Monday, April 27, 2009

Talk of a Primary Challenge of Harman Heats Up

Marcy Winograd, the 2006 primary challenger, opens up an exploratory committee and John Amato, proprietor of Crooks and and professional musician, indicates interest.

Good post from David Dayen (dday) about the news.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Atheists Starting to "Come Out"

It's great to see it. I imagine I'm not alone in wanting to self-identify in a positive way (not just in reaction against religious bigots trying to impose their views onto the public), and it's great folks are doing this.

Friday, April 24, 2009

What those AIPAC Spies Were Really Doing

Most coverage isn't very clear what those AIPAC officials that Jane Harman offered to help were doing and now some are rushing into this void to minimize this treasonous spyng against the US which took place over years.

Another thing to watch: the identity of the person was quid pro quo'ing with -- it may be someone who the FBI had the goods on but who got out of dodge (AKA returned to Israel) before being arrested: Naor Gilon.

Lot's more to find out. So far, Jane's getting an a for Brazenness.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Jane Harman - Civil Liberties Defender Extraordinaire

She is if you let her tell it.

In reality, not so much. Glenn Greenwald, in response to Harman's righteous indignation at being caught on a wire tap, observes:
So if I understand this correctly -- and I'm pretty sure I do -- when the U.S. Government eavesdropped for years on American citizens with no warrants and in violation of the law, that was "both legal and necessary" as well as "essential to U.S. national security," and it was the "despicable" whistle-blowers (such as Thomas Tamm) who disclosed that crime and the newspapers which reported it who should have been criminally investigated, but not the lawbreaking government officials. But when the U.S. Government legally and with warrants eavesdrops on Jane Harman, that is an outrageous invasion of privacy and a violent assault on her rights as an American citizen, and full-scale investigations must be commenced immediately to get to the bottom of this abuse of power. Behold Jane Harman's overnight transformation from Very Serious Champion of the Lawless Surveillance State to shrill civil liberties extremist.
Supporting links documenting her statements are available in the original. I'm sure Jane would love to make everyone forget what she's done, but unfortunately this is not going to go down the memory hole.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Jane Harman - Did She Throw the 2004 Election to Bush?

Surely Harman would have known she was saving Bush's butt by doing this:
The New York Times confirmed late Monday that a top Democratic congresswoman called the paper in 2004 and tried to keep it from publishing an article exposing the Bush Administration’s warrantless wiretapping program -- possibly helping to sway the balance in the 2004 presidential election.

The New York Times exposed the warrantless wiretapping program in 2005, revealing that the National Security Agency had engaged in the interception of thousands of American and foreign calls without a warrant as part of a program intended to disrupt terrorist plots. Upon running the story, they also admitted that they had withheld the article for a year at the urging of Bush Administration officials.

But buried in a Times article published Tuesday is the revelation that the top Democratic congresswoman on the House Intelligence Committee, Jane Harman (D-CA), called the paper’s Washington, D.C. editor in “October or November” of 2004 in an effort to quash the story.

“Bill Keller, the executive editor of The Times, said in a statement Monday that Ms. Harman called Philip Taubman, then the Washington bureau chief of The Times, in October or November of 2004,” the Times writes. “Mr. Keller said she spoke to Mr. Taubman -- apparently at the request of Gen. Michael V. Hayden, then the N.S.A. director -- and urged that The Times not publish the article.”
I haven't taken a look yet, but I seem to recall that the administration at the time before the election was still in full on denial mode about the fact they were spying on everyone, 4th amendment be damned.

If this attempt by Harman was from before the election, she would have to have known that she was trying to influence the election in Bush's favor just to protect the illegal spying program.

Aside from the fact that she may be a target of baddies in the CIA or Bush administration now, her trying to quash this revelation by the Times is not forgivable.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

CIA Using Harman to Intimidate Other Dems? Interesting theory

Interesting theory. Why the CIA was running the show on domestic wiretapping is pretty much a mystery.

If the real aim is to let Dems know that the CIA has them on tape doing the same thing as Harman, then they could discourage them from moving forward on investigations of the CIA. Given the power of big money and the friendliness that many Dems have toward (and the fear they have of) AIPAC, I think such a theory is not to be dismissed.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Great Harman AIPAC Coverage

From the Orange Satan.

Harman AIPAC Wiretap Timeline

I'm pretty sure this is going to be source of the best information on the Harman quid pro quo AIPAC timeline.

It's kind of hard to fathom it possible that my U.S. congressional representative got caught redhanded offering to use her influence to come to the rescue of spies against our country.

Of course, that's next to all the Bush lawbreaking she let happen without blowing the whistle, so this isn't totally out of the blue, but defending spies against America? Really?

I'd think Congresswoman Harman would want an investigation to clear her name, if, as she says, "hese claims are an outrageous and recycled canard, and have no basis in fact".

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Harman Caught on Wiretap Promising to Intervene for AIPAC Officials Accused of Spying?

