Due to a virus and work I couldn't keep up with the daily posts so here's a quick summary of Moderate tidbits for the week:
More on TreasonGate
From The Smirking Chimp:
"John Dickerson: 'The 'out to lunch' defense: Karl Rove's story doesn't make sense'Posted on Saturday, December 17 @ 08:30:47 EST (191 reads)John Dickerson, SlateAnother of my former Time magazine colleagues has talked to special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald. This time it's Viveca Novak, with whom I worked on some stories about the Valerie Plame leak case. According to news reports, Karl Rove's lawyer Robert Luskin has told Fitzgerald that a conversation he had with Novak led his client, Rove, to change his testimony to the grand jury in the CIA leak case. I'm not buying it. "
Byrd on America
From The Smirking Chimp:
"Senator Robert Byrd: 'Securing America without destroying liberties'Posted on Saturday, December 17 @ 08:34:17 ESTThis article has been read 224 times. Senator Robert ByrdRemarks by US Senator Robert C. Byrd as delivered on the Senate floor.I believe in America. I believe in the dream of the Founders and Framers of our inspiring Constitution. I believe in the spirit that drove President Lincoln to risk all to preserve the Union. I believe in what President Kennedy challenged America to be.America, the great experiment of democracy, where the strong are also just, and the weak can feel secure, and the soul and promise of America stand as a beacon of freedom and a protector of liberty which lights and energizes people around the world.
Today, sadly, that beacon is dimmed. This Administration's America is becoming a place where the strong are arrogant and the weak are ignored.Yes, we hear high-flown language from this White House about bringing democracy to lands where democracy has never been. We seem mesmerized with glorious rhetoric about justice and liberty. But, does the rhetoric really match the reality of what our country has become since the heinous attacks of September 11?I speak of the actions of our own government, actions that have undermined the credibility of this nation around the world.
These actions, taken one at a time, may seem justified. But taken as a whole, they form an unsettling picture and tell a troubling story.Do we remember the abuses at Abu Ghraib? They were explained as an aberration.Do we remember the abuses at Guantanamo Bay? They were denied as an exaggeration.Now, we read about this so-called policy of 'rendition' - a policy where the US …"
Sen. Byrd has much more to say.
Dirty Tricks from '02
"By ANNE SAUNDERS
The Associated Press 21 hours, 21 minutes ago Concord
' A jury yesterday convicted a former national Republican official of two telephone harassment charges for his role in a phone-jamming plot against New Hampshire Democrats on Election Day 2002. The federal jury acquitted James Tobin of a third charge, the most serious against him, of conspiring against voters' rights.
Tobin, 45, of Bangor, Maine, was regional political director to the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee during the 2002 election, the year of a closely watched Senate race between Democrat Jeanne Shaheen and Republican John Sununu. Sununu defeated Shaheen, 51 percent to 46 percent. Tobin was President Bush's New England campaign chairman last year, but resigned when the allegations became known.
He faces a maximum seven-year prison term and $500,000 in fines when he is sentenced in March. The voters' rights charge carried a potential sentence of 10 years and a $250,000 fine. Separately, state Democrats are pursuing a civil lawsuit, which they hope will expose knowledge or approval of the scheme by GOP officials higher than Tobin. Republicans have insisted it was conceived and executed at the state level.
In August, the Republican National Committee acknowledged it had spent more than $722,000 to provide Tobin with lawyers from a high-powered Washington law firm. Party officials who said they ordinarily would not discuss such matters said they underwrote Tobin's defense because he was a longtime supporter and assured them he had committed no crimes. "
Get more details at Union Leader.Com.
Bush and Spying
"The Washington Monthly:
December 16, 2005
I just wanted to echo what Shakespeare's Sister said about the report that Bush signed an order allowing the NSA to spy on US citizens without a warrant.
This is against the law. I have put references to the relevant statute below the fold; the brief version is: the law forbids warrantless surveillance of US citizens, and it provides procedures to be followed in emergencies that do not leave enough time for federal agents to get a warrant. If the NY Times report is correct, the government did not follow these procedures. It therefore acted illegally.
