Tuesday, January 31, 2006

How Alito was nominated.

It turns out that a bunch of people close to the Fedralist Society had a plan all along to get people like Alito on to the Supreme court. They hired PR firms to cultivate and manage public opinion to favorably suit potential justices like Alito. Ted Kennedy is mad about this. The NY Times article Kennedy is waving about is here. It may require a subscription, so here are some excerpts...

The team recruited conservative lawyers to study the records of 18 potential nominees — including Judges John G. Roberts Jr. and Samuel A. Alito Jr. — and trained more than three dozen lawyers across the country to respond to news reports on the president's eventual pick. "We boxed them in," one lawyer present during the strategy meetings said with pride in an interview over the weekend. This lawyer and others present who described the meeting were granted anonymity because the meetings were confidential and because the team had told its allies not to exult publicly until the confirmation vote was cast. Now, on the eve of what is expected to be the Senate confirmation of Judge Alito to the Supreme Court, coming four months after Chief Justice Roberts was installed, those planners stand on the brink of a watershed for the conservative movement. In 1982, the year after Mr. Alito first joined the Reagan administration, that movement was little more than the handful of legal scholars who gathered at Yale for the first meeting of the Federalist Society, a newly formed conservative legal group. Judge Alito's ascent to join Chief Justice Roberts on the court "would have been beyond our best expectations," said Spencer Abraham, one of the society's founders, a former secretary of energy under President Bush and now the chairman of the Committee for Justice, one of many conservative organizations set up to support judicial nominees. He added, "I don't think we would have put a lot of money on it in a friendly wager." Judge Alito's confirmation is also the culmination of a disciplined campaign begun by the Reagan administration to seed the lower federal judiciary with like-minded jurists who could reorient the federal courts toward a view of the Constitution much closer to its 18th-century authors' intent, including a much less expansive view of its application to individual rights and federal power. It was a philosophy promulgated by Edwin Meese III, attorney general in the Reagan administration, that became the gospel of the Federalist Society and the nascent conservative legal movement.
So they are trying to attack an individual's rights after all. Well, I should have guessed as much. Bush's whole presidency has been about expanding his powers well past where they were, and way past where they should be.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Russert, Lauer continue to mischaracterize Abramoff donations on Today Show

Just yesterday, Katie Couric interrupted Howard Dean on the Today Show when Dean said "not one dime of Abramoff money went to Democrats." Couric used the often repeated Republican falsehood that Indian tribe donations from tribes that Abramoff at one time worked for are equivalent to Abramoff money. With this logic, and politician that took money from Microsoft took Abramoff money, since Abramoff once worked for Microsoft. The first truth > lies letter to the Today Show can be seen below. Today, NBC brought Tim Russert on to claim that while Dean was "technically" correct according to Lauer, the issue is "broad and wide." The Today Show can be reached at today@nbc.com. Please help me explain to Russert and Lauer how not one Democrat is involved in this investigation and how Abramoff client donations are not equivalent to Abramoff money. Let them know that the issue is not "broad and wide." Also, explain to them that the tribes that hired Abramoff started giving less money to Democrats once they hired Abramoff. Update: Media Matters now has the video

Katie Couric Wrong About Abramoff; Dean Corrects Her

On the Today Show, Howard Dean correctly insisted that Democrats did not get "one dime" of Abramoff money. Unfortunately, Couric interrupted him to interject the Republican falsehood that has been circulating around saying Democrats took Abramoff money. In fact, Couric was citing a wholly misleading report grouping donations to politicians from the tribes that Abramoff once worked for together with Abramoff's personal donations. Media Matters has the video. After Dean corrected the misleading claim that Couric recited, Couric promised to look into it and clarify it to viewers at a later date. Help Couric look into this issue by sending her an e-mail (today@nbc.com) explaining the facts to her. Here is the truth > lies letter:

