Saturday, November 12, 2005


AP: Mideast summit balks at Bush agenda - Nov. 12

By ANNE GEARAN, AP Diplomatic Writer - 28 minutes ago

MANAMA, Bahrain - A U.S.-backed summit meant to promote political freedom and economic change in the Middle East ended Saturday without agreement, a blow to President Bush's goals for the troubled region.

A draft declaration on democratic and economic principle was shelved after Egypt insisted on language that would have given Arab governments greater control over which democracy groups receive money from a new fund.

RiceU.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, right, also used the conference to send a message to Syrians chafing under authoritarian rule, saying Washington backs their "aspirations for liberty, democracy and justice under the rule of law."

Bush hosted a coming-out party for the Forum for the Future last year at Sea Island, Ga., and the U.S. is putting up half of the $100 million in a venture capital fund for economic development launched at this year's gathering.

The White House had hoped the conference would showcase political progress in a part of the world long dominated by monarchies and single-party rule, and spread goodwill for the U.S.

American officials seemed startled that an ally, Egypt, threw up a roadblock.

Egypt receives nearly $2 billion annually in U.S. aid, second only to Israel. The country held its first multiparty elections this year, but remains under the firm control of President Hosni Mubarak.

Rice chose Egypt as the site for a widely noted June speech promoting democracy. An earlier visit was postponed in a dispute over the jailing of a democracy activist, who was later released.

The disappointing outcome at the conference followed a rocky summit a week ago in Argentina, when Bush got a cold shoulder from some Latin American leaders, failed to win consensus on a free trading bloc for the Western Hemisphere and endured biting criticism from anti-U.S. protesters and Venezuela's leftist president, Hugo Chavez.

In Bahrain, tense negotiations in private over the language of a final statement could not persuade the Egyptians. Egypt's foreign minister, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, left the session before a closing press conference.

"We didn't withdraw" from the conference, he said later. "What happened is that the meeting took so long, more than it was scheduled."

Bahrain's foreign minister, Sheik Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, told reporters the declaration will come up again, perhaps at a gathering scheduled for Jordan next year.

"We don't want to issue a haphazard decision," Khalifa said. "We decided we will come back to it one day."

Many Middle East nations are wary of Bush's second-term democracy agenda for the region. Some organizations that the administration has tried to engage are reluctant to take money from the U.S.

"It would be a disaster for this region if the region thought democracy is an American idea," British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said at the closing press conference, where the final agreement had been expected to be released.

"America is a great country but democracy was born in Greece, just across the Mediterranean," from the Middle East, Straw said.

As intended, the 36-nation session launched a $100 million venture capital fund to promote economic enterprise. The fund includes $50 million from the United States, with contributions from Egypt, Morocco and Denmark.

The conference also started a $50 million foundation aimed at promoting democracy and political change in the Middle East.

Both initiatives were shepherded by U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Liz Cheney, the vice president's daughter. She accompanied Rice on a Mideast trip to Bahrain, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel and the West Bank.

U.S. officials said the sticking point was a passage in the declaration that pledged "to expand democratic practices, to enlarge participation in political and public life and to foster the roles of civil society," including nongovernmental organizations, and to widen women's political and economic participation.

Egypt wanted the statement to stipulate that those organizations, known as NGOs, be "legally registered" under each country's laws. U.S. officials said the requirement would undermine the purpose of the statement.

Nongovernmental organizations is a term used by the U.S. State Department and others to describe both humanitarian aid organizations such as the Red Cross and lesser-known groups that promote social and political agendas.

Groups covered in the disputed language increasingly are active in Egypt.

Egypt's ruling party secured the most seats in the first stage of parliamentary balloting last week that was seen as a test of Mubarak's pledges of electoral reform. The opposition said there were widespread irregularities at the polls.

Source:  AP-Yahoo News.

Submitted by Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
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DH: RRN disses WaPo misleading article on Dean's progress - Nov. 12

Today's Washington Post headlines "Democrats Losing Race For Funds Under Dean."
Rapid Response Network (click here - http://www.rapidresponsenetwork.org/ - to join) puts that article in perspective, showing that Dean has actually increased Democratic funding about 50% over the prior comparable period, while Republican gains are relatively flat.
Submitted by: Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
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AP: GOP legislators stall agenda, snub Bush - Nov. 12

By DAVID ESPO, AP Special Correspondent 26 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - A year's work hangs in the balance for the Republican-controlled Congress, its conservative agenda sketched confidently last winter: cut taxes, open wildlife refuge in Alaska to oil drilling, and hold down the cost of health, education and nutrition programs that serve millions.

The agenda is the same. But the confidence is shaken by President Bush's sagging poll numbers, an unstable leadership lineup in the House and growing concern about congressional elections less than a year away.

"Where you stand depends on where you sit," says GOP Rep. Rob Simmons. In his case, it's a district in Connecticut that Democrat John Kerry captured handily in the 2004 presidential race.

Simmons, in his third term, also is unhappy with the deficit-cutting bill ardently sought by the conservatives who hold sway in his party.

Snowe, left, with Bush

Across the Capitol, moderate Sen. Olympia Snowe, shown at left with Bush, (R-Me) (news, bio, voting record) balks at extending reduced rates on income from investments, leaving Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee without a majority to advance $64 billion in tax cuts.

"We're in a different economic environment," said the Maine Republican, who so far has no Democratic challenger in her 2006 race. "We've had three back-to-back hurricanes" that have cost billions.

