Story Updates: Libby, Eagles, Trade and more
Libby Sentence Commuted: Reaction to President Bush's commutation of Scooter Libby's sentence was rapid. House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. announced that he will be holding a full committee hearing next week titled, "The Use and Misuse of Presidential Clemency Power for Executive Branch Officials." After President Clinton pardoned 140 people on his last day in office, Congressional leadership held similar hearings entitled, "Proposals to amend the president’s power to grant reprieves and pardons." Read an excerpt from testimony here.
Read more about the issues surrounding the case and continue the conversation.
Watch Bill Moyers' recent essay entitled, "Begging his Pardon"
"We have yet another remarkable revelation of the mindset of Washington's ruling clique of neoconservative elites—the people who took us to war from the safety of their Beltway bunkers. Even as Iraq grows bloodier by the day, their passion of the week is to keep one of their own from going to jail."
Watch Bill Moyers interview with Ambassador Joseph Wilson from NOW with Bill Moyers, February 28, 2003. It was the release of Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame's identity as a CIA agent which led to the Libby trial.
"Somehow it's hard for me to imagine that a democratic system will emerge out of the ashes of Iraq in the near term. And when and if it does, it's hard for me to believe that it will be more pro-American and more pro-Israeli than what you've got now," says Joseph Wilson in his interview.
More about Plamegate and Judith Miller from BUYING THE WAR.
President loses fast-track authority: On July 1, 2007, Presidential fast-track authority expired, and according to a statement released last week from the House Democratic Leadership, new trade legislation will not include a renewal of fast-track.
From the ASSOCIATED PRESS:
"Since 1975, only one other president, Bill Clinton, has been stripped of that trade-promotion authority, designed to speed the reduction of trade barriers and open new markets with other countries. Bush won't get it back again, and the next president might not either."
Read the latest press release from the House Democratic Leadership regarding the four pending trade deals.
Watch Bill Moyers' interviews with Public Citizen's Lori Wallach and HARPER'S Rick MacArthur.
Bald Eagle Leaves Endangered Species List: Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne announced last week that the American bald eagle has been removed from protection under the Endangered Species Act.
In 1963, scientists could only account for 417 mating pairs of bald eagles in the country, attributing this scarcity to hunters and DDT poisoning. Today, this number has reached nearly 10,000. "The rescue of the bald eagle...ranks among the greatest victories of American conservation," said John Flicker, president of the National Audobon Society.
Journalist Alan Johnston Freed: BBC correspondent Alan Johnston has been released after four months in captivity. Johnston was the only international correspondent working in the Gaza Strip. Learn more about the dangers posed to journalists worldwide at the UN's World Press Freedom Day site and from the Committee to Protect Journalists.