Saturday, October 08, 2005


Barhorst: What Did The President And Vice-President Know And When Did They Know It?

When the Watergate investigation was going on the oft mentioned phrase was “What did the President know and when did he know it?” Then one day I sat in front of my black and white television set and watched John Dean give up the administration. I’m wondering if Libby might be another Dean; surely Rove isn’t. Lies and misdirection cannot be kept up forever without someone finally breaking.

Watergate began with an illegal act. Plamegate began with an illegal act. Nixon claimed ignorance. Bush always appears ignorant.

After Watergate, those in the executive branch of government were looked at with the jaundiced eye of mistrust by the people of the United States. It took decades for that trust to be rebuilt. The Bush cabal has traded on that trust, a Terrorist slaughter of New Yorkers, a war, and several natural tragedies to build an enviroment of monetary profit and political gain. It is now a political era where the crony and the dollar are held in higher esteem than the honor of the Government or human life.

At this point, the trust in the Government shown by those not at the far end of the political right has deteriorated to the point that even conservative Republicans, not of the far right, have begun to fall away from belief in the party leadership. Now, both Executive and Congressional leadership are being looked at with an arched eyebrow.

We can only hope that this present administration’s power is curtailed quickly and elected Democrats along with moderate and honest Republicans can again begin the work of rebuilding the Government of the United States as an institution not only trusted throughout its own States, but amongst the nations and states of the world.

Terry D. Barhorst Sr.
Austin, Tx

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Spier: Plame Outing Could Violate Espionage Act

I think I posted a blog back in August about possible violations of 18 U.S.C. 793, the Espionage Act by Plame outers. Mark Kleinman provides a very interesting analysis of David Johnston’s article about this, published in this week's New York Times. Kleinman’s blog The New York Times says "espionage" might give clues to why Rove’s chubby pink face is media scarce. Follow this blog to more of Kleinman’s provocative musings on this affair.

William Spier, Ph.D.
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MMfA: CNN defends Kagan's virtue, says Rush has multiple email mistresses

by Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
LimbaughFolks, I realize not everybody is interested in who Rush Limbaugh, right, sleeps with or fantasizes about.  But sometimes you just have to laugh at the Old Fatboy getting his come-uppance.
This week, Mr. American Morality Himself, defender of the "conservative" agenda and true soldier against the debauchery of the "liberal left," let slip that he's had sex -- or wants us to think he has -- with anchor Daryn Kagan, below left, of CNN News in Atlanta.
KaganChief Dittohead said he got a note from his "mistress in Atlanta" saying the president in his speech that day sounded like the Fantasy Master himself. 
Now for the come-uppance: 
Media Matters for America (which we are told by Limbaugh, O'Reilly, Hannity, and other "conservatives" cannot be trusted because they are "liberal," whatever that means) monitors the media of all stripes and had this tidbit for the careful reader:
Following Media Matters for America's item highlighting nationally syndicated radio host Rush Limbaugh's boast that his "mistress in Georgia" -- which Media Matters said was an apparent reference to CNN anchor Daryn Kagan, who is reportedly romantically involved with Limbaugh -- sent him a note praising an October 6 speech by President Bush, CNN denied that Kagan sent notes to anyone about Bush's speech.

CNN's statement to Media Matters:

Daryn Kagan did not send any notes to anyone about President Bush's speech yesterday. The item is factually incorrect. Whatever reference was made was apparently about somebody else.

You should know Rush Limbaugh has an ongoing bit referring to certain women emailing him as his mistresses. Whatever reference was made was certainly not about Daryn.

Source:  Media Matters for America.
Methings Chief Dittohead called some other mistress for any squeeze he might get this weekend.  Or maybe CNN's veiled message is that Dittohead has mastered the art of email sex.
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Friday, October 07, 2005


Bill Spier: View From the Underground. I Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up*

We New Yawkers listen to our police chief, Ray Kelly. Ray's a serious guy who knows very well that you don't lay any shuck and jive on the residents of the five boroughs. So when he scrambles the cops to the underground after telling us there is a threat, we cooperate with da man. And me, I'm livin' next to the Brooklyn Bridge in Brooklyn Heights, where all subway lines meet under historic tree-lined streets before spreading like fingers deep into the borough and beyond; and I'm thinking that my twelve year old travels by subway from here to the Atlantic Avenue Station to school weekdays. Having sat on my roofdeck and watched human beings jump from the WTC, I've got reason to listen to Ray. New York makes news. So no matter what Bush and Cheney want us to believe, jihadists are not going to kamikaze into the dimly lit Texas statehouse. (For as any guy spending his day playing backgammon in Baghdad knows, there ain't nothing going on in that place.) ----Reality check: A few years back, the NYPD foiled a plot to bomb that same Atlantic Avenue Station in Brooklyn. So I listen to Ray. I listen to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, too. (But I wonder why a guy with billions of dead presidents in his bank account, as Bloomberg has, always looks so depressed.)

With trepidation, I packed my kid off to school this morning. Later I heard that Ray Kelly et al. were engaged in behind-the-scenes jostling with security officials in Washington, who downplayed the threat and suggested that Mayor Bloomberg may have overreached. The Mayor, a sort of Republican, has got to be fuming. By noon Friday, the Bush cabal moved the scam onto San Francisco and told the nation that we got another Al Qaida in Iraq to corroborate the other two AlQs who squealed. But Homeland Security officials in Washington said the threats were of "doubtful credibility." Bush will cross anyone to save his bottom.

There is a Rovian stench here. In one day we get a warning of a London type attack in New York; and not by local jihadists, but perps imported all the way from the world's newest democracy, Iraq; and we get a nutty speech from Bush meant to scare the hell out of Richmond, Indiana. A few terrific excerpts follow for those who missed that major policy address (given at 11:00 A.M.?) :

"All these separate images of destruction and suffering that we see on the news can seem like random and isolated acts of madness. Innocent men and women and children have died simply because they boarded the wrong train or worked in the wrong building or checked into the wrong hotel."

"And while the killers choose their victims indiscriminately, their attacks serve a clear and focused ideology, a set of beliefs and goals that are evil but not insane."

"With greater economic and military and political power, the terrorists would be able to advance their stated agenda: to develop weapons of mass destruction, to destroy Israel, to intimidate Europe, to assault the American people and to blackmail our government into isolation." [I Think he's talking about Iran here. They ought to keep Michael Ledeen off the White House grounds.]

"No act of ours invited the rage of the killers, and no concession, bribe or act of appeasement would change or limit their plans for murder.

[I like this one] "In truth, they have endless ambitions of imperial domination and they wish to make everyone powerless except themselves. They seek to end dissent in every form and to control every aspect of life and to rule the soul itself."

Bush is confused here. This is Cheney and corporatist mantra, not the guys playing backgammon in Baghdad.

