Tuesday, January 31, 2006
The Alito filibuster dust has settled, and right-wing talking heads are choking on their own glee. Some, like the NY Post's misguided Deborah Orin, claim Sen. John Kerry's failed bid to stop the Alito vote signifies much more than a failed filibuster. And while she's drunk on the Bush Kool-Aid, she's missing the real signs regarding today's political landscape.
In her Tuesday column, Suicide of the Dems: Kerry's Flopibuster, Orin fires her opening salvo: "THE joke in Republican circles now is that if John Kerry didn't exist, Karl Rove would have to invent him." And why wouldn't he. Rove's "invented" everything else he's needed over the years to get his clients elected, whether it's been concocted legally or not. She argues that Rove's been handed yet another Democratic faux pax he can milk dry in 2008.
Regarding the filibuster attempt, Orin's whole premise is that by only obtaining the support of 24 other Democratic Senators, Kerry failed and failed big (72-25). That he, Al Gore, Sen. Hillary Clinton, Howard Dean and others continue swinging far to the left, the angry left as she calls it, and are thus further alienating themselves from the sexy centrists who Orin claims they need to win. That they've boxed themselves into a looney liberal corner they won't easily get out of.
Orin points to Clinton's tepid response on the Senate floor during debate, where she failed to mention the filibuster, only issuing a "tame" written statement. "Still, Orin said, "the fact that Kerry's filibuster lost by such a huge margin gives Republicans more ammunition to paint Clinton as out-of-the-mainstream, which is just where they want her."
And here's precisely where Orin and her fellow spinheads are clearly delusional. They marvel at how inept the Democrats are, reveling in every perceived screw-up. Yet they seemingly ignore every single poll out there that shows just how much voters see the Busheviks as out of touch with mainstream America. Whether it's his current 39% approval rating or his abysmal job performance on the Iraq war, the economy, health care and education, Americans are screaming their disappointment and clamoring for change. The Bushies and the GOP can mock Kerry and the Dem's all they want, but America's been telling them their own house stinks like a pig sty and needs to be razed.
Sure, mock Kerry, but what he did was stand up for something he believed in. Albeit a little too late and a little too meekly, but he stood nonetheless. And 24 others stood with him. Just 16 more and we'd be calling him Mr. Filibuster. And his liberal star would be shining brightly today. And no one would be mocking him.
But that's ok. Come November, the Orin crowd may be shell-shocked to learn just how many Americans stand with the left. Shocked at how many Americans want an end to the war; want affordable health coverage; better education for their children; more environmental controls; lower gas and home heating bills. Ya know, Deborah, the real issues. The issues voters are now acutely aware of after having been brainwashed into thinking that their best interests lie in keeping gays from getting married. The issues voters remember as what's vital to them and their families. And as they keep making these realizations, they'll remember more and more that it is the looney liberals that have taken care of them throughout modern history. And that's when we'll have the last laugh on the Orin crowd.
Monday, January 30, 2006
Fresh from my utter frustration over the Democrats' failed (and pathetic, I might add) attempt to filibuster Samuel J. Alito Jr., I have to also admit that I'm getting Irritable Bowel Syndrome listening to conservative twits like Pat Buchanan declare that it is President Bush and VP Dick Cheney whom "Americans want to protect them." Exactly which Americans are they talking about, because last time I checked, most of the country's voters, according to the latest polls, think the Busheviks are responsible for much of the nation's woes. As for the myth perpetuated by Buchanan and other GOP spin-monkeys, maybe it's due to years of unfair double-standards in this country that Texans and ranchers are tough guys while New Englanders like John Kerry are wimpy prep-school sissyboys. It must be that, because it sure as hell ain't based on facts or on the record of these two draft-dodgers since they grabbed power back in 2000.
So to set the record straight, let's revisit this impressive record, shall we?:
1. It was on Bush/Cheney's watch that the worst terrorist act in our history occurred
2. It was Bush/Cheney who foolishly rushed to war over inaccurate intelligence
3. It was Bush/Cheney who grossly underestimated the insurgency
4. It was Bush/Cheney who defied experts like Gen. Shinseki and sent too few troops
5. It was Bush/Cheney who sent soldiers into battle without proper body armor and protective equipment
6. It was Bush/Cheney who've been wrong about every milestone in Iraq--fall of Saddam; death of Uday/Qusay; handing over of sovereignty; elections, etc--serving as the catalyst for reduced violence
7. It is Bush/Cheney who are the cause of over 2200 US Soldiers' deaths
8. It is Bush/Cheney whose actions have injured and/or maimed some 20,000+ soldiers
9. It is Bush/Cheney who've started a war that's spiraling out of control with no end in sight
10. It is on Bush/Cheney's watch that we've seen increased acts of terrorism around the world: London, Madrid, Egypt, Iraq and elsewhere.
11. It is Bush/Cheney whose grand plan for a Democratized Middle East has actually resulted in more U.S-hating radicals being elected in places like Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq and the Palestinian territories
12. It is Bush/Cheney who promised to capture Osama bin Laden "dead or alive" and bring him to justice
13. It was Bush and Cheney who let bin Laden escape the hills of Tora Bora
14. It is on Bush/Cheney's watch that bin Laden and Ayman al Zawahiri's audio and video tapes are a constant reminder of how safe we are not
15. It is on Bush/Cheney's watch that N. Korea and Iran, largely unchecked by the U.S., have defied the Western world by restarting their nuclear weapons programs
16. It is Bush/Cheney's policy of torture that has made the world less safe for Americans and U.S. servicemen abroad
17. It is Bush/Cheney who've alienated us from virtually all of our allies
18. It is on Bush/Cheney's watch that U.S. popularity has sunk to unprecedented lows around the globe
Is there anyone out there who truly believes unCurious George and his sniveling sidekick, two inept war-mongering maniacs, are the best we have to protect America? Give us a f**king break.
Sunday, January 29, 2006
Tim Russert's genius as an interviewer could not have been more on display than it was Sunday during his masterful exposure of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (TN) as a liar and political opportunist. On a slew of subjects ranging from Iraq to the economy to the Terri Schiavo case, the NBC host put a litany of Frist's words and actions on trial, leaving the heart surgeon-cum-politician stammering, fidgeting, rocking and looking more uncomfortable than Karl Rove in a size 34 waist pants. To be honest, Frist could not have looked wormier and less credible.
On the issue of Iraq, Russert asked Frist if the war was still justified since no WMD have been found. The good doctor replied that it was, but gave no logical reasoning: "It's a war of necessity. Again, if we project ahead and we start looking back, you can always say, 'Well, that is the outcome that occurred and we could take no other choice.' The problem is, the reality is that we need to make decisions today based on intelligence, based on the facts that are delivered to us. And, therefore, at that time, it was absolutely a war of necessity."
On the fact that President Bush's grand plan for Democracy in the Middle East looks shakier than ever given that hostile parties have won elections in Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq and now the Palestinian territories, Frist said: "We are very unhappy with the results, very disappointed in the results. But the beauty of democracy is that it reflects the reality of what is on the ground. It reflects the reality of those grass roots, of what people are feeling." Huh? Is this really why 2200 US soldiers have died, so that a bunch of lunatics on the ground can "freely" suicide-bomb their way into elected office? Is that really the kind of "Democracy" Bush is striving for?
