of state, at least in the realm of appointments, would be de facto governor.

Similarly, it is difficult to imagine a justification for the U.S. Senate refusing to seat Burris. We suspect that the Senate, after some delay, will see that Burris was appointed in compliance with the law, even if the governor who did the appointing is being measured for a prison uniform.

The sole appropriate question before the Senate is whether the process by which Burris was appointed was strictly aboveboard, given the allegations that Blagojevich previously tried to sell the Senate seat. If this appointment was aboveboard -- no matter what games Blagojevich may have played before -- Burris should be seated.

And finally, any effort to remove Burris from the Senate before his term expires in 2010 by holding a special election is almost surely doomed to failure. State law and the Constitution allow for special elections to fill Senate vacancies, but there no longer is a vacancy. To hold a special election to force from office a properly appointed sitting senator -- which is what Burris will be -- would be entirely another matter. That would be a recall election, not a special election, for which there is no provision in the state Constitution.

On Wednesday, this page was scathing in its criticism of Blagojevich for appointing Burris. Given the governor's massive problems, we believed -- and still believe -- that anybody he appointed would be tainted. We would have preferred that the governor step aside and let another state official, such as Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn, make the Senate appointment, or that a special election be held.

But Democratic leaders in Spring- field put the brakes on a special election, fearing that in a nonpartisan free-for-all, a Republican might win. The Democratic leadership -- not Blagojevich -- is to blame for denying the voters a chance to choose the state's next senator.

Moreover, we probably were naive a couple of weeks ago when we urged Blagojevich to step down as governor or step aside in making the Senate appointment. Frankly, what's best for Illinois at this point is not necessarily what's best for him.

What, then, is to be done?

The House must press on with the impeachment proceedings, always putting fairness before expediency.

And anybody thinking of running for the U.S. Senate in 2010 should be prepared to take on the incumbent, Sen. Roland Burris.

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