by David Batstone, below right - Sojourners Magazine
Tom DeLay and Bill Frist, the two political operatives in Congress with arguably the deepest support among Christian churches, both face serious allegations of financial trickery. Karl Rove, the Bush administration power broker who speaks almost daily with Christian leaders to coordinate political action, is under investigation for divulging classified information, then covering up his misdeed.
The details of each case can be pursued in most major media outlets. In brief, DeLay was indicted by a Texas grand jury of illegally funneling corporate campaign contributions into Texas legislative races. DeLay, who has stepped down at least temporarily from his position as majority leader of the House of Representatives, is also under federal investigation for his questionable relationship with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, on the other hand, has fallen under serious investigation by federal prosecutors and the Securities and Exchange Commission for possible insider trading (what got Martha Stewart in trouble), not to mention legislative conflict of interest.
White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove personally assured President Bush in the fall of 2003 that he had not disclosed to anyone in the press that Valerie Plame, the wife of an administration critic, was a covert CIA employee, according to Associated Press reports. It now appears possible Rove was the source of the leak that destroyed Plame's career and potentially put her life at risk.
I find it more than a bit disturbing that Christians who back Rove, DeLay, and Frist in their political efforts express so little concern about the possibility of corruption at the highest ranks of government. Worse still, many Christians express blind allegiance to these men. Is this what we have come to, when we sell our birthright for a pot of political porridge?
The Jerusalem Post reports DeLay appeared publicly for the first time after his indictment at a Sept. 28 event hosted by "Stand For Israel," an organization of evangelical Christians and Jews who support a Zionist future for Israel. The Post reports that DeLay received a standing ovation, saying, "It's really good to be here among so many old friends and brothers and sisters in the cause for justice and human freedom." Some participants called out, "We love you, Tom," according to the Post.
I grant that the aforementioned misdeeds are only allegations, so a measured response would be appropriate. DeLay, Frist, and Rove should receive due process. I do recall, however, that many Christian leaders and the religious media did not manifest any such restraint during the moral ineptitude of the Clinton era. At the time, we at Sojourners joined others in the religious world to express our concern - for example, go back to a piece written by Jim Wallis in 1998 titled, "Seeking Moral Consistency." At the time, Jim chided liberal religious leaders: "Why have churches and church leaders been so quiet in this crisis of morality? ...Could it be that this too falls out along political lines? Are those church leaders most sympathetic to Clinton's agenda unlikely to offer much comment on the many ethical issues involved here? Are only those opposed to the president's political agenda ready to speak challenging words to the White House? What are our primary colors?"
It would be comforting to observe that same desire for moral consistency in our body politic at the moment. To be frank, I do not expect Focus on the Family, The 700 Club, or any other influential media network of religious conservatives to raise a red flag about political corruption in the Republican Party any time soon. The specter of political power seems too enticing, too close within reach, to be held back by traditional values such as honesty and integrity. Oh, woe to us, that we shall we gain the whole world, yet lose our own soul.
Source: Sojourners Mail.
Submitted by Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
lawfirm webpage: www.haigler.info
published at: http://demlog.blogspot.com
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In October 12 reports, numerous media outlets -- including The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and The Washington Post -- uncritically reported Focus on the Family founder and chairman (left) James C. Dobson's purported defense of his prior refusal to reveal "confidential" information that he claimed to have received from the White House about Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers. In fact, the information that Dobson now claims to have received from White House senior adviser Karl Rove, which he said at the time reassured him about the Miers nomination, had already been widely reported following Miers's nomination, even as Dobson was claiming he couldn't disclose it because it was confidential.
D.H. note: I blogged a short piece on Dobson on July 25, 2005, on his position on the John Roberts nomination, including his threat this past Jan. 2 to oppose any senators in 2006 who did not support all of President Bush's so-called "strict constructionist" judicial nominees.
Yesterday, the right-wing radio screamers, such as Sean Hannity, were proclaiming loudly that Dobson had a "right of privacy" to tell the Senate Judiciary Committee to "shove it" if he were subpoenaed to testify about what Karl Rove told him about Miers.
