Monday, October 29, 2007

Monday, Monday!

The doubts, the concerns, the reasons for pause about attorney general nominee Michael Mukasey are coming fast and furious from senators left and right these days.

It's been a steep descent from the heady days when Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) preceded Mukasey's confirmation hearings by saying "I like him."

The tone seemed to first shift from one of friendly disagreement to frank disappointment with the question by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI): is waterboarding unconstitutional? When Mukasey couldn't give a straight answer, Whitehouse pronounced himself "very disappointed."


A Dallas jury, a week ago, deadlocked in its deliberations and caused a mistrial in the government case against this country’s largest Islamic charity. The action raises a defiant fist on the sinking ship of American democracy.

If we lived in a state where due process and the rule of law could curb the despotism of the Bush administration, this mistrial might be counted a victory. But we do not. The jury may have rejected the federal government’s claim that the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development funneled millions of dollars to Middle Eastern terrorists. It may have acquitted Mohammad el-Mezain, the former chairman of the foundation, of virtually all criminal charges related to funding terrorism (the jury deadlocked on one of the 32 charges against el-Mezain), and it may have deadlocked on the charges that had been lodged against four other former leaders of the charity, but don’t be fooled. This mistrial will do nothing to impede the administration’s ongoing contempt for the rule of law. It will do nothing to stop the curtailment of our civil liberties and rights. The grim march toward a police state continues.


The big hearings for the week are Tuesday's House Judiciary Committee hearing on the Civil Rights division of the DOJ with John Tanner, and Wednesday's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on FISA. Here's my selected short list:

Monday, 4 pm - Senate Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe
To hold hearings on simmering tensions with Russia before parliamentary and presidential elections.

Tuesday, 10 am - House Judiciary
Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties
Oversight Hearing on the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. DOJ
Witness: John Tanner

Tuesday, 10 am - House Oversight and Government Reform
Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs
Hearing on Iran: Reality, Options, and Consequences. Part 1 — Iranian People and Attitudes

Tuesday, 12 pm - House Judiciary
Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law
Hearing on Straightening Out the Mortgage Mess: How Can We Protect Home Ownership and Provide Relief to Consumers in Financial Distress? – Part II

Wednesday, 10 am - Senate Environment and Public Works
To hold hearings to examine the licensing process for the Yucca Mountain Repository.

Wednesday, 10 am - Senate Judiciary
To hold hearings to examine Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) amendments, focusing on ways to protect Americans' security and privacy while preserving the rule of law and government accountability.
Witnesses: Kenneth L. Wainstein, Edward Black, Patrick F. Philbin, Morton H. Halperin

Thursday, 11:30 am - House Budget
Counting the Change: Accounting for the Fiscal Impacts of Controlling Carbon Emissions

Friday, 10 am - House Financial Services
Progress in Administration and Other Efforts to Coordinate and Enhance Mortgage Foreclosure Prevention


Monday mandatory reading material to keep your minds charged and ready to go.


DEN said...

Pic is a little baby owl.

Lots cuter than a grackle 4 sure.

micki said...

What a coincidence! Den, on the "witness list" for FISA there's a guy by the name of Philbin listed. Apparently this FEMA Philbin (below) is not the same guy , but......Orwellian story follows!!!!!

Get a load of this!

FEMA director of external affairs John P. "Pat" Philbin participated in last week's fake FEMA press conference. He said, "It was absolutely a bad decision. I regret it happened. Certainly ... I should have stopped it."

Philbin told WaPo: "I hope readers understand we're working very hard to establish credibility and integrity, and I would hope this does not undermine it."

Well, what happened to this Philbin?????

Thursday was Philbin's last day at FEMA.

Michael Chertoff said that the fake press conference was "one of the dumbest and most inappropriate things I've seen since I've been in government," and that the people involved in it would face "appropriate discipline."


PHILBIN has been appointed to serve as the new public affairs chief for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Well, why not? Afterall, he's an expert in fake news, eh?

I cannot effin believe that this crapola goes on and on and on....

micki said...

Dr. B -- have you heard about this organization?

