Archive for March, 2006

“Had the Senate or House, or both, censured or somehow warned Richard Nixon, the tragedy of Watergate might have been prevented”

Friday, March 31st, 2006

Nixon Aide Urges Censure Of Bush - CBS News

Nixon White House counselor John Dean asserted Friday that President Bush’s domestic spying exceeds the wrongdoing that toppled his former boss from power, and a veteran Republican snapped that Democrats were trying to “score political points” with a motion to censure Mr. Bush.

“Had the Senate or House, or both, censured or somehow warned Richard Nixon, the tragedy of Watergate might have been prevented,” Dean told the Senate Judiciary Committee. “Hopefully the Senate will not sit by while even more serious abuses unfold before it.”

Testifying to a Senate committee on Wisconsin Democratic Sen. Russell Feingold’s resolution to censure Mr. Bush, Dean said the president “needs to be told he cannot simply ignore a law with no consequences.”

Republicans, who scheduled the hearing, dismissed Feingold’s resolution as an election year stunt.

At issue is whether Mr. Bush’s secretive domestic spying program violates the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Mr. Bush has said the National Security Agency’s secretive wiretapping program is aimed at finding terrorists before they strike on American soil by tapping the phones of people making calls overseas. He has launched a criminal investigation to find out who leaked the program’s existence to the New York Times, saying it compromised national security.

Feingold’s measure would condemn Mr. Bush’s “unlawful authorization of wiretaps of Americans within the United States without obtaining the court orders required” by the FISA act.

“To me, this is not really and should not be a partisan question,” Dean told the panel. “I think it’s a question of institutional pride of this body, of the Congress of the United States.”

He added in prepared testimony that if Congress doesn’t have the stomach for Feingold’s resolution as drafted, it should pass some measure serving Mr. Bush a warning.

“The resolution should be amended, not defeated, because the president needs to be reminded that separation of powers does not mean an isolation of powers,” Dean said in prepared remarks.

Feingold hasn’t gotten much support from fellow Democrats; most ran for cover the day he announced the motion, CBS News correspondent Bob Fuss reports. But what this hearing is about ó and maybe the censure motion, too ó is spurring more investigation and more congressional attention to a program that the administration not only defends but still won’t let Congress get a detailed look at.

Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., said Feingold’s resolution has no merit, “but it provides a forum for the discussion of issues which really ought to be considered in greater depth than they have been,” he said at the session’s open.
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Maybe We Would Have the Money If We Weren’t Wasting It In Iraq…

Friday, March 31st, 2006

Washington Post Reports:

The Bush administration said yesterday that the cost of rebuilding New Orleans’s levees to federal standards has nearly tripled to $10 billion and that there may not be enough money to fully protect the entire region.

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Perhaps if we had our priorities in foreign policy straight we would have the money to take care of our own people…

American Theocracy–Get Your Copy At a Low Price

Friday, March 31st, 2006

eBay: American Theocracy by Kevin Phillips (2006) NEW BOOK (item 4627287524 end time Apr-02-06 17:22:46 PDT)

“In an era of bestselling jeremiads on both sides of the political divide, AMERICAN THEOCRACY may be the most alarming analysis of where we are and where we may be going to have appeared in many years. It is…extensively researched and for the most part frighteningly persuasive….What makes this book powerful…is [Phillips’s] rare gift for looking broadly and structurally at societal and political change. By describing a series of major transformations, by demonstrating the relationships among them and by discussing them with passionate restraint, Phillips has created a harrowing picture of national danger that no American reader will welcome, but that none should ignore.”

Scalia Clearly Losing His Mind

Thursday, March 30th, 2006

BostonHerald.com - Local / Regional News: Photographer: Herald got it right

This guy is a nut. And I am not even talking about his rulings.

EXCERPT:

ďItís inaccurate and deceptive of him to say there was no vulgarity in the moment,Ē said Peter Smith, the Boston University assistant photojournalism professor who made the shot.

Lies lies lies yeaaaaah.

Thursday, March 30th, 2006

NATIONAL JOURNAL: Insulating Bush (03/30/2006)

Karl Rove, President Bush’s chief political adviser, cautioned other White House aides in the summer of 2003 that Bush’s 2004 re-election prospects would be severely damaged if it was publicly disclosed that he had been personally warned that a key rationale for going to war had been challenged within the administration. Rove expressed his concerns shortly after an informal review of classified government records by then-Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen J. Hadley determined that Bush had been specifically advised that claims he later made in his 2003 State of the Union address — that Iraq was procuring high-strength aluminum tubes to build a nuclear weapon — might not be true, according to government records and interviews.

Prescient Tom

Thursday, March 30th, 2006

This cartoon initally ran the week of Pulling Down the Statue Day, when most right wingers were celebrating our glorious and implausible easy victory in Iraq. Three years ago.–Tom Tomorrow
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Kevin Phillips: Time to Recall Bush?