It appears to me that the "private conversation" Dobson had with Rove was never confidential, just that Dobson maybe thought it was at the time. I think it is ironic, though, that Dobson and his supporters are claiming a "right of privacy" here, but if their hoped-for reversal of Roe v. Wade were to happen, the right of privacy that Roe was decided upon would be reversed also. Privacy is thus a right only when it's convenient to them.
Tue Oct 11, 12:06 PM ET
PARIS (AFP) - In a hole in a ground there lived some hobbits -- lots of them, apparently.
A tiny hominid whose discovery in a cave on an Indonesian island unleashed one of the fiercest debates in anthropology has suddenly been joined by several other sets of dwarf-sized beings.
The initial find at Liang Bua cave, reported almost exactly a year ago, became known as the Hobbit Hominid, after the pint-sized characters of J.R.R. Tolkien's stories.
Measuring just a metre or so (3.25 feet) high -- thus as tall as a chimpanzee -- and with a skull the size of a grapefruit, the strange creature lived around 18,000 years ago on the remote island of Flores.
The discoverers believed the Hobbit to be the smallest of the 10 species of Homo erectus, the primate that emerged from Africa about 2.5 million years ago and whose ultimate descendant is Homo sapiens, as anatomically modern man is called.
They honoured him with the formal name of Homo floresiensis, "Man of Flores," and in so doing unleashed tribal warfare among anthropologists.
In polite, scholarly tones that masked ruthlessness worthy of soccer hooligans, many of them attacked the notion that the Hobbit could be a separate human species.
After all, it would mean that Homo sapiens, who has been around for 150,000-200,000 years, would have shared the planet with other hominids much more recently than anyone had thought.
It would mean that the Hobbits were still knocking around after key events traditionally considered as proof that Homo sapiens was master of the planet -- the extinction of the Neanderthals, the arrival of modern humans in Australia and the first agriculture, a landmark event that transformed humans from hunter-gatherers into settlers.
To such critics, the one-off find proved nothing -- the skeleton could be that of a dwarf, the result of a genetic flaw in a tribe of Homo erectus or a disease called microcephaly, characterised by an abnormally small brain and head.
Now, though, Liang Bua has yielded more specimens, which adds a mighty weight to H. floresiensis' credentials.
The new fossils consist of the right elbow and two bones of the lower forearm of the first skeleton; the mandible of a second individual; and assorted other remains, including two tibiae, a femur, two radii, an ulna, a scapula, a vertebra and various toe and finger bones.
In all, bits and pieces from at least nine individuals have been found, and dating of the remains suggest some were alive as recently as 12,000 years ago.
All seem to have been the same size as the original Hobbit. In addition, the new bones show that these people, for all their short size, had relatively long arms and, unlike H. sapiens, had no chin.
The finds thus prove that the first Hobbit "is not just an aberrant or pathological individual, but is representative of a long-term population that was present during the interval (of) 95-74,000 to 12,000 years ago," the Australian-Indonesian team say.
But that's not all. Gently extracted from Liang Bua's floor were the remains of a dwarf elephant called a Stegodon, whose bones, marked by flints, showed that the hobbits were good at butchering animals.
There were also scarred bones and clusters of reddened, flame-cracked rocks, proof that the community was skillful at manipulating fire.
In a review of the study, Harvard University expert Daniel Lieberman said the new fossils backed the contention that the Hobbits were a previously undiscovered branch of the human family tree.
Still unclear, though, is where these tiny hominids came from.
One theory is that they evolved from Homo erectus by island dwarfing, a phenomenon that is well known in the animal kingdom.
Under this, a large species that arrives on an island where there is little food becomes progressively smaller in population numbers and in physical size in order to survive.
But this jibes with the discovery that the Hobbits were apparently good hunters and had mastered the means of keeping warm -- in other words, they had used human skills to buffer themselves against the pressures of natural selection.
"The finds from Liang Bua are not only astonishing, but also exciting because of the questions they raise," said Lieberman.
The study, lead-authored by Mike Morwood of the University of New England at Armidale, New South Wales, is published on Thursday in Nature, the British science journal.
In a news item on its website, Nature said Tuesday Indonesia had refused to renew the researchers' access to the cave.
The country's anthropological establishment, which has close ties to the government, bitterly opposes the theory that the Hobbits were a separate species, it quoted them as saying.
