Mother Jones wrote:
Mother Jones: I read that you made up your mind as you were sitting in the National Cathedral during the prayer service for the victims. You listened, as so many Americans did, to the dean of the National Cathedral as he prayed that "as we act, we not become the evil we deplore." At that moment, you said, you knew what you had to do.
Barbara Lee: Well, the vote was a very agonizing vote. Like the nation, I'm grieving and searching, in mourning, angry, trying to sort through all my feelings. I think everyone is doing that. And of course the memorial service was a time to really stop and reflect on all those who so tragically died, the victims and their families, and what an appropriate testimonial to them would be. ... And so in that context I was listening to the members of the clergy, searching to try and see if I could find some direction and clarity. You know, in moments like these — when you're agonizing, when you're uncertain in terms of the ramifications of any very serious actions that you're going to take — you have to go within, and use your head and your heart, and all the faculties that you have, to try to make decisions. And so, as I thought about that one line in the prayer, I said, "You know, this is the right vote — you've got to vote no."
MJ: Did you know before casting your vote that you were likely to be the only dissenting member of Congress?
Lee: Oh, no — I did not know that. Many members have these same concerns. The use of restraint is of concern to a lot of them. We don't want to see this spiral out of control; we don't want to see the cycle of violence continue.
We all agree that we've got to bring these terrorists to justice and to make sure that they're never allowed to perpetrate such an evil act as they did. And so all of us are dealing with that. We know that the President has the authority to go to war under the War Powers Act. The Congress has a responsibility to provide the checks and balances and to exercise some oversight. I don't believe that we should disenfranchise the people of America in the war-making decision-making process. At least minimally, we should be able to know which nation we're planning to attack and have some input into that. We should know what the exit strategy is. I'm not talking about all the details of a war plan, but certainly we should have more than a five-hour debate. To me, that's just not the best way to make public policy.
http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature ... 9/lee.html
Barbara Lee wrote:
While Congress debates how to best, and most quickly end the occupation and bring our troops home, we need to begin with an agreement on the outcome: when our troops come home, they should all come home. There should be no permanent military bases in Iraq. When President Bush refused to rule out permanent bases, as he did in a recent press conference, he fed the widespread perception that the U.S. intends a permanent occupation of Iraq, which is one of the forces that is fueling violence on the ground.
It is also not too soon to begin the process of ensuring that the lessons of this failed war are learned. That means oversight and accountability: we must examine how we got into this position – the administration’s case for war, the use of prewar intelligence, the implementation of the war, everything – in order to ensure that our nation NEVER finds itself in this position again. http://lee.house.gov/index.cfm?SectionI ... tionTree=2
Official: Saudis to back Sunnis if U.S. leaves Iraq
Saudi King Abdullah reportedly has said his kingdom would back Sunnis if the United States leaves Iraq.
December 13, 2006
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has warned Vice President Dick Cheney that Saudi Arabia would back the Sunnis if the United States pulls out of Iraq, according to a senior American official.
The official said the king "read the riot act" to the vice president when the two met last month in the Saudi capital, Riyadh.
The New York Times first reported the conversation Wednesday, saying Saudi support would include financial backing for minority Sunnis in the event of a civil war between them and Iraq's Shiite majority.
Asked about the meeting, a senior Saudi official -- who spoke on condition he not be named -- ruled out using terminology such as "warning" or "threatening." He said, "I believe the Saudi position was clear, that things might deteriorate or drift in Iraq, and then the kingdom will find itself forced to interfere."
The official also added: "This is not only expected from Saudi Arabia, but also Jordan and a lot of other Arab countries can't stand still and see things going that direction."
A senior Jordanian official, asked if this issue was also discussed during President Bush's meeting with King Abdullah of Jordan, said: "This is a matter that His Majesty is always concerned about."
The White House dismissed the report.
"That's not Saudi government policy," press secretary Tony Snow said in Washington, according to The Associated Press.
