Friday, November 16, 2007

Barry Bonds and Steriods | Why The Perjury Case Against Barry Bonds Is Flawed

As I stated in my last post, I've read the 10-page indictment against Barry Bonds and hold that the Federal Government's charge of perjury is flimsy at best. Here's why; let's start with the definition of "Perjury":

Perjury is the act of lying or making verifiably false statements on a material matter under oath or affirmation in a court of law or in any of various sworn statements in writing. Perjury is a crime because the witness has sworn to tell the truth and, for the credibility of the court, witness testimony must be relied on as being truthful. Perjury is considered a serious offense as it can be used to usurp the power of the courts, resulting in miscarriages of justice. In the United States, for example, the general perjury statute under Federal law provides for a prison sentence of up to five years, and is found at 18 U.S.C. § 1621. See also 28 U.S.C. § 1746.

The problem is this, which comes from the indictment itself:

"having taken an oath to testify truthfully in a proceeding before a Grand Jury sitting in the Northern District of California, unlawfully, willfully, knowingly, and contrary to such oath, did make false material declarations,"

The problem rests in the use of the words "willfully" and "knowingly". The government's evidence must prove that Barry Bonds did indeed know that what he was being given was a steriod and willfully lied about it. He has testified -- and the information is in the indictment -- that he did not know what he was being given.

Plus, the other problem is that not every steriod was banned at the time. In other words, Bonds could have been given a legal steriod. If the Government's case does not make that distinction, it' fails. I must also add that one main problem with the work of San Francisco Chronicle writers Lance Williams and Mark Fairnu-Wada is that they fail to note the difference between "legal" and "illegal" steriods.

Bodybuilders use many legal steriods to "get big" and without fear of prosecution or arrest. Anabolic steroids, which build muscle, are controlled substances, whereas "Andro" which is what Mark McQuire and other baseball players have supposedly taken, is a hybrid substance and was under scrutiny for prohibtion by the FDA in 2004.

Which brings up another point: the time of focus of Bond's actions is between 2000 and 2003, not on or after 2004.

The other issue not adressed by the indictment is the matter of what was a legal drug at the time. If the Government and the FDA were not banning or prohibiting the use of many of the drugs listed in the indictment at the time Barry supposedly was given them, then it's even more possible he didn't know that what he was being given at the time was a now banned steriod, or for that matter a steriod. Victor Conte, the former head of BALCO, which distributed drugs to athletes, has said he never gave a banned steriod to Barry Bonds.

The Government may have errred here, as well. They can't switch between asking Bonds whether he lied about taking a banned substance or a legal substance. Then, there case not only looks bad, it begins to take on the appearance of an obvious witch hunt. In that instance, a jury in Northern California, where the suit was filed, would almost certainly consist of Bonds sympathizers, and the case would fail.

My bet is the Government's lawyers forgot to consider just what was a banned steriod and what was not at the time. Remember, much of this case calls for rebuilding what happened in the past. And even if the steriods were legal, again, Barry had even less reason to fear that what he took was not appropriate or that he actually knew that he was being given something illegal and of massive concern.

What the Government needs is more than just circumstantial evidence, as the Chronicle writers provide. It needs a document with Bonds handwriting on it that proves he visited and approved of the use of steriods. Without real, hard core evidence of that type -- and there's no sign it's there -- the Government could lose this case, big time.

I think they will.

The Barry Bonds Indictment - I've Read It; It's Weak At Best

As you may know by now, San Francisco Giants Slugger Barry Bonds was indicted for perjury before a federal grand jury. I've just read the indictment , and if this is what the government's basing its case on, even with evidence, it's shaky at best. I'll explain why in the next blog post, but here it is.