The Finance Committee chairman, Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, said: "If I move one way, I lose a couple votes. If I move another way, I lose a couple votes."

The same predicament applies in the House, where the leadership is short of the votes needed to cut projected deficits by $50 billion or more over the next decade.

The original target was $35 billion. But that was before conservatives intervened this fall with a demand for deeper reductions to offset at some of the billions spent on cleanup and reconstruction from Hurricane Katrina and other storms.

Rep. Tom DeLay, the one-time majority leader, stepped in to champion their cause at the same time he was working to hold his support among the rank and file. The Texan faces an indictment in his home state on campaign finance charges.  DeLay's legal difficulties complicate the pursuit of a GOP agenda in another way.

Some House Republicans favor new leadership elections in January, a year ahead of schedule. Their hope is to end an awkward situation in which the GOP whip, Rep. Roy Blunt, seen below with Speaker Hastert, right,  (news, bio, voting record) of Missouri, also is acting as majority leader while DeLay tries to triumph in court.

Blunt, with Hastert, rightFaced with a moderates' revolt on the deficit-cutting bill, Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., agreed to jettison from that bill the proposal to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. That move netted several votes, but not enough to assure passage.

Moderates are the main holdouts.  "I remain opposed to changes the bill would make to food stamps, Medicaid, student loan programs and payments to help states enforce child support agreements," GOP Rep. Simmons said in a written statement.

There were other problems.  The oil concession offended conservatives who long have advocated oil exploration in the refuge. "Right now, how I vote on final passage is between me and my maker," said Rep. Joe Barton (news, bio, voting record) of Texas, a supporter of the drilling provision.

The overall agenda was conceived nearly a year ago, when Republicans basked in the glow of Bush's re-election and their own increased majorities in the House and Senate.

Now, the president's polling is lower than at any point in his administration, and GOP concern was deepened by off-year elections that included defeat in last Tuesday's Virginia gubernatorial election.

In the Senate, Republicans hold 55 seats but have had a subpar recruiting season to date. Democratic fundraising has been robust.

Santorum, snubbing BushGOP Sen. Rick Santorum, left, (news, bio, voting record) of Pennsylvania, a prominent conservative and member of the leadership, faces a double-digit deficit in most polls. He cited a scheduling conflict Friday for his decision to skip a Veterans Day event in Pennsylvania that featured Bush.

The president made a campaign-style defense of the war in Iraq, replete with mocking references to Kerry and other Democrats who now criticize the administration daily.

Santorum took a different tack. "Mistakes were made" in Iraq, he told reporters. The war has been "less than optimal," he added, and "maybe some blame could be laid" at the White House.

One House Republican was considerably more blunt than Santorum. Asked if he would want Bush to campaign for him in Arizona, Rep. J.D. Hayworth (news, bio, voting record) replied on "Imus in the Morning" show: "In a word, no. Not at this time."  Hayworth has averaged 60 percent of the vote in his past two elections.

On paper, it will be far easier for Hayworth, a conservative from the Sun Belt, to win a new term than it will be for Simmons, a New England moderate.

But first, the leadership remains intent on passing the legislation drafted at the behest of conservatives.

"We haven't done this in 10 years, so the members aren't used to dealing with these mandatory programs," Blunt said of Medicaid, food stamps, student loans and other programs that automatically rise with population changes.

"They're not used to pushing back when the other side suggests that the savings are deep cuts in social programs."

Thursday's decision to put off the vote was a "disappointing deadline" to miss, Blunt said, adding that he expects to gain the necessary support in the next few days.

EDITOR'S NOTE — David Espo is the AP's chief congressional correspondent.

Source:  AP-Yahoo News.

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


Kall: Bush lied to Dems and withheld key information - Nov. 12

by Rob Kall - editor, Op-Ed news, below right

Rob Kallhttp://www.opednews.com

The main talking point for the right wing, lately, has been that the Democrats who voted to give Bush permission to go to war knew the same thing as the president. That's a huge lie and they know it.

The Dems did NOT know what Bush knew, as Bush and his propagandists say. The Bush lie merely continues there.

The Dems who voted to give Bush the power to start a war knew what Bush told them. They knew what was filtered by the administration. That's hugely different than knowing the same thing.

It's such a blatantly simple lie it's hard to understand why each and every time a right wing pundit or spokesman utters the lie the news anchor or moderator doesn't get in his face and confront it.

"You mean the Democrats knew what the Bush administration told them, don't you?"

What the Democrats did not know was that the CIA and others had told the Bush administration that the information they were sharing with the Democrats was unreliable or just plain BAD information.

Maybe the Bush administration lied to the Republican Senators too. Maybe the Republican senators also trusted the Bush administration to be telling the truth. Maybe both the Democrats AND Republicans were deceived by the half truths the Bush administration told.

Now we know that the important information was not the details of the threat of WMDs. The important information was that the threats were unsubstantiated. We know that there was a boiler room in the pentagon, the Office of Special Plans, run by Cheney and Libby, where the threats were amplified and cooked into more than they really were. We know that the deceptions was systematic and intentional.

If the Republicans are not outraged, then they are part of the cover-up. It is time to start the process of impeaching Bush and Cheney. But we should wait, so the final removal of these lying war criminal traitors from office occurs after January, 2007, when the Republicans in the House and Senate have been removed through the election process, so Dennis Hastert is not the next in line to become president.

Rob Kall is editor of OpEdNews.com, President of Futurehealth, Inc, and organizer of several conferences, including StoryCon, the Summit Meeting on the Art, Science and Application of Story and The Winter Brain Meeting on neurofeedback, biofeedback, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology.

