.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

 

AP: Pelosi hits Bush's illegal wiretaps - Jan. 28

By KATHERINE SHRADER, Associated Press Writer - 2 hours, 3 minutes ago

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is interviewed by the Associated Press in her Capitol Hill office Friday, Jan. 27, 2006, in Washington. Pelosi says President Bush should have used his extensive authority under the law to monitor suspected terrorists rather than approve the National Security Agency's disputed monitoring program. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)WASHINGTON - House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, right, says President Bush should have used his extensive authority under the law to monitor suspected terrorists rather than approve the National Security Agency's disputed monitoring program.

"I would not want any president -- Democrat or Republican -- to have the expanded power the administration is claiming in this case," Pelosi, D-Calif., said in an interview with The Associated Press.

Pelosi did not say the NSA's surveillance program was illegal. But she said the administration should follow the procedures in the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which allows government lawyers to ask a secretive court for warrants for surveillance in the United States during national security investigations.

"If you say ... this is for a narrow universe of calls, there is absolutely no issue with getting a FISA warrant for that," said Pelosi, who was the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee and has been involved for the past 13 years in overseeing U.S. intelligence agencies.

"It is when you go beyond that, that it becomes a challenge," she said in the interview Friday. "The president says he is not going beyond that, so why can't he obey the law?"

Pelosi declined to offer specifics about warrants granted, but she said the administration already has "the mother of all FISAs which enables them to do a lot."

Full AP-Yahoo News story.

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

 

WaPo: Defeated Fatah loyalists protest as West threatens aid cuts - Jan. 28

By Scott Wilson, Washington Post Foreign Service -- Saturday, Page A01 (excerpt)

JERUSALEM -- Several thousand young Palestinian Fatah Party activists, angry over the party's trouncing in the first parliamentary elections in a decade, took to the streets of Gaza City to demand Fatah Party leader and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's resignation. The men passed Abbas's Gaza residence, though he is currently in the West Bank city of Ramallah, and continued to the parliament building, where they stormed the lobby, smashed windows and set fire to several cars in a protest lasting hours.

A protester holds a Fatah badge and a Palestinian flag next to a burning car inside the courtyard of the parliament building in Gaza City. Thousands of young activists protested the party's poor showing in Wednesday's elections.A protester, left, holds a Fatah badge and a Palestinian flag next to a burning car inside the courtyard of the parliament building in Gaza City. Thousands of young activists protested the party's poor showing in Wednesday's elections.

Fatah's electoral defeat, which ended nearly four decades of dominance, has focused criticism on Abbas's leadership, corruption in his government and the largely fruitless peace program he has pursued with Israel. A member of Fatah's founding generation, Abbas is now facing a growing rebellion from the party's younger ranks even as he remains president of the Palestinian Authority, with broad powers to set policy and manage the security services.

Mohammed Dahlan, one of only 43 Fatah candidates to win a place in the 132-seat legislature, calmed the demonstrators, some of them armed, with a pledge that the party's leadership would change. Later, in the city of Khan Younis, gunmen traded fire after Fatah activists tore down Hamas campaign banners. A Hamas supporter and a member of the Palestinian security services were wounded.

Fatah had dominated the parliament since its establishment a decade ago, and its members still fill out the senior ranks of the Palestinian Authority. But it is now being forced to cede a large portion of its power to Hamas, whose presence in the Palestinian government could undermine the authority's lifeblood foreign aid, most of which comes from the United States and Europe.

BushPresident Bush, right, said Friday that the United States would cut aid to the Palestinian government unless Hamas abolished the militant arm of its party and stopped calling for the destruction of Israel. "And if they don't, we won't deal with them," Bush said in an interview aired on "CBS Evening News." "The aid packages won't go forward. That's their decision to make, but we won't be providing help to a government that wants to destroy our ally and friend."

In Washington, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would raise the issue of funding the Palestinian Authority at a meeting in London on Monday with representatives of Russia, the United Nations and the European Union.

The announcement coincided with an Israeli diplomatic effort to persuade foreign governments to isolate Hamas's new elected leadership.

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi livniIsrael's acting foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, left, who called several European counterparts Friday, told reporters that she urged them to send a message that "elections are not a whitewash for terror." She said she told them that "Hamas cannot be a partner of Israel," and that the Palestinian Authority, if led by the group, "also cannot be a partner."

Full Washington Post story, "Abbas Calls for Hamas Cabinet - Fatah Youth Demand Leader's Resignation."

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

 

AP: Iraq Abductors Threaten 4 Christian Peace Activists - Jan. 28

Associated Press -- 5 minutes ago

BAGHDAD, Iraq - The kidnappers of four Christian peace activists threatened to kill them unless all Iraqi prisoners are released from Iraqi and U.S. prisons, according to a new tape broadcast Saturday.

Al-Jazeera TV aired a tape dated Jan. 21 showing the four workers — two Canadians, an American and a Briton — from the Chicago-based Christian Peacemaker Teams, who disappeared Nov. 26. The previously unknown Swords of Righteous Bridges claimed responsibility for kidnapping them.

