Monday, October 31, 2005

Alito and Rosa Parks

I don't know Alito's personal beliefs, and this is anything but an accusation that Alito is a racists, but the irony remains that Alito's first visit to the Hill included paying tribute to Rosa Parks when so many of Alito's court decisions would preclude Americans, like Rosa Parks, from suing their employers for discrimination. Rosa Parks sparked may of the laws that Judge Alito now votes against.

Alito, accompanied by members of his family and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), visited the Capitol to pay tribute to the late Rosa Parks, an icon of the civil rights movement, as her body lay in honor in the Rotunda.

Alito Nomination Ignites Strong Reaction

Alito - Not So Good

If there is going to be a fight over Alito, count me in. He is no constructionist and I like my right not to be strip searched too much to support this guy.

In Doe v. Groody, As the lone dissenter, Alito tries to rewrite the 4th amendment, and finds it quite acceptable to strip search a mother and her 10 year old daughter even though a warrant issued by a judge was only for the search of a male suspect and his home. He felt that our fourth amendment rights are not violated as long as an officer thinks it may be prudent, regardless of probable cause. He states "[I]t is a sad fact that drug dealers sometimes use children to carry out their business and to avoid prosecution." It is also a sad fact that, according to Alito, that none of us have 4th amendment rights based on actions of criminals. For a judge to be so flippant on our constitutional rights be be secure in person and possesion tells me that he is anything but a constructionist.

In Nevada v. Hibbs, Alito struck down the Family Leave Act which affords us the right to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for maternity leave or to tend to a sick family member. His decision was overruled by the Supreme Court.

Bray v. Marriott Hotels, Alito, again the lone dissenter, felt that for a an employment discrimination case should not go forward unless the plaintiff can not only prove objectively that an employer was discriminating based on race, but the plaintiff must also prove the employer "believed" that they were discriminating. Proving the mental thoughts of someone else is nearly impossible to do, and would have basically voided the law.

Nathanson v. Medical College of Pennsylvania, Alito's dissent wanted to place a burden so restrictive on proving disability discrimination that the result would to have basically voided the law entirely.

Sheridan V I.E. Dupont (100 F.2d 1061 1993) Judge Alito was the lone dissenter out of 13 judges. If Alito had his way, title VII, the sexual discrimination law, would have been vacated by shifting the burdon from the defendant to the plaintiff even after the plaintiff had proven a prima facia case. The Supreme Court states that if the plaintiff can prove that the defendant most likely discriminated due to gender, it becomes the defendants burden to prove they did not. Alito would have voided the Supreme Courts ruling (even if it is a higher court) and legislated from the bench by nullifying title VII.

Bush Never Misses an Opportunity...

to miss an opportunity to be a uniter. It is sad when a presidents entire agenda is based upon intentionally further dividing this nation. It is sad that the president does not consider himself to be my president and your president, but their president. It is sad that the president cannot be a leader by example to heal the rifts in this country, but can only be the epicenter of the growing schism.

President Bush had an opportunity to be a leader by example. He failed. President Bush had an opportunity to be bigger than both the fringes on the right and left, but he has once again shown that he is lesser. He did not stand up to the far right after they sank his last qualified nominee. Instead, he bowed to them.

Judge Samuel Alito is considered by many to be to the right of even Scalia. He is not an unknown judge. He is anti-choice. He is anti-affirmative action. He is anti-right to privacy. He is undoutfully very intelligent and is intellectually qualified to serve on the bench. But the message Bush sent out today is that he is not to be the peoples president, but the far rights president. Bush didn't even pretend to consult the Democrats this time. Once again, he has shown that he has no respect for opposing views. He has no desire for consensus. He has no need for uniting.

What really baffles me about Bush is how he can predicate his entire governance style on dividing this nation and yet he considers himself to be such a great leader of the American people. He may be a leader, but it is anything but the American people. He governs for himself and a small section of this country.

Bush Selects Alito for Supreme Court

Friday, October 28, 2005

No Soup for You

I guess corruption is not enough for Republicans. They had to add cruelty to the list of charges. They, after all, need to make way for more tax cuts for the energy industry, like Exxon, who are already reaping record profits. Included in the cuts is school lunches and breakfasts for 40,000 children. Tell me again how you guys are pro-family?

House panel votes $844 mln cut in food stamps
By Charles Abbott

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - On a party-line vote, a Republican-run U.S. House of Representatives committee voted to cut food stamps by $844 million on Friday, just hours after a new U.S. Agriculture Department report showed more Americans are struggling to put food on the table.

About 300,000 Americans would lose benefits due to tighter eligibility rules for food stamps, the major U.S. antihunger program, under the House plan. The cuts would be part of $3.7 billion pared from Agriculture Department programs over five years as part of government-wide spending reductions.

Agriculture Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte defended the decision, saying only a sliver of food stamp spending was affected and, for the most part, the cuts would eliminate people not truly eligible.

"This is not a giveaway program that results in windfall profits," said North Carolina Republican G.K. Butterfield in opposing the cuts. "That is not moral. That is not American."

(Full Story)

Wingnut Reaction to the Libby Indictment

I decided to pay a visit to some of the wingnut sites to see how the loonies were reacting to the Libby indictment. I hit the usual suspects - Wizbang and Free Republics to get a feel:

Why isn’t the grand jury at all interested in the whole nefarious scheme of the Dems to use a mole to plant false information and bolster the anti-war agenda, repeatedly lying on the facts of the case....


Is Fitzy going to “expand” into areas that will be even more embarissing to the Liberals behind this whole partisan scheme....

This is embarrasing to Dems how?

I'm watching the press conference with Fitzgerald. The spectacle of the MSM reporters screaming, wild-eyed, "Well, when will Rove be indicted???" while drooling on their suits and ejaculating in their pants is some sight...

Guess I was listening to another press conference. I think there was 2 questions about Rove and one of them was a softball. There were certainly no sounds of orgasims...

I never imagined we'd see true political persecution in the US. Maybe I was just naive.

Yeah, there were no partisan motives behind Starr...

This crap is going to be dragged out for two more years. The only way I can see for it to get cut short is that the WH order an investigation of Wilson, Plame and the CIA and their connection.

Wouldn't that be a political prosecution? Didn't you guys just rail against political prosecutions?

Free Scooter!! (then fire Fitzgerald)

Fitzzzzzz knows he goofed and his speech on TV proves it. He is a nut case. What he is trying is to test the water with Libbey. If the sh@@ sticks to the wall he will go on. If not, this egotistical nut will probably drop the rest. Remember, he has wasted over 40 million of nothing but a hack job.

A nut case? Really? How did his speech prove it? As for the $40 million - no, that was actually Ken Starr who spent $40 million over 2 years. Fitzgerald spent $2 million. I guess a blow job is 2000% more expensive to investigate.

no indictment for an actual crime. talk radio will be all over this.

Hmmm... last time I checked, perjury and obstruction of justice were actual crimes.

Fitzgerald's office was very suspect in the leaks and dragging this out for maximum effect.

No, suspect would have been if he brought charges in November of 2004.

And now President Bush can finally shut down the liberal government jobs program known as the CIA. Hope it was worth it, comrades!

Seriously, I don't even know how to respond to this.

Fitz: the equivalent of busting someone for forgetting their mother's birthday.

Really, I didn't recall seeing that in the articles of impeachment against Clinton.

What a load of crap!! I hope Libby takes Fitzgerald down with this. A manufactured crime.

Well, to be honest, he is correct. All crime is manufactured. We have to pass laws that make something illegal. Without a law against it, speeding, fraud, kidnapp, murder, etc. are not crimes. But, since it has been against the law to lie under oath since the inceptino of this country, I am feeling pretty comfortable with this manufactured crime.

The VP's chief of staff lied to a grand jury?... This is a non-story.

Irony is not only a river in Egypt.

But then someone with some intelligence stepped in. I thought that this might be heading somewhere good.

You cannot lie in court. Period. I really do not see why that is such a difficult concept. There is no justice for anyone if you can lie just as long as the case turns out a certain way. Our legal oaths must mean something or we have no working judicial system at all (which may be true anyway, but still).

But, than someone quickly steped in to bring the discussion back to the lowest levels possible.

An African American woman was the foreman
Black people aren't capable of serving on a grand jury without bias

The Growing Iranian Threat

As gleeful as I am about my first, but hopefully not last, Fitzmas present, there are more serious things to talk about today. In the past three days, the president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has called for the destruction of Israel. Not the withdrawal of troops from the west bank and Gaza, but the complete and utter destruction of the state of Israel. The presidents comments go way beyond inappropriate.

Iran is a growing threat to the stability of the world (whatever little there actually is). Unfortunately, as I have posted on in two prior posts (Nuclear Illogic & Iran's Nuclear Ambition) it has been our own foreign policy that has embolden Iran's rhetoric, not diminished it.

Something needs to be done about Iran and its intentions towards Israel, but at this point, I really can't see what we can do about it. Invasion? Not an option while we are stuck in Iraq. Sanctions? Already been tried for decades with little effect. Nor would we be able to handle Iran supplying men and materials to the insurgency in Iraq.

