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February 13, 2006

(From the diaries -- kos)

The Cheney shooting story isn't about to die down. I predict that the press is going to run with this story for days, if not weeks--and it has very little to do with the possibility of Cheney's being drunk, or with the 18 hour delay, or anything else.  And this story is going to be much bigger than what we've seen so far in the White House Press Briefings.

It's because this story is a perfect metaphor for this administration's foreign and domestic policy. It says everything you need to know about Dick Cheney personally, and the way this entire administration operates.

And the press does this all the time: they run with little things that display flaws in character: Al Gore's "Internet" quote to highlight his weakness for exaggeration; Kerry's "Voted for it before I voted against it" to highlight his weakness for equivocation.

In this case, we have Cheney and the entire Bush Administration foreign and domestic policy in a nutshell. Especially in Iraq and Katrina.

In this case, Cheney and friends were killing innocent creatures who were trapped in a pen with no hope of escape.

Overeager, Cheney hunted with a shoot first, ask questions later mentality, and managed to strike his own partner, and send his friend to intensive care.

It later appears that Bush and his situation room (or so they said) had no idea what was going on on the ground there. They waited an entire day to even report the story, even though they obviously knew what happened.  Hell, someone else had to force them to report the story, because they sure weren't going to unless they had to.

The official story then has Cheney blaming the victim, saying it was the victim's fault he got in Cheney's way.

It starts to become clear there was a pretty big hush-hush coverup job about it, but that the truth couldn't help but get leaked, despite the Administration's best wishes. There is even speculation that Cheney was possibly intoxicated, and not using his best intelligence before he started shooting.

And, of course, they couldn't afford to admit the truth, because the truth would probably be an impeachable offense.


It's a perfect analogy for the way they have conducted their entire administration--and all the biggest flaws of this presidency are on display in one little vividly portrayed story.

A little story that has tremendous sway because, let's face it: THE VICE PRESIDENT JUST ACTUALLY SHOT ANOTHER HUMAN BEING. The imagery is clear and potent--and not subject to the typical political "he said, she said."

There is no way to play the usual equivocating politics with a story about the vice-president ACTUALLY SHOOTING SOMEONE.

And that's why I guarantee you this story isn't going away: It's a perfect way for the press to indict the entire Administration through the perfect metaphor.

And they'll be able to do it without retribution, or accusations that both sides aren't being fairly presented.

And it's going to haunt these assholes for a long, long time, if my hunch is correct.

(Cross-posted on my blog There Is No Blog: Bending Left)

Categories: Blogs
Hackett is out.

Paul Hackett, an Iraq war veteran and popular Democratic candidate in Ohio's closely watched Senate contest, said yesterday that he was dropping out of the race and leaving politics altogether as a result of pressure from party leaders.

Mr. Hackett said Senators Charles E. Schumer of New York and Harry Reid of Nevada, the same party leaders who he said persuaded him last August to enter the Senate race, had pushed him to step aside so that Representative Sherrod Brown, a longtime member of Congress, could take on Senator Mike DeWine, the Republican incumbent.

Mr. Hackett staged a surprisingly strong Congressional run last year in an overwhelmingly Republican district and gained national prominence for his scathing criticism of the Bush administration's handling of the Iraq War. It was his performance in the Congressional race that led party leaders to recruit him for the Senate race.

But for the last two weeks, he said, state and national Democratic Party leaders have urged him to drop his Senate campaign and again run for Congress.

"This is an extremely disappointing decision that I feel has been forced on me," said Mr. Hackett, whose announcement comes two days before the state's filing deadline for candidates. He said he was outraged to learn that party leaders were calling his donors and asking them to stop giving and said he would not enter the Second District Congressional race.

"For me, this is a second betrayal," Mr. Hackett said. "First, my government misused and mismanaged the military in Iraq, and now my own party is afraid to support candidates like me."

Calling his donors? Seems like a bullshit thing to do. But the party wasn't afraid of Hackett, they were afraid of an untested candidate in a high-profile Senate race. He'd have all the support in the world had he decided to run for OH-02. And he'd be able to build on that support for a Senate race in 2010.

But alas, it was not to be. Too bad.

Update: To make something clear, Hackett is complaining about betrayal. Yet Rahm was trying to get him to become one of his candidates. In other words, Rahm was recruiting him. That's not a bad thing. That's a flattering thing.

