Saturday, December 24, 2005


Barhorst: A PNG Night Before Christmas

Bush is trying to take this country back into a status that would make the rich and powerful of any 3rd world country proud.

Everyone around seems to be doing take-offs of "The Night before Christmas."

Therefore, I dug into the poems and found the Christmas greetings I wrote while teaching in Papua New Guinea. Though based in PNG the theme of the poem is coming true, more and more, here in the States.

In order to understand the poem it would be best if you read the short glossary.


Beetlenut--The nut of the Betel Palm. Widely used in the
South Pacific, by everyone from 9-90. This nut,
when chewed with lime, releases a narcotic and
causes copius amounts of carmine tinted saliva
which its users spit everywhere.

Geckoes--Small Lizards that make a call that sounds like
someone tapping on glass.Waking in the middle of the night to the
sound of someone tapping on the window in a 3rd world country can be
an adrenal experience.

Go-finish--Expatriate teachers usually have a 3 year contract.
In Pidgin, when the contract is complete they are
said to "go finish." They usually sell everything they
can for cash, rather than paying to ship it halfway
round the world.

PMV--Public Motor Vehicle. The Bus/Taxi of PNG. These are
mini-buses, licensed to drive within specific areas and
pick up as many passengers as they can cram in. They
are ill-kept and usually run on a mixture of Diesel, Kerosene,
and used motor oil, to save money.

PNG--Papua New Guinea.

Rascals--Gangs of young unemployed males, who make
their living robbing people.


Waigani-- The main road to from Port Moresby that
bisects the University of Papua New Guinea.

A PNG Night Before Christmas.

Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house
all the geckoes were stirring, but no little mouse.

The stockings were hung on the wash basket's rim,
in hopes that the washer would soon work again.

When out on waigani there rose such a clatter.
A PMV engine, its innards did splatter.

A little old man in a jolly red suit,
climbed down from the cab, gave the fender a boot.

He laughed to the heavens--a hysterical sound--
then sat and chewed beetlenut, glancing around.

My eye he did spy--peeking down from our porch,
and he winked and he grinned and he asked for a torch.

I said it had sold in our go-finish sale,
"I missed it," he cried, and his face did grow pale.

I rushed him a beer, and his cheeks they did glow.
He fingered his nose and he gave it a blow.

Then he raised up his head and gave such a whistle,
eight rascals appeared, with the speed of a missile.

They stole all my money and tied me up right,
while the red-suited man, drank my beer and got tight.

Then flicking a sign at the rascals to go,
he danced toward the dark, stomping hard on my toe.

And I heard his mad cry, as he went out of sight.
"That'll teach you, good shepherd, stay in Christmas night."

May your holidays be creative, your Christmas Merry, and your gifts of friendship many.

Terry D. Barhorst.
Moderator: Lone Star Democrats

Other links:

Media Matters for America.

Common Dreams * Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community.

Buzzflash News.

Latest post to DemLog.


Haiglers take 2 days off, visit son

Abilene, Dec. 24 - Dave & Becky Haigler took the past two days off and visited with their son Justin Haigler, 31, of Euless, Texas.

Dave with chainsawThe Haiglers honored a family tradition dating back to ancestors who lived through the depression by engaging in hard labor with their son, by cutting firewood and picking up pecans in their back yard. Dave, left, demonstrated Justin with chainsawproper chainsaw technique.

Justin, right, showed he could master that sucker as well.

Dave fine-tuning the chainsawIt wasn't long before the chainsaw needed fine-tuning, which Dave, left, demonstrated.

Justin fine-tuning the chainsawJustin, right, did some fine-tuning himself.

Dave splitting a logNext it was log-splitting time for Dave, left, now the patriarch of the Haigler clan since the death of his father, D.J. Haigler, in 2001.

Justin with the axeNot to be outdone by the old man, Justin, right, split a few logs as well.

We will not say who broke the axe.

Meanwhile, Becky, below right, cagily supervised these wild men while pretending to be picking up pecans. She had several boxes of pecans Becky picking up pecansto sort Becky sorting pecansas a result of her labors, left.

Another project that needed doing, while all this firewood cutting and splitting was going on, was to burn out some tree stumps that were in the way of the new fence the Haiglers plan to build.

Dave is seen, below Dave burning a stumpright, trying to burn out a stump.

Haiglers at Perini'sAfter all this work, the Haiglers, left, adjourned to Perini's Ranch Steakhouse for some vittles. Although most normal people pay for their kids' meals, especially when they work, the Haiglers had cultivated the feeling of being privileged to work, so Justin paid for the meal.

Dave & Becky with giftsThey then returned home to open some Christmas presents, right.

Justin with presentsJustin, left, did manage to come out with a few things as well.

The next day, the men indulged another family tradition, an intergenerational racketball game.

Justin hitting racketballJustin is seen, right, hitting the ball.

Dave hitting racketballDave, left, despite being 60 years old, was able to hit the ball a few times as well.

We will not say who won, although elderly finesse usually trumps youthful intergenerational hugvigor, and the contest ended with an intergenerational hug, right.

Justin Haigler is audio-visual director for the Gaylord Texan Hotel-Convention Center Resort in Grapevine, Texas.

Dave & Becky's other children are a daughter Rachel, a teacher in Lubbock; a daughter, Carrie, a contractor in Baton Rouge; and a daughter, Kiersten, a nurse in Houston who is moving to San Antonio next week.


DH: Momentum grows for opposing Alito - Dec. 24

Judge AlitoAbilene - The past 2 weeks have shown growing momentum for opposing President Bush's nomination of Judge Samuel Alito for Associate Justice of the Supreme Court to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. 
As late as Dec. 12, the Washington Post reported that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said no filibuster was planned on the Alito nomination.  Reid's spokesman said such talk was "silly and unhelpful," and Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) agreed. 
However, since that time, disturbing reports have surfaced indicating the nominee's extreme views. 
The Washington post and Reuters report today that Alito once argued the country's top law enforcement official should be immune from legal action for authorizing illegal domestic wiretapping if it was done in the interest of national security, newly released documents show.
Whereas Judge Alito wrote a memo in June 1985 saying the Supreme Court's abortion rights decision, Roe v. Wade,  should be reversed.  This memo came to light in November, with little Democratic reaction to it, but according to Media Matters for America, CNN yesterday highlighted this old news of the abortion memo, while dragging its feet on reporting the new disclosure on the illegal wiretap memo. 
In November, conservative commentators were saying Alito's abortion views were no big deal, comparing them to Chief Justice Rehnquist's views on the Miranda  warnings for criminal suspects -- bad policy but settled law. 
It will be interesting to see whether Alito's views on overlooking illegal wiretaps will draw more opposition than those on reversing constitutional protection for abortion rights. 
Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
lawfirm webpage:
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Friday, December 23, 2005


Capital eye: Money, And The Evil That Roots For More And More

I picked up the figures below from Capital Eye. Jack Abramoff, right, and his donors have been very busy since the Republicans came to power--though those receiving donations weren't all Republicans.

-Terry D. Barhorst Sr.