Iranian leader refutes critics over Israel remarks

Thousands of Iranians staged anti-Israel protests across the country Friday and repeated calls by their ultraconservative president demanding the Jewish state's destruction.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad -- marching with the protesters -- signaled he stood by his remarks, even as Iranian officials tried to defuse the issue.

"My word is the same as that of (the) Iranian nation," he told the official IRNA news agency.

"They are free to say but their words lack any credit," he said, when asked about global reaction to his comments.

During a meeting with protesting students at Iran's Interior Ministry on Wednesday, Ahmadinejad quoted a remark from Ayatollah Khomeini -- founder of Iran's Islamic revolution -- that Israel "must be wiped out from the map of the world."

(Full Story)

Libby Indcited

Via CNN and ABC news sources


Karl Rove is still under investigation, but not yet indicted. Fitzgerald to hold a news conference at 2pm EST.

Update: Libby resigns

Update: read the indictment

My Reactions to the Miers Withdrawal

I was out of the office yesterday, so I didn't get a chance to weigh in on the Miers withdrawal. I won't say that this is necessarily a bad thing. I was not impressed by her at all. Here is my reaction:

1) The right wing activist have shot themselves in the foot on this one. The mounting criticism of her, culminating in the right wing groups running attack ads before she even got to hearings destroys any credible argument against the filibuster. She was not given a hearing. She was not given an up or down vote. It was the right who were the obstructionist this time. They can't go back now.

2) Bush shows that he is beholden to his far right base. Not a single Republican or Democrat had publicly said they would vote against her. In fact, Arlen Specter has opined that she would be confirmed, even if by a narrow margin. Bush could have weathered the storm with some bumps and bruises, but would have gotten Miers on the bench. While Miers was an extremely lack luster nominee (Frist even alluded to not fighting the Democrats if they did choose to filibuster), she would have still made it to an up or down vote if not for the pressure from the right wing activists.

3) The right wing calls Democrat Senators obstructionist when it comes to judicial nomination. It is clear now that it is the right who is looking to pick a fight, not the other way around. The right was not happy that there was not Democratic opposition to Miers. The right wants a fight, and if Bush nominates someone who is going to spark that fight, than he is intentionally splintering this nation even farther than he has already done.

4) Out of the frying pan, and into the fire - We will have to wait now to see who Bush nominates next. He has two moves. One, nominate a center right judge who can be a consensus nominee. Or, two, bow again to the far right and nominate a contentious nominee who appeals only to the far right. With his public approval levels at dismal levels, both options have draw backs. With the first option, he further alienates his core base, but at the same time, he could draw back some support from independents and conservative Democrats. This is important if he wants to push through any more of his agenda over the next two years before he really becomes a lame duck. On the second option, he rallies his base of support, but will further distance himself from the mainstream of America. While his legacy for his judicial nominations could be set, it could destroy any chance of accomplishing any more of his domestic and foreign agenda.

The far right may have been the key in getting him elected. But the far right is increasingly the cause of the unraveling of the Bush presidency. For a good rundown on all of the problems surrounding the nomination from the begining, read "Nomination Was Plagued By Missteps From the Start"

Update: quotes from the queen of darkness herself, Ann Coulter self grandizing the right's blocking of Harriet Miers

"[Miers withdrawal] demonstrates that the movement conservatives, or the radical right wing as we're being called, is the one with the power in this relationship, the power in the country."

"And, by the way, you know what led to this problem? A) Bush listening to the Democrats. ... And, number two, this insistence that he [Bush] nominate a girl."

I wonder if this is really the face that the right shoulc be putting forth at this moment.


Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Indict Patrick Fitzgerald!

That is right! You heard me! Indict the bastard for etxreme anit-American behavior! Enough of this "responsible and dignified" investigation. Does the man not know he is being anti-American by not letting us already know who will be indicted, what they will be convicted of and whose "girlfriend" they will be once they report to Leavenworth prison? What happened to the good ol' days of Ken Starr who would leak information about when he was going to be leaking more information.

Doesn't he understand that we are an immediate gratification nation. We are not a patient people, and anyone who expects us to be is anti-American. Impatients as an American virtue now ranks up there with Baseball, apple pie, and coddling bratty children. We are a nation that has more 24 hours news channels than most nations have color TVs. We are a nation that has had to replace fluoride in the drinking water with Ritalin in order to keep our productivity above that of The Republic of Congo. There is a reason we don't have miniseries any more. We need it all wrapped in 52 minutes or less. The networks haven't added more ad time to raise more revenue. It is because we can't make it for a full 60 minutes of a TV show.

I am a gen-Xer, damn it! I grew up with Mtv and televised warfare. The hardest part of my day is actually getting through a whole 30 second commercial without being distracted by a bright shiny truck. I have the attention span of a black lab in a new dog park... "Ooo, what's that?... Never mind, what's that?... hey, cool a bush!... I wonder what that bench smells like over there."

I am at a point that if there are no indictments, I don't care. I just want to know. If Fitzgerald asks for an extension, I am going to need someone to write me a prescription for Thorizine.

Update: While we are at it, indict this bastard, too.

The Subtle Residue of Racism

A column by David Brooks in Sunday's New York Times (subscription required) points out the residual racism that still permeates America. I do not mean to say the David Brooks is a racist. I respect Mr. Brooks and his opinions and in no way mean to disparage his character. But his writing points out the subtle residue of racism in America and how people view class and race.

In his column, Mr. Brooks writes that the Republican party has become the party of the middle class by pointing out that Bush won the income group of $30,000-$75,000 by 22%. What he fails to either note of just plainly fails to see is that when he talks about middle class, he is talking about only "white" middle class and fails to see that middle class is now multicultural. Kerry actually beat Bush when it comes to all Americans making between $30,000-$50,000 and between $30,000-$75,000 per year and lost to Bush by only 7%. (exit poll results)

Americans, including Mr. Brooks, still tend to view "middle class" to mean white, even though there are many minorities now that earn within that income range. If the Republican party ever wants to make inroads into the minority population, it would serve them best to view middle class as encompassing all Americans that earn a middle class wage, and not just middle class whites. As long as they view blacks and other minorities as a separate group and not just a percentage of a targeted subsection, they will remain marginalized in minority recruitment.

I do not believe the majority of Republicans are racists, but the view of minorities as not apart of the middle class is a leftover from a segregationist history.

I know that this may appear to be splitting hairs to some. But these are hairs that need to be split if we ever want to make that final leap to full eraditcation of racism.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Rule of Law

The CIA leak hitting the inner Bush circle. Tom DeLay's toothy grin as he gets his mug shot and finger prints taken. Bill Frist's blind trust leaving us with with very little trust in Bill Frist.

With one corruption scandal after another hitting the Republican party over the past year, Terry Neal has written a good op-ed in the Washington Post in regards to the cry of Washington corruption and the rule of law that helped wash in the wave known as the Republican revolution.

Now, the water has receded and things are not so pretty in paradise. It is hard to argue that one party should retain power when many of their leaders have been abusing it. It is time to clean up the mess in Washington, and that means throwing some of the corrupt Democrats out along with the corrupt Republicans. But this once over that the Republicans are attempting to do by trivializing the same crimes that helped sweep them into power is not going to cut it.

Let the Rule of Law Prevail
By Terry M. Neal Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 25, 2005; 6:00 AM

In the 1990s, "rule of law" was hot.

In the 2000s, not so much.

Republicans, who impeached and tried to remove a president who lied about his private sex life, have now decided that the whole "rule of law" thing really isn't all it's cut out to be.

Some Republicans -- anticipating the possible indictment of top White House aides -- are launching a preemptive public relations strike that is stunning in its audacity.

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-Tex.) outlined the strategy on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday, when moderator Tim Russert asked her whether White House spokesman Scott McClellan's previous denials that anyone in the administration had anything to do with the leak of covert operative Valerie Plame's name to the media lacked credibility.

"Tim, you know, I think we have to remember something here," Hutchinson admonished. "An indictment of any kind is not a guilty verdict, and I do think we have in this country the right to go to court and have due process and be innocent until proven guilty. And secondly, I certainly hope that if there is going to be an indictment that says something happened, that it is an indictment on a crime and not some perjury technicality where they couldn't indict on the crime and so they go to something just to show that their two years of investigation was not a waste of time and taxpayer dollars. So they go to something that trips someone up because they said something in the first grand jury and then maybe they found new information or they forgot something and they tried to correct that in a second grand jury.

"I think we should be very careful here, especially as we are dealing with something very public and people's lives in the public arena. I do not think we should prejudge. I think it is unfair to drag people through the newspapers week after week after week, and let's just see what the charges are. Let's tone down the rhetoric and let's make sure that if there are indictments that we don't prejudge."

So now perjury is a "technicality"?

If caution, judiciousness, respect for people's lives in the public arena are good enough for White House officials such as Karl Rove and I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, why were they not for President Clinton?

