Ralph Nader helped conclude a cutting-edge energy conference Oct. 9 in the nation's capital by describing what the public must do to reduce harsh new job losses and similar hardship.

"Deal with public sentiment,” he told a rapt audience at the annual convention of Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas, USA (ASPO-USA) in urging steps to achieve better-informed voters and consumers.  “Half the population doesn’t believe in global warming.”  Create a “purposeful Congress,” was his next theme.  “It’s the most powerful branch of government [in the Constitution], except it doesn’t like to use its power,” Nader said. “It likes to send it to the White House.” His final suggestion is drawn from his latest book, “Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!”  In a novelistic approach, he portrays how real-life billionaires could help preserve the world’s economic systems and ecology.

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Jim Baldauf, co-founder of a cutting-edge energy group, began its briefing at the National Press Club Oct. 7 by citing the BP Gulf oil disaster, drought in Russia at up to 130 degrees, and massive flood-devastation in Pakistan as evidence that this is the worst year for the environment in recent history.

"I would submit," he said, "that all of these tragedies are due to Peak Oil. Peak Oil will affect every aspect of our life."

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The Justice Department Monday announced arrests of two Alabama gambling kingpins and four legislators in a corruption probe primarily targeting Democratic office-holders and contributors. But federal authorities ruined their probe's credibility from the outset by relying on prosecutors implicated in the nation's two most notorious public corruption investigations of the last decade.

The story below describes a fiasco by the Justice Department, which has selectively ignored serious allegations of wrongdoing by top Alabamans, most notably by current Gov. Bob Riley, right, and other so-called "anti-gambling" politicians and their supporters.

A likely 2012 Republican presidential candidate, Riley has been harshly attacked on ethics grounds for many years including by some in his own party. He helped initiate the current indictment by closing Alabama's casinos. This appeases Riley's anti-gambling constituents and his past Mississippi funders who want Alabama gamblers to keep streaming into their casinos.

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Former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik filed papers Sept. 28 arguing that a federal appeals court should vacate his four-year prison sentence because of serious errors and bias by his trial judge. Kerik documented for the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York the remarkable judicial bias that prompted our non-partisan Justice Integrity Project earlier this year to cite the Republican’s prosecution as one of our “Leading Cases” of judicial and prosecutorial misconduct nationally.

All three major factors in Kerik’s brief attack U.S. District Judge Stephen C. Robinson, who put Kerik in solitary confinement pre-trial for several weeks until he agreed to plead guilty to corruption charges last November. At sentencing last February, Robinson continued his pre-trial pattern of denouncing the defendant and then sentenced him to a term that exceeded both the plea bargain agreement and federal sentencing guidelines. At right, Kerik is shown just after the sentencing with his wife Hala in a photo by Maxine Susseles. In May, the former Bush cabinet nominee Kerik began serving his term on corruption charges at the federal correctional institute in Cumberland, MD.

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Dr. Cyril Wecht

Forensic medical expert Cyril H. Wecht provides a vitally needed defendant’s perspective on the terrible Justice Department misconduct that USA Today just documented in a major investigative project.

On Sept. 23, the paper reported 201 criminal cases in which federal judges found that prosecutors broke laws or ethics rules. Overall, the abuses put innocent people in jail, and set guilty people free.

Dr. Wecht’s prosecution didn’t fall within the newspaper’s scope because his first judge in Pittsburgh coddled the prosecution instead of criticizing it.  But we at the Justice Integrity Project, a non-partisan legal reform group, documented Wecht’s ordeal from 84 overblown felony charges in 2006 carrying long prison sentences for trivial matters. The defendant achieved victory last year at age 78 when a new judge pressured prosecutors to drop the final charges.

We asked the defendant to describe what it's like to be unfairly accused.

“Once a victim has been targeted,” he wrote back, “there are no limits to the amount of time, energy, money, and use of personnel that the Feds will employ to pursue and persecute that individual. No charge will be considered too petty or unimportant in their efforts to coerce the victim into pleading guilty to avoid the frightening possibility of a lengthy jail term.”

Wecht, who holds both M.D. and J.D. degrees, is a world-famous consultant in his specialty of forensic medicine.  Also, he’s a longtime professor of medicine, a leader of medical societies and the author of more than 550 professional publications and many books. 

Moreover, he’s an outspoken expert on celebrity deaths, including his courageous criticism of the federal government’s official account of the single-bullet theory for the 1963 assassination of President Kennedy. For 20 years prior to his indictment, he had been elected as the part-time, $65,000-a-year coroner for Allegheny County in Western Pennsylvania, where he was also Democratic county chairman.

-- Andrew Kreig

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Documents Prosecutorial Misconduct

Federal judges have repeatedly identified serious misconduct by U.S. Department of Justice prosecutors, according to a six-month investigation published Sept. 23 by USA TODAY. This outstanding, authoritative and vitally needed article helps break down a code of silence whereby watchdog mechanisms within the DOJ, the courts, Congress and the traditional news media fail speak out against rampant abuses by authorities.

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