All this smells of Rove. I believe that the Bush speech and the timely arrival of jihadists-- from wherever-- are the shenanigans of a very desperate regime; and expensive shenanigans at that--given the overtime costs for NYPD personnel.

*Thanks Richard Farina

William Spier, Ph.D.

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WP: Right Sees Miers as Threat to a Dream - Oct. 7

Analysis By Dan Balz - Washington Post Staff Writer, Friday,  Page A01

If there has been a unifying cause in American conservatism over the past three decades, it has been a passionate desire to change the Supreme Court. When there were arguments over tax cuts and deficits, when libertarians clashed with religious conservatives, when disputes over foreign policy erupted, reshaping the judiciary bound the movement together.

Until Monday, that is. Now conservatives are in a roiling fight with the White House over President Bush's nomination of White House counsel Harriet Miers, below right, to the high court. They fear Harriet Miersthat the president may have jeopardized their dream of fundamentally shifting the court by nominating someone with no known experience in constitutional issues rather than any one of a number of better-known jurists with unquestioned records.

The dismay among conservatives stems partly from the fact that so little is known about Miers, a well-regarded corporate lawyer, member of the Texas legal establishment, evangelical Christian and confidante of the president. But in a deeper way, it reflects the smoldering resentment about other administration policies -- from big-spending domestic programs to fragmentation over Iraq -- and enormous frustration that a president who prides himself on governing in primary colors has adopted a stealth strategy on something as fundamental to conservatives as the Supreme Court.

"No one has anything against her," said William Kristol, below left, editor of the Weekly Standard and one of the first conservatives to register his disappointment. "But the idea that one is supposed to sacrifice both intellectual distinction and philosophical clarity at the same time is just ridiculous."

William KristolFor more than two decades, conservatives have been developing a team of potential justices for the high court in preparation for a moment such as this. They point to jurists such as Judge J. Michael Luttig of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, Judge Michael W. McConnell of the 10th Circuit and Judge Priscilla R. Owen, newly sworn in on the 5th Circuit, as examples of people who have not just paid their dues but also weathered intellectual battles in preparation for reshaping the Supreme Court.

Conservatives were deeply offended when presidential emissary Ed Gillespie, below right, walking with Miers, told a gathering on Wednesday that some criticism of Miers has "a whiff" of sexism and elitism. They said there are any number of female judges who would have drawn an enthusiastic reaction from the right, and one former conservative activist noted that Owen, a hero among conservatives, went to law school at Baylor University, hardly an Ivy League institution.

Gillespie, right, with MiersThe reaction to Miers has been in sharp contrast to the reception afforded new Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. when he was nominated. While Roberts did not come to the battle with a reputation as one of the activists in the conservative legal movement, conservatives were reassured by his experience in the Reagan and the George H.W. Bush administrations and dazzled by his brainpower. On that basis, they believed he was well equipped for the intellectual combat on the high court. Miers inspired no such feelings when she was nominated.

Bush's failure to look to conservatives on the appellate courts to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor proved to be a massive case of dashed expectations. "The feeling was after John Roberts that surely the president was going to have to go to the bench where there were all these very excellent people who are serving on the circuit court or scholars who have been grooming for this possibility for years and years," said Paul M. Weyrich, below left, a leading voice in the conservative movement and one who has been openly skeptical of Miers.

WeyrichWeyrich said he had once been told by Justice Clarence Thomas it was important not just to have conservatives on the court, but also conservatives who have "been through the wars and survived." Having won the White House and captured majorities in Congress, conservatives eagerly anticipated a fight in the Senate over a nominee like that and believed Bush would have the stomach for one.

From the White House vantage point, however, the very fact that Miers had not been through those wars was apparently part of her appeal -- she did not have a long record that Democrats could use as a weapon, as they did with such previous nominees as Robert H. Bork.

The conservative project to reshape the judiciary long predates this presidency. This only heightened the surprise and resentment that the president has asked all those who have been in the vanguard of that movement to sublimate their feelings and now march in lockstep behind someone on his word alone.

Moreover, some conservatives regard it as patronizing for Bush to suggest Miers will continue to share his views on legal philosophy long after he leaves the White Houses.

"With so much at stake, to many of us it seems ill-advised to nominate somebody that we're then told we should have faith in, when there isn't any evidence of intellectual rigor being applied to these contentious issues," said conservative activist Gary Bauer, below right. "There are probably seven to eight names that have been looked to, have written wonderful decisions that are strong intellectually, compelling in their presentation. They are the kind of people you want to look to if you want to try to move the legal culture in America."

Gary BauerThe uproar over Miers is particularly striking because it is aimed as much at the president as at his nominee and comes from that part of the party he has assiduously courted from the time he first ran for president. But conservative opinion leaders said he is bearing the brunt of pent-up frustration among conservatives, who watched as terrorism, the Iraq war, and now Hurricane Katrina led to massive growth in government and huge deficits under a president who ostensibly shares their small-government philosophy.

From the prescription drug bill to the failure to veto any spending legislation to what some conservatives regarded as a reincarnation of the Great Society in Bush's approach to reconstruction after Katrina, the president's credibility as a genuine conservative already was in question when he asked his loyalists to trust him on Miers.

Newt GingrichFormer House speaker Newt Gingrich, left (R-Ga.), who has written an op-ed piece urging conservatives to rally behind Miers, said he nonetheless understands why his ideological allies doubt the president. And he fears the White House may underestimate the reasons: "Do they understand that beyond getting past the unhappiness with this choice, there is a profound sense of discontent within the conservative movement?"

Source:  Washington Post.

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Slate-Papers: Ten Plotz - Oct. 7

By Eric Umansky - Posted Friday, Oct. 7, 2005, at 3:15 AM CT

The New York Times leads with and others reefer New York Mayor Bloomberg (seen below left, speaking to another subway rider), disclosing the government has what he termed "specific" -- but uncorroborated -- intel of plans for a series of bombings in the city's subways. Bloomberg has Bloomberg, left, speaking to another subway ridersent hundreds of extra cops to patrol, but as everybody mentions, the Department of Homeland Security -- which gave New York word of the threat --played it down. A DHS spokesman called the intel -- which was somehow picked up on a raid of a jihadi hideout near Baghdad -- "of doubtful credibility." As the NYT notices, while an FBI official stood with Bloomberg as he announced the threat, no official from DHS was there. The Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal world-wide newsbox, and Washington Post all lead with President Bush's speech yesterday on the fight against jihadism. The Post, interestingly, headlines the president's claim that the U.S. has disrupted 10 al-Qaida plots since 9/11. That includes, aides later said, two separate plans to hijack airliners in the U.S. One plot was purportedly scheduled for 2002 and the other for 2003. USA Today leads with and the LAT fronts a study concluding that an experimental vaccine against cervical cancer was incredibly effective. None of the roughly 6,000 women who received the vaccine showed precancerous growths; 21 of the women who received placebo injections did. The vaccine could hit the market next year.