If people should only be sent to jail for a basic criminal charge that sparked an investigation in the first place, why did Martha Stewart go to jail?

Today's strategy differs quite remarkably from the 1990s, when Republicans sought to hold Clinton, Vice President Gore, first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and their aides and advisers to the strict letter of the law, in Whitewater, Travelgate, the Chinese campaign finance scandal, and of course, the Lewinsky imbroglio.

"Rule of law!" was the rallying cry.

(Full Story)

Libby Learned of Plame From Cheney

In a must read scoop by the NYT, it appears that Scooter Libby learned of Valerie Plame from his boss, Dick Cheney, and not from reporters as he has testified to under oath. Notes taken by Libby shows that he learned of Plame's identity from Cheney who learned it from George Tenet. This is the second time that Libby's testimony has differed from the verifiable evidence.

Cheney Told Aide of C.I.A. Officer, Lawyers Report

Notes of the previously undisclosed conversation between Mr. Libby and Mr. Cheney on June 12, 2003, appear to differ from Mr. Libby's testimony to a federal grand jury that he initially learned about the C.I.A. officer, Valerie Wilson, from journalists, the lawyers said.

It will be difficult for Libby to claim an "oops, I just plain ol' forgot" on this one since the notes were his and in his possession well after the conversation happened.

While this does put Cheney square in the middle of the investigation, it does not prove or disprove any wrong doing by Cheney himself. There was nothing illegal in the conversation that Libby and Cheney had regarding Plame, but it does put the Bush administration on the defensive even more with the revelation that they were once again, less than forth coming with this evidence. It could also add obstruction charges against Cheney if he did not come clean in his own grand jury testimony.

Interestingly, when Bush publicly stated that he would fire anyone involved in the leak, it was back when Ashcroft was running the investigation. At that point, no one in the administration had fully contemplated that this little matter wouldn't quietly go away. Once Fitzgerald took the reins and started actually investigating is when Bush changed his rhetoric to say that a White House official would only be fired if they were found guilty of a crime and it was during a month that ends in the letter X.

On that same note, it is reported that the White House has prepared a war room to orchestrate a PR blitz to undermine the credibility of Fitzgerald and his report.

Bushies take aim at probe

Behind the scenes, however, Team Bush was finalizing its campaign to discredit and undermine special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's conclusions, sources told the Daily News.

An emerging theme in the Bush war room is arguing that his top political aide, Karl Rove, simply got tripped up on his recollections of whom he talked to and what he told them when questioned about the outing of CIA spy Valerie Plame. He shouldn't be indicted simply because of contradictory grand jury testimony, a source said.

Bush allies have already begun casting perjury and obstruction charges as irrelevant in a probe created to find out who leaked classified information.

This, of course is going to be difficult for the president to argue when he publicly supported impeaching the president for perjury and obstruction of justice.

Asked in 1999 about Clinton's impeachment by the House, Bush responded, "I would have voted for it. I thought the man lied."

If indictments are handed down this week, it will be interesting to see how Republicans react. Will Republicans be able to cope with impeaching a president for lying about sex, and defending White House officials who lied about national security issues without loosing even more credibility with the American people? All indications point to their usual slash and burn method that got them into this mess in the first place.

in memoriam - Rosa Parks age 92

Rosa Parks, the symbol of an entire movement in U.S. history, died yesterday in Detroit at the age of 92.

Mrs. Parks was just your average American. She had no dreams of leading a revolution. She had no aspirations that her name would appear in history books. She was just an American who was tired and said "no more."

All Americans, black and white, old and young, owe Mrs. Parks a debt of gratitude for being defiant that day back in 1955. Her imprisonment set free the generations that followed her. She will always be proof that "hero" exists in all of us.

Rosa Parks Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 24, 2005


To be a vocabularian today, I think the word best describing Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison's performance on Sunday's Meet the Press is hypocrironicle.

Kay Bailey Hutchison, on Meet the Press on Sunday morning was asked about the CIA leak investigation and what she thought about it:

I certainly hope that if there is going to be an indictment that says something happened, that it is an indictment on a crime and not some perjury technicality where they couldn't indict on the crime and so they go to something just to show that their two years of investigation was not a waste of time and taxpayer dollars. So they go to something that trips someone up because they said something in the first grand jury and then maybe they found new information or they forgot something and they tried to correct that in a second grand jury.

But, of course Senator Hutchison doesn't seem to feel that way when it is a member of the other party in the line of fire. Senator Hutchison voted to impeach Bill Clinton for exactly what she is now say we should not indict on - perjury and obstruction of justice.

The two Articles of Impeachment before the Senate in this proceeding do in fact accuse the President of committing three actual crimes, `perjury before the grand jury,' `'obstruction of justice,' and `witness tampering,' that meet the requirements for conviction of an indicted defendant in a criminal case brought under Federal law...

Lying is a moral wrong. Perjury is a lie told under oath that is legally wrong...

The President of the United States willfully, and with intent to deceive, gave false and misleading testimony under oath with respect to material matters that were pending before the Federal grand jury on August 17, 1998, as alleged in Article I presented to the Senate. I, therefore, vote `Guilty' on Article I of the Articles of Impeachment of the President in this Proceeding.

The President of the United States engaged in a pattern of conduct, performed acts of willful deception, and told and disseminated massive falsehoods, including lies told directly to the American people, that were designed and corruptly calculated to impede, obstruct, and prevent the plaintiff in the Arkansas Federal sexual harassment case from seeking and obtaining justice in the Federal court system of the United States, and to further prevent the Federal grand jury from performing its functions and responsibilities under law, I, therefore, vote `Guilty' on Article II of the Articles of Impeachment of the President in this proceeding.

Willful, corrupt, and false sworn testimony before a Federal grand jury is a separate and distinct crime under applicable law and is material and perjuries if it is `capable' of influencing the grand jury in any matter before it, including any collateral matters that it may consider. See, Title 18, Section 1623, U.S. Code, and Federal court cases interpreting that Section...

The President's testimony before the Federal grand jury was fully capable of influencing the grand jury's investigation and was clearly perjurious.

But, sadly, Kay is not the only Republican starting to take aim at the special prosecutor. In completely predictable fashion, GOPers have already started the swift boat campaign against Fitzgerald.

"He's a vile, detestable, moralistic person with no heart and no conscience who believes he's been tapped by God to do very important things," one White House ally said, referring to special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald.

W pals bushwhack CIA leak prosecutor

Resignations May Follow Charges

Friday, October 21, 2005

Pork - Its What's For Dinner

I have met a bunch of Alaskans. Out of all I have met, I have never seen any as whiny as its elected representatives.

"I don't kid people," Stevens roared. "If the Senate decides to discriminate against our state . . . I will resign from this body."

now, you might ask, how is Alaska being discriminated against? Is the federal government taking their right to vote? Is the federal government selling Alaska back to Russia? No. It is asking for pork barrel projects to be cut to help offset Katrina costs.

While I normally disagree with the man, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), introduced an amendment that would take all of the pork out of the transportation bill to pay for reconstruction in the Gulf Coast. I do applaud him for this effort.

What exactly is Stevens going to resign over? The $453 million for two Alaska bridges to "nowhere." That is right, nowhere. The two bridges would connect a total of 8053 people. 8053 people. One would connect an island of 23 to the main land. The other would connect a city of 8000 to a city of 50.

The good people of Alaska support giving the money back:

"This money, a gift from the people of Alaska, will represent more than just material aid; it will be a symbol for our beleaguered democracy," reads a typical letter to the Anchorage Daily News.

But when House Rep Don Young was asked to give back the money that would build a bridge to be named after him, he said:

"They can kiss my ear! That is the dumbest thing I've ever heard,"

Unfortunately, the amendment went down 82-12, meaning there was bipartisan greed going on.

For a Senate Foe of Pork Barrel Spending, Two Bridges Too Far

Fighting the Gulf Coast Wage Cut

Rep. George Miller (D-CA) found a way to fight back against president Bush's cutting of wages for people rebuilding the Gulf Coast. Even after awarding no-bid contracts to corporations, Bush suspended the law that would require those companies to pay the prevailing average wage in the area. I wish him success.

Today I introduced a new bill to overturn President Bush's wage cut for Gulf Coast workers. This time, Republican leaders in Congress cannot ignore it.
Every single House Democrat, 37 House Republicans, and one House independent are on record opposing the President's Gulf Coast wage cut - a clear majority of the House of Representatives. But Republican leaders in the House have refused to allow a vote to overturn the wage cut. Now it looks like they have no choice.

I was able to determine that, under the 1976 National Emergencies Act, I am able to force a vote within 15 calendar days of introducing a "Joint Resolution" - which I did at noon today. In this case, that means that if Congress doesn't act by Friday, November 4, I can go to the House floor and demand a vote on my resolution. Congress then has three days to schedule that vote.
So the bottom line is this: by the first or second week of November, there will be a vote on whether or not construction workers who are rebuilding the Gulf Coast will get a fair wage for their labor.