Focus the Nation is promoting a teach-in on January 31, 2008 on university and high school campuses across the country. Its goal is to have more than 1,000 institutions engaged in dialogue about clean energy solutions on that date.

Presenters will have the opportunity to outline answers from the perspective of their discipline.

In addition, students at these campuses will meet with elected officials from local, sate, and national levels to discuss ways to solve the problem of global warming.

As far as I can determine, WSU/Pullman is not involved.

WSU is all about BIG ideas! And solutions...

WSU should be involved, IMO.

DEN said...

Philbin told WaPo: "I hope readers understand we're working very hard to establish credibility and integrity, and I would hope this does not undermine it."

Translation: We are putting out the largest amount of BS possible and are disappointed we got caught.

micki said...

Translation: We are putting out the largest amount of BS possible and are disappointed we got caught.

The flimsy "mistakes were made" excuse -- but not by us!

David B. Benson said...

Micki --- There is a Progressive Student Union (for the first time ever) and there is an Environmental Science Club (long established).

micki said...

Dr. B -- I meant specifically involved in this particular effort.

I know WSU is involved in very important matters.

DEN said...

Bullshit as a campaign issue.

DEN said...

Remarks by Senator John Edwards
St. Anselm's College, Manchester, New Hamphshire
October 29, 2007

Many of you know that I am the son of a mill worker -- that I rose from modest means and have been blessed in so many ways in life. Elizabeth and I have so much to be grateful for.

And all of you know about some of the challenges we have faced in my family. But there came a time, a few months ago, when Elizabeth and I had to decide, in the quiet of a hospital room, after many hours of tests and getting pretty bad news -- what we were going to do with our lives.

And we made our decision. That we were not going to go quietly into the night -- that we were going to stand and fight for what we believe in.

As Elizabeth and I have campaigned across America, I've come to a better understanding of what that decision really meant -- and why we made it.

Earlier this year, I spoke at Riverside Church in New York, where, forty years ago, Martin Luther King gave a historic speech. I talked about that speech then, and I want to talk about it today. Dr. King was tormented by the way he had kept silent for two years about the Vietnam War.

He was told that if he spoke out he would hurt the civil rights movement and all that he had worked for -- but he could not take it any more -- instead of decrying the silence of others -- he spoke the truth about himself.

"Over the past two years" he said, "I have moved to break the betrayal of my own silence and speak from the burning of my own heart."

I am not holier than thou. I am not perfect by any means. But there are events in life that you learn from, and which remind you what this is really all about. Maybe I have been freed from the system and the fear that holds back politicians because I have learned there are much more important things in life than winning elections at the cost of selling your soul.

Especially right now, when our country requires so much more of us, and needs to hear the truth from its leaders.

And, although I have spent my entire life taking on the big powerful interests and winning -- which is why I have never taken a dime from Washington lobbyists or political action committees -- I too have been guilty of my own silence -- but no more.

It's time to tell the truth. And the truth is the system in Washington is corrupt. It is rigged by the powerful special interests to benefit they very few at the expense of the many. And as a result, the American people have lost faith in our broken system in Washington, and believe it no longer works for ordinary Americans. They're right.

As I look across the political landscape of both parties today -- what I see are politicians too afraid to tell the truth -- good people caught in a bad system that overwhelms their good intentions and requires them to chase millions of dollars in campaign contributions in order to perpetuate their careers and continue their climb to higher office.

This presidential campaign is a perfect example of how our politics is awash with money. I have raised more money up to this point than any Democratic candidate raised last time in the presidential campaign -- $30 million. And, I did it without taking a dime from any Washington lobbyist or any special interest PAC.

I saw the chase for campaign money at any cost by the frontrunner in this race -- and I did not join it -- because the cost to our nation and our children is not worth the hollow victory of any candidate. Being called president while powerful interests really run things is not the same as being free to lead this nation as president of a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. If protecting the current established structure in Washington is in your interest, then I am not your candidate. I ran for president four years ago -- yes, in part out of personal ambition -- but also with a deep desire to stand for working people like my father and mother -- who no matter how hard things were for our family, always worked even harder to make things better for us.

