Saturday, July 30, 2005

Gunboats in Elliott Bay

I was eating dinner at Elliott's Oyster House, when the waiter informed us that Dept of Homeland Security gunboats armed with two machine guns were escorting all ships back to the harbor. It seems to me that if someone was going to attack one of those boats, the attack would come from the inside of the boat, not the outside. Secondly, I would be more afraid of the gunboats than I would be of the terrorists if I were on one of those.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Vacation

I will be out of town for the next 10 days. If I get a wireless connection on my laptop somewhere I'll be sure to post something, but other than that don't expect anything.

Shenanagens on the CAFTA Vote-Did it Really Pass?

Part 1:
DeLay pulled his favorite trick holding the vote at midnight so that no one would watch the vote, and kept the vote open for an hour to twist arms. During that time Robin Hayes was convinced to change his "no" vote to a "yes"

Part 2:
Holding the vote at midnight instead of the next morning meant that outspoken Republican CAFTA opponent from Virginia Jo Ann Davis could not get back from her district in time to vote.

Part 3:
The other member not voting was Charles Taylor of North Carolina. He was there and claims to have voted against CAFTA, but says that his voting machine did not register his vote. But in spite of his claim that Representative Coble "watched him vote", Coble says he was 20 feet away and did not see him actually insert his voting card. Did Coble's voting card malfunction? Or did he intentionally not vote so that he could allow it to pass without retribution from his constituants? In short, is Charles Taylor trying to have it both ways?

Three votes that under normal circumstances of House procedure (before the DeLay era) would have been cast against CAFTA. Instead one was cast for it, and two were not cast. That would have brought the final vote tally to 216 for to 218 against. Thus CAFTA would have failed. Did DeLay wrangle out a cheap win on CAFTA using shady tactics? I'll leave that for you to decide.

Happy Birthday Exxon

The House passed Bush's energy bill today. A nice fat subsidy for big oil, happy birthday Exxon, goodbye ANWR.

We need a real energy plan that actually does something about our dependence on oil. This is a national security issue as well as an environmental one. We cannot continue to drill every inch of this earth in hopes of finding some small new pocket of oil, it is a finite resource that is dissapearing rapidly. We also cannot continue to fund Saudi Arabia by continuing to be so dependent on their oil, we put ourselves at increased risk sending oil money to fund extremists.

We need to put a concentrated effort forth to develope renewable clean energy. It will not happen just by capitalist innovation, it will require government help along with government mandates. We must reward consumers who buy fuel efficient vehicles while subsidizing innovative efforts to develope clean renewable energy, and sign the Kyoto accords. This is a great opportunity for the United States to bail out its faltering economy with a real innovative move towards renewable energy, becoming a world leader instead of holding up progress for the rest of the world on this issue.

But the issue is not purely economic and political, the issue here is also cultural. Americans don't consider these kinds of issues as they purchase vehicles. It is considered "cool" to drive a hummer. But why anyone would need a military assault vehicle to take their kids to soccer practice is beyond me.

Hackett 5 Points Down

Amazing. According to internal NRCC polling, Hackett is only 5 points behind Schmidt in the OH-02 Special Election race with 5 days to election day. Combine that with possible stagnated Republican turnout and we just might be able to win this thing.
While Jean Schmidt and her allies run a slash-and-burn campaign, attempting to "Swift Boat" Paul Hackett, the message is simple, if we can win here, we can win anywhere.

Down the stretch we go.

David Scott Votes the Party Line

Now that is a headline. CAFTA passes the house 217-215. Some familiar names on the DINOs, Mellissa Bean, Ike Skelton. Sometime in the near future I'm going to do a closer study of House and Senate voting habits in this Congress. It's time for an update since Chris Bower's study of the first 5 contested bills.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The DLC Fumbles Once More

The DLC has attempted to copy the Republican Contract with America for the Democrats. The problem is while the Contract with America (henceforth to be referred to as "RCA") excellently framed the values of Republicans then showed clear policies that they would enact from those values, the DLC fails to present us with...well...anything. After carefully reading through the DLC Blueprint I came up with absolutely nothing concrete that Democrats stand for. I concur with Hunter over at DailyKos. I do not agree with Atrios that "From and Reed propose the Republican Platform", rather I believe that the DLC has succeeded with this document of proposing absolutely nothing, when you think about it, this is actually a rather astonishing acheivement. The DLC drives its politics from the idea that winning politics is comprised of not offending anyone, but with not offending anyone comes a great price, not excititing anyone.

Roberts Spoke For Himself and His Clients in Conservative Briefs

New documents released show that Judge Roberts often advocated hard right positions when he worked in the Reagan White House when he was asked his personal opinion. The documents show hostility towards equal rights for women, Roe, and affirmative action among other things. The emerging picture of Roberts is looking more and more like Scalia all the time, I have a very bad feeling about the role Roberts will play on the Court, and that Democrats will fail to mount an effective opposition against what appears to be an extremist nominee.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Bush Lied

Of Course we already knew that, but now finally a majority of the American public knows it. Gallup finds that 51% believe Bush "mislead the public on whether Iraq had WMDs."

Pataki Out

George Pataki has anounced he will not seek a 4th term as Governor of New York, considering a weak GOP bench, the NY Governorship is now Spitzer's to lose.

LOL, now for the funny news. Provided this doesn't change, the New York Times screws up bigtime for the online edition, hope they never do this in the print version. Mixing up the headline and the article probably isn't a very good idea.

Cincinatti Post Endorses Hacket

The Cincinatti Post has endorsed Paul Hackett for Ohio's 2nd Congressional District special election. This, from a paper that in a very hawkish editorial, endorsed Bush last year. A Conservative paper in a Conservative District, I think we may see some sparks fly next Tuesday.
Hackett, in our view, is a gust of fresh air. If we had to put a label on him, it would be Libertarian Democrat. He says what he thinks and doesn't seem to have much use for the orthodoxy, or the partisanship, of either party. He doesn't want the government telling him what kinds of guns he can own, nor does he want it interfering in family or medical decisions or taking away civil liberties in the name of fighting terror. He regards Social Security more as an insurance program than a retirement savings plan, but wants to put it on a sound footing and would raise the earnings ceiling if necessary to do so.

If elected, he notes, he would be the only member of Congress with direct military experience in Iraq - which, he says, is a fight we should end as soon as possible. He wants to finish the job and get out, and he wants the United States to stop holding hands with Pakistan and to get serious about tracking down those responsible for the 9-11 attacks.

We like Hackett's candor. We're impressed with the freshness of his ideas. We believe his experience shows him to be someone who is action-oriented.

We endorse Hackett for the 2nd District seat.

Where the White Women At?