To be clear -- Hackett didn't stand a chance. He had a tenth of Brown's money, and that was before party people allegedly tried to stop Hackett's donors from giving. His field operation in the special election was literally put together and implemented by Dan Lucas. Who is Dan Lucas? Sherrod Brown's campaign manager. Hackett's netroots effort in the special election was put together by Tim Tagaris. And while Tim is now at the DNC, he helped put together Brown's netroots operation.

So it was Brown's people who helped put together the nuts and bolts of Hackett's special election campaign, and they were now working for their boss -- Sherrod Brown.

To be further clear, Brown announced his candidacy before Hackett did. Yes, Reid and Schumer were urging Hackett to run, but he wouldn't commit to running. Labor Day, the traditional announcement day for most candidates, came and went with Hackett refusing to say what his plans were. So after waiting and waiting and waiting, Brown essentially said "fuck it" and got in. It was only after news of Brown's impending announcement were leaked that Hackett decided to commit to the race.

Bottom line? Hackett didn't stand a chance, he wasn't backstabbed by his party since Brown's candidacy was announced before his was (if he'd only committed sooner, Brown might've stayed out), and the party wasn't out to screw him, they were out to get him to run in the House.

Update II: It looks like people misunderstood at least part of my first update. I don't think Hackett stood a chance in the primary. I think either candidate would be able to take DeWine. But Hackett had fallen woefully behind on the money and organizational races, and lacked Brown in name ID. It would've been a tough slog.

Categories: Blogs
In a story first noticed here by brotherforkerry, the New York Times is reporting that Paul Hackett is dropping out of the Ohio Senate race, and perhaps politics altogether:
Mr. Hackett said Senators Charles E. Schumer of New York and Harry Reid of Nevada, the same party leaders who he said persuaded him last August to enter the Senate race, had pushed him to step aside so that Representative Sherrod Brown, a longtime member of Congress, could take on Senator Mike DeWine, the Republican incumbent.

...[F]or the last two weeks, he said, state and national Democratic Party leaders have urged him to drop his Senate campaign and again run for Congress.

"This is an extremely disappointing decision that I feel has been forced on me," said Mr. Hackett, whose announcement comes two days before the state's filing deadline for candidates. He said he was outraged to learn that party leaders were calling his donors and asking them to stop giving and said he would not enter the Second District Congressional race.

"For me, this is a second betrayal," Mr. Hackett said. "First, my government misused and mismanaged the military in Iraq, and now my own party is afraid to support candidates like me."
Nor will Hackett run for OH-2 again:
Mr. Hackett said he was unwilling to run for the Congressional seat because he had given his word to three Democratic candidates that he would not enter that race.

"The party keeps saying for me not to worry about those promises because in politics they are broken all the time," said Mr. Hackett, who plans to return to his practice as a lawyer in the Cincinnati area. "I don't work that way. My word is my bond."
I just have one thing to say right now: Sherrod Brown better win this, and I hope that once Hackett's many supporters get over this disappointment, we can all work together this fall to make it happen.  

At the end of the day, Chuck Schumer's not the enemy -- Mike DeWine is, as is every other Republican who stands between us and control of the Senate.  Eyes on the prize, gang.

Categories: Blogs

The federal government is on the verge of one of the biggest giveaways of oil and gas in American history, worth an estimated $7 billion over five years.

New projections, buried in the Interior Department's just-published budget plan, anticipate that the government will let companies pump about $65 billion worth of oil and natural gas from federal territory over the next five years without paying any royalties to the government.

Based on the administration figures, the government will give up more than $7 billion in payments between now and 2011. The companies are expected to get the largess, known as royalty relief, even though the administration assumes that oil prices will remain above $50 a barrel throughout that period.

Hmm, the "9-11 changed everything" excuse won't fly here. I wonder what they'll try instead.

And a reminder:

Exxon Mobil Corp. set U.S. records for annual and quarterly profits Monday as it easily topped fourth-quarter earnings forecasts.

The nation's largest oil company reported net income in the fourth quarter of $10.7 billion, or $1.71 a share, compared to $8.4 billion, or $1.30 a share, a year earlier [...]

For the year the company earned net income of $36.1 billion, or $33.9 billion excluding special items. That's up 31 percent from the $25.9 billion it earned on that basis year earlier.