But the more Elizabeth and I campaigned this year, the more we talked to the American people, the more we met people just like my father, and hard working people like James Lowe. James is a decent and honest man who had to live for 50 years with no voice in the richest country in the world because he didn't have health care. The more people like him that I met, the more I realized something much bigger was stirring in the American people. And it has stirred in each of us for far too long.

Last month Ken Burns -- who made the great Civil War documentary -- launched his newest epic on World War II on PBS -- and what a story it tells.

At the cost of great suffering, blood and enormous sacrifice, within four years after Pearl Harbor it is incredible what this nation achieved. America built the arsenal of democracy worthy of our great history. We launched the greatest invasion armada in the history of warfare against Hitler's fortress Europe, and, with our allies, we freed a continent of suffering humanity.

At the same time on the other side of the globe we crossed 10,000 miles of ocean and liberated another hemisphere of humanity -- islands and nations freed from the grip of Japanese militarists. While at the same time succeeding in the greatest scientific endeavor ever undertaken -- the Manhattan project -- and topped it off with building the Pentagon, one of the largest buildings in the world in a little over a year.

It is incredible what America has accomplished. Because no matter what extraordinary challenges we have been faced with, we did exactly what America has always done in our history -- we rose to the challenge.

And, now, as I travel across America and listen to people, I hear real concern about what's going on. For the first time in our nation's history, people are worried that we're going to be the first generation of Americans not to pass on a better life to our children.

And it's not the fault of the American people. The American people have not changed. The American people are still the strong, courageous people they have always been. The problem is what our government has become. And, it is up to us to do something about it.

Because Washington may not see it, but we are facing a moral crisis as great as any that has ever challenged us. And, it is this test -- this moral test -- that I have come to understand is at the heart of this campaign.

Just look at what has happened in Iraq. What was the response of the American people to the challenge at hand? Our men and women in uniform have been heroes. They've done everything that's been asked of them and more. But what about our government? Four years after invading Iraq, we cannot even keep the lights on in Baghdad.

When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, the American people were at their best. They donated their time and their money in record numbers. There was an outpouring of support. I took 700 college kids down to help -- young people who gave up their spring break. But what about our government? Three years after hurricane Katrina thousands of our fellow Americans, our brothers and sisters, are still housed in trailers waiting to go home.

There's no better example of the bravery and goodness of the American people than the response to the attacks of 9/11: firefighters and first responders risking and too often giving their lives to save others, charging up the stairs while everyone else was coming down; record bloodbank donations; and the list goes on. But what about our government? Six years after 9/11, at Ground Zero there sits only a black hole that tortures our conscience and scars our hearts.

In every instance we see an American people who are good, decent, compassionate and undeterred. And, American people who are better than the government that is supposed to serve and represent them.

And what has happened to the American "can do" spirit? I will tell you what has happened: all of this is the result of the bitter poisoned fruit of corruption and the bankruptcy of our political leadership.

It is not an accident that the government of the United States cannot function on behalf of its people, because it is no longer our people's government -- and we the people know it.

This corruption did not begin yesterday -- and it did not even begin with George Bush -- it has been building for decades -- until it now threatens literally the life of our democracy.

While the American people personally rose to the occasion with an enormous outpouring of support and donations to both the victims of Katrina and 9/11 -- we all saw our government's neglect. And we saw greed and incompetence at work. Out of more than 700 contracts valued at $500,000 or greater, at least half were given without full competition or, according to news sources, with vague or open ended terms, and many of these contracts went to companies with deep political connections such as a subsidiary of Haliburton, Bechtel Corp., and AshBritt Inc.

And in Iraq -- while our nation's brave sons and daughters put their lives on the line for our country -- we now have mercenaries under their own law while their bosses sit at home raking in millions.

We have squandered millions on building Olympic size swimming pools and buildings that have never been used. We have weapons and ammunition unaccounted for that may now be being used against our own soldiers. We literally have billions wasted or misspent -- while our troops and their families continue to sacrifice. And the politically connected lobby for more. What's their great sacrifice -- higher profits.

It goes on every minute of every day.

Corporate executives at United Airlines and US Airways receive millions in compensation for taking their companies into bankruptcy, while their employees are forced to take cuts in pay.