Recipient -- Total -- PAC -- Indiv -- ToCand -- ToLeadPAC

National Republican Congressional Cmte $478,000 $365,500 $44,500 $0 $0
National Republican Senatorial Cmte $436,500 $152,500 $154,000 $0 $0
Democratic Senatorial Campaign Cmte $423,480 $207,980 $121,500 $0 $0
Democratic Congressional Campaign Cmte $354,700 $261,200 $16,000 $0 $0
Republican National Cmte $326,000 $15,000 $1,000 $0 $0
J. D. Hayworth (R-Ariz) $101,620 $115,500 -$13,880 $18,120 $83,500
Dennis Hastert (R-Ill) $69,000 $61,500 $7,500 $4,500 $64,500
Democratic National Cmte $65,720 $40,000 $720 $0 $0
Thad Cochran (R-Miss) $65,500 $46,000 $19,500 $19,000 $46,500
Conrad Burns (R-Mont) $59,590 $47,590 $12,000 $24,090 $35,500
Richard Pombo (R-Calif) $54,500 $43,500 $11,000 $13,000 $41,500
Jim McCrery (R-La) $52,750 $47,000 $5,750 $7,250 $45,500
2002 President's Dinner Cmte $50,000 $0 $0 $0 $0
John T. Doolittle (R-Calif) $50,000 $27,000 $23,000 $6,000 $44,000
Patrick J. Kennedy (D-RI) $42,500 $42,500 $0 $23,000 $19,500
Patty Murray (D-Wash) $40,980 $32,980 $8,000 $9,980 $31,000
Don Nickles (R-Okla) $40,000 $35,000 $5,000 $0 $40,000
Charles B. Rangel (D-NY) $36,000 $21,000 $15,000 $8,500 $27,500
Dave Camp (R-Mich) $35,500 $29,000 $6,500 $12,000 $23,500
John Boehner (R-Ohio) $32,500 $24,500 $8,000 $0 $32,500
Hal Rogers (R-Ky) $32,000 $29,000 $3,000 $6,000 $26,000
Bob Ney (R-Ohio) $31,500 $20,000 $11,500 $7,000 $24,500
Tom DeLay (R-Texas) $30,500 $2,500 $28,000 $11,500 $19,000
Harry Reid (D-Nev) $30,500 $30,500 $0 $6,000 $24,500
Billy Tauzin (R-La) $30,500 $29,000 $1,500 $10,500 $20,000
Denny Rehberg (R-Mont) $30,000 $28,000 $2,000 $25,000 $5,000
Byron L. Dorgan (D-ND) $28,000 $17,000 $11,000 $10,000 $18,000
Tom Daschle (D-SD) $26,500 $24,500 $2,000 $11,500 $15,000
Charles H. Taylor (R-NC) $25,750 $19,000 $6,750 $25,750 $0
Democratic Party of Michigan $23,000 $23,000 $0 $0 $0
Trent Lott (R-Miss) $22,000 $16,000 $6,000 $1,000 $21,000
Roger Wicker (R-Miss) $21,600 $20,600 $1,000 $9,600 $12,000
Mary Bono (R-Calif) $21,500 $19,000 $2,500 $16,500 $5,000
James M. Inhofe (R-Okla) $21,500 $18,500 $3,000 $12,000 $9,500
Brad R. Carson (D-Okla) $20,600 $17,000 $3,600 $20,600 $0
Pete Sessions (R-Texas) $20,500 $15,500 $5,000 $0 $20,500
Republican Party of New Hampshire $20,000 $20,000 $0 $0 $0
Don Young (R-Alaska) $19,708 $19,708 $0 $5,208 $14,500
Dale E. Kildee (D-Mich) $19,000 $13,500 $5,500 $19,000 $0
Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) $18,500 $13,500 $5,000 $4,500 $14,000
Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md) $17,500 $17,500 $0 $6,500 $11,000
Charles W. "Chip" Pickering Jr. (R-Miss) $17,500 $11,500 $6,000 $17,500 $0
Jack Kingston (R-Ga) $17,000 $16,000 $1,000 $11,000 $6,000
Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) $15,500 $13,500 $2,000 $6,000 $9,500
Jerry Weller (R-Ill) $15,500 $7,000 $8,500 $5,500 $10,000
Democratic Party of Oklahoma $15,000 $15,000 $0 $0 $0
Chris John (D-La) $15,000 $15,000 $0 $8,000 $7,000
Republican Party of Mississippi $15,000 $15,000 $0 $0 $0
Ralph Regula (R-Ohio) $14,500 $11,500 $3,000 $6,000 $8,500
Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) $14,000 $12,000 $2,000 $14,000 $0
John Breaux (D-La) $13,750 $8,750 $5,000 $4,000 $9,750
Frank Pallone, Jr (D-NJ) $13,600 $11,600 $2,000 $13,600 $0
Spencer Abraham (R-Mich) $13,000 $8,000 $5,000 $8,000 $5,000
Eric Cantor (R-Va) $13,000 $0 $13,000 $13,000 $0
Christopher S. 'Kit' Bond (R-Mo) $12,500 $10,000 $2,500 $12,500 $0
Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-Calif) $12,500 $12,500 $0 $4,000 $8,500
Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif) $12,500 $9,500 $3,000 $7,500 $5,000
Gordon H. Smith (R-Ore) $12,500 $10,500 $2,000 $6,500 $6,000
George W. Bush (R) $12,000 $3,000 $9,000 $12,000 $0
Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colo) $12,000 $3,000 $9,000 $12,000 $0
Richard A. Gephardt (D-Mo) $12,000 $11,000 $1,000 $7,000 $5,000
Judd Gregg (R-NH) $12,000 $12,000 $0 $7,000 $5,000
Mary L. Landrieu (D-La) $11,500 $7,000 $4,500 $11,500 $0
Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) $11,500 $10,500 $1,000 $4,000 $7,500
Barney Frank (D-Mass) $11,100 $0 $11,100 $11,100 $0
Max Baucus (D-Mont) $11,000 $11,000 $0 $9,000 $2,000
Tom Petri (R-Wis) $11,000 $11,000 $0 $4,000 $7,000
Chris Cannon (R-Utah) $10,000 $8,000 $2,000 $10,000 $0
Maria Cantwell (D-Wash) $10,000 $10,000 $0 $10,000 $0
Democratic Party of North Dakota $10,000 $5,000 $5,000 $0 $0
John Ensign (R-Nev) $10,000 $5,000 $5,000 $4,000 $6,000
Jerry Lewis (R-Calif) $10,000 $9,000 $1,000 $10,000 $0
John McCain (R-Ariz) $10,000 $7,000 $3,000 $10,000 $0
Nick Rahall (D-WVa) $10,000 $1,000 $9,000 $10,000 $0
Republican Party of Kentucky $10,000 $10,000 $0 $0 $0
Phil Crane (R-Ill) $9,750 $7,000 $2,750 $1,000 $8,750
Democratic Party of South Dakota $9,500 $8,000 $1,500 $0 $0
Democratic Party of Minnesota $9,000 $9,000 $0 $0 $0
Johnny Isakson (R-Ga) $9,000 $5,000 $4,000 $8,000 $1,000
Ron Kind (D-Wis) $9,000 $9,000 $0 $9,000 $0
Michael G. Oxley (R-Ohio) $9,000 $7,000 $2,000 $0 $9,000
Roy Blunt (R-Mo) $8,500 $0 $8,500 $0 $8,500
Peter Deutsch (D-Fla) $8,500 $5,000 $3,500 $3,500 $5,000
George Radanovich (R-Calif) $8,500 $3,500 $5,000 $3,500 $5,000
Bob Smith (R-Fla) $8,160 $2,000 $6,160 $8,160 $0
Joe Baca (D-Calif) $8,000 $5,000 $3,000 $8,000 $0
Dick Durbin (D-Ill) $8,000 $8,000 $0 $2,000 $6,000
Tim Hutchinson (R-Ark) $8,000 $3,000 $5,000 $8,000 $0
Deborah Pryce (R-Ohio) $8,000 $8,000 $0 $0 $8,000
Xavier Becerra (D-Calif) $7,523 $6,523 $1,000 $7,523 $0
Bill Thomas (R-Calif) $7,500 $7,500 $0 $2,000 $5,500
Tim Johnson (D-SD) $7,250 $6,250 $1,000 $7,250 $0
Dan Burton (R-Ind) $7,000 $2,000 $5,000 $5,000 $2,000
Lindsey Graham (R-SC) $7,000 $7,000 $0 $7,000 $0
George R. Nethercutt Jr. (R-Wash) $7,000 $6,000 $1,000 $7,000 $0
Tom Reynolds (R-NY) $7,000 $7,000 $0 $0 $7,000
Craig Thomas (R-Wyo) $7,000 $5,000 $2,000 $5,000 $2,000