Wednesday, March 29th, 2006

Two years ago in American Dynasty, I suggested that George W. Bush, if re-elected, might well face impeachment in his second term as the debacle in Iraq deepened. This has come to pass, and not surprisingly because American presidents since World War Two — Truman over Korea and Johnson and Nixon over Vietnam — faced similar rumblings when wars went poorly or were clearly mismanaged.
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NOT ANOTHER FLORIDA…INSIST ON PAPER BALLOTS

Tuesday, March 28th, 2006

TELL YOUR HOUSE REPRESENTATIVE TO PASS H.R. 550 AS WRITTEN

In the next two weeks there will be a final push to get H.R. 550, a bill introduced by Rep. Holt of New Jersey, on the House floor. H.R. 550 would protect the integrity of our elections by requiring a voter verified paper record of every vote, requiring mandatory random hand counted audits to verify the accuracy of electronic tallies, which is the only way to ever conduct an audit we can trust. It will also prohibit the use of secret software and wireless communication devices in voting machines.

The recent change in leadership of the Committee on House Administration has created a new opportunity for passage of this vital election integrity measure. Previous constituent meetings in June and August of 2005 were a huge success, generating 24 new co-sponsors on the bill from both parties. In addition, 27 States have now passed voter-verified paper record requirements.

THERE ARE THREE WAYS YOU CAN HELP — lobby in person in Washington, D.C. or your home district . . . and/or sign the petition:

IF YOU CAN COME TO WASHINGTON DC ON APRIL 6 & 7 TO LOBBY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS TO COSPONSOR HR 550, CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO ARRANGE TO MEET LOBBY IN YOUR HOME DISTRICT, CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP.

IF YOU CAN’T COME TO WASHINGTON DC (OR EVEN IF YOU CAN), CLICK HERE TO SIGN THE PETITION URGING THE HOUSE ADMINISTRATION COMMITTEE TO PASS HR 550 AS WRITTEN ASAP.

Please take action NOW, so we can win all victories that are supposed to be ours, and forward this message to everyone else you know.

If you would like to get alerts like these, you can do so here.

Sign Of The Times…

Tuesday, March 28th, 2006

According to news reports, the U.S. Army has awarded Alliant Lake City Small Caliber Ammunition Co. LLC a $9.2 million contract for 5.56-millimeter small-caliber ammunition.

Thanks, George.

Olbermann Rocks–Beats CNN!

Tuesday, March 28th, 2006

SoonerThought’s favorite news show is gaining viewers…funny–we are gaining subscribers, too…maybe we are both on to something, Keith…

MSNBC’s “COUNTDOWN WITH KEITH OLBERMANN” BEATS CNN IN THE CRITICAL 24-54 DEMOGRAPHIC FOR THE FIRST QUARTER
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According to Nielsen Media Research data, MSNBC’s “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” (M-F 8-9 pm ET) finished the first quarter ahead of CNN’s Paula Zahn in the key 25-54 year-old demographic (”the demo”). This marks MSNBC’s first quarterly primetime victory over CNN in the demo in almost five years (2Q01 MSNBC Investigates beat CNN at 8 p.m. ET). “Countdown” posted big gains in both the demo and total viewers, while CNN and Fox News suffered double digit drops in the advertiser-friendly demographic. “Countdown” ended the quarter with an average of 164,000 (+41%) (all comparisons are vs. 1st quarter 2005) in the demo and 404,000 total viewers (+25%). CNN averaged 158,000 in the demo (-33%) and 632,000 in total viewers (-9%) and Fox News averaged 450,000 in the demo (-24%) and 2,280,000 in total viewers (-5%).

March was a very strong month for “Countdown” in the 25-54 demographic, with the program scoring a decisive victory over CNN. For March, “Countdown” averaged 184,000 viewers in the demo (+63% vs. March 05) and 430,000 total viewers (+28%). CNN averaged 141,000 in the demo (-43%) and 587,000 total viewers (-18%). Fox News averaged 415,000 in the demo (-23%) and 2,266,000 total viewers (-2%).

Shuffling Card…Still a Losing Hand?

Tuesday, March 28th, 2006

By David Corn

EXCERPT:

The White House doesn’t seem to understand the meaning of the term “fresh blood.” It usually refers to new blood that is introduced into an anemic entity–not blood taken from one organ of an unhealthy body and placed in another organ of that unhealthy body.

But that’s what the surgeons at the White House have done in the transplant operation that removed Andrew Card (a former lobbyist for the automobile industry) as White House chief of staff and replaced him with Joshua Bolten, the White House budget director. George W. Bush did not select someone who might have a slightly different perspective on his administration. Bolten has been in the White House since Bush was first inaugurated. Moreover, he has overseen one of the larger disasters of the Bush presidency: its fiscal policy. Here’s how those radicals at The Washington Post editorial board recently described the situation:

President Bush has presided over a 46 percent increase in the federal debt, from about $5.6 trillion [to about $8.8 trillion]. By contrast, during President Bill Clinton’s two terms, the debt grew from less than $4 trillion to $5.6 trillion, a 28 percent increase — and during the last few years of his presidency, Mr. Clinton actually began to pay down the country’s “real” debt….

