GW Bush

Bush is World"s #1 Terrorist

Friday, April 29, 2005

Congree Passes Budget with Cuts in Medicaaid and in Taxes

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April 29th, 2005 1:28 pm
Congress Passes Budget With Cuts in Medicaid and in Taxes

By Sheryl Gay Stolberg / New York Times

WASHINGTON, April 28 - The House and Senate broke a lengthy impasse over federal spending Thursday night, narrowly adopting a $2.56 trillion federal budget for 2006 that aims to trim the growth of Medicaid by $10 billion over five years, add $106 billion in tax cuts and clear the way for oil drilling in an Alaskan wildlife refuge.

The back-to-back votes - 214 to 211 in the House and 52 to 47 in the Senate - ran mostly along party lines. As the roll was called in the Senate, shortly before midnight, Vice President Dick Cheney sat in the chamber, ready to cast his vote to break a tie, if necessary.

The passage came just hours after House and Senate negotiators reached a budget deal, resolving differences that revolved largely around Medicaid, the government insurance program for the poor. The budget resolution instructs lawmakers to freeze spending in most domestic programs, but not for the military and for domestic security.

Congress has failed to adopt a budget for two of the last three years, and Republican leaders hailed the votes as a victory. With the federal deficit at a record level, President Bush and Congressional Republicans - prodded by fiscal conservatives in their party - have promised to rein in government spending. Adopting a budget was a test of their ability to make good on that vow.

At his news conference Thursday night, moments after the House passed the budget but before the Senate voted, Mr. Bush cited the resolution as an example of his ability to get things done on Capitol Hill.

"There's the budget agreement," the president said, "and I'm grateful for that. It shows we are making progress."

Earlier in the evening, Representative Tom DeLay of Texas, the House majority leader, called the spending plan " the best since the historic Balanced Budget Act of 1997."

Shortly before the House began its vote, Mr. DeLay said, "This is the budget the American people voted for when they returned a Republican House, a Republican Senate and a Republican president to the White House last November."

Democrats derided the budget as misguided, saying it would slash spending on programs for the most vulnerable members of society, give lavish tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans, force veterans to spend more on health care and deepen the deficit, instead of reducing it, as Republicans contend it will.

The House Democratic leader, Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, called it "a missed opportunity" and "an assault on our values." Senator Kent Conrad of North Dakota, the senior Democrat on the Senate Budget committee, called it "a mistake for the country."

Although the budget resolution is nonbinding, it is important because it provides an economic blueprint that lawmakers can use to pass specific tax and spending legislation later in the year. For instance, the resolution assumes $106 billion in tax cuts over the next five years, and explicitly directs Congress to enact legislation providing for $70 billion of those cuts. The intent, its authors say, is to extend Mr. Bush's tax cuts on capital gains and dividend income.

The budget resolution also directs lawmakers to come up with $2.4 billion in energy revenues - a provision that Congress can use to pass legislation opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.

"It's high time," said one leading advocate of drilling, Senator Pete V. Domenici, the New Mexico Republican and chairman of the Senate Energy Committee.

Senator Lisa Murkowski, the Alaska Republican who has led the fight in Congress to open the refuge, gave the thumbs-up sign and said, "Love it!"

But in the House, the drilling provision drew objections from some Republicans who voted against the budget because they opposed opening the Arctic refuge to oil exploration, Speaker J. Dennis Hastert said. Mr. Hastert seemed unruffled when asked about the closeness of the vote. "But we won," he said.

In the Senate, three Republicans - Senators George V. Voinovich and Mike DeWine of Ohio, and Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island - joined with 43 Democrats and one independent to oppose the plan. Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, Democrat of Connecticut, was absent.

This year is the first time since 1997 that Congress has used the budget to trim the explosive growth of so-called entitlement programs, particularly Medicaid. It directs lawmakers to reduce the growth of entitlements - including farm subsidies and a federal pensions guarantee as well as Medicaid - by a total of $35 billion over the next five years.

Mr. Bush originally proposed a $51 billion reduction. The architects of the Congressional budget say the $35 million is significant nonetheless.

"This is a major step," Senator Judd Gregg, Republican of New Hampshire and chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, said of the entitlement trims.

Mr. Gregg and his House counterpart, Representative Jim Nussle of Iowa, say the budget will fulfill Mr. Bush's goal of cutting the federal deficit in half over five years, bringing the figure down to $210 billion in 2010.

Democrats dismiss that contention as flawed, saying the budget ignores shortfalls in Medicare, the health insurance plan for the elderly, as well as the cost of the war in Iraq.

"We now face record budget deficits, and we face them for as far as the eye can see," Senator Conrad said, pointing to charts that resembled a flood of red ink.

Democrats also said the budget would be devastating to poor people who depend on programs like Medicaid.

"We're attacking the most vulnerable in our society," Senator Jon Corzine, Democrat of New Jersey, said.

Some moderate Republicans, led by Senator Gordon H. Smith of Oregon, agreed, and the resulting dispute over Medicaid threatened to derail the entire budget process. When the budget passed the Senate last month, Mr. Smith led a successful effort to eliminate any spending reductions on Medicaid and instead create a bipartisan commission to study the future of the program.

Mr. Smith's proposal passed the Senate on a bipartisan vote. But the House budget recommended steep cuts in the growth of Medicaid, setting off a dispute between the two chambers. That prompted weeks of intense negotiations On Thursday, Mr. Smith said that he had agreed to the demands of the Republican Senate leadership for $10 billion less in Medicaid spending growth and that White House officials had agreed to create a bipartisan commission that would probably finish its work in 18 months."C

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Tom DeLay Daily Contact with Lobbyst

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April 27th, 2005 11:53 am
Records Show DeLay, Lobbyist Daily Contact

By Sharon Theimer / Associated Press

WASHINGTON - Over two years, Rep. Tom DeLay had at least two dozen discussions with a lobbyist working to keep a U.S. territory's factories free from new labor laws. The lobbyist contributed to the House leader's campaigns and arranged travel for him.

Records show that DeLay's staff spoke with the lobbyist, Jack Abramoff, or his team almost daily during this period.

DeLay's office kept Abramoff, now under criminal investigation, routinely apprised of congressional efforts to block new regulations on his client, the Northern Mariana Islands.

Questions have been raised about whether Abramoff himself paid for some of DeLay's foreign trips in violation of House rules. DeLay maintains they were properly financed by trip sponsors.

Abramoff's firm reported it drafted legislative materials for DeLay, and Abramoff boasted to island leaders he could use his close ties to Republican leaders to block legislation from receiving a House vote.

"Getting the bill off the schedule for next week, however, should enable us to use our connections within the Leadership to ensure that ... it will not come to the floor," Abramoff wrote the islands in September 1996.

The Northern Marianas billing and correspondence records of Abramoff's former lobbying firm, Preston Gates, were obtained by The Associated Press under an open records request approved by the island government.

They provide a day-by-day account of the lobbyist's campaign of fundraising, trip-providing and schmoozing with lawmakers in both parties aimed at, among other things, getting Congress to block Clinton administration efforts to regulate alleged "sweatshop" garment factories in the Northern Marianas. Those rules were never enacted.

DeLay, R-Texas, is now the House majority leader, but back then he was the No. 3 official in the House. His job as majority whip involved counting the way lawmakers intended to vote, which often influenced when legislation would come to a vote in the GOP-led Congress. Though Abramoff billed the island for contacts with dozens of lawmakers, DeLay's office was among the most frequently listed in the billing records.

An Abramoff spokesman said Tuesday the records confirm the lobbyist earned his pay. "Mr. Abramoff and his team worked tirelessly on behalf of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands and achieved tremendous results," Andrew Blum said.

DeLay's office said Tuesday he made decisions on the merits, not because of Abramoff's largesse or lobbying. "People know that Majority Leader DeLay stands on principles and bases his voting decisions on the merits," spokesman Dan Allen said.

The documents show that Abramoff's firm and the House Ethics Committee began having concerns as early as 1996 about Abramoff's arrangement of numerous trips for congressional members to the Pacific islands and how they were being paid for.

Abramoff billed numerous trips to his personal credit card or the firm, the records state, and then he later pressed the islands to reimburse him to avoid violating the new ban on lobbyists giving gifts to House members.

"I am under pressure here since the firm, under the gift ban rules, is not allowed to be out of pocket too long on the costs of congressional member and staff travel," Abramoff wrote in November 1996.

Though a tiny set of U.S. territorial islands in the Pacific Ocean with a population of about 80,000, Abramoff's client received constant attention - often numerous contacts in a week - from DeLay's staff in the mid- to late 1990s, the records show.

DeLay himself met or talked with Abramoff at least two dozen times in 1996 and 1997, when Abramoff's work for the islands got under way, the records show.

DeLay aides were in far more frequent contact, often talking day to day with Abramoff and his team of lobbyists, which charged the Northern Marianas $3 million in lobbying fees between October 1996 and October 1997.

