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January 30, 2006
Souzzi has $5 million. Spitzer has $19 million. And their numbers?
Zogby. 1/23-25. Likely Democratic primary voters. MoE 5.6 % (12/12-14 results)
Spitzer (D) 61 (60)
I'm not sure why Suozzi would enter the race, given the "fool's errand" nature of any such quixotic endeavour. As for the general, no Republican pushes Spitzer under 50 percent, with Golisano coming closest at 50-24.
The Debate continues today.
Keep working. Opposition to Alito is now "bipartisan" - Senator Linc Chafee (R-RI), announced he is voting No on Alito.Update [2006-1-30 10:43:16 by Armando]: Senator Kennedy is speaking now. Listen at C-Span. Kennedy says about this vote today "One chance! One time! One Vote! The Supreme Court is too important!" Update [2006-1-30 11:3:2 by Armando]: Kennedy makes the critical point that there is absolutely no reason NOT to extend debate and continue to discuss the Alito nomination. I think Kennedy makes an important point here. And it should be stressed to Senate traditionalists like Senator Robert Byrd - a significant number of Senators wish to continue debating the merits of a Supreme Court nominee. Why should debate end NOW? Here's what Senator Byrd has said in the past: Minutes after the Senate returned from a three-week vacation [Sen.] Byrd challenged Frist, a Tennessee Republican, in an unusually pointed floor debate. If the senator wants a fight, let him try. I'm 88 years old but I can still fight and fight I will for freedom of speech," Byrd said. . . . "That's never been the rule here. Senators have the right to talk, the right to filibuster." If Frist tries to limit that right, "He's going to see a real filibuster," Byrd warned. The Gang of 14 CNN's Ed Henry (given his shilling ways and frankly, inaccurate reporting in the past, take this with a grain of salt) reports that the Gang of 14 is ending the filibuster. How they are doing this exactly is not explained by Henry. Presumably they are voting Yes on Cloture. But the question is are they doing so as a Group action? Or as individuals? See the individuals have mostly announced they are voting for cloture so Henry's "scoop" is um, pretty thin. These are the Gang of 14: Republicans * John S. McCain III, Arizona * Lindsey O. Graham, South Carolina * John Warner, Virginia * Olympia Snowe, Maine * Susan M. Collins, Maine * R. Michael DeWine, Ohio * Lincoln Chafee, Rhode Island
Democrats * Joseph I. Lieberman, Connecticut * Robert C. Byrd, West Virginia * E. Benjamin Nelson, Nebraska * Mary Landrieu, Louisiana * Daniel Inouye, Hawaii * Mark Pryor, Arkansas * Ken Salazar, Colorado The only Senators of interest here are those who have announced themselves as No votes. They are bolded. The rest SUPPORT Alito so they are not STOPPING anything.
Senator Lieberman, you do Ned Lamont a great favor if you vote for cloture.
Senator Chafee, you do Sheldon Whitehouse and Matt Brown a great favor by going back on your word and voting for cloture on anti-choice Alito.
Senators Inouye, Pryor and Salazar, your vote will be remembered as Alito is seated on the Court for next quarter century. You were unwilling to continue to discuss and try to persuade on a nominee YOU REJECT! The debate can continue a week without damage to the Republic. Your votes are hard to understand. Democrats will find them hard to understand. History will not understand.
January 29, 2006
Add another one to the list:
RABAT, Morocco -- For more than a decade, Osama bin Laden had few soldiers more devoted than Abdallah Tabarak. A former Moroccan transit worker, Tabarak served as a bodyguard for the al Qaeda leader, worked on his farm in Sudan and helped run a gemstone smuggling racket in Afghanistan, court records here show.
During the battle of Tora Bora in December 2001, when al Qaeda leaders were pinned down by U.S. forces, Tabarak sacrificed himself to engineer their escape. He headed toward the Pakistani border while making calls on Osama bin Laden's satellite phone as bin Laden and the others fled in the other direction.
