Saturday, November 19, 2005


Barhorst: Our Children, the Legislature, and the Texas Constitution.


Sec. 1. SUPPORT AND MAINTENANCE OF SYSTEM OF PUBLIC FREE SCHOOLS. A general diffusion of knowledge being essential to the preservation of the liberties and rights of the people, it shall be the duty of the Legislature of the State to establish and make suitable provision for the support and maintenance of an efficient system of public free schools.

I was just browsing the Texas Constitution when I ran across Article 7, Sec. 1. It appears the Republican majority was so busy getting a marriage amendment into the Texas Constitution they forgot Article 7, Section 1—if they ever read enough of the Constitution to realize that it existed.

Such an obligation should not be lightly ignored. Though, aside from voting them out of office in the next election, I am not sure if there is any action the citizens of Texas might take to defend the children of Texas and bring the legislature into compliance with the words “it shall be the duty of the Legislature of the State to establish and make suitable provision for the support and maintenance of an efficient system of public free schools.”

Terry D. Barhorst Sr.

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Spier: Corruption News of The Week

Where to begin? Do you start with a little noticed clause in a House bill that allows for the permanent sale of public lands to mining and real estate companies? Or the $700 million cut from the food stamp program? We also will learn very soon that the bromide speaking adminstration has done little to protect the homeland from a radicalized and mobile Muslim population. A campaign to clear the wreckage caused by this administration will be a difficult one because a goodly number of Americans--like a goodly number of Muslims--cannot ask themselves this one simple question: Why do we do the things to ourselves that we do? The depth of corruption in the body politic runs so deep that there are not enough Fitzgeralds out there to slog through this filth.

Anyone who listened to John McCain and Byron Dorgon grill Italia Federici on Thursday had to be as incredulous by her evasive and disengenous answers as the senators were. Ms. Federici is the president of The Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy (an oxymoranic name if there ever was one) that was founded by Gail Norton, Bush's Secretary of Interior defilement and chief auctioneer of national patrimony. It was obvious that Ms. Federici was just an influence peddler whose little shop's (one of a hundreds on K Street) only purpose was to do outside- the- bureacracy propaganda for Gail Norton and take money from the likes of Jack Abramoff. CREAS's mission statement is: "CREA's mission is to foster environmental protection by promoting fair, community-based solutions to environmental challenges, highlighting Republican environmental accomplishments and building on our Republican tradition of conservation. " If you can believe that.... to sell you. McCain ended the questioning with, "Ms. Federici, we will talk again". Michael Scanlon (Abramoff's partner) coming to an agreement with the Feds is sure to make more than a little ripple. This is a tidal wave of DC political possibilities, and it threatens knock out a lot of high powered lobbyists, politicians and deal makers. More from Salon.

The NYT offers more on Abramoff and Scanlon today. They may be the gift that keeps on giving and the Indians may yet take many Republican scalps for their money.

Mr . Fitzgerald will get his second grand jury and first witness might be Stephen Hadley, National Security Advisor. The Sunday LondonTimes reports that Hadley was Woodward's source on Valerie Plame. No one is betting yet on this leaker.

Meanwhile, the Office of Special Operations in the Pentagon, headed until receintly by Doug Feith, is under investigation for illegal intelligence activities at the Pentagon and of deceiving Congress about intelligence on Iraq's prewar links to the al-Qaida terrorist network. Unfortunately, it is the Pentagon's inspector general who is doing the investigation. Senate Intelligence Committee chair, Pat Roberts (R. Kansas) says he is on the case too after lying about progress for two years. Kansans sure send junk to Washington, don't they? Scott Ritter has a nice piece on this ex-marine fraud in Anti-War.Com. Harry Reid will not let this one go though.

Finally, the ugliest act of the week was easily the hideous twisting of Jack Murtha's resolution to get out of Iraq at the earliest possible date. The Republicans, trying to trap Democrats for propoganda purposes, put forth a resolution that said: "Resolved, that it is the sense of the House of Representatives that the deployment of United States forces in Iraq be terminated immediately." This reprehensible buffoonery by the Republicans was a desparate act. While American soldiers die in Iraq, they decided to play this game. Are you amused? I'm not.

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Slate-Papers: House Divided - Nov. 19

By Alexander Barnes Dryer - Posted Saturday at 6:27 AM ET

The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times lead with the continuing fallout over Pennsylvania Democrat John Murtha's (below left) call for withdrawal from Iraq. In the latest Over 30 Years of Service Congressman John Murthamaneuvering, Republicans introduced a House resolution urging an immediate withdrawal. The GOP leadership had hoped to split Democrats by forcing them either to back Murtha or to reaffirm their support for the war. The move appears to have failed, however: Democrats (including Murtha) denounced the resolution as a political stunt and joined Republicans in voting it down. The final count was 403-3. The Washington Post, which devotes its off-lead to the withdrawal debate, offers the best account of the ugly floor fight, with details on the uproar that followed one freshman representative's "message" to Murtha that "cowards cut and run." The NYT best explains Democrats' anger over the resolution [DemLog blogged here], focusing on their view that it represents a personal attack on Murtha, while the LAT doubles up its coverage by pairing its front-page lead with an inside feature on the reaction of Murtha's constituents to his call for withdrawal. The Wall Street Journal plugs the withdrawal fight as the second item in its world-wide news box.

The NYT and Post both go big with the suicide bombings that struck two mosques in Iraq yesterday, killing almost 100 people. Although both papers give the news a multi-column photo across the top, they devote the bulk of their respective stories to a separate set of bombings at a Baghdad hotel popular with foreign journalists. Of course it's understandable that the papers simply have more details on the attack against a hotel housing over 20 Western news organizations than they do on the carnage at a pair of mosques some 100 miles northeast of the capital. (Just how close to home the hotel attack was for some journalists was made clear by the personal account of one Knight Ridder reporter.) Only the Los Angeles Times, which goes with the bombings as its off-lead, devotes the bulk of its article to the mosque attacks, highlighting retaliation against the Kurds as a possible motive. In recent months, the largely Kurdish town that was home to the mosques has had discussions about joining semi-autonomous Kurdistan.