On one trip that Abramoff arranged for DeLay and his staff to take to Russia in August 1997, the lobbyist billed the Northern Marianas for 20 hours of interactions with DeLay and his staff even though the trip was supposed to focus on Russian affairs, the records show.

Legislative dealings with DeLay's office were frequently sandwiched around campaign contributions, golf outings or trips provided or arranged by Abramoff for lawmakers, including some for DeLay.

For instance, the lobbyist and his wife gave maximum $5,000 donations each to DeLay's leadership political action committee on Jan. 14, 1997, about two months before DeLay met with the island's governor during a Washington visit and gave a glowing speech about the islands.

One of DeLay's top congressional aides at the time, Tony Rudy, e-mailed Abramoff a copy of remarks DeLay made to the full House on March 19, 1997, praising the islands as a "model of reform."

Abramoff also arranged for DeLay and his wife to visit the Mariana Islands during the 1997 Christmas break. Earlier that month, two DeLay staffers went to the islands as well, the records show.

In April, 1996, two donors from the islands gave $2,000 each to DeLay's campaign. In June 6, 1996, Abramoff gave a $2,000 donation in the name of DeLay's office to a charity golf tournament.

And a month after Abramoff wrote the islands about getting legislation they opposed blocked in the House, the political action committee for Abramoff's firm donated $500 to DeLay's campaign in October 1996.

The records show Abramoff's lobbying team sometimes billed the client to attend Republican fundraisers, such as one in August 1996 for Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa.

In June 1997, he reported to the islands that he went to the U.S. Open golf tournament "with a number of our congressional staffer friends."

He credited the numerous trips he arranged to the islands with fending off the new labor rules the Clinton administration and some congressional Democrats were seeking.

"There is no doubt that trips to the CNMI (islands) are one of the most effective ways to build permanent friends on the Hill," the firm wrote the island government in a lobbying plan in February 1998.

Some of the lawmakers Abramoff arranged to travel to the islands included Reps. Dana Rohrabacher and Brian Bilbray, both California Republicans, and Ralph Hall, a Texas Democrat.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Tom DeLay and the House of Scandals

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How DeLay's House of Scandal Hurts You

To put it plainly, DeLay's Republican Congress doesn't care about you. Their major legislation appears to be little more than a quid pro quo with huge special interests -- with cynical indifference to the problems facing middle class Americans. As health care costs have continued to skyrocket, Republicans passed legislation that provided almost $140 billion in windfall profits for their donors in the pharmaceutical industry, while making it explicitly illegal for the federal government to bargain for lower prices and preventing ordinary seniors from importing FDA approved drugs from Canada at a lower cost. As millions of Americans lost their jobs in the Bush/ DeLay economy, House Republicans gave away billions in taxpayer money to special interests like Enron. As millions more Americans struggled to make ends meet, Republicans cut the right to overtime pay for countless workers.

On this comprehensive page, see key statistics on the Republican middle class squeeze, how DeLay's scandals play into all of it, as well as a summary of the four biggest Republican bills passed over the last two years.

Issues: Gas Prices; The Uninsured; Health Care Premiums; Prescription Drug Costs; Education; Veterans; Social Security; National Debt

Legislation: Medicare; Spending; Energy; Corporate Taxes; "Stimulus Proposal"

BALLOONING GAS PRICES: Under the DeLay Congress, gas prices have doubled in just the past ten years according to the Department of Energy. Over the course of that time, Republicans have taken more than $100 million from oil and gas companies and DeLay and his cronies have done nothing to keep gas prices down. As middle class families pay more and more at the pump, the DeLay Republicans take more and more for their campaign coffers.

# Which DeLay Scandals Factor In?: TRMPAC Indictments: Energy companies like Enron and Westar were key corporate funders of DeLay's PAC, which according to the AP, "routinely solicited donations by identifying legislative actions that prospective givers wanted." We know what Enron did to California consumers, what was DeLay offering when he asked them for $100,000?
# Westar Ethics Admonishment: This admonishment focused on DeLay's attendance at an Energy industry golf tournament, which was followed by the insertion of language desired by Westar, one of the companies involved. Is this how GOP energy policy is formulated?

THE UNINSURED: Under Republican rule, the number of uninsured in America has risen dramatically. According to the most recent figures, the number of non-elderly uninsured Americans has gone from 39.6 million in 2000 to 44.7 million in 2003.

Which DeLay Scandals Factor In?:

Friday, April 22, 2005

Condi Rice

Welcome to!

Is Rice Obstructing the Bolton Investigation?

A very serious allegation buried in a story in today’s Washington Post:

On Monday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told her senior staff she was disappointed about the stream of allegations [about John Bolton] and said she did not want any information coming out of the department that could adversely affect the nomination, said officials speaking on the condition of anonymity.

18 U.S.C. Section 1505:

Whoever corruptly, or by threats or force, or by any threatening letter or communication influences, obstructs, or impedes or endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede…the due and proper exercise of the power of inquiry under which any inquiry or investigation is being had by either House, or any committee of either House or any joint committee of the Congress–

Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

This is serious enough that a reporter covering the State Department should inquire about Rice’s conduct. What, exactly, did Rice tell her subordinates? How is this consistent with their full cooperation with a Congressional inquiry.

Posted by Judd April 20th, 2005 8:54 am
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Filed Under: Congress, International Relations

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These people are bullies, plain and simple. They are willing to blow democratic principles out of the water to get what they want. The opposition needs to stand up to them, punch hard and true right square in the face, continuously if necessary. Tempers will flare, blood will be shed, but isn’t this country worth it! Fight them until they back down. Bullies always back down because they’re wrong, we just need a few good members of Congress to step in the ring.

Comment by Jay — April 20th, 2005 @ 9:26 am

Anyone who thinks that this will be ‘investigated’ is seriously fooling themselves. If there is one thing that should have been learned in the last 5 years, it’s that criminals that investigate criminals always find out, hey!, we’re innocent! Really! Would we lie to you??? Come on folks, blogger and real investigations could find, not only the ’smoking gun’, but they could find in the hand of l’il Ms. Rice with her finger on the trigger about to squeeze off another round and the line would be thusly: “What are you going to believe, us, or your lying eyes?”

Comment by Jim — April 20th, 2005 @ 9:30 am

There is a difference between ‘not obstructing’ and ‘not volunteering’. I don’t see anything wrong with Rice instructing people not to get ahead of the Senate in their investigation. If she meant that people should not respond to Senate requests, then she is in the wrong. If she meant that she didn’t want people volunteering information before it was requested (unless illegal activity was found) then she was in the right, and it is the same as we did during democratic administrations.

Of course, it is usually best to provide the bad information to the Senate in advance of the hearings rather than making them dig for it, but that isn’t how this administration works and it is contributing to Bolton’s problems.

Comment by Caitlyn Antrim — April 20th, 2005 @ 9:54 am

Oh come on Caitlyn, what do you think she meant?

Comment by mudkitty — April 20th, 2005 @ 10:05 am

I have no doubt that Condi Rice would go TO ANY LENGTHS to confirm the President’s nominee. Her devotion is, always has been, and always will be to George Bush first and foremost.

She exists to serve Bush. Not this country. That was made abundantly clear in the 9.11 hearings wherein her obvious goal was to protect the President from ctiticism. Not to honestly discuss issues that led to the attack.

She has no more interest in public service than she has in collecting stamps.

Comment by Victoria — April 20th, 2005 @ 10:11 am

Victoria is exactly right. Remember when Condi accidentally referred to George Bush as “my husband"? She’s in love!

Comment by Audrey — April 20th, 2005 @ 10:33 am

Condi is just protecting her boss. I don’t think it’s right, they both should be history. Unfortunately we are a country w/ 59 mil idiots so I’m not surprised by her actions either.

Happy 4/20 everyone!!!

Comment by kindness — April 20th, 2005 @ 10:40 am

4 20. cool

Comment by Jim — April 20th, 2005 @ 10:53 am

She was picked for one reason - to toe the line and do what Rove/Bush say to do: support all the policies, support the people they choose, and don’t ask questions. Powell gave them shit, and they will not have that from the help.

Comment by Flamethrower — April 20th, 2005 @ 11:05 am

Condi Rice speaks out against Russia’s lack of an ‘independent free press’…

Her love of a free press must have inspired the Bush admin to create and distribute fake news segments to American media outlets.

Comment by Victoria — April 20th, 2005 @ 11:16 am

No! She’s not obstructing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a Condi fan but in this case Condi’s undermining Bolton. By saying what she did she signaled there’s dirt on the guy. She doesn’t like Bolton. Cheney tried to plant him in her office and she didn’t want him reporting back to Cheney on every little thing. She also doesn’t want Bolton at the UN. So GW is going to have to pick who he loves most - Cheney or Condi.

Just the fact that she and not Bush announced his nomination was a signal that she’s got a slight edge. For now.

Comment by Maezeppa — April 20th, 2005 @ 11:34 am

Bush praised Lincoln yesterday. The way Lincoln prevailed in 1864-1865 was by aggressively pressing the offensive against the Confederacy ON ALL FRONTS SIMULTANEOUSLY.