On Bush's illegal wiretapping scheme, Russert cited the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, Section 1809, which very clearly states that "A person is guilty of an offence if he intentionally - engages in electronic surveillance...except as authorized by statute." He then asked Frist if Bush "has, in fact, engaged in electronic surveillance and not authorized it by statute?" Frist replied...."I believe this program is lawful, it is constitutional. I strongly support it. I know, I know it is vital to our security," saying that it consisted only of Al Qaeda-related communication intercepts. As reported in the NY Times on Jan. 16 however, FBI officials said the NSA snooping was exhaustive and a waste, yielding few viable leads and likely invading the privacy of innocent Americans.
Further, Russert also cited the Congressional Research Center report which questioned Bush's authority to order the warrantless wiretaps, as well as stated justification: A report by Congress's research arm concluded that...the eavesdropping authorized by the president conflicts with existing law and hinges on weak legal arguments." Frist weakly claimed that the Constitution gives Bush the executive power to conduct such spying.
When Frist tried to paint a positive picture of the Bush/Cheney economy, Russert put a chart up on the screen and said: "Unemployment was 4.2 percent in 2001; it's now 4.9, up 17 percent. There was a $281 billion surplus and now a $400 billion deficit. And the debt has gone from $5.7 trillion to $8.2 trillion, up 44 percent. You call that conservative government?
On the issue of Frist's questionable HCA stock sales, currently under SEC investigation, consider the following exchange:
FRIST: Well, it's pretty straightforward, the facts speak for themselves. I did voluntarily, when I came into the United States Senate, set up a blind trust, purely voluntary, to eliminate any appearance, any appearance of a conflict of interest over the last 10 years.
RUSSERT: But it wasn't blind, Senator.
FRIST: It is a blind trust as defined by the statute of the United States of America and by our Senate ethics rules. This is a blind trust.
RUSSERT: But it's different when you can see it. You told CNBC, "It should be understood I put this into a blind trust. So far as I know. I own no HCA stock. ...It's a blind trust. Totally blind. I have no control." That's not accurate.
FRIST: You know, I could've been more precise in my words.
Turning to the highly controversial right-to-die case of Terri Schiavo last year, Russert asked Frist about his "video diagnosis" in which, from the floor of the Senate, he without question declared that she was not in a persistent vegetative state as her doctors and the courts had ruled. Once again backed into a corner by his own words, Frist replied: "I didn't make the diagnosis. I raised the question of whether or not she's in a persistent vegetative state." Here again the good doctor has a memory lapse.
It was a beautiful thing to watch....Frist squirming in his chair, repeatedly pausing so he can find the right words to lie his way out of the truth. Let's hope voters go to the polls next November remembering this and other memorable Republican performances of 2005/'06.
Friday, January 27, 2006
What does the Bush Administration do when it gets too hot in the judicial kitchen? It changes the chef. And that's precisely what it's done in the Jack Abramoff scandal. And the timing couldn't be anymore suspect.
Noel L. Hillman heads the Justice Department's public integrity division, and up until Thursday was the chief prosecutor in the investigation of the disgraced Republican lobbyist; an investigation that threatens to snake it's way from the steps of the Capital all the way up the White House Lawn. So it's no coincidence that President Bush decided that right now would be the best time to nominate Hillman for a federal judgeship, effectively pulling him off the hottest, most far-reaching political criminal investigation since Watergate, creating a critical setback for the prosecution.
Hillman was first considered for nomination to the bench a year ago. Nothing came of it. So why now? That's a question that really needn't be asked, does it? The Busheviks are blatantly corrupt, self-serving, arrogant monarchists hellbent on self-preservation. Their disregard for the law and consistent defiling of the Constitution is shameless and unprecedented. This new action must result in a demand by the Democrats for a special prosecutor to take over the case. The Busheveiks and their corrupt Justice Department, run by Alberto "Mr. Torture" Gonzales, can no longer be entrusted with America's legal well-being. It's the fox guarding the henhouse yet again.
Rep. George Miller (D-CA) called the timing "startling" and said, "You have one of the chief prosecutors removed from a case that has tentacles throughout the Republican leadership of Congress, throughout the various agencies and into the White House."
Bush's highly calculated chess move comes on the heels of the Democrats' demand for documents and photos involving the president and Abramoff, materials that could paint a very different picture of their relationship than the Bushies have claimed. To date, Bush has refused to provide same, saying there's no "there" there. And if pictures do exist, they say, then chalk it up to some simple holiday fun at White House Hanukkah parties.
They lie, they defy, they obstruct. Mazel Tov, America, we just took another pounding in the tush.
Thursday, January 26, 2006
Sen. John Kerry told CNN Thursday that he's attempting to pull support together for a filibuster of right-wing Supreme Court nominee Samuel J. Alito Jr. Apparently he has the backing of fellow Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy. But many Democrats appear apprehensive about supporting such a measure, and the White House says a filibuster will make the Democrats look bad. Come again? The White House? We're talking Bush administration officials saying Democrats will look bad? Can a party possibly look any worse than the Republicans do right now with the litany of moral, ethical and criminal charges facing them? Are the Busheviks for real?
The Democrats must filibuster this activist judge, and they must do it with zeal and a public display of passion not seen from the left since FDR, rallying against similar GOP threats to the balance of power, declared in a 1932 campaign speech that "Were it possible to find ... men almost godlike in their ability to hold the scales of justice with an even hand, such a government might be in the interests of the country, but there are none such on our political horizon." Democrats must fight tooth and nail to prevent Prince Alito, of "unitary executive" fame, of ever sitting on the bench and further strengthening the hand of King George and his monarchy.
Look bad? Wanna know what's gonna make the Democrats look bad? Lying down like dead sheep and letting the King's chosen one sail through without a fight. That's what the Democrats should worry about.
Sunday, January 22, 2006
The pundits are lining up to predict an Al Gore presidential candidacy in 2008. On Sunday's "The McLaughlin Report," veteran journalists and commentators Pat Buchanan, Tony Blankley and Eleanor Clift stated they believe the former vice president will eventually toss his hat into the ring.
Newsweek's Clift said Gore's been front and center in criticizing the Bush administration, saying all the things others in the party have not, but has basically side-stepped the issue of an '08 run. She believes he's seeking to be drafted by the party in a groundswell of support.
"He's the only candidate that can jumpstart a campaign instantaneously. He has 100% name-recognition, and he has the MoveOn.org machinery" behind him.
Blankley, the conservative columnnist from The Washington Times, said "Gore got half the votes and a few more in 2000. If the Iraq war remains unpopular in the Democratic Party in 2007, Gore is much better positioned than Hillary (Clinton) because they're going to want a champion, and he's going to be a champion on the issue."
And conservative columnist and political analyst Buchanan predicts that Gore will soon emerge as the leading candidate. "The anti-war movement is enormous in the Democratic Party, probably 70%. It is wide open. No one's leading it. I see Gore waiting until after 2006, and if nobody steps out, I would not be surprised to see him step out."