The Post sets aside its lead for the charges brought against a former associate of Jack Michael ScanlonAbramoff, the disgraced Republican lobbyist. The associate, p.r. exec Michael Scanlon, right, was charged yesterday with conspiring with Abramoff to bribe unnamed government officials, including a congressman referred to in court filings as "Representative No. 1." All the papers point out that it's no secret this anonymous politician is Ohio Republican Robert Ney. The bad news for Abramoff and Ney is that Scanlon is cooperating with prosecutors. The LAT quotes Scanlon's lawyer as saying a plea will be presented Monday, although the NYT notes that what Scanlon knows remains uncertain. The Post continues to own this story; its helpful timeline is an excellent guide to the emerging case against Abramoff and Ney.

The Post is the only paper to front special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's revelation that a new grand jury will be called as he continues his investigation of who leaked CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity to the media. The papers disagree on what the new grand jury signifies. The LAT, which stuffs the story, says Fitzgeraldexperienced prosecutors warned not to read too much into the move, while the Post says it means Fitzgerald, left, is "all but certainly" considering more criminal charges. The most interesting details in the NYT's story, plugged in a refeer, come from a Friday report by Time magazine about the Post's Bob Woodward. Woodward announced this week that an anonymous source revealed Plame's identity to him in June 2003. In related news, the WSJ notes that Fitzgerald reached a deal with lawyers for Dow Jones, its corporate parent, to loosen restrictions on information about the case.

The WSJ fronts Toyota's 2006 production targets, revealing that the Japanese automaker has an ambitious plan for the new year that would raise production 11 percent and unseat GM as the world's number one car company. The story is a fitting companion to the latest installment in the NYT's series on the decline of corporate support for employee benefits: Today the paper fronts a piece on GM's efforts to cut costs by trimming pay, pensions, and other labor expenses.

Everyone stuffs the latest on Iran's nuclear program. The NYT, which yesterday ran an ad the Islamic regime bought to defend its efforts, highlights President Bush's embrace of a Russian proposal that would allow the country to enrich uranium in Russia. The Post explains U.S. acceptance of the idea by noting that American officials recognize that their current approach has failed to resolve the crisis. The LAT describes Iran's grudging compliance with the IAEA, but only the WSJ focuses on the revelation (in documents handed over to the nuclear watchdog) that Pakistan's A.Q. Kahn provided Iran with basic information on building a nuclear bomb.

Finally, although it lacks any particular newspeg, the LAT's above-the-fold story on the abuse a Catholic missionary perpetrated on Alaskan boys is worth a read—if only for its grand sweep and rich detail.

Alexander Barnes Dryer is a former Slate intern.  Source:  Slate Magazine.

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NYT: Uproar in House as Parties Clash on Iraq Pullout - Nov. 19

WASHINGTON - Republicans and Democrats shouted, howled and slung insults on the House floor on Friday as a debate over whether to withdraw American troops from Iraq descended into a fury over President Bush's handling of the war and a leading Democrat's call to bring the troops home.

Jean SchmidtThe battle boiled over when Representative Jean Schmidt, left, an Ohio Republican who is the most junior member of the House (less than 3 months service), told of a phone call she had just received from a Marine colonel back home.

"He asked me to send Congress a message: stay the course," Ms. Schmidt said. "He also asked me to send Congressman Murtha a message: that cowards cut and run, Marines never do."

Democrats booed in protest and shouted Ms. Schmidt down in her attack on Representative John P. Murtha of Pennsylvania, a Vietnam combat veteran and one of the House's most respected members on military matters. They caused the House to come to an abrupt standstill, and moments later, Representative Harold Ford, Democrat of Tennessee, charged across the chamber's center aisle to the Republican side screaming that Ms. Schmidt's attack had been unwarranted.

"You guys are pathetic!" yelled Representative Martin Meehan, Democrat of Massachusetts. "Pathetic."

The measure to withdraw the troops failed in a 403-to-3 vote late Friday night.

The rancorous debate drew an extraordinary scolding from Senator John W. Warner, the Virginia Republican who heads the Armed Services Committee.

"Today's debate in the House of Representatives shows the need for bipartisanship on the war in Iraq, instead of more political posturing," Mr. Warner said in a statement.

But as the third hour of debate opened, with the House chamber mostly full on the eve of the Thanksgiving recess, even two senior Republicans, Henry Hyde of Illinois and Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania, tried to temper the personal nature of the confrontation by offering tributes to Mr. Murtha. "I give him an A-plus as a truly great American," Mr. Hyde said.

Then Mr. Murtha, who normally shuns publicity, gave an impassioned 15-minute plea for his plan to withdraw American troops, who he said had become "a catalyst for violence" in Iraq. The American people, Mr. Murtha thundered, are "thirsty for some direction; they're thirsty for a solution to this problem."

The uproar followed days of mounting tension between Republicans and Democrats in which the political debate over the war sharply intensified. With Mr. Bush's popularity dropping in the polls, Democrats have sought anew to portray him as having exaggerated the threat posed by Iraq before the American invasion in 2003. Republicans have countered that Democrats were equally at fault.

The battle came as Democrats accused Republicans of pulling a political stunt by moving toward a vote on a symbolic alternative to the resolution that Mr. Murtha offered on Thursday, calling for the swift withdrawal of American troops. Democrats said the ploy distorted the meaning of Mr. Murtha's measure and left little time for meaningful debate.

Speaker Hastert, center, with Majority Leader, Blunt, rightSpeaker J. Dennis Hastert, Republican of Illinois, center, with Majority Leader Roy Blunt, right, denied that there were any political tricks involved and said pulling forces out of Iraq so rashly would hurt troop morale overseas. "We want to make sure that we support our troops that are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan," he said.

The measure's fate was sealed - and the vote count's significance minimized - when the Democratic leader, Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, criticized the Republican tactics and instructed Democrats to join Republicans in voting against an immediate withdrawal.

"Just when you thought you'd seen it all, the Republicans have stooped to new lows, even for them," said Ms. Pelosi, who assailed Republicans as impugning Mr. Murtha's patriotism.

The parliamentary maneuvering came amid more than three hours of often nasty floor debate and boisterous political theater, with Democrats accusing Republicans of resorting to desperate tactics to back a failed war and Republicans warning that Mr. Murtha's measure would play into the hands of terrorists.

In South Korea, where Mr. Bush was in the final day of the Asian economic summit, the White House released the text of a speech that he is scheduled to make later on Saturday to American forces at Osan Air Base.

Rest of this NY Times story.

Transcript of Schmidt's remarks and the reaction to them from the Cincinnatti Enquirer:

The Speaker Pro Tempore: The gentlelady from Ohio is recognized for one minute.