Companies like Wal-Mart lobby against inspecting containers entering our nation's ports, even though expert after expert agrees that the likeliest way for a dirty bomb to enter the United States is through a container, because they believe their profits are more important than our safety. What has become of America when America's largest company lobbies against protecting America?

Trade deals cost of millions of jobs. What do we get in return? Millions of dangerous Chinese toys in our children's cribs laden with lead. This is the price we are made to pay when trade agreements are decided based on how much they pad the profits for multinational corporations instead of what is best for America's workers or the safety of America's consumers.

We have even gotten to the point where our children's safety is potentially at risk because nearly half of the apple juice consumed by our children comes from apples grown in China. And Americans are kept in the dark because the corporate lobbyists have pushed back country of origin labeling laws again and again.

This is not the America I believe in.

The hubris of greed knows no bounds. Days after the homeland security bill passed, staffers from the homeland security department resigned and became homeland security consultants trying to cash in. And, where was the outrage? There was none, because that's how it works in Washington now. It is not a Republican revolving door or a Democratic revolving door -- it is just the way it's done.

Someone called it a government reconnaissance mission to figure out how to get rich when you leave the government.

Recently, I was dismayed to see headlines in the Wall Street Journal stating that Senate Democrats were backing down to lobbyists for hedge funds who have opposed efforts to make millionaire and billionaire hedge fund managers pay the same tax rate as every hard-working American. Now, tax loopholes the wealthy hedge fund managers do not need or deserve are not going to be closed, all because Democrats -- our party -- wanted their campaign money.

And a few weeks ago, around the sixth anniversary of 9/11, a leading presidential candidate held a fundraiser that was billed as a Homeland Security themed event in Washington, D.C. targeted to homeland security lobbyists and contractors for $1,000 a plate. These lobbyists, for the price of a ticket, would get a special "treat" -- the opportunity to participate in small, hour long breakout sessions with key Democratic lawmakers, many of whom chair important sub committees of the homeland security committee. That presidential candidate was Senator Clinton.

Senator Clinton's road to the middle class takes a major detour right through the deep canyon of corporate lobbyists and the hidden bidding of K Street in Washington -- and history tells us that when that bus stops there it is the middle class that loses.

When I asked Hillary Clinton to join me in not taking money from Washington lobbyists -- she refused. Not only did she say that she would continue to take their money, she defended them.

Today Hillary Clinton has taken more money from Washington lobbyists than any candidate from either party -- more money than any Republican candidate.

She has taken more money from the defense industry than any other candidate from either party as well.

She took more money from Wall Street last quarter than Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, and Barack Obama combined.

The long slow slide of our democracy into the corporate abyss continues unabated regardless of party, regardless of the best interests of America.

We have a duty -- a duty to end this.

I believe you cannot be for change and take money from the lobbyists who prevent change. You cannot take on the entrenched interests in Washington if you choose to defend the broken system. It will not work. And I believe that, if Americans have a choice, and candidate who takes their money -- Democrat or Republican -- will lose this election.

For us to continue down this path all we have to do is suspend all that we believe in. As Democrats, we continue down this path only if we believe the party of the people is no more.

As Americans, we continue down this path only if we fail to heed Lincoln's warning to us all.

"At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected," he asked, "if it ever reaches us it must spring up amongst us. It can not come from abroad. If destruction be our lot -- we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of free men we must live through all time or die by suicide."

America lives because 20 generations have honored the one moral commandment that makes us Americans.

To give our children a better future than we received.

I stand here today the son of Wallace and Bobbie Edwards. The father of Wade, Cate, Emma Claire and Jack -- and I know, as well as you, that we must not be the first generation that fails to live up to our moral challenge and keep the promise of America.

That would be an abomination.

There is a dream that is America. It is what makes us American. And I will not stand by while that dream is at risk.

I am not perfect -- far from it -- but I do understand that this is not a political issue -- it is the moral test of our generation.

Our nation's founders knew that this moment would come -- that at some point the power of greed and its influence over officials in our government might strain and threaten the very America they hoped would last as an ideal in the minds of all people, and as a beacon of hope for all time.