To clarify the dispute between Katie and Howard Dean on your show this morning, the FEC website has recorded zero Abramoff contributions to Democrats, and scores of Abramoff contributions to Republicans. Dean was absolutely correct in his assertion that Democrats have not taken one dime from Jack Abramoff. The misleading report that Couric was citing on the show deceptively groups donations from every tribe Abramoff ever worked for together and calls it Abramoff money. The fact is, many of those tribes were making perfectly legal contributions to Democrats before Abramoff even was hired by the tribes. And Abramoff was by far not the only lobbyist employed by the tribes. Abramoff also once worked for Microsoft. With the logic used in the report Couric cited, any politician who has also taken a donation from Microsoft has also received "Abramoff money." I am sure Couric's confusion was not ill intended, but I ask her and the Today Show staff to keep their eyes open to prevent repeating false and misleading Republican propaganda in the future. It is unreasonable to assume, today, that documents and information coming from right-wing sources have any basis in fact at all. Thank you for your understanding, John
Use this letter as inspiration and write your own! :)

Thursday, January 26, 2006

General Hayden Also Gets the Fourth Ammendment Wrong

Here is the video courtesy of Can O' Fun and Keith Olbermann. Sigh. More conservatives have to be informed about the Constitution they are supposed to be defending. Will it ever end?

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Educate Attorney General Alberto Gonzales about the Fourth Ammendment.

As embarassingly seen here, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has no idea what the Fourth Ammendment means. You can E-mail him to let him know here: AskDOJ@usdoj.gov?subject=USDOJ%20Comments Hopefully, educating our highest elected and appointed officials about the law is something we aren't going to have to keep doing. I'm not holding out much hope, though.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Wilkerson: "This is not a Republican administration...[t]his is a radical administration."

Colonel (Ret.) Larry Wilkerson, a former policy director for the Bush Administration (and long time Republican), has been voicing his concerns over the lack a realistic method of governing coming from the Bush Administration. The Washington Post had this story buried in the "Style" section. I love Wilkerson, and he reminds me of why I once liked the Republican party. But the article has this to say about Bush:

"This is not a Republican administration, not in my view. This is a radical administration." Wilkerson calls Bush an unsophisticated leader who has been easily swayed by "messianic" neoconservatives and power-hungry, secretive schemers in the administration. In a landmark speech in October, Wilkerson said: "What I saw was a cabal between the vice president of the United States, Richard Cheney, and the secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld, on critical issues that made decisions that the bureaucracy did not know were being made." He is particularly appalled by U.S. treatment of enemy detainees, counting at least 100 deaths in custody during the course of the war on terrorism -- 27 of them ruled homicides. "Murder is torture," he says. "It's not torture lite." As for the invasion of Iraq? A blunder of historic proportions, he believes. "This is really a very inept administration," says Wilkerson, who has credentials not only as an insider in the Bush I, Clinton and Bush II presidencies but also as a former professor at two of the nation's war colleges. "As a teacher who's studied every administration since 1945, I think this is probably the worst ineptitude in governance, decision-making and leadership I've seen in 50-plus years. You've got to go back and think about that. That includes the Bay of Pigs, that includes -- oh my God, Vietnam. That includes Iran-contra, Watergate." ... Bad Information Wilkerson, as it turned out, became the point man for making the case for preemptive war against Hussein. He put together the task force that, during a week at CIA headquarters, vetted all the intelligence reports used for Powell's famous pro-war presentation in February 2003 to the Security Council, where he brandished a vial of fake anthrax, played excerpts of intercepted Iraqi military chatter, and warned of mobile bioweapon "factories" and other doomsday machines, none of which actually existed. How did it happen? "Larry thought they had cleaned out the obvious garbage, but it turned out there was more," says James A. Kelly, a former assistant secretary of state who's known Wilkerson for 20 years. "Larry felt that he let down the secretary, but the job was so big in cleaning out the misinformation." Wilkerson won't say outright that he and Powell were deliberately snowed by intelligence reports tailored to fit a political push for war, but he has edged closer to that view, noting, "I've begun to wonder." It turns out that the administration relied on fabricators' claims about Hussein's illusory WMD programs and, in one case, an al Qaeda suspect whom the CIA turned over to alleged torturers in Egypt.
Wilkerson is saying is exactly right, IMHO. It was painfully obvious even before this war started that Bush is an easily manipulated President by some circles, most notably the neoconservative lunatic fringe that wants to take over the entire Middle East step by step, damn the consequences. Our contry is being run by radicals that have no respect for any particular political philosophy except that of achieving more power for themselves.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Great News! Lieberman Being Officially Challenged in the CT Primary!