Democratic Party of New Mexico $6,250 $1,250 $5,000 $0 $0
John R. Kasich (R-Ohio) $6,067 $6,067 $0 $0 $6,067
Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii) $6,000 $6,000 $0 $6,000 $0
Rick Renzi (R-Ariz) $6,000 $6,000 $0 $6,000 $0
Rick Santorum (R-Pa) $6,000 $6,000 $0 $3,000 $3,000
Arlen Specter (R-Pa) $6,000 $2,000 $4,000 $6,000 $0
Suzanne Terrell (R-La) $6,000 $3,000 $3,000 $6,000 $0
Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga) $5,500 $0 $5,500 $1,000 $4,500
Elton Gallegly (R-Calif) $5,500 $5,500 $0 $5,500 $0
Pete V. Domenici (R-NM) $5,250 $2,500 $2,750 $250 $5,000
David E. Bonior (D-Mich) $5,000 $0 $5,000 $0 $5,000
Tom Cole (R-Okla) $5,000 $5,000 $0 $5,000 $0
Jon S. Corzine (D-NJ) $5,000 $5,000 $0 $0 $5,000
Democratic Party of Montana $5,000 $5,000 $0 $0 $0
Phil English (R-Pa) $5,000 $5,000 $0 $5,000 $0
Mark Foley (R-Fla) $5,000 $3,000 $2,000 $5,000 $0
J. Randy Forbes (R-Va) $5,000 $4,000 $1,000 $5,000 $0
James V. Hansen (R-Utah) $5,000 $4,000 $1,000 $5,000 $0
Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich) $5,000 $5,000 $0 $0 $5,000
Fritz Hollings (D-SC) $5,000 $5,000 $0 $5,000 $0
Jay Inslee (D-Wash) $5,000 $5,000 $0 $5,000 $0
Thomas P. Keefe Jr. (D-Wash) $5,000 $5,000 $0 $5,000 $0
Don Manzullo (R-Ill) $5,000 $3,500 $1,500 $5,000 $0
Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md) $5,000 $5,000 $0 $5,000 $0
Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) $5,000 $5,000 $0 $5,000 $0
Republican Party of New Jersey $5,000 $0 $5,000 $0 $0
Deborah Ann Stabenow (D-Mich) $5,000 $0 $5,000 $5,000 $0
Heather Wilson (R-NM) $5,000 $2,000 $3,000 $5,000 $0
Joe Wilson (R-SC) $5,000 $5,000 $0 $0 $5,000
Tom Davis (R-Va) $4,500 $4,000 $500 $4,500 $0
Van Hilleary (R-Tenn) $4,500 $1,000 $3,500 $4,500 $0
Earl Pomeroy (D-ND) $4,500 $3,500 $1,000 $4,500 $0
Wayne Allard (R-Colo) $4,000 $4,000 $0 $4,000 $0
Shelley Moore Capito (R-WVa) $4,000 $3,000 $1,000 $4,000 $0
Tom Carper (D-Del) $4,000 $2,000 $2,000 $2,000 $2,000
Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) $4,000 $4,000 $0 $4,000 $0
Kent Conrad (D-ND) $4,000 $4,000 $0 $2,000 $2,000
Tom Feeney (R-Fla) $4,000 $3,000 $1,000 $4,000 $0
Chuck Hagel (R-Neb) $4,000 $4,000 $0 $4,000 $0
Robin Hayes (R-NC) $4,000 $0 $4,000 $4,000 $0
Jerry Kleczka (D-Wis) $4,000 $3,000 $1,000 $4,000 $0
Jon L. Kyl (R-Ariz) $4,000 $3,000 $1,000 $1,000 $3,000
Sander Levin (D-Mich) $4,000 $4,000 $0 $4,000 $0
Robert T. Matsui (D-Calif) $4,000 $4,000 $0 $4,000 $0
George Miller (D-Calif) $4,000 $4,000 $0 $4,000 $0
Rob Portman (R-Ohio) $4,000 $2,000 $2,000 $0 $4,000
William V. Roth Jr. (R-Del) $4,000 $2,000 $2,000 $4,000 $0
Larry Craig (R-Idaho) $3,500 $1,500 $2,000 $1,000 $2,500
Kalyn Cherie Free (D-Okla) $3,500 $3,000 $500 $3,500 $0
James L. Oberstar (D-Minn) $3,500 $0 $3,500 $3,500 $0
Charles J. Melancon (D-La) $3,100 $1,000 $2,100 $3,100 $0
George Allen (R-Va) $3,000 $2,000 $1,000 $3,000 $0
Ann Womer Benjamin (R-Ohio) $3,000 $3,000 $0 $3,000 $0
Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) $3,000 $2,000 $1,000 $3,000 $0
Jack A. Blossman Jr. (R-La) $3,000 $2,000 $1,000 $3,000 $0
Norm Coleman (R-Minn) $3,000 $3,000 $0 $3,000 $0
Cal Dooley (D-Calif) $3,000 $3,000 $0 $3,000 $0
Tom Foley (I-Minn) $3,000 $3,000 $0 $3,000 $0
Sam Graves (R-Mo) $3,000 $3,000 $0 $3,000 $0
Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) $3,000 $3,000 $0 $3,000 $0
Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz) $3,000 $1,000 $2,000 $3,000 $0
John B. Larson (D-Conn) $3,000 $3,000 $0 $3,000 $0
Bill McCollum (R-Fla) $3,000 $2,000 $1,000 $3,000 $0
Jim Nussle (R-Iowa) $3,000 $2,000 $1,000 $3,000 $0
David R. Obey (D-Wis) $3,000 $3,000 $0 $3,000 $0
Doug Ose (R-Calif) $3,000 $2,000 $1,000 $3,000 $0
Ed Pastor (D-Ariz) $3,000 $3,000 $0 $3,000 $0
Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) $3,000 $1,000 $2,000 $3,000 $0
Richard M. Romero (D-NM) $3,000 $0 $3,000 $3,000 $0
Brad Sherman (D-Calif) $3,000 $1,000 $2,000 $3,000 $0
John E. Sununu (R-NH) $3,000 $3,000 $0 $0 $3,000
James M. Talent (R-Mo) $3,000 $1,000 $2,000 $3,000 $0
Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss) $3,000 $3,000 $0 $3,000 $0
J. C. Watts Jr. (R-Okla) $3,000 $2,500 $500 $0 $3,000
Max Cleland (D-Ga) $2,500 $0 $2,500 $2,500 $0
Frank D. Lucas (R-Okla) $2,500 $2,500 $0 $2,500 $0
Grace Napolitano (D-Calif) $2,500 $2,500 $0 $2,500 $0
Republican Party of Oklahoma $2,500 $1,500 $1,000 $0 $0
Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif) $2,500 $2,500 $0 $2,500 $0
Bill Luther (D-Minn) $2,250 $2,250 $0 $2,250 $0
Rob Simmons (R-Conn) $2,250 $0 $2,250 $2,250 $0
Gene Taylor (D-Miss) $2,250 $0 $2,250 $2,250 $0
Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii) $2,000 $2,000 $0 $2,000 $0
Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn) $2,000 $0 $2,000 $2,000 $0
Rodney Alexander (R-La) $2,000 $0 $2,000 $2,000 $0
John Ashcroft (R-Mo) $2,000 $0 $2,000 $2,000 $0
Ken Bentsen (D-Texas) $2,000 $2,000 $0 $2,000 $0
Dan Boren (D-Okla) $2,000 $2,000 $0 $2,000 $0
Charles W. Boustany Jr (R-La) $2,000 $2,000 $0 $2,000 $0
Tom Coburn (R-Okla) $2,000 $2,000 $0 $2,000 $0
Mac Collins (R-Ga) $2,000 $0 $2,000 $2,000 $0
Rosa L. DeLauro (D-Conn) $2,000 $2,000 $0 $0 $2,000
John D. Dingell (D-Mich) $2,000 $2,000 $0 $2,000 $0
Doug Dodd (D-Okla) $2,000 $2,000 $0 $2,000 $0
Ned Doucet (D-La) $2,000 $2,000 $0 $2,000 $0
Lane Evans (D-Ill) $2,000 $2,000 $0 $2,000 $0
Sam Farr (D-Calif) $2,000 $2,000 $0 $2,000 $0
Mike Ferguson (R-NJ) $2,000 $0 $2,000 $2,000 $0
Bill Frist (R-Tenn) $2,000 $2,000 $0 $0 $2,000
William L. Gormley (R-NJ) $2,000 $0 $2,000 $2,000 $0
Kay Granger (R-Texas) $2,000 $2,000 $0 $1,000 $1,000
Stewart Greenleaf (R-Pa) $2,000 $2,000 $0 $2,000 $0
Katherine Harris (R-Fla) $2,000 $2,000 $0 $2,000 $0
Melissa Hart (R-Pa) $2,000 $2,000 $0 $2,000 $0
Sam Johnson (R-Texas) $2,000 $2,000 $0 $2,000 $0
