Harkin gets it right (again)

by Steve, March 16th, 2006

politicsTom Harkin has posted this statement on his Web site in support of Feingold’s censure:

We have a President who likes to break things. He has broken the federal budget, running up $3 trillion in new debt. He has broken the Geneva Conventions, giving the green light to torture. He has repeatedly broken promises—and broken faith—with the American people. And now, worst of all, he has broken the law.

In brazen violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), he ordered the National Security Agency to conduct warrantless wiretaps of American citizens. And, despite getting caught red-handed, he refuses to stop.

Let’s be clear: No American—and that must include the President—is above the law. And if we fail to hold Bush to account, then he will be confirmed in his conviction that he can pick and choose among the laws he wants to obey. This is profoundly dangerous to our democracy.

So it is time for Congress to stand up and say enough! That’s why, this week, Senator Russ Feingold proposed a resolution to censure George W. Bush for breaking the FISA law. And that’s why I fully support this resolution of censure.

Nothing is more important to me than the security of our country. Of course, we need to be listening to the terrorists’ conversations. And sometimes there is not time to get a warrant. That’s why the FISA law allows the President, when necessary, to wiretap first, and obtain a warrant afterward. But that’s not acceptable to this above-the-law President. He rejects the idea that he should have to obtain a warrant before or after wiretapping.

We have an out-of-control President whose arrogant and, now, illegal behavior is running our country into the ditch. It’s time to rein him in. And a fine place to start is by passing this resolution of censure. I hope that Senator Feingold’s measure will be brought to the floor. And when it is, I will proudly vote yes.

Feingold sticks to his guns

by Steve, March 14th, 2006

politicsWhile the Democratic right slinks in the shadows and sends minions out to issue statements critical of Russ Feingold, Feingold shoots back. Feingold to Fox News’ Trish Turner:

I’m amazed at Democrats, cowering with this president’s numbers so low. The administration just has to raise the specter of the war and the Democrats run and hide. … Too many Democrats are going to do the same thing they did in 2000 and 2004. In the face of this, they’ll say we’d better just focus on domestic issues. … [Democrats shouldn’t] cower to the argument, that whatever you do, if you question the administration, you’re helping the terrorists.

Chicken-shit dems

by Steve, March 3rd, 2006

politicsI’d list the chicken shit dems in the Senate who voted to extend Bush’s Patriot Act, but the list is too long. Instead here are the few that voted against it:

Wisconsin’s Russ Feingold (of course)
Hawaii’s Daniel Akaka
New Mexico’s Jeff Bingaman
West Virginia’s Robert Byrd
Iowa’s Tom Harkin
Vermont’s Patrick Leahy
Michigan’s Carl Levin
Washington’s Patty Murray
Oregon’s Ron Wyden.

Vermont’s independent Senator Jim Jeffords voted against, too; Hawaii’s Daniel Inouye was absent. All republicans voted for reauthorization.

Read the rest of this entry »

Only four…

by Steve, March 1st, 2006

politicsOnly four senators have stood up to defend the constitution today. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, Robert Byrd of West Virginia and Tom Harkin of Iowa, all Democrats, and James Jeffords, an independent from Vermont. Everybody else in that august body (with the exception of Inouye, who did not vote) voted yes on an extremely weak compromise ammendment to the Patriot act “meant to clarify the rights of people under surveillance and to further limit the government’s ability to scrutinize library records,” according to the Times.

The San Jose Mercury News quoted Feingold:

“If Democrats can’t stand up on something like this when the president’s poll numbers are 34 percent, I just wonder how much right we have to govern this country,” Feingold said in an interview Tuesday. “You’ve got to show people you believe in something, not just that you’re gaming the issues.”

Feingold protested the “cosmetic” nature of the reform by reading the constitution (with emphasis on the Fourth Amendment) to his colleagues.

Wm. F. Buckley Jr. jumps ship, too.

by Steve, February 28th, 2006

politicsFirst Fukuyma. Now Buckley. In a February 24 column in the National Review titled “It Didn’t Work”, Buckley writes:

“I can tell you the main reason behind all our woes—it is America.” The New York Times reporter is quoting the complaint of a clothing merchant in a Sunni stronghold in Iraq. “Everything that is going on between Sunni and Shiites, the troublemaker in the middle is America.”