Ms. Schmidt: Yesterday I stood at Arlington National Cemetery attending the funeral of a young Marine in my district. He believed in what we were doing is the right thing and had the courage to lay his life on the line to do it.

A few minutes ago I received a call from Colonel Danny Bubp, Ohio Representative from the 88th district in the House of Representatives. He asked me to send Congress a message: Stay the course. He also asked me to send Congressman Murtha a message, that cowards cut and run, Marines never do. Danny and the rest of America and the world want the assurance from this body - that we will see this through.

The Speaker Pro Tempore: The house will be in order. The house will be in order. The house will be in order. The house will be in order. The house will be in order. The gentlelady will suspend. And the clerk will report her words. All members will suspend. The gentleman from Arkansas has demanded that the gentlelady's words be taken down. The clerk will report the gentlelady's words.

The Speaker Pro Tempore: The house will be in order. Members please take seats. The gentlelady from Ohio.

Ms. Schmidt: Mr. Speaker, my remarks were not directed at any member of the House and I did not intend to suggest that they applied to any member, most especially the distinguished gentleman from Pennsylvania. I therefore ask for unanimous consent that my words be withdrawn.

The Speaker Pro Tempore: Without objection. The gentlelady's words will be withdrawn.

Source:  Cincinnatti Enquirer.

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Friday, November 18, 2005


Slate Magazine: Why there is no honesty about Roe v. Wade

"... it is the anti-abortion folks who are getting conned."
By Michael Kinsley - Posted Friday, Nov. 18, 2005
In a 1986 case called Bowers v. Hardwick, the Supreme Court ruled that state laws against homosexual sodomy do not violate the U.S. Constitution. In a 2003 case called Lawrence v. Texas, the court ruled that on second thought, anti-gay-sodomy laws do violate the Constitution. Liberal politicians cheered this rare and unexpected admission of error by the court. They did not express any alarm about the danger of overturning precedents. Plessy v. Ferguson, upholding racial segregation, was a major precedent when the court overturned it and ended formal racial segregation with Brown v. Board of Education in 1954. Liberals did not complain.

These days, the vital importance of respecting past Supreme Court rulings is an urgent talking point for Democratic operatives, liberal talk-show hosts, and senators feeling their way toward a reason to oppose Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito. Olympia Snowe, a Republican liberal from Maine, said Wednesday that Alito's respect for precedents will be "the major question" in her decision whether to support him.

The major question for Snowe and other liberal senators actually is not respect for judicial precedents. The major question is abortion. They want to know whether Alito would vote to overturn Roe. But by the absurd unwritten rules of these increasingly stylized episodes, they are not allowed to ask him and he is not allowed to answer. So the nominee does a fan dance, tantalizing the audience by revealing little bits of his thinking but denying us a complete view. And senators pretend, maybe even to themselves, that they really care about precedents and privacy in the abstract.

Specter speaking to mediaThe artifice can get quite elaborate. Sen. Arlen Specter, left, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, makes a half-serious distinction among precedents, super-precedents, and super-duper precedents. Others emphasize that social policies can start with a Supreme Court ruling and develop into deeply rooted national values. That happened with Roe and abortion, they would say, while the opposite happened with Bowers and laws against homosexuality. Of course if a policy has really become a deeply rooted national value, then the once-controversial Supreme Court ruling is superfluous, because democracy will protect such a value. The fear that motivates Roe panic is that the rights at stake are not deeply rooted. Or not deeply rooted enough.

While Roe defenders play this double game, ostensible Roe opponents, especially those in the White House, may be playing a triple game. Their public position is A) Roe is a terrible decision, responsible for a vast slaughter of innocents; B) legal abortion is deeply immoral; C) we ignore all this in choosing Supreme Court justices, and you (Roe defenders) should, too. It doesn't make sense, and it's not believable. The natural assumption is that Bush is trying to con abortion-rights supporters. Only an idiot would squander the opportunity to rid the nation of Roe because of some fatuous nonsense about picking judges without finding out the one thing you most urgently want to know.

But Machiavellians of my acquaintance believe that it is the anti-abortion folks who are getting conned. The last thing in the world that Republican strategists want is the repeal of Roe. If abortion becomes a legislative issue again, all those pro-choice women and men who have been voting Republican because abortion was safe would have to reconsider, and many would bolt. Meanwhile, the reversal of Roe would energize the left the way Roe itself energized the right. Who needs that?

Abortion is the most important issue in American politics. It shouldn't be. Others have as big an impact on the lives of individuals and a far bigger cumulative effect on society. No other nation obsesses about abortion the way we do. But many Americans believe that legalized abortion is government-sanctioned murder or something close to it. And many others (including me) believe that forcing a woman to go through an unwanted pregnancy and childbirth is the most extreme unjustified government intrusion on personal freedom short of sanctioning murder. For many in these groups, abortion is almost by definition an issue that overwhelms all others, or comes close, when they are deciding how (and whether) to vote. It is also, on both sides, a reliable issue for opening wallets.

Yet there is no abortion debate. Or at least the debate is unconnected to the reasons people on both sides feel so strongly about it. What passes for an abortion debate is a jewel of the political hack's art: a big issue that is exploited without being discussed. In the Virginia governor's race this year, both candidates said they were personally morally opposed to abortion, and both accused the other candidate of falsely accusing him of intending to act on this moral belief, which both of them denied. And both of them, in this last particular, were probably telling the truth.

Related in Slate:

Been stranded on a desert island for a month and not sure who this Alito guy is? Click here for a full roster of Slate coverage. Earlier this month Mike Kinsley grumbled about the lack of a real debate concerning judicial power. This week Dahlia Lithwick wondered why conservatives were ducking the abortion debate and chided the media for mischaracterizing Alito's abortion decisions. Here's Today's Cartoons' take on the nomination.

Michael Kinsley is Slate's founding editor.

Source:  Slate Magazine.