The Confederacy couldn’t fight that many battles at once, everywhere, and collapsed.

The only hope for the U.S. democracy is for Republican patriots to turn against the Bushco war on democracy. The Democratic party can’t fight all these battles on all these fronts simultaneously. Rice, Bolton, Blackbridge, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and Rove are all vulnerable, exposed. But like Sherman and Grant that march at the head of juggernauts gobbling their opposition.

Unless rank and file Republicans “desert” their fascist party and side with the opposition in these skirmishes and confrontations – like Voinovitch did yesterday – the juggernaut will roll right over our country and democracy as we have known it will collapse.

Look what happened to the Sioux.

Comment by flotron — April 20th, 2005 @ 11:44 am

Winston Churchill:
I would say to the House, as I said to those who have joined this government: “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.” We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, What is our policy? I will say; “It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us: to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy.” You ask, What is our aim? I can answer with one word: Victory - victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival.”

- First Address as Prime Minister, May 13 1940.

Comment by bascombe — April 20th, 2005 @ 12:04 pm

I do not at all underrate the severity of the ordeal which lies before us; but I believe our countrymen will show themselves capable of standing up to it, like the brave men of Barcelona, and will be able to stand up to it, and carry on in spite of it, at least as well as any other people in the world. Much will depend upon this; every man and every woman will have the chance to show the finest qualities of their race, and render the highest service to their cause. For all of us, at this time, whatever our sphere, our station, our occupation or our duties, it will be a help to remember the famous lines: He nothing common did or mean, Upon that memorable scene.
- Winston Churchill, “Their Finest Hour", June 18 1940.

Comment by bascombe — April 20th, 2005 @ 12:07 pm

The Republican Party appears to be “drunk with power". If it fails to reign in Tom DeLay and tuck him quietly away, it may well find itself no longer the majority. Frist, also, needs to be careful of his utterances to the media … “our voice is not being heard"?? The voice of the American people have not been heard since Bush & Company took over this country!

Comment by Marva — April 20th, 2005 @ 12:33 pm

Ive watched the hearings and was aghast when Senator Lugar began the vote, and I’m very relieved that Senator Joe Biden spoke so forcefully at the outset and redoubled his remarks to the chairman. For a short while there I thought well, here go the republicans again, they arent going to consider their actions they’re going to do this, even Senator Hagel’s remark that he may note vote for the nominee on the full vote didnt account for much, knowing the greater body of course has the greater numbers of members who atleast on a party line are more inclined to approve this nomination made by the President.
But nothing meant more to me than when a statesman was heard by the name of Voinovich!

There is serious considerations at hand here about the future of the nation and verily the world if this nominee is sent to represent you and me.
His remarks in the past are inflamatory, his conduct towrds subordinates, reprehensible, the pattern fatal to the well being of the relationship we have with the world.
Like it or not till the day the UN is ever closed down, the US will have a seat there and a voice and that voice should be in the best tradition of the State Department, and in the interest of the People, not the skewed prerogatives of the individuals on the scene at the moment.

Comment by stew — April 20th, 2005 @ 12:43 pm

e-mail address edited to reflect correct spelling

Comment by stew — April 20th, 2005 @ 12:45 pm

If Watergate was a “cancer” on Nixon’s presidency, then Dubya’s consistent promotion of grossly incompetent (but fiercely loyal) Constitution-hating toadies is a brain tumor.

People - it’s time to stand and be counted.

Comment by Dr. Lee — April 20th, 2005 @ 1:00 pm

Everyone can forget investigating this little allegation regarding Aunt Condi-mima…the inmates are running the asylum, remember? Who really thinks anyone will look into this, two years after we still don’t know who outed Valerie Plame?

This government, and the people who continue to support it, have so long passed from the realm of outrageous to the farcical (only to foreigners, it can’t be funny for most Americans), and Blaghdaddy is beginnig to wonder if perhaps America doesn’t deserve the leader America chooses…Prove him wrong.

Comment by Blaghdaddy — April 20th, 2005 @ 1:36 pm

So what else is new? I’m not surprised about Convoluted Rice’s criminal behavior to supress the truth about John Bolt-on. G Wrong Bush-it and his mob of thugs have been breaking laws right from the start.

Comment by KEVIN SCHMIDT — April 20th, 2005 @ 1:42 pm

Rice Obstructing Bolton Investigation?
Rice Obstructing Bolton Investigation?

Trackback by The Supreme Irony of Life… — April 20th, 2005 @ 1:53 pm

Kindalousy Rice - wow, did she POOCH 9/11. National Security Advisor my aching butt. She’s already proved she will cover up anything - Americans be damned.

Comment by Patriot — April 20th, 2005 @ 2:04 pm

Well, this discussion has been entertaining to watch…but very sad! The rhetoric and the logic are shallow, childish, silly…few of the comments carry much weight, nothing but a lot of arrogant whining, especially the ‘59mill idiots’ comment! Wake up…..find a different approach because this reactionary venting isn’t convincing. Find some substance!!!

Comment by kris — April 20th, 2005 @ 2:27 pm

Now is the time to stand and be counted. Hey Dr. Lee……..ONE! Give me a break.


W………still the PRESIDENT
D……….still the LEADER

Comment by Mark — April 20th, 2005 @ 2:33 pm

bite me kris. I stand by my 59 mil idiots statement.

Comment by kindness — April 20th, 2005 @ 2:45 pm

Kris, critiquing the banter is fine, but you have added zero to the debate yourself. Where are your substantive comments? I think the discussion illustrates the level of disgust pretty well, and having a forum to vent useful as far as I’m concerned.

It’s arrogant to complain about the problem when you’ve just inserted yourself as an obvious party to it.

Comment by Jay — April 20th, 2005 @ 2:55 pm

The thing about Democrats is they dont stand up and fight at ALL. No position and act like a dog being kicked by tucking their tal between their legs. Totally playing into “Repugnents” hands. we have a screaming guy from Vermotn leading us to no where again. My vote is put you rmoney and time in Move On and forget the Dems as far as policy goes. The whole point is…hard to stand up when you are standing up with a bunch of p**sys…Man, I really am embarrassed I am a Democrat, we need fresh blood, courage and a clean start…then we can take on the Condi’d. Delay is getting away with this as well…watch and wait.

Comment by rebe — April 20th, 2005 @ 2:58 pm

I hope the 59 Mil idiots get every thing they voted for. Four months into this new term and going down hill fast. My only hope at the end we never hear of the GOP again.

Comment by Willie Loucks — April 20th, 2005 @ 3:23 pm


Comment by MICHAEL R. ASHLEY — April 20th, 2005 @ 3:46 pm

Hey Mark - Bush was NEVER a leader - just the spoiled scion of a ruthlessly rich family. David Koresh was more of a leader.
kris - use your real name: Ann Coulter.

Comment by Dr. Lee — April 20th, 2005 @ 3:47 pm

Four months into this new term - look on the bright side - only 3 and a half years left! Just think all the trillions more in national debt that’s not a problem, all the wonderful nominees, the countries yet to invade, the …

Comment by Flamethrower — April 20th, 2005 @ 3:58 pm

Rebe, part of the problem is, it’s in our mindset to NOT be violent fascist pigs. Claiming to be “moral” and “decent” and “compassionate", then “shedding blood” as an early method to ‘get what you want’ is what THEY do, not us. If you want to make changes for the better, and in a “moral” way, you have to be the part, not just give it lip-service. Republicans talk about “morals", yet let companies set policies that starve a portion of our population, poison people and cause heinous illnesses, and shift production to 3rd worlds where they can use slave labor. We aren’t “pussies", we’re standing on the moral high-ground here. Once it get’s to the point where they (the pugs) get ‘violent’ in a real-world context, belive me.. there will be plenty of us “pussies” content to get out our guns and drive them back to the shadows they came from. But, for now, we have to keep a level head and use facts and persistence to make our point.

As far as Rice’s obstruction, she doesn’t say diddly about “don’t volunteer info", she says she doesn’t want ANY info COMING OUT OF THAT DEPARTMENT.. that’s not saying “hey, only do what you have to", that’s saying “block the info from getting out". That’s criminal.

Anyway, we know nothing will come of it. Our leaders aren’t able to get anything done because the Repugs stole the majority and refuse to lead.. they just want to pass more laws that put more of your tax dollars in the hands of corperations while making sure the richest 2% never pay taxes again..

Comment by Savantster — April 20th, 2005 @ 3:58 pm

Ya know, I think Condi is probably a VERY intelligent person. But she shows us repeatedly that she is more concerned with covering her boss’s ass than she is covering the American people. Now is that unusual in a political situation? NO. Does she owe us more than Bush? I think so but she obviously does not.

Comment by kindness — April 20th, 2005 @ 4:16 pm


Possibly it’s time to rethink that mode of behaviour.