Contact AuthorSource:  Op-Ed News.

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Washington Post: Lobbyists plan event for DeLay

Nov. 12, 2005, 10:49AM

WASHINGTON - The capital's most prominent Republican lobbyists are going out of their way Thursday to show their support — financial and personal — for former House majority leader Tom DeLay, R-Sugar Land.

More than five dozen lobbyists are named as members of the host committee for a fund-raising reception in Washington to benefit DeLay's re-election campaign. The event is expected to be the largest fundraiser for a single member of Congress this year.

Host committee members are expected to give the maximum $2,100 personal contribution or to raise $5,000 for DeLay's re-election.

The fundraiser was organized by some of DeLay's staffers-turned-lobbyists after his indictment in September.

Terry's Comment: I find it interesting that corruption is so accepted that lobbiests are already betting that DeLay will be able to run for another term.

Submitted by Terry D. Barhorst Sr.
Moderator: Lone Star Democrats

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PEN: Graham's denial of Habeas Corpus tacked to spending bill - Nov. 12

by People's Email Network
With virtually no advance notice the Republican majority in the Senate (with the shameful complicity of Democrats Conrad, Landrieu, Lieberman, Nelson, and Wyden) approved a last minute amendment to the Defense Authorization Act to deny U.S. courts jurisdiction to examine the legality of detainee detention in Guantanamo and elsewhere.  They did this in defiance of the not yet completely packed Supreme Court (another reason to reject Alito), whose authority they would annul.  
This is all despite the well-known FACT that many scooped up into these hell holes of torture are not terrorists at all, some even having been sold for bounty.  Senator Bingaman immediately responded with a proposed corrective amendment (S.AMDT.2517) to restore jurisdiction.

http://www.millionphonemarch.com/habeas.htm (Restore Habeas Corpus)
Is our government telling us that there is no possible way any of those people can be convicted of a crime, by even an American jury, if they were to have a fair trial?  We also know that our own military attorneys were fired for protesting because the tribunals already established were such miscarriages of justice.  If there is nobody in detention who can be convicted of anything without special kangaroo courts, then the real terrorists have indeed won, for we will then have abdicated all moral authority.  Please contact your senators at once to tell them to support the Bingaman amendment.
Please take action NOW, so we can win all victories that are supposed to be ours, and forward this message to everyone else you know.
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Friday, November 11, 2005


Nation: Edwards says vote for Iraq war a mistake - Nov. 11

Cornbread & Roses, by Bob Moser
John EdwardsJohn Edwards, left, finally utters the words he'd assiduously avoided during the last campaign: "I voted for the [Iraq] resolution," he says. "It was a mistake." So far, so good. But he goes on, "The hard question is, What do you do now? Looking back, it's easy to say that it was wrong and based on false information. Anybody who doesn't admit that isn't honest, and that's the truth." So what now? "I myself feel conflicted about it," Edwards replies. "But we have to find ways--and I don't mean just yanking all the troops tomorrow--but we have to find ways to start bringing our troops home. Our presence there is clearly contributing to the problem." So does he agree with Senator Russ Feingold that Washington should set a withdrawal deadline? "No. Even if we're going to say that internally, that we're gonna have our troops out by X date, there's no reason to announce that to the world. I think that's probably a mistake." He doesn't agree, either, with Senator Clinton's call for more US troops to finish the job? "No sir!" Edwards says, sitting straight up in his chair. "Did she really say that?"
Source:  See Bob Moser's entire article on Sen. Edwards, "Cornbread & Roses, " published in The Nation & Common Dreams.
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Spier: GOP Swamp Draining

If you don’t think that Tom DeLay is done, just look at the GOP congressional meltdown this past week. House leaders failed to get enough support to pass $50 billion in cuts to middle class and safety net programs. Can you imagine the GOP weak sisters ever having enough guts to vote with Democrats? Olympia Snow (R/Maine) blocked a Senate GOP attempt to pass $80 billion tax cuts for the rich. Snow is shrewd. The White House is losing clout.

Meanwhile, Bush was mum. On his limited mind was a speech he would give today blaming Democrats for hindering war efforts.

"While it's perfectly legitimate to criticize my decision or the conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began," the president said.”

No one is rewriting the history of how the war began. Intelligence contrary to administration plans to promote the Iraq incursion was suppressed, and those who questioned the actions of the administration were vilified.

"Some Democrats and anti-war critics are now claiming we manipulated the intelligence and mislead the American people about why we went to war," Bush said.

Who is he talking to here? Polls show that 65% of the people in this country believe he was not honest on this grave matter.

"These baseless attacks send the wrong signal to our troops and to an enemy that is questioning America's will," Bush said.