Mr. Bush has managed to rack up more new debt during his five years in office than the entire debt amassed by the United States through 1988. And there is more to come: The president’s budget envisions the debt rising to $11.5 trillion by 2011. This means that an increasing share of an increasingly tight budget must be devoted simply to paying interest — an estimated $220 billion this fiscal year alone. Remember: This is the president who entered office promising to pay off $2 trillion in debt held by the public over the next decade…..

Hannity Makes Political Pornography

Tuesday, March 28th, 2006

The exchange Alec writes about below may be heard on episode 8 of the SoonerThought Podcast.

by Alec Baldwin

About one year ago, I was invited by the producers of Bill O’Reilly’s show, as well as by Bill himself, to come on that program as a guest. I had received several such invitations over a one-year period, and finally decided that I wanted to find out what “The Factor” experience was all about.

I had neither watched nor listened to any of O’Reilly’s programs. I knew of O’Reilly only as a uniquely aggressive partisan advocate and I went on the show with no real expectation of having any meaningful political dialogue.

However, I was ultimately surprised by how it all went down. O’Reilly was aggressive, but was a gentleman throughout. He made no cheap, personal remarks. He seemed comfortable to offer me a chance to make the modest handful of points that I wanted to share with his considerable audience. When I left, my opinion of Bill O’Reilly was changed completely.

I agree with O’Reilly on next to nothing, but he is a talented broadcaster. He is telegenic in ways that most network anchors and cable hosts can only dream of. He is commanding and quick on his feet. He is inexhaustible and has an abundance of those simple skills that make for what used to be called “Great Television.” If O’Reilly hadn’t hitched his wagon to Roger Ailes’ Luftwaffe/Looney Bin news operation, he would likely be enjoying a Peabody and Emmy award-winning career as a more traditional television journalist.

On Sunday evening, at the suggestion of a friend of mine who works inside the NY radio broadcast community, I guest-hosted Brian Whitman’s talk show on WABC radio, which was, ultimately, hijacked by talk-show host Sean Hannity, who called in and demanded to be heard. He was accompanied by another ABC Talk Radio host, Mark Levin, someone I had never heard of before that evening.

After some back and forth between myself and Hannity, most of it predictable, Levin made a comment connected to my divorce proceedings. I turned to Whitman, who knew that I was due to depart the show no later than 8:30 PM New York time anyway, and told him I had to go. I thought that Levin, whoever he may be and whatever code he does or does not operate by, had crossed a line and I was under no obligation to continue in that vein.

Hannity, a McCarthy-esque figure in American media, but without McCarthy’s influence or audience, spent most of his on-air day gloating that he had put me in my place and indicating that I had slurred construction workers with my call for him to return to that (his former) profession.

I have no problem with anything Hannity might say. Hannity, who lacks practically every skill that O’Reilly conveys so effortlessly, will always be doomed to do what he can with what little he has. But to suggest that I have any disrespect for any laborers of any kind in this country is plain wrong.

My father was a public school teacher on Long Island, raising six children on a smaller salary than most construction workers we grew up with. I’ve worked construction myself, in the past, as have my brothers and other members of my family, and I live in a community steeped in year-round home renovation (Eastern Long Island) that puts more construction workers on the roads there every year than you can imagine. To say that I would ever slur those folks, many of them my neighbors, is inaccurate and unfair.

Hannity did what he does best: to artificially cast himself as the friend of the working man, and to attempt to frame me as the snobbish, distant limousine liberal who emanates all of his public-mindedness from his checkbook, while never knowing the business end of level, a hammer or a drill. Shame on you, Sean Hannity, you poor, ignorant fool. Everyone who knows me, and a wealth of people who actually don’t, would never believe that characterization.

Pornography is the lurid and detached exploitation of something that is essentially good, even necessary, in order to make money, while simultaneously shaming and disgracing all of those who are involved. Instead of the basic force of sex, “political pornographers” exploit the good and necessary love of country that men and women seek to express and exercise on both sides of the aisle. Hannity is such a pornographer. He taunts and goads his listenership to express their political views in lurid, yet detached, ways. They do it in anonymity. They stress themselves to reach out and touch people in their lurid and detached way who they do not even know. Like pornography, they exert themselves to reach a state that gives them the release that they consciously avoid through a healthier, more personal involvement. Like pornography.

Hannity is the Larry Flynt of talk-radio. And he has about as much influence in the world of American public affairs as Flynt. It must be hard for these rabid right-wing types to watch their heroes fall. Almost as hard for them as it is for those of us who saw through these people from the beginning.

A postscript…Tim McCarthy called me today. He is the President and General manager of WABC radio. McCarthy wanted to “apologize for Sean’s attacks ” while I was a guest on Whitman’s show. He said that “Hannity went too far.” I’m not really worried about what Hannity said. I just wish McCarthy could apologize to those construction workers and laborers who think they have lost a friend who knows what it’s like to work hard, and to love your country, every day.