Tabarak was captured and taken to the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where he was classified as such a high-value prisoner that the Pentagon repeatedly denied requests by the International Committee of the Red Cross to see him. Then, after spending almost three years at the base, he was suddenly released.
Today, the al Qaeda loyalist known locally as the "emir" of Guantanamo walks the streets of his old neighborhood near Casablanca, more or less a free man. In a decision that neither the Pentagon nor Moroccan officials will explain publicly, Tabarak was transferred to Morocco in August 2004 and released from police custody four months later.
Recall this is the same man that helped bin Laden escape in Tora Bora.
Regardless of the reason, his quiet release is critical. When terrorists are caught, we get great fanfare and press conferences. But when they are released in silence years later, they are still regarded as "victories" in the War on Terror.
January 26, 2006
As many of you freak out at the Democrats, you need to keep some things in mind.
We only have 44 Democrats. 44. Jeffords was a Republican and remains the most conservative "member" of our caucus. We never had him in play. We never had Nebraska's Ben Nelson either because of local political factors. So we're down to 43.
Not much of a margin for error, is it?
Then consider the solid-red-state Dems --
We have two Democrats in North Dakota, one in South Dakota, and one in Montana. In the South, we have two in Arkansas, two in West Virginia, and one in Louisiana.
That's nine Democrats who, like it or not, we are blessed to have in the Senate. Shit on them if you want, but would you rather the count be 43 or 34? But fact is, we're not going to get these guys 100 or even 80 percent of the time. That is, if we want any chance at remaining competitive in the Senate.
So Reid had to hold three of these nine. He got Baucus, which was a minor miracle in its own right. Can he get two of those last eight? That is, not get them to vote "no", but take the much more explosive step of engaging in a filibuster?
That remains to be seen, but if he pulled it off, it would be the political equivalent of pitching a no-hitter (as opposed to a perfect game). He has very little margin of error.
So you are pissed at the situation, you should be. But don't be pissed at a bare-thin caucus. Okay, be a little pissed. But really, the real culprit is the Democratic establishment has done such a piss-poor job of runnning elections that we only have 44 of them.
We need more Dems, and we need more good Dems. Tester's headline on his campaign website states that he'd vote "no" on Alito. Let's replace Conrad Burns with him. In Vermont, Bernie Sanders would be an easy "no" and a much more reliable progressive vote than Jeffords ever was. Both Matt Brown and Sheldon Whitehouse in Rhode Island would be reliable "no" votes, and much more likely to filibuster than Lincoln Chafee.
With these top-tier pickup opportunities alone (not including PA, where Bob Casey is suddenly running to the Right of Attila the Hun, and TN, where Harold Ford might not always vote with us), Dems would suddenly be at 49. And that's what we call a "margin of error". Able to lose 9 senators and still uphold a filibuster, we could protect our Red state Dems and still hold the line against reactionary ideologues like Alito.
Ahh, you're thinking, we can say "fuck Ford and Casey", right? Absolutely not. Those guys, even if they might vote for an Alito, would vote for Harry Reid as majority leader, and the Dems would control the chamber's committees. And we all know how much mischief the governing party could make in committee. We saw dozens of Clinton's judicial nominees held hostage in committee for nearly his entire term in office.
So be pissed. But realize that things won't change until we can grow our Senate caucus. To the electoral victors go the spoils, and it's time we stop their looting of America. And that'll happen when our congressional Dems get some reinforcements. Let's work to make that happen.
First up, the eye-opener:
Santorum: And yet we have brave men and women who are willing to step forward because they know what's at stake. They're willing to sacrifice their lives for this great country. What I'm asking all of you tonight is not to put on a uniform. Put on a bumper sticker. Is it that much to ask? Is it that much to ask to step up and serve your country?
And no, he wasn't talking about a "support our troops" bumper sticker, but a Rick Santorum sticker.