Latoyia Figueroa, a pregnant single mother has gone missing in Philidelphia, but does CNN care? Nope, they only care about white women. If Latoyia were white I'm sure we would have heard nothing but Latoyia Figueroa since last Monday when it happened. But CNN doesn't care, they care about missing white women. Google News is also in on the story, returning a fabulous 2 hits! No, our news media isn't racist.

Monday, July 25, 2005

I'm Entering the Game Late

Paul Hackett is running for Congress in a special election in 8 days for Ohio's 2nd Congressional District. Bush won the district last year with 65% of the vote. There is no polling data, but Hackett is apparently badly outfundraising his right wing opponent Jean Schmidt is deeply in debt. It's a long shot, but a win (or even a close race) here would be extremely encouraging heading into 2006. Schmidt seems to be acting desperate as her campaign has begun the Swift Boat Veteran Attack. The new political strategy where you question your opponent's military service even though they've served their Country and you haven't.

Roberts Anounces Necessity of Recusing Himself From...well...Everything

From The Los Angeles Times:
Judge John G. Roberts Jr. has been called the stealth nominee for the Supreme Court — a nominee specifically selected because he has few public positions on controversial issues such as abortion. However, in a meeting last week, Roberts briefly lifted the carefully maintained curtain over his personal views. In so doing, he raised a question that could not only undermine the White House strategy for confirmation but could raise a question of his fitness to serve as the 109th Supreme Court justice.

The exchange occurred during one of Roberts' informal discussions with senators last week. According to two people who attended the meeting, Roberts was asked by Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) what he would do if the law required a ruling that his church considers immoral. Roberts is a devout Catholic and is married to an ardent pro-life activist. The Catholic Church considers abortion to be a sin, and various church leaders have stated that government officials supporting abortion should be denied religious rites such as communion. (Pope Benedict XVI is often cited as holding this strict view of the merging of a person's faith and public duties).

Renowned for his unflappable style in oral argument, Roberts appeared nonplused and, according to sources in the meeting, answered after a long pause that he would probably have to recuse himself.

I guess if that is true, all my speculation is wrong, Roberts will have no effect on the Supreme Court as he will be constantly recusing himself from cases. As Jeffry Dubner notes:
Oh, I don't see how that could be a problem. He'd only have to recuse himself from abortion and gay-rights cases ... and maybe the death penalty ... and perhaps pornography cases ... and possibly questions of church-state separation ... and, I suppose, poverty and social justice issues ... and then there's the moral acceptability of war ...

Hopefully this is just something that Roberts didn't really mean and his handlers will find a way to walk it back. But if he was being honest, it's a rather serious issue. Would he recuse himself after deciding that the law goes against Church teachings but let himself vote when his vote would meet Pope Benedict XVI's approval? Is he more afraid of being a bad Catholic than of being a bad justice?

All Hail Bush, King of America!

From the WH Press briefing today:
We want to make sure that there is nothing that restricts the President's authority to be able to do what he needs to do to protect the American people and prevent attacks from happening in the first place, and bring to justice those who seek to murder innocent civilians.

So because we're at war Bush has absolute authority to do whatever he wants? Perhaps McClellen has just revealed the true motivations of of this White House to re-authorize the PATRIOT ACT, so that dear old George can become King and absolute despot.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

AFL-CIO Splits Apart

The "Change to Win Coalition" split off of the AFL-CIO today taking with it 30% of the Union's membership. I'm not entirely sure what this will mean for labor.
Leaders of the dissident unions say the AFL-CIO leadership has failed to stop the steep decline in union membership. In addition to seeking the ouster of Sweeney, they have demanded more money for organizing, power to force mergers of smaller unions and other changes they say are key to adapting to vast changes in society and the economy.

Mark Fiore is brilliant

For this weeks Mark Fiore animated Cartoon (if you aren't familiar with Fiore they only last a minute or two.) click here.

The NYT: One Very Bad Graphic

The New York Times has dug up the 49 opinions authored by John G. Roberts, a useful tool, if you have time to read the entire opinion of every case. They fail to give a short reasonable description of what each case is about, so one can't only click on those cases that appear to represent an issue important to them. All they have is a quote from the opinion that makes no sense out of context. If you've got the time it's probably very useful though.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

USA PATRIOT ACT

Re-authorization passed the House with few changes yesterday. At the very least this law needed major changes, the PATRIOT ACT (which is in itself a frame, unfortunately I don't know what else to call it. Wait, how about the "BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU ACT"?) provides Federal law enforcement with a blank check to spy on Americans. The Bush Administration wants still more powers to spy on the activities of ordinary law abiding Americans.
A competing bill passed last month by the intelligence committee would broaden the government's powers by allowing the Federal Bureau of Investigation to demand records in terrorism investigations without a judge's order and to have sole discretion in monitoring the mail of some terrorism suspects. That proposal has the strong backing of the Bush administration.

Seems to me to be a blatant 4th Amendment violation, but they obviously don't care about such petty things as the Constitution. I have not read the BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU ACT, but I know about many of it's worst provisions, it sounds as though many of them remain in the bill. This is a bill that even people in the most conservative State in the Country hate, Idaho. Both Idaho Congressmen now oppose the BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU ACT, as do both Idaho's Senators, Craig and Crapo. All but Butch Otter voted for it the first time and now oppose it. This is a winning issue for Democrats, we should vote against it, and use it to underscore the basic fact that Democrats believe in Privacy while Republicans don't. Nonetheless, 43 Democratic Congressmen voted in favor of re-authorization. Without further ado, here is the updated list of those Democrats who deserve a primary challenge, cross checked with the previous list of those who voted to undermine the 1st Amendment. Those who voted for the flag burning amendment will be in bold.
Robert Andrews (NJ-1)
Joe Baca (CA-43)
John Barrow (GA-12)
Mellissa Bean (IL-8)
Sanford Bishop (GA-2)
Dan Boren (OK-2)
Leonard Boswell (IA-3)

G.K. Butterfield (NC-1)
Benjamin Cardin (MD-3)
Russ Carnahan (MO-3)
Ed Case (HI-2)
Ben Chandler (KY-6)
James Clybern (SC-6)

Jim Cooper (TN-5)
Bud Cramer (AL-5)
Jim Davis (FL-11)
Lincoln Davis (TN-4)

Artur Davis (AL-7)
Chet Edwards (TX-17)
Rham Emanuel (IL-5)
Bob Etheridge (NC-2)
Bart Gordon (TN-6)
Gene Green (TX-29)
Jane Harman (CA-36)