Republican leaders in Washington have found lots of ways to abuse their grip on power. One way is that they maintain tight control on the House voting schedule, and they won't allow the House to vote on legislation they don't like, including when bills have widespread support. For example, Peter King (a moderate Republican from New York) and I have a bill to remove obstacles to union organizing for workers who want to collectively bargain and have a stronger voice with their employers. Over 200 members of the House support that legislation, but Republican leaders refuse to let it see the light of the day.

That's why it's important that Democrats look for any opportunity - like this Joint Resolution - to help workers and to make sure that people know where we stand. If we fight hard, and we always look for those windows of opportunity, then hopefully we can do some good and show Americans that we want to advance a very different set of priorities than Tom DeLay, Bill Frist, Roy Blunt, and Karl Rove do.

H/T Tpm Cafe

"You are doing a heck of a job Brownie"

Those were the words of President Bush, describing the now ex-FEMA head, Michael Brown. Marty Bahamonde, a FEMA representative in the city of New Orleans disputed this bitterly yesterday in front of the bipartisan senate investigation.

Citing e-mail sent to Brown and other top officials in Baton Rouge, Bahamonde testified that he told Brown that things were critical and needed immediate attention.

In a series of increasingly dire, angry e-mails and phone calls, Bahamonde updated Brown, aides and top spokesmen for FEMA beginning Aug. 28 from the New Orleans emergency operations center and then from the Superdome across the street.

"Issues developing at the Superdome. The medical staff at the dome says they will run out of oxygen in about two hours and are looking for alternative oxygen," Bahamonde wrote to FEMA Region VI spokesman David Passey on Aug. 28.

About 7 p.m. Aug. 29:

Bahamonde said, he called Brown and warned him of "massive flooding," that 20,000 people were short of food and water at the Superdome and that thousands of people were standing on roofs or balconies seeking rescue.

Brown replied only: "Thank you. I'm going to call the White House," Bahamonde said.

No one can say if he ever actually did call the White House.

At 11:20 a.m. Aug. 31:

Bahamonde e-mailed Brown, "Sir, I know that you know the situation is past critical . . . thousands gathering in the streets with no food or water . . . estimates are many will die within hours."

At 2:27 p.m., however, Brown press secretary Sharon Worthy wrote colleagues to schedule an interview for Brown on MSNBC's "Scarborough Country" and to give him more time to eat dinner because Baton Rouge restaurants were getting busy: "He needs much more that 20 or 30 minutes."

Bahamonde e-mailed a friend to "just tell [Worthy] that I just ate an MRE . . . along with 30,000 other close friends so I understand her concern."

So, let me get this straight. The city is flooding. People are trapped. The people on the ground are running out of food, water, and medical equipment and Brown has to go out for dinner? I got one word for you - Delivery.

Aide Says FEMA Ignored Warnings

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Oops!... My Bad

MSNBC's Maddow: "If Karl Rove told Bush in 2003 that he was the leaker, and then Bush came out in June 2004, and told the American people, 'I'll fire the leaker!' and reportedly told the prosecutors, 'Karl Rove told me he was innocent.' That means Bush lied to the American people and lied to the prosecutor" ("Situation," MSNBC, 10/19).

The Fall Guy

It looks like we know who the sacrificial lamb is going to be in the CIA leak investigation. Rove, during his last appearance before the grand jury told them he thinks it could be Libby that informed him of Plames identity.

At this point, with all fingers point to Rove and Libby after a second White House aide flips and cooperates with the special prosecutor, who better to go, Rove or Libby? We have seen what happens to the Bush White House without Rove around. They counldn't hit the broad side side of a barn with a shot gun.

Second Cheney aide cooperating in leak probe, those close to case say

Since Bush would probably issue blanket pardons anyway, Libby would be an obvious choice to take the fall for Cheney and Rove since he has long since stated he would rather be living in Greece, writing novels.

Rove Told Jury Libby May Have Been His Source In Leak Case

There is still the lingering question of when did Rove actually tell the president. Initially, it was said he kept it from the president. The latest reports have the president knowing for at least two years. Bush testified that Rove assured him that he was not involved. Did Bush lie under oath?

Personally, I think they should all just claim it was DeLay since he is such an embarassment to the GOP anyway. Kill two birds with one stone. Keep Rove and Libby, drop the real baggage.

Cheney Rebuked By Powell Aide

In comments, made at the New America Foundation, a Washington think-tank, Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff to Mr Powell until last January, claimed that Cheney's "secret" policy decisions were detrimental to the US's safety and its standing in international affairs.

‘Cheney cabal hijacked US foreign policy’
By Edward Alden in Washington

Vice-President Dick Cheney and a handful of others had hijacked the government's foreign policy apparatus, deciding in secret to carry out policies that had left the US weaker and more isolated in the world, the top aide to former Secretary of State Colin Powell claimed on Wednesday.

In a scathing attack on the record of President George W. Bush, Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff to Mr Powell until last January, said: “What I saw was a cabal between the vice-president of the United States, Richard Cheney, and the secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld, on critical issues that made decisions that the bureaucracy did not know were being made.

“Now it is paying the consequences of making those decisions in secret, but far more telling to me is America is paying the consequences.”

Mr Wilkerson said such secret decision-making was responsible for mistakes such as the long refusal to engage with North Korea or to back European efforts on Iran.

It also resulted in bitter battles in the administration among those excluded from the decisions.

“If you're not prepared to stop the feuding elements in the bureaucracy as they carry out your decisions, you are courting disaster. And I would say that we have courted disaster in Iraq, in North Korea, in Iran.”

(Full Story)

Additional quotes from the full text of the transcript of the speech:

But the case that I saw for 4 plus years was a case that I have never seen in my studies of aberration, bastardizations, [inaudible], changes to the national security [inaudible] process. What I saw was a cabal between the Vice President of the United States, Richard Cheney, and the Secretary of Defense and [inaudible] on critical issues that made decisions that the bureaucracy did not know were being made. And then when the bureaucracy was presented with those decisions and carried them out, it was presented in such a disjointed incredible way that the bureaucracy often didn’t know what it was doing as it moved to carry them out.

But if you want to read how the Cheney Rumsfeld cabal flummoxed the process, read that book [assasin's gate]. And, of course, there are other names in there, Under Secretary of Defense Douglas [inaudible], whom most of you probably know Tommy Frank said was stupidest blankety blank man in the world. He was. Let me testify to that. He was. Seldom in my life have I met a dumber man.

Book'em Jimmie

Tom DeLay has to show up in Texas for booking as ordered by the overseeing judge in the case.

DeLay Ordered to Texas for Booking

In related news, DeLay's attorney admits that he has no evidence of impropriety by Earle in the grand jury proceedings and his subpoena of grand jury records is just a phishing exercise.

DeLay's lawyer lacking evidence of DA misconduct

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Poor Out - Tax Cuts In

The GOP unveiled its agenda today in there budget cuts proposals. On the chopping blocks is $50 billion to pay for Medicare, Medicaid, and college loans. Is this to help offset the costs of Katrina?


It is to make way for their $70 billion in tax cuts, thus putting the US an additional $35 billion in the hole.

So, to pay for their $70 billion in tax cuts, they are actually cutting programs that are actually helping Katrina victims. Here is a novel idea. Instead of cutting the programs that will help Katrina victims, let cut out the tax break we just gave to an oil industry that is already making record profits.

Nice agenda guys.

House Republicans struggle to find spending cuts
By Richard Cowan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republicans struggled on Wednesday to gain support for another round of domestic spending cuts, leaving uncertain the fate of legislation that was to have been debated on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday...

Blunt was referring a bill that Republican leaders had hoped to pass in the House on Thursday to cut mandatory federal programs, such as Medicare, Medicaid and student loans, by $50 billion over the next five years, instead of the previously planned $35 billion...

Rep. Steny Hoyer (news, bio, voting record) of Maryland, a leading Democrat, also said that Republicans have another motivation for pushing a new round of spending cuts.

"What they have proposed will not offset Katrina. It will offset their tax cuts," Hoyer said.

The Republican budget blueprint calls for $70 billion in tax cuts over five years, which would add about $35 billion to the U.S. debt unless more spending reductions are passed.

(Full Story)

Integrety, Honesty, Credibility... Hmpft!

How is it that the president gets dismayed by the decreasing number of Americans who find him to be honest and forthright when he knows for two years that Karl Rove was involved in discussing Valerie Plame with reporters but continued to deny that his administration had anything to do with the affair. Is he really that blind? Is he really that oblivious that if you lie to the American people, they just don't stop believing you, they stop believing in you.

Bush whacked Rove on CIA leak

WASHINGTON - An angry President Bush rebuked chief political guru Karl Rove two years ago for his role in the Valerie Plame affair, sources told the Daily News.
"He made his displeasure known to Karl," a presidential counselor told The News. "He made his life miserable about this."

Bush has nevertheless remained doggedly loyal to Rove, who friends and even political adversaries acknowledge is the architect of the President's rise from baseball owner to leader of the free world.