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ITN-UK: Turner says 'Cheney is Vice President for Torture'

Former CIA director Turner has claimed that torture is condoned and even approved by the Bush government.

by Peter Wallsten and Barbara Demick

Adm. Stan TurnerThe devastating accusations have been made by Admiral Stansfield Turner, right, who labelled Dick Cheney "a vice president for torture".
He said: "We have crossed the line into dangerous territory".
The American Senate says torture should be banned - whatever the justification. But President Bush has threatened to veto their ruling.
The former spymaster claims President Bush is not telling the truth when he says that torture is not a method used by the US.
Speaking of Bush's claims that the US does not use torture, Admiral Turner, who ran the CIA from 1977 to 1981, said: "I do not believe him".
On Dick Cheney he said "I'm embarrassed the United States has a vice president for torture.
"He condones torture, what else is he?".
Admiral Turner claims the secret CIA prisons used for torture are known as 'black sites', terror suspects are picked up in places like Afghanistan and Pakistan.
They are flown by CIA-controlled private aircraft to countries where there are secret interrogation centres, operating outside any country's jurisdiction.
No one will confirm their locations, but there are several possibilities: The Mihail-Kogalniceanu military airbase in Romania is believed by many to be one such facility.
Admiral Turner's remarks were echoed by Republican Senator John McCain, himself a victim of torture in Vietnam.  He said torturing to get information was immoral, was not effective and encouraged potential enemies to do the same to Americans.
Both Mr Bush and Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice have repeatedly stated that torture by US forces is not condoned.
Source:  Common Dreams, republished from ITN-UK.

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UK-Reuters: CIA leak probe extended

Fri Nov 18, 2005 - 5:12 PM - By Adam Entous

Patrick FitzgeraldWASHINGTON (Reuters) - Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, left, said in court filings that the ongoing CIA leak investigation will involve proceedings before a new grand jury, a possible sign he could seek new charges in the case.

In filings obtained by Reuters on Friday, Fitzgerald said "the investigation is continuing" and that "the investigation will involve proceedings before a different grand jury than the grand jury which returned the indictment" against Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby.

Fitzgerald did not elaborate in the document. For two years he has been investigating the leak of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity. The grand jury that indicted Libby expired after the charges were filed late last month.

President George W. Bush's top political adviser, Karl Rove, was not indicted along with Libby. But lawyers involved in the case said Rove remained under investigation and may still be charged.

Earlier this week Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward disclosed that he testified under oath to Fitzgerald that a senior Bush administration official had casually told him in mid-June 2003 about CIA operative Valerie Plame's position at the agency.

Fitzgerald's comments about bringing proceedings before a different grand jury were contained in court filings in which he backed off seeking a blanket order to keep all documents in the CIA leak case secret.

Source:  UK-Reuters News.  D.H.: Why am I not reading this from U.S. news sources?

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AP: Prosecutor Objects to Moving DeLay Trial

By APRIL CASTRO, Associated Press Writer Thu Nov 17, 7:22 PM ET

AUSTIN, Texas - Rep. Tom DeLay (right)'s trial on conspiracy and money laundering charges should stay in Austin despite the former House majority leader's attempt to move it to his home county, a Texas prosecutor argued in court documents filed Thursday.

DeLay attorney Dick DeGuerin has requested that the trial be moved out of Travis County, contending that because the allegations involve election code violations, the proceedings should be moved to Fort Bend County, the GOP-leaning county where DeLay was voted into office.

But Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle argued that the allegations are criminal charges, not election code violations, and need not be moved to another jurisdiction.

Click here to read article.

Posted by Terry D. Barhorst Sr.


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Bloomberg: Lobbyists Reward DeLay by Raising Money After Legislative Wins

Nov. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Representative Tom DeLay has worked hard throughout his tenure to champion legislation favored by business lobbyists. Last night, those lobbyists were working hard for him, hosting a $200,000 fund-raiser for the beleaguered former House majority leader.

Among the 67 lobbyists hosting the event in Washington were the heads of the trade groups for the oil and electric-utility industries. Before DeLay's indictment in a fund-raising case forced him to give up his leadership post, he helped push through an energy bill that included $14.6 billion in industry subsidies.

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Terry's comments: It is all so blatant it nauseates me. Corporations are legal entities without souls and the same can apply to many politicians -- Tom DeLay is one of those politicians.

Terry D. Barhorst Sr.

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Slate-Papers: Murthquake - Nov. 18

By Eric Umansky - Posted Friday, Nov. 18, 2005, at 4:15 AM ET

The New York Times and Washington Post lead with a hawkish senior Democrat congressman calling for the U.S. to withdraw from Iraq within six months. Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania, below left, who is a Marine combat vet Over 30 Years of Service Congressman John Murthaand supported the war, said the current strategy is "flawed policy wrapped in an illusion." The Los Angeles Times also leads with Murtha but goes feature-y, focusing on just how hawkish Murtha has historically been and what a shock his call was. "John is one of the most respected members of the body and certainly the most respected member of the Democratic Party on national security matters, so judgments of his should never be taken lightly," said one Republican rep. The only other national pol who has previously called for the U.S. to withdraw pronto: liberal Sen. Russ Feingold, and his plan has a longer timeframe. USA Today fronts Murtha but leads with many states considering small tax cuts since revenues are soaring.

Murtha's proposal was promptly denounced by the GOP leadership including Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert who called it "a policy of cut and run." Hastert continued, "To add insult to injury, this is done while the president is on foreign soil."

While the papers' leads all play up Republican leadership having a conniption, it falls to the Post's Dana Milbank, writing inside, to point out that Democratic leaders didn't exactly start high-fiving Murtha. "Mr. Pelosi Address ForumMurtha speaks for himself," said House minority leader Nancy Pelosi, right. "I don't support immediate withdrawal," said Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, shown posing with Nevada Guard troops in Iraq, below left

The Wall Street Journal goes high with and others front the House, in a surprise, defeating a Republican-sponsored $142 billion bill on health and education programs. The 224-to-209 takedown marks the first time in a decade the Republicans have lost such a vote. Most of the GOP defectors were moderate Republicans who objected to the proposed cuts in social programs. Some Republicans were also ticked off after GOP leadership, trying to placate fiscal conservatives, cut local earmarks (often pork) from the bill.

Reid poses with members of the Nevada Army Guard's 1864th Transportation Company headquartered in Henderson, Nev., in southwest Asia. The 1864th Nevada Army Guard soldiers and it has been performing transportation missions in Iraq and Kuwait since November 2004. The unit is commanded by Capt. Neil Oscarson, far right in the photo.The Post sets the scene of the (latest) GOP defeat:

Once voting got underway yesterday, House leaders and whips engaged in arm twisting that usually works. After about 30 minutes—twice as long as the vote was scheduled to last—Acting Majority Leader Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) drew a finger across his throat, and the defeat was official.

According to early morning reports, caught by the LAT, the House early this morning passed $50 billion in spending cuts, which will take small slices from farm subsidies, student loans, and a few other domestic programs. A proposal that would have cut some school lunches for low-income kids was removed to make the bill palatable to moderates.