It's encouraging to see many in the mainstream press begin to smartly assess the Democratic playing field. Look at the pack of '08 hopefuls--Kerry, Biden, Hillary, Bayh, Warner, etc (yawn)--and it isn't too difficult to see why a potential Gore candidacy is capturing the attention of the pundits and creating excitement among many voters who see the new and improved Al as their "Goracle;" the new voice of the Democratic Party.
Friday, January 20, 2006
Osama bin Laden has issued a new audio tape which boasts of plans for new Al Qaeda attacks on American soil. He also called for a long-term truce if there's a pullout of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. The Busheviks' reaction?
"We don't negotiate with terrorists," Vice President Dick Cheney said. "I think you have to destroy them." Cheney said the tape showed that al-Qaeda has been marginalized because "they didn't have the ability to do anything on video" and because it had been so long since bin Laden had been heard from.
And speaking for his bosses, White House flak Scott McClellan said: "Clearly the Al Qaeda leaders and other terrorists are on the run. They're under a lot of pressure. We do not negotiate with terrorists. We put them out of business."
So there you have it. The "Smoke Him Out/We'll Get Him Dead or Alive" Bushies discounting yet again the threat of violence from the terrorist scum responsible for vaporizing 3000 Americans and hundreds more around the globe. The administration with the worst intelligence record in the history of the presidency assures us that bin Laden and Al Qaeda have been neutered and weakened, mainly because we haven't seen him in a while and because we've reduced him to audio (as far as I'm concerned, he could issue an 8-Track tape and I'd still feel chills down my spine).
The Bushies' mantra is that time is on their side; that four no-attack years since 911 is proof that we're winning the war on terror here at home and have secured our borders. Forget the fact that there was an eight-year span between the first and second World Trade Tower attacks, and that bin Laden took his time to masterfully plan same. Forget the fact that acts of terrorism in Spain, London and elsewhere suggest that Al Qaeda is anything but weak and disorganized.
While Bush and Cheney tirelessly run around bragging of their machismo, and of their success in hammering away at the man they once promised to capture no matter what, terrorism experts everywhere are saying it's a matter of when not if we'll be attacked again here at home. Once again, this administration can't seem to level with the American people. Call me crazy, but when it comes to intelligence, I don't believe one word that comes out of this White House.
And speaking of telling the truth, ya know that macho declaration about not negotiating with terrorists? Well the U.S. government, as reported recently in the NY Times and elsewhere, is in secret talks with Iraqi insurgents in an effort to enlist them in our fight against Al Qaeda in that region. But wait just a second! I thought we were over there fighting terrorists? Especially since, according to the military's own statistics, about 90% of who we're battling there are Iraqis, not Al Qaeda or other terrorist groups. So if the insurgents are terrorists, as Bush and Cheney constantly ram down our collective throats, then it sure as hell sounds like we're negotiating with terrorists. Sorry Dick, your bullshit has been exposed once again.
I'd really love to experience just one day where this administration tells us the truth.
Thursday, January 19, 2006
He travels, he speaks, he jokes, he wows, he inspires, he's the rare Democratic voice attacking the Busheviks. As the Los Angeles Times reports, Al Gore "has seemingly lost the stiffness that was the hallmark of his vice presidency and White House run."
On Monday he delivered a scathing critique of the Bush administration during a passionate Martin Luther King Jr. day speech (a speech, mind you, that was all but ignored by the mainstream media). Next week he'll be the talk of the Sundance Film Festival where the new global warming documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" will be premiering.
There's no stopping Al. He's becoming the Democrats' oracle; the voice of logic, reason and morality, and the wise old sage on everything from the war, the environment and executive power. Let's just call him, The Goracle.
Make no mistake about it. Al Gore is on a rehabilitation crash-course. We're witnessing one of the greatest make-overs in political history. And it's working. Gore has lost his stiffness. And he's acquired a voice in its stead. And he's crafting a message that's resonating across liberal America. All you had to do was turn on the radio or surf the 'net on Monday to realize just how much excitement and buzz Al is generating.
I'll admit it. I've been front and center on the Al-Gore-for-president bandwagon. And I take heat for it from a few friends and colleagues who just can't seem to get over just how inept the former VP was in his 2000 bid to become president. But I'll keep pounding the table on the fact that Gore's changed; the country has changed; the world has changed. The Al Gore of 2000 is not who you see and hear before you today. He's the new Nixon. The Comeback Kid. His transformation calls to mind the terrific words of Bob Dylan: "I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now." Gore's rebirth is fascinating to watch. He is indeed younger, stronger, smarter and undeniably prescient.
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Repug's Outraged Over Hillary's "Plantation" Comment; Where's The Outrage Over Bush, Cheney, DeLay and Ney?
Since Monday, Republicans have been expressing their 'outrage' at N.Y. Sen. Hillary Clinton for what they claim was racial pandering during a rousing Martin Luther King Jr. commemoration speech at the Canaan Baptist Church of Christ in Harlem, where she spoke of the oppressive manner with which the GOP runs Congress:
"When you look at the way the House of Representatives has been run, it has been run like a plantation, and you know what I'm talking about. It has been run in a way so that nobody with a contrary view has had a chance to present legislation, to make an argument, to be heard."
The Republican Party, never known for its efforts to further the social, economic and civil rights causes of minorities, has self-righteously injected itself into this issue, accusing Clinton of playing the race card and decrying her poor judgment for making such statements on MLK day.
First off, the GOP fought long and hard against even having a federal MLK holiday, so who are they to tell anyone now how to celebrate it? Next, unless I was dreaming, I saw and heard thunderous applause to Hillary's comments from the congregation. By attacking Hillary, are Republicans committing the worst possible form of racism themselves by telling Blacks they're too ignorant to realize that they should be criticizing instead of applauding? It's incredulous to me, but is the GOP actually telling Blacks how Blacks should really feel about racism? Wow. What could be more racist than that?
And where is the GOP's outrage over Bush's illegal NSA spying scheme? Where is the outrage over Tom DeLay being one of the most crooked politicians ever? Where's the outrage over Rep. Bob Ney's blatant acceptance of Jack Abramoff bribes? Where is the outrage over the Iraq war, and VP Dick Cheney's constant lying about its progress and success?
If the GOP wants to be outraged, there's certainly enough corruption and criminality under their own roof to keep 'em busy for years. But that's precisely the point. Maybe they're not really that upset with Hill's plantation remark, but rather her succinct assessment of the Busheviks:
"We have a culture of corruption, we have cronyism, we have incompetence. I predict to you that this administration will go down in history as one of the worst that has ever governed our country."
The woman does have a point.
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
The light at the end of the Texas District 22 tunnel is getting brighter and brighter each day. A new poll commissioned by the Houston Chronicle, and conducted Jan. 10-12, shows that embattled former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay is indeed quite beatable in his home district, and has fallen appreciably behind his Democratic challenger, former U.S. Congressman Nick Lampson. The poll found that if the general election were held today, Lampson would get 30% to DeLay's 22%.