The NYT has a good backgrounder on the government's response the subway threat: New York City officials were first briefed Monday but the feds only gave them clearance to go public yesterday after, says the Times, two suspects connected to the intel were rolled up in Iraq.

The White House didn't offer many details on the ten disrupted terrorist "plots." In fact, at first it didn't offer any. The Post: "After scrambling all day and debating how much could be disclosed in response to media inquiries, the White House produced a list last night." The LAT cites "senior law enforcement officials" who "said authorities have not disrupted any operational terrorist plot within the United States" since 9/11. The Post, which has the least rigorous take on the president's count, says the speech had originally been planned for the fourth anniversary of 9/11 but was delayed by Katrina.

The Journal has a Page One feature on increasing evidence that jihadists in Iraq are beginning to "bleed out into the neighboring region." Remember the recent rocket attack that narrowly missed two U.S. Navy ships in Jordan? The men who reportedly fired the rockets were basically on weekend pass from Iraq. Everybody mentions that 17 Iraqis were killed in assorted attacks around Baghdad and one GI was killed by a roadside bomb.

The LAT and NYT front the prosecutor in the CIA leak case calling in presidential right-hand man Karl Rove (below right) to testify again just as the grand jury's term is drawing to a close. Which means ... nobody is sure what except that it's nothing good for Rove. To wit: The prosecutor, said Rove's lawyer, had "made no decision on whether to charge Karl."

Karl RoveThe NYT adds that the prosecutor also "indicated" he wants to chat again with the Times' Judy Miller about her talks with the vice president's chief of staff, Scooter Libby. Meanwhile the Journal mentions that Libby's lawyer, who was a chatty-Kathy last week, "said he wasn't accepting calls from reporters this week."

As for why the NYT has yet to publish a piece digging into Miller's involvement, the Times offer this:

Bill Keller, the executive editor of The Times, said Ms. Miller had been cautioned by her lawyers not to discuss the substance of her grand jury testimony until Mr. Fitzgerald finished questioning her...."This development may slow things down a little, but we owe our readers as full a story as we can tell, as soon as we can tell it," said Keller.

Everybody mentions that FEMA's decision rushed contracts signed right after Katrina will be reopened. "All of those no-bid contracts, we are going to go back and rebid," said the agency's acting director. The papers value the contracts variously at $1.5 billion and $400 million. The uncertainty about the total isn't surprising, since as the Post explains up high, the rebid announcement wasn't really one. Instead, FEMA's director made the comment in response to a question during congressional hearings and an FEMA spokesman then scrambled to add meat to it. A related context question: How much did FEMA award in total to Katrina no-bid contracts?

The Post's FEMA piece focuses on the bipartisan grilling administration officials faced in Katrina hearings. Buried inside it is a mention that the "administration has blocked legislation that would temporarily expand Medicaid eligibility rules". One Republican senator advised Treasury Secretary Snow, "Tell the White House to back off our bill. There are people hurting down there, and we want to get them help."

The NYT piece on the rebidding mentions what seems like it should be news in its own right: The House approved the Department of Homeland Security's budget, which includes a cut to FEMA's baseline budget.

USAT fronts an in-house analysis showing that most nursing homes have been cited for some form of fire code violations but with weak federal and state regulations only a tiny fraction of homes are ever fined. Moreover, Congress has declined to mandate that all nursing homes have fire sprinklers. The nursing industry argues that installing them would cost too much. The industry has also donated $11 million to congressional campaigns since 1999.

The NYT goes above-the-fold with a key Republican senator waxing less than enthusiastic about the nomination of Harriet Miers. Senator Sam Brownback (below left, with Miers), who's on the judiciary committee, met with Miers yesterday. "No promises were made either way," said Brownback. Asked whether he Brownback, left, with Mierswas impressed, Brownback responded, "
She's a very decent lady." The Post's Charles Krauthammer has a slightly blunter take: "WITHDRAW THIS NOMINEE."

Eric Umansky (www.ericumansky.com) writes "Today's Papers" for Slate. He can be reached at todayspapers@slate.com. Source: Slate Magazine.

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Thursday, October 06, 2005


BBC: Bush told Palestinians God dictates his foreign policies

London (BBC) - President George W. Bush told Palestinian ministers that God had told him to invade Afghanistan and Iraq - and create a Palestinian State, a new BBC series reveals.

In Elusive Peace: Israel and the Arabs, a major three-part series on BBC TWO (at 9.00pm on Monday 10, Monday 17 and Monday 24 October), Mahmoud Abbas, also known Abu Mazen, below right, Palestinian Prime Minister, and Nabil Shaath, his Foreign Minister, describe their first meeting with President Bush in June 2003.

Palestinian presidentNabil Shaath says: "President Bush said to all of us: 'I'm driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, "George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan." And I did, and then God would tell me, "George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq ..." And I did. And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, "Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East." And by God I'm gonna do it.'"

Abu Mazen was at the same meeting and recounts how President Bush told him: "I have a moral and religious obligation. So I will get you a Palestinian state."

The series charts the attempts to bring peace to the Middle East, from Bill Clinton's peace talks in 1999/2000 to Israel's withdrawal from Gaza last August.

Norma Percy, series producer of The 50 Years War (1998) returns, with producers Mark Anderson and Dan Edge, to tell the inside story of another seven years of crisis.

Presidents and Prime Ministers, their generals and ministers tell what happened behind closed doors as peace talks failed and the intifada exploded.

Israel and the Arabs: Elusive Peace - Mondays 10, 17 and 24 October, from 9.00 to 10.00pm on BBC TWO.

Source: UK BBC.


O'Donnell: Plamegate-The Next Step - Oct. 6

Lawrence O'DonnellBy Lawrence O'Donnell, left

If Karl Rove's lawyer, Bob Luskin, is still as easy to read as he has been since I broke the story that his client was Matt Cooper's source, then we now know that Rove has received a target letter from Patrick Fitzgerald. How do we know it? Luskin refuses to deny it.

Fitzgerald does not have to send Rove or anyone else a target letter before indicting him. The only reason to send target letters now is that Fitzgerald believes one or more of his targets will flip and become a prosecution witness at the pre-indictment stage. A veteran prosecutor told me, "If Fitzgerald is sending target letters at the end of his investigation, those are just invitations to come in and work out a deal."

Prosecutors prefer pre-indictment plea bargaining to post-indictment because they have more to offer you, like not being indicted at all or downgrading your status to unindicted co-conspirator. And pre-indictment plea bargaining can greatly enrich the indictments that the prosecutor then obtains. If, for example, Fitzgerald has a weak case against, say, Scooter Libby, imagine how much Rove's cooperation might strengthen that case.

If no one RSVPs to Fitzgerald's invitations, look for indictments as early as next week. If anyone does sit down with Fitzgerald, he will probably have to move to extend the grand jury, which now has only thirteen working days left in its term.