Stephanie Herseth (SD-1)
Brian Higgins (NY-27)
Tim Holden (PA-17)
Steny Hoyer (MD-5)---PARTY WHIP-WTF?
Daniel Lipinski (IL-3)
Jim Marshall (GA-3)
Mike Mcintyre (NC-7)
Charlie Melancon (LA-3)
Bob Menendez (NJ-13)

Brad Miller (NC-13)
Soloman Ortiz (TX-27)
Earle Pomeroy (ND-1)
Silvestre Reyes (TX-16)
Mike Ross (AR-4)
Dutch Ruppersberger (MD-2)

Allysun Schwartz (PA-13)
David Scott (GA-13)
Ike Skelton (MO-4)
John Spratt (SC-5)


After comparing my two lists with the list of 31 losers, and adding the "Class Action Fairness Act," a pretty clear line can be drawn as to who is really not a Democrat, if you can't resemble a Democrat then let the voters choose between a real Democrat or a fascist Republican, there is no excuse for voting that way and being a Democrat. These few deserve more than just primary challenges or a slap on the wrist, but actually deserve to lose a primary challenge before going to the voters. They are as follows:
Mellissa Bean (IL-8)
Dan Boren (OK-2)
Ben Chandler (KY-6)
Bud Cramer (AL-5)

Chet Edwards (TX-17)
Bart Gordon (TN-6)
Charlie Melancon (LA-3)
David Scott (GA-13)

There is simply no excuse to have party loyalty that miserable. Those in bold on the list of 8 are members of the Blue Dog Coalition. 5 major bills in which a majority of Democrats have opposed a majority of Republicans that these 8 have voted the Republican Party line. If you have a voting record that bad you have no business representing the Democratic Party in Congress. These people have no disginguishing characteristics to separate them from your average Republican.

Transcript from Saturday Democratic Radio Address

Brilliant idea.
"Good morning. I'm Larry Johnson, an American, a registered Republican, a former intelligence official at the CIA, and a friend of Valerie Plame.
...
I am stunned that government officials at the highest level have such ignorance about a matter so basic to the national security structure of this nation.

Robert Novak's compromise of Valerie led to scrutiny of CIA officers that worked with her. This not only compromised her "cover" company but potentially every individual overseas who had been in contact with that company or with her.

We must put to bed the lie that she was not undercover. For starters, if she had not been undercover then the CIA would not have referred the matter to the Justice Department.

Val only told those with a need to know about her status in order to safeguard her cover, not compromise it. She was content with being known as an energy consultant married to Ambassador Joe Wilson and the mother of twins.

I voted for George Bush in November of 2000 because I was promised a President who would bring a new tone and a new ethical standard to Washington.

So where are we? The President has flip-flopped on his promise to fire anyone at the White House implicated in a leak. We now know from press reports that at least Karl Rove and "Scooter" Libby are implicated in these leaks and may have lied during the investigation.

Instead of a President concerned first and foremost with protecting this country and the intelligence officers who serve it, we are confronted with a President who is willing to sit by while political operatives savage the reputations of good Americans like Valerie and Joe Wilson.

This is wrong and this is shameful.

We deserve people who work in the White House who are committed to protecting classified information, telling the truth to the American people, and living by example the idea that a country at war with Islamic extremists cannot focus its efforts on attacking other American citizens who simply tried to tell the truth.

I am Larry Johnson.

Thank you for listening.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Bush Threatens to Block Guantanamo Investigation

On May 8th 2005 The Boston Herald reported on new images of Guantano both photographs and videos that showed American soldiers beating and raping prisoners at Guantamo Bay.
Signaling the worst revelations are yet to come, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said the additional photos show "acts that can only be described as blatantly sadistic, cruel and inhuman." [...]

The unreleased images show American soldiers beating one prisoner almost to death, apparently raping a female prisoner, acting inappropriately with a dead body, and taping Iraqi guards raping young boys, according to NBC News.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said the scandal is "going to get worse" and warned that the most "disturbing" revelations haven't yet been made public.

"The American public needs to understand, we're talking about rape and murder here," he said. "We're not just talking about giving people a humiliating experience; we're talking about rape and murder and some very serious charges."

Today the Bush Administration was under orders to release the photos. However, they filed a motion to prevent their release "in order to protect the safety of individuals pictured."
On June 2, 2004, CCR, along with the ACLU, Physicians for Human Rights, Veterans for Common Sense, and Veterans for Peace filed papers with the U.S. District Court, charging the Department of Defense and other government agencies with illegally withholding records concerning the abuse of detainees in American military custody. Since then, the organizations have been repeatedly rebuffed in their efforts to investigate what happened at the prison.

In June, the government requested and received an extension from the judge stating that they needed time in order to redact the faces of the men, women and children believed to be shown in the photographs and videos. They were given until today to produce the images, but at the eleventh hour filed a motion to oppose the release of the photos and videos, based on an entirely new argument: they are now requesting a 7(F) exemption from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act to withhold law enforcement-related information in order to protect the physical safety of individuals.

Yesterday Bush threatened to veto a defense spending bill unless provisions for a Congressional investigation of detainee abuse at Guantano were removed.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House on Thursday threatened to veto a massive Senate bill for $442 billion in next year's defense programs if it moves to regulate the Pentagon's treatment of detainees or sets up a commission to investigate operations at Guantanamo Bay prison and elsewhere.
...
"If legislation is presented that would restrict the president's authority to protect Americans effectively from terrorist attack and bring terrorists to justice," the bill could be vetoed, the statement said.

This is there idea of "protecting Americans effectively from a terrorist attack"? Torturing people? This looks to me like an Administration scared shitless of a Congressional investigation and of the release of anything that might lead the public to want one. What are they hiding? It's time we had an investigation into this, and it's time that we put an end to this kind of policy. They are ruining Americas standing in the world and pursuing a morally bankrupt policy where the ends always justify the means. This is outrageous.

Analyzing WH Language

An interesting analysis of White House use of language at DailyKos.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Arnold's Shady Redistricting Measure

Hmm, using different language to collect signatures that what you are putting on the ballot, interesting strategy. Judge Gail Ohanesian has kicked the measure off the ballot for the 2006 election on the grounds that:
The differences are not simply typographical errors. They're not merely about the format of the measure. They are not simply technical. Instead they go to the substantive terms of the measure.

Rove and Libby May Have Lied to the Grand Jury

A less relevent issue than the leak itself, but relevent nonetheless. Word on the street is that Rove and Libby lied in their testimony to the grand jury giving testimony directly in conflict with that of the reporters who have testified. Libby allegedly claimed that Tim Russert had given him Plame's name. Meanwhile Olberman reported today that a memo regarding Valerie Plame that was marked "Top Secret" had been circulated arround the White House. So much for the "I didn't know she was undercover" argument.
Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation of the leaking of a Central Intelligence Agency agent's name is now focused on how Rove, one of President George W. Bush's closest advisers, and other administration officials dealt with a key fact in an equally key memo.