"The numbers I saw were encouraging," Lampson said. "They show that the people of this district want a representative who will make headlines for the right reasons, like improving homeland security, fiscal discipline and education. There is a long time between now and Election Day, and we're going to continue working hard for every vote."
Lampson was one of several Congressmen who lost their seats as a result of DeLay's 2004 redistricting scheme. How fitting would a Lampson victory be next year? Go to www.Lampson.com and contribute to this all-important campaign.
Is there anyone out there who still believes former vice president Al Gore is not going to run for president in 2008? If so, I have a timeshare in the Sunni Triangle I'd like to sell you.
Gore unofficially kicked off his '08 campaign on Monday with a blistering attack on Bush over his secret spying program carried out by the National Security Agency since the 9-11 terrorist attacks. Gore called for an immediate special counsel investigation into the warrantless domestic eavesdropping scheme, and said the president's actions violate the law. The speech was made to The American Constitution Society and The Liberty Coalition, who jointly sponsored the event.
Make no mistake, Al Gore is running for president. Bet the farm on it. He's been running for some time now. And Monday's fire and brimstone speech, delivered on a day celebrating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., should be a wake up call to every Democrat who's set his/her sights on the White House. Gore has more passion and more mojo than any of them, and has been front and center on a number of key issues including Iraq, the environment and executive power, aggressively taking on the president while others in the party are too afraid to go for the political jugular. And he's been exciting Democrats in ways Hillary Clinton and John kerry wish they could. His overall presentation and message is resonating extremely well with voters. He's The Comeback Kid.
On Bush, Gore declared: "A president who breaks the law is a threat to the very structure of our government." He issued a scathing critique of Bush's illegal wiretapping scheme, questioning the national security rationale that it's based on:
"Is our Congress today in more danger than were their predecessors when the British army was marching on the Capitol? Is the world more dangerous than when we faced an ideological enemy with tens of thousands of missiles poised to be launched against us and annihilate our country at a moment's notice? Is America in more danger now than when we faced worldwide fascism on the march-when our fathers fought and won two World Wars simultaneously? It is simply an insult to those who came before us and sacrificed so much on our behalf to imply that we have more to be fearful of than they. Yet they faithfully protected our freedoms and now it is up to us to do the same."
On Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Gore said: "A special counsel should be immediately appointed by the attorney general to remedy the obvious conflict of interest that prevents him from investigating what many believe are serious violations of law by the president."
This is a man who looks, sounds and is presidential. Let's not forget he won the popular vote in 2000 and, as many believe, was robbed of the presidency by Florida and the U.S. Supreme Court. He'll be back in '08 to finish the job. Take it to the bank.
Monday, January 16, 2006
"This is a man I might disagree with. That doesn't mean he shouldn't be on the court." So said California Sen. Diane Feinstein Sunday on CBS's "Face the Nation." And there you have it. In one single sentence, Sen. Feinstein demonstrated why the Democratic Party is having such a hard time winning elections and defeating the political, social and legal agenda of the radical right. Can you ever imagine anyone, anyone, on the Republican leadership side--Frist, DeLay, Hastert, Blunt, Cheney etc.--ever being so damned fair and balanced? Not until hell freezes over. That's because Republicans get it. Republicans have one goal in mind: winning. It's something the Democrats have yet to fully grasp.
Feinstein plans to vote against Samuel J. Alito Jr.'s appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court. But she will not support a filibuster. Feinstein, a lifetime supporter of women's reproductive rights, called the anti-abortion Alito "clearly qualified" and said she was "very impressed with his ability to maintain a very even demeanor during this entire thing and his ability not to specifically answer any questions." Shouldn't this last statement be reason enough to do whatever possible to block his confirmation?
When will Democrats stop being so concerned with impressing conservatives with their civility and righteousness? They don't get it in return. In fact, they get the exact opposite. Remember the political lynching Bill Clinton got back in the 90's? Or how Republicans vilified Max Cleland? Or how the right condoned the Swift Boat attack on John Kerry? This is a party that will pull out all stops to win. I'm not suggesting Democrats do the same. I believe we are the more righteous party. But Feinstein's stand, or lack thereof, on Alito is just simply foolish. Can't we at least get a fight? Are we that blase? That exhausted? That unorganized? That inept? That scared? Where's the execution of the strategy that was hatched at the now-infamous 2001 retreat where Democrats and legal scholars mapped out a defense against the Bush hijacking of the judiciary? It's as if the Democrats have just laid down and died. It's frustrating and disheartening. I don't mind losing. But losing without a fight is unacceptable.
When will the Democrats finally step up and realize we're at war here? If fighting Alito's appointment...if having an activist conservative court for the next 35 years... is not worthy of a filibuster, what the hell is? What are they waiting for? It's time to send a loud message to the GOP by doing everything possible to block Alito's confirmation.
Friday, January 13, 2006
What is it about these tough-talking Republicans, who, every time the soup gets too thick, somehow find a way for their wives and/or mommies to enter the public debate and rescue them? Our big, strong AWOL of a president, George W. Bush, does it all the time. Uses Laura and Babs to deflect criticism and defend him with inane, self-serving statements, or, highly orchestrated acts of fake compassion.
And this week we saw it yet again, with Martha-Ann Alito's Academy Award-winning performance at her husband's grueling Senate confirmation hearings. Samuel J. Alito wants to be the next Supreme Court justice, and just about every Democrat in America fears this appointment like the Black Plague. So there they were, the usual liberal posse of Ted Kennedy, Joe Biden, Dick Durbin et. al., managing somehow to get a few hard-hitting questions out along with mega-hours of self-important, pontificating blather (not the Dem's best performance, unfortunately).
As if the Mrs. didn't expect this to be a blistering session for Sammy, she grew increasingly emotional and upset during Wednesday's hearings. So unfair was her hubby's interrogation, his "mistreatment," as Utah Sen. Orin Hatch called it, that the gentleman Senator from South Carolina, Lindsay Graham, felt compelled to come to the future justice's aid, lobbing loaded, softball questions designed to paint the picture of an honest, decent, compassionate, non-bigoted man worthy of a lifetime appointment to the nation's highest court. And with that, wah, wah, wah. Mrs. Alito's eyes welled up with tears, and, too distraught to remain in the chamber, she left. A big scene. Lots of drama. Well done, Ms. Alito! A performance that would make Spielberg proud! The mainstream press loved it! Republicans throughout the land loved it. And for sure, Sammy loved it too.
And so goes another case of...when the going gets tough, the tough get their wives and mommies to make everything better.
Thursday, January 12, 2006
Abortion Not "Settled Law" Says Alito; Democrats Must Filibuster This Extremist Judge Before It's Too Late
The eventual overturning of Roe v. Wade is more a reality than not if Samuel J. Alito Jr. is confirmed to the Supreme Court of the United States. President Bush, and hordes of drooling right-wing religious fanatics, will finally have their dream come true, and we as a nation will sadly see a reversal of over 30 years of social progress.