Categories: Blogs
A conservative over at the National Review warns his fellow conservatives that Webb is the real deal.

Republicans should worry. Webb is an impressive man. He is a 1968 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. As a Marine officer in Vietnam, he led an infantry platoon and company, was wounded twice, and was awarded the Navy Cross (second only to the Medal of Honor as a recognition of valor) and the Silver Star. After he was medically retired from the Marine Corps, he attended Georgetown Law School and later served as counsel to the House Veterans Committee. He is the author of six novels, including Fields of Fire, the best novel there is about Vietnam. During the Reagan administration, he served as an assistant secretary of Defense and secretary of the Navy. Combine his virtues with the fact that Virginia is one of the few states where a conservative Democrat might win, and, if Webb prevails in the Democratic primary, Senator Allen is likely to be in for the fight of his life [...]

Jim will be a formidable candidate. I already know a number of Virginia Republicans who are inclined to vote for him because of what they (rightly) perceive as his sterling character. It will be interesting to see what happens if he wins (assuredly not a foregone conclusion, given Allen's real strengths). Somehow I can't see him hanging out with Teddy Kennedy, Barbara Boxer, Chuck Schumer, or John Kerry, whose hand Jim once refused to shake. And the idea of Harry Reid bending Jim to conform to his will makes me laugh. When Webb abruptly resigned as secretary of the Navy in 1988 after clashes with Defense Secretary Frank Carlucci, he remarked to reporters, "It's no secret that I'm not a person who wears a bridle well."

Let us hope that Webb's move from the Republican party to the Democrats does not adumbrate a major cultural shift that would deal a major blow to the former: the loss of the "Scots-Irish," a group that Webb described in his 2005 book, Born Fighting (which I had the good fortune to review for National Review) [...]

In my review I remarked that these are the "red state" voters. They are family-oriented, take morality seriously, go to church, join the military, and listen to country music. They strongly believe that no man is obligated to obey the edicts of a government that violates his moral conscience. They once formed the bedrock of the Democratic party -- from Andrew Jackson until Vietnam -- but have been moving to the GOP ever since. In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Webb called the Scots-Irish in America the "the secret GOP weapon."

But the Republicans cannot take this group for granted. Commenting on a statement that Howard Dean made during the Democratic primaries, Charles Krauthammer opined that Dean was campaigning for the "white trash vote" by pandering to the "rebel-yelling racist redneck." In the Wall Street Journal, Webb called this "the most vicious ethnic slur of the presidential campaign," noting dryly that Krauthammer "has never complained about this ethnic group when it has marched off to fight the wars he wishes upon us." Jim and I disagree on a number of topics -- the Iraq war being an obvious instance -- but the Republicans can't afford to lose such people.

Good stuff, and yes, Webb is evidence that Republicans no longer represent the men and women in uniform.

But the author, Mackubin Thomas Owens, falls for the latest anti-Daily Kos talking point and takes it at face value:

The [Democratic] party's only hope for returning to power is to throw off the shackles imposed by Moveon.org, the Daily Kos, People for the American Way, NARAL, and the like.

We may soon see if this is possible. My friend Jim Webb announced last week that he will seek the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate from Virginia.

Funny that MoveOn.org and Daily Kos didn't exist when the Republicans took over the government, so blaming us for Democratic losses is pretty ridiculous. But what is really funny about that passage is that Owens clearly has no idea that we've been agitating for Webb's entry into the race long before he probably even knew Webb was considering a run.

Fact is, Webb is exactly what Daily Kos ordered for the Virginia Senate race this year. He's my kind of candidate, and I know many people who would agree. I hope Mackubin's head doesn't explode from shock.

Categories: Blogs
So, a bunch of sources are saying that Hackett is going to drop out tonight, others say he's staying in. It's mass chaos!

The bottom line? Hackett is either staying in or he's dropping out. But either way he'll have to make an announcement soon to clear things up.

Update: Hmm, Hackett cancelled his appearance on Hardball. That means something.

Categories: Blogs

ELOQUENT INELEGANCE. All that said, obviously clarity and expressiveness are what matter. There's no denying the special effectiveness of, for example, Harry Reid's relentless verbal inelegance. Take his remark this morning about the prospects for GOP national-security demagoguery in the run-up to the midterms: "I don't think Karl Rove's message, if he's still out of jail, will have the same sound as it did."