That is why they made the people sovereign. And this is why it is your responsibility to redeem the promise of America for our children and their future.

It will not be easy -- sacrifice will be required of us -- but it was never easy for our ancestors, and their sacrifices were far greater than any that will fall on our shoulders.

Yet, the responsibility is ours.

We, you and I, are the guardians of what America is and what it will be.

The choice is ours.

Down one path, we trade corporate Democrats for corporate Republicans; our cronies for their cronies; one political dynasty for another dynasty; and all we are left with is a Democratic version of the Republican corruption machine.

It is the easier path. It is the path of the status quo. But, it is a path that perpetuates a corrupt system that has not only failed to deliver the change the American people demand, but has divided America into two -- one America for the very greedy, and one America for everybody else.

And it is that divided America -- the direct result of this corrupt system -- which may very well lead to the suicide Lincoln warned us of -- the poison that continues to seep into our system while none notice.

Or we can choose a different path. The path that generations of Americans command us to take. And be the guardians that kept the faith.

I run for president for my father who worked in a mill his entire life and never got to go to college the way I did.

I run for president for all those who worked in that mill with my father.

I run for president for all those who lost their jobs when that mil was shut down.

I run for president for all the women who have come up to Elizabeth and me and told us the like Elizabeth they had breast cancer -- but unlike Elizabeth they did not have health care.

I run for president for twenty generations of Americans who made sure that their children had a better life than they did.

As Americans we are blessed -- for our ancestors are not dead, they occupy the corridors of our conscience. And, as long we keep the faith -- they live. And so too the America of idealism and hope that was their gift to us.

I carry the promise of America in my heart, where my parents placed it. Like them, like you, I believe in people, hard work, and the sacred obligation of each generation to the next.

This is our time now. It falls to us to redeem our democracy, reclaim our government and relight the promise of America for our children.

Let us blaze a new path together, grounded in the values from which America was forged, still reaching toward the greatness of our ideals. We can do it. We can cast aside the bankrupt ways of Washington and replace them with the timeless values of the American people. We can liberate our government from the shackles of corporate money that bind it to corporate will, and restore the voices of our people to its halls.

This is the cause of my life. This is the cause of our time. Join me. Together, we cannot fail.

We will keep faith with those who have gone before us, strong and proud in the knowledge that we too rose up to guard the promise of America in our day, and that, because we did, America's best days still lie ahead

Do we really need Hillary?
Ms. Bilderberg?

{ò,ó}arol said...

BEIJING - General Motors Corp. said Monday it will set up a $250 million alternative-fuel research center in Shanghai amid efforts by global automakers to produce commercially viable alternatives to gasoline engines.

"We believe China has the potential to become a leader in the adoption of alternative propulsion systems," said GM CEO Rick Wagoner at a news conference in Beijing.

Lousy bastards! They might as well move everything to China! They just got thru giving their retiree health care to the UAW to worry about. Now this.

The next person that says buy an American car will have to be shot.

DEN said...

Keep shopping at Wally Mart for all your China-crap needs, coming soon, cheap crap car:

The "Sleek Shaft", 2 mile limited warranty, (you drive it off the lot, warranty is null and void.)you bought it you got it!

Welcome to the "New World Order"

David B. Benson said...

If you sight a UFO be aware that The National UFO Reporting Center (private) has moved from Seattle to a dis-used missle silo near Harrington, about 50 miles west of Spokane.

So the telephone number may have changed, but probably the e-mail address is still the same.

(Not making this up, its an AP article.)

David B. Benson said...

Rosa Brooks has an excellent suggestion:

Forget Impeachment, but Bush and Cheney in a Straightjacket

DEN said...

The same one! they are close pals.

The grand plan has the wheels coming off, so they say.

DEN said...

Two Flew Over the Cuckoos' Nest, or the Inmates ARE Running the Asylum.

Driving (the)US nutz!

micki said...

Washington State Can Claim: THEY CAME HERE FIRST!

ufologists unite!! :-)

David B. Benson said...

The earliest (reliable) UFO reports actually come from Norway in the late 1930s.