(Full Story)

Rumor Mill

There are rumors, and I reiterate rumors, that Cheney will step aside in the event that his office is implicated in the role of outing Valerie Plame.

parked by today's Washington Post story that suggests Vice President Cheney's office is involved in the Plame-CIA spy link investigation, government officials and advisers passed around rumors that the vice president might step aside and that President Bush would elevate Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

"It's certainly an interesting but I still think highly doubtful scenario," said a Bush insider. "And if that should happen," added the official, "there will undoubtedly be those who believe the whole thing was orchestrated – another brilliant Machiavellian move by the VP."

While I don't believe the hype, if something like this does go down and this is a brilliant Machiavellian move, just remember that I called this scenario first in November of 2004 (ok, ok, not this exact scenario, but pretty damn close).

White House Watch: Cheney resignation rumors fly

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Breaking News on the Plame Investigation

I just read this off of Raw Story (H/T Anonymous Liberal). Apparently one of Dick Cheney's aides has flipped and is now cooperating with the special prosecutor investigation who in the White House leaked the CIA information.

A senior aide to Vice President Dick Cheney is cooperating with special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald in the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson, sources close to the investigation say...

John Hannah, a senior national security aide on loan to Vice President Dick Cheney from the offices of then-Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs, John Bolton, was named as a target of Fitzgerald’s probe. They say he was told in recent weeks that he could face imminent indictment for his role in leaking Plame-Wilson’s name to reporters unless he cooperated with the investigation.

Others close to the probe say that if Hannah is cooperating with the special prosecutor then he was likely going to be charged as a co-conspirator and may have cut a deal.

This confirms the suspicion that Fitzgerald has been zeroing in on Dick Cheney's office over the last couple of weeks. It will be interesting to see how far this goes up the ladder. A mid-level employee like Hannah doesn't leak information like this without getting marching orders from higher up. We know that at least Libby was involved. Now we have to see if includes Cheney also.

Hmm... I wonder if Club Gitmo has any extra room?

My Offical Opposition to Harriet Miers

Not that it really matters at all. It is not like anyone really listens to me, but I am officially throwing my hat into the "anti-Miers" ring. She has now publicly stated that she does not support the right to privacy or the right for people to use contraception.

Yesterday Miers met with Arlen Specter, the pro-choice Republican Senator from Pennsylvania. Afterwards, Specter announced that Miers believed that there was a right to privacy in the constitution and that she agreed with the courts decision in Griswald v. Connecticut that dealt with the right to use contraception. Prior to Griswald, it was illegal for married couple to use contraception. The court ruled that there is a right to privacy that extends to the bedroom, and the state could not prohibit the use of contraception.

Well, if it had ended there, all would have been good. I completely agree with Griswald. There was no contraceptives in our founding fathers times, but reading the rest of the constitution, it is pretty apparent that they would have never let the state be that intrusive in our lives. I don't understand how anyone can actually support a constitutional right of the state to enter our bedrooms.

But, it did not stop there. After Specter announced what he thought she had told him in the meeting, she specifically called back to correct him. She, in fact, has no position on Griswald or the right to privacy. Even John Roberts publicly stated that he agreed with the decision in Griswald and that there is an inherent right to privacy in the constitution.

After Sen. Specter commented on that to the news media, Ms. Miers called him to say that he misunderstood her and that she had not taken a position on Griswold or the privacy issue. Sen. Specter accepts Ms. Miers' statement that he misunderstood what she said.

If she cannot support the right to use contraception. If she cannot support the right to privacy. If she cannot say that she will keep the government from violating our most basic freedoms, she has no reason to be on that bench. We don't even need to go into the issue of abortion if she can't publicly say we have the right determine our use of contraception.

Interpretations Differ After Talks With Miers

Update: I guess this answers the question about abortion, also.

Miers Backed Ban on Most Abortions in '89

Yup, I'm definitely anti-Miers. I immensely dislike abortion, but it is a decision to be made with your family, your doctor, and your priest. Not people like Tom DeLay.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Very Interesting Revelation on DeLay's Indictment

Looks like Tommy boy will say anything, and I mean anything, even if he contradicts himself. All along, DeLay has been claiming that Earle indicted DeLay for the sole purpose of making DeLay step down as the Republican leader in the house.

Turns out DeLay's charges, are again, baseless.

Earle offered DeLay a plea bargain before the indictment was handed down. Earle offered to let DeLay plead guilty to a misdemeanor so DeLay would not have to step down as the GOP leader. But, DeLay refused, therefore Earle had to go forward with the felony indictments that forced DeLay from his seat.

So much for the contention that Earle only brought the indictment to force him to step down. Is it just me, or do politicians talk to much for heir own good sometimes?

Plea deals are a very common occurrence in criminal prosecutions. It is actually rare that cases go to trial. The scary thing about DeLay is, even if he is guilty as hell, he probably honestly believes he has done nothing wrong. That is just the type of guy he is.

DeLay Offered Deal Before Indictment


The Harriet Miers nomination long ago turn a turn off of "Smooth Confirmation Lane" onto "Dead Man's Curve," and may be heading over the cliff to join poor jonnie and his motorcycle.

As you may recall James Dobson claimed to know things that he shouldn't know about the Miers nomination via Karl "the leak" Rove.

"When you know some of the things that I know--that I probably shouldn't know--you will understand why I have said, with fear and trepidation, that I believe Harriet Miers will be a good justice."

But wait, there is more. As reported by the Wall Street Journal, on the day of Bush's announcement of Harriet Miers nomination, James Dobson and other wingnuts were on a conference call that included two sitting Texas judges that assured the evangelical crowd that they knew that Harriet Miers would vote to overturn Roe v Wade.

Mr. Dobson and other religious conservatives held a conference call to discuss the nomination. One of the people on the call took extensive notes, which I have obtained. According to the notes, two of Ms. Miers's close friends--both sitting judges--said during the call that she would vote to overturn Roe.

The question now is: Who were those judges? How do they know her stance? And what will this do to any possible Democratic support she may have garnered over the last two weeks?

Judgment Call

Saturday, October 15, 2005

DeLay Continues to Jury Tamper

For anyone who continues to defend Tom DeLay as an innocent victim, you have lost all credibility. If DeLay's tactics of running attack ads on Ronnie Earle and Swift Boating him on the internet does not convince you that this man has utter contempt the law, then you are willfully blind.

No one, and I mean no one has gone this far in showing just how far they are willing to go to retain power at any and all costs. No politician has ever run attack ads in an attempt to subvert political inquiries. Imagine if Regan, Clinton, Frist, Trafican had done what DeLay has done. Imagine if Clinton started running attack ads on Ken Starr. Ken Starr was obviously partisan, but even Clinton is a far better man than Tom DeLay.

The sad thing is that his own party is defending him when he should be being hung up by his thumbs. He is a shame and an embarrassment to Republicans of un-paralleled proportions. It is sad that the Republican party has fallen so far.

DeLay Uses Website to Attack Prosecutor
By JOHN SOLOMON, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - Stung by his recent indictment in Texas, Tom Delay is trying to turn his legal woes into a financial boon for his re-election. The former House majority leader is using his congressional campaign to distribute to voters derogatory information about the prosecutor who brought the charges against him and to solicit donations for his re-election.

"Help Tom fight back," reads one of the solicitations on the Web site that voters are being directed to as part of an Internet-based campaign funded by DeLay's re-election committee.

Contributors, voters and others who sign up can get regular e-mails and an electronic "toolkit" from DeLay's campaign with the latest disparaging information his legal team has dug up on Texas prosecutor Ronnie Earle.

"Join thousands of conservatives across the country in the fight against liberal DA Ronnie Earle," recipients are told.

(Full Story)

And for those of you who don't believe this is jury tampering, Bayer was cited for doing something very similar in 2003.

The trial was temporarily halted after it became known that Bayer had approved and sent a mass mailing about the case to over 2100 Corpus Christi residents…some of whom were on the prospective jury panel….while jury selection in the case was under way. The letter was apparently timed to coincide with the selection of the jury for the case.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Quote of the Day

I think this 2000 campaign quote from George Bush is quite fitting considering Karl Rove's fourth appearance before the grand jury is today.

"In my administration," Bush told voters in Pittsburgh in October 2000, "we will ask not only what is legal but what is right, not what the lawyers allow but what the public deserves."

Scandals Take Toll On Bush's 2nd Term

My Take On Miers

After reading about Harriet Miers and her history over the last two weeks, this is my take on her:

She is no intellectual heavy weight. That is for sure. But she is no Gomer Pile either. She is smart, articulate, and ambitious. I don't think is an ideologue of any stripe. But at the same time, I don't think she is independently minded.

Harriet Miers, while being president of this and that over the course of her career, she is easily swayed by the ideas of others and likes to impress people with flattery and loyalty.

I think that if she ends up being liberal, conservative or another swing voter purely will be dependant on who she is most impressed by on the bench. If she adopts Scalia as her mentor, she will be a staunch conservative. If she falls for Souter or Breyer she will be more liberal (I think we can rule out Ginsbrug as a mentor).