United States Attorney
1 VIOLATIONS: 18 U.S.C. $ 1623(a)
) Pej ury; 18 U.S.C. 8 1503 - Obstruct~ono f
1 Justice
The Grand Jury charges:
At all times relevant to this Indictment:
1. The defendant, BARRY LAMAR BONDS ("Bonds"), was a Major League
Baseball player for the San Francisco Giants.
2. Balco Laboratories, Inc. ("Balco"), was a California corporation performing
blood-testing, among other functions. Balco was located in Burlingame, California.
3. Greg Anderson ("Anderson") was a personal athletic trainer whose clients
included numerous professional athletes, including Bonds. Anderson was affiliated with Balco
in that, among other things, he: obtained illegal drugs for later distribution to his clients
(including professional athletes); submitted biological specimens from his clients to Balco for
testing (including sending the specimens off to outside laboratories for analysis); and obtained
the laboratory analysis results of those specimens from Balco.
4. A federal criminal investigation ("the criminal investigation"), led by the Internal
Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division ("IRS-CID), commenced in the Northern
District of California concerning Balco's distribution of anabolic steroids and other illegal
performance-enhancing drugs and the related money laundering of proceeds from the drug
distributions. The criminal investigation initially resulted in an indictment and the convictions of
four defendants on federal charges, including illegal drug distribution and money laundering
5. One focus of the criminal investigation, among others, concerned whether Balco,
Anderson, and others were engaged in illegal drug distribution and money laundering arising
from distributions of illegal drugs to professional athletes and others.
6. As part of the criminal investigation, on or about September 3, 2003, federal
search warrants, issued in the Northern District of California, were executed. Among other
things, investigators obtained evidence concerning Bonds and his relationship with Anderson and
7. As part of the criminal investigation, several professional athletes, including but
not limited to Bonds, along with other witnesses, were subpoenaed before the Federal Grand Jury
to provide, among other things, testimony about their knowledge and involvement with Balco
and its employees, including but not limited to Victor Conte and James Valente, as well as any
relationship with Anderson.
8. On or about December 4,2003, Bonds testified before the Grand Jury. Bonds
received an Order of Immunity for his Grand Jury testimony, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 6003 and
28 C.F.R. 8 0.175, and was informed that pursuant to that order neither his testimony nor any
information directly or indirectly derived from his testimony could be used against him in any
criminal case except a prosecution for perjury, false declaration, or otherwise failing to comply
with the Court's order.
9. During the criminal investigation, evidence was obtained including positive tests
for the presence of anabolic steroids and other performance-enhancing substances for Bonds and
other professional athletes.
COUNT ONE: (18 U.S.C. 5 1623(a) - Perjury)
10. The factual allegations contained in paragraphs one through nine above are
incorporated herein as if set forth in full.
11. On or about December 4,2003, in the Northern District of California, the
having taken an oath to testify truthfully in a proceeding before a Grand Jury sitting in the
Northern District of California, unlawfully, willfully, knowingly, and contrary to such oath, did
make false material declarations, that is, he gave the following underlined false testimony:
Q: I know the answer - - let me ask you this again. I know we kind of got the into
this. Let me be real clear about this. Did he [Anderson] ever give you anything that you
knew to be a steroid? Did he ever give a steroid?
A: I don't think Greg would do anything like that to me and jeopardize our
friendship. I just don't think he would do that.
Q: Well, when you say you don't think he would do that, to your knowledge, 1 mean,
did you ever take any steroids that he gave you?
(a) A: Not that I know of.
Q: Okay. So, 1 got to ask, Mr. Bonds. There's this number associated on a document
with your name, and corresponding to Barry B. on the other document, and it does have
these two listed anabolic steroids as testing positive in connection with it. Do you follow
my question?
A: I follow where you're going, yeah.
Q: So, 1 guess I got to ask the question again, I mean, did you take steroids? And