According to early morning reports, two car bombs in Baghdad targeted the Interior Ministry building at the center of the latest torture scandal. BBC says just six Iraqis were killed but also says the blasts "brought down residential buildings." Reuters says the blasts happened next to a hotel used by foreign journalists.

The LAT fronts the Iraqi interior minister's tepid response to the discovery of the torture center. "There has been much exaggeration about this issue," he said. "Nobody was beheaded or killed." Earlier this week, the NYT quoted a source saying the units in charge of the center directly to the interior minister. And indeed, as the papers have mentioned in passing, the minister is a "former" top member of the same Shiite militia that now makes up those units.

Also, the papers play up the U.S. embassy saying, "We have made clear to the Iraqi government there must not be militia or sectarian control or direction of Iraqi Security Forces, facilities or ministries." Which is very nice and very misleading. The reality seems to be that the U.S. long ago acceded to such control.

The NYT notices inside—and nobody else covers so far as TP sees—a government report concluding that the military is way below recruiting targets for some of its most important positions, including intel specialists and translators.

The Post and NYT both front the arrest of two U.S. men for allegedly rigging rebuilding contracts in Iraq. But only the NYT picks up on the real shocker: One of the men was a U.S. government comptroller and financial officer in Iraq "despite having served prison time for felony fraud in the 1990's." He oversaw $82 million in contracts.

The WP also mentions the arrests and says it's the first of "what could be dozens of cases" alleging fraud within the reconstruction effort. "There are more coming," said a spokesman for the government office investigating. (The WSJ's wording is vague, but TP reads that as not necessarily meaning other U.S. officials.)

Everybody mentions that the tentative deal to extend the Patriot Act hit a snag as some Democrats threatened to filibuster. Also, a bipartisan group of six senators said they'll vote against renewing the about-to-expire law unless the civil-liberties protections are strengthened.

The WSJ notices that among those lobbying against the renewed Patriot Act are the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business lobbies. Apparently they don't like the idea of the government snooping on company records.

The WP reports across the top that the CIA has created "joint operations centers in more than two dozen countries" where the U.S. and foreign spooks work side-by-side to "track and capture" suspected terrorists. A top CIA official apparently told Congress earlier this year that just about every AQ suspect who's been captured has been taken with the help of a foreign intel service. These centers, says the Post, are distinct from the secret prisons the paper reported on earlier this month.

And you smell like one too ... A WP notices that the White House's pushback on the pre-war intel debate now includes a 5,000-word the rebuttal released in response to a NYT editorial. Explaining the length of the retort, a White House statement said, "As parents of young children and dog owners know, it takes longer to clean up a mess than to make one."

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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Administration Water-Carrier Tripped. Now Stay Tuned

Status-hooker-administration-water-carrier Bob Woodward only interviews big mucks. Leonard Downie said on CNN that the source was someone with whom Mr. Woodward "had conducted many interviews with for his book." Plan of Attack, Woodward's book contained information given in interviews with big shots like Rice, Hadley and Richard Armitage. While most of the rats deny being Woodward's source, Armitage, Hadley (and Cheney) remain silent. If Armitage is the source, as many think he may be, he might have said something to Woodward without malice. Armitage probably had no axe to grind with Wilson. Mr. Woodard might also have felt this and kept quiet. But I think he knows more. David Corn parries any thoughts that this new revelation threatens Fitzgerald's case against Libby.

Before it was public that Woodward was asked to visit with prosecutor, he made the talk circuit rounds and flogged the prosecutor without revealing his role in all this. Was he sending a signal to Fitzgerald that he, Woodward, icon of journalism was not easy to intimidate? I am sure Fitzgerald looked into Woodward's eyes and saw not I.F. Stone or Sy Hersh.

Did theWoodward revelation give the prosecutor more ammunition? Don't know yet. Of course if was not Armitage, and say it was--Stephen Hadley, National Security Advisor, the whole mess gets pulled into the Oval Office for sure. If you remember, Hadley said to good sources, before the Libby indictment, that he assumed he would be indicted too. KABOOM!

Woodward has been too close to power for a journalist. Another suck-up, not a muckraker, Woodard finally turned the gun on his own reputation. He is just another insider who joins the circular firing squad.


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Thursday, November 17, 2005


DH: Maria leads charge for council's busfare rollback - Nov. 17

Maria, left, & City Manager GilleyAbilene, Nov. 17 - At Abilene's City Council meeting today, Abilene Democrat Maria Velesquez, shown at left, with City Manager Larry Gilley in the background, was the lead speaker opposing the recent increases in bus fares for seniors and the disabled. Her theme was the need to defend and provide for the poor.

The other speaker used Abilene CityLink director's own data to show that CityLink was proposing to cut the single-fare rate from 50 cents to 35 cents, while still charging $15 for the monthly pass, which the director said was used for an average of 33.55 rides per pass, or 44 cents per average ride for the pass. This speaker pointed out that the pass would cost $11.85 at 35 cents a ride, at the average rate of usage cited by the director.

Councilman Kris Southward, below right, who is a CPA, seized on that information, and made a motion that the monthly pass should give the rider a Councilman Southwarddiscount less than the single-ride rate, proposing the rate to be $11 per monthly pass. Southward's motion passed the council unanimously.

This event was covered in the Nov. 18 Abilene Reporter News.

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AP: Lawmakers Acted on Heels of Abramoff Gifts


Associated Press Writers - Thu, 9:20 AM ET

WASHINGTON - Nearly three dozen members of Congress, including leaders from both parties, pressed the government to block a Louisiana Indian tribe from opening a casino while the lawmakers collected large donations from rival tribes and their lobbyist, Jack Abramoff, below left.

Many intervened with letters to Interior Secretary Gale Norton within days of receiving money from tribes represented by Abramoff or using the lobbyist's restaurant for fundraising, an Associated Press review of campaign records, IRS records and congressional correspondence found.

Lawmakers said their intervention had nothing to do with Abramoff, and the timing of donations was a coincidence. They said they wrote letters because they opposed the expansion of tribal gaming — even though they continued to accept donations from casino-operating tribes.

Many lived far from Louisiana and had no constituent interest in the casino dispute.

House Speaker Dennis Hastert, an Illinois Republican, held a fundraiser at Abramoff's Signatures restaurant in Washington on June 3, 2003, that collected at least $21,500 for his Keep Our Majority political action committee from the lobbyist's firm and tribal clients.