Prediction: at least three high level Bush Administration personnel indicted and possibly one or more very high level unindicted co-conspirators.

Read UPDATE here

More of Lawrence O'Donnell on Plamegate

Source:  Huffington Post.


Slate-Papers: QuagMier - Oct. 6

By Eric Umansky - Posted Thursday, Oct. 6, 2005, at 4:49 AM CT

The Wall Street Journal's world-wide newsbox and Washington Post lead with the Senate, smacking the White House and voting 90-9 to reinforce the military's restrictions on interrogations of detainees. A White House veto, which has been threatened, won't do any good against those numbers but the Post reminds that GOP leaders in the House are against the amendment as well. The Los Angeles Times leads with and others front the growing Republican insurrection to the nomination of Harriet Miers. "Right now, I'm not satisfied with what I Sen. Lott with President Bush, rightknow," said Republican Senator Trent Lott (seen with President Bush, right). "I'm not comfortable with the nomination." The New York Times leads with two sets of scientists concluding that the 1918 influenza strain—which killed about 50 million people—probably started out as a bird bug, similar to the virus currently making its way around Asia. USA Today leads with and the NYT fronts the Supreme Court considering whether the federal government has the power to, effectively, put the kibosh on Oregon's assisted suicide law. At issue is a 2001 decision from then-Attorney General Ashcroft that Oregon's law is trumped by federal drug statutes; Ashcroft had threatened to revoke the licenses of Oregon doctors who prescribed lethal doses of meds. Newly hired Chief Justice Roberts appeared sympathetic to the White House's case, while the court's liberals and Justice O'Connor, below left, seemed to support Oregon. O'Connor's vote will only count if she's around for the decision.

O'ConnorThe interrogation measure passed by the Senate last night would force the military, and only the military, to refrain from "cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment." A White House statement yesterday repeated the threat of a veto and said the measure would "restrict the president's authority to protect Americans effectively from terrorist attack and bringing terrorists to justice." The Journal suggests the legislation might survive but be watered down in Senate-House negotiations.

Looking to tamp down concerns about Miers, White House envoys hosted two closed door meetings with conservative leaders. At which point the concerns took over. The envoys "got pummeled," said one participant. "I've never seen anything like it." The Post has good dirt on the scrum. Apparently, one of the White House's men—Ed Gillespie (below right, with Miers)—suggested the unease about Miers "has a whiff of sexism and a whiff of elitism." At that, says the Post, "irate participants erupted and demanded that he take it back." (Gillespie did, sort of.) 

Miers, with Gillespie, rightThere were no live strains of the 1918 virus; it was reconstructed by scientists. The discovery that it mutated from the avian flu is obviously foreboding but it also could be enormously useful: Scientists might be able to monitor how far the bird flu is from mutating into a big people killer. Researchers now think there are 10 changes needed for the virus to make the turn. Apparently two have happened so far with Asia's avian flu.

The NYT sees the most import in the virus discovery—"This is huge, huge, huge," says one scientist quoted up high.  The Post, meanwhile, evinces caution, emphasizing the unknowns: It's unclear, for example, if the avian flu "will ever acquire all the genetic features necessary for rapid, worldwide spread."

The Journal fronts a look at the U.S's avian flu preparations, or the lack of them. "We are not prepared for a pandemic," said Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt. The administration is about to unveil a $6 billion to $10 billion preparation plan. But what the Journal focuses on is the U.S.'s lack of a "surge" capacity for vaccines. Vaccines are high risk and don't make big bucks so most companies aren't interest in making them. Leavitt wouldn't go into detail on the administration's plan, and it isn't clear whether it will address the vaccine production issue.  (Not mentioned but potentially worth exploring: HHS's Assistant Secretary for Public Health Emergency Preparedness—the point person for responding to flue pandemic—seems to have limited expertise in public health as well as emergency preparedness.)

The NYT off-leads and others go inside with Iraq's parliament backing down from its quite creative interpretation of election laws, which would have effectively rigged the coming constitutional referendum and ensured Sunnis couldn't defeat it. The U.N. had complained loudly about the rule change and a State Department spokesman called the reversal "a positive step." Meanwhile, between 25 and 36 Iraqis were killed when a bomb exploded in a Shiite mosque in Hilla. The LAT says the mosque was "full of mourners who had gathered to remember a restaurant owner slain Monday by insurgents."

The NYT gives the glimpse of the sausage factory that is the Iraqi parliament:

Most members appear to have voted Sunday without clearly understanding what they were voting for, and then reversed themselves on the orders of their party leaders , who were themselves taking orders from the United Nations. "They told us, please don't discuss this or make objections, just vote for the statement," Shatha al-Musawi, a Shiite lawmaker, said of the Shiite leadership.

The WP fronts and others go inside with the feds looking into whether a Filipino-American filched classified papers while he worked in the vice president's office about four years ago. The officer was recently caught stealing files from the FBI. And ABC News, which broke the story, says the officer has admitted to passing along documents from the White House. Apparently, the papers were intel assessments of the Philippines president and were given to opposition members.

The Post fronts and others go inside with CIA chief Porter Goss's decision not to go after any Agency people for pre-9/11 snafus despite a (classified) inspector general's report that had called for just that. The report had named about 20 current and former employees, including one man named George Tenet, shown below left receiving the Medal of Freedom from President Bush last December

Tenet receiving Medal of FreedomEric Umansky (www.ericumansky.com) writes "Today's Papers" for Slate. He can be reached at todayspapers@slate.com .

Submitted by: Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
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Ivins: Christian Soldier on the High Court

IvinsBy Molly Ivins, left

Austin, Texas, Oct. 5 -- Uh-oh. Now we are in trouble. Doesn't take much to read the tea leaves on the Harriet Miers nomination. First, it's Bunker Time at the White House. Miers' chief qualification for this job is loyalty to George W. Bush and the team. What the nomination means in larger terms for both law and society is the fifth vote on the court to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Aside from that bothersome little matter, the Miers appointment is like that of John Roberts -- could've been worse. Not as bad as Edith Jones, not as bad as Priscilla Owen -- and you should see some of our boy judges from Texas.

Miers, like Bush himself, is classic Texas conservative Establishment, with the addition of Christian fundamentalism. What I mean by fundamentalist is one who believes in both biblical inerrancy and salvation by faith alone.*

She is enrolled in the Valley View Christian Church of Dallas, which she attended for at least 20 years before moving to Washington five years ago. Among that church's other members is Nathan Hecht of the Texas Supreme Court, considered second only to Priscilla Owen as that court's most adamant anti-abortion judge.

According to Miers' friends, she was pro-choice when a young woman, but later changed her mind as a result of a Christian experience of some kind. Those who spoke of this did not know her well enough to say whether it had been a born-again experience or simply a different understanding of theology.

Miers had the support of feminists when she ran for office first in the Dallas bar and later when she became the first woman president of the Texas Bar Association, even though the feminists were aware she was anti-choice.

