Given what's in the papers this week, it sure seems rediculous that we impeached a president for lying about blowjobs. This week alone has brought news about how Administration pressure may have been brought to bear to reduce the federal government's Tobacco suit penalties from $130 billion to $10 billion:
The newly disclosed documents make clear that the decision was made after weeks of tumult in the department and accusations from lawyers on the tobacco team that Mr. McCallum and other political appointees had effectively undermined their case. Mr. McCallum, No. 3 at the department, is a close friend of President Bush from their days as Skull & Bones members at Yale, and he was also a partner at an Atlanta law firm, Alston & Bird, that has done legal work for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, part of Reynolds American, a defendant in the case.
"Everyone is asking, 'Why now?' " said a Justice Department employee involved in the case who insisted on anonymity for fear of retaliation. "Why would you throw the case down the toilet at the very last hour, after five years?"
Ultimately, Mr. McCallum overruled the objections from the trial team, and the documents and interviews suggest that his senior aides took the unusual step of writing parts of the closing argument that Ms. Eubanks delivered last week in federal court in seeking the reduction in penalties.
Officials who insisted on anonymity said the change on the penalties provoked such strong objections from the trial team that some lawyers threatened to quit. Department officials have now proposed that a lower-level lawyer who has outlined the reasons for reduced penalties take over crucial parts of the remainder of the trial.
In another memorandum sent on Tuesday that was also reviewed by The Times, a senior official in the criminal division of the department recommended that the lower-level lawyer on the team, Frank Marine, who has supported the $10 billion penalty internally and publicly, "be in charge of preparing" the final briefs and the proposed order on penalties.
That work would normally go to Ms. Eubanks, director of the team.
Also reported today is the fact that investigators at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting are looking into payments to GOP lobbyists, by the corporation's Republican chairman" and "his Republican predecessor."
The investigators, in the corporation's inspector general's office, are also examining $14,170 in payments made under contracts - which Mr. Tomlinson took the unusual step of signing personally, also without the knowledge of board members - with a man in Indiana who provided him with reports about the political leanings of guests on the "Now" program when its host was Bill Moyers.
...It comes as Republicans in Congress are threatening to cut support for public broadcasting sharply, and as a number of crucial staff members at the corporation have quit and privately cited concerns on Mr. Tomlinson's leadership.
And that the military tried to coerce guilty pleas from their Guantanamo detainees:
military defense lawyer told a Senate hearing on Wednesday that when military authorities first asked him to represent a detainee at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, he was instructed that he could negotiate only a guilty plea.
The lawyer, Lt. Cmdr. Charles D. Swift of the Navy, who represents a Yemeni, Salim Ahmed Hamdan, said that he regarded the effort, in December 2003, "as a clear attempt to coerce to Mr. Hamdan into pleading guilty."
Commander Swift testified that when he visited Mr. Hamdan, he discovered that the prisoner did not want to plead guilty, as the authorities had apparently believed from their earlier interrogation of him, conducted without a lawyer.
...After the prison opened, senior military officers said that they planned that the first detainees to go before a military commission would be those who would plead guilty. They said at the time that starting with a few guilty pleas would lend legitimacy to the process and to the evidence used as a basis for imprisoning and charging the prisoners.
While we remain mired in news stories about Brad, Jennifer, and Angelina and of course, Michael Jackson, the world press is all over the cascading leaks of British government documents clearly indicating that both the British and American governments purposely mislead their countries into war:
The document, a British government briefing paper from July 21, 2002, informed Prime Minister Tony Blair's cabinet ministers eight months before the invasion of Iraq that Blair had already committed Britain to supporting an American-led attack and that "they had no choice but to find a way of making it legal."
The eight-page document labeled "PERSONAL SECRET UK EYES ONLY," whose authenticity has been confirmed by British government sources, also served as the basis of a Page 1 story in the Sunday Washington Post. Staff writer Walter Pincus emphasized a different passage in the document, which said "the U.S. military was not preparing adequately for what the British memo predicted would be a " protracted and costly" postwar occupation of Iraq.
I'll take a president who lies about blowjobs any day over a president who lies about intelligence leading to war. Less people die with blowjobs...