This man makes me sick to my stomach. But never mind that; GOP leaders, faced as well with unified Democratic opposition, were forced to pull the budget bill off the House floor rather than see it defeated. It’s been four years since anything like this happened.
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Slate-Papers: Congressional Strip Sue - Nov. 11

By Eric Umansky - Posted Friday at 4:08 AM ET

The New York Times leads with--and nobody else fronts--the Senate's vote last night to strip Gitmo detainees of their right to challenge their detention in U.S. courts. Should the amendment become law it would essentially overturn a 2004 Supreme Court ruling that detainees have such access. The Washington Post leads with and NYT fronts House Republican leaders pulling a budget cut bill--which included small hits to Medicaid, student loans, and food stamps--after it became clear they didn't have enough support within the GOP itself. Meanwhile over in the Senate, another revolt of moderate GOPers iced for now what had been plans to extend some of the President Bush's tax cuts. The Los Angeles Times leads with Governor Schwarzenegger taking the blame--at least rhetorically--for the across-the-board failure of the propositions he pushed. "I told my team: You make it happen. I have no patience; we're not going to wait. This is the year we're going to reform the system. And it just didn't work out." Arnie also promised to consult with Democrats a whole lot. USA Today leads, for whatever reason, with what it says is a bidding war between police departments looking for new cops. "There are so many (departments) looking for officers," says an analyst at one police association. "Everything is on the table: bilingual bonuses, housing allowances, you name it."

As Post emphasizes, last night's detainee measure would also give Congress some oversight over the Gitmo tribunals. Fifty Democrats joined 44 Republicans supporting the amendment, which would not only limit detainees access to U.S. courts, but might render moot the Supreme Court's decision earlier this week to consider the legality of the Gitmo tribunals. The bill is considered likely to pass the House as well. But the Senate might pull a take-back: Another amendment, which could be introduced as soon as Monday, would remove the restrictions on detainees' access to courts.

To continue reading, click here.
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NYT: Senate Approves Limiting Rights of U.S. Detainees - Nov. 11


The Senate voted to strip captured "enemy combatants" at Guantánamo Bay of the ability to challenge their detentions in U.S. courts.
Full NY Times story.
Submitted by Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
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Thursday, November 10, 2005


Barhorst: Foreign Interrogation Centers

The Republicans are worried about the leak that outed the CIA’s interrogation centers in foreign countries. I’m worrying about a pattern that began in World War Two when the Nazi Gestapo set up interrogation centers in foreign countries to handle insurgents captured in occupied countries. The United States should not have gone down that path, even if there are no equivalent torture atrocities or murders.

Now some will quibble about my use of the word insurgent rather than resistance fighters. However, to hold water, any occupying power must claim the government they set up in a conquered and occupied country is legitimate. This historical reality allows me to use the word "insurgent" just as it is defined.

To my knowledge, the Native Iraqis never took part in a terrorist attack anywhere in the world except their own country. . . Neither did the French Maquis captured in Vichy who were sometimes transported to Poland, Hungary, and Romania to be interrogated.

The Bush administration has taken the country too far down a historically-condemned road. They appear to have the delusion that being of the fanatical Right makes all their aims and actions right.

Terry D. Barhorst Sr.

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Slate-Papers: Amman Attacks - Nov. 10

By Eric Umansky - Posted Thursday at 5:08 AM ET

The Los Angeles Times, New York Times, and Washington Post all lead with the coordinated attacks on Western hotels in Amman, Jordan; about 65 people were killed and about 150 wounded. (CNN has the latest figures.) USA Today fronts the bombings but leads with oil execs getting hauled in for congressional hearings about the industry's recent fat profits. "Most consumers find [fuel prices] terribly unfair," said Sen. Byron Dorgan, below right. "Talk is cheap." Indeed it is. The NYT notes, "Industry analysts expect little further action from Congress." 

Sen. DorganMost of the Amman casualties apparently happened at a wedding party at the Radisson that was attended by "Jordanian notables." A Park Hyatt and Days Inn were also hit. The papers most quote Jordanian officials saying two of the attacks were carried out by suicide bombers. Of course, early details are often wrong, and the Post notes that "police at the scene said a rigged device had been planted in at least one of the hotels."

No group has claimed responsibility but the focus is understandably on Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, below left. He grew up in Jordan and has a long history of going after the Hashemite kingdom. In fact, he's alleged to have targeted Amman hotels, including the Radisson, back on New Year's Eve 1999 in a plot that was foiled. (TP also once profiled Zarqawi's rise—and the U.S.'s response.)

Zarqawi"Abu Musab wants to widen the conflict" outside of Iraq, one Jordanian official told the Wall Street Journal. "He wants to re-establish his presence in Jordan. He wants to raise morale."

The "morale" reference is particularly intriguing given two other trends. According to a recent Pew poll—that TP doesn't see cited in the papers—60 percent of Jordanians have "confidence in Osama Bin Laden." A slight majority also support "violence against civilian targets." Unlike in other Muslim countries, those numbers have actually risen in the past few years.

Meanwhile, Knight Ridder says infighting is increasing in Iraq between Zarqawi jihadists and local Sunni insurgents. There was a gunfight between insurgent groups in Ramadi recently. "What we have now is a very severe split," said one resident. "Open warfare isn't far behind." It's worth knowing that the story was filed from Ramadi. And the military seemed to know nothing about the infighting.

About a dozen Iraqis were killed in bombings, and, as the NYT emphasizes, the military acknowledged it inadvertently killed some civilians during its recent offensive in western Iraq.

The NYT says on Page One that the U.S. and European allies agreed on a last, best offer to Iran: Iran would be allowed to have some nuclear development, but any enrichment would have to happen in Russia. If Iran balks, as expected, then sanctions could be on the table.

The Journal goes high with a poll that has no good news for President Bush. He clocks in at a 38 percent approval rating, with just 33 percent considering him "honest and straightforward."

Everybody mentions that House Republican leaders, under pressure from members of their own party, agreed to drop a final push for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

The WP off-leads a study concluding that tests can pick up Down Syndrome much earlier in pregnancies than previously thought, often just 11 weeks after conception. 