Walter B. Jones Jr. (R-NC) $2,000 $1,000 $1,000 $2,000 $0
Ric Keller (R-Fla) $2,000 $0 $2,000 $2,000 $0
John Neely Kennedy (D-La) $2,000 $2,000 $0 $2,000 $0
Carl Levin (D-Mich) $2,000 $2,000 $0 $2,000 $0
Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark) $2,000 $2,000 $0 $2,000 $0
Nita M. Lowey (D-NY) $2,000 $2,000 $0 $1,000 $1,000
Robert Menendez (D-NJ) $2,000 $1,000 $1,000 $1,000 $1,000
John L. Mica (R-Fla) $2,000 $2,000 $0 $2,000 $0
Connie Morella (R-Md) $2,000 $0 $2,000 $2,000 $0
C. L. "Butch" Otter (R-Idaho) $2,000 $0 $2,000 $2,000 $0
Republican Party of Oregon $2,000 $2,000 $0 $0 $0
James E. Rogan (R-Calif) $2,000 $2,000 $0 $0 $2,000
Craig F. Romero (R-La) $2,000 $1,000 $1,000 $2,000 $0
Adam Schiff (D-Calif) $2,000 $2,000 $0 $2,000 $0
Ronnie Shows (D-Miss) $2,000 $2,000 $0 $2,000 $0
Adam Smith (D-Wash) $2,000 $2,000 $0 $2,000 $0
John Sullivan (R-Okla) $2,000 $2,000 $0 $2,000 $0
John E. Sweeney (R-NY) $2,000 $2,000 $0 $2,000 $0
Ellen O. Tauscher (D-Calif) $2,000 $2,000 $0 $2,000 $0
Billy Tauzin III (R-La) $2,000 $2,000 $0 $2,000 $0
Mike Thompson (D-Calif) $2,000 $2,000 $0 $2,000 $0
John Thune (R-SD) $2,000 $0 $2,000 $2,000 $0
Patrick J. Tiberi (R-Ohio) $2,000 $2,000 $0 $2,000 $0
Maxine Waters (D-Calif) $2,000 $2,000 $0 $2,000 $0
Curt Weldon (R-Pa) $2,000 $1,000 $1,000 $2,000 $0
Peter DeFazio (D-Ore) $1,500 $1,500 $0 $1,500 $0
Norm Dicks (D-Wash) $1,500 $1,500 $0 $1,500 $0
Jennifer Dunn (R-Wash) $1,500 $1,500 $0 $1,500 $0
Elia Vincent Pirozzi (R-Calif) $1,500 $1,000 $500 $1,500 $0
John Kerry (D-Mass) $1,400 $0 $1,400 $1,400 $0
Henry Bonilla (R-Texas) $1,250 $1,250 $0 $1,250 $0
Rick A. Lazio (R-NY) $1,250 $1,000 $250 $1,250 $0
Helen Delich Bentley (R-Md) $1,000 $1,000 $0 $1,000 $0
Barbara Boxer (D-Calif) $1,000 $0 $1,000 $1,000 $0
Sam Brownback (R-Kan) $1,000 $1,000 $0 $1,000 $0
Jim Bunning (R-Ky) $1,000 $0 $1,000 $1,000 $0
Ken Calvert (R-Calif) $1,000 $1,000 $0 $1,000 $0
Dennis Cardoza (D-Calif) $1,000 $0 $1,000 $1,000 $0
Rick Clayburgh (R-ND) $1,000 $1,000 $0 $1,000 $0
Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) $1,000 $1,000 $0 $1,000 $0
John Cornyn (R-Texas) $1,000 $0 $1,000 $1,000 $0
Jim Costa (D-Calif) $1,000 $0 $1,000 $1,000 $0
Ander Crenshaw (R-Fla) $1,000 $1,000 $0 $1,000 $0
Susan A. Davis (D-Calif) $1,000 $1,000 $0 $1,000 $0
Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) $1,000 $1,000 $0 $1,000 $0
Elizabeth Dole (R-NC) $1,000 $0 $1,000 $1,000 $0
John J. "Jimmy" Duncan Jr. (R-Tenn) $1,000 $1,000 $0 $1,000 $0
Eliot L. Engel (D-NY) $1,000 $1,000 $0 $1,000 $0
Mike Enzi (R-Wyo) $1,000 $0 $1,000 $1,000 $0
Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif) $1,000 $1,000 $0 $1,000 $0
Lee Fletcher (R-La) $1,000 $1,000 $0 $1,000 $0
Ernie Fletcher (R-Ky) $1,000 $1,000 $0 $1,000 $0
Francis E. Flotron (R-Mo) $1,000 $0 $1,000 $1,000 $0
Scott Garrett (R-NJ) $1,000 $0 $1,000 $1,000 $0
George W. Gekas (R-Pa) $1,000 $1,000 $0 $1,000 $0
Carolyn W. Grant (R-NC) $1,000 $0 $1,000 $1,000 $0
Felix J. Grucci Jr. (R-NY) $1,000 $1,000 $0 $1,000 $0
Sydney Hay (R-Ariz) $1,000 $1,000 $0 $1,000 $0
Tim Holden (D-Pa) $1,000 $1,000 $0 $1,000 $0
Claude B. Hutchison Jr. (R-Calif) $1,000 $0 $1,000 $1,000 $0
Ernest J. Istook (R-Okla) $1,000 $0 $1,000 $1,000 $0
Kimo Kaloi (R-Hawaii) $1,000 $0 $1,000 $1,000 $0
Catherine Heller Keating (R-Okla) $1,000 $0 $1,000 $1,000 $0
Mark Kennedy (R-Minn) $1,000 $1,000 $0 $1,000 $0
John Koster (R-Wash) $1,000 $1,000 $0 $1,000 $0
Patrick Leahy (D-Vt) $1,000 $1,000 $0 $1,000 $0
Joe Lieberman (D-Conn) $1,000 $1,000 $0 $1,000 $0
John Linder (R-Ga) $1,000 $1,000 $0 $1,000 $0
Jim Maloney (D-Conn) $1,000 $500 $500 $1,000 $0
Dick Monteith (R-Calif) $1,000 $1,000 $0 $1,000 $0
Marilyn Musgrave (R-Colo) $1,000 $0 $1,000 $1,000 $0
Anne M. Northup (R-Ky) $1,000 $1,000 $0 $1,000 $0
Rico Oller (R-Calif) $1,000 $1,000 $0 $1,000 $0
David Phelps (D-Ill) $1,000 $1,000 $0 $1,000 $0
Bill Redmond (R-NM) $1,000 $0 $1,000 $1,000 $0
Republican Party of Wisconsin $1,000 $1,000 $0 $0 $0
Bob Riley (R-Ala) $1,000 $0 $1,000 $1,000 $0
Charles S. Robb (D-Va) $1,000 $1,000 $0 $1,000 $0
Jim Saxton (R-NJ) $1,000 $3,000 -$2,000 $1,000 $0
Brian David Schweitzer (D-Mont) $1,000 $1,000 $0 $1,000 $0
Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala) $1,000 $0 $1,000 $1,000 $0
Bill Shuster (R-Pa) $1,000 $1,000 $0 $1,000 $0
Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) $1,000 $0 $1,000 $1,000 $0
Pete Stark (D-Calif) $1,000 $1,000 $0 $1,000 $0
Pat Toomey (R-Pa) $1,000 $1,000 $0 $1,000 $0
Gloria Tristani (D-NM) $1,000 $0 $1,000 $1,000 $0
Michael R. Turner (R-Ohio) $1,000 $1,000 $0 $1,000 $0
John W. Warner (R-Va) $1,000 $1,000 $0 $1,000 $0
Derrick B. Watchman (D-Ariz) $1,000 $1,000 $0 $1,000 $0
Rick Weiland (D-SD) $1,000 $1,000 $0 $1,000 $0
Paul Wellstone (D-Minn) $1,000 $1,000 $0 $1,000 $0
Ron Wyden (D-Ore) $1,000 $1,000 $0 $1,000 $0
C. W. Bill Young (R-Fla) $1,000 $1,000 $0 $1,000 $0
Paul Ryan (R-Wis) $949 $0 $949 $949 $0
Joe Pitts (R-Pa) $894 $0 $894 $894 $0
Bob Borski (D-Pa) $720 $0 $720 $720 $0
Shelley Berkley (D-Nev) $500 $0 $500 $500 $0
Howard L. Berman (D-Calif) $500 $500 $0 $500 $0
Ginny Brown-Waite (R-Fla) $500 $500 $0 $500 $0
Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) $500 $0 $500 $500 $0
Democratic Party of Washington $500 $0 $500 $0 $0
Bob Ehrlich (R-Md) $500 $0 $500 $500 $0
Mark Emerson (R-Utah) $500 $0 $500 $500 $0
Charles R. Gerow (R-Pa) $500 $0 $500 $500 $0
Phil Gingrey (R-Ga) $500 $0 $500 $500 $0
Kirk Humphreys (R-Okla) $500 $0 $500 $500 $0
Barbara Lee (D-Calif) $500 $500 $0 $500 $0
Devin Nunes (R-Calif) $500 $500 $0 $500 $0
Adam H. Putnam (R-Fla) $500 $500 $0 $500 $0
Ed Royce (R-Calif) $500 $0 $500 $500 $0
Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif) $500 $500 $0 $500 $0
Tom Young (R-Ala) $500 $0 $500 $500 $0
Bill Janklow (R-SD) $250 $0 $250 $250 $0
Grand Total $4,434,761 $2,821,998 $858,263 $1,129,544 $1,037,067