It is too bad that Miers would be replacing O'Connor and that they would have no time on the bench together. I think Miers would have taken O'Connor as her role model if they had served together.

I think the whole idea of trying to find out who she is is rather pointless because I think who she will be will be determined much by who she is surrounded by.

'Atta boy Champ

Wow. The Champ got knocked down in the last round, but then came back swinging and scored a KO over Richard Cohen. Only one day after loosing the Bill O'Reilly award for Excellence in Dumb Ass Reporting, Bill has regained his title.

From the October 13 broadcast of Westwood One's The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly:

O'REILLY: Look, again, it's notification, not approval. So you -- if you're a girl, you can still go ahead and have the abortion, and I'm sure Planned Parenthood would be encouraging you because Planned Parenthood gets paid for every abortion that they're involved with. I don't like Planned Parenthood.

It is amazing how someone could be so wrong about something, but be so confident that they are right. Most Planned Parenthood patients receive reduced rates for services because Planned Parenthood uses a sliding scale to assess fees. That means, for the majority of abortions performed, they lose money. Abortion is not a "cash cow" as Bill so erroneously believes.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

And the Bill O'Reilly Award for Dumb Ass Reporting... The Envelope Please

I have Dumb Ass reporting award so many times to Bill O'Reilly, that it should be justly named the Bill O'Reilly Award for Excellence in Dumb Ass Reporting (kind of like the America's cup).

But this week, it doesn't go to good ol' Bill. Sorry Bill, but you have actually been out Dumb Assed this week. But buck up, Champ. I am sure you will regain the title soon. Everyone knows you will always be the biggest Dumb Ass when it comes to the all around competition.

This week it goes to Richard Cohen of the Washington Post for his Op-Ed "Let This Leak Go." In his column, Mr. Cohen asks Patrick Fitzgerald, the lead prosecutor in the Valerie Plame outing, to leave town. He claims that outing CIA agents is no big deal and is just politics as usual.

Never mind that it is actually a crime to out a CIA agent. Never mind that outing CIA agents hurts our national security. Never mind that outing CIA agents could get people killed.

What really gets my goat on this Op-Ed is that Mr. Cohen just thinks the revenge politics involved is Washington politics as usual, and wants the investigation to go away so we can get back to more politics as usual.

Mr. Cohen fails to see that what is wrong here is that this is politics as usual and it should not be. He fails to see that this should not be acceptable behavior by either side of the political isle. He fails to see that this politics as usual is what is really hurting this country.

If anyone is to leave Washington Mr. Cohen, I hope that it is you. The last thing we need is more politics as usual.

Tom DeLay - Jury Pool Tampering

There is something to be said about humility and prudence. Lack of them can often get you into greater trouble than you were originally in. Tom DeLay has neither and may find himself in a heap load more of trouble with his new swift boat attack ads on Ronnie Earle, the Texas prosecutor who has charged DeLay with several criminal counts.

Republicans have bought air time in Austin and on Fox News Network to run swift boat ads, attacking Earle. Say what you may about the motivations of Ronnie Earle. After all, it was the grand jury who indicted DeLay, not Earle. But DeLay is showing utter contempt for the judicial system. Running ads, attacking the prosecutor could and should be considered jury pool tampering which is a very serious offense.

We already know that DeLay has no respect for judges... or for that matter, the law. But to actively attempt to tamper the jury pool is beyond contempt for the constitution. Giving media interviews is one thing. But to run ads. It just shows you that he considers himself above the laws the rest of us have to live by.

At least Frist has some class.

Conservatives launch TV assault on Earle

Update: Now I know that Republicans are just plain nuts

Free Enterprise Fund spokesman Todd Schorle said the ad campaign may be expanded to other markets around the country.

"We feel that Ronnie Earle wants to obstruct the free-market agenda and he's using liberals to bring the free-market agenda to a halt in Congress," he said.

Oh, god. That statement was so painfull, I think it gave me an anyurism... Seriously, this is a communist coup? No wonder a plurality of Americans want the next congress to be controlled by Democrats. Republicans have completely lost it.

Swift Boat Veterans for a New Supreme Court Nomination.

This nomination has turned into a complete absurdity. If the Supreme Court seat wasn't such an important position, I would be rolling on the ground laughing while simultaneously banging my head against the wall (it can be done... trust me).

The religious right is up in arms over their own presidents pick because she hasn't guaranteed them she would overturn Roe v Wade and burn homosexuals at the steak. The intellectual right is up in arms because she writes memos like a Nancy Drew novel and looks at Bushie like he is a member of NSYNC. Bush, caught in the head lights as usual, can't seem to get his act together while Karl Rove is distracted by staring down the barrel of obstruction of justice charges. Bush, not more than 2 months after saying religion is hands off when Roberts was nominated, can't stop talking about how much Harriet Miers loves Jesus. Ironically, he is touting the fact he wants to place a person on the highest bench in the land with her only credentials being that she is a born again Christian whilst fighting theocracy oversees.

I am taking odds on how long it is before someone on the right starts swift boating poor old Harriet. I can see the TV ads now:

(Fade in from black)

Miers used to be a Catholic. (Shows picture of Pope Benedict)

Then she worshipped at Episcopalian and Presbyterian churches. (Shows picture of gay Episcopal bishop wearing a feather boa)

Now, she is a born again evangelical Christian at Valley View Church. (Shows picture of Alan Keyes)

Mr. President, Harriet Miers is a flip-flopper (shows picture of John Kerry)

How long before her fickle mind grows bored with her newest faith? How long before she converts to Islam, Mr. President? Are you going to trust the fate of this nation for a woman who will exchange her black robes for a blue burke and gives Osama Bin Laden oral sex in front of the Washington Monument?

You know what else Muslims do, Mr Presdient? They eat babies on Easter, our most holy day. They also raise aliens who will eat our children as they recite the pledge of allegiance in our schools.

How many times does she have to change her religion, Mr. President, before you know she just can't be trusted?

Withdraw this nomination of this burke-wearing, baby eating, alien raising, Bin Laden blowing, Muslim woman before she destroys America. (Shows picture of Bin Laden with a big ol' grin)

Enough is enough Mr. President. (Fade to black)


I'm tom DeLay and I approved this message.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Jerry Kilgore - Swift Boats Virginia

I found this at swing state project on the governors campaign in Virginia between Jerry Kilgore (R) and Tim Kaine (D). As usual, the Republicans are out swift boating again.

Absolutely despicable.

That's the only way to describe the new attack ads Jerry Kilgore is running against Tim Kaine in Virginia. Set against a black back-drop, the father of a man whose son and daughter-in-law were murdered, speaks passionately about how Tim Kaine "voluntarily" defended the murderer. Forget the fact that Tim Kaine was court-appointed, forget about the fact that the two were apparently murdered in a drug deal gone bad, these type of ads represent the worst of our political process.

I went to Kilgore's web site and watched the video. It absolutely pissed me off and spoke volumes to me about what type of man Kilgore is. The ad attacks Tim Kaine for doing exactly what he should have done - represent his court appointed client to the absolute best of his ability. It attacks Kaine for doing exactly what every single American has a constitutional right to have.

Now, if Kilgore attacked Kaine for being a sloppy lawyer, that would have been one thing. But Kilgore is attacking Kaine for upholding the cannons of legal ethics and the constitution. He is attacking Kaine for doing a good job. If anything, Kaine shown that he can put personal feelings aside to uphold our constitution.

If Kilgore doesn't believe that accused criminals have a right to legal counsel, he has no business being the governor. Hell, he has no business being a dog catcher.

We interrupt Our Regular Political Commentary...

For a little football. As I have always said... I love my mother. I love my father. But there is nothing more I love than Penn State football.

ESPN Gets Huge Ratings for Penn State

BRISTOL, Conn. - ESPN's pregame show before Penn State's upset of Ohio State last Saturday night drew a record audience, and the game itself was the second-most watched of any regular season matchup on the cable network.

The Nittany Lions' 17-10 victory averaged 4,435,000 households and a 4.9 rating. Only the Florida State-Miami game on Oct. 8, 1994 drew a bigger audience.

Lets go Lions!

Bill Frist's Blind Trust Wasn't So Blind

Another hit to Bill Frist's ethics problems was disclosed yesterday. His blind trust that he created in order to avoid conflicts of interest while serving in the Senate was not so blind. While Frist had his blind trust, he was also buying stock outside of the trust. While this is not illegal, it is against Senate ethics rules because it creates a conflict of interest when voting on bills that could affect those stocks. This won't help GOP ethics woes.

Frist Accumulated Stock Outside Trusts
By LARRY MARGASAK and JONATHAN M. KATZ, Associated Press Writers

WASHINGTON - Over a period of four years, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist accumulated stock in a family founded hospital chain that produced tens of thousands of dollars in income — all outside the blind trusts he created to avoid a conflict of interest, documents show.