"The Saudis have made it clear that they're committed to the same goals we are, which is a self-sustaining Iraq that can sustain, govern and defend itself, that will recognize and protect the rights of all, regardless of sect or religion," Snow said, the AP reported.
Cheney's November 25 visit marked his fourth trip to Saudi Arabia as vice president. An official with Cheney's office said the one-on-one meeting lasted two hours.
The Saudi king told Cheney that his country would be forced to step in and support "like-minded Sunni Arabs" if the situation in Iraq fell apart and the Sunnis' safety was in jeopardy, the senior U.S. official said.
The monarch said he would "intervene aggressively on one side absent an American presence," the source said.
The source said the king did not mean to imply that Saudi Arabia would support al Qaeda in Iraq, but rather tribal groups. However, some of those groups overlap with insurgents who are fighting Americans, the source conceded.
The bipartisan Iraq Study Group that reported to President Bush and Congress said last week that money from Saudi citizens is funding Sunni insurgents in Iraq, although the Saudis may not know exactly where their money is going. (Watch how Saudis may be helping Iraqi insurgents)
Kenneth Pollack of the Brookings Institution said Saudi Arabia has a reason to take sides.
"They're terrified that Iraq is going to fall into civil war. They're terrified that civil war will spill over into Saudi Arabia. But they're also terrified that the Iranians, backing the various Shiite militias in Iraq, will come out the big winner in a civil war," Pollack told CNN.
However, the king's tough words to Cheney don't mean Saudi support for the United States is wavering, said Richard Murphy, former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia.
"This has nothing to do with the Saudi-American alliance," Murphy said. "What it has to do with is the Saudi concern that we will quickly evacuate Iraq and that the Shia majority will take revenge actions against the Sunni."
In his meeting with Cheney, the Saudi king voiced strong opposition to talks between the United States and Iran, which has a majority Shiite population. According to the senior American official, the king told Cheney that Sunni Arab states, including Saudi Arabia, believed that talking to Iran was dangerous.
The Iraq Study Group called for engaging other countries in the region, including Iran and Syria, in the search for solutions in Iraq.
The Saudis are "nervous about giving Iran any more legitimacy or any more influence in Iraq," Murphy said.
"[Iraq is in] everybody's backyard -- Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Iran," he said. "And they all have interests, they're all watching each other very closely lest one get an undue advantage over the other. And it's going to take an extraordinarily skillful, wide-ranging regional diplomacy on America's part to cope with that."
A senior U.S. official said the conversation between Cheney and King Abdullah reflects the "anxiety about the situation" and the Saudi concern about being left "high and dry" if the United States leaves Iraq.
But the official said leaving Iraq is a "doomsday scenario" that will not happen because the United States isn't going to withdraw.
"We are not walking away from it," the official said.
CNN's Elise Labott, Kelli Arena, John King, Elaine Quijano, Caroline Varaj and Zain Verjee contributed to this report.
Copyright 2006 CNN. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.
The study was conducted on more than 3,000 HIV-negative South African men, ages 18 to 24. Half of the men were randomly selected to be circumcised while the other half remained uncircumcised.
After following the men for a year, the researchers found that for every 10 uncircumcised men in the study who became infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, only an estimated three circumcised men contracted the virus, the newspaper reported.
The study is considered significant because scientists have yet to discover an effective vaccine against the HIV virus or develop a reliable way to prevent infection other than through abstinence or safe-sex practices.
Previous studies have linked circumcision with increased HIV infection.
Based on the studies published to date, recommending routine circumcision as a prophylactic measure to prevent HIV infection in Africa, or elsewhere, is scientifically unfounded.
If you study the history of male circumcision, you will see a repeating pattern of claims that it prevents any number of different ailments from epilepsy to penile cancer to venereal disease. Invariably, the “protective effects” of circumcision vanish when the variables are properly controlled.
Here is a news article about Dr. Mishra's research.
http://www.caribbeannetnews.com/cgi-scr ... 003191.htm
Male Circumcision May Not Protect Against HIV Infection: Presented at AIDS 2006
By Danny Kucharsky TORONTO, CANADA — August 17, 2006
HIV prevalence is not necessarily lower in populations that have higher male circumcision rates, according to findings from a study of African countries presented here at the 16th International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2006).