MillerEverybody mentions that Times reporter Judith Miller, right, as her former boss so artfully put it, "retired" from the paper yesterday. As part of the good-bye and good-riddance deal, the NYT runs a "letter to the editor" by Miller. And if you're wondering about the definition of "retire," the NYT says a spokeswoman for the paper explained "it had been made clear to Ms. Miller that she would not be able to continue as a reporter of any kind" at the Times. [DemLog blogged this severance yesterday.]

After no doubt sifting through hours and hours of research, the NYT's David Brooks fingers what's fueling the riots in France: gansta rap.

One of the striking things about the scenes from France is how thoroughly the rioters have assimilated hip-hop and rap culture. It's not only that they use the same hand gestures as American rappers, wear the same clothes and necklaces, play the same video games, and sit with the same sorts of car stereos at full blast. It's that they seem to have adopted the same poses of exaggerated manhood, the same attitudes about women, money and the police. They seem to have replicated the same sort of gang culture, the same romantic visions of gunslinging drug dealers.

Among those immersed in rap culture who Brooks might want to chat up, Disiz. A big French rapper, he's from the projects and got all gangsta the other day, telling a newspaper, "I would like to say to these young people to stop the violence, stop the burning of cars, schools—it is us this hurts."

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

Note from D.H.:  Becky & are leaving for Houston this morning, and may not get to blog anything for a few days.

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

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


LAT: The Won't-Be-Bullied Pulpit - Nov. 9

Rev. RegasBy Rev. George F. Regas, left, L.A. Times

I can't tell you how surprised and shocked I was -- and how disappointed -- when All Saints Church was informed that the sermon I preached on Oct. 31, 2004, might have constituted an impermissible intervention into a political campaign under the Internal Revenue Code.

I gave the sermon on the Sunday before the presidential election. It was called, "If Jesus Debated Sen. Kerry and President Bush." In it, I took great care to say that I did not want to tell people how to vote, but that I was challenging them to go into the voting booth on Tuesday taking with them all that they knew about Jesus, the peacemaker. To take all that Jesus meant to them and then vote their deepest values.

No one from the IRS attended my sermon, to my knowledge. The agency apparently saw an article about it in The Times the following day. The Times described it as "an indictment of the Bush administration's policies on Iraq" and noted that I had criticized the drive to develop more nuclear weapons and described tax cuts that benefited the rich as "inimical to the values of Jesus." Based on that, the IRS made a subjective determination that the sermon implicitly opposed one candidate and endorsed another.

During my 28 years as rector of All Saints Church, I often preached sermons that touched upon what some would characterize as "political" issues. So many of the political issues that we confront today coincide with deeply held, core religious beliefs: issues relating to marriage, family, community and yes, even war and foreign policy.

It seems to me that fundamentally moral issues, such as peace and the alleviation of poverty, are indisputably the province of church pulpits, regardless of which politicians are debating that week or where a Sunday happens to fall in an election cycle. My successor, Ed Bacon, has continued this tradition of proclaiming a theologically based commitment to alleviating poverty and promoting peace and social justice.

An IRS audit will not diminish the prophetic ministry of All Saints Church. Peace and the alleviation of poverty are core values of the congregation. If we were to allow the IRS to silence us, we would lose our integrity and the very soul of our ministry. That will not happen.

Full L.A. Times article.

Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
lawfirm webpage: www.haigler.info

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HuffPo: Bush, below right, Is A Political Toxin For Republicans...

Bush a liability to Republican candidatesDemocrat Corzine Wins New Jersey... Democrat Kaine Wins Virginia... Democrat Kilpatrick Wins Detroit... Democrat Mallory Wins Cincinnati... Democrat Frank Jackson Wins Cleveland... Democrat R.T. Rybak Wins Minneapolis... Democrat Chris Coleman Wins St. Paul... All Eight Intelligent Design Proponents On Dover, Pa. School Board Swept Out Of Office... Huff Po's Bob Scheer: The Negative Message Of The Republican Right Has Lost Its Power To Terrorize Voters... Huff Po's Mark Green: "If Democratic Values Were A Stock, Now Would Be The Time To Buy"...

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.

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AP: Miller gets severance from NYT - Nov. 9

By DAVID B. CARUSO, Associated Press Writer - 14 minutes ago

New York Times reporter Judith Miller speaks during the 2005 SPJ Convention & National Journalism Conference in Las Vegas Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2005. Miller, who was first lionized, then vilified by her own newspaper for her role in the CIA leak case, has retired from the Times, the paper announced Wednesday Nov. 9, 2005. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)NEW YORK - Judith Miller, left, the New York Times reporter who was first lionized, then vilified by her own newspaper for her role in the CIA leak case, has retired from the Times, the paper announced Wednesday.

Miller, 57, joined the Times in 1977 and was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2002 for reporting on global terrorism. She said in a letter to readers that she left because she had "become the news." She had been negotiating a severance deal with the paper for several weeks.

"We are grateful to Judy for her significant personal sacrifice to defend an important journalistic principle," Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. said in a statement. "I respect her decision to retire from The Times and wish her well."

The Times declined to disclose details of the severance package, but said the paper had agreed to print a letter from Miller in which she defended herself and explained her reasons for leaving.

She said she could no longer function as a reporter at the paper, given her unwanted status as a news figure.

Full AP-Yahoo News story.