At that time, the far more conservative TBA was at odds with the American Bar Association and sometimes threatened to withdraw from the national organization. Miers was considered a moderate in that she did not want to withdraw from the ABA, but favored a proposal to change the organization's stance from support for abortion rights to a position of neutrality.

One of Miers' key backers was Louise Raggio, a much-revered Dallas feminist lawyer. The women lawyers groups favored Miers despite her stand on abortion because she was a candidate acceptable to the Establishment, thus making her electable as a woman.

Miers sometimes took women judicial candidates through her very prestigious firm Liddell, Sapp for the obligatory meet 'n' greet and even donated to Democratic candidates. Both these behaviors were well within the conventions of Dallas city and judicial politics, particularly in the 1980s. Dallas city politics are nonpartisan, and rather like Texas tea ("sweet or un?") come in only two flavors -- Establishment or less Establishment. Miers qualifies as ur-Establishment, despite "being a girl," as few of the old dinosaurs still put it. The slightly feminist tinge to her credentials is a plus, but she is quite definitely anti-abortion.

She ran for city council in 1989 as a moderate, but struggled during her interview with the lesbian/gay coalition. (At the time, it would have been considered progressive to even show up.) The Dallas Police Department did not then hire gays or lesbians, and when asked about the policy, Miers replied the department should hire the best-qualified people, the classic political sidestep answer.

When pressed, she said she did believe one should be able to legally discriminate against gays, and it is the recollection of two of the organization's officers that the response involved her religious beliefs.

Miers' church states on its website that it believes in biblical inerrancy, full immersion baptism, original sin and salvation dependent entirely upon accepting Jesus Christ. Everyone else is going to hell.

I have said for years about people in public life, "I don't write about sex, drugs or rock 'n' roll." If I had my druthers, I wouldn't write about the religion of those in public life, either, as I consider it a most private matter. Separation of church and state is in the Constitution because this country was founded by people who had experienced both religious persecution and state-supported religions. I think John F. Kennedy's 1960 statement to the Baptist ministers should stand as a model of how public servants should handle the relation between religious belief and public service.

Nevertheless, we are now beset by people who insist on dragging religion into governance -- and who themselves believe they are beset by people determined to "drive God from the public square."

This division has been in part created by and certainly aggravated by those seeking political advantage. It is a recipe for an incredibly damaging and serious split in this country, and I believe we all need to think long and carefully before doing anything to make it worse.

As an 1803 quote attributed to James Madison goes: "The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe with blood for centuries."

Molly Ivins is a nationally syndicated political columnist for Creators Syndicate, a freelance writer and nonfiction author. She has known President Bush since they were in high school.

Source: Common Dreams Newsletter.

*D.H.: At least Molly defined "fundamentalist," but her definition is unfortunate and historically inaccurate. Not all Christians who believe in the inspiration of the Bible and salvation by faith alone are fundamentalists or practice encroachments on the separation of church and state as decried by Molly here.

Inspiration and salvation by grace are cardinal doctrines of the Reformation, which in my view reached its creedal high-water mark in the 1640s when the "Westminster Standards" were adopted at Westminster Abbey in London.

"Fundamentalism" is a movement that is only about 100 years old, and arose here in reaction to the "Social Gospel" of Walter Rauschenbusch and others of the late 19th century, which said we should do the good works of Jesus, like caring for the poor, but that spiritual renewal through a mystical experience was less important or perhaps even unnecessary. The "Fundamentalist" reaction was that the spiritual renewal through a mystical experience with the Lord was the only important thing, and to hell with social good works and all those who didn't believe likewise.

As a result of the "Fundamentalist" influence upon American evangelicalism in the last century, evangelicalism lost its impact upon culture, and culture has done what they decry as going to hell in a handbasket. This result, they blame on "liberalism," although they're not quite sure what "liberalism" is; but the truth is, they brought this deterioration upon themselves by abandoning culture. The Bible they regard as inerrant says they should be "salt and light" to an unbelieving culture; but they lost that vision by saying all they were supposed to do was save a few souls from hell. I develop this thesis in greater detail in my piece, "The Cultural Irrelevance of Fundamentalism and Dispensationalism," found at: http://haigler.info/page11.html.

Submitted by Dave Haigler, Taylor County Democratic Chair, Abilene, Texas
lawfirm webpage: www.haigler.info
published at: http://demlog.blogspot.com


AP: 'Peace Mom' Cindy Sheehan Returns Home

Associated Press Writer

Peace mom Cindy Sheehan (shown hugging a supporter, right), after wrapping up her tour of the country, returned home Wednesday to northern California where she plans to continue her protest of the Iraq war.

The mother who staged a 26-day vigil in front of President Bush's Texas ranch this summer received a hero's welcome from a hometown crowd attending a fundraiser for anti-war groups.

"I'll be a grieving mom until I die because of the lies that took my son," said Sheehan, making her first public appearance in the liberal San Francisco Bay area since the August vigil. "I plan on keeping this up until the troops are brought home."

Sheehan's 24-year-old son, Army Spc. Casey Sheehan, died in April 2004 in Iraq.

She has spent much of the time since speaking out against the war. After the monthlong vigil in Texas, she traveled the U.S. and also met with politicians, including Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, and Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-North Carolina.

Last week, she was arrested with more than 350 other people after a protest outside the White House.

Source: AP-Austin American-Statesman.

Submitted by: Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
lawfirm webpage: www.haigler.info
published at: http://demlog.blogspot.com

Wednesday, October 05, 2005


Roberts: $300 Billion Terrorist Training Ground

By Paul Craig Roberts (left)

Capitol Hill Blue, the Washington DC publication that cultivates relationships with White House staffers, reports (September 28) one White House aide saying: "It's like working in an insane asylum. People walk around like they're in a trance. We're the dance band on the Titanic, playing out our last songs to people who know the ship is sinking and none of us are going to make it."

"If POTUS is on the road, you can breathe a little easier," says an aide. Otherwise it is one temper tantrum after another from Bush, whose "cakewalk war" has turned into interminable conflict, whose idiocy in diverting funding for New Orleans' levees to war in Iraq was disastrous for the famous city, and whose Social Security privatization has been rejected by the electorate.

Even rah-rah Republican Newt Gingrich says the White House is surrounded by failure.

No member of the White House staff wants to deliver news to Bush, because the news is bad. Bush demands sycophancy and equates bad news with disagreement and disloyalty.

Little wonder that Republican minority token Condi Rice was dispatched to Princeton last week to inform the university that democracy comes out of the barrel of a gun. US military force, said the secretary of state with a straight face, is required to force democracy down the throats of the Muslims in order to save future American generations from "insecurity and fear."

Condi obviously doesn't want Bush to put her in the "against us" camp. She told Princeton that she agreed with Bush "that the root cause of September 11 was the violent expression of a global extremist ideology, an ideology rooted in the oppression and despair of the modern Middle East."