The news reader said the group issued a statement with the tape saying it was the "last chance" for U.S. and Iraqi authorities to "release all Iraqi prisoners in return of freeing the hostages, otherwise their fate will be death."  No deadline was set.

Canadian hostages James Loney, 41, and Harmeet Singh Sooden, 32; Tom Fox, 54, of Clear Brook, Va., and Norman Kember, 74, of London, had been warned repeatedly by Iraqi and Western security officials before being abducted that they were taking a grave risk by moving around Baghdad without bodyguards.

Iraqi soldiers search a vehicle at a random checkpoint in central Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2006. Sunni Arab leaders on Saturday condemned recent large-scale crackdowns launched by police on Sunni neighborhoods in the Iraqi capital and demanded government protection from further raids. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

Iraqi soldiers search a vehicle at a random checkpoint, right, in central Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2006. Sunni Arab leaders on Saturday condemned recent large-scale crackdowns launched by police on Sunni neighborhoods in the Iraqi capital and demanded government protection from further raids. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)
 
Full AP-Yahoo News story.
 
Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
lawfirm webpage:
www.haigler.info
political blog: http://demlog.blogspot.com

 

AP: Reid says Bush neglecting cities - Jan. 28

By WILL LESTER, Associated Press Writer

The Senate's Democratic leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, speaks to reporters after he chided President Bush, and Republicans in Congress, in a speech to the National Conference of Mayors meeting in Washington, Friday, Jan. 27, 2006. Reid accused Bush of shortcomings on the economy, Iraq, even the war on terrorism, warning the mayors, 'Cities are at risk because the Bush administration is too preoccupied with its political problems to properly prepare for another natural disaster or terrorist attack.'  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)WASHINGTON - Cities are at risk because the Bush administration is too preoccupied with its political problems to properly prepare for another natural disaster or terrorist attack, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, right, told mayors from around the country Friday.

"Any one of your cities and towns could be the next New Orleans," Reid said at a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. "The federal government owes it to you and your citizens to be prepared the next time disaster strikes."

The Nevada lawmaker said efforts to find out what went wrong after Hurricane Katrina illustrate how the administration's priorities are wrong.

Governments at the federal, state and local level have been harshly criticized for a slow response to Hurricane Katrina, which devastated coastal areas of Mississippi and Louisiana and flooded New Orleans. Yet the White House has been slow in helping Congress investigate what happened at the federal level, Reid said.

Reid said the investigation must be completed -- not to fix blame but to learn what needs to be done to avoid a repeat of the post-Katrina problems.

President Bush on Thursday defended the administration's level of cooperation, citing the thousands of administration documents given to congressional investigators. Responding to complaints that more information could be provided, Bush said that it would have a "chilling effect" on the ability of presidential advisers to speak freely.

Full AP-Yahoo News story.


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

 

Slate-Papers: Aid blockade?

By Emily Biuso -- Posted Jan. 28, 2006, at 5:41 AM ET

The New York Times leads with an urgent challenge facing Hamas: the threat by several foreign governments to withdraw their aid to the Palestinian Authority at a time when the government is in a major financial crisis, because of Hamas' hostile policies towards Israel. Mahmoud Zahar, Hamas leaderHamas' leader, Mahmoud Zahar, left, reiterated Friday that the party had no intention of recognizing Israel's right to exist. The Los Angeles Times leads with the several thousand young Fatah activists who took to the streets of Gaza City Friday, smashing windows, setting cars on fire, and storming the lobby of the parliament building. Gunfire erupted during a face-off between Fatah supporters and Hamas loyalists. The Washington Post says up high the Fatah activists were demanding the resignation of Abbas; the LAT doesn't mention it.

The Post tops their coverage of Palestinian elections with Mahmoud Abbas' announcement that he will invite Hamas to form the next cabinet. Meanwhile, Israel's acting foreign minister worked the phones Friday, urging European authorities to isolate Hamas. Members of the Bush administration will meet with officials from the E.U., U.N. and Russia on Monday to discuss foreign aid to the Palestinians.

Ted KennedyEverybody goes inside with division among Democrats over a filibuster to protest the Alito confirmation. Sens. John Kerry and Ted Kennedy, right, led the call for a filibuster, with Majority Leader Reid saying that he would vote against ending debate despite his belief that there aren't enough votes to support a filibuster. Several other Democrats -- including Sens. Pryor and Salazar -- said they are against the proposed filibuster.

Seventy-six percent of Americans say the President should disclose connections between Jack Abramoff, below left, and White House staff members, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News Poll.

AbramoffNews from Iraq doesn't make the front page. Iraqi forces arrested nearly 60 people in and around Baghdad Friday while a song with the refrain, "Where are the terrorists now?" blared from police cars. Also on Friday, Al-Jazeera broadcast a videotape of two German engineers taken hostage earlier in the week in northern Iraq. They were shown with their captors on the tape, which was appeared to have been recorded only hours after their kidnapping.

The LAT runs a wire story reporting that U.S. forces have detained wives of suspected Iraqi insurgents in an effort to get the men to turn themselves in, according to documents obtained by the ACLU.