The memo, prepared by the State Department on July 7, 2003, informed top administration officials that the wife of ex-diplomat and Bush critic Joseph Wilson was a CIA agent. Seven days later, Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, was publicly identified as a CIA operative by syndicated columnist Robert Novak.

What Constitution Are You Reading Buddy?

How does Judge Robert's conclude in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld that the President has the power as "commander and chief" to set up military Courts when that power is specifically granted to Congress as one of the Enumerated Powers of Congress in Artical I, Section 8?

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

First Impression

After a first round of research on Roberts I have concluded the following:

At the moment I believe him a hard right wing judge who Democrats cannot allow to be confirmed. While the presence of Kennedy on the Court could maintain a 5-4 majority for sanity (thanks to camus for the line) Roberts is not a defender of equal rights, of due process, or of any degree of Federal regulation.

Tim Grieve at Salon has the lowdown.
Arguing on behalf of the government for a roll back of abortion rights, Roberts has stated that there is "no support in the text, structure or history of the Constitution" for Roe v. Wade. Roberts wrote the government's brief in Rust v. Sullivan, the 1991 case in which the Supreme Court held that government could prohibit doctors and clinics who receive federal funds from discussing abortion with their patients. In his brief, Roberts said: "We continue to believe that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided and should be overruled."

In other cases -- sometimes as an advocate for the government, sometimes as a lawyer in private practice -- Roberts argued that the Supreme Court should invalidate a federal affirmative action program; that the Constitution permits religious ceremonies at public high school graduations; and that environmental groups lacked the right to sue under the Endangered Species Act.


Furthermore he ruled that the violation of any law, no matter how absurd merits arrest. In this case ruling that a DC girl can be arrested for bringing french fries onto the subway system (I kid you not) rejecting, "the right of a minor to be free from arrest when there is probable cause, if the arrest is pursuant to a policy that precludes less intrusive enforcement options." This in spite of the Supreme Court ruling in Foucha v. Louisiana that the State must be able to demonstrate "why...the state's interest would not be vindicated by other permissible ways of dealing with patterns of criminal conduct." I ask Judge Roberts why the District of Columbia had to arrest the girl for possession of french fries on the transit system when they could have simply taken away the french fries and thrown them away or required the girl to finish them before entering the subway train.

Finally, I don't know how the debate in Washington will go over Judge Roberts as the new Associate Justice to the Supreme Court, but for me, this is a man worth opposing.

New Nominee

Judge John G. Roberts Jr. of the D.C. Circuit is the nominee to replace Sandra Day O'Conner as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. I don't know anything about the guy yet, I'll get something up here later when I have information to report. I refuse to act like CNN a few minutes ago when they engaged in a total bogus speculation game. The guest on Anderson Cooper 360 clearly knew nothing about Roberts and gave the same answer to every question. DailyKos wonders "Why now?"

Saturday, July 16, 2005

I May Slow Down

Harry Potter came today, it may hamper my ability to frequently blog, so have patience until I finish with it. It will take longer than it should because my Mom will be hogging it for the next few days.

I Missed An Important Story

On July 9th the Oregon State Senate passed its Civil Union legislation. I mentioned the issue briefly in June as it passed out of committee and decided to keep close track of the story. On July 9th I heard the story, and forgot to mention it here. The important passage of the Oregonian piece on the issue is here.
However, there's little chance of passage in the House, where Republican leaders said the bill won't reach the floor for a vote this session.

Despite that, Senate Democrats had the votes in their chamber and seized the symbolic and political opportunity to put civil unions and anti-discrimination protections up for public debate.

Several senators reflected on past battles waged to gain civil rights protections for minorities and women. Although those protections took a long time to win, they argued that government must support acceptance over intolerance and that Oregon must lead the way.

If the bill were to become law, Oregon would be the third state to offer same-sex couples many of the same protections that married couples receive.

Republicans are stalling this as long as they can. Next session will be a battle worth watching in the House, the measure will probably fail, but the public debate will be interesting, and a political winner for supporters of equal protection of the laws.

Fitzgerald Investigation Could Have Been Completed in 10 Months

Newsday reported in April that Special Prosecutor Robert Fitzgerald's investigation into the leaking of Valerie Plame was finished in October of 2004 with the exception of one detail. Cooper and Miller refused to testify.
"By October 2004, the factual investigation - other than the testimony of Miller and Cooper and any further investigation that might result from such testimony - was for all practical purposes complete," Fitzgerald said in a motion filed Thursday.

So Cooper and Miller held up the investigation 10 months. That means that had Cooper agreed to testify when this all began we would have been hearing about Rove's role in the Plame affair right before the election. Nice to know our reporters will always go to bat for the sake of Democracy. It would have been nice for the American people to have known about this before they voted to reelect this corrupt Administration. Now 9 months after the election thanks in part to revelations about Rove's role in the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame the Bush Administration has reached their lowest approval rating since taking office in 2001.

Consequently this also answers one of the SCLM's favorite questions, "what is taking so long?" Nothing, it's just that two Reporters have held up the investigation for a very long time.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Bush Administration: The Roller Coaster Week

New AP-Ipsos poll out today. Bush's poll numbers in this poll have reached a new low, showing 42% approval and 56% dissaprove. This is a slight drop from the previous poll conducted by Ipsos.

On Tuesday I wrote that Bush had a 5% bump in Pew and a 3% bump in Gallup. Both of these polls were conducted on July 7-10. On the other hand AP and the new FOX News poll both have Bush slightly down from their previous polls. These two were conducted on July 11-13.

I wrote on Tuesday that Bush's bump was created by the heightened "culture of fear" created by the London bombings. I stand by that statement. Bush is down in FOX and AP because they reflect a different social dynamic. Up until July 11 the White House Press Corps had not even asked McClellen a single question relating to the Rove scandal. Up until that point most of the mainstream coverage of the case focused arround the jailing of Judith Miller of the NYT and the press outcry that they must be able to keep anonymous sources secret (a stupid claim). Thus while Gallup and Pew reflected an increased level of fear in the American public, AP and FOX reflected the growing public sentiment that this Administration is corrupt. The newer polls reflect public distrust of the Administration caused by the likelihood that Rove was the leaker while the older ones reflected a fearful public.

It has been the week of the roller coaster at the WH, they were up after the London bombings, and just as quickly down from RoveGate. At the moment it appears the two forces have nuetralized each other so that Bush's numbers are sitting steady arround where they were before either event happened. If either had happened independently without the other I suspect we would be seeing either a 4-7% jump for the Administration or a 5+% fall for them.