I1 Q: - - or anything like that?
5 11 (0) A: No, 1 wasn't at all. I've never seen these documents. I've never seen these
and months leading up to November 2000, were you taking steroids - -
(b) A: No.
8 I Q: So, starting in December 2001, on this page. again, there's BB here, which
obviously are consistent with your initials; correct?
A: He could know other BBs.
Q: Correct.
But BB would also be your initials; is that correct.
A: That's correct.
Q: Okay. Were you obtaining testosterone from Mr. Anderson during this period of
(d) A: Not at all.
Q: In January 2001 were you taking either the flax seed oil or the cream?
A: No.
Q: And were you taking any other steroids?
(e) A: No.
All in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1623(a).
12. The factual allegations contained in paragraphs one through nine above are
incorporated herein as if set forth in full.
13. On or about December 4,2003, in the Northern District of California, the
having taken an oath to testify truthfully in a proceeding before a Grand Jury sitting in the
Northern District of California, unlawfully, willfully, knowingly, and contrary to such oath, did
make false material declarations, that is, he gave the following underlined false testimony:
Q: Did Greg ever give you anything that required a syringe to inject yourself with?
A: I've only had one doctor touch me. And that's my only personal doctor.
Greg, like 1 said, we don't get into each others' personal Iives. We're friends, but I don't
- we don't sit around and talk baseball, because he knows I don't want - don't come to
my house talking basebalI. If you want to come to my house and talk about fishing, some
other stuff, we'll be good friends. You wme around talking about baseball, you go on. I
don't talk about his business. You know what 1 mean?
Q: So no one else other than perhaps the team doctor and your personal physician has
ever injected anything in to you or taken anything out?
A: WeIl, there's other doctors from surgeries. I can answer that question, if you're
getting technical like that. Sure, there are other people that have stuck needles in me and
have drawn out - - I've had a bunch of surgeries, yes.
Q: So - -
A: So sony.
Q: - - the team physician, when you've had surgery, and your own personal
physician. But no other individuals like Mr. Anderson or any associates of his?
(a) A:
Q: And, again, 1 guess we've covered this, but - - and did he [Anderson] ever give
you anything that he told you had to be taken with a needle or syringe?
A: Greg wouldn't do that. He knows I'm against that stuff. So, he would never
come up to me - - he would never jeopardize our fnendship like that.
Q: Okay. So, just so I'm clear, the answer is no to that, he never gave you anything
like that?
(b) A: &g&
All in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1623(a).
COUNT THREE: (18 U.S.C. S 1623(a) - Perjury)
14. The factual allegations contained in paragraphs one through nine above are
incorporated herein as if set forth in full.
15. On or about December 4,2003, in the Northern District of California, the
having taken an oath to testify truthfully in a proceeding before a Grand Jury sitting in the
Northern District of California, unlawfully, willfully, knowingly, and contrary to such oath, did
make false material declarations, that is, he gave the foIlowing underlined false testimony:
Q: All right. Did Greg ever talk to you or give you anything called human growth
(a) A: &
Q: And, again, just to be clear and then 1'11 leave it, but he [Anderson] never gave
you anything that you understood to be human growth hormone? Did he ever give you
anything like that?
(b) A: No.
Q: And were you obtaining growth hormone from Mr. Anderson?
(c) A: Not at all.
Q: In January of 2002, then, again, just to be clear, you weren't getting any
testosterone or growth hormone from Mr. Anderson during that period of time?
d) A: No.
All in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1623(a).
:OUNT FOUR: (18 U.S.C. 1623(a) - Perjury)
16. The factual allegations contained in paragraphs one through nine above are
ncorporated herein as if set forth in full.
17. On or about December 4, 2003, in the Northern District of California, the
laving taken an oath to testify truthfully in a proceeding before a Grand Jury sitting in the
$orthem District of California, unlawfully, willfully, knowingly, and contrary to such oath, did
nake false material declarations, that is, he gave the following underlined false testimony:
Q: Let me ask the same question about Greg at this point, we'll go into this in a little