Categories: Blogs
  • We can argue how much of a "man" hunting makes you, but putting aside that argument for the moment, what kind of a "man" kills canned birds? There's sport in shooting fish in a barrel? This was skeet shooting with real birds rather than clay pigeons.

  • Reddhedd takes about gun safety.

  • Montana Republicans apparently think many of their fellow Republicans are weak on national security. In criticizing Tester's position on the Patriot Act (he would vote against reauthorization), MT Republicans also criticized several Republicans who oppose reauthorization (Craig, Sununun, Murkowski to name just three), as well as just about the entire Montana state legislature. You see, they passed a resolution opposing the Patriot Act. In the House, only 12 out of 50 Republicans voted against the resolution.

  • Maryland Republican candidate for Senate Michael Steele opened his trap last week and told Jewish activists that stem cell research was like the Holocaust. Big whoops. And it's the reason his handlers try to keep his yap shut as much as possible. Ahh, but the wingnuttery couldn't be kept holed up inside. It yearned to be free! Fly, wingnuttery, fly free!

    Oh, and btw, Steele now supposedly supports stem cell research. So, um, does he support the Holocaust as well? Wow. A wingnut with no political principles. That's a pathetic sight.

  • Scottie is now insulting reporters in the White House press pool for asking legitimate questions.

  • Proof that the Sunday morning talk shows lean right.

  • This is what Crashing the Gate looks like.

  • Chris Bowers takes on Lieberman and notes how Arlen Specter -- once their version of Lieberman -- has been defanged.

  • DavidNYC catalogues pundit predictions before the GOP's landslide 1994 House pickups. Tallied up, they were predicting an average Democratic final margin of over 11 seats. The GOP wound up with a margin of 25. Bottom line, no one can predict these things.

  • Rahm is urging Hackett to run for OH-02 instead of senate. Filing deadling is three days away. DavidNYC is pessimistic about Hackett's chances in a rematch. I'm not. Hackett became a national celebrity following his loss and has a respectable amount of money (for a House race). The case studies David cites -- Stephanie Herseth in South Dakota and Ben Chandler in Kentucky, were much blander events.

    I still dream of Hackett running for House, pulling off the victory, and then challenging Voinovich in 2010.

  • The White House is demanding an apology from the NY Times for saying that Bush was on vacation on August 30, 2005, while people were dying in the Gulf Coast in the wake of Katrina. Think Progress shows us how Bush was focused on "saving lives" by clowning around with Mark Willis and his new toy guitar.

Categories: Blogs

February 9, 2006

The last one is pretty full. So here's some more canvass for you guys.

  • AP accuses Reid of Abramoff involvement! Except that, uh, Reid never took the Abramoff position on ANY vote. So why is this a story?

  • Atrios gives us a "before and after" look at Bush and leaks within his administration.

  • Scottie has a bad day trying to make sense of Bush's nonsensical LA hijack story. I think Bush confused Season 2 of "24" with reality. Thank god Jack Bauer saved the day.

  • Scotties day didn't improve as he refused to deny Abramoff's claims that he and Bush were good buddies.

  • Fox News edits out applause from Rev. Lowery's speech, then they comment on the lack of applause. How positively Soviet of them!

  • First-hand account from a Ned Lamont fundraiser.

  • Woah, Bush's eulogy at Reagan's funeral sure sounds -- gasp! -- political!

    President Reagan was optimistic about the great promise of economic reform, and he acted to restore the reward and spirit of enterprise. He was optimistic that a strong America could advance the peace, and he acted to build the strength that mission required. He was optimistic that liberty would thrive wherever it was planted, and he acted to defend liberty wherever it was threatened.

    And Ronald Reagan believed in the power of truth in the conduct of world affairs. When he saw evil camped across the horizon, he called that evil by its name. There were no doubters in the prisons and gulags, where dissidents spread the news, tapping to each other in code what the American President had dared to say. There were no doubters in the shipyards and churches and secret labor meetings, where brave men and women began to hear the creaking and rumbling of a collapsing empire. And there were no doubters among those who swung hammers at the hated wall as the first and hardest blow had been struck by President Ronald Reagan.

