Friday, February 03, 2006

Interior Department Robbing Peter to Pay Paul

This falls in the realm of the unbelievable.

Short version: Indians sue the U.S. Government for mismanagment of funds. It seems the government mishandled over $100 billion in lost royalties from Indian land. The Tribes are settling for about a quarter of that amount, but they wanted the government to cover the $7 million in attorney's fees. The Interior Department took the $7 million straight back out of the Indians pockets.

The Associated Press writes:

Jim Cason, associate deputy interior secretary, said the cuts will include $2 million from a fund for lawyers performing tribal work and $1 million from Bureau of Indian Affairs' central and regional offices and some tribal programs. The decision won't affect schools or public safety.

The lead plaintiff says the department knew they would have to cover attorney's fees and should have planned for this expense.

I found this is The Charlotte Observer.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Roy Blunt NOT Elected as House Leader

House Republicans elected John Boehner to replace embattled Tom DeLay as Majority Leader in the U.S. House of Representatives.

UPDATE: The Washington Post and The Cincinnati Enquirer have this to say.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Mom! It's Al-Qa'ida on the Phone

I watched the entire speech. What an amazing pack of lies. I've read about everything there is on the web from traditional media and bloggers. It seems just about everyone else is calling Bush on his lies too.

I was going to do an in-depth piece on the speech, but I think there are several sites that have done brilliant jobs of this, so I will link to them all at the end of this brief post.

My Republican husband didn't want to watch the speech. He's had enough of Bush. I'm sure he'll remain a Republican, but he has stopped paying attention to Bush and his cronies. At one point he was angry with me for calling Karl Rove a despicable human being. Now, he agrees with me. They may not be losing their base, but their base can't keep them in office. They are losing the swing voters.

There were only three points where I was moved to speak to my television set last night out of anger or delight. The first was with Bush's condescension to legislators about partisanship. I have heard several political commentators and legislators say that the past 10 years have produced more tension and anger between the two parties than they've ever felt. I have two words for you. Karl. Rove. I could probably add the arrogance of Tom DeLay, Bill Frist, Dennis Hastert and any number of other Congressmen who have stepped up the partisan political games over the past 10 years, but Karl Rove has done more to attack, belittle and abuse Democrats and their supporters than any other person in recent political history. If there is partisan anger it originated with the arrogance of the Republicans as they assumed control of Congress and it has escalated to an unbearable level under Karl Rove's guidance. Clean your own house, Mr. President.

The next time I erupted in anger was when Bush defended his illegal wiretapping of innocent American citizens without a warrant. He says this was only done with calls from Al-Qa'ida . Gee George, I didn't know they had listed numbers. How do you possibly know it's a phone call from a terrorist unless you are listening in? How do you know who has picked up on the other end unless you are listening in? In other words, you are listening to them all in the hopes that you will be able to find out when Al-Qa'ida is calling and where they might be calling from. I know this is over simplifying a pretty sophisticated wiretap setup, but you wouldn't be accused of doing anything illegal if you were only listening in on KNOWN AL-QA'IDA TERRORIST'S CALLS. Do you honestly think we are buying it? Yes, I know you have some inbreds in your party still consuming your talking points as fast as Karl Rove can crap them out, but this is utterly ridiculous. Monitoring the calls of citizens of this country without a warrant is illegal. End.Of.Story.

My last eruption actually required a rewind of the DVR to make sure I saw what I thought I had seen. The Democrats stood as one (Unity at last!) ,applauded and cheered when the President bemoaned the fact that he couldn't pass a truly crappy reform of Social Security. I couldn't believe my eyes and ears and it obviously upset Junior because he started shaking his head and wagging his finger and appeared a bit miffed. I for one truly enjoyed that moment and still have it recorded to my DVR and will watch it every now and then as a reminder of what it looks like and feels like when the Democrats are unified.

Anderson Cooper said he thought the bit with the applause was silly or something of that nature. Well, Andy, as soon as you lose the bib and the diapers you might just understand why it wasn't silly. This from a man who made the President's hair color a post-SOTU topic of discussion on an international news show.

Think Progress debunks the SOTU. Newsweek is here. Froomkin did his usual stellar job and links to quite a few other papers and bloggers. The Washington Post article is here.

Honest Lawyers Pushed Out of Bush Administration

Newsweek has an excellent, in-depth piece about a handful of courageous lawyers who fought the illegal wiretapping approved by the Bush administration.