bit more detail, but did you ever get anything else from Greg besides advice or tips on
your weight lifting and also the vitamins and the proteins that you already referenced?
A: This year, in 2003 - - at the end of 2002,2003 season, when I was going through -
-my dad died of cancer, you know, and everyone knows that.
Q: Yes. I'm sorry about that.
A: And everyone tries to give me everything. You got companies that provide us
with more junk to try than anything. And you know that as well.
I was fatigued, tired, just needed recovery, you know. And this guy says: "Try
this cream, try this cream." And Greg came to the ballpark and he said, you know: "This
will help you recover," and he rubbed some cream on my arm, like, some lotion-type
stuff, and, like, gave me some flax seed oil, that's what he called it, called it some flax
seed oil, man. It's, like: " Whatever, dude."
And 1 was at the ballpark, whatever, I don't care. What's lotion going to do to
me? How many times have I heard that: "This is going to rub into you and work." Let
him be happy. We're friends. You how?
Q: When did that happen for the first time?
A: Not until 2003. this season.
Q: And - - all right. So, how many times approximately do you think you got these
tubes with what Mr. Anderson told you was flax seed oil?
A: Maybe once a home stand or something, if that. Greg didn't travel with me on the
road. So, I was at home, when I came home.
Q: And the first time was the beginning of this year's season, in 2003?
A: Yes. 2003, because I was battling with the problems with my father and the - -just
the lack of sleep, lack of everything.
Q: Mr. Anderson had never given you anything or asked you to take anything before
the 2003 season; is that right?
A: We never had those discussions. We don't discuss about his -- you how, part of
his world of business is his business. My business is my business. So, we don't --
Q: I'm asking --
A: No.
Q: That's not my question. My question is - -
A: No.
Q: - -prior to the last season, you never took anything that he asked you to take, other
than vitamins?
A: Right. We didn't have anv other discussions.
Q: No oils like this or anything like this before?
A: No, no, no. not at all. Not at all.
Q: Okay. So, first of all, Mr. Bonds, 1 guess 1 want to recheck with you or ask you
again exactly when you started getting the - - what 1'11 call the recovery items, what you
understood to be flax seed oil and the cream, when you started getting that from Greg
Anderson. I think that you said - - but please correct me if I'm wrong - - that you thought
it was prior to this current baseball season.
But let me ask, 1 mean, is it possible it's actually a year before, after the 2000 - -
well, actually two years before, after the 2001 season? Because this first calendar is dated
December 2001 with "BB" on it and its got a number of entries that I'd like to ask you
Were you getting items during that period of time from Greg?
A: No. Like I said. I don't recall having anvthing like this at all during that time of
year. It was toward the end of 2000, after the WorId Series, you know, when my father
was going through cancer.
Q: In December 2001.
And what about the - - the clear - - either the clear or the cream, were you getting
either of those substances in December of 2001 from Mr. Anderson?
A: No. Like I said. I recaIl it beine toward the end of 2002 - - 2002, after 2002
Q: Okay.
A: And that's what I recall.
Q: And you weren't getting this flax seed oil stuff during that period of time [January
A: Not that I can recall. Like I sav. I could be wrong. But I'm - - I'm - - going from
my recollection it was. like. in the 2002 time and 2003 season.
in vioIation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1623(a).
COUNT FIVE: (1 8 U.S.C. 5 I503 - Obstruction of Justice)
18. The factuaI allegations contained in paragraphs one through nine above are
incorporated herein as if set forth in full.
19. On or about December 4,2003, in the Northern District of California, and
elsewhere, the defendant,
11 unlawfully, willfully, and knowinglByA, dRidR Yco LmApMtlAy Ren BdeOaNvoDr Sto, influence, obstn~cta, nd impede 11 the due administration ofjustice, by knowingly giving Grand JUT testimony that was
1) intentionally evasive, false, and misleading, that is:
(a) The false statements made by the defendant as charged in Counts 1-4 of this
indictment; and
(b) Evasive and misleading testimony.
All in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1503.
I 1 SCOTT N. SCHOOLS United States Attorney