The Destruction of American Politics

Paul Krugman discusses where the level of political discourse in this country has dropped to. Rove has been absolutely brilliant in manipulating the American public. Facts don't matter to Republicans, you can give a Republican a fact that completely destroys their case, and they will never change their mind.
John Gibson of Fox News says that Karl Rove should be given a medal. I agree: Mr. Rove should receive a medal from the American Political Science Association for his pioneering discoveries about modern American politics. The medal can, if necessary, be delivered to his prison cell.

What Mr. Rove understood, long before the rest of us, is that we're not living in the America of the past, where even partisans sometimes changed their views when faced with the facts. Instead, we're living in a country in which there is no longer such a thing as nonpolitical truth. In particular, there are now few, if any, limits to what conservative politicians can get away with: the faithful will follow the twists and turns of the party line with a loyalty that would have pleased the Comintern.

I first realized that we were living in Karl Rove's America during the 2000 presidential campaign, when George W. Bush began saying things about Social Security privatization and tax cuts that were simply false. At first, I thought the Bush campaign was making a big mistake - that these blatant falsehoods would be condemned by prominent Republican politicians and Republican economists, especially those who had spent years building reputations as advocates of fiscal responsibility. In fact, with hardly any exceptions they lined up to praise Mr. Bush's proposals.
...
A less insightful political strategist might have hesitated right after 9/11 before using it to cast the Democrats as weak on national security. After all, there were no facts to support that accusation.

But Mr. Rove understood that the facts were irrelevant. For one thing, he knew he could count on the administration's supporters to obediently accept a changing story line. Read the before-and-after columns by pro-administration pundits about Iraq: before the war they castigated the C.I.A. for understating the threat posed by Saddam's W.M.D.; after the war they castigated the C.I.A. for exaggerating the very same threat.

Mr. Rove also understands, better than anyone else in American politics, the power of smear tactics. Attacks on someone who contradicts the official line don't have to be true, or even plausible, to undermine that person's effectiveness. All they have to do is get a lot of media play, and they'll create the sense that there must be something wrong with the guy.

Remember Muhammed Khan?

Remember last August when the Bush Administration publicly stated that they had captured a top Al-Qaeda operative in Pakistan, Muhammed Khan? Juan Cole reported at the time that Khan had become a mole to gather further information on a planned attack on London transit system.
This decision to keep the arrest quiet appears to have been made because Khan had been "flipped," i.e., had become a double agent and continued to have email contact with al-Qaeda members in London, e.g., but now with the Pakistani military intelligence listening in.

There was no reason for any reporter anywhere to inquire about Khan, since nothing had come out in Pakistan about his case. Pakistani intelligence was passing on to British intelligence what it was finding out about the London cell. Khan was still communicating with it on Monday August 2.

ABC News now reports the London bombers were part of the original plot that the United States botched for good War On Terror PR.
Officials tell ABC News the London bombers have been connected to an al Qaeda plot planned two years ago in the Pakistani city of Lahore.

The laptop computer of Naeem Noor Khan, a captured al Qaeda leader, contained plans for a coordinated series of attacks on the London subway system, as well as on financial buildings in both New York and Washington.

"There's absolutely no doubt he was part of an al Qaeda operation aimed at not only the United States but Great Britain," explained Alexis Debat, a former official in the French Defense Ministry who is now a senior terrorism consultant for ABC News.
...
Security officials tell ABC News they have discovered links between the eldest of the London bombers, Mohammed Sadique Khan, 30, and the original group in Luton. Officials also believe it was not a coincidence the subway bombers all met at the Luton train station last week.

The incompetence of this administration is unbelievable. Republicans are going to turn 2006 into a National Security election turning the focus away from domestic issues, just like they did in 2002. Democrats should, to quote the chimp "bring 'em on." We've got Rove and the connection between the London bombings and Muhammed Khan to show the public that the Republican Party doesn't care one bit about terrorism, only about exploiting it for political gain.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Enough is Enough

Bob Herbert today became the first major media figure to discuss an NAACP report demonstrating that Larry Griffin, who was executed in 1995 was probably not guilty of the crime he was convicted of committing, and argues for the abolishment of the death penalty.
Judges and juries are no less prone to mistakes than politicians, reporters, doctors, engineers or center fielders. Which is why the death penalty should be abolished.
...
Quintin Moss was 19 years old and a locally well-known drug dealer when he was shot 13 times in a drive-by attack on a notorious block in St. Louis known as "The Stroll." A bystander, Wallace Conners, was also shot but not seriously wounded.

Mr. Conners, who knew Larry Griffin, saw the men who drove up and opened fire. He said Mr. Griffin was not one of the men. But he was never called, either by the prosecution or the defense, to testify at Mr. Griffin's trial.

The key testimony was given by Robert Fitzgerald, a professional criminal who said he had witnessed the murder and identified Mr. Griffin as one of the shooters. Mr. Fitzgerald was in the federal witness protection program at the time. He had a number of felony charges pending and was an admitted user of heroin and speed.

A Missouri Supreme Court justice [in dissent] said of Mr. Fitzgerald: "The only eyewitness to the murder had a seriously flawed background, and his ability to observe and identify the gunman was also subject to question."

There was no physical evidence against Mr. Griffin, and no one else at the trial placed him at the scene of the attack. But he was convicted nevertheless, and executed by lethal injection on June 21, 1995.

While CNN props up figures like Nancy Grace to who'm the accused is always guilty, where is the media outrage that a man has been executed who was almost certainly not guilty of the crime for which he was convicted. The Death Penalty has been demonstrated not to deter crime, as Texas, the nation's leading executor has one of the highest violent crime rates, while New York, which has never executed an individual has a much lower violent crime rate. These two States are roughly the same size in population, and yet the one that executes the most has by far the higher violent crime rate. It has been demonstrated by study after study that the death penalty does not serve as a detterrant to violent crime. And yet we cling to this broken idea that the rest of the western world has tossed aside. We continue to cling to a broken idea that puts us in the company of countries with the worst human rights records in the world. We execute more people in the United States than any country but China, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. Do we really wish to be associated with these countries that have such terrible human rights records as these?

The complete report on Griffin can be found here.

Dick Army Then and Now

From Think Progress, Dick Armey on Fox News this morning:
We’ve got Karl Rove, who is under this constant attack of political malarkey, who has probably the most documented case of his evidence of anyone in the the whole story. So quite frankly, I think the American people are seeing it for what it is right now. More than anything else it’s a political farce not a matter of national security interests.