Even though we have a RIGHT WINGED media, and facsists in power, headlines still leak out about Tom DeLay’s criminal activities, Bush clamps down harder on the poor and supresses the truth about terrorism, and STILL morons like this kris idiot want something “substantive.” Any more GD substantive would be debtor’s prison. It’s time to stop being “decent” about it, and give Mark the “break” he so eagerly wants and desperately needs.


Comment by Dr. Lee — April 20th, 2005 @ 4:18 pm

Dr. Lee #34

I agree that it’s -almost- time, but we still have to see what’s gonna happen with the voting issues (following the commission closely). If we get some real progress on that front, we can vote the nasty folks out in 2006 and 08, then start repealing the joke laws they put in place.

If we don’t get satisfaction on voting rules, if we don’t get full disclosure on various issues (Plame, Bolton, etc), -then- I’m with ya.. completely..


Comment by Savantster — April 20th, 2005 @ 4:26 pm

Savantster - it’s “almost” time. Are you kidding? It’s so past time, that on many issues it’s too late.

How’s this for substance:

It is public record that the Bush Administration stonewalled on the 9/11 invesigation and in fact fought to prevent it in the first place. Why?

They tried to keep the August 6th Presidential Daily Brief about “Bin Laden determined to Strike within the US” a secret.

They ignored warnings from the outgoing Clinton administration that terrorism in general and Bin Laden in particular was a grave concern and they did the same when the Richard Clarke’s of the world warned that the system was “flashing red” in the summer of 01.

When the dots are connected, the picture is clear. The Bush people knew that something major was about to happen, yet they did…..nothing.

Bush stays in Crawford after the 8/6 PDB warning and he jets back to D.C. for the bogus Schiavo matter.

What more needs to be said?

Comment by Jason — April 20th, 2005 @ 5:02 pm

Many thanks to kindness (??), Dr. Lee, Jay and company…you proved my point! I’m not a Repug, simply disappointed with the tone of the response. Jay, sorry bud…my ‘contribution’ is to encourage that we raise the level of discussion beyond ‘bite me’. If we want serious change, then we need serious discussion, not paranoia name-calling and bumper sticker slogans.

Comment by kris — April 20th, 2005 @ 5:12 pm

Ann: NO “level of discussion” is going to change a DAMN thing. You came in here insulting people to “raise the level of discussion?”

What EXACTLY would make you happy? Kindalousy Rice and the entire Bush “administration” are a bunch of THIEVES that LIE, and I frankly don’t care if you believe it, or not. I don’t have a video taped confession from them.

You’re very welcome - you deserved every bit of it.

Jason - do I hear a “THREE"?

Comment by Dr. Lee — April 20th, 2005 @ 5:20 pm

Dr. L - It’s a beautiful thing to watch, first you dig your own hole and then bury yourself…no wonder we lost and got stuck with Howard for the future. L stands for Loser. Don’t worry about making me happy, not your job.

Comment by kris — April 20th, 2005 @ 5:32 pm

Ann: Thanks so much for “raising the level of discussion.”

Comment by Dr. Lee — April 20th, 2005 @ 5:36 pm

Doesn’t that statute apply even more clearly to Scully’s threat to fire medicare actuary Foster if he revealed his estimate of the cost of the medicare drug benefit?

Comment by Upper West — April 20th, 2005 @ 5:43 pm

kris, you are burdened by some kind of angst today, eh? Well listen up. We may have lost the election in November. But we haven’t lost our souls. Now I don’t mean that in the religious sense. I mean that in the honor and character sense. Do those things buy or mean anything with this administration? They would probably ask you what your yearly income is, how much you contributed to their party, PACS, etc and then give an answer from that.

That is my point exactly. Rather than spend time flogging ourselves, talking about stuff helps us build on tomorrow. Don’t be so down.

There is always hope (just not with this administration).

Comment by kindness — April 20th, 2005 @ 5:45 pm

I think that this site is an excellent forum to toss ideas around with all walks. If we keep it civil, ask questions, give reasoned responses and differing opinions….it’s a powerful form of democracy (blogocracy?).

Kris: waste of keystrokes.

Dr. Lee: Fill me in on the meaning of One, Two, Three?

Comment by Jason — April 20th, 2005 @ 5:48 pm

Jason -

I said it was time to stand and be counted (#18).
“Mark” decided that deserved an obnoxious reply (#24)
But I ain’t F***ing kidding - I ‘ve had enough of trying to reason with liars, and started counting (#34)
Savantster thinks it’s still worth while trying to get reason from zealots, but gives a tentative TWO (#35)
It sounds like you agree with me - being truthful with liars has proved pointless - we only lose more ground as the Repugs whine “Liberal press! Liberal press!” when the “liberal press” helped sell the war of conquest in Iraq. The “Liberal press” has forgotten:

Osama Bin Laden
Valery Plame
Max Cleland
Cheney’s energy task force (including Taliban representatives)

anyway…we try to be reasonable - they only get more arrogant and obnoxious. It’s time to stand up and be counted - or be ground asunder.

Comment by Dr. Lee — April 20th, 2005 @ 6:03 pm

Welcome to the new Orwellian world. Only the Rovian administration could screw this all up so bad. Dont the neo-cons realize that they are only sending us into a twisted downward spiral of hate and fascism? Wasn’t it US that went to war with Germany for trying to take over other countries? Isnt that why we went to war with Iraq? All this religious re-awakening, massive deception campaigns, and name calling from both sides, is turning america’s “morals” into another bought and sold commodity for the rich and the people with power. Hey KRIS> absolute power corrupts absolutely, and last time i checked people like Condi Rice, Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, and GW Bush were the heads of the hydra. Not to mention the fact that Rove will make anyone in the government dissappear if they so much as say a nasty comment about our “furher".

Although we all know Condi is guilty of obstruction, and all these other Bush appointent numbskulls are just pieces of Bush and Rove’s lil political gambit, the public KNOWS. We see it, and we cant stop it yet, but we only have to wait till 2006 or until a few SMART republicans start to grow a conscience. Hey its allready happening with the blocking of Bolton, and the hearings for DeLay. They may get away with it now, but there will be more transgressions and they cannot keep chainging the laws and rigging the game forever. The real politicians (the ones who seriously care about why they are where they are) will eventually prevail. That or China will kick our ass.

Comment by Matt — April 20th, 2005 @ 6:31 pm

Gotcha. I’m in for the Three spot then, wholeheartedly.
The people that appear to stand in the middle and ask for concessions from both sides in order to “elevate” the level of discourse just haven’t done enough reading yet. The Republicans are not screwing around, they play this game to win and they will destroy everything in their paths. I would like to continue on the theme that Dr. Lee started with his list of people/issues that the media has conveniently given short-shrift (ok, so they’ve ignored them)…and start a new list of people that I think have been nothing short of heroic in speaking truth to power:

Barbara Boxer
Richard Clarke
Joe Wilson
Paul O’Neill
Howard Dean
Siebel Edmonds
General Shinseki
Randi Rhodes


Comment by Jason — April 20th, 2005 @ 6:33 pm

Yay Barbara Boxer!! Proud to have here here in CA.

Comment by Matt — April 20th, 2005 @ 6:34 pm

I agree wit Maezeppa
Everyone knows that you must be standing squarely behind a man before you can stab him in the back…

Comment by Humphrey Appleby — April 20th, 2005 @ 6:57 pm

“bite me kris. I stand by my 59 mil idiots statement. ”

It is a fake statistic, but don’t let that bother you.


I hope that doesn’t disturb your nightmare.

We haven’t had a legal election in five years.
28 states have no paper trail.
Diebold, ES&S, Triad – all have committed FELONIES.

John Kerry won the last election.
Al Gore won the one before him.

Unless we get our voting rights back, game over.

Quoting fake statistics in order to engage in BIGOTRY is just plain stupid.

Comment by Paul in LA — April 20th, 2005 @ 7:13 pm

Why don’t Kris and Dr. Lee and friends develop some maturity and insight - not to mention some appreciation for the King’s or Queen’s English. I am not a fan of Bush - father or son - and am far left of center on issues involving human rights and limitations on government power. I do believe, though, that a ligitimate function of government is the protection of the weak from the rapacity of those holding power. Nothing is accomplished nor is anyone served by “You’re one!", “No, you’re one!” “Nuhun!”

Comment by Avi Noel — April 20th, 2005 @ 7:20 pm

Kindasleezy Wheat should be in jail. Period. Along with most of this embarrasing host of morons called an administration. I’ve seen better performances at a high school play.

Comment by Black Dog — April 20th, 2005 @ 7:26 pm

Some Bush defender above asked for substance. Here is substance: GM posted a billion dollar loss because they ignored the public’s demand for hybrids. Why didn’t GM bother to develop a hybrid? Because they had assurances from the Bush junta that there be plenty of oil for everyone. The public speaks, we the people. There are waiting lists for hybrids in California made by, you guessed it, our Japanese friends. So, party of W’s legacy will be the eventual bankruptcy of one of the largest corporations in the history of the planet. And, if Dopey and the boys eliminate the fillibuster, they better pray that there is never again a Democrat in the White House and a Democratic majority in Congress because they will eviscerate everything Dopey and his gang of whores did in their eight year feeding frenzy. Just sit back and watch the fun. Don’t stress out so much.