"My guess is that we will not work at Liang Bua again, this year or any other year," Morwood reportedly said.Terry's Comment:
I wonder how the religionists are going to rationalize this bit of evolutionay evidence. Of course, they could take the path of the Indonesian government and stop all research, in hopes the knowledge disappears over time.
Terry D. Barhorst Sr.
Moderator: Lone star Democrats
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D.H. note: The following is an email I received this morning from Christy Hoppe of the Dallas Morning News in answer to an inquiry I sent her last week, reprinted below that:
Sorry for the stalled response -- I've been out of town. But I wanted to answer your question: Grand jury proceedings are secret. But this particular grand jury had disbanded. And the foreman did not give me specific testimony or evidence, just his assurances in general terms that they saw paper and heard from people that made him feel confident that probable cause existed for an indictment.
Hope this clarifies the situation a little. Thanks for the note.
The Dallas Morning News
Austin Bureau Chief
I read your piece in the Friday DMN, and have a question:
I thought grand jury proceedings were secret. Is it proper for the foreman to be telling you what happened?
(I don't practice criminal law.)
By HOPE YEN, Associated Press Writer, 7:17 PM ET
WASHINGTON - As doubts grow about her abortion views, Harriet Miers, left, will face vigorous questioning on privacy rights and her qualifications for the Supreme Court, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said Sunday.
Sen. Arlen Specter (news, bio, voting record), R-Pa., said President Bush's pick to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor must show she can handle complicated legal issues and has not cut deals with the White House to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Miers' nomination has caused division among conservatives, and a leader of the right said he will not be satisfied until it is clear whether Miers, a longtime Bush confidante who has never been a judge, would overturn the 1973 landmark abortion ruling.
"You can be an evangelical and you can be self-described pro-life. But it doesn't tell us what she will do about a decision like Roe that has been set in stone now for over 30 years. And that's the rub," said Gary Bauer, president of the American Values Coalition.
Specter, noting that a justice has lifetime tenure, said, "If there are back room assurances and if there are back room deals and if there is something which bears upon a precondition as to how a nominee is going to vote, I think that's a matter that ought to be known."
Specter and the committee's top Democrat, Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy (news, bio, voting record), are considering having Focus on the Family founder James Dobson testify at Miers' confirmation hearings. Dobson has said he is confident Miers opposes abortion, based on private assurances from the White House.
Disputing that, Leahy said Miers assured him that she had not made any promises on how she would vote on Roe.
"If assurances were given of how any nominee whether this nominee or anybody else and somebody gives assurances how they're going to vote in an upcoming case, I would vote against that person," said Leahy, who appeared with Specter on ABC's "This Week."
In recent days, many conservatives have expressed outrage that Bush did not choose a nominee with a proven judicial track record and it was risky putting Miers on the court because she was a blank slate on issues such as abortion and the death penalty. Some activists have said she should withdraw her nomination.
Bauer suggested that conservatives will not support Miers unless they have assurances that she would oppose Roe.
"The whole strategy here is the so-called stealth strategy," he said. "And at the end of the day, the only ones who get fooled by it are conservatives."
Commentator Pat Buchanan, a former presidential candidate, contended that Miers' qualifications were "utterly nonexistent." He criticized Bush for passing over a half-dozen conservatives for a nominee who has never ruled on important decisions or expressed interest in constitutional law.
"What we've heard here, is 'Trust, believe.' Why should we take this risk?" Buchanan said on NBC's "Meet the Press."
Defending Miers, Texas Supreme Court Judge Nathan Hecht said Miers was going to overcome the criticism and would not step aside. He said the former corporate lawyer was an abortion opponent, but said that does not mean she would vote to overturn Roe.
"Legal issues and personal issues are just two different things. Judges do it all the time," he told "Fox News Sunday."
Specter cautioned against a rush to judgment on Miers, saying she's faced "one of the toughest lynch mobs ever." But Miers will need to be able to justify to senators whether she is qualified in order to be confirmed, he said.
"When you deal in constitutional law, you're dealing in some very esoteric, complicated subjects that require a great deal of background," Specter said. "The jurisprudence is very complicated, and I will be pressing her very hard on these issues."
Specter and Leahy said they will strive to hold confirmation hearings as soon as possible, perhaps before Thanksgiving, but their primary concern was to conduct a thorough investigation.
