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Thursday, Sep 18th

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Ex-AIG chief Greenberg takes the Fifth

Maurice "Hank" Greenberg, the legendary former chief executive of AIG, declined to answer questions Saturday from the New York Attorney General's office about his role in a controversial transaction between AIG and another insurer. Instead, Greenberg invoked his Fifth Amendment rights, his defense lawyer confirmed.

They said repeatedly that as long as he was provided with the full results of AIG's internal investigation of the deal - which he eventually was - he would answer all of state regulators' questions.

Greenberg's chance to testify finally came on Saturday, but he declined. It was a stunning turnaround for a man who has spent just shy of a quarter of a billion dollars to tell his side of the story and clear his name.

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Bush Declares Exceptions to Sections of Two Bills He Signed Into Law

President Bush asserted on Tuesday that he had the executive power to bypass several parts of two bills: a military authorization act and a measure giving inspectors general greater independence from White House control. Mr. Bush signed the two measures into law. But he then issued a so-called signing statement in which he instructed the executive branch to view parts of each as unconstitutional constraints on presidential power.

In the authorization bill, Mr. Bush challenged four sections. One forbid the money from being used “to exercise United States control of the oil resources of Iraq”; another required negotiations for an agreement by which Iraq would share some of the costs of the American military operations there.

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TVNL Comment:  Understand that signing statements allow George Bush to ignore the bills he signs into law.  

Where's the congressionally mandated WMD czar?

The prospect that Al Qaeda or some other terrorist group might get its hand on a nuclear bomb is widely viewed as the scariest national-security threat facing the country. But more than a year after Congress passed a law creating a White House "czar" to focus on the issue, the post has yet to be filled—the apparent victim of yet another clash over presidential powers.

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Bush Rule Changes Could Block Product-Safety Suits

Bush administration officials, in their last weeks in office, are pushing to rewrite a wide array of federal rules with changes or additions that could block product-safety lawsuits by consumers and states.

The administration has written language aimed at pre-empting product-liability litigation into 50 rules governing everything from motorcycle brakes to pain medicine. The latest changes cap a multiyear effort that could be one of the administration's lasting legacies, depending in part on how the underlying principle of pre-emption fares in a case the Supreme Court will hear next month.

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CIA Tactics Endorsed In Secret Memos

The Bush administration issued a pair of secret memos to the CIA in 2003 and 2004 that explicitly endorsed the agency's use of waterboarding and other interrogation techniques against al-Qaeda suspects -- documents prompted by worries among intelligence officials about a possible backlash if details of the program became public.

The classified memos, which have not been previously disclosed, were requested by then-CIA Director George J. Tenet more than a year after the start of the secret interrogations, according to four administration and intelligence officials familiar with the documents.

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Bipartisan House report finds that Bush made ‘inappropriate’ use of executive privilege

A bipartisan report released today by the House Oversight Committee finds that President Bush made a ‘legally unprecedented and an inappropriate use of executive privilege” when the administration withheld Patrick Fitzgerald’s interview with Vice President Cheney on the CIA leak scandal. A separate report also criticizes Bush’s assertion of executive privilege regarding his recent climate change and Clean Air Act decisions:

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TVNL Comment:  And the penalty for such misconduct is.....???

Man jailed for brown lawn gets help from neighbors

It was a story in the St. Petersburg Times about a 66-year-old grandfather, Joseph Prudente, who was jailed without bail on Friday because his lawn was brown. For nearly a year, he ignored letters from his Beacon Woods homeowners' association and a court order because, he said, he barely had the money to pay his mortgage. He was trying to keep his house and didn't care about the lawn.

TVNL Comment: What kind of cops would make this arrest and what kind of judge would declare no bail? What country is this? How much you want to bet that the cops, the people who complained and the judge call themseves Christians?

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