At Wednesday's Congressional confirmation hearings, Alito flat out refused to agree that Roe v. Wade is "settled law," leaving the door open to the landmark abortion case possibly being overturned if he makes it to the high court. He acknowledged that the 1973 case was deserving of respect as a precedent of the court, one that's been reaffirmed several times in 30 years. But there's a huge legal difference between "settled law" and "precedent." Unlike recent appointee Chief Justice John Roberts Jr., Alito refused to go beyond precedent and state that Roe is "settled law of the land", which would mean that overturning it would be near impossible.
Parsing his words in response to Sen. Richard J. Durbin's (D-Ill.) aggressive questioning, Alito said: "If 'settled' means that it can't be reexamined, then that's one thing. If 'settled' means that it is a precedent that is entitled to respect . . . then it is a precedent that is protected, entitled to respect under the doctrine of stare decisis." In Latin, stare decisis is traslated to "to stand by that which is decided."
I cannot imagine a scenario more grave than a Supreme Court led by a majority of Alito, Roberts, Kennedy, Scalia and Thomas. The Democrats must grow a spine and filibuster this dangerous nominee. If they don't roll out the filibuster on Alito, what the hell are they saving it for? Alito's confirmation will lay a frighteningly conservative foundation on the high court for decades to come. These extremist judges will forever change and divide America. Alito must be prevented from ever sitting on that bench. My God, Democrats, are you listening?
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
How come I can remember that I was in the Cub Scouts when I was nine, and that Wayne Burte's mom was our devoted Den Mother, but Bush's slippery Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito Jr. can't remember if as a 35-year-old he belonged to the Concerned Alumni of Princeton, an organization that allegedly tried to limit admission to women and minorities? How is it possible, I ask, that someone who expects to be appointed to a lifetime position to the highest court in the land can't remember something so critical to the process of assessing his overall character?
Alito's memory at 55 is apparently much weaker than what it was at 35, when in 1985 he was seeking appointment to the Reagan administration, and stated on his job application letter, among other things, that he was currently a member of the conservative alumni group.
Jump to 2005, when Alito wrote the following to the Senate as it prepared to hold hearings: "A document I recently reviewed reflects that I was a member of the group in the 1980s. Apart from that document, I have no recollection of being a member, of attending meetings or otherwise participating in the activities of the group."
And at Tuesday's hearings, in response to Sen. Patrick Leahy's (D-VT) questioning: "Senator, I have racked my memory about this issue, and I really have no specific recollection of that organization." He also claimed to be unaware of the criticism of the group when he included it on his 1985 job application. Isn't that a bit odd though? If he cannot remember the group, how can he remember what he didn't know about it 20 years ago? Am I missing something here?
In any event, if Alito's outright lying about the alumni group isn't enough to justify a filibuster, the Democrats would still have a laundry list of disturbing positions the judge has made in his 15 years on the bench on key issues including abortion, privacy, executive and legislative power, affirmative action and religion. The key question is whether Democrats will fight this fight till the end, or, as many Senators on both sides have privately said, Alito's confirmation is inevitable.
Listening to people like Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) blather on incessantly Tuesday only further proves that the Democrats have a lot to learn about fighting the powerful right-wing machine. The over-intellectualizing and pontificating from Biden and Leahy was mind-numbing. Rather than hit Alito with a barrage of rapid-fire questions, the Democrats were hellbent on hearing the sound of their own voices, and in the process missing an opportunity to draw out Alito's true character, not the well-rehearsed automaton we saw Tuesday. Incredulously, Biden spoke almost four times as much as Alito.
A Supreme Court with Alito, Roberts, Scalia, Thomas and Kennedy is a frightening proposition. The Democrats must pull out all stops to prevent this from becoming reality. If Monday's and Tuesday's hearings are any indication of the Dem's capacity to fight, and fight to win, then we're in big trouble.
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
The American Civil Liberties Union has done something it has done only twice before in its 86-year history: oppose a Supreme Court nomination. The civil liberties organization has announced it is opposing President Bush's nominee, Samuel Alito, to replace the retiring Sandra Day O'Connor. Not since Robert Bork in 1987, and William Rehnquist before him, has the ACLU opposed a nominee.
"At a time when our president has claimed unprecedented authority to spy on Americans and jail terrorism suspects indefinitely, America needs a Supreme Court justice who will uphold our precious civil liberties," said ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero in a statement released Monday. "Unfortunately, Judge Alito's record shows a willingness to support government actions that abridge individual freedoms."
Romero, speaking Tuesday on Air America Radio's Rachel Maddow show, said that his organization finds most troubling the content of Alito's statements and opinions and his judicial record. President Bush, he said, "has seized unilateral executive powers;" having Alito on the High Court is a major threat to Americans' civil liberties as a result.
Romero cited Alito's troubling decisions on race, religion, and reproductive rights during his years as a federal appeals court judge. What concerns the ACLU and Democrats everywhere is that these are the key issues where O'Connor provided the crucial swing vote.
Alito has a frightening 15-year paper trail which the ACLU has meticulously detailed in a issued a 68-page report. This documentation of Alito's record on civil liberties and civil rights was sent in December, along with a letter expressing "deep concern," to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter and Ranking Member Patrick Leahy, urging the committee to conduct a thorough review of Judge Alito's record.
Both the report and the letter are available at http://www.ACLU.org.
"Judge Alito has all too often taken a hostile position toward our fundamental civil liberties and civil rights," said Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. "The Supreme Court is the final guardian of our liberties, and Judge Alito has shown that he lacks the dedication to that commitment. Recent revelations about White House-sanctioned domestic spying, in defiance of the law, make it clear that the Senate cannot, and must not, approve this nominee."
Sunday, January 08, 2006
In the wake of Rep. Tom DeLay's resignation as House Majority Leader, the winds of change are blowing ever stronger down in his 22nd Congressional district in Southeast Texas. DeLay's challenger, Nick Lampson, who was edged out of his House seat in The Hammer's 2004 redistricting scheme, said the embattled legislator has finally begun to get what he deserves.
"Tom DeLay can no longer blame his troubles on a partisan witch hunt," Lampson stated. "He his not running for Majority Leader because members of his own Party were openly saying they would no longer tolerate his scandal and corruption. This proves once and for all that Tom DeLay is not the victim of a partisan witch hunt, but someone who has betrayed the trust of the American people. He had already lost Republicans here at home, and now he is losing the support of Republicans in Washington, DC. DeLay Inc. is no longer open for business, and that's a good thing for the people of Southeast Texas who have suffered enough embarrassment."
What seemed like a steep uphill climb for the Democrat Lampson just a few months ago now seems like a more than viable political opportunity. DeLay's lost his power seat, has largely been abandoned by the GOP, and has lost the support of the voters in his home district. He's still under criminal indictment, and will be going to trial shortly. His congressional seat is in serious jeopardy, and now Lampson's been given a better shot than ever to get back into the House.
Additionally, DeLay faces aggressive challenges from three Republican primary opponents, as well as a former Republican member of Congress who's planning to challenge him as an independent. So, who's got the steep climb now?