I'm encouraged. I hadn't thought there were any honest Republicans.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Chris Matthews Pussies Around with Tom DeLay

If you missed last night's edition of Hairball, you didn't miss much. Chris Matthews completely missed a chance to ask Tom DeLay some tough questions. Instead, he lobbed in some soft ones and sat while DeLay lied his heart out.

Then if that wasn't bad enough he suggests that Ted Kennedy molested Sam Alito's wife. If you missed it, Crooks and Liars has the video up. This ass wipe accuses a sitting United States Senator of molesting Mrs. Alito. (Actually, it was Lindsey Graham, R-SC who made strip search Sammy's wife cry)

You really can't make this stuff up. This crap passes for journalism?

al-Zawahiri Taunts Bush Calling Him Butcher of Washington

That's taking it too far in my opinion. Bush may be incompetent, ignorant, arrogant and capable of destroying everything he touches, but I wouldn't call him a butcher.

The story is on CNN.

Dana Milbank, The Washington Post's New Food Writer

I was reading Dana Milbank's recent column on a liberal food fight looking for the good part, you know the part where some lefty radical shoves mashed potatoes into Karl Rove's face, and I came across an error so glaring that even someone not paying attention to the events in the Senate chamber yesterday would have caught it. OK, well, obviously not.

In the article Dana Milbank was obviously staring down his nose at activists Cindy Sheehan and Ramsey Clark. His derision was apparent throughout much of the column. I haven't figured out whether he was being a defeatist or whether he was gloating with this bit:

.....Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) yesterday attempted an obviously doomed filibuster against the Supreme Court nomination of Samuel Alito -- and Kerry got only 25 of the 60 needed votes.

Likewise, the chance of a Republican Congress moving to impeach Bush is close to zero.

Actually, he was gloating. Have you noticed the error that even a novice reporter would not make? Milbank, an experienced political reporter says that Kerry needed 60 votes against cloture to stage a successful filibuster. Actually, Kerry only needed 41 votes. Bill Frist needed 60 votes to close debate and move to confirmation.

The Washington Post has printed way too many errors of late. I don't know if it's laziness on the part of its writers or its editors. Maybe they just do it to watch the bloggers go crazy. If it continues I might just become a conspiracy theorist and start hinting that the WaPo is intentionally falsifying facts as part of a vast right wing plot. Since, I'm not much into conspiracy theories, we'll just chalk it up to very sloppy journalism.

Howell, VandeHei and now Milbank. Will there be a credible writer left by the end of the year? Only time will tell.

Hat tip to Teddy and Jane Hamsher at Firedoglake.

Monday, January 30, 2006

19 Democrats Vote Against the Constitution

I will probably take the night off. I have some research to do on Abramoff and Co., but that can wait. For those who didn't get to witness one of the final blows to our Constitution, The Washington Post has the story.

One bright note was the fiery speech by Menendez. Welcome to the Senate! You will be getting some of my contribution dollars as will anyone running against Lieberman and Landrieu in the primary elections. I can't vote for or against them, but I can support their opposition.

Late to the Party

I haven't posted any about the cloture vote or proposed filibuster of Judge Samuel Alito's confirmation because I wasn't really sure how I felt about it - the filibuster, not his confirmation. I know how I feel about that. Yes, it may seem like just a bunch of grandstanding, but I've decided that it is important to Democrats to push their Senators to vote no on the cloture vote or to abstain from voting.

Much of the criticism of Democrats has been our lack of unity. What better time to demonstrate that we are unified. Alito may be assured his confirmation, but why not delay it a bit and take this time to talk about the illegal activities of the President, the culture of corruption that is rampant in the Republican House and to talk about the plans Democrats have to protect our Constitution.

We might not be able to keep Samuel Alito off of the Supreme Court, but we can force his confirmation vote on our terms and let the country hear our unified voice.

I have been spending much of the last two days faxing, calling and writing our Senators. If you would like to join the party for this last hour before the cloture vote please visit FireDogLake. They have the fax numbers, phone numbers and a great support group.

And We Thought the NSA was Bad

In its lead editorial The Washington Post reminds us that the civil liberties violations by the Pentagon's CIFA are as bad, if not worse than those committed by the NSA.

A database managed by a secretive Pentagon intelligence agency called Counterintelligence Field Activity, or CIFA, was found last month to contain reports on at least four dozen antiwar meetings or protests, many of them on college campuses. Ten peace activists who handed out peanut butter and jelly sandwiches outside Halliburton's headquarters in Houston in June 2004 were reported as a national security threat. So were people who assembled at a Quaker meeting house in Lake Worth, Fla., or protested military recruiters at sites such as New York University, the State University of New York and campuses of the University of California at Berkeley and at Santa Cruz.