Reports of silent airplanes with 6 and even 8 engines.

There are, of course, many earlier reports. The first I know about is found in the earlier chapters of Ezekiel. Unless Moses's burning bush counts.

Talking about burning Bush...

Carey said...


I chuckled all day over you trying to prevent grackle poop with owl placements.

You're a sheer delight. I can just imagine you out there cussing at the invaders.

My nextdoor neighbor (a dear friend) has a pool and is regularly visited by ducks. They poop all over her very nice deck. You can hear her in the morning trying to shoo them away.

What a hoot.

Dr. B,

You beat me to the punch on Rosa Brooks. She and many others are saying the same thing: That Bush press conference was the announcement of the upcoming strategic bombing of Iran.

Boy, did everyone virtually shriek "Iran" on the Sunday shows and apparently the papers.


I thought I heard a blurb about Philbin not getting that job in Intelligence afterall.

It's back to school tomorrow. They staggered the start dates.

David B. Benson said...

Carey --- Pleased to read that affairs are (sort of) back to what constitutes normal for this crazt twenty-first century...

Carey said...

I had heard about Edwards' speech at St. Anselm's. Thank you for posting it.

There's a Dem debate tomorrow in Philadelphia. I reckon and hear everywhere that Obama will take off the gloves.

What a trite expression, "take off the gloves."

Everybody's talkin' 'bout how Obama is weak and doesn't attack Clinton. I expect we will see something from Obama as he has said as much. He has raised expectations for this debate. Good for him. Let's take off the gloves.

It is primary season!

micki said...

Carey -- you did hear corrrectly that Philbin's job was yanked away from him.

I wonder if he can get his old job back! hahaha

Glad to hear that some degree of normalcy is returning in your neck of the woods.

micki said...

Carey -- As we all know, the War on Iran predictions have been rampant for a couple of years now. It's almost as though bush & cheney take perverse delight in taunting ad nauseum before they land the first blow.

One reason I believe that bush and cheney haven't gotten their way on their next war -- yet -- is that Bob Gates has slowed them down. (They are probably wishing they'd never picked him for SecDef -- not that I like him!)

cheney/bush will have their upcoming war -- they are so batshit crazy that they do not trust ANY potential successors to deal with Iran *decisively* (read: WAR). No Republican. No Democrat. They do not even want Israel to carry out airstrikes against Iran -- they'd rather do it themselves. (Dammit! It's OUR war! We know history will show how decisive and bold we were, even when world opinion was against us!) The diplomatic route is all a charade. And Miss Condi is part of the game.

We're getting closer and closer to the line in the sand. The Decider-in-Chief will be decidin' soon.

Carey said...

Primary season interrupted by Christmas and a bomb on Iran or two.


The new Intelligence job. They said he wouldn't be offered it. I semi-heard it. Let me go check.

they are so batshit crazy that they do not trust ANY potential successors to deal with Iran *decisively*.

There you have it. You hit it on the nail.

David B. Benson said...

Have to go see if there is any more beer...

Carey said...

Thoughtful, Micki, as usual, on Iran.

Fuck a duck. Know what I mean Jelly Beans? We're screwing the world some more.

I don't understand why the other countries don't gang up on us. We are such ultra-shits.

micki said...

No, Carey, he had been offered the job -- in fact, he was scheduled to being his new disinformation job on MONDAY. But, after the phony press conference, they "fired" him before he even started in the new position. They may try to spin it their way, after the fact, but they'll just dig a deeper hole.

AP, Reuters, ABC, WTOP: "We can confirm that Mr. Philbin is not, nor is he scheduled to be, the director of public affairs for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence," DNI spokesman Ross Feinstein said Monday.

McConnell had offered Philbin the director of communications at the intelligence office prior to the FEMA event, according to Feinstein. Philbin said he understood McConnell's decision.

micki said...

I don't understand why the other countries don't gang up on us.

There could be plans to that effect in the works.

400+ days of bush to go.....that's a heckuva long time.

micki said...

I hope there was more beer.

You should hop to it and lay in an adequate supply, for the duration.

What's the shelf life of beer anyway?