Dick Armey on CNN on October 19 of 2003
Now, there was no reason to tell the world about the ambassador’s wife. It was just a short-sighted, self-centered, simple-minded cowardly act of revenge, and who’s paying the cost? The Bush White House… If they ever find [the leakers], they ought to just — they ought to just kick them out of the White House and prosecute them, because…the greater the pretension, the greater the hypocrisy.

It is amazing how they stand bye their friends even in the face of the larger principles. Shows what they really care about.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Bad Week For Mass Transit

Holy Crap, it's been a gruesome, ugly, sad week.
Brig. Javed Iqbal Cheema, the national head of the Crisis Management Center at the Interior Ministry, ruled out sabotage, saying the crash was "a pure accident."

Sometimes I Hate It When I'm Right

I was right, as sad as it is. Recent polling has Bush up 3 points in Gallup and 5 points in Pew since the London bombings. Both polls ran from July 7-10.
GALLUP
"Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling his job as president?"


Approve_____Disapprove_____Unsure
7/7-10/05
__49___________48____________3

6/29-30/05
__46___________51____________3

PEW
"Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling his job as president?" If "Depends": "Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling his job as president?"

Approve_____Disapprove_____Unsure
7/7-10/05
___47__________46____________7

6/8-12/05
___42__________49____________10

Bush's greatest ally is a scared public. No matter how many terrorist attacks there are on his watch, and no matter how much world terrorism increases on his watch, if the public is afraid, Bush's numbers go up, if the public is not afraid they realize that he doesn't share their values and his numbers drop. More Evidence in the Gallup Poll that the public is afraid. 20% more now think that further acts of terrorism in the United States are either "Very Likely" or "Somewhat Likely". An 8% jump in the "very likely" number since June 20th and a 12% jump in the "Somewhat Likely" number. The American public rallies behind Bush every time they become afraid.

It's Alive!

The White House Press Corps finally woke up, asking McClellen numerous questions about Rove.

RNC Defends Outing CIA Operative

Ken Mehlman amazingly said:
The bottom line is Karl Rove was discouraging a reporter from writing a false story based on a false premise, and the Democrats are engaging in blatant partisan political attacks

So the position of the RNC is to no longer deny it, but rather make the absurd claim that it was the right thing to do? So it's now the role of the White House to regulate the press? It's also now ok to release the name of a covert CIA agent endangering national security to make sure the Press doesn't print something false? Please. If they want to make attacks on the content of Joe Wilson's NYT artical in July of 2003, then go ahead. But to defend the act of outing a CIA agent is the most ridiculous position that I can imagine. So ridiculous in fact, that I would have thought that it had to be imagined.

DSCC Outfundraising NRSC

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has outfundraised the National Republican Senatorial Committee thus far for the upcoming 2006 midterm elections. Chris Bowers over at MyDD credits the fundraising prowess of Senate Democrats and ineptitude of Senate Republicans with the recent filibuster deal, arguing that Republican donors were frustrated by the deal and lost faith in their party.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Insurance Bashing

Lacking anything truly relevent to write about today I will engage in a short bashing of insurance companies, first the context

I was at Taco Bell last week when I didn't recieve the taco that was supposed to come with my burrito, got me thinking:
If insurance companies owned fast food restaurants they would intentionally leave out parts of the order for people going through the drive through in hopes that most (or at least a lot) of people won't come back when they realize their entire order was not there.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Prediction

While the last round of polling data had Bush hovering arround a dismal 43% approval rating, and dissaprovals consistantly over 50%, the next round will be a big jump for the Bush Administration, their numbers will be near or back over 50% approval because of the culture of fear that has been revitalized with the recent London transit bombings.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Surely Dean Can Do Better Than That

Howard Dean, appearing on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart blew an opportunity. When asked what Democrats would do if in office Dean (who is better than most Democrats at framing) talked policy instead of the broad moral values that Democrats will fight for when in office.
Stewart: The thing that I always find is I don't know what the Democrats would do, if let's say tomorrow you were in office, specifically what they would do. That seems to be the thing that people have toughest time wrapping their heads arround.

Dean: First of all I'll give you an issues list but that's not the important part. Balancing the budget, we want health care for every single american, we want a strong defense that involves cooperating with other countries instead of spitting on them.

Dean went on to say "love thy neighbor as thyself and you don't get to choose your neighbors, I mean we're all in this together." That's a fine answer in some ways at the end, but it fails to answer the question Stewart was really driving at "What is the core philosophy/values of the Democratic Party, how would you govern?" You can talk all you want about issues, and you can talk all you want about everyone being in this together, but the answer to that question has to be a short five or six word phrase that Democrats can repeat over and over again. Here's how I would have Dean answer Stewart's question:
Stewart: The thing that I always find is I don't know what the Democrats would do, if let's say tomorrow you were in office, specifically what they would do. That seems to be the thing that people have toughest time wrapping their heads arround.

Dean: Democrats want a safer world, equity, and responsible government. Republicans have failed the American people in all these respects, they have pursued a foreign policy that has made us less safe from terrorism. Democrats want a strong defense that involves cooperating with other countries instead of spitting on them. We want health care for every American, we want a balanced budget, and we won't interfere in the personal decisions of everyday Americans.

Had a Republican been on the show and Stewart asked a question like that the answer would have started with "Republicans want smaller government, lower taxes, and moral values." The Republican then would have attached that to their platform. Democrats on the other hand cannot seem to create a coherent moral/philosofical message that Americans can "wrap their heads arround." From "safer world, equity, and responsible government" all Democratic policies can come from that. Markos Moulitsas over at DailyKos has argued for the brand to be,
Smart Government
Privacy
Conservation
Opportunity
US Leadership

There are at least 1,000 other short lists of the core Democratic values that don't reduce us to our specific issues and policy positions. Democrats at the very least must use something, we can't continue to list twenty thousand policy positions and then some vague catch-phrase that we're calling a "moral value." It's got to be a specific listing of our values, not a specific listing of policies, or a vague meaningless value, but our most essential core values from which everything else derives.

Cross Posted at DailyKos

Aaah, The Good Old FRC

The Family Research Council thinks non-white couples are offensive.

Gutless WH Press Corps

Plays the Rove story as a free speech issue, which it is not. Then refuses to ask a single question about Rove's role as one of Coopers sources for four consecutive briefings with McClellen. The mainstream press obviously has more important questions to concern themselves with, such as "Where the White Women At?".

hehehe

Thursday, July 07, 2005

London Bombing

There has been a terrorist attack in London today. Four bombs exploded in the subway system killing 33+ people and wounding 1,000.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Revealing Plame Sources Does Not Violate the First Amendment

And I hate the widespread reaction by the press that says jailing Miller and Cooper does. Yes, the press has a right to retain confidencial sources, but that right is not absolute. In this case there was illegal activity that threatened National Security where the culprit can be found by the release of confidential sources. Let's take two cases. One I will use Deep Throat in Watergate, and the other is the Plame leaker.