Saturday, January 07, 2006
Ding dong the witch is dead! I guess Tom DeLay finally realized he's not in Kansas anymore. With that, he's officially abandoned his bid to remain House Majority Leader. Time for celebration, indeed. But after we toast this sweet, sweet victory, let's quickly shift focus to what's most significant, which is what DeLay's resignation represents to Democrats everywhere who've viewed the last twelve years of Republican rule as a political Mt.Everest. But to paraphrase the late, great Dr. Martin Luther King, "we've now gotten to that mountaintop, and looked over, and we've seen the promised land." And its spells v-i-c-t-o-r-y for Democrats in 2006.
The fall of The Hammer, Tom DeLay, is just the tip of the iceberg. DeLay may be one of the first real political casualties for the GOP, but he certainly will not be the last. Some two-dozen or more Congressmen, Senators and conservative leaders are potentially on the hotseat stemming from the explosive scandal that is the Jack Abramoff House of Cards. Let's not forget one very important thing here. DeLay has not resigned for the simple good of the country. He's quitting because he knows what prosecutors know: that he's as guilty as sin. Stupid he's not.
Let DeLay's resignation empower Democrats across the nation to firmly realize that we can and will take back the House and possibly the Senate, and bring some lawfulness and decency back into American politics. It's time to take back control of government from this morally, ethically and legally bankrupt band of outlaws called the Republican Party.
Now is the time to seriously get to work. We need to mobilize and strategize. We need to not only see DeLay quit his leadership post, we must not rest until he's gone from Congress altogether. Go to www.Lampson.com and do whatever you can to help Nick Lampson kick the political crap out of DeLay next November. Volunteer in your home states, and/or where there are other close races. Send money. This is war, folks, but we just won a very major battle. Victory is ours to be had if we fight hard and play it smart.
Friday, January 06, 2006
A dozen years ago rapper MC Hammer had a hit song with "It's All Good" before his career hit the skids, only to end up years later on VH1's has-been show, "The Surreal Life." Cut to 2006, and another rapper (as in rap sheet) named Hammer, Tom DeLay, could write a song called "It's All Bad."
For Tom DeLay, the former House Majority Leader from Texas, things are getting really bad. Since the Jack Abramoff guilty plea earlier this week, whatever's left of DeLay's political capital is rapidly disappearing. Two key House Republicans, Reps. Jeff Flake (AZ) and Charles Bass (NH), have begun circulating a petition calling for an immediate election for new Majority Leader once members return to session January 31st. Flake is a staunch conservative. Bass leads the House's moderate caucus, a group of 50 Republicans informally called the "Tuesday Group."
DeLay's also lost the support of Rep. John Kline (R-Minn), a former Marine officer and conservative hard-liner, who said he'll be signing the petition. Additionally, Rep. JoAnn Davis (R-VA), another radical right-winger (one of those decrying the "War on Christmas") plans to return $10,000 received from Delay's PAC.
The Bass/Flake petition needs 50 signatures out of the House's 232 GOP members in order to force the leadership election. It has about 24 signatures so far, and seems headed towards its goal quickly.
DeLay's fellow GOP'ers are increasingly viewing his tenure in the House and as Leader as an untenable situation for him and the party. The Texas indictments; the looming fallout from the Abramoff house of cards; the Supreme Court's pending review of his Texas redistricting scheme; and his dwindling support in his home state and district all spell major trouble. In an all-important election year, they wisely want no part of it.
Note the Wall Street Journal's editorial Friday. Even this staunchly conservative newspaper suggests "Cleaning House," and that DeLay and the GOP "should move on separately."
At this point, the odds of DeLay returning to his power post are slim and none. He may even find himself out of a job next November, if not earlier if his mounting legal troubles force his resignation. Perhaps then, like his hip-hop namesake, we'll someday find this Hammer on "Surreal Life" as well,sharing a house with other washed-up has-beens.
Thursday, January 05, 2006
Twelve dead U.S. soldiers. 183 Iraqis killed. Violence has been raging out of control for the second straight day, with suicide bombs exploding in several different locations in and around Baghdad. The violence is getting worse, and the situation continues to spiral out of control. Since the December 15th election, the insurgency appears to be gaining strength and the region more deadly than ever.
We're stuck in a quagmire with few options for an exit. We have a president and his duplicitous cabinet relentlessly spinning a tale of progress and success despite the chaos all around. The deceptive rhetoric is both irresponsible and reprehensible, and is an attack on the intelligence of every single American. And it's got to stop.
Is there anyone who truly believes that Iraq could be stable without the same if not greater American military presence? Just look at the violence and chaos with 130,000 U.S. troops in the region. What the heck could we expect if the inept and undermanned Iraqi army and police are left to handle the insurgency alone? So when Bush and Rummy declare that an eventual troop drawdown is likely, perhaps even next year, they're either smokin' some kick-ass ganga or are lying through their teeth.
Rep. John Murtha's November proposal to have the troops withdrawn within 6 months seemed radical to many at the time, and failed to garner the bi-partisan (even Democratic) support to give it momentum. But as each new day passes, it seems to become the only viable solution to this debacle unless we as Americans are ok with having our soldiers constantly killed, injured and maimed with no end in sight. And for what? So that Iraq can fall into the hands of the enemy, as Vietnam did, the second we pull out? Is America ready to wage another decade-long battle only to lose out in the end as we did in Southeast Asia? Are we ready for potentially tens of thousands more soldiers to be flown home in body bags? For hundreds of thousands maimed and injured? For hundreds of billions more dollars to be spent?
We are constantly told by the Busheviks that we cannot pull out because that will throw the country into chaos and into the hands of the Iran-sponsored radical Muslim fundamentalists. We're constantly told that "we must stay the course until victory." But how they define victory has yet to be determined. Can a true Iraqi democracy, sustained by its own military and police force, be an inevitable reality? Most Middle East experts think not. Not only is the entire region a hotbed of violence and extremism, but Iraq itself is three cultures/countries in one: Kurds in the North, Shiites in the South, and the much newly disenfranchised Sunnis in between. And then there's the ominous Iran influence, and the insurgency itself.
It's incredulous that the Bushies originally thought they could waltz into Iraq and turn it into a true, self-sustaining democracy. It's even more mind-blowing that they still do. It's time to admit the gross miscalculations, cut our losses, and get the hell out of there.
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
I love David Letterman. A lot. He's funny as all hell, damned irreverent, and completely honest. The guy's heart is always firmly on his sleeve. And after watching him skewer Fox's Bill O'Reilly Tuesday night after he spewed his vomitous, untruthful rhetoric about the "attack on Christmas" and his pot shots at Cindy Sheehan, I fell head over heels all over again. His interview with the duplicitious O'Reilly proves just why he's the best there is. Kudos to Dave for doing his part to expose these losers for the total frauds they are.
So, rather than merely describe the fun, here is the full transcript:
Letterman: Our first guest is the host of Cable Television's number one news program - The O'Reilly Factor - it can be seen five nights a week on Fox News. Ladies and gentlemen, here's Bill O'Reilly. Bill come on out. Welcome back.
O'Reilly: Thank you.
Letterman: Happy New Year. Welcome back to the show. Tell me and people what you did before the O'Reilly, Factor, Fox News thing.