Comment by Mark Cannon — April 20th, 2005 @ 9:48 pm

to the bushies out many soldiers died when mr clinton was president.

Comment by dan savitsky — April 20th, 2005 @ 10:00 pm

Rove-induced paranoia about “statesman” Voinovich. Do you think any of these guys really act independently? That would be refreshing, but my concern is that his “orders” were to make the outraged senator statement he did… then, as he recounted in his soliloquoy about Richard Holbrooke, he investigates the charges against Bolton, talks to Bolton, then decides the guy isn’t so bad… and then once he annoints the guy, then the other “hand wringers” like Chafee and Hagel go along with him. And it’s all part of the scheme. OR Voinovich actually showed some true courage and principles; apparently with Democrats muted at every turn, often by their own fear of red statery, our only hope is for Republicans to show some guts.

Comment by Bobbygoode — April 20th, 2005 @ 10:08 pm

Mark at #52.. try this on for size

guess it matters not

soon you’ll be taxed for the amount of air you breath since the government needs to keep air clean.. Here’s a thought, how about making corperations pay some taxes? Stop giving them all kinds of loop-holes and make them pay for what they get a TON more use out of than the average American..

Comment by Savantster — April 20th, 2005 @ 10:36 pm

I appologize.. my #55 above has a link to where they are trying to tax “per mile driven” instead of “per gallon of gas", based on our shifting to Hybrids soon (since we’ll be out of oil before long)

Comment by Savantster — April 20th, 2005 @ 10:38 pm


You’ve added……what, besides your opinion?

If I may move on:

We need to be more militant. We need to use there strong suit against them. We need coordinated replies to the STINKING lies we hear over and over, i.e., “liberal media.” This should uniformally answered with a consistent list of media items we would LIKE to see pursued. Just interrupt any GOP windbag as soon as the magic words get said. Another good example would be “liberal lawyers,” answered with a tidy list of GOP lawyers. “Activist judges” should be answered with “rule of law.” They loved it in Florida.
Their pride is their pain.

Comment by Dr. Lee — April 20th, 2005 @ 11:42 pm

Avi Neol:


(I used “there” when I should have used “their.” I am but the scum under your shoe. How’s that for insight - like it now? From now on, until I feel redeemed, I am “Intern Lee.")

Comment by Dr. Lee — April 20th, 2005 @ 11:47 pm

Very interesting Savantster. My concern is that there is no ‘them’ to close corporate tax loop holes. People still don’t get it. There is no government. It is ALL corporations. They are not about to raise taxes on themselves. As for getting more militant, we tried that in the ’60’s and they are still chasing us down and throwing us in prison. Remember, you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. Remember?? As for turning militant now, why bother? All empires end, Alexander, Napolean, Adolf, Bush. It’s time the american empire ended. Perhaps God is just after all. Let justice fall like rain from the sky. Watch the republicans destroy themselves and the country at the same time. What a legacy!!

Comment by Mark Cannon — April 21st, 2005 @ 1:16 am

If you REALLY want to make a difference, instead of arguing with each other on this, or any other site, and start writing letters to the editor of your local paper, register people to vote, contribute to the state party HQ, etc.

We’re exerting an awful lot of energy on these blogs, but are we accomplishing anything, other than irritating each other?

Comment by Georgia Dem — April 21st, 2005 @ 9:04 am

Georgia Dem, your point is well taken but many of us do those things anyway. This is extracurricular activity. A day-to-day ventfest if you will.
Embrace it, enjoy it, have some fun.

Comment by Jay — April 21st, 2005 @ 9:40 am

I don’t mean SDS militant - not just yet, anyway. I mean shutting them up each and every time they start to spout the usual rational-discussion-ending rhetoric, such as the phrase “liberal media.”

One reason those fascists pigs have so many devotees is because they always spoke with one voice. I think a little of what’s good for the goose-step would be good for the gander.

(I’ve had several letters to the Editor printed - didn’t see any big changes. I sent money, and they didn’t spend it on a legal challenge in Ohio. We need to put it to Fox Spews and Flush Dimballs with a unified front.)

Comment by Intern Lee — April 21st, 2005 @ 9:44 am

Georgia Dem

Part of our “problem” is, with the problems in 2000 which caused some concern, we started wondering if our votes actually mattered. People say “of course they do, this is America".. Ok.. so a -lot- of what happened in 2000 around the country looked ok.. it was -mostly- Florida where it came down to “stopped counting votes".

Then you have 2004.. where there is a LOT of evidence to show that the elections were totally hijacked. Several states (all with electronic voting) reported a LOT of problems.. The exit polls (used around the world as an indicator to voting problems.. NOT as a ‘predictor’ of the election like a lot of people believe) indicate a VERY HIGH probability of FRAUD in the 2004 election. Yet, no one is doing anything about that yet either. Because they (neo-cons) were able to slink in in 2000, they got bigger in 2004. Clint Curtis shows that in 2000 they were already working on it.. Also note that the -bulk- of the people against ‘paper trials’ are Repubs and neo-cons and the companies that make the machines. MOST reasonable people think paper is a GOOD idea.. will we get it? probably not for 2006 or 2008. If we don’t fix our “voting", it won’t matter how many people you bring to the polls.. a 30 second exercise by any ONE person can change all that .. flip 100s of thousands of votes (or just change names of the “winners", there’s no way to audit that either).. and without paper trails, there is NO way to verify the original votes.

you see, it’s not about “being active” anymore, it’s about our contry being hijacked by the neo-cons and right-wing fanatics. We have to step in and stop that, and soon.

Comment by Savantster — April 21st, 2005 @ 3:20 pm

To get back to the original question: if she was correctly quoted, then it seems clear she is obstructing an inquiry, which generates a big: “Heavens to Mergatriod! A Bush administration official blatantly breaking the law! What a shock! It’s ALMOST as if….they run the government in secret - despite the American people instead of for the American people. Again: what a shock.”

Comment by “Just plain” Lee — April 21st, 2005 @ 6:04 pm

If you haven’t already read this….I recommend that you do. It is sobering and grave, but I fear all too true:

Comment by Jason — April 21st, 2005 @ 6:05 pm

OK, some fun: Did someone mention bumper stickers? Here ya go:

B-U-S-H: Beating Up Saddam Hussein
B-U-S-H: Being Unilateral Sure Hurts
B-U-S-H: Belligerence Undermines Safe Homeland
B-U-S-H: BinLaden Unearths Safe Haven
B-U-S-H: Beefing Up the Saudi Hegemony
B-U-S-H: Blatant Use of Spin and Hyperbole
B-U-S-H: Building the United States of Halliburton

Enjoy! -Tubeman

Comment by tubeman — April 21st, 2005 @ 6:26 pm

“you see, it’s not about “being active” anymore, it’s about our contry being hijacked by the neo-cons and right-wing fanatics. We have to step in and stop that, and soon.”

So - now you’re saying “enough is enough"?

Jason - a very sobering read, but not that far from what my paranoid self envisioned. My question is: lot’s of people must know about this, including John Kerry and our last (and probably THE last) freely-elected President of the United States, Bill Clinton. Why do they all stay mum?

Comment by I be Lee — April 21st, 2005 @ 8:24 pm

Stand up and be counted is all well and good and accomplished much in the 19th century.
The game is SO rigged now that if you marched 1,000,000 people on Washington for one week, all you’d have are alot of dead patriots and more crowding of newly built,"privatized” prisons.
All of this ties in with Peak Oil, facism, and the continuing economic extermination of what once was the middle class or as J.P. Morgan called it,
“the nigger buffer". They’ve known about oil depletion for decades and have built dozens of these new private prisons to house the “rabble”
when it comes down to out and out rebellion, debtors prisons, gas rationing, and depression.

Comment by Bruce — April 21st, 2005 @ 8:52 pm

Lee, sure they know about it. Even superhawk ultra-neocon James Woolsey has recently called for conservation and investment in alternative sources of energy (that alone should be sounding the alarm). Kerry touched on the relationship between our oil consumption and having troops stationed in the Middle East long-term, but he didn’t pound that message and I imagine the Bush ads that referenced old legislation to increase the gas tax that Kerry got behind when the economy was strong kept that message at bay. The Kerry campaign did tout a plan for kicking our oil dependence, and for alternative fuels, but they were afraid to make it a prominent issue.

We must have leadership on this issue. The transition to other sources of energy MUST start now. The resistance to these changes is powerful and well-funded….but reality has to be a part of the equation…..right?

I’m terrified for my kids. The future is indeed bleak if our leaders don’t act now!

Comment by Jason — April 21st, 2005 @ 10:10 pm

What difference does voter registration make in a stolen election? We have allowed a non-elected president occupy the White House for going on six years now. What further proof do you need that the system is entirely broken? You cannot work through a broken system. We figured that out when the country re-elected Tricky Dick on the eve of indictment. How do you reason with people who knowingly allowed a crook to lead them? The people who voted for Bush will not understand how wrong they were until their children are slaughtered in some foreign hell hole and the official language of America is Spanish. It’s coming folks!