Bush's order is arguably unconstitutional as well: it seems to violate the fourth amendment, and it certainly violates the requirement (Article II, sec. 3) that the President 'shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.' "
More Polygamy Parade
The Revealer, 13 December 2005
"'We're coming. We are next. There's no doubt about it.'" The Washington Times takes a page from Rick Santorum's "man-on-dog" book, and then some. In a front-page Sunday story, the paper took on the pressing national issue of the "coming battle" over polygamists' rights -- diligently doing its part to move the issue from the hypothetical, "slippery slope" argument against gay marriage, to the top of the values-voter agenda.
The Times' reporter, Cheryl Wetzstein, brings out the usual scare quotes from attack-groups like Concerned Women for America and the marriage-defenders at the Florida Liberty Counsel, speculating on which activist jurors are about to bring polygamy into your town, as well as arguing that, on principle, the ACLU, Libertarians, liberals, feminists, and black feminists, "have to be pro-polygamy because of their tolerance doctrine and belief in a woman's right to choose."
But from there, Wetzstein does one better: enlisting the help of TruthBearer.org, a magically convenient "Christian pro-polygamy organization" that's become the talking-head quote of choice for numerous Christian and conservative media outlets, including CBN's 700 Club, WorldNetDaily, the Traditional Values Coalition, and the Family Research Council, all of which have pointed to the website as proof that the threat of polygamy is real.
Rich Doing Well
From the Smirking Chimp:
Writer Holly Sklar, in a recent piece in Information Clearing House, tells us that since 2000, America's billionaire club has gained 76 more members while the typical household has lost income and the poverty count has grown by more than 5 million people. Further, she tells us that the Forbes 400 wealth totals more than $1.1 trillion -- an amount greater than the gross domestic product of Spain or Canada, the world's eighth and ninth largest economies.We're slowly getting the numbers down pat. The top 1 percent of earners in this country hold about 40 percent of the country's wealth, having doubled that percentage in the past 25 years. Business Week magazine, which isn't likely to show favoritism to the little people, reports that the CEOs of the largest 50 companies had an average total compensation of $12.4 million last year, up from $1.95 million at the start of the decade. Do we begin to see in which direction the money flows? Is it made of helium?
Business Imitates Government
Sirotablog: Execs Target Shareholders with Orwellian Intimidation:
"The Times reports that 'U.S. companies, alarmed by the number of activist investors on the prowl, are hiring surveillance firms to find out who their shareholders are and which ones might cause trouble.' Let's state it another way: company management is now going all out to indentify ' and perhaps target with retribution/harrassment? ' the owners of the company themselves (aka. the stockholders) if those owners are expected to 'cause trouble.'The move, in some ways, looks like a modern-day (though at this point less harsh) version of the famous Pinkertons, only now that Big Business has been so successful in crushing unions, the surveillance is now being directed at shareholders. And just remember what Corporate America really means my 'activists' causing 'trouble.' Big Business doesn't mean stockholders who are going to help executives pay themselves more, or stockholders who are going to demand wage cuts for ordinary employees. It more likely means the opposite ' shareholders (or shareholding institutions) that are going to demand changes that management doesn't like."
Old Clinton Bashing
From Crooks and Liars:
"The GOP is hip-deep in hypocrisy. Go to this Crooks & Liars link for a list of anti-war statements they made during the War in Kosovo as they voted against funding for our troops.
"I cannot support a failed foreign policy. History teaches us that it is often easier to make war than peace. This administration is just learning that lesson right now. The President began this mission with very vague objectives and lots of unanswered questions. A month later, these questions are still unanswered.
There are no clarified rules of engagement. There is no timetable. There is no legitimate definition of victory. There is no contingency plan for mission creep. There is no clear funding program. There is no agenda to bolster our overextended military. There is no explanation defining what vital national interests are at stake. There was no strategic plan for war when the President started this thing, and there still is no plan today"...
"The bombing was a mistake. ... And this president ought to show some leadership and admit it, and come to some sort of negotiated end." -Representative Tom Delay (R-TX)"