*Data for the current election cycle were released electronically by the Federal Election Commission on October 31, 2005. Figures include contributions to federal candidates, PACs and party committees.

Other links:

Media Matters for America.

Common Dreams * Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community.

Buzzflash News.

Latest post to DemLog.


WaPo: House cuts Patriot Act extension to one month - Dec. 23

House Action Overcomes Senate's Longer Reprieve

By Jonathan Weisman, Washington Post Staff Writer - Friday, Page A01

The House balked yesterday at a Senate plan to extend the USA Patriot Act by six months to give Congress and President Bush more time to work out their differences, instead forcing the Senate and the administration to accept a one-month extension.

At the same time, the House approved a $460 billion defense bill that was shorn of a provision promoted by Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) that would have opened Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. But it put off until next year final agreement on a major budget measure that would trim federal spending by nearly $40 billion over five years.

House Judiciary Committee Chair James SensenbrennerHouse Judiciary Committee Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., left, (R-Wis.) refused to go along with the Senate's 6-month extension yesterday. He demanded that the House pass an extension only through Feb. 3, forcing a few senators to return to the Capitol last night to give the Senate's consent.

"The fact is that a six-month extension, in my opinion, would have simply allowed the Senate to duck the issue until the last week in June," said Sensenbrenner, who had largely prevailed in negotiations with the Senate on a new version of the anti-terrorism law, only to see the compromise blocked by a Senate filibuster. "Now they came pretty close to wrecking everybody's Christmas. I didn't want to put the entire Congress in the position of them wrecking everybody's Independence Day."

Full Washington Post story.

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

Thursday, December 22, 2005


AP: Rumsfeld to cut Iraq troop levels

By ROBERT BURNS - 39 minutes ago

U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, left, walks with Gen. George Casey,  the top U.S. officer in Iraq, after arriving by transport plane in Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, Dec. 22, 2005. Rumsfeld flew unannounced to Iraq Thursday to meet with American battlefield commanders and soldiers amid increasing signs the Bush administration is planning new troop cuts.   (AP Photo/Jim Young, Pool)BAGHDAD, Iraq - Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, with Gen. George Casey,  the top U.S. officer in Iraq, right, on an unannounced holiday season visit, hinted on Thursday that the U.S. military soon will begin a modest, additional reduction in troop levels by canceling the scheduled deployment of two Army brigades.

The decision would be the first Pentagon move to drop the American troop presence below the 138,000 level that had been considered a baseline prior to the temporary addition of about 20,000 troops to provide extra security during the Oct. 15 referendum and the Dec. 15 election. Rumsfeld had previously said those 20,000 would be leaving soon.

Full AP-Yahoo News story.

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


AFP: Soldier patrols Kirkuk - Dec. 22

Soldier patrols KirkukKirkuk, Iraq (AFP) -- A US
soldier patrols at sunset
in a neighborhood on the
outskirts of the northern
Iraqi city of Kirkuk.
(AFP/Filippo Monteforte)
Dave Haigler,
Abilene, Texas
lawfirm webpage:
political blog:


Slate-Papers: Senate deals Bush 2 setbacks - Dec. 22

By Eric Umansky, Posted Thursday, at 3:29 AM ET

Bush pitching Patriot Act yesterdayThe Los Angeles Times and USA Today lead with the Senate, in a setback for the administration of President Bush, left, agreeing to extend the Patriot Act for six months while negotiations continue on adding civil liberties protections. The New York Times (national edition), Wall Street Journal's world-wide newsbox, and Washington Post lead with the Senate narrowly turning down an administration-backed effort to open ANWR to drilling, while the GOP barely eked out a win on a $40 billion budget-cut bill. Five Republicans opposed the cuts, which targeted student loans, Medicaid, and Medicare and will take place over five years. Vice President Cheney cast the swing vote.

Though most of the papers play the Patriot deal as a compromise, that seems more the press release version than reality. The LAT doesn't play along, saying right up top that the deal was "a major setback for the White House."

[DemLog blogged these two White House setbacks last night, the Alaska-drilling setback here, and the Patriot Act short extension here.] 

The Patriot Act had been set to expire in a few weeks. The White House had opposed any short-term extension, instead insisting that Congress accept a mostly permanent version of the law sans extra protections (otherwise, GOP leaders said, the Act dies). But Dems and a handful of Republican allies had enough votes to filibuster the White House's bill. The filibuster crew ended up agreeing to a small compromise—a six-month extension for the Act rather than the three months initially proposed. Nevertheless, the White House was presented with a fait accompli.  

The NYT and WP front a conservative federal appeals court issuing a smackdown to the White House, refusing to grant the administration's request that "enemy combatant" Jose PadillaJose Padilla, right, be moved into the civilian court system. The court said the switch can't happen until at least the Supreme Court hears the case. The White House had tried to move Padilla out of the brig just days before the Supreme Court had been set to hear his case, which would have been—and still may be—a constitutional showdown in which the administration does not appear likely to come out ahead. Yesterday the court—the same one that had concluded the government has the power to hold Padilla indefinitely—wrote that the White House's attempt to move him gives "rise to at least an appearance that the purpose of these actions may be to avoid consideration of our decision by the Supreme Court."