John Edwards Attacks Hillary Clinton For Planting Questions

U.S. Presidential Candidate John Edwards, fresh from the Nevada Debate where it was widely reported and admitted by CNN that the network planted a question to ask Senator Hillary Clinton -- herself the focus of several revelations of planted questions -- about "Diamonds and Pearls", launches a video called "The Politics of Planting, and a website designed to expose all of Clinton's planting episodes called Plants For Hillary.Com

According to the John Edwards website, the new "planting" site..."will offer a one-stop shop for all Americans interested in growing the Hillary plant movement.
As part of the web site, potential plants can listen to testimonials from past plants, read the "Top 10 Questions Plants Should Never Ask Hillary," learn how to recognize other plants at Senator Clinton's events, submit suggestions for planted questions, and purchase the soon to be released "Questions are plant them" t-shirt.
The site also features a new YouTube video—"Politics of Planting"—which highlights Senator Clinton's evolution from parsing answers to answering planted questions.

Here's that video:

Nevada Progressive Blogger Greg Brown Thinks Debate Was Embarassing For Nevada Dems

Using words like "inappropriate " and "embarrassment" Greg Brown, a Nevadan who attended the debate , writes:

(It's hard for me to disagree with what Greg is saying here. I'll have more on this in a debate wrap up in a little while. - promoted by Sven)

I was at tonight's debate and really appalled by the audience behavior. There was a lot of inappropriate cheering and even more inappropriate booing that interrupted candidates during their responses.
The fault for that lies with CNN and with us, Nevada Democrats. I think it particularly lies with the tendency of the Clinton campaign to turn every event into a rally rather than a disucssion. I don't think they intended for their supporters to behave this way but be under no illusion -- it was the Clinton supporters, only a part of the crowd, who were booing Obama and Edwards.

The coup de grace came at the end, when CNN -- which had made a big deal of vetting the questions to avoid having anyone who could be tied to any of the campaigns (as if having knowledge of the candidates' platforms and a preference among them renders one unable to pose a question). Then, they select only a handful of those to pose questions that were vetted ahead of time. After all that, they give the last question to a student who asks the most embarrassingly superficial question, possibly in American presidential history.

Tonight was an embarrassment for the Nevada Democratic Party.

I could not agree more.

CNN Rigs Nevada Debate For Hillary Clinton - Plants "Diamonds and Pearls" Question In Nevada Debate

Without a single doubt the dumbest question asked at last night's CNN Democratic debate in Las Vegas was the one about what Senator Clinton would choose between Diamonds and Pearls. That totally out-of-place question was asked by 15-year-old Maria Luisa. It's in the video below:

..And is being picked up by blogger , after blogger , after blogger.

Now, according to Marc Ambinder , it turns out the question wasn't of her making, but of CNN's. On her MySpace page, where this picture comes from and is set to "private" after all the emails she's gotten, she explains ""Every single question asked during the debate by the audience had to be approved by CNN.

I was asked to submit questions including "lighthearted/fun" questions. I submitted more than five questions on issues important to me. I did a policy memo on Yucca Mountain a year ago and was the finalist for the Truman Scholarship. For sure, I thought I would get to ask the Yucca question that was APPROVED by CNN days in advance."

Shame on CNN for manipulating the debate. But it didn't stop there.

CNN Rigs Debate for Clinton

All night long it seemed that CNN had rigged the debate so that Hillary Clinton had all of the chances to recover from the self-inflicted wounds she sustained in the Philadephia Debate. From the unusually Pro-Hilary crowd, to the way new CNN anchor Campbell Brown soft-balled questions to Senator Clinton. It gave me a bellyache to watch. But this revalation of a planted question in favor of Clinton by CNN is the coup-de-grace.

This is bad, both for the Hillary Clinton campaign, which is showing a tendency toward planting questions and flip-flopping on answers to questions they didn't install, and CNN, which is called "Clinton News Network" by many.