O'Reilly: I was running the deli downstairs with that guy they have.
Letterman: Is that a fact?
O'Reilly: So, you can build on that career he's making.
Letterman: Yea, but seriously.
O'Reilly: I did a show called Inside Edition. Then, before that, I was a correspondent for ABC News, Peter Jennings, and before that CBS News.
Letterman: So, you're a life-long news journalist?
Letterman: How were your holidays? Good?
O'Reilly: I had a nice winter solstice, yea.
O'Reilly: You can't say - you can't say Christmas.
Letterman: You can't say Christmas?
Letterman: Why is that?
O'Reilly: Because it is politically incorrect and we did a lot of reporting on this and, uh, that was the big thing we were doing leading up to that. While you were in St. Barts, we were leading up to the Christmas holidays by saying 'Hey, how come we can't say Christmas?'
Letterman: I wasn't aware that you couldn't say Christmas. When did this happen?
O'Reilly: Sears, Kmart started it, said no more Christmas. It's all happy holidays or winter solstice. I actually got a card from a friend of mine, it said 'Have a Blessed Winter.' I live in New York. You know what you can do with your blessed winter. You know what I'm talking about? Are you with me, Dave?
Letterman: I wasn't aware that this had happened.
O'Reilly: You weren't aware of the big giant controversy over Christmas?
Letterman: Well, I ignore stuff like that, it doesn't really affect me. I go ahead and do what I wanna do and you know I say Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year, Happy Hannukah.
O'Reilly: Here's why it matters. You with me on this?
O'Reilly: Okay. Ridgewood Elementary School in Dodgeville, Wisconsin. The song - Silent Night. [singing] Silent Night, you know? Knocked out the words and told the little kids to sing 'cold in the night, no one in sight, winter winds whine and bite, how I wish I was happy and warm, safe with my family, out of the storm.' They replaced the words to Silent Night with that. Now, with all due respect, I even think the baby Jesus would say 'gimme a break.' You know? You want another one ?
Letterman: No, but let- I don't-
O'Reilly: Woah, Woah, Woah, when great tradition-
Letterman: But what does this prove? It proves that one community-
O'Reilly: It proves there are pinheads at the Ridgewell Elementary School in Wisconsin.
O'Reilly: That's what it proves.
O'Reilly: Here's another one, you want another one? Or are you bored with this?
Letterman: I'm kinda- think we should move on.
Letterman: I mean but isn't this the kind of thing uh uh once or twice every twenty years somebody gets outraged and says oh by god we gotta put diapers on horses isn't it just about, it's just so what, let it go, it'll take care of itself.
O'Reilly: No. There is a movement in this country by politically correct people to erode traditions and the Christmas tradition is the most cherished in the country. Look. How absurd is it?
Letterman: But I don't -
Letterman: I don't feel threatened.
O'Reilly: It's not matter of you feel threatened.
Letterman: I don't this is an actual threat. I think this is something that happened here and it happened there and so people like you are trying to make us think that it's a threat.
Letterman: Because nobody said happy holidays to me and then said Merry Christmas, oh I can't say Merry Christmas.
O'Reilly: Well, here's why it gets to be more than that, because it's in court. there are lawsuits. In Plano, Texas another grammar school, umm the kids were told not to bring in Christmas colors like napkins that are red and green. That's in court; that's being litigated. Now you can say 'Oh, that's just a little thing, it doesn't affect you,' but it isn't. The erosion of the culture and the protection of tradition is important in this country.
Letterman: Yea, but are we really describing an erosion here? It's two examples one in Wisconsin and one in Texas.
O'Reilly: I got a million of them.
Letterman: Oh, you got a million of them? Okay. Fine.
O'Reilly: um, and they're funny ones. Memphis, Tennessee, Bible Belt, library. They have a little display where you can, say you are in a duck hunting club you can bring in a dead duck and put it there and advertise you duck hunting club. We kill ducks. Show up at 9 o'clock and we'll blow some ducks out of the air. Okay. There was a church that wanted to advertise a Christmas pageant so they brought in the manger scene and the library said you can the manger scene in Memphis Tennessee, but you can't have the baby Jesus, Joseph, or Mary or the wise men. We're not sure about the shepherds. That was a big debate. Now, how stupid and crazy is this?
Letterman: I don't believe you.
O'Reilly: It's true.
Letterman: I don't believe you. I don't...I don't believe you.
O'Reilly: You think I'm making this up?
Letterman: I do.
O'Reilly: Then I could write for your show. (reaching for cup on Letterman's desk) This mine?
Letterman: Yes. let's talk about your friends in the Bush administration, things seem to be darker now.
O'Reilly: They don't like me.
Letterman: Then they might ave been a year before how do things look to you?
O'Reilly: It's pretty rough, but they're not my friends in the Bush administration. They're not kicking the door down to be on my show, in fact you have an easier time getting President Bush to come on here than I have getting him to come on the Factor. But I think that the Iraq thing has been full of unintended consequences and it's a vital thing for the country and it's brutal, it's absolutely brutal. We should all take it very seriously. This simplistic stuff about hating Bush or he lied and all this stuff, does the country no good at all. We've got to win this thing. You have to win it. And even though it's a screw-up, giant, massive, all right, right now, for everybody's protection, it's best for the world to have a democracy in that country functioning and friendly to the West, is it not?
Letterman: Yes, absolutely.
O'Reilly: Okay, so let's stop with the lying and the this and the that and the undermining and let's get him. That is putting us all in danger. So our philosophy is we call it as we see it. Sometimes you agree, sometimes you don't. Robust debate is good. But we believe that the United States, particularly the military, are doing a noble thing, a noble thing. The soldiers and Marines are noble. They're not terrorists. And when people call them that, like Cindy Sheehan called the insurgents 'freedom fighters,' we don't like that. It is a vitally important time in American history. And we should all take it very seriously. Be very careful with what we say.
Letterman: Well, and you should be very careful with what you say also.
O'Reilly: Give me an example.
Letterman: How can you possibly take exception with the motivation and the position of someone like Cindy Sheehan?
O'Reilly: Because I think she's run by far-left elements in this country. I feel bad for the woman.
Letterman: Have you lost family members in armed conflict?
O'Reilly: No, I have not.
Letterman: Well, then you can hardly speak for her, can you?
O'Reilly: I'm not speaking for her. Let me ask you this question.
Letterman: [referring back to O'Reilly's phony "War on Christmas"] Let's go back to your little red and green stories.
O'Reilly: This is important, this is important. Cindy Sheehan lost a son, a professional soldier in Iraq, correct? She has a right to grieve any way she wants, she has a right to say whatever she wants. When she says to the public that the insurgents and terrorists are 'freedom fighters' how do you think, David Letterman, that makes people who lost loved ones, by these people blowing the Hell out of them, how do you think they feel, what about their feelings, sir?
Letterman: What about, why are we there in the first place? [applause] The President himself, less than a month ago said we are there because of a mistake made in intelligence. Well, whose intelligence? It was just somebody just get off a bus and handed it to him?
Letterman: No, it was the intelligence gathered by his administration.