In the case of Deep Throat he was revealing illegal activity, and doing nothing illegal himself. It was important that the press' right to keep confidential sources be protected so that Felt/Deep Throat would not face retribution against himself or his family for doing what was right and necessary.

In the Plame case the confidential source acted illegally revealing the identity of a covert CIA operative to the press as an act of political retribution against her husband.

The cases are as different as can be, one is an excellent example of the necessity to maintain the right to keep confidential sources, and the other was an illegal act that has nothing to do with protecting whistleblowers.

Bill Israel at Editor and Publisher outlines the case better than I can.
In this case, journalists as a community have been played for patsies by the president’s chief strategist, Karl Rove, and are enabling him to abuse the First Amendment, by their invoking it.
...
The problem, as always, in dealing with Rove, is establishing a clear chain of culpability. Rove once described himself as a die-hard Nixonite; he is, like the former president, both student and master of plausible deniability. (This past weekend, in confirming that Rove was indeed a source for Matthew Cooper, Rove's lawyer said his client "never knowingly disclosed classified information.") That is precisely why prosecutor Fitzgerald in this case must document the pattern of Rove’s behavior, whether journalists published, or not.

For in this case, Rove, improving on Macchiavelli, has bet that reporters won’t rat their relationship with the administration’s most important political source. How better for him to operate without constraint, or to camouflage breaking the law, than under the cover of journalists and journalism, protected by the First Amendment?

Karl Rove is in my experience with him the brightest and most affable of companions; perhaps I have been coopted, for I genuinely treasure his friendship. But neither charm nor political power should be permitted to subvert the First Amendment, which is intended to insure that reporters and citizens burrow fully and publicly into government, not insulate its players from felony, or reality.

Reporters with a gut fear of breaching confidential sources must fight like tigers to protect them. But neither reporters Cooper nor Miller, nor their publications, nor anyone in journalism should protect the behavior of Rove (or anyone else) through an undiscerning, blanket use of the First Amendment that weakens its protections by its gross misuse.

This is not a free speech issue, as free speech itself is compromised by reporters invoking it.

More DeLay Corruption

Jack Abramoff instructed a restaurant not to charge Tom DeLay for a meal. This would be in blatant violation of Federal Law and still another layer of the DeLay/Abramoff scandal.

On the Religious Right

Conservative blogger John Cole (NOT Juan Cole) discusses why tradition (as I talked about here) is irrelevent to the Religious right.
It couldn't be clearer. The statement wasn't "We would like to thank Sandra Day O'Connor for her service and look forward to an opportunity to participate in the debate over her successor," it was "Don't let the door hit you in the ass and bring on the rapture."

I would love 'strict constructionist' or 'originalist' judges if that meant what I think it means. But it doesn't. When Dobson and the cultural conservatives talk about interpreting the Constitution, they mean they want a judge who will interpret it the same way the religious right interprets and quotes the bible- however it damned well pleases them as long as it fits the current political agenda.

If anyone really thinks Dobson and Tony Perkins care about the Constitution, they need to reassess their faculties. They care about the Constitution in the context that they think liberal activist judges are robbing them from what is rightfully theirs (and in fairness, sometimes they are right). What they really care about is displaying the Ten Commandments wherever and whenever because we are a "Christian Nation."

They care about inserting themselves into family matters of life and death. They care about keeping drugs out of your hands, even if they ease pain caused by illness. They care about treating homosexuals like second-class citizens. They care about prayer in school and keeping "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. They care about ending abortion. They care about making divorces really difficult to obtain. They care about inserting religion into schools and ending the teaching of evolution. They care about a whole host of things, but Constitutional deference is not one of them.

And if the Constitution strictly ruled against everyone of their wishes, and the citizens had a vote and laws were passed making gay marriage legal, abortion legal, etc., do you think they would just give up? Of course they wouldn't- they would try to change the Constitution through amendments. Can anyone else figure out why James Dobson supports a flag desecration amendment? The reason is simple- it is just another step in reshaping the country to their choosing.

It just is who they are- there can be no changing that. Debate doesn't work, as they only recognize brute political force. Have you ever tried to debate abortion with someone from the far religious right? There is no debate. If you agree to end partial-birth abortion, they won't be happy. If you enact strict and universal parental notification, it won't be enough. If you change it to one trimester only, that isn't enough. If you make abortion extremely difficult to obtain, if it is still elective, that won't be far enough. If every state but California outlaws all abortion, do you think all of a sudden they would embrace the Constitution and the rhetoric of 'states rights?' This isn't about compromise or the Constitution- this is about remaking the country in what they view as God's image.

So, with that in mind, it is a little silly to keep pointing to times when the Senate worked differently. These guys don't give a damn, and as we have seen, they are willing to break the Senate rules to get their way. They are perfectly willing to tank the party (or so they say) if someone like Gonzalez is nominated. They aren't going to be happy until they get everything they want, and they have $18 million and a lot of political clout lined up to make sure they get it.

I stole a lot of Cole's post here, so please click on the link for the whole thing. The Republican Party has been hijacked by the Dobsonites, and thus Bush will not nominate a mainstream conservative in the image of O'Conner, he'll nominate a radical right winger because Dobson and Company have complete control of the agenda.

Monday, July 04, 2005

More Roving

Karl Rove admitted to having used Ambassador Wilson's wife as a means of political retribution, from the American Prospect last March.

Today

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.


In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

On Rove

Rove is probably in for some criminal prosecution arround the Plame affair even if not as the direct leaker.

Military Censorship

Leonard Clark, an Arizona National Guardsman stationed in Iraq has been ordered to take down his blog because of statements he has made critical of the Bush Administration. On the 4th of July as we should be celebrating our freedoms this man serving his country is not allowed the basic freedom of speech that is one of our most treasured liberties as Americans.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

The Importance of O'Conner

DailyKos outlines the important role O'Conner plays in 5-4 decisions.

Perhaps Rove Wasn't the Direct Leaker

From Talking Points Memo:
Patrick Fitzgerald is after Rove for some felony arising out of the case (perjury after the fact? conspiracy?) but not the immediate and original act of leaking the name.

There's a lot still unknown here, but it's definately beginning to look as though the White House itself was directly behind the Plame leak. If that's the case this is huge. My apologies for an overly simply original post, the initial reports were hammering Rove hard as the leaker, it turns out now that we still don't know, but do know that Rove was a confidential source in Cooper's story.
I have yet to read Newsweek's story on the events by Michael Isikoff, but I'll be sure to get on it in the near future.