The study, which examined the association between male circumcision and HIV infection in 8 Sub-Saharan African countries, contradicts the findings of previous research and the opinion of several prominent personalities active in the fight against AIDS, such as former US President Bill Clinton.
While several studies have indicated that male circumcision has a protective effect against sexually transmitted infections (STI), including HIV infection, the evidence is inconclusive, said investigator Vinod Mishra, MD, director of research, ORC Macro, Calverton, Maryland. “We're just questioning that push,” he said of the optimism displayed by Clinton and others.
The study used demographic findings from recent demographic and health surveys in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, and Malawi, and AIDS indicator surveys from Tanzania and Uganda. The surveys were conducted from 2003 to 2005 and sample sizes ranged from 3,300 men in Lesotho to 10,000 men in Uganda.
In survey fieldwork in each country, men aged 15 to 59 gave blood for anonymous HIV testing. Information on circumcision status and on STI/STI symptoms was based on men's responses to questions in survey interviews.
Prevalence of male circumcision ranged from a high of 96% in Ghana to a low of 21% in Malawi. Among the other countries, circumcision rates were 84% in Kenya, 89% in Burkina Faso, and 25% in Uganda.
HIV prevalence was markedly lower among circumcised than uncircumcised men only in Kenya (11.5% among uncircumcised men vs 3.1% among circumcised men). A small protective effect of male circumcision was also seen in Burkina Faso (2.9% vs 1.7%, respectively) and Uganda (5.5% vs 3.7%).
In the other countries, there was either no difference in HIV rates between circumcised and uncircumcised men or circumcised men were more likely to be HIV-positive than uncircumcised men. For example, in Lesotho, HIV was seen in 23.4% of circumcised men compared with 15.4% of uncircumcised men.
“If anything, the correlation [between circumcision and HIV infection] goes the other way,” in most of the countries studied, Dr. Mishra said during his presentation on August 15th.
When adjusted for sociodemographic and behavioral factors, a small protective effect was observed in 6 of the 8 countries, but it was not statistically significant in any country, Dr. Mishra said.
In Kenya, and to a lesser extent, in Ghana, Malawi, Tanzania, and Uganda, circumcised men were less likely than uncircumcised men to report having had an STI or STI symptoms in the 12-month period prior to the survey (2.1% vs 5.4%, respectively). The relationship was reversed in Cameroon (8.0% vs 2.5%) and Lesotho (12.1% vs 7.5%).
With other factors controlled, male circumcision had some protective effect in 5 of the 8 countries, but the effect was statistically significant only in Tanzania.
In addition, “circumcised men tend to have more lifetime sex partners, so there's some [high-risk] behaviors that go with circumcision status,” he said.
A study limitation is that it was based on self-reported information on circumcision status and STI/STI symptoms. It also lacks data on age at circumcision and degree of circumcision, which might influence susceptibility to HIV infection.
However, Dr. Mishra said the study is consistent with other research that has failed to find a protective effect of male circumcision on HIV and STIs.
And Dinah the daughter of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land.
2 And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he took her, and lay with her, and defiled her.
3 And his soul clave unto Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the damsel, and spake kindly unto the damsel.
4 And Shechem spake unto his father Hamor, saying, Get me this damsel to wife.
5 And Jacob heard that he had defiled Dinah his daughter: now his sons were with his cattle in the field: and Jacob held his peace until they were come.
6 And Hamor the father of Shechem went out unto Jacob to commune with him.
7 And the sons of Jacob came out of the field when they heard it: and the men were grieved, and they were very wroth, because he had wrought folly in Israel in lying with Jacob's daughter: which thing ought not to be done.
8 And Hamor communed with them, saying, The soul of my son Shechem longeth for your daughter: I pray you give her him to wife.