Seven days later, Hastert wrote Norton urging her to reject the Jena tribe of Choctaw Indians' request for a new casino. Hastert's three top House deputies also signed the letter.

Approving the Jena application or others like it would "run counter to congressional intent," Hastert's June 10, 2003, letter warned Norton.

It was exactly what Abramoff's tribal clients wanted. The tribes, including the Louisiana Coushattas and Mississippi Choctaw, were trying to block the Jena's gambling hall for fear it would undercut business at their own casinos.

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid sent a letter to Norton on March 5, 2002, also signed by Sen. John Ensign (news, bio, voting record), R-Nev. The next day, the Coushattas issued a $5,000 check to Reid's tax-exempt political group, the Searchlight Leadership Fund. A second Abramoff tribe sent another $5,000 to Reid's group. Reid ultimately received more than $66,000 in Abramoff-related donations between 2001 and 2004.

In the midst of the congressional letter-writing campaign, the Bush administration rejected the Jena's casino on technical grounds. The tribe persisted, eventually winning Interior approval but the casino now is tied up in a court dispute.

Congressional ethics rules require lawmakers to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest in performing their official duties and accepting political money.

That requirement was made famous a decade ago during the Keating Five scandal when five lawmakers were criticized for intervening with federal regulators on behalf of Charles Keating while receiving money from the failed savings and loan operator.

The Abramoff donations dwarf those made by Keating. At least 33 lawmakers wrote letters to Norton and got more than $830,000 in Abramoff-related donations as the lobbying unfolded between 2001 and 2004, AP found.

"This is one of the largest examples we've had to date where congressional action was predicated on money being given for the action," said Kent Cooper, who reviewed lawmakers' campaign reports for two decades as the Federal Election Commission's chief of public disclosure.

Cooper, who now runs the Political Money Line Web site that tracks fundraising, said "the speed in which this money was turned around" after the letters makes the Abramoff matter more serious than previous controversies that tarnished Congress.

Lawmakers contacted by AP said their intervention had nothing to do with Abramoff's fundraising, and instead reflected their long-held concerns about tribal gaming expansion.

"There is absolutely no connection between the letter and the fundraising," Reid spokesman Jim Manley said. "The only connection was Senator Reid has consistently opposed any effort to undermine the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act."

Hastert ultimately collected more than $100,000 in donations from Abramoff's firm and tribal clients between 2001 and 2004. His office said he never discussed the matter with Abramoff, but long opposed expanding Indian gambling off reservations and was asked to send the letter by Rep. Jim McCrery (news, bio, voting record), R-La.

McCrery sent his own letter as well, and collected more than $36,000 in Abramoff-connected donations.

"We've always opposed these things, in our backyard, in our state, someplace else," said Michael Stokke, Hastert's deputy chief of staff.

Melanie Sloan, a former federal prosecutor, said lawmakers' denials of a connection rang hollow.

"Special interests do get more and they do get what they pay for despite the constant denial that lawmakers can't be bought," said Sloan, who now runs Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a group that monitors public officials' conduct.

Abramoff's spokesman, Andrew Blum, declined comment. The lobbyist has been indicted on fraud charges by a federal grand jury in Florida stemming from his role in the 2000 purchase of a fleet of gambling boats.

Federal prosecutors are investigating whether Abramoff's fundraising influenced members of Congress or the Bush administration, and whether anyone tried to conceal their dealings with Abramoff. For instance:

* Hastert failed for two years to disclose his use of Abramoff's restaurant the week before his letter or to reimburse for it as legally required. Hastert blames a paperwork oversight and recently corrected it.

* Sen. David Vitter, R-La., received $6,000 from Abramoff tribes from 1999 to 2001 and refunded it the day before he sent one of his letters to Norton in February 2002. He also used Abramoff's restaurant for a September 2003 fund-raiser but failed to reimburse for it until this year.

* The Coushattas wrote two checks to Rep. Tom DeLay's groups in 2001 and 2002, shortly before the GOP leader wrote Norton. But the tribe was asked by Abramoff to take back the checks and route the money to other GOP groups. In all, DeLay, R-Texas, received at least $57,000 in Abramoff and tribal donations between 2001 and 2004.

The intervention by congressional Republicans and Democrats was all but ignored in recent hearings on Capitol Hill led by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz, that examined Abramoff's lobbying inside Interior.

In one letter obtained by AP, 27 lawmakers told Norton she should reject the Jena casino because gambling was a societal blight. But within weeks, several of the authors had accepted donations from Abramoff's casino-operating tribes. All but eight eventually got Abramoff-related donations or used his restaurant for political events.

Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, received four donations totaling $5,500 from casino-operating tribes represented by Abramoff a month and a day after he signed the Feb. 27, 2002, group letter.

"If they want to give a contribution to support Republican candidates, more power to them. That doesn't mean we have to support what they are doing," said Guy Harrison, a Sessions spokesman.

Rep. John Doolittle, R-Calif., received $1,000 from Abramoff several weeks before he signed the group letter, then got $16,000 from two of Abramoff's casino-operating tribal clients about two months later. By year's end, Doolittle also had used Abramoff's restaurant to cater a campaign event and received another $15,000 from tribes.

Some lawmakers intervened more than once.

House Majority Leader Roy Blunt, a Missouri Republican, signed three letters to Norton. He took $1,000 from Abramoff and $2,000 from the lobbyist's firm around the time he sent a May 2003 letter. Blunt is seen, second right, in the photo below, along with Hastert, right, Reid, left, and DeLay, second left.

Blunt long has opposed the expansion of tribal gaming and his letters are "consistent with his long-held position and are in no way related to political contributions," spokeswoman Burson Taylor said.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, whose committee is investigating Abramoff, sent a letter on March 1, 2002, opposing the Jena casino. The letter said a company that operates casinos in Grassley's home state was concerned. Grassley got $1,000 from Abramoff's firm the following month and a total of $62,200 in related donation by 2004.

Others who intervened:

* Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., the former Senate GOP leader, wrote Norton on March 1, 2002, to "seriously urge" she reject the Jena casino. Lott received $10,000 in donations from Abramoff tribes just before the letter and $55,000 soon after. Lott's office said he sent the letter because his state's Choctaw tribe and a casino company were concerned about losing business.