Comment by Mark Cannon — April 21st, 2005 @ 10:20 pm

First of all, that woman has proven that her first and only job is to cover Bush’s rear end. She got up in front of the 9-11 commission and blatantly LIED. Why she’s not in a jail cell, preferably Guantanamo Bay, is beyond me. For her lies, Bush promoted her to Secretary of State because Colin Powell wasn’t going to do another term with people he has been quoted as describing “f****** crazies,” in which I believe him to be absolutely right. And now, in addition to frightening off anyone who might have “information which could adversely affect the nomination,” Congressman Henry Waxman is now trying to find out why “Secretary Rice” is withholding data from the Annual Terrorism Report of 2004. Of course, it’s painfully obvious WHY that’s happening: it’s a report which shows although the State Department touted having the “lowest annual total of international terrorist attacks since 1969,” Secretary Rice is trying to hide the fact that the REAL numbers show a 20-YEAR-HIGH, and which proves once again that Bush and his administration is LYING TO AMERICA, and she doesn’t want her meal ticket to look bad. Too late.

Lose Bolton. Ask questions. Seek the truth.

Comment by THE SHADOWDRAGON — April 22nd, 2005 @ 6:08 am

I think they put assholes like Bolton out front to take the heat of them and their criminal activities. At least we have someone in the Intel community who knows how to run a right-wing death squad. Negroponte should be in an Latin American jail. These bastards are simply out of control.

Comment by Lee — April 22nd, 2005 @ 9:58 am

Well, why don’t we just wait for Herr Gonzales to order the Justice Department to investigate this? He has sworn to uphold the law, & he wouldn’t weasel out of that, would he?

Justice Sunday

Welcome to!

April 22nd, 2005 4:19 pm
Frist Draws Criticism From Some Church Leaders

By David D. Kirkpatrick and Sheryl Gay Stolberg / New York Times

WASHINGTON, April 21 - As the Senate battle over judicial confirmations became increasingly entwined with religious themes, officials of several major Protestant denominations on Thursday accused the Senate Republican leader, Bill Frist, of violating the principles of his own Presbyterian church and urged him to drop out of a Sunday telecast that depicts Democrats as "against people of faith."

Dr. Frist's participation has rekindled a debate over the role of religion in public life that may be complicating his efforts to overcome the Democrats' use of the filibuster, a parliamentary tactic used by Congressional minorities, to block President Bush's judicial nominees.

Dr. Frist has threatened to change the Senate rules to eliminate judicial filibusters, and in response Democrats have threatened a virtual shutdown of the Senate. A confrontation had been expected as early as next week, but it now appears that the showdown may be delayed.

Religious groups, including the National Council of Churches and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, plan to conduct a conference call with journalists on Friday to criticize Senator Frist's participation in the telecast. The program is sponsored by Christian conservative organizations that want to build support for Dr. Frist's filibuster proposal.

Among those scheduled to speak in the conference call is the Rev. Clifton Kirkpatrick, a top official of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A., in which Dr. Frist is an active member.

"One of the hallmarks of our denomination is that we are an ecumenical church," Mr. Kirkpatrick said in an interview on Thursday. He also said, "Elected officials should not be portraying public policies as being for or against people of faith."

A spokesman for Dr. Frist said his remarks, which are not yet available, would be consistent with previous statements about fair treatment for judicial nominees. "I would hope that he would read Dr. Frist's remarks," the spokesman, Bob Stevenson, said of Mr. Kirkpatrick.

Mr. Stevenson added that the timing of the confrontation on filibusters was not related to the criticisms that have been raised about the telecast, saying Dr. Frist still planned to propose a compromise to the Democrats.

Still, the Senate moved closer to a showdown on Thursday, when the Senate Judiciary Committee, voting along party lines, approved two nominees, Janice Rogers Brown and Priscilla R. Owen, who were blocked by a filibuster in the last Congress and are expected to be blocked again. Republican strategists consider the nominees - two women, one of whom is black - favorable choices for a filibuster fight.

There were signs, though, that Dr. Frist was planning to postpone the confrontation for at least another two weeks, when the Senate returns from a spring recess.

Senator Harry Reid, the Democratic leader, said Dr. Frist had told him he would like to take up a transportation measure next week, an indication that he did not expect a filibuster fight before the Congressional recess. Polls, meanwhile, suggest a lack of public support for ending the filibuster. A recent survey conducted for NBC News and The Wall Street Journal found that 50 percent of those polled believed that the Senate should retain the filibusters for judicial nominations, while 40 percent were against and 10 percent undecided.

The theme of the telecast, which is called Justice Sunday and will be broadcast to churches and Christian radio and television networks, is "The Filibuster Against People of Faith." Its sponsors argue that by blocking judicial nominees who oppose abortion rights on religious and moral grounds, Democrats are effectively discriminating against those nominees.

Dr. Frist has agreed to provide a four-minute videotaped statement for the event. Democrats are calling his participation evidence of Republican extremism.

"We're going to allow the majority leader to invoke faith to rewrite Senate rules, to put substandard, extremist judges on the bench?" Senator John Kerry, the Massachusetts Democrat and former presidential nominee, said Thursday on the Senate floor. Mr. Kerry added, "It's not up to us to tell any one of our colleagues what to believe as a matter of faith."

Christian conservatives have also accused Senator Ken Salazar of Colorado, a Roman Catholic, of tolerating anti-Catholicism from his fellow Democrats who oppose nominees who follow the church's teachings on abortions.

On Thursday, Mr. Salazar responded by issuing a statement taking to task one of the telecast's speakers, Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, for deprecating the Catholic faith. It quoted Mr. Mohler as saying "the Roman church is a false church and it teaches a false gospel" and "the pope himself holds a false and unbiblical office."

Dr. Mohler called Mr. Salazar's statement "absolutely ridiculous," saying it was hardly news that evangelical Protestants and Roman Catholics "differ on many key theological issues." He said he supported a Catholic nominee the Democrats had opposed.

In the past two weeks, religious leaders on both sides of the judicial battle have plunged into the debate. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is distributing millions of postcards around the country for parishioners to send their senators asking them not to insist that nominees uphold abortion rights. Evangelical Protestant groups like Focus on the Family have been portraying the confirmation debates as a fight over public expression of religion and respect for traditionalist values.

Now the liberal group People for the American Way is buying advertisements and distributing church program inserts that attack Senator Frist for invoking religious faith in what it says is a partisan context. The National Council of Churches is asking members to organize news conferences denouncing Dr. Frist.

The criticism of the telecast underscores the delicate task facing Dr. Frist, who is laying the groundwork for a possible presidential campaign in 2008, as he courts the evangelical Protestant groups and other religious traditionalists that formed the bedrock of President Bush's winning coalition. With his patrician bearing and background in the relatively liberal Presbyterian Church, Dr. Frist, a Harvard-trained transplant surgeon, does not fit in as naturally with Christian conservatives as President Bush.

Dr. Frist's overtures to Christian conservatives have drawn the ire of the more liberal hierarchies of other religious groups, including the officials of his own denomination. Dr. Bob Edgar, general secretary of the National Council of Churches and a former Democratic congressman, said he had sought to include Mr. Kirkpatrick, of the Presbyterian Church, in the conference call both because Dr. Frist is Presbyterian and because of the church's emphasis on ecumenicalism.

"To say that some group of Christians has a monopoly on the ear of God is especially an outrage to Presbyterians," Mr. Edgar said.

Mr. Kirkpatrick said Dr. Frist's participation in the telecast undermined "the historical commitment in our nation and our church to an understanding of the First Amendment that elected officials should not be portraying public policies as being for or against people of faith."

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council and organizer of the telecast, said those who were offended did not have to watch the telecast.

"There are millions of other Americans who see a connection between the filibuster and judicial activism," Mr. Perkins said. "And when we talk about judicial activism, we are talking about issues that people faith care about deeply."

DeLay and Frist: Evangelicals Want to Strip Courts' Funds

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2 Evangelicals Want to Strip Courts' Funds
# Taped at a private conference, the leaders outline ways to punish jurists they oppose.

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By Peter Wallsten, Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — Evangelical Christian leaders, who have been working closely with senior Republican lawmakers to place conservative judges in the federal courts, have also been exploring ways to punish sitting jurists and even entire courts viewed as hostile to their cause.

An audio recording obtained by the Los Angeles Times features two of the nation's most influential evangelical leaders, at a private conference with supporters, laying out strategies to rein in judges, such as stripping funding from their courts in an effort to hinder their work.



The discussion took place during a Washington conference last month that included addresses by House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, who discussed efforts to bring a more conservative cast to the courts.

Frist and DeLay have not publicly endorsed the evangelical groups' proposed actions. But the taped discussion among evangelical leaders provides a glimpse of the road map they are drafting as they work with congressional Republicans to achieve a judiciary that sides with them on abortion, same-sex marriage and other elements of their agenda.