I do think the other Democratic candidates and supporters should feel cheated by this, and move to take action to prevent it from happening again.

Still, even with CNN's gaming, Barack Obama won the debate.

20/20 ABC News: Video Of Kids Picking White Male Criminals Over Good Black Men

You've got to see this video. It is from an ABC News 20/20 segment and shows mostly white kids picking a White Male Criminal -- Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVey -- over a standard, athletic looking Black man, with the idea that the White man was "nice" and a "teacher" where the Black man looked "mean" and "bad."

Where do you suppose they learn those ideas from? It's from home, and parents don't teach their kids how to better think about people and the World around them. Thus, racism is allowed to grow and fester and becomes expressed in paranoid delusion -- a mental illness that must be stamped out.

Barack Obama Wins Las Vegas Debate - Iowa Independent and CNN Polling Say So

33 percent of persons responding to a CNN-After-Debate Poll online reported that Senator Barack Obama was the winner of the CNN Las Vegas Democratic Debate.

Indeed, both CNN's poll and the Iowa Independent reported Obama as the winner as have other bloggers. Iowa's point of view is strongest as that state has the first major voter test in January. Here's what Douglas Burns of the Iowa Independent wrote:

Obama Exposes Regional Difference With Clinton As Debate Turns For Him
by: Douglas Burns
Thursday (11/15) at 23:12 PM

[Commentary] U.S. Sen. Barack Obama tonight turned in his strongest presidential debate performance and exposed a clear regional difference with front-runner Hillary Clinton.
Is $97,000 a lot of money? In most of Obama's Illinois and just about all of Iowa the answer to that is "yes," which makes Obama's position on the question of whether to raise or lift the cap on Social Security taxes more reasonable to Hawkeye State voters than the New York shape-shifting of Clinton.

As it stands, the first $97,500 of a person's annual income is subject to the Social Security tax. Obama supports lifting that to shore up the future of the system while Clinton went with the nostalgia card, suggesting that the she could resurrect the macroeconomic picture that prevailed under her husband and cause the Social Security problem to disappear without hard choices. She suggested that popping the cap would hurt middle-class Americans and argued that in some parts of the nation (namely high-priced New York City which she represents) $97,500 isn't a lot of money. It would be interesting to hear her make that argument in Audubon County, Iowa, where the average home is worth half that much, $49,000.

Douglas Burns :: Obama Exposes Regional Difference With Clinton As Debate Turns For Him

In the CNN Nevada debate on the University of Nevada Las Vegas campus, Obama said only 6 percent of Americans make more than $97,500 and added that Clinton's use of numbers amounted to a Republican-style manipulation.

"This is the kind of thing I would expect from Mitt Romney or Rudy Giuliani," Obama said in perhaps his sharpest frontal political assault on Clinton.

Obama joined U.S. Sen. Joe Biden, a longtime member of the Judiciary Committee, as having the most solid answers on a question related to appointments of judges. Biden showed a clear understanding of the process, and has the scars from decades of fighting the culture wars on center court -- Supreme Court justice hearings in the Senate.

But Obama's answer connected more. A former constitutional law professor at the University of Chicago, Obama said he wanted to look for candidates who aren't ivory towered academics but rather people who understand the vulnerable.

Obama also earned significant points with the Hispanic community for supporting drivers' licenses for illegal immigrants -- a controversial issue on which his chief rivals either disgree with him or have heavily nuanced positions.

After watching Obama, Clinton and former U.S. Sen. John Edwards dust each other up in top-tier skirmishing, Biden, the Delaware Democrat and venerable senator, appeared as the steady old hand, perhaps the man you'd give the ship's wheel to this instant.

"Who among us knows what they're doing?" Biden asked.

Well, you ...

Biden's answers had the usual thoroughness, touches of Senate-speak, to be sure. But he stopped himself short when the penchant for long-windedness seemed about to take hold. Obama had nearly double the amount of "talk time" as Biden so in a sense the comparison of the two senators in the debate format is fantastically unfair.