9 And make ye marriages with us, and give your daughters unto us, and take our daughters unto you.
10 And ye shall dwell with us: and the land shall be before you; dwell and trade ye therein, and get you possessions therein.
11 And Shechem said unto her father and unto her brethren, Let me find grace in your eyes, and what ye shall say unto me I will give.
12 Ask me never so much dowry and gift, and I will give according as ye shall say unto me: but give me the damsel to wife.
13 And the sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor his father deceitfully, and said, because he had defiled Dinah their sister:
14 And they said unto them, We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to one that is uncircumcised; for that were a reproach unto us:
15 But in this will we consent unto you: If ye will be as we be, that every male of you be circumcised;
16 Then will we give our daughters unto you, and we will take your daughters to us, and we will dwell with you, and we will become one people.
17 But if ye will not hearken unto us, to be circumcised; then will we take our daughter, and we will be gone.
18 And their words pleased Hamor, and Shechem Hamor's son.
19 And the young man deferred not to do the thing, because he had delight in Jacob's daughter: and he was more honourable than all the house of his father.
20 And Hamor and Shechem his son came unto the gate of their city, and communed with the men of their city, saying,
21 These men are peaceable with us; therefore let them dwell in the land, and trade therein; for the land, behold, it is large enough for them; let us take their daughters to us for wives, and let us give them our daughters.
22 Only herein will the men consent unto us for to dwell with us, to be one people, if every male among us be circumcised, as they are circumcised.
23 Shall not their cattle and their substance and every beast of their's be our's? only let us consent unto them, and they will dwell with us.
24 And unto Hamor and unto Shechem his son hearkened all that went out of the gate of his city; and every male was circumcised, all that went out of the gate of his city.
25 And it came to pass on the third day, when they were sore, that two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brethren, took each man his sword, and came upon the city boldly, and slew all the males.
26 And they slew Hamor and Shechem his son with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah out of Shechem's house, and went out.
27 The sons of Jacob came upon the slain, and spoiled the city, because they had defiled their sister.
28 They took their sheep, and their oxen, and their asses, and that which was in the city, and that which was in the field,
29 And all their wealth, and all their little ones, and their wives took they captive, and spoiled even all that was in the house.
30 And Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, Ye have troubled me to make me to stink among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites: and I being few in number, they shall gather themselves together against me, and slay me; and I shall be destroyed, I and my house.
31 And they said, Should he deal with our sister as with an harlot?
As I listened to your story discussing the impediments to Mayor Giuliani's presidential campaign, I expected that you would address the biggest blot on his character — his former partnership with Bernard Kerik, disgraced Police Chief of New York City. Kerik has pled guilty to State court charges of accepting graft, and is likely to be indicted for conspiring with former New York Attorney General candidate Jeanine Pirro to place illegal wiretaps on her husband. Kerik took over $7 Million in stock profits by plugging the TASER lethal-non-lethal stun gun to police agencies across the nation, while being a TASER stockholder and the Police Chief of New York. Then he went into business with Giuliani, who put him up for the office of Head of Homeland Security after Tom Ridge resigned. But you didn't mention Kerik at all, even though the news of his impending indictment appeared in the New York Times on Wednesday March 14th, the same day as your article. Way to drop the ball!
June 30, 2006
Kerik Pleads Guilty for Gifts and a Loan
By WILLIAM K. RASHBAUM and JOHN HOLUSHA
Bernard B. Kerik, the former New York City police commissioner, pleaded guilty today to two misdemeanor charges as the result of accepting tens of thousands of dollars of gifts and a loan while he was a city official in the late 1990's.
He entered the pleas, one to a violation of the city charter and the other of the city administrative code, in a Bronx courtroom before Justice John P. Collins and was sentenced to a total of $221,000 in fines. He was accompanied by three lawyers and three supporters for the proceeding, which lasted about 10 minutes.
Speaking in a quiet voice, Mr. Kerik admitted that he had accepted renovations to his Bronx apartment from a company he believed to be “clean.”