"There's more than one way to skin a cat, and there's more than one way to take a black robe off the bench," said Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Council, according to an audiotape of a March 17 session. The tape was provided to The Times by the advocacy group Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

DeLay has spoken generally about one of the ideas the leaders discussed in greater detail: using legislative tactics to withhold money from courts.

"We set up the courts. We can unset the courts. We have the power of the purse," DeLay said at an April 13 question-and-answer session with reporters.

The leaders present at the March conference, including Perkins and James C. Dobson, founder of the influential group Focus on the Family, have been working with Frist to eliminate the filibuster for judicial nominations, a legislative tool that has allowed Senate Democrats to stall 10 of President Bush's nominations. Frist is scheduled to appear, via a taped statement, during a satellite broadcast to churches nationwide Sunday that the Family Research Council has organized to build support for the Bush nominees.

The March conference featuring Dobson and Perkins showed that the evangelical leaders, in addition to working to place conservative nominees on the bench, have been trying to find ways to remove certain judges.

Perkins said that he had attended a meeting with congressional leaders a week earlier where the strategy of stripping funding from certain courts was "prominently" discussed. "What they're thinking of is not only the fact of just making these courts go away and re-creating them the next day but also defunding them," Perkins said.

He said that instead of undertaking the long process of trying to impeach judges, Congress could use its appropriations authority to "just take away the bench, all of his staff, and he's just sitting out there with nothing to do."

These curbs on courts are "on the radar screen, especially of conservatives here in Congress," he said.

Dobson, who emerged last year as one of the evangelical movement's most important political leaders, named one potential target: the California-based U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

"Very few people know this, that the Congress can simply disenfranchise a court," Dobson said. "They don't have to fire anybody or impeach them or go through that battle. All they have to do is say the 9th Circuit doesn't exist anymore, and it's gone."

Robert Stevenson, a spokesman for Frist, said Thursday that the Senate leader does not agree with the idea of defunding courts or shutting them down, pointing to Frist's comments earlier this month embracing a "fair and independent judiciary." A spokesman for DeLay declined to comment.

The remarks by Perkins and Dobson drew fire from Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, who charged that the two leaders were more brazen in such private encounters with supporters than their more genteel public images portray.

"To talk about defunding judges is just about the most bizarre, radical approach to controlling the outcome of court decisions that you can imagine," Lynn said.

Frist is expected to try as early as next week to push the Senate to ban filibusters on judicial nominations — a move so explosive that Democrats are calling it the "nuclear option."

Democrats have been using the filibuster to block 10 of Bush's appeals court nominees who they believe are too extreme in their views, but the skirmishes are considered a preview of a highly anticipated fight over replacing the ailing Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, whose retirement is considered imminent.

"Folks, I am telling you all that it is going to be the mother of all battles," Dobson predicted at the March 17 meeting. "And it's right around the corner. I mean, Justice Rehnquist could resign at any time, and the other side is mobilized to the teeth."

The remarks by Perkins and Dobson reflect the passion felt by Christians who helped fuel Bush's reelection last year with massive turnout in battleground states, and who also spurred Republican gains in the Senate and House.

Claiming a role by the movement in the GOP gains, Dobson concluded: "We've got a right to hold them accountable for what happens here."

Both leaders chastised what Perkins termed "squishy" and "weak" Republican senators who have not wholeheartedly endorsed ending Democrats' power to filibuster judicial nominees. They said these included moderates such as Sens. Olympia J. Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine, Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania and Chuck Hagel of Nebraska. They also grumbled that Sens. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and George Allen of Virginia needed prodding.

"We need to shake these guys up," Perkins said.

Said Dobson: "Sometimes it's just amazing to me that they seem to forget how they got here."

Even Bush was not spared criticism. Dobson and Perkins encouraged their supporters to demand that the president act as aggressively on the judiciary as he has for his Social Security overhaul.

"These are not Bill Frist's nominees; these are President George W. Bush's nominees," Perkins said. "He needs to be out there putting pressure on these senators who are weak on this issue and standing in obstruction to these nominations," he said.

Dobson chided Frist, a likely 2008 presidential contender, for not acting sooner on the filibuster issue, urging "conservatives all over the country" to tell Frist "that he needs to get on with it."

Dobson also said Republicans risked inflicting long-term damage on their party if they failed to seize the moment — a time when Bush still has the momentum of his reelection victory — to transform the courts. He said they had just 18 months to act before Bush becomes a "lame-duck president."

"If we let that 18 months get away from us and then maybe we got Hillary to deal with or who knows what, we absolutely will not recover from that," he said.

Perkins and Dobson laid out a history of court rulings they found offensive, singling out the recent finding by the Supreme Court that executing minors was unconstitutional. They criticized Justice Anthony M. Kennedy's majority opinion, noting that the Republican appointee had cited the laws of foreign nations that, Dobson said, applied the same standard as "the most liberal countries in Europe."

"What about Latin America, South America, Central America? What about China? What about Africa?" Dobson asked. "They pick and choose the international law that they want and then apply it here as though we're somehow accountable to Europe. I resent that greatly."

DeLay has also criticized Kennedy for citing foreign laws in that opinion, calling the practice "outrageous."

As part of the discussion, Perkins and Dobson referred to remarks by Dobson earlier this year at a congressional dinner in which he singled out the use by one group of the cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants in a video that Dobson said promoted a homosexual agenda.

Dobson was ridiculed for his comments, which some critics interpreted to mean the evangelist had determined that the cartoon character was gay.

Dobson said the beating he took in the media, coming after his appearance on the cover of newsmagazines hailing his prominence in Bush's reelection, proved that the press will only seek to tear him down.

"This will not be the last thing that you read about that makes me look ridiculous," he said.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

A Stain in the House

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April 19th, 2005 12:11 pm
A stain on the House

Chicago Tribune

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay apologized last week for his assault on the federal judiciary, though it sounded like an apology more for his style than his substance. "... I said something in an inartful way, and I shouldn't have said it that way, and I apologize for saying it that way." Yes, that's what he said.

DeLay had suggested that the judiciary would be in the crosshairs of Congress because the courts didn't rule DeLay's way in the tragic case of Terri Schiavo. DeLay's comments looked to all the world like an effort to intimidate the judges because he didn't like the way they upheld the rule of law.

The guess here is that DeLay felt the need to back down because he's starting to get some heat from some fellow Republicans, who aren't happy that DeLay's various troubles are making the party look very bad. Republican Rep. Christopher Shays of Connecticut has called for DeLay to step down as majority leader. Shays, a moderate, has never been a DeLay fan. But other Republicans, on up to the White House, have not exactly been eager to defend the Texas lawmaker.

Even when DeLay apologized for lashing out at what he had called an "arrogant, out-of-control, unaccountable" federal judiciary, he didn't say he was wrong. He only said he didn't express himself clearly. He still wants Congress to look into judicial activism.

The problem for Republicans is that DeLay's troubles only seem to mount, and the notion that he's the victim of a Democratic Party/liberal media witch hunt just doesn't hold water. DeLay was admonished by the House Ethics Committee three times last year. That would be the Republican-controlled House Ethics Committee.

For the good of his party, DeLay needs to answer the questions that dog him about campaign contributions and lobbyist-paid trips and nepotism hires--and step aside as majority leader.

But Republican leaders have to go beyond that. They can't continue to aid the efforts by DeLay to dodge responsibility. The worst example is this: After the Ethics Committee rebuked DeLay for the third time, the GOP leadership neutered the Ethics Committee. The Republican chairman of the committee, Rep. Joel Hefley, was removed from his post over his objections, and the committee rules were changed so either party could block an investigation of a House member.

Republicans can argue that the committee chairmanship was due to rotate. But the rules change to block investigations was an incredibly blind and arrogant tactic. Don't blame DeLay for that one. Blame House Speaker Dennis Hastert for letting it happen.

Hastert may be calculating that his friend DeLay can survive this ethics mess without doing too much damage to his party before the 2006 midterm elections. But the decision to stop the Ethics Committee from effectively doing its business stains the entire GOP leadership.

A Gallup poll released last week said only 38 percent of Americans approve of the way Congress is handling its job, while 54 percent disapprove. Mr. Speaker?

Republicans have enjoyed a good, decade-long run in control of the House. Maybe so good they've forgotten that they took power in large part because voters were fed up with the arrogant, ethically questionable practices of Washington. It would be ironic if the GOP lost power for the same reason.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Conservative Lawmaker: DeLay Should Quit

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April 16th, 2005 3:50 pm
Conservative Lawmaker: DeLay Should Quit

By Suzanne Gamboa / Associated Press

WASHINGTON - One of Congress' most conservative members on Friday became the second House Republican to urge Majority Leader Tom DeLay to step aside because of the ethics scrutiny he's facing.

"If the majority leader were to temporarily step aside so that these trumped up charges can be dealt with in a less hostile environment, as they have proven to be an unnecessary distraction, it may be a productive move," said Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo.