Everybody mentions that Saddam Hussein charged in court yesterday that he's been tortured by GIs. "I have been beaten on every part of my body, and the marks are still all over me," said Hussein. He didn't exactly show the evidence. A top U.S. official at the trial said "any allegation, no matter how suspect" will be investigated.  [DemLog blogged this story at 11:46 a.m. yesterday.]

The NYT goes inside with some officials at the National Security Agency squirming uncomfortably about the apparently limited domestic snooping ordered by the president and carried out by, of course, the National Security Agency. The officials—who go unquoted—seem to be perplexed about why the administration didn't seek special national security FISA warrants. They also offered more details about the program. From the Times:

After all, officials who have been granted anonymity in describing the program because it is classified say the agency's recent domestic eavesdropping is focused on a limited group of people. Americans come to the program's attention only if they have received a call or e-mail message from a person overseas who is already suspected to be a member of certain terrorist groups or linked somehow to a member of such groups. And the agency still gets a warrant to intercept their calls or e-mail messages to other people in the United States.

U.S. Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, head of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, expects officials from NSA and the Justice Department to explain the warrantless spying.The Post says on Page One that Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, left, the judge in charge of the FISA national security court is "arranging" a meeting between her fellow judges and the administration in order to, as the Post puts it, address the judges' "concerns about the legality" of the snooping. "The questions are obvious," said one judge. "What have you been doing, and how might it affect the reliability and credibility of the information we're getting in our court?" On Monday, one of the 10 FISA judges resigned in protest.

The Post actually mentions after the fold that the White House did give the chief FISA judge at the time a heads-up when it started the program. But that has not exactly placated the other judges. "The president at first said he didn't want to talk about it," said one. "Now he says, 'You're darn right I did it, and it's completely legal.' I gather he's got lawyers telling him this is legal. I want to hear those arguments."

Eric Umansky (www.ericumansky.com) writes "Today's Papers" for Slate. He can be reached at todayspapers@slate.com.  Source: Slate Magazine.
Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
lawfirm webpage: www.haigler.info
political blog: http://demlog.blogspot.com

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


AP: Senate defeats Alaska drilling - Dec. 21

By H. JOSEF HEBERT, Associated Press Writer - 16 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - The Senate blocked opening the nation's largest untapped oil reserve in an Alaska wildlife refuge Wednesday, denying President Bush his top energy priority and delivering a victory to environmentalists who said drilling would threaten wildlife.

Sen. Ted StevensIt was a stinging defeat for Sen. Ted Stevens, left, (news, bio, voting record), R-Alaska, one of the Senate's most powerful members, who had hoped to garner more votes by putting the measure onto a defense spending bill. That forced senators to choose between supporting the drilling measure, or risking the political fallout from voting against money for the troops and hurricane victims.

Full AP-Yahoo News story.

Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
lawfirm webpage:


If those links don't work, try our political blog:


AP: Senate passes 6-month Patriot Act extension

By JESSE J. HOLLAND, Associated Press Writer - 16 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - The Senate neared passage of a six-month extension of the USA Patriot Act Wednesday night, hoping to avoid the expiration of law enforcement powers deemed vital to the war on terror.

It is unclear when the House would act on the bill.

The agreement capped several days of backroom negotiation conducted against the backdrop of presidential attacks on critics of the legislation. The Patriot Act provisions will expire Dec. 31 if the House and Senate do not act.

The extension gives critics -- who successfully filibustered a House-Senate compromise that would have made most of the law permanent -- more time to seek civil liberty safeguards in the law. Democrats and their allies had originally asked for a three-month extension, and the Senate's Republican majority had offered a one-year extension. The final deal split the difference.

Senators Sununu, center, Schumer, left, and Leahy, right"For a lot of reasons, it made the most sense, given that there are significant differences that remain," said GOP Sen. John Sununu, center right (with Sen. Schumer, left, and Sen. Leahy, right), (news, bio, voting record) of New Hampshire, one of a small group of Republicans who joined with Senate Democrats to filibuster a House-Senate compromise.

"I think this is a reasonable conclusion," said Sen. Patrick Leahy (news, bio, voting record) of Vermont, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The bill's critics gained momentum Wednesday when they released a letter crafted by Sununu and Sen. Charles Schumer (news, bio, voting record), D-N.Y., showing they had 52 senators agreeing to support a three-month extension.

"This is the right thing to do for the country," Schumer said after the deal had been announced. "To let the Patriot Act lapse would have been a dereliction of duty."

President Bush, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Republican congressional leaders have lobbied fiercely to get the House-Senate compromise passed, and issued dire warnings of what would happen if the Patriot Act expires.

Source: AP-Yahoo News.

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


MMfA: O'Reilly says we're morons

Bill O'Reilly, left: "[Y]ou're a moron ... [i]f you don't believe" the "secular progressive movement" is behind "war" on Christmas

During the December 19 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, The Radio Factor, Bill O'Reilly continued to warn of "a concentrated effort by the secular progressive movement to diminish any kind of spirituality in the public marketplace," a movement he has previously claimed is behind the so-called "war" on Christmas. O'Reilly feels this "war" is part of a broader agenda to enact "secular progressive programs like legalization of narcotics, euthanasia, abortion at will, gay marriage." He further asserted that "secular progressives made great inroads over the past five years" and "if you don't believe that ... you're a moron." According to O'Reilly: "I have proven it [the existence of the secular progressive movement], and others have proven it over and over and over again."

Full Media Matters for America story.

D.H.: I could tell O'Reilly a thing or two about real religious persecution in some places in the world, but thank God very few of us in this country know anything firsthand about that.

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


AP: Saddam claims bruises all over his body from jail beatings

By MARIAM FAM, Associated Press Writer - 2 minutes ago

Saddam Hussein speaks at his trial in Baghdad Wednesday Dec. 21, 2005. Saddam and seven co-defendants are on trial in the deaths of more than 140 Shiites following a 1982 assassination attempt against him in the town of Dujail, north of Baghdad. (AP Photo/Bob Strong, Pool)BAGHDAD, Iraq - Saddam Hussein, right, launched into an extended outburst at his trial Wednesday, alleging he had been beaten and tortured by his Americans captors while in detention after a witness testified that his agents had tortured people by ripping off their skin.

Chief prosecutor Jaafar al-Mousawi said he would investigate and that if American-led multinational forces were abusing the former Iraqi leader, he would be transferred to the custody of Iraqi troops.

"I want to say here, yes, we have been beaten by the Americans and we have been tortured," Saddam said, before gesturing to his seven co-defendants around him, "one by one."

After sitting quietly through several hours of testimony, Saddam said he'd been beaten "everywhere on my body. The marks are still there."

Full AP-Yahoo News story.

D.H.: I think the last thing Saddam wants is to be in the custody of Iraqi troops.  Maybe he'd find out how it feels to have a few fingernails or toenails or other body parts removed.

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


AP: Cheney breaks tie vote on budget cuts

By ANDREW TAYLOR, Associated Press Writer - 4 minutes ago

Vice President Dick Cheney arrives at his office on the Senate side of Capitol Hill,  Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2005. With close votes expected on legislation to cut the deficit and allow oil drilling on a national wildlife refuge in Alaska, Cheney was called back to Washington from his overseas trip. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke)WASHINGTON - The Republican-controlled Senate passed legislation to cut federal deficits by $39.7 billion on Wednesday by the narrowest of margins, 51-50, with Vice President Dick Cheney (left) casting the deciding vote.

The measure, the product of a year's labors by the White House and the GOP in Congress, imposes the first restraints in nearly a decade in federal benefit programs such as Medicaid, Medicare and student loans.

"This is the one vote you'll have this year to reduce the rate of growth of the federal government," said Sen. Judd Gregg (news, bio, voting record), R-N.H., chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, in a final plea for passage.

Sen. ReidBut Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, right, countered that the GOP was advancing "an ideologically driven, extreme, radical budget. It caters to lobbyists and an elite group of ultraconservative ideologues here in Washington, all at the expense of middle class Americans," he said.