I'm sure our men and women in Iraq will love that Santorum is telling his audiences NOT to serve their country in uniform, but would be doing just as much for freedom and democracy in Iraq as our boots by slapping a campaign sticker on their cars.
Now let's move on to the lie:
Santorum also told the Morning Call that he hadn't seen Grover Norquist "in years." When, in fact, Norquist spoke at a Santorum press conference last June.
And that's just the tip of that lie as Ricky tries to suddenly mask his involvement in the K-Street Project.
Senator Kerry has officially called for a filibuster of Samuel Alito the Supreme Court. CNN reports the Senator will be making a statement shortly.
Three Democrats (Nelson, Johnson and Byrd) will vote for Alito. Senators Landrieu and Salazar have stated their opposition to a filibuster, and Senator Feinstein, if you'll recall, was also hesitant.
41 votes are needed to sustain a filibuster. CNN's congressional correspondent reports Kerry is calling on party and internet activists to support the filibuster. "I can't do this alone," he's telling them.
Update [2006-1-26 16:33:51 by georgia10]:: CNN story is up. Apparently, Senator Kennedy is joining Kerry in calling for a filibuster. The White House says it has the necessary votes to invoke cloture.
[A] non-profit that's pushing a revamp of Florida's remap process says they have well more than 900K signatures and expect the SoS to certify their initiative to the 11/06 ballot.
The initiative (actually, three of them) would create an independent redistricting commission.
FL's district lines are among the nation's most convoluted and incumbents enjoy a decided advantage over would-be opponents.
The Committee for Fair Elections is sponsoring the ballot petition drive. The group says they're bipartisan, although most of its coalition members are center-left, including Common Cause and the League of Women Voters, not to mention very prominent Dems, including ex-Rep. Carrie Meek and ex-Sen. Bob Graham. GOPers include ex-comptroller Bob Milligan and Bush '41 fundraiser/lawyer Thom Rumberger.
We've lost Byrd's vote:
Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito, whose confirmation seems certain in the Republican-run Senate, padded his modest Democratic support Thursday with endorsements by Sens. Robert Byrd and Tim Johnson.
So why did we lose it?
A multimillionaire businessman entered the GOP race to challenge Sen. Robert C. Byrd on Wednesday, hoping to deny the 88-year-old incumbent Democrat a record ninth term.
John Raese, 55, said he would campaign on a platform touting free enterprise and reduced regulation, among other issues. "What I'm going to run on is a rebirth of capitalism," he said.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee heralded the filing by Raese, a former state GOP chairman who has sought office before.
Though four other Republicans are running in the party primary, the GOP committee called Raese "the first financially credible opponent Byrd has faced since 1982."
Raese's last major foray into election politics came nearly 18 years ago. With narrow losses each time, he ran against Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., in 1984 and challenged then Gov.-Arch Moore in the 1988 GOP primary.
Good timing for the GOP on that announcement.
Well, I thought I was done hawking the special edition, but apparently not. We're at 4,845 copies of the Progressive Partners special edition sold. We're printing 5,000. So there are what, 155 copies left? So one more chance to order, first-come, first-serve.
And thanks to everyone who took a leap of faith and pre-ordered this book sight-unseen, with few reviews upon which to base your decision. That's humbling. I can't wait until the books are in your hands in less than a month.