"The standard is to do it right, not to do it fast," Specter said.
Hoping to ascertain Miers' views, Senate Democrats are pushing the White House to release reams of documents from the time Miers served under Bush as staff secretary, deputy chief of staff and White House counsel.
But Specter said he did not support such a request, agreeing with the White House that the material is covered by executive privilege.
"If somebody is going to function as White House counsel to the president of the United States, that person is going to have to be free to give advice without worrying that someday that advice is going to be scrutinized by some Senate committee," he said.
Submitted by Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
lawfirm webpage: www.haigler.info
published at: http://demlog.blogspot.com
I, for one, really believe that indictments will be handed down, and they will Make a Big Splash.
Did Fitzgerald strike some sort of deal with Judith Miller?” What was said between Miller and Libby in June, not July 2003? Miller is part of the dirty Washington secrets and there are some really imaginative theories out there. Mark Kleinman digs in today.
“Just back from the LA Blogger Bash, where Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake patiently explained to me her theory, and that of emptywheel of The Next Hurrah, of how it came to pass that Judith Miller suddenly discovered some notes about her meetings with "Scooter" Libby, Dick Cheney's chief of staff, after her grand jury testimony.”
[Read the Links, then the summary from Kleinman below.]
1. The revelation of Plame's identity to Cooper and Novak (among others) was part of an attack on Joseph Wilson's credibility that started before, and not after, his NYT op-ed of July 6, 2003. Wilson had already been the unnamed source of press reports casting doubt on the uranium-from-Niger story, and the White House Iraq Group was out to get him, for self-protection and retaliation.
2. Miller planned to write a story about Wilson, prompted by Libby and members of the W.H.I.G.; those plans were pre-empted by his op-ed. (Or perhaps when he learned that his role as a source for Kristof was going to be revealed anyway, he decided to tell the story himself.)
3. Libby had told the grand jury about his conversations with Miller in July, but not about conversations in June relating to the story that Miller planned to write but never wrote. Those conversations would have been hard to reconcile with the story Libby and his friends were trying to peddle: that their attacks on Wilson were purely defensive responses to his op-ed.
4. Unbeknownst to Libby and Miller, Fitzgerald had learned of those June conversations, either from Wilson or from someone at the Times.
5. As Fitzgerald expected, Miller in her testimony did not mention the June conversations with Libby. (Libby's letter to Miller contains language that might be read as signaling to her that she should confine her testimony to the July conversations.) Fitzgerald asked her leading questions which, without tipping her off about how much Fitzgerald knew, put her in the position of having to testify falsely in order to avoid mentioning those conversations.
6. Once Miller's testimony was over, Fitzgerald called her lawyer and said, "Why didn't your client mention the June conversations when she was asked about them?" It was that phone call that triggered Miller's sudden discovery of the June notes.
7. Having caught Miller committing perjury, Fitzgerald is now in a position to, in effect, renege on his agreement to ask her only about her conversations with Libby. Under the terms of that agreement, Fitzgerald can't compel her to testify about conversations with other people, but she can of course do so voluntarily. And Fitzgerald can tell her lawyer that if she fails to volunteer, she may be looking at substantially more than 85 days behind bars on charges of perjury, conspiracy to obstruct justice, being an accessory to Libby's violations of the Espionage Act, or being a co-conspirator with him and others in those violations. (This is perfectly acceptable prosecutorial conduct, not even close to any ethical line.)
Instead of a mere percipient witness, Miller is now a potential defendant, and Fitzgerald can try to "flip" her against all of her sources, not just Libby. “
Look here: Miller is a slimy character who passed on Cheney’s lies about WMDs, and the Times published it—flying in the face of all evidence. You just want to spit on Time’s management, don’t you? The White House Iraq Group knew damn well who Wilson was and that he was an independent man. He was rankled over Bush's lies in the State of the Union address and the White House criminals had to know he might react. And Miller, well, she did not take a state-paid vacation for 85 days to protect her source(s) . The Plame leak was a crime and compromised national security, and it was never an issue of the public’s right to know. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals settled that nonsense. This ain’t the Tyco case, and Judith Miller’s public pronouncements were all bogus. She just got a free pass from the corporate media.
In a few weeks.....
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