The roll call delivered less than the final victory Republicans had hoped for.  In maneuvering in advance of the final vote, Democrats succeeded in forcing minor changes.

That requires the House to vote on the bill before it can be sent to President Bush for his signature. Passage is all but certain, but the timing remains in question, since most House members have returned home for the holidays.

The vote came on the first of two major measures facing tests in the Senate during the day.  On the second, Republicans maneuvered to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. Democrats opposed that measure with a filibuster, and Republicans scrambled for the 60 votes needed to prevail.

Full AP-Yahoo News story.

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


AP: Senate poised for budget showdown - Dec. 21

By ANDREW TAYLOR, Associated Press Writer 2 hours, 29 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - Senate Republicans expressed optimism as legislation to curb the budget deficit by shaving benefit programs will move toward a crucial vote.

Cheney, right, with wife LynneVice President Dick Cheney, right with his wife Lynne, rushed home from the Middle East to be on hand to cast a potential tie-breaking vote on the centerpiece of the GOP's budget agenda — a $39.7 billion bill cutting federal benefit programs like Medicare and Medicaid for the first time in eight years.

But with lawmakers increasingly eager to adjourn for the holidays, another bill funding the Pentagon and rushing new relief to the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast faced a less certain future Wednesday because of a plan to allow oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.  Its passage was not assured as Democrats dug in for a filibuster and Republicans scratched for the 60 votes needed to prevail.

Full AP-Yahoo News story.

Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
lawfirm webpage: www.haigler.info
If those links don't work, try: http://demlog.blogspot.com.


AFP: Secret Afghan prisons exposed - Dec. 21

KABUL (AFP) - Afghanistan's main rights group demanded the United States come clean about reported secret detention centres in the country while an Afghan official played down the existence of such facilities.

Rumsfeld, left, with Karzai, this morningUS Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, left, was asked about the allegations at a media briefing in Kabul Wednesday with President Hamid Karzai, right, who, after translating the question for him, said: "I am sure you don't have them, say you don't have them."

"If I had, then they would be secret," Rumsfeld replied.

New York-based Human Rights Watch, citing inmates as sources, said in a report this week that the United States operated a secret prison near the capital Kabul where detainees were abused and tortured as recently as 2004.

The watchdog's Asia research director Sam Zarifi told AFP at the weekend that US forces were indefinitely detaining and mistreating people without charge at various undisclosed bases around the country.

Full AFP-Yahoo News story.

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


WaPo: Spy Court Judge Quits In Protest - Dec. 21

Jurist Concerned That Bush Order Tainted Work of Secret Panel

By Carol D. Leonnig and Dafna Linzer - Washington Post Staff Writers - Wednesday, Page A01

A federal judge has resigned from the court that oversees government surveillance in intelligence cases in protest of President Bush's secret authorization of a domestic spying program, according to two sources.

James Robertson sent his resignation to the chief justice.U.S. District Judge James Robertson, left, one of 11 members of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, sent a letter to Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. late Monday notifying him of his resignation without providing an explanation.

Two associates familiar with his decision said yesterday that Robertson privately expressed deep concern that the warrantless surveillance program authorized by the president in 2001 was legally questionable and may have tainted the FISA court's work.

Robertson, who was appointed to the federal bench in Washington by President Bill Clinton in 1994 and was later selected by then-Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist to serve on the FISA court, declined to comment when reached at his office late yesterday.

Word of Robertson's resignation came as two Senate Republicans joined the call for congressional investigations into the National Security Agency's warrantless interception of telephone calls and e-mails to overseas locations by U.S. citizens suspected of links to terrorist groups. They questioned the legality of the operation and the extent to which the White House kept Congress informed.

Sens. Chuck Hagel (Neb.) and Olympia J. Snowe (Maine) echoed concerns raised by Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who has promised hearings in the new year.

Hagel and Snowe joined Democrats Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), Carl M. Levin (Mich.) and Ron Wyden (Ore.) in calling for a joint investigation by the Senate judiciary and intelligence panels into the classified program.

The hearings would occur at the start of a midterm election year during which the prosecution of the Iraq war could figure prominently in House and Senate races.

Not all Republicans agreed with the need for hearings and backed White House assertions that the program is a vital tool in the war against al Qaeda.

"I am personally comfortable with everything I know about it," Acting House Majority Leader Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) said in a phone interview.

At the White House, spokesman Scott McClellan was asked to explain why Bush last year said, "Any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so." McClellan said the quote referred only to the USA Patriot Act.

Revelation of the program last week by the New York Times also spurred considerable debate among federal judges, including some who serve on the secret FISA court. For more than a quarter-century, that court had been seen as the only body that could legally authorize secret surveillance of espionage and terrorism suspects, and only when the Justice Department could show probable cause that its targets were foreign governments or their agents.

Robertson indicated privately to colleagues in recent conversations that he was concerned that information gained from warrantless NSA surveillance could have then been used to obtain FISA warrants. FISA court Presiding Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, who had been briefed on the spying program by the administration, raised the same concern in 2004 and insisted that the Justice Department certify in writing that it was not occurring.

"They just don't know if the product of wiretaps were used for FISA warrants -- to kind of cleanse the information," said one source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the classified nature of the FISA warrants. "What I've heard some of the judges say is they feel they've participated in a Potemkin court."

Robertson is considered a liberal judge who has often ruled against the Bush administration's assertions of broad powers in the terrorism fight, most notably in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld . Robertson held in that case that the Pentagon's military commissions for prosecuting terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, were illegal and stacked against the detainees.

Some FISA judges said they were saddened by the news of Robertson's resignation and want to hear more about the president's program.

"I guess that's a decision he's made and I respect him," said Judge George P. Kazen, another FISA judge. "But it's just too quick for me to say I've got it all figured out."

Bush said Monday that the White House briefed Congress more than a dozen times. But those briefings were conducted with only a handful of lawmakers who were sworn to secrecy and prevented from discussing the matter with anyone or from seeking outside legal opinions.

Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.) revealed Monday that he had written to Vice President Cheney the day he was first briefed on the program in July 2003, raising serious concerns about the surveillance effort. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she also expressed concerns in a letter to Cheney, which she did not make public.

The chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), issued a public rebuke of Rockefeller for making his letter public.

McCain with reporters yesterdayIn response to a question about the letter, Sen. John McCain, right, (R-Ariz.) suggested that Rockefeller should have done more if he was seriously concerned. "If I thought someone was breaking the law, I don't care if it was classified or unclassified, I would stand up and say 'the law's being broken here.' "

But Rockefeller said the secrecy surrounding the briefings left him with no other choice. "I made my concerns known to the vice president and to others who were briefed," Rockefeller said. "The White House never addressed my concerns."

Staff writers Jonathan Weisman and Charles Babington and researcher Julie Tate contributed to this report.  Source:  Washington Post.

Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
lawfirm webpage: www.haigler.info
political blog: http://demlog.blogspot.com
325 677-4343
or D@Haigler.Info

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


NYT: Bush anti-terrorism spying includes liberal enemies list like Vegans & PETA

WASHINGTON - Counterterrorism agents at the Federal Bureau of Investigation have conducted numerous surveillance and intelligence-gathering operations that involved, at least indirectly, groups active in causes as diverse as the environment, animal cruelty and poverty relief, newly disclosed agency records show.

F.B.I. officials said Monday that their investigators had no interest in monitoring political or social activities and that any investigations that touched on advocacy groups were driven by evidence of criminal or violent activity at public protests and in other settings.

AshcroftAfter the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, John Ashcroft, who was then attorney general (shown at left in July 2004 defending the Patriot Act), loosened restrictions on the F.B.I.'s investigative powers, giving the bureau greater ability to visit and monitor Web sites, mosques and other public entities in developing terrorism leads. The bureau has used that authority to investigate not only groups with suspected ties to foreign terrorists, but also protest groups suspected of having links to violent or disruptive activities.

But the documents, coming after the Bush administration's confirmation that President Bush had authorized some spying without warrants in fighting terrorism, prompted charges from civil rights advocates that the government had improperly blurred the line between terrorism and acts of civil disobedience and lawful protest.