The difference here is that many of those under surveillance found out because they were cited or written up. There were many more who were secretly monitored though who deserve to know that their civil liberties have once again been violated by the Bush administration with its "post 9/11, live-in-fear" mind set.

For those of you who aren't familiar with CIFA it is short for Counterintelligence Field Activity and it secretly monitored war protestors, a group of Quakers and basically others who simply disagreed with the Bush administration. The Post calls them peaceful political dissenters. That could include anyone who has written or spoken out against the Bush administration.

Walter Pincus of The Washington Post first wrote about this in December. You can find his articles here, here and here.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Glenn Greenwald Follows up and Through

Glenn Greenwald has another excellent post about the NSA illegal wiretap debacle. Here's just a little snippet. My advice is to visit Glenn's site and read it all.

Obviously, the assumption of Sens. DeWine, Schumer, and Kyl was that it actually mattered what FISA said because FISA was the law that governed the scope of the Administration’s eavesdropping powers. Of course, we now know that while the Senate was debating all sorts of proposed changes to FISA in order to expand the Administration’s eavesdropping powers, it actually did not matter at all what FISA said, because the Administration had decided that it could do whatever eavesdropping it wanted regardless of whether FISA allowed or prohibited that eavesdropping.

Glenn is doing great work on this issue. The President is breaking the law. There is no doubt about it. The big question is where do we go from here. How do we get this to translate into impeachment proceedings. November 2006 could be a long wait. How many civil liberties might be stripped from us before that date? The midterm elections are far more important to the American people than they are to the American President.

Eleanor Clift Gets It, She Really Does

In a recent Newsweek piece Eleanor Clift does a good job summarizing the President and predicting some of what might happen in his upcoming State of the Union Address. She also spends some time outlining a tax reform measure being pushed by Oregon Senator Ron Wyden. This is worth a quick read.

America is Ready for Democratic Leadership

In a Washington Post article this morning Dan Balz reviews the midterm challenges of President Bush. Will the State of the Union speech scheduled for Tuesday night deliver the punch the Republicans need to change the momentum of public opinion? I doubt it. There have simply been too many scandals. Even many Republicans are tired of the mess in Washington.

A month ago I was chanting, "It's the war stupid", along with everyone else. Now, the war is just one item on a laundry list of what is wrong with Republican rule. The war has been joined by Plamegate and Scooter Libby's indictment, the Abramoff/GOP lobby scandal, Tom DeLay's indictment, David Safavian's indictment, Duke Cunningham's guilty plea, Medicare prescription plan debacle, illegal wiretap debate and investigations into several other Republican members of Congress in conjunction with these scandals. It's a wonder we haven't stormed the gates of the White House or the chambers of the Senate and House of Representatives.

We are tired. We are saddened that our great country is no longer held in high respect around the world. We are scared, not of terrorists, but of our own government. We are ready for change. For many of us, the midterm elections being held this November can't arrive soon enough. This movement has gone beyond those sitting on the left fringes and has included all who believe we need a change in Washington. We are united in our goal to restore honor to our government and to the United States of America.

From the Washington Post:
The poll also shows that the public prefers the direction Democrats in Congress would take the country as opposed to the path set by the president, that Americans trust Democrats over Republicans to address the country's biggest problems and that they strongly favor Democrats over Republicans in their vote for the House.

This is what many of us have known for some time and the polls are finally showing. The challenge now is bringing this movement to the people who don't read the Post or political blogs. It isn't enough to say you want change. You have to be willing to fight for it. In this country that doesn't mean taking to the streets armed to overtake your government. It means getting off your butt and working for a candidate or your local party. It means getting off your butt and getting to the polls to vote on election day.

UPDATE: For those of you who like to read poll numbers for yourself to draw your own conclusions, you will find the raw poll data

They Still Don't Get It

Jim VandeHei of the Washington Post is having a difficult time winding his small mind around the real facts about Democrats. It isn't the base that is trying to bring centrist Democrats to the left. It is the illegal actions of President Bush and the corrupt and morally bankrupt Republicans who are driving us much further left than many of us would normally go.

VandeHei, affectionately known as the White House pool boy at FireDogLake, is notorious for spouting Republican talking points. Jane Hamsher at FDL said the article totally missed the point. Hamsher also said she was, " pleasantly suprised that it was relatively free of his normal slavish fabrications and rabid shrine-to-Tom-Delay fellatio." VandeHei's wife once worked for Tom DeLay.

So, we are expecting objectivity from this guy?