The stock was held in a family partnership largely controlled by Frist's brother, Thomas, who founded HCA Inc. along with the senator's late father.

Frist, R-Tenn., has long maintained that he could vote on health care legislation and still own HCA stock because he placed his shares in Senate-approved blind trusts.

However, ethics experts say a partnership arrangement shown in documents obtained by The Associated Press raises serious doubts about whether the senator truly avoided a conflict.

While there have been no allegations of impropriety in Frist's having shares outside the voluntary blind trusts, federal prosecutors and the Securities and Exchange Commission are investigating Frist's sale of HCA stock from his blind trusts.

(Full Story)

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Plame Investigation

From an article today in National Journal, it looks like obstruction of justice charges against Scooter Libby will be at least one of the charges brought in the CIA leak investigation. In four interviews, two to the FBI and two to the grand jury, he did not disclose an earlier phone conversation he had with Judy Miller about Joe Wilson and his wife. That, coupled with the possibility that he or his attorney actively encouraged Miller not to testify is a pretty easy case of obstruction. If Libby is truly innocent of the CIA leak, this was a very, very boneheaded move.

National Journal has a pretty good write up on the current developments.

Libby Did Not Tell Grand Jury About Key Conversation

By Murray Waas, special to National Journal
Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2005

In two appearances before the federal grand jury investigating the leak of a covert CIA operative's name, Lewis (Scooter) Libby, the chief of staff to Vice President Cheney, did not disclose a crucial conversation that he had with New York Times reporter Judith Miller in June 2003 about the operative, Valerie Plame, according to sources with firsthand knowledge of his sworn testimony.

Libby also did not disclose the June 23 conversation when he was twice interviewed by FBI agents working on the Plame leak investigation, the sources said.

Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald apparently learned about the June 23 conversation for the first time just days ago, after attorneys for Miller and The New York Times informed prosecutors that Miller had discovered a set of notes on the conversation.

Miller had spent 85 days in jail for contempt of court for refusing to testify before the grand jury about her conversations with Libby and other Bush administration officials regarding Plame. She was released from jail after she agreed to cooperate with Fitzgerald's investigation. Miller testified before the grand jury on September 30, and attorneys familiar with the matter said that she agreed to be questioned further by Fitzgerald today.

Meanwhile, in recent days Fitzgerald has also expressed significant interest in whether Libby may have sought to discourage Miller-either directly or indirectly through her attorney-from testifying before the grand jury, or cooperating in other ways with the criminal probe, according to attorneys familiar with Miller's discussions with prosecutors.

During two interviews with FBI agents and in two subsequent grand jury appearances, Libby discussed at length a July 8, 2003, conversation about Plame that he and Miller had at the St. Regis Hotel in Washington, D.C., as well as a July 12 telephone conversation with Miller on the same subject four days later.

(Full Story)

Ohio GOP Corruption Case

The inquiry into the coins for cash case in Ohio is continuing. It looks like that there was indeed money laundered from the Workers Comp fund managed by Republican fundraiser, Tom Noe, into GOP campaign coffers of state and federal candidates, including President Bush.

COLUMBUS — Tom Noe often transferred tens of thousands of dollars from the Ohio rare-coin funds he managed to his personal business before bankrolling Republican candidates and causes with contributions and loans.

A Blade examination of the accounting records from Mr. NoeÂ’s $50 million rare-coin venture shows a pattern of large sums of money moving from the coin funds to his personal business, Vintage Coins and Collectibles, in the days and weeks before the coin dealer and his wife, Bernadette, made contributions to Republican candidates ranging from President Bush to U.S. Sen. George Voinovich and Gov. Bob Taft down to Lucas County Auditor Larry Kaczala.

In related news, it looks like a reporter close to the Republican party knew about the dirty dealings prior to the 2004 election, but decided to sit on the story.

According to several knowledgeable sources, The Blade's chief political columnist, Fritz Wenzel, was told of potential campaign violations by Tom Noe, chair of the Bush-Cheney 2004 campaign for Lucas County, as early as January 2004. But according to Blade editors, Wenzel never gave the paper the all-important tip in early 2004.

We are still waiting to find out how much was funneled into the Republican party, but either way, it has sunk the GOP Govenors career for good.

Harriet Miers - The Debacle

I was willing to give Harriet Miers the benefit of the doubt until I saw her perform in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee. But this nomination is turning into a complete and utter joke. You have both the right and left attacking her because of perceptions that cannot be dispelled. You have Karl Rove "leaking" her judicial philosophy to wingnut evangelicals. You have the president defending her on the sole basis that she is a "good Christian." Reading correspondence between Bush and Miers back in the '90s, she sounds like a star stuck teenager writing to her favorite teen idol. I feel sad for poor ol' Harriet. It can't be fun to be characterized like this, but the Bush administration was too arogant to think that this would not fly through confirmation. At this point, the only thing indignant about this nomination seems to be the nomination itself.

"I'm disappointed, depressed and demoralized." --William Kristol

"Harriet Miers isn't qualified to play a Supreme Court justice on "The West Wing," let alone to be a real one." --Ann Coulter

"The Miers pick was another administration misstep... Momentum was lost. The quarterback looked foolish." --Peggy Noonan

"Miers needs to be stopped! The Republican Party should be the party of the moral high card. It can't be with such blatant cronyism. SABOTAGE MIERS! SABOTAGE MIERS! SABOTAGE MIERS!" --Angry Conservative

"I think...[Bush] has probably risked his legacy. But more important, he has risked what some of us have fought for 40 years since I was with Richard Nixon." --Pat Buchanan

"If Harriet Miers were not a crony of the president of the United States, her nomination to the Supreme Court would be a joke..." --Charles Krauthammer)

"President Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court has performed the difficult task of dividing his most respectful supporters, among whom I count myself." --Scott at Powerline

"If this is President Bush's bright idea to buck up his sagging popularity--among conservatives as well as the nation at large--one wonders whom he would have picked in rosier times. Shudder." --Michelle Malkin

"I am done with President Bush: Harriet Miers? Are you freakin' kidding me?!" --Steve Dillard

H/T Kos

Monday, October 10, 2005

Harriet Miers and the Conservative Backlash

Several things have become apparent to me during this nomination process so far.

1) Religion is fair game for the right even though they have always said it is not

2) The president is too isolated from the real world.

3) Karl Rove will do anything, and I mean anything, to get what he wants

First, since Harriet Miers has no paper trail, the only thing that Bush can do to sell her to the fundi right is to tout her devotion to Christianity. This is a complete flip-flop from the Roberts nomination where they claimed a persons religious views are off limits in a judicial nomination. Now, with nothing else to sell her on, they have removed the last taboo from the nomination process, and in fact, made it their central selling piece. This is a huge political blunder on the part of the Bush machine. One, because religion should not be an element of anyone's nomination. Two, it opens the door that cannot be closed. By trying to sell Miers to the right on religious grounds, it opens up the left for questioning Miers on the same grounds without fear of being called on partisan grounds. Additionally, it precludes this president from ever being able to say that religion is off limits for any future nominations that may arise during his presidency.

Second, many believe that Bush nominated Miers due to fear of a fight with the Left. I completely disagree with this assertion. As best summed up in this piece "Be It Confidence or Hubris, Bush Nominates Boldly," I think Bush was overly confident in his support from the right, not cowed by the left. Because Bush likes to surround himself with sycophants, he does not get good advice. Miers nomination is a reflection on the type of person he takes advice from.

Third, James Dobson, the head of Focus on the Family, has reported that he has had assurances directly from Karl Rove weeks before Bush made the nomination public, that Harriet Miers would vote in accordance to how James Dobson would want. The fact that a political advisor would make this promises to a political interest group is not only scary on so many levels, but also quite an indictment on how this White House runs its affairs. This may also backfire for the Bush administration. Arlen Specter is threatening to call both Dobson and Rove before the judiciary committee to testify about what was said and what promises were made. The fact that Rove is "leaking" judicial positions to a prominent special interest group not only taints the White House and its history of other leaks, but it taints Harriet Miers herself. If Harriet Miers has already disclosed how she would vote to either Bush or Rove on any specific issue, not only opens up Miers to the same questioning on the floor of the senate, but also go against the entire philosophy of separation of powers.

The White House has painted itself in to a tiny corner on this nomination. I don't think it has time to wait for the floor to dry and may very well end up pulling the nomination opposed to enduring the mess that this is sure to become.

Friday, October 07, 2005

The End of Week "Culture of Corruption" Round-up

The last couple of weeks has been pretty bad for the party that pledge to return honesty and integrity to the US government.

New about Tom DeLay's meeting with a co-indicted PAC leader the day that the questioned funds were laundered through the Republican National Committee raises more questions for the Hammer to answer.

DeLay Meeting, RNC Actions Coincided

Also posted are some of the e-mails and memos regarding the case. They may not seem like much, but trust me, they are much more damaging than meets the eye.

In a story that didn't get much play last week about a government lawyer who was demoted and reassigned when he started investigating Tom DeLay's buddy, Jack Abramoff. Investigators are looking in to the report.