* Then-Sen. John Breaux (news, bio, voting record), D-La., wrote Norton on March 1, 2002. Five days later the Coushattas sent $1,000 to his campaign and $10,000 to his library fund, tribal records show.

* Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., wrote Norton on June 14, 2001, one of the first such letters. Cochran's political committee got $6,000 from Abramoff tribes in the weeks before the letter, and another $71,000 in the three years after.

* Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., who was engaged in a tight re-election race in 2002, sent her letter March 6, 2002. That same day, the Coushattas sent $2,000 to her campaign and she received $5,000 more by the end of that month. By year's end, the total had grown to at least $24,000.

Posted By Terry D. Barhorst Sr.

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NYT: Prosecutors Seek More of DeLay's Records

By THE NEW YORK TIMES - Published: November 17, 2005

WASHINGTON - Texas prosecutors in the criminal case against former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, below left, issued a subpoena on Wednesday for records of transactions between his national political action committee and a political committee run by his successor as House majority leader, Roy Blunt of Missouri.

The subpoena, issued in Austin, the Texas capital, asked for all records from Mr. DeLay's committee, Americans for a Republican Majority, about its contributions from 2000 to 2002 to Mr. Blunt's committee, Rely on Your Own Beliefs Fund, and to the state Republican Party in Missouri, where Mr. Blunt's son is governor.

The subpoena offered no explanation of why prosecutors wanted the records, although news reports have recently questioned why thousands of dollars raised by Mr. DeLay and his committee to entertain delegates at the 2000 Republican convention were shifted to Mr. Blunt's committee.

Mr. Blunt's committee made a $10,000 contribution at about the same time to a charity controlled by Mr. DeLay.

"There's nothing that any of these committees did that was improper," said Stefan Passantino, a lawyer for Mr. Blunt.

A spokesman for Mr. DeLay, who is charged with conspiring to undermine a Texas ban on corporate donations to political candidates, had no immediate comment on the subpoena.

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SoJo: Moral reckoning on budget priorities - Nov. 17

Jim WallisA time of moral reckoning
by Jim Wallis, left 
For the past few weeks, thousands of you have been calling and e-mailing your members of Congress, urging them to oppose budget cuts that would hurt people living in poverty. Last Thursday, the House of Representatives was scheduled to vote on its budget bill. Only minutes after the House convened, the leadership called for a recess. One can only imagine the arm-twisting and deal-making that was going on behind closed doors. But as the hours went on, it became clear it wasn't working. A unified Democratic caucus and a group of moderate Republicans refused to go along. Finally, in the late afternoon, the leadership announced they did not have enough votes, pulled the bill, and adjourned for the Veterans Day weekend.

That announcement by the House leadership showed that enough political leaders were listening - and wanted to do the right thing. Many of us who were working and praying that these massive assaults on our poorest families and children would be thwarted are grateful that we were successful, at least so far.

People of faith believe the budget is a moral document. And they are teaching Congress that moral values extend beyond just those wedge issues often used to divide people. The wins over the past weeks - protecting food stamps in the Senate, reinstating prevailing wages in the Gulf, forcing the House to rethink the budget - show that a partisan and ideological agenda that hurts both poor people and the common good is being called into question. For some time now, religious leaders from across the theological and political spectrum have been standing together against poverty - and we stand ready to support political leaders who speak out for a more compassionate and just budget.

Some of those leaders last week were members like Rep. Chris Shays (R-Conn.), who said in a statement: "The poor bear an unfair burden of the proposed reductions. I'm concerned about cuts to higher-education funding, child care, child welfare and food stamps. These are simply the wrong priorities."

Rep. Jim Leach (R-Iowa) also said in a statement, "...the proposal of significantly reducing student loans, food stamps and a host of other social programs at a time of many wrenches in the economy appears un-compelling."

I applaud leaders in the House who have championed better budget priorities all year - as well as those who are now doing some soul searching, digging down deep, and taking a stand for the less fortunate. I hope and pray that we are experiencing a turning point in how Congress will act to help "the least of these." Our health and security as a nation depends on that. This is a unique opportunity for elected leaders to prevent bad priorities from moving forward, a time of moral reckoning for our country.

The House leadership intends to try again this week to pass their budget, possibly today. I urge you to continue telling your members of Congress that we will not support budget cuts that hurt poor and working families - not last week, not this week, not next week, or next year. It's time to take a stand.

Source:  Sojourners Magazine Online.

Submitted by Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
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Wednesday, November 16, 2005


AP: Sheehan goes to trial

By PETE YOST, Associated Press Writer Wed Nov 16, 5:40 PM ET

Cindy SheehanWASHINGTON - War protester Cindy Sheehan, right, and several others pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of demonstrating without a permit outside the White House.

The protesters, who face fines and not jail time, were being tried Wednesday afternoon by U.S. Magistrate Alan Kay after several hours of talks with court officials about how quickly their trial could be wrapped up.

Before the trial began, Sheehan announced plans to revive her protest near President Bush's Texas ranch during Thanksgiving week, despite new county ordinances banning roadside camping.

Sheehan and other anti-war activists arrested with her Sept. 26 in Washington conducted a news conference in front of the federal courthouse Wednesday before heading to a court appearance on the misdemeanor charge.

Sheehan, whose 24-year-old soldier son Casey was killed in Iraq last year, said "2,062 people have been killed as of today in this monstrosity."

She and more than 300 others were arrested as they gathered near an entrance to the White House grounds in the September protest. Each carried a board bearing the name of a U.S. soldier killed in Iraq.

The arrests outside the White House concluded a weekend of protests that drew more than 100,000 anti-war activists, and a smaller group of counterprotesters. It was the largest anti-war demonstration since the Vietnam War.

Those arrested got $50 tickets and authorities charged them with protesting without a permit. All were released.

Full story, AP-Yahoo News.

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DH: Draft-Hailey committee meets

Mel Hailey pointing out challengesAbilene, Nov. 16 - A committee of a dozen leading Democrats met today at Betty's Little Brisket on the hill with Dr. Mel Hailey, left, political science professor at ACU, to persuade him to run for State Representative, District 71. 
Dr. Hailey pointed out the problems with such a race and the need to connect with old-time Democrats as well as sensible Republicans who want results in the legislature, and who resent what was done to us in redistricting.  But he said the days of running a shoestring campaign are over, and would need money to make a winning race.  "I would not be running just to make a credible (losing) showing for the Democrats," Hailey said.  He said a lot of his Republican friends have already committed to support him, some publicly and some privately. 
Those present included, below right (L-R) Homer Hillis, David Durham, Curtis Smith & David Dillman.
Hillis said a BBQ fund-raiser was needed.  Durham agreed we need to raise money.  Smith suggested campaign strategies.  Dillman asked what the next step should be.
Hillis, Durham, Smith & DillmanHailey said if we have a contested primary it needs to be a clean one, because the Republican one would be dirty. 
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BBC: US used flesh-melting white phosphorus in Iraq - Nov. 16

US troops heading towards centre of Iraqi town of FallujaUS troops used white phosphorus as a weapon in last year's offensive in the Iraqi city of Falluja, seen at right, the US has said.