Tancredo's comments come after Connecticut Rep. Chris Shays, a moderate Republican, urged DeLay to resign from his leadership position at the beginning of the week. Also, Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, the No. 3 Republican in the Senate, said DeLay needs to answer questions about his ethics.

Tancredo, elected in 1998, said he believes all charges against DeLay, R-Texas, "lack merit" and are "being leveled in the hopes of bringing him down and with him, the Republican majority."

Tancredo is known in the House for his tough stand on immigration and has 100 percent rating from the American Conservative Union for votes and his position on issues.

DeLay has been dogged by questions for months about his overseas travel, corporate fundraising in 2002 for Texas legislative campaigns, campaign payments to family members and his connections to a lobbyist now under federal investigation.

Some GOP colleagues have suggested his continuing ethics controversy is harming the GOP, while others say the criticism has been orchestrated by Democrats and their liberal allies.

DeLay has said he is eager to appear before the leaders of the House ethics committee and give "everything I have" in connection with allegations of misconduct. Spokesman Dan Allen provided a similar comment Friday and cited a list of accomplishments by House Republicans with DeLay as majority leader.

Before DeLay can meet with the ethics committee, Democrats and Republicans must resolve a deadlock over rules Republicans pushed through the House. Democrats oppose the changes.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Negroponte's Contra role

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Papers illustrate Negroponte’s Contra role
Nominee was active in U.S. effort, documents show
By Michael Dobbs
Updated: 9:59 p.m. ET April 11, 2005

The day after the House voted to halt all aid to rebels fighting to overthrow the Sandinista government of Nicaragua, U.S. Ambassador to Honduras John D. Negroponte urged the president's national security adviser and the CIA director to hang tough.

The thrust of the envoy's "back channel" July 1983 message to the men running the contra war against Nicaragua was contained in a single cryptic sentence: "Hondurans believe special project is as important as ever."

"Special project" was code for the secret arming of contra rebels from bases in Honduras -- a cause championed by Negroponte, then a rising diplomatic star. In cables and memos, Negroponte made it clear that he saw the "special project" as key to the Reagan administration's strategy of rolling back communism in Central America.

• More Bush administration coverage
As Negroponte prepares for his Senate confirmation hearing today for the new post of director of national intelligence, hundreds of previously secret cables and telegrams have become available that shed new light on the most controversial episode in his four-decade diplomatic career. The documents, drawn from Negroponte's personal records as ambassador to Honduras from 1981 to 1985, were released by the State Department in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from The Washington Post.

The documents were initially declassified and provided to Negroponte in 1998, after his retirement from the Foreign Service, but the vast majority have never been made public. A State Department FOIA official said yesterday that about 100 documents from the collection are still being "processed."

Revealing glimpses
The documents offer revealing glimpses into the personality, leadership style and political attitudes of the man President Bush selected to shake up U.S. intelligence in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Negroponte's determination to reverse the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua occasionally put him at odds with fellow envoys and with more cautious State Department bureaucrats.

"I have my doubts about a dinner at the residence for a man who is in the business of overthrowing a neighboring government," cabled U.S. Ambassador to Nicaragua Anthony Quainton, after Negroponte played host to the political leader of the contra rebels, Adolfo Calero. Quainton made it clear that he was not a fan of Negroponte's "gastronomic diplomacy."

Overall, Negroponte comes across as an exceptionally energetic, action-oriented ambassador whose anti-communist convictions led him to play down human rights abuses in Honduras, the most reliable U.S. ally in the region. There is little in the documents the State Department has released so far to support his assertion that he used "quiet diplomacy" to persuade the Honduran authorities to investigate the most egregious violations, including the mysterious disappearance of dozens of government opponents.

The contrast with his immediate predecessor, Jack R. Binns, who was recalled to Washington in the fall of 1981 to make way for Negroponte, is striking. Before departing, Binns sent several cables to Washington warning of possible "death squad" activity linked to Honduran strongman Gen. Gustavo Alvarez. Negroponte dismissed the talk of death squads and, in an October 1983 cable to Washington, emphasized Alvarez's "dedication to democracy."

The cables show that the two men typically met once a week, and sometimes several times a week. Although the Honduran military had ostensibly turned over power to a civilian government headed by President Roberto Suazo, Negroponte and the U.S. Embassy viewed Alvarez as the go-to person on security matters. The ambassador supported an April 1983 request by Alvarez for more weapons for the contra rebels, and he predicted that the size of the contra force "could be doubled in next five months if we provided necessary weapons."

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Tom DeLay Should Resign as House Leader

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April 11th, 2005 3:31 pm
Shays: DeLay Should Quit As House Leader

By Lou Kesten / Associated Press

WASHINGTON - Private GOP tensions over Tom DeLay's ethics controversy spilled into public Sunday, as a Senate leader called on DeLay to explain his actions and one House Republican demanded the majority leader's resignation.

"Tom's conduct is hurting the Republican Party, is hurting this Republican majority and it is hurting any Republican who is up for re-election," Rep. Chris Shays, R-Conn., told The Associated Press in an interview, calling for DeLay to step down as majority leader.

DeLay, R-Texas, who was admonished by the House ethics committee last year, has been dogged in recent months by new reports about his overseas travel funded by special interests, campaign payments to family members and connections to a lobbyist who is under criminal investigation.

A moderate Republican from Connecticut who has battled with his party's leadership on a number of issues, Shays said efforts by the House GOP members to change ethics rules to protect DeLay only make the party look bad.

"My party is going to have to decide whether we are going to continue to make excuses for Tom to the detriment of Republicans seeking election," Shays said.

Rick Santorum, the No. 3 Republican in the Senate, said Sunday that DeLay needs to explain his conduct to the public.

"I think he has to come forward and lay out what he did and why he did it and let the people then judge for themselves," Santorum told ABC's "This Week." "But from everything I've heard, again, from the comments and responding to those, is everything he's done was according to the law.

"Now you may not like some of the things he's done," said Santorum, who is up for re-election next year in Pennsylvania. "That's for the people of his district to decide, whether they want to approve that kind of behavior or not."

DeLay's spokesman, Dan Allen, told AP that the congressman "looks forward to the opportunity of sitting down with the ethics committee chairman and ranking member to get the facts out and to dispel the fiction and innuendo that's being launched at him by House Democrats and their liberal allies."

Responding specifically to Shays' remarks later, Allen added that DeLay's "effective leadership has helped to build and maintain the Republican majority in the House and that's exactly why liberal groups funded by George Soros have set their sights on him."

The majority leader was admonished three times last year by that committee. The committee has been in limbo since March, when its five Democrats balked at adopting Republican-developed rules.

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said last week that the controversy was distracting DeLay from dealing with more pressing problems before Congress.

Santorum, however, said DeLay is "very effective in leading the House" and "to date, has not been compromised."

A senior Democratic senator, Christopher Dodd of Connecticut, had this advice for the Republicans who control both the House and Senate: "Be careful about how closely you embrace Mr. DeLay."

Dodd cited the new rules for the ethics committee that House Republicans rammed through in the wake of DeLay's difficulties. Those rules require a bipartisan vote before an investigation can be launched. DeLay's office also helped mount a counterattack last fall against Rep. Joel Hefley, R-Colo., who was the ethics committee chairman when it came down against DeLay.

"Unfortunately, in his particular case, there's a process that he's tried to change so they could actually reach a determination as to whether or not he's innocent or guilty of the things he's been charged with," Dodd said. "But this is not going to go away."

DeLay "becomes the poster child for a lot of the things the Democrats think are wrong about Republican leadership. As long as he's there, he's going to become a pretty good target," Dodd said on ABC.

DeLay, who took center stage in passing legislation designed to keep alive Terri Schiavo, also has found that President Bush and congressional colleagues are distancing themselves from his comments, after her death, about the judges involved in her case.

"The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior," DeLay said, raising the prospect of impeaching members of a separate and independent branch of government. Later, he complained of "an arrogant and out of control judiciary that thumbs its nose at Congress and the president."

Bush, declining to endorse DeLay's comments, said Friday that he supports "an independent judiciary." He added, "I believe in proper checks and balances."

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee said last week that the judges "handled it in a fair and independent way," although he had hoped for a different result.

Democrats have said DeLay's remarks were tantamount to inciting violence against judges.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Congress should fire Tom Delay

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April 6, 2005
Congress Should Fire Tom Delay

By Baiano

Congress is waisting time with Schiavo related issues, and not doing its job like to fire the Republican Majority Leader of the House Tom Delay.

The news are there about Tom Delay fund raising scandals involving receiving money from a indian tribe in Texas to oil deals involving Russia, South Korea and even the Taliban (Representatives from Taliban met with Tom Delay in SugarLand, Texas).

Tom Delay and the Bush family crime syndicate do not care about the American people. While the big oil companies are having record profit year we are paying about $2.65 minimum here in California. There are 50 million people without health insurance. The education system is getting worse by the day. The record debt is sinking the dollar and causing the interest rates to start climbing.