Strategic Vision (R). 1/20-22. Likely voters. MoE3% (12/2-4 results)
Perdue (R) 56 (54)
Perdue (R) 57 (55)
Rasmussen. 1/17. Likely voters. MoE 4.5% (No trend lines)
Beauprez (R) 38
Beauprez (R) 32
Holtzman (R) 36
Holtzman (R) 31
NEW JERSEY (senate)
Rasmussen. 1/18. Likely voters. MoE 4.5% (12/8 results)
Menendez (D) 35 (38)
Rasmussen. 1/15. Likely voters. MoE 4.5% (No trend lines)
Sebelius (D) 46
Sebelius (D) 46
Rasmussen. 1/15. Likely voters. MoE 4.5% (12/8 results)
Schwarzenegger (R) 41 (40)
Schwarzenegger (R) 39 (39)
Rasmussen. 1/15. Likely voters. MoE 4.5% (11/7 results)
Rendell (D) 43 (50)
Rendell (D) 46 (47)
Strategic Vision (R). 1/20-22. Likely voters. MoE 3% (12/16-18 results)
Rendell (D) 44 (45)
Rendell (D) 46 (45)
Rasmussen also gives big leads to Stabenow (D) in the Michigan Senate race.
Day 2. The rest of the schedule, via PFAW (Debate streamable here:
12:00-1:00pm - Democratic time (Inouye, Harkin, Bingaman and Lincoln);
1:00-2:00pm - Republican time;
2:00-3:00pm - Democratic time (Lieberman, Salazar and Schumer);
3:00-4:00pm - Republican time;
4:00-5:00pm - Democratic time (Carper and Levin);
5:00-6:00pm - Republican time;
6:00-7:00pm - Democratic time
Today's session could go later into the evening if there are additional Senators wanting to speak tonight.
Here's the latest on the whip count, using C-SPAN's numbers (put your updates, with links, in comments and we'll add 'em):
(* denotes added today)
Dems voting "No"
Dems leaning "No"
Dems voting "Yes"
GOoPers voting "No"
IndependentJeffords* will vote NO on Alito. (This list will be updated regularly)
In an editorial today, the New York Times opines:
Judge Samuel Alito Jr., whose entire history suggests that he holds extreme views about the expansive powers of the presidency and the limited role of Congress, will almost certainly be a Supreme Court justice soon. His elevation will come courtesy of a president whose grandiose vision of his own powers threatens to undermine the nation's basic philosophy of government -- and a Senate that seems eager to cooperate by rolling over and playing dead.
It is hard to imagine a moment when it would be more appropriate for senators to fight for a principle. Even a losing battle would draw the public's attention to the import of this nomination.
. . . The Alito nomination has been discussed largely in the context of his opposition to abortion rights, and if the hearings provided any serious insight at all into the nominee's intentions, it was that he has never changed his early convictions on that point. The judge -- who long maintained that Roe v. Wade should be overturned -- ignored all the efforts by the Judiciary Committee's chairman, Arlen Specter, to get him to provide some cover for pro-choice senators who wanted to support the nomination. As it stands, it is indefensible for Mr. Specter or any other senator who has promised constituents to protect a woman's right to an abortion to turn around and hand Judge Alito a potent vote to undermine or even end it.
But portraying the Alito nomination as just another volley in the culture wars vastly underestimates its significance. The judge's record strongly suggests that he is an eager lieutenant in the ranks of the conservative theorists who ignore our system of checks and balances, elevating the presidency over everything else. He has expressed little enthusiasm for restrictions on presidential power and has espoused the peculiar argument that a president's intent in signing a bill is just as important as the intent of Congress in writing it. This would be worrisome at any time, but it takes on far more significance now, when the Bush administration seems determined to use the cover of the "war on terror" and presidential privilege to ignore every restraint, from the Constitution to Congressional demands for information.
. . . Senate Democrats, who presented a united front against the nomination of Judge Alito in the Judiciary Committee, seem unwilling to risk the public criticism that might come with a filibuster . . . A filibuster is a radical tool. It's easy to see why Democrats are frightened of it. But from our perspective, there are some things far more frightening. One of them is Samuel Alito on the Supreme Court.
I believe that before pulling the trigger on filibuster, Democrats should request the debate be extended. Senator Mary Landrieu said:
Because we have such a full plate of pressing issues before Congress, a filibuster at this time would be, in my view, very counterproductive. It is imperative that we remain focused on creating the tools New Orleans, Louisiana and the Gulf Coast will need to rebuild. This includes passing the Baker bill and allowing our state to keep its fair share of offshore energy revenues. We simply cannot afford to bring the Senate to a halt at a time when we need its action the most. If called to vote for cloture on Judge Alito's nomination, I will vote yes.