Every American should be scared to death that a secretary of state can make such an ignorant and propagandistic statement.

Many Middle Eastern countries are ruled by puppets on the American payroll. Even the Saudis are under American protection. If there is oppression in the Middle East, it is because US puppets and protectorates are doing what the US government wants, not what the people they rule want.

The Middle East is in despair because almost a century after the First World War freed Arabs from Turkish occupation, they still cannot get free of US and British occupation. The reasons Osama bin Laden has a cause among Muslims are US military bases in the Middle East and the genocide that Israel practices toward Palestine by stealing the West Bank and herding Palestinians into ghettos.

What kind of fool believes that the way to bring democracy to a country is to invade, destroy cities and infrastructure, and kill and maim tens of thousands of civilians, while creating every possible animosity by aligning with some members of the society against the others?

Condi Rice's speech at Princeton has branded her as the greatest fool ever to be appointed Secretary of State. The same day that she declared, Mao-like, that democracy comes out of the barrel of a gun, Lt. Gen. William Odom, Director of the National Security Agency during President Reagan's second term, a scholar with a distinguished career in military intelligence, declared Bush's invasion of Iraq to be the "greatest strategic disaster in United States history."

No one can impugn Gen. Odom's patriotism. When I wrote on April 1, 2003, that "the U.S. invasion of Iraq is a strategic blunder," the hate mail poured in from bloody-minded Bush supporters, who assured me that the war would be over in one week. Only a liberal pinko Bush-hating commie could fail to see that the war was won, they jeered.

Two and one-half years later with rising casualties and instability, no one can dispute Gen. Odom. As all news reports make clear, there is no trained Iraqi army. Consequently, says the US commander in Iraq, the hopes that some US troops could be withdrawn next spring is forlorn.

The Democratic Party is no help. Its warmongers are pushing legislation to increase the available US troops by 80,000 in order that the US can keep the war going in Iraq.

These troops, too, will perish in the interminable conflict.

Meanwhile the US, which cannot occupy Baghdad or control the road to the airport, is making more threats against Syria. The Bush administration is blaming Syria and Iran for its failure in Iraq. "Our patience is running out," declared US ambassador to Iraq Zaimay Khalilzad.

The Israelis have told their US puppet that if the US doesn't use force to destroy Iran's nuclear energy programs, then Israel will undertake to bomb Iran. This despite the announcement by the director of the International Atomic Energy Agency that two years of unfettered access to Irans nuclear programs has failed to turn up any sign of a weapons program.

When will Americans notice that the threats flow from the US to the Middle East? No Middle Eastern government has made any threat against the US or initiated any hostile action. In contrast, the US has invaded two Middle Eastern countries and is threatening to attack two more.

Terrorism is not an activity of Muslim states. Osama bin Laden is a Saudi who dares not return to his homeland.

Most Muslim states are too impotent to stamp out independent terrorists and too fearful that terrorist networks will be organized against them. Ignorant US officials equate weakness with intention and demonize Middle Eastern governments, including our own puppets and protectorates, as "state sponsors of terrorism." Isn't it ironic? The US damns vulnerable Middle Eastern rulers for not stamping out terrorism when all the troops and violence the US can muster cannot stamp out terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The implication of a recent CIA report is that the US itself is a state sponsor of terrorism. According to the CIA, the US invasion of Iraq has created a terrorist training ground for al Qaeda where no previous terrorists existed. The US is creating more terrorists in Iraq than the rest of the Middle East together. Why is President Bush spending $300 billion running a terrorist training ground in Iraq?

Why does Condi Rice think that democracy would wipe away the hatreds that the US and Israel have created in the Middle East? How does she know that Middle Eastern democracy would not uphold terrorism against Israel and the US? In the US democracy is upholding an illegal war based on deceit. In Israel democracy is upholding genocidal practices against the Palestinians. Does Condi Rice really believe that democracy, a mere political form, insures that people and their governments never behave wrongly, immorally, or violently?

If America is going to preach democracy, shouldn't it lead by example? According to all the polls, the vast majority of Americans do not agree with Bush and Rice that democracy comes out of the barrel of an American gun. They do not support Bush's goal of using American blood and treasure to force democracy on the Middle East or anywhere else. The majority of Americans want the war over and the troops home. Why do Bush and Condi Rice oppose the will of the majority? Why don't these two who preach democracy practice it?

The Bush administration is the administration of deceit and hypocrisy. It is the antithesis of democracy. All democracy rests on persuasion, which implies disagreement. Yet, Bush and Condi regard dissent as disloyalty. They glorify coercion.

They believe in their will alone. Where have we seen that before?

Source: LewRockwell.com.

Submitted by: Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas

Published at: http://demlog.blogspot.com


Barhorst saith: Pro-life to the limit (satire)

A male gamete is obviously alive. Anyone can look through a microscope and watch it wriggling its splendidly motive tail and moving about with obviously intelligent need. However, unless provided the necessary environment, that life will be cruelly ended.

The responsibility of being Pro-Life is an absolute. To kill a gamete by trapping it in the testicle is murder. To artificially remove the male gamete from the testicles is murder.

Therefore, a properly receptive environment and the chance for full development and life of the male gamete must be the goal of all right thinking and moral Pro-Life proponents.

To move toward our Pro-Life goal the male gamete must have a female gamete available. If this is not done voluntarily by females, there must be Pro-Life laws passed to furnish the proper environment, non-voluntarily, but righteously beneath the Pro-Life laws, at the age or moment of menarche. Female gametes, though not motile to the eye, are obviously alive in their receptiveness to a male gamete. Therefore, to let them be expelled without exposure to the male gametes is double murder and aberrant in the eyes of God.

At menarche a woman must be registered and make herself available to male gametes. If pregnancy is not achieved on first match of vessel channel to delivery system the female shall not be found guilty of murder, but must immediately make her vessel channel available to other male gametes.

Because male gametes are not of the paucity of female gametes, while females are a majority in our Pro-Life culture, males may and must move their delivery system from female to female with consistency and vigor. God would not have created the life within them and its terrible responsibility if He did not wish such a relationship between males and females.

Therefore, either male or female that seeks to do murder by abstinence, must be detained by proper authorities. Male or female, such sinners shall be tried on the charge of attempted murder and made pariah unless they publicly and physically demonstrate the recanting of their apostasy before the community.

This saying of truth shall be printed as a leaflet and distributed to all males at age 13 for use as a tool of Pro-Life movement.

Satire by Terry D. Barhorst Sr.
Austin, Tx
Moderator: Lone_Star_Democrats

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Slate-Papers: Defense of Secretary - Oct. 5

By Jay Dixit - Posted Wednesday at 4:10 AM CT

The New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal all lead with Bush, below right, defending his choice of Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court. The Los Angeles Times leads with the news that regulators from several states are considering plans to make disaster insurance mandatory.