In the arena of international affairs, Biden, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, exhibited his superior stature on the issues, noting that he had spoken recently with key figures in troubled Pakistan, even before President Bush. Biden also refused to pander on the issue of merit pay for teachers. Who decides whether a teacher is meriting? It makes more sense, said Biden, the husband of a teacher, to base increased pay on whether a teacher obtains advanced degrees.

North Carolinian Edwards barreled ahead with his populist message -- and people in Nevada, based on the crowd reaction, appeared to be in a buying mood. He ripped Clinton for being a defender of a "rigged" and "corrupt" system, and while acknowledging that he, too, has changed positions over time (such as on the aforementioned drivers' license question), he said Clinton seems to take seemingly two-faced positions in real time.

"There's a difference between that (changing one's mind) and saying two contrary things at the same time," Edwards said.

And thinking about key pockets of voters you have to give labor to Edwards tonight. Edwards noted that with Democrats controlling the White House and Congress in the 1990s, the working class saw health-care killed by big business but the passage of a North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Strong stuff from Edwards -- and we know labor is listening. You could almost call for the debate for him using this calculus alone.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson stylistically had a better-than-usual debate perfomance. But for Richardson this comes down to one answer. He said that in some siutations human rights are more important than American security interests -- perhaps a good turn of phrase for an ambassador to the United States but a major opening for Rudy or Republicans to run with in a general election -- and something Hillary Clinton may have to consider if she looks to Richardson as a running mate as is widely speculated. Even in the middle of western Iowa one could hear the wheels turning in the heads of conservative consultants on this one.

Richardson had a no-nonsense answer on drivers' licenses for immigration which came as he articulated a comprehensive immigration reform package. With federal policy failing, states have no choice to pick up the slack and attempt stopgap measures like the drivers' license proposal.

"My law enforcement people said it's a matter of public safety," Richardson said.

Clinton started the night with a misfire -- joking that her pantsuit was made of asbestos, presumably so she could handle the heat. Asbestos jokes aren't funny to Iowans over 30 who had to go to schools in run-down buildings.

Clinton's strongest moments came in explaining the role of gender in the campaign.

"People are not attacking me because I'm a woman," Clinton said. "They're attacking me because I'm ahead."

Clinton had a strong answer on how to handle tainted toys from China: have a third-party investigator go over there. But she was effectivley backed into a box on the question of potential war with Iran because of her vote to designate the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization. Obama and Edwards continued to hammer her on that, and her nuanced explanation seemed lacking, giving rise to her opponents' strategy to postion her as the most hawkish of the leading candidates on the Democratic side. Clinton did offer a detailed answer on this in an interview a few weeks ago with Iowa Independent.

Where Chris Dodd is concerned my biggest thought on his performance is connected to something Dr. Steven Kraus of Carroll observed the other night at the Jefferson-Jackson dinner: Dodd, a U.S. senator from Connecticut, and Obama clearly have respect for each other.

Dodd is simply a classy senator who can answer questions with reliable competency. Conventional thinking is that the Southwest will determine the 2008 election and that a Richardson vice presidential nomination makes sense because of this. But Dodd is fluent in Spanish as I saw first hand when Lorena Lopez of La Prensa and I conducted a joint interview with him. If Obama gets the nomination Dodd complements him in a number of ways as a running mate -- including his ability to campaign in Spanish.

And yes, Congressman Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, also stood on the stage.

Liberty Dollar Factory Raided By FBI - Plant Makes "Ron Paul Dollar"

First, I didn't know it was legal to make an alternative currency, but the backers of Libery Dollar claim this is so. Their headquarters was raided by the FBI on Thursday. But before we get to that, here's the information on the Liberty Dollar:

The Federal Reserve creates inflation when it issues US dollars backed by government debt. Since 1913, when the Federal Reserve was created by Congress, your money has lost 96% of its purchasing power due to inflation. The more "money" the Federal Reserve creates - the less your Federal Reserve "money" will buy.