The Justice Department's inspector general and the F.B.I. are looking into the demotion of a veteran federal prosecutor whose reassignment nearly three years ago shut down a criminal investigation of the Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff, current and former department officials report. They said investigators had questioned whether the demotion proper...

And, finally, Karl Rove is expected to testify again in front of the federal grand jury soon to explain why his testimony given to the FBI differs so much from the testimony given to the grand jury earlier. Fitzgerald is no longer giving any guarantees that Rove is not a target of the investigation. Additionally, Fitzgerald plans on calling Judy Miller to testify again about Scooter Libby's involvement in outing Valerie Plame.

Legal Experts: Rove's New Testimony Risky

What?!?! I never said her "name" Posted by Picasa

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Senate Gives a Big F-You to the Pres

Yesterday, the Senate voted 90-9 to set guidelines for interrogating detainees in Iraq and elsewhere. This overwhelmingly bi-partisan vote sent a big ol' "F-You" to the president, who said he would veto any bill that set a limit on what kind of torture that the military can use. Apparently, Bush listens to the Rush Limbaugh show and agrees with Rush that what goes on at Abu Ghraib is actually "fun." Hopefully this might give Bush a kick in the ass to wake him up. His liaise fare attitude on torture is being rejected by even his own parties ardent war supporters.

Some people like Rush, worry about the reaction of the world to the release of additional pictures of the abuse that went on in Abu Ghraib. I am more concerned what the world will think about us when we have a president who refuses to commit to not using torture again.

Senate Supports Interrogation Limits
90-9 Vote on the Treatment of Detainees Is a Bipartisan Rebuff of the White House

By Charles Babington and Shailagh Murray
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, October 6, 2005; Page A01

The Senate defied the White House yesterday and voted to set new limits on interrogating detainees in Iraq and elsewhere, underscoring Congress's growing concerns about reports of abuse of suspected terrorists and others in military custody.

Forty-six Republicans joined 43 Democrats and one independent in voting to define and limit interrogation techniques that U.S. troops may use against terrorism suspects, the latest sign that alarm over treatment of prisoners in the Middle East and at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is widespread in both parties. The White House had fought to prevent the restrictions, with Vice President Cheney visiting key Republicans in July and a spokesman yesterday repeating President Bush's threat to veto the larger bill that the language is now attached to -- a $440 billion military spending measure.

Senate GOP leaders had managed to fend off the detainee language this summer, saying Congress should not constrain the executive branch's options. But last night, 89 senators sided with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a former prisoner of war in Vietnam who led the fight for the interrogation restrictions. McCain said military officers have implored Congress for guidelines, adding that he mourns "what we lose when by official policy or by official negligence we allow, confuse or encourage our soldiers to forget . . . that which is our greatest strength: that we are different and better than our enemies."

The vote came hours after Senate Democratic leaders blasted Republicans for canceling a classified briefing on anti-terrorism matters by the director of national intelligence, John D. Negroponte. Senate Democrats also sent Bush a letter demanding more information about how he intends to succeed in Iraq.

The president, who defended his Iraq policies at a news conference Tuesday, plans to deliver "a significant speech on the war on terrorism" today, spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters. He said Bush will "talk in unprecedented detail about the nature of the enemy we face" and "about our comprehensive strategy for defeating" that enemy.

The Senate's 90 to 9 vote suggested a new boldness among Republicans to challenge the White House on war policy. The amendment by McCain, one of Bush's most significant backers at the outset of the Iraq war, would establish uniform standards for the interrogation of people detained by U.S. military personnel, prohibiting "cruel, inhuman or degrading" treatment while they are in U.S. custody.

McCain's allies included Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), a former military lawyer, and Armed Services Committee Chairman John W. Warner (R-Va.). They said new detainee standards are needed to clear up confusion among U.S. troops that may have led to the mistreatment alleged at the Navy's Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba and to the abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

(Full Story)

A Rose by Any Other Name...

... Is still a Rose. And Tom DeLay by any other name is still a skunk. This little scheme of his and Blunt's probably isn't illegal, but it is definitely dirty and very un-ethical.

So, the skunk who had to step down as the Republican leader was just replaced by his co-skunk.

AP: DeLay, Blunt Traded Secret Donations
By JOHN SOLOMON and SHARON THEIMER, Associated Press Writers

WASHINGTON - Tom DeLay deliberately raised more money than he needed to throw parties at the 2000 presidential convention, then diverted some of the excess funds to longtime ally Roy Blunt through a series of donations that benefited both men's causes.

When the financial carousel stopped, DeLay's private charity, the consulting firm that employed DeLay's wife and the Missouri campaign of Blunt's son all ended up with money, according to campaign documents reviewed by The Associated Press.

Jack Abramoff, a Washington lobbyist recently charged in an ongoing federal corruption and fraud investigation, and Jim Ellis, the DeLay fundraiser indicted with his boss last week in Texas, also came into the picture.

The complicated transactions are drawing scrutiny in legal and political circles after a grand jury indicted DeLay on charges of violating Texas law with a scheme to launder illegal corporate donations to state candidates.

Blunt last week temporarily replaced DeLay as House majority leader, and Blunt's son, Matt, has now risen to Missouri's governor.

The government's former chief election enforcement lawyer said the Blunt and DeLay transactions are similar to the Texas case and raise questions that should be investigated regarding whether donors were deceived or the true destination of their money was concealed.

"These people clearly like using middlemen for their transactions," said Lawrence Noble. "It seems to be a pattern with DeLay funneling money to different groups, at least to obscure, if not cover, the original source," said Noble, who was the Federal Election Commission's chief lawyer for 13 years, including in 2000 when the transactions occurred.

same skunk, different name Posted by Picasa

Much of the money — including one donation to Blunt from an Abramoff client accused of running a "sweatshop" garment factory in the Northern Mariana Islands — changed hands in the spring of 2000, a period of keen interest to federal prosecutors.

During that same time, Abramoff arranged for DeLay to use a concert skybox for donors and to take a golfing trip to Scotland and England that was partly underwritten by some of the lobbyist's clients. Prosecutors are investigating whether the source of some of the money was disguised, and whether some of DeLay's expenses were originally put on the lobbyist's credit card in violation of House rules.

Both DeLay and Blunt and their aides also met with Abramoff's lobbying team several times in 2000 and 2001 on the Marianas issues, according to law firm billing records obtained by AP under an open records request. DeLay was instrumental in blocking legislation opposed by some of Abramoff's clients.

Noble said investigators should examine whether the pattern of disguising the original source of money might have been an effort to hide the leaders' simultaneous financial and legislative dealings with Abramoff and his clients.

"You see Abramoff involved and see the meetings that were held and one gets the sense Abramoff is helping this along in order to get access and push his clients' interest," he said. "And at the same time, you see Delay and Blunt trying to hide the root of their funding.

"All of these transactions may have strings attached to them. ... I think you would want to look, if you aren't already looking, at the question of a quid pro quo," Noble said.

Go read the full story. There is such a tangled web, it makes your head spin.(Full Story)

Rush Limbaugh - The Nut

Rush Limbaugh attacked the Judge that ordered the release of 87 photographs of the torture and abuse at Abu Ghraib under the freedom of information act. He claims the judge is siding with Al Qaeda.

He has no problem with the fact that there is or was any abuse of the detainees. He has called the use of torture "brilliant" and likened the events to being no worse than a fraternity prank - "sort of like hazing, a fraternity prank. Sort of like that kind of fun."

From the Rush Limbaugh Show Sept. 30, 2005:

LIMBAUGH: Another American judge, U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein, has sided with our enemies of Al Qaeda. Pictures of detainee abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison must be released, despite government claims they could damage America's image. Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein said terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan have proven that they do not need pretexts for their barbarism. The American Civil Liberties Union sought the release of 87 photographs and four videotapes as part of an October 2003 lawsuit.

Anything you can to harm and destroy the country, anything you can to be critical of this country, would be permissible on the wacko American Left.

Now, I have a couple of questions for Rush. First, if the torture is "fun" and no worse than "fraternity hazing," why would it matter if the pictures were released? After all, according to Rush, this is fun. Arabs should be lining up to take a ride through Abu Ghraib so they can have a little male bonding time. In fact, the pictures could be used as a recruitment tool to get the insurgents off the streets and behind bars. We could make big posters of the pictures and post them all over town to show the insurgents what "fun" times they are missing out on. This way, we don't have to round them up and put American soldiers lives at risk.

Second, if the torture was so "brilliant," why would you not want the pictures to be seen? If torture is such an effective tool, wouldn't this be a great way of dissuading anyone from challenging American authority? If worked for Saddam for almost 30 years. If Saddam was able to pacify his country for decades with torture, and Rush thinks torture tactics are so great, again, we should be advertising these pictures, not hiding them.

I don't think Rush realizes that it is the torture itself that sullies the American reputation, not the pictures. I wish he would get that through his big fat head.