It's not looking good for Jane Harman
Rep. Jane Harman , the California Democrat with a longtime involvement in intelligence issues, was overheard on an NSA wiretap telling a suspected Israeli agent that she would lobby the Justice Department reduce espionage-related charges against two officials of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, the most powerful pro-Israel organization in Washington.

Harman was recorded saying she would “waddle into” the AIPAC case “if you think it’ll make a difference,” according to two former senior national security officials familiar with the NSA transcript.

In exchange for Harman’s help, the sources said, the suspected Israeli agent pledged to help lobby Nancy Pelosi , D-Calif., then-House minority leader, to appoint Harman chair of the Intelligence Committee after the 2006 elections, which the Democrats were heavily favored to win.

Seemingly wary of what she had just agreed to, according to an official who read the NSA transcript, Harman hung up after saying, “This conversation doesn’t exist.”
I'd recommend reading the whole thing, but here are the highlights:
Justice Department attorneys in the intelligence and public corruption units who read the transcripts decided that Harman had committed a “completed crime,” a legal term meaning that there was evidence that she had attempted to complete it, three former officials said.

And they were prepared to open a case on her, which would include electronic surveillance approved by the so-called FISA Court, the secret panel established by the 1979 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to hear government wiretap requests.
What happened? According to the article, the Bush administration protected her because she was so useful in facilitating their lawbreaking.
According to two officials privy to the events, Gonzales said he “needed Jane” to help support the administration’s warrantless wiretapping program, which was about to be exposed by the New York Times.

Harman, he told Goss, had helped persuade the newspaper to hold the wiretap story before, on the eve of the 2004 elections. And although it was too late to stop the Times from publishing now, she could be counted on again to help defend the program

He was right.

On Dec. 21, 2005, in the midst of a firestorm of criticism about the wiretaps, Harman issued a statement defending the operation and slamming the Times, saying, “I believe it essential to U.S. national security, and that its disclosure has damaged critical intelligence capabilities.”

Pelosi and Hastert never did get the briefing.

And thanks to grateful Bush administration officials, the investigation of Harman was effectively dead.
So the investigation did not get terminated for lack of evidence - far from it. It was squashed.

If this bears out, Jane Harman must resign immediately.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Jane Harman is on the Side of the Banksters

Jane Harman is once again proving she's on the side of the rich and powerful, not you. From Jane Hamsher:
Melissa Bean proved she's a worthy successor to Ellen Tauscher as head of the Wall Street-friendly New Democrat Coalition when she led the effort to insert a huge loophole in a bill that would have forced TARP recipients to stop paying "retention bonuses" as long as they were being supported by taxpayer dollars.

The bill, called the Pay Performance Act, passed the House on Wednesday. In its original form, it required all TARP recipients to make all bonuses performance based, and sought to put an end to the $1 billion in retention bonuses still to be paid out in July and September this year by AIG per an agreement they reached with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. In other words, AIG could only pay out bonuses if the company actually did well, and couldn't be doling them out while the company was losing money and on taxpayer life support.


It looked like it was going to be smooth sailing, but then Melissa Bean decided to give the Republicans a hand. Her New Democrat Coalition has an Executive Director, Adam Pase, who is a former bank lobbyist for predatory lenders and their members brag about their Wall Street backgrounds and their close ties to the banks. The banks didn't want the bill to pass, and it looked like the Republicans wouldn't be able to stop it. So, Bean offered up an amendment which allowed TARP recipients to get out from under the bill's limitations if they had started paying their loans back.

Brad Sherman, known for being a genuinely fiscally responsible member of the House, objected (see YouTube). He said "it would allow a large number of companies to escape the effect of the bill without doing much more than making a few monthly payments of a very small amount." (His own bill, which would have capped executive compensation for TARP recipients at a million dollars, was never allowed on the floor.)

Bean's amendment initially failed on a voice vote, but she called for a roll call vote -- which allowed bank lobbyists to see exactly who did and didn't vote for the bill. This time, the New Democrats and the Blue Dogs made good on their threats to join with Republicans to pass legislation. Sixty-three Democrats joined with 165 Republicans to pass the Bean amendment.

Score one for the banks
Jane Harman was one of those 63 Democrats voting to eviscerate the bill. Disgusting.

By the way, you noticed I said Jane Harman was proving once again that she's proving she's on the side of the rich and powerful, and not you.

One prime example is how she voted in favor of aristocracy in 2001 when she voted to eliminate the estate tax. Howie Klein recalls:
One glaring example was how Bush and the Republicans-- with help from reactionary Blue Dogs-- put so much of their early energy into skewering the tax system against the middle class. One of Bush's first initiatives after stealing the election bore fruit on April 4, 2001 when the House passed a bill to eliminate the inheritance tax on multimillionaire estates. All but three Republicans-- moderates Mike Castle (DE), Amo Houghton (NY) and Connie Morella (MD)-- voted for it. That is hardly surprising. What is more noteworthy is that of 208 Democrats voting, 58 crossed the aisle to vote for plutocracy and aristocracy instead of for their own constituents' interests.