From 1913 to 2001 the national debt grew to $6 trillion in 88 years. In the next three years it climbed to $7 trillion dollars in 2004. In just one year it climbed sharply to over $8 trillion dollars. The acceleration of the national debt is alarming. The corresponding loss of your purchasing power may also accelerate in the near future.

Now you can profit from the coming inflation with the inflation proof REAL money - the 100% gold and silver Liberty Dollar.

Hi. My name is Bernard von NotHaus. I was so concerned about what is happening to our "money" that I designed and developed the Liberty Dollar. For 25 years, I was the Mintmaster at the Royal Hawaiian Mint and have devoted my life to the study of money, why it is valuable, and how we use it to fulfill our dreams. Like you, I am paying a lot higher gas prices, but I am also making a lot more money because I am using the Liberty Dollar. Here is what G. Edward Griffin, the noted author on the Federal Reserve said:

Below is the letter that appears on the Liberty Dollar website after the FBI raid.

Dear Liberty Dollar Supporters:

I sincerely regret to inform you that about 8:00 this morning a dozen FBI and
Secret Service agents raided the Liberty Dollar office in Evansville.

For approximately six hours they took all the gold, all the silver, all the
platinum and almost two tons of Ron Paul Dollars that where just delivered last
Friday. They also took all the files, all the computers and froze our bank

We have no money. We have no products. We have no records to even know what was
ordered or what you are owed. We have nothing but the will to push forward and
overcome this massive assault on our liberty and our right to have real money as
defined by the US Constitution. We should not to be defrauded by the fake
government money.

But to make matters worse, all the gold and silver that backs up the paper
certificates and digital currency held in the vault at Sunshine Mint has also
been confiscated. Even the dies for mint the Gold and Silver Libertys have been

This in spite of the fact that Edmond C. Moy, the Director of the Mint,
acknowledged in a letter to a US Senator that the paper certificates did not
violate Section 486 and were not illegal. But the FBI and Services took all the
paper currency too.

The possibility of such action was the reason the Liberty Dollar was designed so
that the vast majority of the money was in specie form and in the people’s
hands. Of the $20 million Liberty Dollars, only about a million is in paper or
digital form.

I regret that if you are due an order. It may be some time until it will be
filled... if ever... it now all depends on our actions.

Everyone who has an unfulfilled order or has digital or paper currency should
band together for a class action suit and demand redemption. We cannot allow the
government to steal our money! Please don’t let this happen!!! Many of you read
the articles quoting the government and Federal Reserve officials that the
Liberty Dollar was legal. You did nothing wrong. You are legally entitled to
your property. Let us use this terrible act to band together and further our
goal – to return America to a value based currency.

Please forward this important Alert... so everyone who possess or use the
Liberty Dollar is aware of the situation.

Please click HERE to sign
up for the class action lawsuit and get your property back!

If the above link does not work you can access the page by copying the following
into your web browser.

Thanks again for your support at this darkest time as the damn government and
their dollar sinks to a new low.

Bernard von NotHaus

Monetary Architect

What's interesting as well, is that Bernard von NotHaus was making a "Ron Paul Dollar." Now what do you suppose such a dollar could be used for? That's right: paying for his campaign. Think I'm kidding? Look at this:

In celebration of The 4th of July, 2007 you are invited - even urged - to flex your independence with the Volunteer Network's 'secret weapon' - the Ron Paul Dollar bringing new meaning to the U.S. Mint's "Presidential Dollars" and symbolizing the Congressman's values. WOW! Now the Internet's favorite Presidential candidate has his own money to help turbo-charge his shot at the White House.

I'll bet the FBI raid was intended to derail that attempt to subvert the government. I'm not sure how I feel about what they've done, but I can't help but see it as a form of monetary terrorism.

Stay tuned