I offer again this alternative for Senator Landrieu:
[W]hy not put off consideration of the Alito nomination until AFTER we deal with all those important issues she has outlined? I mean, since the Supreme Court is not important according to her, surely Alito's nomination can wait a few months before we address it. Why doesn't Senator Landrieu propose that?
From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE...
This week's issue of The Nation is extra good. It features 20 Democratic members of Congress and Independent Bernie Sanders presenting their own response to Bush's upcoming Disarray of the Union speech. California Rep. Henry Waxman shows what being reality-based is all about:
There is a desperate need in Washington for more oversight, transparency, and accountability. The checks and balances of our Constitution don't work when the White House and Congressional leadership work together to shield government corruption and abuse from scrutiny.
The past five years of one-party rule have produced one of the greatest concentrations of power in America's history. The Republican-controlled Congress has ceased to function as an independent branch of government. Genuine legislative debate has vanished. Congressional committees rarely exercise their oversight responsibilities. ...
Fortunately, there is an agenda that will promote core American values and revive the nation's faith in government. Democrats on the House Committee on Government Reform have introduced legislation that would restore open government, block political cronies from being appointed to essential public health and safety positions, prohibit government spending on covert propaganda and stop the growing politicization of science. ...
Unfortunately, the public has heard virtually nothing about these proposals. The Republicans running Congress have kept them bottled up so effectively that not one single piece of Democratic good-government agenda has been brought up for a vote in the House.
While each week brings to light new evidence of corruption, subterfuge and wasteful spending, there are many well-developed proposals for change waiting for a fair chance to be enacted. They will get that fair chance if Americans elect a Democratic Congress in 2006 and send a signal that they want honesty and accountability restored in government.
We would only make one edit, sir: Change "if"...to "When."
Cheers and Jeers starts in There's Moreville... [Swoosh!!] RIGHTNOW! [Gong!!]
January 25, 2006
(From the diaries -- kos)
We're crashing the gates.
Oh, I'm not talking about the gates of the Democratic Party, like a certain new book I've heard somewhere you can pre-order ... that's not the big struggle anyway. Oh, no, I'm talking about the major struggle against the established media and it's bizarre relationship with the right-wing and the truth. And, missed in all the fury at the Washington Post and Chris Matthews is a recognition of a simple fact that is the real lesson of those incidents: we're getting closer to winning this thing.
Like Gandhi said in the over-quoted line: "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you ... then you win." That line is so over-used it's close to a cliche, but in this case, it's elegantly true. So, let's look back at how this bloggy thing has gone, and why Howell and Matthews show we're winning ...
So, um, maybe FISA wasn't so bad after all?
A July 2002 Justice Department statement to a Senate committee appears to contradict several key arguments that the Bush administration is making to defend its eavesdropping on U.S. citizens without court warrants.
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the law governing such operations, was working well, the department said in 2002. A "significant review" would be needed to determine whether FISA's legal requirements for obtaining warrants should be loosened because they hampered counterterrorism efforts, the department said then.
President Bush, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and other top officials now argue that warrantless eavesdropping is necessary in part because complying with the FISA law is too burdensome and impedes the government's ability to rapidly track communications between suspected terrorists.
In its 2002 statement, the Justice Department said it opposed a legislative proposal to change FISA to make it easier to obtain warrants that would allow the super-secret National Security Agency to listen in on communications involving non-U.S. citizens inside the United States.
Today, senior U.S. officials complain that FISA prevents them from doing that.