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AP: Dean, Richardson hold D.C. news conference on election wins - Nov. 9

Chairman Dean, left, and Gov. Richardson
Democratic Governors Association Chairman, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, right, accompanied by Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, gestures during a Washington news conference Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2005 to discuss Tuesday's elections.
(AP Photo/Caleb Jones)
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Barhorst: The Kansas School Board Votes Intelligent Design Into The Science Curriculum (Satire)

Fourknuckle Head

I have been given to understand that the state of Kansas is going to recognize the work of a citizen of the planet glib in their schools. Young Fourknuckle Head could never have imagined when he did his senior high school scientific project on intelligent design, that he would be honored by those enfolded and developed within his intelligent design.

Being a perfect person from a perfect planet in a perfect planetary system he naturally sought perfection in his intelligent design. His enfoldees were to develop into perfect, peaceful, and highly logical creations. Sadly his intelligent design only received a barely passing grade and Fourknuckle sought solace with his doggerel Toto until the word of his recognition by Kansas came through the dream pipe.

Fourknuckle had thought he might travel to Kansas to receive the honor at each and every place of its mentioning. However, his low grade was partly due to a technical error in his intelligent design.

His enfoldees are not edible because of excess sourness and a propensity to shout “hallelujah” at the wrong times.

Terry D. Barhorst Sr.


Slate-Papers: Donkeys kicking - Nov. 9

By Eric Umansky - Posted Wednesday at 4:14 AM ET

Everybody leads with yesterday's elections. The Washington Post headlines the governor's race in Virginia, where Democratic Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine, below left, beat Republican Jerry Kilgore, who Kainehad been supported by President Bush. The Los Angeles Times leads with what seems to be the rejection of all four of Gov. Schwarzenegger's state propositions, including one that proposed creating a non-partisan redistricting process. The New York Times leads with Republican Mayor Bloomberg whupping his Democratic opponent by 20 points. USA Today ponders the Dems' wins in Virginia and in New Jersey, where Sen. John Corzine, below right, won the governor's race.

CorzineThe president took Virginia by nine points last year, and his popularity there is now down in the forties. The Republican candidate for governor actually kept his distance from Bush until the last few days of the campaign. Meanwhile, the Democrat, Kaine, road the coattails of super-popular outgoing governor--and likely presidential candidate--Mark Warner.

The election result "means the people were willing to accept Mark Warner's recommendation and not willing to accept George Bush's recommendation," said one prof, who gets paid big bucks for sharp conclusions like that. Just about everybody ponders Virginia as a harbinger--except Knight Ridder, which plays up the state's tendency to be out of synch, party-wise, with the White House. "Virginia's never been a trend-setter," said one pollster. "It's never said anything about the nation."

A NYT piece says a CIA inspector general's report last year warned that some agency-approved interrogation techniques were "cruel, inhuman or degrading" and, contrary to the administration's position, might be considered illegal. The Times wasn't able to get details on the methods in question, except that they apparently include torture-lite techniques such as waterboarding.

Citing "government officials," the NYT reefers word that the CIA has formally notified the Justice Department that classified info was released by the Post's recent investigation into the CIA's secret prisons. That's the first step in a possible criminal inquiry and the same thing the CIA did after Valerie Plame's identity was published. But the WP isn't impressed, saying the CIA--whatdaya know--makes about "three to four" such referrals "per week."

The Post's prison follow-up focuses on Republican congressional leaders calling for a joint House-Senate investigation into the possible leak of classified information. What the Post Sen. Lottdoesn't mention--and the LAT does: Republican Sen. Trent Lott, left, said a fellow Republican senator was responsible for the "leaks." He explained that the White House briefed Republicans about the prisons just last week. "Information that was said in there, given out in there, did get into the newspaper," Lott said.

What TP doesn't see the papers pick up: Yesterday the Senate rejected an amendment for an independent commission on U.S. detention policies and practices. With the exception of one Democratic senator, the vote went down along party lines.

Judge AlitoThe WP off-leads Judge Alito, right, apparently telling pro-choice senators he would be reluctant to overturn long-standing precedents such as, oh say, Roe v. Wade. Though the case wasn't specifically mentioned, said Sen. Joseph Lieberman, Alito "basically said Roe was precedent on which people--a lot of people--relied, and been precedent now for decades and therefore deserved great respect," (Shouldn't someone ask Alito about that logic and once long-standing precedents such as Dred Scott or Plessey v. Ferguson?)

Brownback, left, with Judge AlitoThe NYT is less impressed with Alito's expression of deference. The Times notes that Alito also met with staunch anti-abortion Sen. Brownback, left, meeting with Judge Alito, who came out saying, "This is the type of nominee I've been asking for."

Of course all of this sheds little light on how Alito will vote and plenty of light on how the Senate is now leaning. Even Sen. Biden suggested a filibuster isn't in the cards. "My instinct is we should commit" to a floor vote, said the senator.

The LAT fronts the ambush of two defense lawyers for co-defendants in Saddam Hussein's trial; one was killed and the other seriously wounded. [This story blogged by DemLog yesterday.] Another defense lawyer was killed last month. The NYT's John Burns says the "tribunal is trapped in a crisis." The (surviving) defense lawyers have been boycotting the trials since last month. "We think that it's impossible to hold a trial in Baghdad in these security conditions, and that the court should be transferred to a location outside Iraq," said one.

So, why isn't the trial being held outside the country? Burns says it's a question of pride and PR: U.S. and Iraqi officials "have said holding the trial in Iraq is a test of Iraq's sovereignty and of progress."

There was rioting in about 200 French towns last night, though it seemed to be slowing down a bit. The Christian Science Monitor attributes some of the apparent quieting to citizen patrols.