Justice Collins acknowledged Mr. Kerik's past career. “The court recognizes the contributions made by Bernard Kerik, particularly on Sept. 11, 2001, and the days after. Still, the defendant has violated the law for personal gain.”
Outside the court, Mr. Kerik said he should have been more “focused and sophisticated” in dealing with contractors who worked on his Bronx apartment.
“From this moment on, it's back to work,” he said before getting into a black B.M.W. and driving south on the Grand Concourse toward Manhattan.
City officials insisted that Mr. Kerik received no special treatment. “He was arrested and booked,” said Rose Gill Hearn, the city's investigations commissioner. “He was fingerprinted and photographed like every other perp who gets arrested and processed.”
One of Mr. Kerik's lawyers, Joseph Tacopina, disputed this account. He said Mr. Kerik was not arrested or processed in central booking like a common criminal. He was instead afforded the opportunity to be processed at the district attorney's office and allowed to walk to court. He was fingerprinted in the executive wing, Mr. Tacopina said.
Robert T. Johnson, the Bronx district attorney, noted that the grand jury considered and rejected more serious charges of bribery. He termed the outcome “fair and just” based on the evidence and circumstances and questions about how the statute of limitations applies to public officials.
The pleas completed a stunning fall from grace for a public official who rose in a decade's time from a third-grade police detective to police commissioner and a nomination as secretary of the federal Department of Homeland Security.
Mr. Kerik accepted the subsidized work on his Bronx apartment in the late 1990's, while he was correction commissioner under Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, according to investigators.
Investigators said Mr. Kerik paid about $30,000 for renovations worth about $200,000, a violation of the city's administrative code. The work was performed by an affiliate of a construction company that the city has accused of having ties to organized crime.
The company, Interstate Industrial Corporation, had sought Mr. Kerik's assistance in obtaining a license from the city to operate a construction debris transfer station and held meetings in Mr. Kerik's office. The license was ultimately not granted.
One of Mr. Kerik's pleas was for accepting the gift of the subsidized remodeling. The other was for failing to report a loan of $29,000 from a friend for a down payment on the apartment.
Mr. Kerik, a former driver and bodyguard for Mr. Giuliani while he was campaigning for mayor, was named police commissioner in 2000 and held that post on Sept. 11, 2001, when the World Trade Center was attacked.
On the basis of his performance then, President Bush nominated him to be the head of the Homeland Security Department in December 2004. But he withdrew a week later, citing possible tax problems related to the family's nanny.
Mr. Kerik also left Mr. Giuliani's private consulting firm within days of his failed federal nomination. He has been doing independent security consulting work since then, most recently in Jordan.
Alan Feuer contributed reporting for this article.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
This could be fun:
News Channel 4 has learned former NYPD commissioner Bernard Kerik has rejected a plea deal offered by federal prosecutors that would have required Kerik to serve time in prison.
Federal prosecutors offered Kerik a deal where he would plead guilty to tax fraud and illegal eavesdropping conspiracy charges, sources familiar with the negotiations say.
In exchange for his guilty plea, investigators were willing to end the federal criminal probe into Kerik's alleged wrongdoing which includes allegations of mortgage fraud, tax fraud, conspiracy to eavesdrop and making false statements on his application to become U.S. Homeland Security Secretary....
Quite a list. Oh, and that's “conspiracy to eavesdrop” as in “conspiracy to bug the yacht of the felon husband of the Westchester County DA, Jeanine Pirro, who thought hubby was having an affair.”
More from The New York Times:
...Daniel C. Richman, a former federal prosecutor who is now a professor at Fordham University School of Law, said that when plea negotiations fail, federal prosecutors nearly always seek an indictment....
An indictment would be a setback for the presidential campaign of Mr. Giuliani, who supported Mr. Kerik in his failed bid to become the nation's Homeland Security director in 2004....
Would an indictment mean a high-profile trial? Just as the GOP race heats up?
Now, it's quite possible that all those Rudy-crazed Republicans don't know who Kerik is, or just don't associate him with Giuliani. If so, Rudy dodges another bullet.
But it may be enjoyable to find out.
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