One F.B.I. document indicates that agents in Indianapolis planned to conduct surveillance as part of a "Vegan Community Project." Another document talks of the Catholic Workers group's "semi-communistic ideology." A third indicates the bureau's interest in determining the location of a protest over llama fur planned by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

The documents, provided to The New York Times over the past week, came as part of a series of Freedom of Information Act lawsuits brought by the American Civil Liberties Union. For more than a year, the A.C.L.U. has been seeking access to information in F.B.I. files on about 150 protest and social groups that it says may have been improperly monitored.

The F.B.I. had previously turned over a small number of documents on antiwar groups, showing the agency's interest in investigating possible anarchist or violent links in connection with antiwar protests and demonstrations in advance of the 2004 political conventions. And earlier this month, the A.C.L.U.'s Colorado chapter released similar documents involving, among other things, people protesting logging practices at a lumber industry gathering in 2002.

The latest batch of documents, parts of which the A.C.L.U. plans to release publicly on Tuesday, totals more than 2,300 pages and centers on references in internal files to a handful of groups, including PETA, the environmental group Greenpeace and the Catholic Workers group, which promotes antipoverty efforts and social causes.

Many of the investigative documents turned over by the bureau are heavily edited, making it difficult or impossible to determine the full context of the references and why the F.B.I. may have been discussing events like a PETA protest. F.B.I. officials say many of the references may be much more benign than they seem to civil rights advocates, adding that the documents offer an incomplete and sometimes misleading snapshot of the bureau's activities.

"Just being referenced in an F.B.I. file is not tantamount to being the subject of an investigation," said John Miller, a spokesman for the bureau.

"The F.B.I. does not target individuals or organizations for investigation based on their political beliefs," Mr. Miller said. "Everything we do is carefully promulgated by federal law, Justice Department guidelines and the F.B.I.'s own rules."

A.C.L.U officials said the latest batch of documents released by the F.B.I. indicated the agency's interest in a broader array of activist and protest groups than they had previously thought. In light of other recent disclosures about domestic surveillance activities by the National Security Agency and military intelligence units, the A.C.L.U. said the documents reflected a pattern of overreaching by the Bush administration.

Rest of this New York Times article.

D.H.: Is this de ja vu of Nixon's enemies list, all over again?

Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
lawfirm webpage:
political blog:


Barhorst: Unchecked intelligence agencies will find whatever the president wants

By Terry Barhorst, right

I just finished listening to my umpteenth retired intelligence person expounding about Bush’s latest episode of law breaking. The line, “Our President is protecting the people of the United States,” is getting old. I’m also tired of the fact that they all appear to believe we are all slightly naïve and very ignorant.

Hearing that the intelligence “must have the freedom to find our enemies anywhere they might be, by the use of our best technology,” makes me rather nauseous. I am so sick of the whole tyrannical thing, I’m not even going into the arguments that you can hear on every news and political television channel, radio frequency, and editorial page. I’m going to use some of my naiveté and ignorance to make one of my round-the-corner statements of fact.

In my opinion intelligence people are paid to find things bad that we have to be protected from and people who might be doing such things. When you get pay and promotions for doing such, you damn well do it. NSA, FBI, and CIA, they are all in the same business. After 9/11 they especially had to “make good.”

Not only did they “make good” they convinced other country’s Intelligence people and were convinced by the intelligence people of those people from other countries, in turn, to report that there were “Weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq, and that Saddam had an atomic bomb in the making. This was just the kind of intelligence that would get them raises and promotions from Bush and his ruling cabal.

Over the last year, even Bush has finally admitted that the “intelligence was bad.” However, he is putting these same intelligence people in a position to find “terrorists” in the United States by tapping into the communications of both citizens of the United States and legal visitors to our country.

Empirically, using the circumstances and results of past history, these intelligence people will find “terrorists." They not only have the impetus of pay and promotions, they have their “Commander in Chief” in need of a “point made” that some think may compensate for laws ignored.

Though many think we are closing or have closed the barn doors, there are always rats about. These rats are both large and small, and they are ready to take advantage of every crack and bit of hostility warp in our 218 year old “Rule of Law,” Constitution and governmental checks and balances.

The path of these actions is a descending spiral with one party, tyrannical rule at the bottom of every political action taken by those in power these past few years and right now. We don’t need a “Leader” to “Protect the American People” as much as a President that listens to the people, not the crackle of money or the Siren song of power. War makes people dead. Any President making war should be dead right in doing so, and, only as a last resort.

Terry D. Barhorst Sr.
Moderator: Lone Star Democrats

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Media Matters for America.

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Buzzflash News.

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DH: Coerced religious tokenism is disgusting

Haigler chats Sheehanby Dave Haigler, seen talking with Cindy Sheehan, right
Have you had it up to your neck with this inane "war on Christmas" nonsense from the likes of Bill O'Reilly?  I am so disgusted with it, I could spit.
And I've especially had it with morally-bankrupt politicians like Newt Gingrich who write books and get speaking gigs invoking polls about the large percentage of folks who believe they should be "allowed" to do things like have a prayer in school or say things like "in God we trust," as though some liberal power somewhere had banned such things.
Let's get a few things straight, shall we?  The school-prayer case back in the 1960s did not ban school prayer.  It banned state-mandated prayer, which is a whole n'other thing entirely.  What was at issue was a state-written and mandated prayer the state was requiring the school kids to recite.  Who would want that? 
But we've had 40 years of fundamentalist preaching telling us that the "liberal Supreme Court" banned school prayer, to the point that many school administrators have believed this preaching and feel it's their legal duty to ban prayer.  The Supreme Court has had to uphold the "equal access" law 4 or 5 times at last count to rebut this erroneous thinking.  The fundies shot themselves in the foot, like a self-fulfilling prophecy.
And nobody is banning anyone saying "Merry Christmas," for God's sake.  But this campaign by the likes of O'Reilly is like saying this should be mandatory, or coerced upon people who might have another preference, like saying "Happy Hanukkah," or "Happy Holidays." 
Things like saying "Merry Christmas, in God we trust, and one nation under God," and a school child saying a prayer should be viewed as religious tokenism.  These things are not the core meaning of the Christian gospel, for God's sake. 
What is that core meaning?  It involves faith, loving people, and accepting and practicing forgiveness.  Not mean-spirited imposition of some token on someone with a different preference. 
And who made O'Reilly the spokesman for all of Christendom, anyway?  I have never heard or read of him practicing any Christian charity whatsoever.  Hundreds of lies, yes; but that is not a sign of Christian virtue, at least in my Bible.
With all that in mind, let's consider what O'Reilly and Gingrich said yesterday about this whole business of the supposed "War on Christmas," as reported by Media Matters for America, my favorite media watchdog outfit:

On the December 19 edition of Fox News Channel's The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly apparently reversed his previous position that the phrase "Happy Holidays" is offensive, stating, " 'Happy Holidays' is fine, just don't ban 'Merry Christmas.'" O'Reilly has previously claimed the term "Happy Holidays" is offensive to "millions of Christians" and "insulting to Christian America."

O'Reilly's comment came during an interview with Fox News analyst and former House speaker Newt Gingrich in which the two discussed the so-called "war" on Christmas. During their discussion the two criticized ABC News national correspondent Sam Donaldson for his December 18 comments on ABC's This Week that O'Reilly was hyping the "war" on Christmas to garner ratings. Gingrich declared Donaldson's remarks to be a "perfect illustration of the mainstream media's elitism," while O'Reilly stated Donaldson's remarks were evidence of "organized left-wing secular bias" in the media.

Full story found here, if you can stand to read the entire disgusting transcript.  Preview:  anybody who disagrees with O'Reilly or Gingrich is a liberal secularist.
I think what angers me the most is the vast numbers of sincere Christians who are getting conned into believing this nonsense about the so-called "War on Christmas."
Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
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