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Key Senators Back Mukasey Nomination

Key Senators Back Mukasey Nomination
Here in the United States, Attorney General hopeful Michael Mukasey appears headed for confirmation after three key Senators announced they’ll support his nomination. This weekend, Senate Judiciary Committee members Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, Charles Schumer of New York and Dianne Feinstein of California said they’ll back Mukasey despite his refusal to condemn waterboarding as a form of torture. Schumer and Feinstein said they’re backing Mukasey in part to stabilize the leaderless Justice Department and to avoid recess appointments

Report: Admin Forced Out Waterboarding Critic
Meanwhile, new evidence suggests the Bush administration forced out a Senior Justice Department official who declared waterboarding a form of torture after experiencing it first-hand.

According to ABC News, former acting assistant attorney general Dan Levin was so concerned about the White House’s approval of waterboarding that he went to a military base to undergo it himself in 2004. Levin was tasked with reworking the administration’s legal position on torture at the time. He concluded that waterboarding is likely illegal torture unless performed in a limited way under close supervision. The findings were to be included in a memo laying out the administration’s new stance on torture. But Levin never got to complete his report as he was forced out of his job. 

Cheney Refers to Venezuela as “Peru”
Meanwhile, Vice President Dick Cheney was caught in gaffe this weekend after he tried to criticize Chavez during a speech in Dallas. In blasting Chavez, Cheney mistakenly referred to Venezuela as “Peru.”

    Vice President Dick Cheney: “He is obviously an individual with his own agenda. he spends a great deal of his time worrying about us and criticizing the United States. I, uh my own personal view is he does not represent the future of Latin America. The people of Peru I think deserve better. That's obviously a matter that they have got to resolve themselves."

    Bush Dismisses War Opposition, Job Disapproval
    Back in this country, new poll figures continue to show declining support for President Bush and the Iraq invasion. According to the Washington Post and ABC news, less than one-quarter of the population thinks the nation is on the right track. Six out of ten Americans think the Iraq war has not been worth fighting. On Friday, President Bush dismissed the poll numbers and vowed to continue the occupation.

      President Bush: "I will make decision about our troop presence in Iraq and Afghanistan based upon the considered judgment of those who wear the uniform, not based upon the Gallup poll or political party considerations."

    Thompson Fundraiser Has Drug-Dealing Past
    In campaign news, Republican presidential hopeful Fred Thompson is on the defensive following disclosures a key fundraiser has a history of drug trafficking and gambling. The Washington Post revealed this weekend that Thompson campaign co-chair Phillip Martin pleaded guilty to cocaine trafficking and conspiracy charges in 1983. Thompson has used Martin’s private jet during his campaign. Thompson says he was not aware of Martin’s criminal past.

    French Journalist Henri Alleg Describes His Torture Being Waterboarded by French Forces During Algerian War

    Three crucial members of the Senate Judiciary Committee said this weekend they would back the nomination of Attorney General hopeful Michael Mukasey despite his refusal to condemn waterboarding as a form of torture. Henri Alleg, an 86-year-old journalist subjected to waterboarding by French troops during the war for Algerian independence, says no civilized country should allow it

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