Bush, right, with MiersAs everyone reports, Bush took fire from both sides, with the right complaining the Miers is not conservative enough, and the left complaining that she's an unqualified crony. Responding to skepticism about her conservative bona fides, Bush said, "I know her heart." Responding to questions about cronyism, Bush insisted that out of all the people in the country, Miers is "the most qualified."

Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan. was among many who compared Miers to David Souter, the George Bush Sr. justice who surprised his Republican supporters with how liberal he was. Brownback and others are concerned because Miers used to be a Democrat. The WP gave Bush Jr. the opportunity to address the comparison, asking him whether he thought Souter's nomination was a mistake. "You're trying to get me in trouble with my father," joked Bush. "Call him." (The WP evidently obeyed the executive order, since the article goes on to deadpan, "The former president's office had no comment.") Bush did address the Souter question more seriously, saying that Miers' conservative philosophy would remain unchanged 20 years from now.

Since the paper trail on Miers is so thin, operatives on both sides have been frantically sifting through public records trying to get a sense of her views. In one statement, Miers said that gays should have the same rights as everyone else, but stopped short of advocating the repealing of a Texas anti-sodomy law. Gay rights groups were pleased and said they will consider supporting her; conservatives were worried.

Bush said he hadn't talked to Miers about abortion, repeating that there was no litmus test, but adding that he is a "pro-life president." The WSJ, however, quotes a pro-choice activist who says that when Bush says Miers will "strictly interpret the constitution," it's a "code" that means she would find that abortion isn't constitutionally protected.

Democrats asked the White House to turn over documents from Miers' tenure there, but Bush indicated that he will refuse, citing executive privilege.

USAT polls Americans and finds that they are less impressed with Miers than they were with John Roberts.

The LAT reports that some regulators are arguing that Katrina and Rita revealed that the nation's insurance system can't handle major events such as hurricanes, earthquakes, storms, and terrorist attacks. The regulators are now drafting plans for a national catastrophe insurance program, which, if passed by Congress, could make disaster insurance mandatory for homeowners the way liability insurance is for drivers. In the new system, premiums would vary according to risk areas (Gulf Coasters would pay more than, say, Idahoans), and the federal government would guarantee the program.

The NYT fronts the fact that most Hurricane Katrina victims remain anonymous, with no accounting of their age, sex, or race. Critics say the failure to put a human face on the tragedy is evidence of a racist disregard for poor, African-American victims. State officials respond by saying that compiling victim data is simply not a priority at a time when agencies are still in disaster mode.

The NYT and WP both front pieces about Miers' journey of faith. The NYT reports that when Miers was a partner in a Dallas law firm, she felt a void in her life. After long conversations with colleague and on-and-off boyfriend Nathan Hecht (who according to Wonkette also dated Bush's 5th Circuit nominee Priscilla Owen, below left), she decided to accept Jesus as her savior and be born again. She was baptized soon afterward. Around the same time, she became a Republican.

Bizarre Love Triangle-1The WP reports that Miers' conversion was partly sparked by a speech by a surgeon. Afterwards, she told Hecht, "I'm convinced that life begins at conception." Hecht, now a [former] Texas Supreme Court justice, told the NYT that Miers is still pro-life, but added, "You can be just as pro-life as the day is long and can decide the Constitution requires Roe." [This curious statement supports what I've been saying for 13 years, that the Republicans' so-called "pro-life" claims do not include overruling Roe or outlawing abortion, and do not justify their labeling Democrats as "pro-abortion." Nobody is "pro-abortion." The issue is whether we honestly admit that reproductive decisions are a private matter that no one including the government has the right to dictate to another person. The Republicans are still on record as trying to pass laws to restrict abortion, which don't work, and the Democrats are working to pass policies like their 95-10 Initiative that would voluntarily reduce the numbers of abortions, without restricting a woman's choice. So who's really "pro-life" here?]

The NYT fronts word that the U.N. isn't happy about the newly adopted rules for Iraq's upcoming referendum, which it will be supervising. The changes make it nearly impossible for the new constitution to fail. The U.N. warned that the rules violate international standards and could undermine the credibility of the vote.

USAT reports that FEMA is still aiming to make the October 15 deadline for getting Katrina evacuees out of shelters or offer them temporary housing. At one point, shelters housed more than 250,000 people. Efforts to move evacuees to cruise ships, trailer homes, and apartments have mostly failed.

In related news, the WP reports that the program to temporarily house Katrina refugees in hotels, also originally slated to end October 15, has been extended indefinitely. That program, a joint effort by the Red Cross and the federal government, is costing taxpayers $8.3 million a day.

Whose lion is it anyway? The LAT reports that Disney is hoping the nation's faithful will embrace the upcoming The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, turning it into a Passion of the Christ-style blockbuster. Many see the central character, Aslan the lion, as a Christ figure, but others say the book is pure myth, not allegory. Disney is ducking the issue, preferring to adopt "the Switzerland approach." Either way, everyone seems to be banking on a hit: HarperCollins is publishing more than 140 editions of Narnia, and McDonald's, General Mills, Virgin Atlantic, Oral-B, and Kodak will all have Narnia-themed holiday festivities.

Jay Dixit is a writer in New York. He has written for the New York Times and Rolling Stone. Source: Slate Magazine.

Submitted by Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas

Other recent DemLog articles:

  • AFP: Bush predicts troops for flu quarantine - Oct. 4
  • TDW: Wallace passes donkey to Vedro - Oct. 4
  • NYT: Weakened Bush retreats to cronyism, not ideology, on Miers nomination
  • Haigler: Right wing in revolt against Miers nomination - Oct. 4

  • If those links don't work, try http://demlog.blogspot.com.

    Tuesday, October 04, 2005


    AFP: Bush predicts troops for flu quarantine - Oct. 4

    Washington (AFP) - As fears rise that avian flu could mutate into a virus passed between humans and kill millions of people in a pandemic, President Bush, below left, for the first time raised the prospect of using troops to quarantine affected areas if the humans became infected in the United States.


    "I'm not predicting an outbreak. I'm just suggesting to you that we better be thinking about it and we are. Who best to be able to effect a quarantine? One option is the use of a military that's able to plan and move."

    Bush also defended his choice of White House counsel and close personal friend Harriet Miers to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

    While top Democrats have given a cautious welcome to the choice, some critics have said she lacks necessary experience, as she has never served as a judge.

    The pick has fractured Bush's conservative political base, and some supporters have admitted they are depressed the president did not nominate a more vocal conservative after he promised in the 2000 and 2004 elections to do so.

    "I picked the best person I could find," he said, repeating the formulation designed to appeal to conservatives that Miers would faithfully apply the US Constitution on highly divisive issues such as abortion and not "legislate" from the bench.

    "This woman deserves to be on the bench ... people know we're close. You've got to understand, because our closeness, I know the character of the person."