One can’t doubt that the American objective in Iraq has failed. The same edition of the paper quotes a fellow of the American Enterprise Institute. Mr. Reuel Marc Gerecht backed the American intervention. He now speaks of the bombing of the especially sacred Shiite mosque in Samara and what that has precipitated in the way of revenge. He concludes that “The bombing has completely demolished” what was being attempted—to bring Sunnis into the defense and interior ministries.

Our mission has failed because Iraqi animosities have proved uncontainable by an invading army of 130,000 Americans.

Of course the paleo-con Buckley was never a big supporter of the neoconservatives (like Fukuyama), so this is not earth shattering. But it is coincident with the whole Dubai ports deal and the Republican congressional revolt. Always good to see the Republicans eating their young.

Francis Fukuyama Swears off Neoconservativism

by Steve, February 21st, 2006

politics…and gets in some nice shots on the rump neocons in the process:

New York Times Magazine: After Neoconservatism

Fukuyama was part of the neocon chorus for an Iraqi intervention immedieately after 9/11. On 9/20/2001, he signed a letter to President Bush stating in part:

We agree with Secretary of State Powell’s recent statement that Saddam Hussein “is one of the leading terrorists on the face of the Earth….” It may be that the Iraqi government provided assistance in some form to the recent attack on the United States. But even if evidence does not link Iraq directly to the attack, any strategy aiming at the eradication of terrorism and its sponsors must include a determined effort to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq. Failure to undertake such an effort will constitute an early and perhaps decisive surrender in the war on international terrorism.

Cheney’s (actual) smoking gun (and others)

by Steve, February 21st, 2006

politics“To the vice president’s credit, he did own up to it. On FOX News he said the fault was his, he can’t blame anybody else. Boy, it’s amazing, the only time you get accountability out of this administration is when they are actually holding a smoking gun.” —Bill Maher

“Rumors are that the reason Dick Cheney didn’t say anything about the hunting accident for about 24 hours was because he had been drinking. And I’m thinking, well jeez, he was probably drinking when we planned the invasion of Iraq.” —David Letterman

“Cheney now says he can’t blame the shooting on the guy who got shot. He said we tried that for three days. It didn’t work.” —Jay Leno

“They were in a car, they drive along, they get out of the car, he shoots his friend in the face, then they get back in the car and they go hide for 18 hours. That’s not hunting…that’s an episode of ‘The Sopranos'” —Jay Leno

There’s oh so much more at about.com.

Beer gate?

by Steve, February 16th, 2006

politicsSo big Dick admits to Brit Hume in his Fox News interview he drank “one beer” at lunch “several hours” before shooting his buddy in the face. Joe Strupp and Greg Mitchell, in anEditor and Publisher story dated Feb. 14, have Katherine Armstrong tripping all over herself trying to deny that anybody had been drinking that day. (Armstrong owns the “ranch” where the shooting ocurred.)

Oh, okay, “there may have been beer in coolers but she didn’t think anyone who was hunting that day had any,” write Strupp and Mitchell, who also note:

CNN today reports that Armstrong had told CNN she never saw Cheney or Whittington “drink at all on the day of the shooting until after the accident occurred, when the vice president fixed himself a cocktail back at the house.”

So the critical players in the story are admitting drinking ocurred on the day of the shooting, before and after the fact. Could this explain Cheney’s reticence in calling the authorities? Holy shit, what a story that would be!

Update: David Corn has a nice summary of the inconsistencies in the various versions of the story. Also, David Sanger and Anne Kornblut have decent coverage in the New York Times.

Found on Flickr

by Steve, February 16th, 2006

Dumbfuck Mountain(found on flickr)

Libby squealed

by Steve, February 10th, 2006

politicsCarol D. Leonnig reports in today’s
Washington Post
that Scooter already has implicated Dick
Cheney in the Plame leak probe.

This was originally reported by Murray Waas in the National

writes that Libby’s defense strategy may be to request
loads of classified evidence from the CIA in the hopes of being denied
access. The hope is that then the judge will agree to dismiss the case.

It’s a risky strategy, and it shows what a strong case Fitzgerald probably has.