The Wall Street Journal looks at how tight French worker protections "tend to deter companies from hiring--especially workers with lower education or from minority backgrounds." Yesterday, TP wondered about data on racism in French hiring practices. Today's WSJ has this: "A recent study by a scholar at the Sorbonne, Jean-François Amadieu, found that a job applicant with a French-sounding name was more than five times more likely to be invited to a job interview than an applicant with the same qualifications but with a North African-sounding name." (Of course, similar studies been done in the U.S., though with less dramatic results.)

USAT looks at how a corrupt defense firm's bogus contracts were particularly difficult to ferret out since they were awarded--courtesy of some congressmen--as part of the Pentagon's classified budget. Turns out, legislators frequently stuff pork into the "black" budget, which has increased nearly 50 percent since 9/11. "We would hide all sorts of things in there," said one former senate aide. "In theory, any member of Congress could find out about it, but in reality no one ever came in and checked."

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

Submitted by Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
lawfirm webpage:

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

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


AP: Republicans upset over leak of secret prisons

By KATHERINE SHRADER, Associated Press Writer 6 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - The CIA took the first step toward a criminal investigation of a leak of possibly classified information on secret prisons to The Washington Post, a U.S. official said Tuesday.

The agency's general counsel sent a report to the Justice Department about the Post story, which reported the existence of secret U.S. detention centers for suspected terrorists in Eastern Europe.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the issue deals with classified information, said the referral was made shortly after the Nov. 2 story. The leak investigation into the disclosure of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame's identity came about through the same referral procedure. The Justice Department will decide whether to initiate a criminal investigation.

Post spokesman Eric Grant said the newspaper had no comment.

Leaders of the US Republican party Bill Frist(L), the Senate Majority leader, and House Speaker Dennis Haster. On Capitol Hill, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and House Speaker Dennis Hastert, right, called for a congressional investigation into the disclosure of the existence of the secret prisons. The leaders made the request in a letter to the chairmen of the House and Senate intelligence committees.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice sidestepped questions on secret prisons, saying the United States was in a "different kind of war" and had an obligation to defend itself.

If the Post story is accurate, "such an egregious disclosure could have long-term and far-reaching damaging and dangerous consequences, and will imperil our efforts to protect the American people and our homeland from terrorist attacks," wrote Frist, R-Tenn., and Hastert, R-Ill., asking for a joint leak probe by the Senate and House intelligence committees.

The newspaper's story of a week ago said the CIA has been hiding and interrogating some of its most important al-Qaida captives at a Soviet-era compound in Eastern Europe, part of a covert prison system set up by the agency four years ago that at various times has included sites in eight countries. Those countries, said the story, include several democracies.

"If the leadership determines that we should investigate the leak, it would be much like the 9/11" commission, said Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., who did not dispute a reporter's suggestion that a probe would raise First Amendment press-freedom issues.

Such an investigation would become "very difficult when you're getting into matters like this," said the senator.

Roberts also said he would support hearings into the importance of maintaining a covert agent's cover, a topic triggered by the leak of Plame's identity, eight days after her husband accused the Bush administration of manipulating prewar intelligence to exaggerate the Iraq threat.

Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada said the House and Senate committees with normal jurisdiction should conduct any hearings, not a bicameral committee as suggested in the letter of the two Republican leaders.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said any such joint investigation should also investigate possible manipulation of prewar intelligence on Iraq.

"If Speaker Hastert and Majority Leader Frist are finally ready to join Democrats' demands for an investigation of possible abuses of classified information, they must direct the House and Senate Intelligence Committees to investigate all aspects of that issue," said Pelosi.

The letter asked, concerning the leak of information about prisons, "What is the actual and potential damage done to the national security of the United States and our partners in the global war on terror?"

"We will consider other changes to this mandate based on your recommendations," Frist and Hastert wrote.

The letter said the leaking of classified information by employees of the U.S. government appeared to have increased in recent years, "establishing a dangerous trend that, if not addressed swiftly and firmly, likely will worsen."

"We are hopeful that you will be able to accomplish this task in a bipartisan manner given general agreement that intelligence matters should not be politicized," it added.

Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, said Republicans "should be focused on the illegality of these prisons, not the revelation of the illegality."

The allegations about secret prisons prompted denials from governments in the former Soviet bloc. Such prisons, European officials say, would violate the continent's human rights principles.

While not confirming the existence of secret prisons, Rice told reporters, "We, our allies, others who have experienced attacks, have to find a way to protect our people."

The administration has protected itself "within the constraint of the Constitution and cognizant of our values," said Rice. "The United States holds to these values today as strongly as we ever have."

Associated Press writer Pete Yost contributed to this report.

Source:  AP-Yahoo News.

Submitted by Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
lawfirm webpage:
political blog: http://demlog.blogspot.com


ABC: Mapes takes no blame for CBS memos fiasco - Nov. 8

Journalist at Center of Controversial Report on Bush's National Guard Duty Speaks Out

By Brian Ross, ABC News Chief Investigative Correspondent

Nov. 8, 2005 -- In her first interview since being fired, former CBS News producer Mary Mapes, shown with Brian Ross, below left, maintains that her controversial "60 Minutes II" story on President Bush's National Guard service was "true" and that "no one has proved that the documents were not authentic."

Brian Ross with Mary MapesMapes was fired after an independent panel found her basic reporting was "faulty."