"It was used as an incendiary weapon against enemy combatants," spokesman Lt. Col. Barry Venable told the BBC - though not against civilians, he said.

The US had earlier said the substance - which can cause burning of the flesh - had been used only for illumination.

BBC defence correspondent Paul Wood says having to retract its denial is a public relations disaster for the US.

Col. Venable denied that white phosphorous constituted a banned chemical weapon. "White phosphorus is an incendiary weapon, not a chemical weapon," the colonel said.

Washington is not a signatory to an international treaty restricting the use of the substance against civilians.

The US state department had earlier said white phosphorus had been used in Falluja very sparingly, for illumination purposes.

Col. Venable said that statement was based on "poor information".


The US-led assault on Falluja - a stronghold of the Sunni insurgency west of Baghdad - displaced most of the city's 300,000 population and left many of its buildings destroyed.

Col. Venable told the BBC's PM radio programme that the US army used white phosphorus incendiary munitions "primarily as obscurants, for smokescreens or target marking in some cases.

"However it is an incendiary weapon and may be used against enemy combatants."

And he said it had been used in Falluja, but it was a "conventional munition", not a chemical weapon.

It is not "outlawed or illegal", Col. Venable said.

He said US forces could use white phosphorus rounds to flush enemy troops out of covered positions.

"The combined effects of the fire and smoke - and in some case the terror brought about by the explosion on the ground - will drive them out of the holes so that you can kill them with high explosives," he said.

San Diego journalist Darrin Mortenson, who was embedded with US marines during the assault on Falluja, told the BBC's Today radio programme he had seen white phosphorous used "as an incendiary weapon" against insurgents.

However, he "never saw anybody intentionally use any weapon against civilians", he said.

'Particularly nasty'

White phosphorus is highly flammable and ignites on contact with oxygen. If the substance hits someone's body, it will burn until deprived of oxygen.

Globalsecurity.org, a defence website, says: "Phosphorus burns on the skin are deep and painful... These weapons are particularly nasty because white phosphorus continues to burn until it disappears... it could burn right down to the bone."

A spokesman at the UK Ministry of Defence said the use of white phosphorus was permitted in battle in cases where there were no civilians near the target area.

But Professor Paul Rogers, of the University of Bradford's department of peace studies, said white phosphorus could be considered a chemical weapon if deliberately aimed at civilians.

He told PM: "It is not counted under the chemical weapons convention in its normal use but, although it is a matter of legal niceties, it probably does fall into the category of chemical weapons if it is used for this kind of purpose directly against people."

When an Italian TV documentary revealing the use of white phosphorus in Iraq was broadcast on 8 November it sparked fury among Italian anti-war protesters, who demonstrated outside the US embassy in Rome.

Source: BBC News.

Submitted by:

Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas

D.H. comment: And one of the reasons we invaded Iraq was because Saddam used chemical weapons on his own people a decade ago; right?

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Barhorst: Some Truth On "Traditional" and "Founding Fathers."

I got to reading some of my Jefferson books again and a fact clicked the “Say what!” button I carry around in my head. It’s on the “Traditional Values” thing the Republicans throw around like a rubberized Holy Grail and their constant use of buzz words “Founding Fathers.”

Many, if not the majority, of the representative “Founding Fathers” from what were to become the “Slave States,” have been proven to have had, or thought to have had concubine relationships. The Republicans, and especially their Right Wing Christian branch, appear to either ignore or have revised their personal history memories to disappear this fact.

I realize that it would be awkward for them to say “We support our Founding Father’s traditional values. Therefore a definition of traditional marriage shall include the possibility of a relationship with a concubine.” Obviously, Republican Senator and former segregationist the late Strom Thurmond supported the above stance, if not vocally, in silent actions, so it has not been forgotten or mislaid history.

Why this hasn’t been shoved down these self-righteous, unethical, interpreters’ of history and traditions throats every time they use “Traditional values” or “Traditional Marriage” and “Founding Fathers” in a speech or press release, I can not guess. Traditional is history and Founding is history. History belies every use they make of these emotionally charged phrases.

Terry D. Barhorst Sr.
Moderator and Editor: Lone Star Democrats

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DH: LULAC meets at State St. Y

Abilene, Nov. 16 - The Abilene Chapter of LULAC met last night at the State Street YMCA, as chapter president Erasmo Martinez, below right, explained the advantages and Erasmo explains LULAC to Daniel & Dulcechallenges of LULAC membership, and inducted two new members from ACU, J. Daniel Garcia, university staff, center, seen with Dulce Vidana, to the left of the photo, a sophomore student.

Chapter secretary Anna Vedro announced plans for LULAC Youth, including a meeting tonight at 5:15 at Abilene High School room 129. Vedro reported that this is one of the supposedly "non-curriculum" clubs that are not recognized by the AISD and therefore have to pay rent for a room to meet at school buildings, because of the Board's attempt to disallow a gay-lesbian support group recognition by the schools.

Erasmo explained that the chapter is working with the NAACP on a civil rights action update including new, more-detailed reporting system for violations to city authorities.

Anna reported that the chapter is cooperating with a College Scholarship Seminar chaired by Sammy Garcia, of Garcia Insurance, 400 N. Willis, 677-1900, email - samuel.garcia.g0ko@statefarm.com, a cooperative effort of CAPS (Morris Baker), NAACP (Petty Hunter), and the Hispanic Leadership Council (Veronica Diaz). The seminar will be held at TSTC campus at E. Hwy 80 at T&P Lane on Dec. 17 from 8 to 1.

New members Daniel & Dulce asked what the difference was between LULAC and other Dora Martinez explains LULACgroups, and matriarch Dora Martinez, left, explained the history and vision of the group. Anna explained that some others are more business oriented, whereas LULAC is more confrontational about civil-rights violations.

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