Back in the day

The President tried to find consensus candidates that the minority party could agree with. But now not only will that not happen, but the Republicans in the majority since 2000 have eliminated blue slipping taking away the ability to single Senators in the minority to block nominees, and done away with Rule IV requiring some minority support to move a nomination out of committee.
Originally, after Republicans gained control of the Senate in the 1994 elections and Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch assumed control of the Judiciary Committee, the rule regarding judicial nominees was this: If a single senator from a nominee's home state objected to (or "blue-slipped") a nomination, it was dead. This rule made it easy for Republicans to obstruct Clinton's nominees.

But in 2001, when a Republican became president, Hatch suddenly reversed course and decided that it should take objections from both home-state senators to block a nominee. That made it harder for Democrats to obstruct George W. Bush's nominees.

In early 2003 Hatch went even further: Senatorial objections were merely advisory, he said. Even if both senators objected to a nomination, it could still go to the floor for a vote.

Finally, a few weeks later, yet another barrier was torn down: Hatch did away with "Rule IV," which states that at least one member of the minority has to agree in order to end discussion about a nomination and move it out of committee.

This President seems to have no interest in finding consensus candidates as Clinton did in 1993. Yes, it turns out both Ginsberg and Breyer were the first choice of one Senator Orrin Hatch.

I can't spell

It's Karl Rove not Carl Rove, sorry.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Rove Does Dirty Work Himself?

I would have at least thought that he would have passed the buck off to someone else. Time's Matt Cooper has been forced to release his documents in the case of the leaking of CIA agent Valerie Plame as political retribution against her husband Joe Wilson who revealed that the Niger documents claiming Iraq had purchased enriched uranium from Niger were forged. It turns out the informant was...none other than...Carl Rove. More on the leak here, and here.

In other news, CNN has decided to lead with a missing white girl instead of the biggest scandal since Watergate. They really should change their name to WWWA (Where the White Women At?) News (If you don't get the joke click here).

Possible Replacements

The New York Times has a list of eight possible O'Conner replacements hot off the rumor mill. I don't know anything about most of them, check out the list and see what you can find.
Samuel Alito Jr.
Edith Brown Clement
Emilio Garza
Abu Gonzalez
Edith Jones
Michael Luttig
Michael McConnel
William Pryor
John Roberts Jr.
Harvey Wilkinson III

2 conservativs + 0 liberals ="bipartison panel"

Opposite of Novak on CNN's discussion of O'Conner's resignation Jack Valenti endorsed Antonin Scalia to be the next Chief Justice. It's nice to know how well CNN represents both sides of the argument.

Good fair coverage throughout the morning too:
Between 10:30 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. ET, the guests on Fox News discussing O'Connor's retirement included:

Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-UT)
Robert Bork, former District of Columbia Circuit Court judge
William Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard
Fred Barnes, executive editor of The Weekly Standard
C. Boyden Gray, former White House counsel for President George H.W. Bush
Former Senator Alan Simpson (R-WY)

Over the same time period, CNN's guests included:

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)
Bork
Edwin Meese, former attorney general for President Ronald Reagan

Friday, July 01, 2005

Oh shit

Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Conner resigned today. O'Conner has long been a swing justice on the Supreme Court who usually gets her way.
If you are a lawyer with a case at the court, pitch your arguments to her. If your issue is affirmative action, or religion, or federalism, or redistricting, or abortion, or constitutional due process in any of its many manifestations, you can assume that the fate of that issue is in her hands. Don't bother with doctrinaire assertions and bright-line rules. Be meticulously prepared on the facts, and be ready to show how the law relates to those facts and how, together, they make sense.

And it is because Justice O'Connor has played such a pivotal role on the court for much of her 24-year tenure that her unexpected retirement is such a galvanizing event. Much more than the widely anticipated retirement of the predictably conservative Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, her departure creates an opportunity for President Bush to shape the court.

This is a huge opportunity for Bush to change the makeup of the Court in a signifigant way to throw out all of the New Deal and overturn the basic rights of equal protection of laws, and due process that have developed so much over the past 50 years.

Here's my theory, and my thoughts on how Democrats should react to the nomination battle:

The Shrub will appoint Abu Gonzalez to fill the vacancy. Gonzalez will be the choice because Bush clearly trusts him, and with hispanics being a rapidly growing demographic in the United States it will be seen as correct to put a Hispanic on the Supreme Court. Democrats should then scream and yell bringing up Abu Graib and the torture memos constantly. The Republicans will then bring his nomination to the floor and Democrats should NOT filibuster knowing that Gonzalez is far more moderate than anyone else Bush is likely to appoint. While Gonzalez will have a detrimental effect on the Court's interpretations of procedural due process and foreign policy related cases, he will not vote to dismantle the New Deal or do away with substantive due process as any other Bush nominee undoubtedly would vote to do. If this is what happens then the general direction of the Court today will stand. When Rehnquist either resigns or dies, Bush will appoint a right wing nutjob. Democrats should not fight it either, as Rehnquist already fits that description. They should again oppose the nomination without a filibuster. The filibuster must be put aside for a better day, the day when we lose Ginsberg or Stevens.

The alternate scenario I like much less. Bush appoints some bible thumbing wingnut who seeks to completely reshape due process, equal protection, and the commerce clause. Democrats must filibuster this nominee, they must stand firm to force a reasonable nomination from the Shrub, this is the time to make Republicans decide for all the marbles whether to pursue the nuclear option, a major showdown could ensue in a truly bitter battle. Should Democrats win that battle they should not fight any right wing Rehnquist replacement and as I said above prepare for a showdown over Ginsberg or Stevens should either of them retire.

From the comments at DailyKos:
The Conservatives' ad blitz (4.00 / 3)

Found this out via CBS Evening News tonight:

The conservative ad blitz will feature the phrase "THE DEMOCRATS WILL ATTACK ANY NOMINEE BUSH CHOOSES!!!!"

Our response: "Most Americans stand with the Democrats in not liking Bush's policies, or his politics. We stand with the American people in wanting George W. Bush to select nominees that are within the American mainstream, not extremist activists."

This could be used in a variety of situations.

by Phoenix Woman on Fri Jul 1st, 2005 at 17:29:16 PDT
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conservatives (4.00 / 5)

should prove it. appoint a hardcore liberal. I promise we'll attack him/her. i swear. appoint a hardcore liberal. c'mon...

Fight Bush! Support Allegheny Wilderness!

by seamus on Fri Jul 1st, 2005 at 17:40:34 PDT
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Good idea, please do prove that we'll oppose any nominee Bush chooses by appointing a hardcore liberal.