In her interview with ABC News chief investigative correspondent Brian Ross, to be broadcast Wednesday morning on "Good Morning America," Mapes says she is unrepentant about her role. "I don't think I committed bad journalism. I really don't," she says.

Mapes is author of a newly-published book about the controversy, called "Truth and Duty: The Press, the President, and the Privilege of Power" (St. Martin's Press).

Mapes says she believes the panel's findings were used by CBS President Les Moonves as a pretext to remove Dan Rather as anchor of the "CBS Evening News."

"Les Moonves viewed the news department as being kind of an uppity group of folks who thought they worked in news rather than television news," she told Ross. "And he wanted them to work in television."

Mapes says Rather did not have "any obligation to resign" from his position, as CBS correspondent Mike Wallace recently suggested.

Mapes says she is continuing to investigate the source of the controversial documents whose authenticity was seriously questioned by the CBS panel. She tells Ross that she had no journalistic obligation to prove the authenticity of the documents before including them in the "60 Minutes II" report. "I don't think that's the standard," she said.

Mapes says one of her few regrets in handling the story was her phone call to a member of Sen. John Kerry's Presidential campaign staff prior to the broadcast. "I wish to God I hadn't done it, because I think it was so wildly misinterpreted." She says she made the call only as a way to gain favor with the source who provided her with the documents.

Mapes rejects suggestions she had political motives. "I did not have it in for George Bush," she said.

Mapes also criticizes other reporters for spending too much time on her story and other flawed journalism. "I think the media's had more fun beating itself up in the last five years than it has asking hard questions of the administration or government officials, and I think that's wrong," she said.

Mapes tells Ross she feels in no way responsible for what happened at CBS News in the wake of her "60 Minutes II" report.

"If you're talking about an investigation that basically gutted a news organization, and turned people one against another and made people afraid of each other, and really scooted the country's most experienced anchor out of his anchor chair, and now has the evening news casting about for some kind of format that will be zippy and new, I didn't do that. I had absolutely nothing to do with any of that," she said.

Yet, in a statement, CBS News maintained that Mapes' actions damaged it as an organization. "Her disregard for journalistic standards -- and for her colleagues -- comes through loud and clear in her interviews and in the book that attempts to rewrite the history of this complex and sad affair," the statement said. It also pinpointed Mapes' notion that a news organization has no obligation "to authenticate such important source material" as only one of the "troubling and erroneous statements in her account."

ABC News' David Scott contributed to this report. Source: ABC News.

Submitted by Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
lawfirm webpage:
political blog: http://demlog.blogspot.com


DVO: How Dems Lost the Heartland

Van Os with HaiglerHow Democrats Lost the Heartland and How They'll Get It Back, by David Van Os, right, shaking hands with Dave Haigler

Down in Texas, grassroots Democrats have known for a long time that Democrats didn't lose the heartland vote over ideological refinements. They lost it over turning into the Wimp Party. People like fighters. They figure if you're not a fighter as a campaigner, then they sure won't be able to count on you to fight for them when in office.

Most Democrats are salt of the earth, but we let the Beltway Dem silk-tie bunch define us into being nothing but the cake frosting. I'm not trashing the empathy platform, I'm all for it. But we're not going to attain it with earnest pleas for mercy and compassion. We have to fight for it, with strength and passion, demanding it as the just rights of the people! And we have to add to the empathy planks our tough and passionate fights for the preservation of Constitutional democracy and liberty, and our unflinching resolve to knock out corporate government mano a mano. Fighting Democrats are rising again. Fighting Democrats will win!

David Van Os
Democratic Candidate
For Texas Attorney General 2006


DH: TDW has triple header - Nov. 8

Abilene, Nov. 8 - Last night's Texas Democratic Women meeting was a triple-header, with three major speakers representing three major candidates for office in 2006.
Dr. BridgesDr. Julian Bridges, right, longtime Democrat and retired sociology professor from Hardin-Simmons University, gave an inspirational talk on influential women throughout history, starting with Deborah, who was a judge and prime minister of Israel in the Old Testament of the Bible.  His point was, "You can make a difference."  Dr. Bridges announced his support for Dr. Mel Hailey, head of the political science department at Abilene Christian University, for State Representative, District 71, which comprises Abilene and Nolan Counties.  At present there are two other known potential candidates for SR71, Steve Russell & Pierce Lopachin.
TDW hears BridgesThe meeting, chaired by newly-elected president Anna Vedro, was well attended with a record number of members and guests, shown at left.  The meeting was held in a second-floor conference room in the Petroleum Building, where the party headquarters is located at 453 Pine Street in Abilene.  President Vedro proposed a name change, putting the TDW first and the chapter name second.
The second speaker of the evening was 19th Congressional District candidate Robert Ricketts, below right, a CPA and endowed professor of taxation at Texas Tech University in Lubbock.  This was Dr. Ricketts' third visit to Abilene Ricketts makes his pointin recent weeks to discuss his candidacy.  He made 5 points on his theme, "Sensible Government."
The third speaker was Robert McKelvain, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Abilene Christian University, who lives in Stephenville, and is considering running for State Representative, District 60, where the incumbent lives in Eastland.  Robert was guest of and introduced by June Hicks, a charter member of our TDW chapter from Eastland County.
Wallace stands for cakeOther highlights of the meeting were recognition of past president Patricia Wallace, left, with a sheet cake honoring her theme "Action is the Antidote," and food and punch. 
Submitted by Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
lawfirm webpage: www.haigler.info
political blog: http://demlog.blogspot.com

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