    Bush declined to discuss a politically sensitive probe thought to be drawing to a close into whether senior members of the White House staff were involved in outing CIA spy Valerie Plame, after her husband criticised his rationale for going to war against Saddam Hussein.

    He also dodged questions over whether he would dismiss any aides indicted under the probe, days after New York Times reporter Judith Miller was freed from jail after dropping her refusal to testify in the case.

    Full AFP-Yahoo News story on Bush's press conference today.


    Barhorst: The Pennsylvania "Monkey Trial"

    Somebody want to volunteer to intellectually connect the text below to the Right Wing Christian version of creation. They seem to have thrown over the side the mystical of the original Jewish tradition and Torah.

    It’s all in the interpretation, folks. The Right Wing Protestant Christians don’t really want the creation in the ancient Hebrew actuality; they want it in the tent revival tradition. The Roman Catholics have the good sense and honor enough to teach their version in their own schools and aren’t trying to force it on parents and children in the public schools and not of their belief system.

    The following is a quote from the textbook “World Religions” ISBN 0-87196-129-6

    “The origins of Jewish mysticism may be seen in those areas of biblical literature which lend themselves in particular to imaginative elaboration, and which, from early rabbinic times, were accorded a special place in the study of Torah, namely the first chapter of Genesis and the first chapter of Ezekiel - the creation and the chariot. The mystery of creation, which is founded basically on the problem of how a transcendent incorporeal God can create a temporal physical world, gradually resolved itself into the construction of a system of divine emanation, much influenced by Neo-Platonic ideas, by which the world emerges through successive stages, each one further removed from the godhead. These stages or spheres (sefirot) were also accorded the status of divine attributes. “

    I guess Pennsylvania “Monkey Trial” is what happens when a mob tries to force the mystical to be accepted as the literal to satisfy their demagogues.

    Leave science to the scientists and mystical to those of religious faith.

    Are you listening in that Pennsylvania court?

    There are well over a thousand religious creation explanations based on faith. Like the Ten Commandments, if you let one into the rotunda of a courthouse or a school classroom, constitutionally you must let all into the rotunda of a courthouse or a school classroom. Things are going to get awfully crowded and very confusing. Especially for the children

    Terry D. Barhorst Sr.
    Austin, TX
    Moderator: Lone_Star_Democrats

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    TDW: Wallace passes donkey to Vedro - Oct. 4

    Abilene - The Big Country Chapter of Texas Democratic Women met last night and elected officers for the coming two years. Anna Vedro, a retired Abilene Independent School District administrator, was elected president, and is shown here receiving the club donkey from outgoing-founding president, Pat Wallace, below right, an Abilene public-relations consultant.

    Wallace, right, turns over donkey to VedroSteve Lawler, a Democratic county commissioner from Jones County, was the scheduled speaker, but due to a schedule conflict, Dave Haigler, Taylor County Chair, substituted, speaking on candidate filings. Haigler said two Democratic candidates for State Representative, District 71, have approached him about filing to succeed Dr. Bob Hunter, who is retiring, and two other candidates are being considered.

    New president Vedro announced her views, promotions, philosophy & goals, including monthly projects. The October project is a walk for Breast Cancer Awareness Month being held at Redbud YMCA on Oct. 29 at 9 a.m., to which the Republican Women are also invited.

    Submitted by Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
    Published by: http://demlog.blogspot.com


    NYT: Weakened Bush retreats to cronyism, not ideology, on Miers nomination

    Sen. Frist, center, escorts Miers to the capitol

    WASHINGTON - There is still much to learn about Harriet E. Miers, shown at left visiting the capitol with Sen. Majority Leader Bill Frist, but in naming her to the Supreme Court, President Bush revealed something about himself: that he has no appetite, at a time when he and his party are besieged by problems, for an all-out ideological fight.

    Many of his most passionate supporters on the right had hoped and expected that he would make an unambiguously conservative choice to fulfill their goal of clearly altering the court's balance, even at the cost of a bitter confirmation battle. By instead settling on a loyalist with no experience as a judge and little substantive record on abortion, affirmative action, religion and other socially divisive issues, Mr. Bush shied away from a direct confrontation with liberals and in effect asked his base on the right to trust him on this one.

    What Ms. Miers does bring to the court is a long record of loyalty to Mr. Bush, a trait that some scholars said would be attractive to the White House at a time when the court faces a welter of conflicts, beyond abortion and other social issues, that are of immediate concern to the administration.

    Foremost among them, said William P. Marshall, a former deputy White House counsel in the Clinton administration, are executive power and government secrecy. In both areas, Mr. Bush has sought to establish wide latitude for the executive branch, especially in battling terrorism and religious extremism at home and abroad.

    In this area, Mr. Bush might be better able to count on a loyalist than on an ideologue, said Mr. Marshall, a law professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

    Full NY Times article.


    Haigler: Right wing in revolt against Miers nomination - Oct. 4

    Although three religious-right leaders, Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council and Tim Wildmon of the American Family Miers with Bush, rightAssociation, expressed cautious optimism about the president's nomination of Harriet Miers (shown with President Bush, right) to replace retiring U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, according to a CBS News online report, numerous right-wing sources were in open revolt against the Miers nomination yesterday.

    Michael Savage, below left, a former liberal whose real name is Michael Weiner, said in his nationally syndicated radio show yesterday, "Why pick a non-entity when there were so many known Michael Wiener, aka Michael Savageentities?" Savage-Weiner claimed Miers had donated to and supported for Al Gore for president in 2000, and railed at the Bush nominee as a betrayal of the president's conservative base.

    The American Spectator blog said: "There is now talk of among some conservatives about a filibuster of the Miers nomination. According to several White House sources, few inside the building took the possibility of a Miers nomination seriously. Now that it's a reality, they are stunned. 'We passed up Gonzales for this?' was one conservative staffer's reaction."

    The Public Advocate said: "The President's nomination of Miers is a betrayal of the conservative, pro-family voters whose support put Bush in the White House in both the 2000 and 2004 elections and who were promised Supreme Court appointments in the mold of Thomas and Scalia."

    Southern Appeal said: "I am done with President Bush: Harriet Miers? Are you freakin' kidding me?! Can someone -- anyone -- make the case for Justice Miers on the merits? Seriously, this is the best the president could do?"

    Right Wing News said: "Disaster, Thy Name Is Harriet Miers: George Bush's decision to appoint Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court is bitterly disappointing. Miers is a Bush crony with no real conservative credentials, who leapfrogged legions of more deserving judges just because she was Bush's pal."

    National Review's Corner said: "It's an inspiring testament to the diversity of the president's cronies. Wearing heels is not an impediment to being a presidential crony in this administration! I can only assume that the president felt that his support was slipping in this important bloc, and he had to do something to shore it up."

    Other sources: Common Dreams Newsletter, and ThinkProgress.org.

    Published at http://demlog.blogspot.com

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