O'Reilly: By the CIA.
Letterman: Yeah, so why are we there in the first place? I agree to you, with you that we have to support the troops. They are there, they are the best and the brightest of this country. [audience applause] There's no doubt about that. And I also agree that now we're in it it's going to take a long, long time. People who expect it's going to be solved and wrapped up in a couple of years, unrealistic, it's not going to happen. However, however, that does not eliminate the legitimate speculation and concern and questioning of why the hell are we there to begin with?
O'Reilly: If you want to question that, and then revamp an intelligence agency that's obviously flawed, the CIA, okay. But remember, MI-6 in Britain said the same thing. Putin's people in Russia said the same thing, and so did Mubarak's intelligence agency in Egypt.
Letterman: Well then that makes it all right?
O'Reilly: No it doesn't make it right.
Letterman: That intelligence agencies across the board makes it alright that we're there?
O'Reilly: It doesn't make it right.
Letterman: See, I'm very concerned about people like yourself who don't have nothing but endless sympathy for a woman like Cindy Sheehan. Honest to Christ.
O'Reilly: No, I'm sorry.
Letterman: Honest to Christ.
O'Reilly: No way. [waits for applause to die down] No way you're going to get me, no way that a terrorist who blows up women and children.
Letterman: Do you have children?
O'Reilly: Yes I do. I have a son the same age as yours. No way a terrorist who blows up women and children is going to be called a freedom fighter on my program.
Letterman: I'm not smart enough to debate you point to point on this, but I have the feeling, I have the feeling about 60 percent of what you say is crap. [audience laughter] But I don't know that for a fact.
Paul Shafer: Sixty percent.
Letterman: Sixty percent. I'm just spit-balling here.
O'Reilly: Listen, I respect your opinion. You should respect mine.
Letterman: Well, ah, I, okay. But I think you're-
O'Reilly: Our analysis is based on the best evidence we can get.
Letterman: Yeah, but I think there's something, this fair and balanced. I'm not sure that it's, I don't think that you represent an objective viewpoint.
O'Reilly: Well, you're going to have to give me an example if you're going to make those claims.
Letterman: Well I don't watch your show so that would be impossible.
O'Reilly: Then why would you come to that conclusion if you don't watch the program?
Letterman: Because of things that I've read, things that I know.
O'Reilly: Oh come on, you're going to take things that you've read. You know what say about you? Come on. Watch it for a couple, look, watch it for a half hour. You'll get addicted. You'll be a Factor fan, we'll send you a hat.
Letterman: You'll send me a hat. Well, send Cindy Sheehan a hat.
O'Reilly: I'll be happy to.
Letterman: Uh, Bill, it's always a pleasure.
O'Reilly: Thank you very much. Happy New Year.
Letterman: Same to you.
If you'd like to watch the video, here's a link:
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
In the wake of Jack Abramoff's guilty plea Tuesday to conspiracy, tax evasion and fraud charges, a spokesman for House Speaker Dennis Hastert says the Illinois Congressman will return $69,000 in funds contributed by Abramoff. But instead of returning it to the indicted lobbyist, Hastert will donate the money to an as-yet-named charity, it was reported Tuesday on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews.
Now that it's abundantly clear that Abramoff is set to likely rat out his cohorts, many in Washington, like Hastert, have begun the cleansing process and have either returned donations or plan to. These include Sen. Conrad Burns (Mont) and Rep. Bob Ney (OH). Many, like Ney, are claiming to have had no knowledge of Abramoff's illegal activities and say they were merely "duped." Lord knows we all know how naive those poor old politicians can be.
The investigation into Abramoff's corruption is believed to involve as many as 20 members of Congress and aides, as well as possibly several administration officials. Remarkably, approximately 220 lawmakers received at least $1.7 million in political contributions from Abramoff, his associates and nine tribal clients between 2001 and 2004, according to a review of Federal Election Commission and Internal Revenue Service records. Of those, 201 are still in Congress.
"When this is all over, this will be bigger than any (government scandal) in the last 50 years, both in the amount of people involved and the breadth to it," Stan Brand, a former U.S. House counsel who specializes in representing public officials accused of wrongdoing, told Bloomberg.com. "It will include high-ranking members of Congress and executive branch officials."
Disgraced, indicted GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiracy, fraud and tax evasion charges, and has agreed to be the government's star witness in its wide-ranging corruption investigation. And if conservatives in Washington are very nervous, they ought to be. The hammer's soon gonna fall on the GOP, as Abramoff had close business and personal ties to several prominent House and Senate Republicans as well as key conservative leaders including former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (TX); Rep. Robert Ney, (OH); Sen. Conrad Burns (Mont); Rep. John T. Doolittle (CA); Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (CA); former deputy Interior secretary J. Steven Griles; Americans for Tax Reform director Grover Norquist; and former Christian Coalition chief Ralph Reed. And there are many others. Wake the kids and grandma, folks. This could get very interesting.
Abramoff's a proven schemer and highly shrewd operator. His loyalty is to himself. Facing a huge 10+ year stint in the slammer, he's not likely to go down without taking a few of his former cohorts along for the ride, especially if it significantly reduces his sentence. For many months now, key Republicans, especially those in the Bush administration, have been quite cavalier, acting as if this scandal had no legs. But the prosecutorial hat-trick scored with the indictments of Abramoff, his former aide Michael Scanlon and former White House aide David Safavian will no doubt bring down many in this morally, ethically and legally corrupt Republican leadership.
And will it be the political impetus for a change in control of the House and possibly the Senate next year? The chances of that just got a whole lot better today.
Monday, January 02, 2006
On NBC's Meet the Press Sunday, Tim Russert hosted a 2008 presidential election conversation with panelists who included William Safire and Doris Kearns Goodwin. On screen was a graphic showing the most likely Democratic candidates: Senators Hillary Clinton (NY), Joe Biden (DE), Evan Bayh (IN), John Kerry (MA) and Russ Feingold (WI); Governors Mark Warner (VA), Bill Richardson (NM) and Tom Vilsack (IA); former Sen. John Edwards; and Gen. Wesley Clark, Fmr. NATO Supreme Allied Commander. Not a peep about former VP Al Gore. Not one single word.
Sure, Gore's previously stated he's not running, but he's not the only Democrat or Republican to play it coy. Can it be that the mainstream media still have it out for Al? How can Russert not mention Gore's name even as a dark horse or possible draft candidate? There's certainly been enough speculation over the past year about a Gore candidacy that would warrant inclusion at least as a real potential entry.
As we've said several times in this blog, Gore stands as good a chance as any based on his proven electibility (he did win the popular vote); his firm anti-war position from the get-go; his unrivaled 20+ year environmental leadership; his stewardship with Bill Clinton over 7 years of unprecedented economic prosperity; and his skeleton-less closet (he's already been vetted several times). He's the comeback kid; the New Nixon. And he's more viable in our opinion than those that Russert mentioned, including, yes, Hillary. Only Warner has the makings of a candidate who could achieve some broad national crossover appeal.
We're sticking to our guns here. Al Gore will run in 2008. Even if Meet the Press doesn't think so.