James A. Baker, the Justice Department's top lawyer on intelligence policy, made the statement before the Senate Intelligence Committee on July 31, 2002. He was laying out the department's position on an amendment to FISA proposed by Sen. Mike DeWine, R-Ohio. The committee rejected DeWine's proposal, leaving FISA intact.
So while Congress chose not to weaken FISA in 2002, today Bush and his allies contend that Congress implicitly gave Bush the authority to evade FISA's requirements when it authorized him to use force in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks three days after they occurred - a contention that many lawmakers reject.
Glenn Greenwald, an Internet blogger, first connected the earlier Justice Department statement to the Bush administration's current arguments on his Web log, called Unclaimed Territory.
The story doesn't note it, but the argument the Justice Department used against expanding FISA to cover non-US citizens inside the U.S. was -- get this -- that it was probably unconstitutional.
Classy of Knight-Ridder to give Glenn props.
This essay by Peter Daou, formerly Kerry's netroots guru, may be the most important thing I've read in a long time.
What's the common thread running through the past half-decade of Bush's presidency? What's the nexus between the Swift-boating of Kerry, the Swift-boating of Murtha, and the guilt-by-association between Democrats and terrorists? Why has a seemingly endless string of administration scandals faded into oblivion? Why do Democrats keep losing elections? It's this: the traditional media, the trusted media, the "neutral" media, have become the chief delivery mechanism of potent anti-Democratic and pro-Bush storylines. And the Democratic establishment appears to be either ignorant of this political quandary or unwilling to fight it [...]
What's so dumbfounding to progressive netroots activists, who clearly see the role of the traditional media in perpetuating these storylines - and are taking concrete action (here, here, and here) to remedy the problem - is that Democratic politicians, strategists, and surrogates have internalized these narratives and play into them, publicly wringing their hands over how to fix their" muddled" message, how to deal with Bush's "strength" on national security, how to talk about "values." It's become a self-fulfilling cycle, with Democrats reinforcing anti-Dem myths because they can't imagine any other explanation for the apparent lack of resonance of their message. Out of desperation, they resort to hackneyed, focus-grouped slogans in a vain attempt to break through the filter.
It's simple: if your core values and beliefs and positions, no matter how reasonable, how mainstream, how correct, how ethical, are filtered to the public through the lens of a media that has inoculated the public against your message, and if the media is the public's primary source of information, then NOTHING you say is going to break through and change that dynamic. Which explains, in large measure, the Dems' sorry electoral failures.
Seriously, read it. All.
I've got to agree with Atrios on this regarding both Casey's and Rendell's declarations that they would vote for Alito:
There are lots of obvious reasons - reproductive rights - to not be thrilled about Bob Casey as our man to beat the yellowest elephant Santorum here in Pennsylvania. Supporters point to the fact that he's very pro-labor and progressive on economic issues.
Similarly, there are lots of obvious reasons to not be thrilled about Samuel Alito - reproductive rights - as a Supreme Court nominee. But there are also lots of less obvious ones, such as his awful record on workers' rights. Casey hasn't just demonstrated he's an asshole, he's also demonstrated that he has the political instincts of a fig. I'm not sure why 11 months out a Senate candidate like Casey is obligated to take a stand on an issue like this, but if he was going to he could've found lots of very serious reasons to oppose Alito's nomination, ones which would've cemented his reputation as a principled fighter on important issues not related to reproductive rights.
I don't understand why given his poor relations with the Pennsylvania Democratic base -- you know, the people supposed to bust their humps for him in October and November -- he thought it necessary to give them a big middle finger. Rather than try to find common ground with party stalwarths, despite the obvious big disagreement over choice, he instead proved that even his committment to economic liberalism isn't, well, apparently that important to him.
What does he think he gains politically out of this?
(And no, his two primary challengers aren't viable alternatives. PA Dems will have to do better than them if they want a serious challenger to Casey who can also win in November. Like it or not, Casey has the clearest path to victory of any Dem Senate challenger this cycle. And we need this seat to have Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and subpoena power.)
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