    The ideology he opposed throughout his political life insisted that history was moved by impersonal ties and unalterable fates. Ronald Reagan believed instead in the courage and triumph of free men. And we believe it, all the more, because we saw that courage in him.

    But Reagan and Bush aren't black or Democrats, so they can say whatever they want. I keep forgetting that rule.

  • The BBC's world affairs correspondent urges his colleagues to embrace bloggers.

Categories: Blogs
Ha ha. Unless Democrats wuss out, Republicans will have to vote again on those politically painful budget cuts they thought they had gotten behind them.

A typo in the budget-reconciliation bill may give congressional Democrats another shot at making political hay out of the $39 billion deficit-reduction measure President Bush signed yesterday.

Democratic leaders could block an attempt by Republicans to correct the clerical error and use the fight to highlight their fierce opposition to the legislation, which includes spending reductions in healthcare, education and other programs.

By doing so, Democrats would raise from the dead a yearlong fight against the budget cuts at the same time that they prepare to beat back another package of spending reductions called for in the president's new budget.

Blocking a technical correction to legislation that has already been signed into law would be unusual, but budget battles on Capitol Hill are always partisan and House Democrats believe they have scored political points on fighting the GOP budget cuts [...]

"This type of thing happens more often than people realize, but most of the time technical corrections happen pretty quietly," she added.

But congressional Democrats are wary of being asked to cooperate quietly on matters such as this while feeling shunned by the majority the rest of the time, one Democratic House aide said. Refusing to agree to unanimous consent would be a symptom of their "frustration with the way this place does business," the aide said.

The error has caused significant tension on the Hill in recent days, with some suggesting that the person responsible for it should be fired.

House Democratic leaders already refused to let the House complete the bill by unanimous consent late last year to force Republicans to vote again on budget cuts after returning from the winter recess.

After getting political pressure at home -- and having more time to review the bill -- four House Republicans who had backed the bill in late 2005 voted against it last week. It narrowly passed the House, 216-214.

This is a political gift, courtesy of the incompetent Republicans who run the House and Senate. Let's shine another spotlight on those "moderate" Republicans who quietly changed their votes after getting their arms twisted by their leadership.

Categories: Blogs
  • French critic of Mosanto and genetically modified crops is denied entry into U.S.. Apparently critics of Big Business are now considered terrorists as well.

  • Sad milestone in the Iraq War. The War of 1812 had 2,260 KIA. The Iraq War is now a deadlier war than a war in which the White House was burned down. Next up is the Spanish American War, in which 2,446 were killed.

  • So really, in what way are we making progress in Iraq?

    Virtually every measure of the performance of Iraq's oil, electricity, water and sewerage sectors has fallen below pre-invasion values even though $16 billion of U.S. taxpayer money has already been disbursed in the Iraq reconstruction program [...]

  • Ha ha. If Bush is a man of his word, he must fire Karen Hughes. But he's not, and he won't.

  • Even the GOP mouthpiece the Washington Times states that King Bush's illegal spying program is useless.

  • How nice. Frist and Hastert added a secret clause to a defense bill to give Big Pharma lawsuit protections without anyone knowing about it. I'm not sure why they hate open, transparent government so much if, as they claim, the American people support their agenda.

  • Ciro Rodriguez has been a one-week one-day story. NBC News has a piece, as does the subscription-only beltway publication Roll Call. Thanks to all of us, this is now a national story, which also helps Rodriguez get media time at home as well as raise additional money from more traditional sources inspired by the attention showered on the race. It's not just about the money. But there's always that as well: Contribute and/or Volunteer.

  • Don't forget the YearlyKos auction.

Categories: Blogs
The Oliver North defense.

Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby, testified to a federal grand jury that he had been "authorized" by Cheney and other White House "superiors" in the summer of 2003 to disclose classified information to journalists to defend the Bush administration's use of prewar intelligence in making the case to go to war with Iraq, according to attorneys familiar with the matter, and to court records.

According to sources with firsthand knowledge, Cheney authorized Libby to release additional classified information, including details of the NIE, to defend the administration's use of prewar intelligence in making the case for war.

Libby specifically claimed that in one instance he had been authorized to divulge portions of a then-still highly classified National Intelligence Estimate regarding Saddam Hussein's purported efforts to develop nuclear weapons, according to correspondence recently filed in federal court by special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald.