It looks like his competition is serious, too. Serves him right for supporting the lies of George W. Bush and his false war. The challenger is Ned Lamont, friend of the Kennedys and wealthy businessman. The entire grassroots is against Lieberman, so this should be interesting. Details are here on this diary on Kos. Bye-bye, Joe!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Boston Globe Falsely States That Abramoff Donated to Democrats

The Globe is misleading its readers when it states "Known as a top Washington lobbyist, Abramoff had vast influence and gave generously to Democrats and Republicans alike..." This excerpt goes on to imply that Harry Reid is somehow involved in wrongdoing as well. If the Globe writer Michael Kranish would have bothered to check the FEC's own website, he would have realized that Abramoff did not donate a dime to Democrats. But apparently backing up baseless claims with reality and fact is beyond the scope of a journalist these days. You can contact Kranish at: m_kranish@globe.com

DeLay Does the Russians' Bidding in Congress...With Abramoff's help

The Washington Post has reported that DeLay and Abramoff set up an astroturf PAC to funnel millions of dollars of foreign donations into US politics. The article is very comprehensive, and I suggest a thorough read, but I'll show you the best excerpts:

The U.S. Family Network, a public advocacy group that operated in the 1990s with close ties to Rep. Tom DeLay and claimed to be a nationwide grass-roots organization, was funded almost entirely by corporations linked to embattled lobbyist Jack Abramoff, according to tax records and former associates of the group. During its five-year existence, the U.S. Family Network raised $2.5 million but kept its donor list secret. The list, obtained by The Washington Post, shows that $1 million of its revenue came in a single 1998 check from a now-defunct London law firm whose former partners would not identify the money's origins. Two former associates of Edwin A. Buckham, the congressman's former chief of staff and the organizer of the U.S. Family Network, said Buckham told them the funds came from Russian oil and gas executives. Abramoff had been working closely with two such Russian energy executives on their Washington agenda, and the lobbyist and Buckham had helped organize a 1997 Moscow visit by DeLay (R-Tex.). The former president of the U.S. Family Network said Buckham told him that Russians contributed $1 million to the group in 1998 specifically to influence DeLay's vote on legislation the International Monetary Fund needed to finance a bailout of the collapsing Russian economy. A spokesman for DeLay, who is fighting in a Texas state court unrelated charges of illegal fundraising, denied that the contributions influenced the former House majority leader's political activities. The Russian energy executives who worked with Abramoff denied yesterday knowing anything about the million-dollar London transaction described in tax documents.
Oh boy.....it gets better:
House Republican leaders had expressed opposition through that spring to giving the IMF the money it could use for new bailouts, decrying what they described as previous destabilizing loans to other countries. The IMF and its Western funders, meanwhile, were pressing Moscow, as a condition of any loan, to increase taxes on major domestic oil companies such as Gazprom, which had earlier defaulted on billions of dollars in tax payments. On Aug. 18, 1998, the Russian government devalued the ruble and defaulted on its treasury bills. But DeLay, appearing on "Fox News Sunday" on Aug. 30 of that year, criticized the IMF financing bill, calling the replenishment of its funds "unfortunate" because the IMF was wrongly insisting on a Russian tax increase. "They are trying to force Russia to raise taxes at a time when they ought to be cutting taxes in order to get a loan from the IMF. That's just outrageous," DeLay said. In the end, the Russian legislature refused to raise taxes, the IMF agreed to lend the money anyway, and DeLay voted on Sept. 17, 1998, for a foreign aid bill containing new funds to replenish the IMF account. DeLay's spokesman said the lawmaker "makes decisions and sets legislative priorities based on good policy and what is best for his constituents and the country." He added: "Mr. DeLay has very firm beliefs, and he fights very hard for them."
So DeLay was saying that these donations didn't influence his politics? LOL...