Beyond what was stated in the court paper, say people with firsthand knowledge of the matter, Libby also indicated what he will offer as a broad defense during his upcoming criminal trial: that Vice President Cheney and other senior Bush administration officials had earlier encouraged and authorized him to share classified information with journalists to build public support for going to war. Later, after the war began in 2003, Cheney authorized Libby to release additional classified information, including details of the NIE, to defend the administration's use of prewar intelligence in making the case for war.

He was just a pawn in a game played by giants. Or so he'll try to convince the jury.

Categories: Blogs
She's now a Republican.

A Brattleboro native is crossing party lines to lead Republican candidate Richard Tarrant's campaign for U.S. Senate.

Kate O'Connor, a Democrat from Brattleboro who headed former Gov. Howard Dean's presidential campaign in 2004, will team up with former Vermont House Speaker Walter Freed, the Dorset Republican, to advise Tarrant's bid for national office.

The last poll on the race, Rasmussen on January 5, had Bernie Sanders up 70-25 on Tarrant. So it's nice to see Turncoat Kate sign up with a sure loser.

Categories: Blogs
Guys, we've gotten some really cool people to commit to shooting a commercial for Crashing the Gate. We may do some TV advertising, but the spot will be more likely used for viral web marketing and maybe intro clips for some of our TV appearances.

We need people for the commercial, people who look like the Democratic Party -- workers in hard hats, moms with kids, men and women in business suits, hippies, young and old, all colors, enviro types, college professors, young women, someone in a wheelchair, etc.

The concept -- there will be a donkey laying on the ground. There will be a long line of people tugging at the donkey with a rope, trying to get it to move. The donkey won't budge. Some dude (they're threatening to make me do it) will walk down the line up to the donkey, give the animal a look, and then give it a swift kick in the ass to get it moving. (And no, the donkey won't really be kicked.)

So we need people to help. Here's what that means:

There's a casting call in Oakland, CA on February 15 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Casting is easy. Stop by, the producers will give you a look to see if there's a place for you in the commercial. Should be quick.

The day of the shoot, which will be in San Francisco February 16th, is another matter. You'll need to be available the full day (either 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. or 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., depending on your part). This thing is being pulled together at record time, so patience will be essential.

The commercial is being donated to us, so there's no budget to pay. Well, that's not exactly true. You'd get paid $1. But I'll get a personalized signed book to everyone who is in the commercial. You'll also get fed. And I suspect it'll be fun hanging out and chatting. I'll be there most of the day.

If you are interested in attending the casting call or if you have questions, please email [email protected].

Categories: Blogs
Encouraging proposal by Dodd and Durbin:

Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin and Sen. Chris Dodd, the ranking Democrat on the Rules Committee, said yesterday that they will push for public financing of federal elections.

The revelations follow public financing proposals that two senior House Democrats unveiled late last month.

Rep. David Obey (Wis.), the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, and Rep. Barney Frank (Mass.), the ranking Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, announced Jan. 25 plans to reform dramatically the funding of House campaigns. Under their proposal, taxpayers would be asked to contribute voluntarily to a national campaign fund.

Congressional observers largely dismissed Obey and Frank's proposal as a political gesture, but Durbin and Dodd's support for public financing of elections makes the concept more viable.

McCain immediately trashes the proposal:

McCain immediately dismissed the proposal yesterday with a flat "no."

"We've only had BCRA for one election cycle," McCain said, referring to the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002.

Interesting that McCain would be so against this proposal, given that Mr. Straight Talker sounded a heck of a lot different back in December 12, 2002 on Bill Moyer's show:

BILL MOYERS: Senator, in your home state of Arizona, a number of candidates recently were elected to office running with public funding, public financing. Would you support it? Would you endorse, what do you think about that experiment there?
SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN: I think it's good overall. I think it needs to, like any other new experiment, it needs to have some wrinkles taken out of it. But we had more people run for public office than any time in the history of our state, and that's what it was all about.

As I say, there's some fixes that need to be made, but it was a new experiment, and overall I think was very successful and interestingly the ones who are running, you know what they're telling me? They said, surprise, surprise, I spend my time talking to voters not to contributors.

BILL MOYERS: Do you think that could become a model for the nation as a whole?


Why the about-face by McCain?

As for you guys, you want election reform? You want money out of politics? Time to start telling your congressmen and senators to get behind this effort.

Again, this shouldn't be a partisan issue. Both parties would benefit greatly if our elected officials and candidates spent their time talking to voters instead of donors. Who wouldn't benefit? Lobbyists and big money interests.

Members of both parties will have to make a choice between the people and the lobbyists and big money interests. I don't expect all Democrats to do the right thing on the issue, and I don't expect all Republicans to do the wrong thing.

Categories: Blogs
Who needs the color-coded terror alerts when you have the President fear-mongering every time his back is up against the wall? Today, President Bush revealed details about a foiled 2002 terror attack on Los Angeles.  The attack was coordinated between Al Qaeda and the militant islanic group Jemaah Islamiyah.

Congrats to our government for foiling the plot.  But why would Bush bring up a foiled 2002 plot in 2006? Is it to defend his illegal domestic spying program? The White House has refused to say whether to 2002 attack was thwarted as a result of the NSA domestic spying program. Now, why would this White House pass up an opportunity to boast about the fruits of its controversial program? You would think that if it did have any connection to domestic spying, they'd be shouting it from the rooftops.  The reality is that this foiled plot was likely foiled due to existing intelligence structures, and not because of the domestic spying program.  Indeed, it's quite likely that surveillance conducted under FISA -- and not surveillance conducted outside the law -- revealed the plot.

More below...

Categories: Blogs

Memo to the firebug wing of the Muslim community:




Cheers and Jeers starts in There's Moreville... [Swoosh!!]  RIGHTNOW!  [Gong!!]

Categories: Blogs

February 8, 2006

The central thrust of the administration's argument for ignoring FISA is that the FISA application process is too slow. Yet, as anyone who read the text of the statute realizes, FISA allows for a search-first-apply-later option.  

First, let me point out that under Section 1802, the government can wiretap a foreign power for up to one year without a warrant. Not 72 hours. An entire year. This provision is applicable when the Attorney General can "certify" that the information is used only for foreign intelligence purpose. It requires certainty, but that provision is available to the administration.

So let's say the government is less than certain, but has a hunch someone is a terrorist. We know that FISA is so flexible, it allows the government to wiretap for 3 days and then submit an application.  See Section 1805(f). At the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, Gonzales described the emergency FISA process:

(statement & more below the fold)

Categories: Blogs
The crooked, the corrupt, the indicted, and the incompetent Republicans in the House of Representatives just can't help themselves.

Indicted Rep. Tom DeLay, forced to step down as the No. 2 Republican in the House, scored a soft landing Wednesday as GOP leaders rewarded him with a coveted seat on the Appropriations Committee.

DeLay, R-Texas, also claimed a seat on the subcommittee overseeing the Justice Department, which is currently investigating an influence-peddling scandal involving disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his dealings with lawmakers. The subcommittee also has responsibility over NASA -- a top priority for DeLay, since the Johnson Space Center is located in his Houston-area district.

"Allowing Tom DeLay to sit on a committee in charge of giving out money is like putting Michael Brown back in charge of FEMA -- Republicans in Congress just can't seem to resist standing by their man," said Bill Burton, spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

But, aren't we supposed to believe that Boehner represents a clean break from the corrupt DeLay regime? Riiiighht....

You know who else is rolling their eyes? CNN's Jack Cafferty.

Categories: Blogs
Brown Univ. 2/4-6. MoE 3.5% (9/10-11/2005 results)


Chafee (R) 38 (41)
Brown (D) 36 (18)

Chafee (R) 40 (38)
Whitehouse (D) 34 (25)

Laffey (R) 24 (26)
Brown (D) 47 (30)

Laffey (R) 29 (25)
Whitehouse (D) 44 (35)


Brown (D) 31 (16)
Whitehouse (D) 25 (32)


Carcieri (R) 46 (42)
Fogarty (D) 35 (31)

Looks like Brown has the big mo'. As for Chafee, ouch. He's in deep shit, assuming he even survives his primary. (And let's hope he doesn't.) Weird that they don't have primary results for the GOP like they do for the Dem side. They probably couldn't get enough Republicans in the sample to offer a statistically significant result. Remember -- Chafee wins this solidly Democratic state on the strength of Democratic votes.

As for the governor's race, it doesn't look great but may still be in play. Carcieri hasn't hit that 50 percent mark yet.

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