Emily Biuso is a writer in New York. Full Slate Magazine story.

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

Friday, January 27, 2006

 

Star: Jimmy Carter's Secret Hamas Summit - Jan. 27

Tried to bring Hamas to table -- Summit fell apart a decade ago
by Mitch Potter - Toronto Star
 

JERUSALEM - The mood was disaster-in-progress when the unflappable Jimmy Carter stepped into the room yesterday to share a few quiet moments with the Toronto Star.

The official returns were flowing in, showing a Hamas victory almost beyond anyone's calibration.
 
The hard fist of political Islam didn't just enter the Palestinian parliament. It is the parliament.

Carter meeting with Abbas this morningPalestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, right, shakes hands with former United States President Jimmy Carter, following their meeting at his office in the West Bank town of Ramallah, Friday, Jan. 27, 2006.
 
As the numbers sunk in, CNN, BBC, Sky and Fox went into "breaking news" mode, quickly bulking up with pundits uttering obituaries for peace. The greening of Palestinian politics now had consigned the region to another hopeless eternity, it seemed.

At 81, clear-eyed and calm, America's most beloved ex-president — who yesterday sanctified the Palestinian election as head of the 950-strong international observer mission — took the earthquake in stride.

With the debate turning to whether the Palestinians' major international benefactors, the European Union and the United States, should allow themselves to maintain contact with a government led by Hamas — a group that has not unequivocally abandoned its founding principle of the destruction of the state of Israel — Carter let us in on a fascinating anecdote he has never spoken of publicly.

Ten years ago, Carter himself sat down with Hamas in an attempt to bridge the gap between PLO chief Yasser Arafat and the then-fledgling militant Islamic group.

As a personal favour to the late Palestinian leader, and in the spirit of the newly minted Oslo Accords, Carter went hunting for Hamas, to lasso them into the political process.

"Arafat asked me if I would contact Hamas and see if they would accept the new government with him as president, and to find out what their demands might be," Carter said.

A series of meetings ensued with various Hamas leaders in the Israeli-occupied territories, and Carter initially found himself confounded by the multi-headed hydra of leadership, Hamas-style. But some of those he spoke to showed interest.

Even 10 years ago, there were indications Hamas might be ready to make the great leap forward into reason and rationality — and perhaps even to accept Israel as its legitimate partner in a future that would become two states living side by side.

Finally, a secret summit was arranged for Cairo involving every voice that mattered to Hamas. And just as Carter was preparing for the flight to Egypt, Hamas called it off.

"They cancelled the meeting. Either they decided no, or they decided I wasn't the right person. But they cancelled," said Carter.

"That's the way it was then. Clearly there was no discernable person who could speak on behalf of Hamas and I'm not sure there is yet."
 
Full Story - Toronto Star.
 
Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
lawfirm webpage: www.haigler.info
political blog: http://demlog.blogspot.com

 

UPI: Kidman made UN ambassador

Actress Nicole Kidman chats with the media at the United Nations after being appointed as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNIFEM on January 26, 2006.

Actress Nicole Kidman chats with the media at the United Nations after being appointed as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNIFEM yesterday. 

(UPI Photo/Ezio Petersen)

D.H.: Now that she's an ambassador, DemLog has made an overture to establish lipdimatic relations with her.

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

 

WaPo: Libby goes for reporters' notes on Plame

Leak Case Files Could Be Key to Libby Defense, Lawyers Say

By Carol D. Leonnig, Washington Post Staff Writer - Friday, page A04

Attorneys for Vice President Cheney's former top aide urged a court yesterday to force prosecutors to turn over all the information they obtained from reporters about their confidential conversations with Bush administration sources in the course of a two-year CIA leak investigation.

Valerie Plame with husband, Joe Wilson, rightAttorneys for I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby said they must cast a wide net to learn about any conversations regarding CIA operative Valerie Plame (seen with her husband, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, right), and that the information could be crucial to Libby's defense against perjury and obstruction charges. In court papers, the lawyers said they will probably subpoena reporters and officials later to thoroughly investigate how widely Plame's identity was known before her name appeared in the news media in July 2003.

Libby was indicted by Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald on five felony counts of lying to the FBI and a grand jury. The indictment asserted that Libby leaked information about Plame's CIA role to two reporters but pretended he had learned the information from Tim Russert, the Washington bureau chief of NBC News, and that he passed it along as unverified reporter chatter.

The defense's goal is to show that Libby was not intentionally lying when he testified that many journalists had known about Plame during the spring and summer of 2003, and that he believed he had learned about her from Russert. "There can be no information more material to the defense of a perjury case than information tending to show that the alleged false statements are, in fact, true or that they could be the result of mistake or confusion," the lawyers argued in their filing. "Libby is entitled to know what the government knows."

Fitzgerald began investigating in early 2004 whether administration officials broke the law and leaked information about Plame as retaliation. Her name and CIA role appeared in a July 2003 syndicated column by Robert D. Novak -- eight days after Plame's husband, former ambassador Wilson, publicly criticized the Bush administration's justification for waging war with Iraq.

Full Washington Post story.

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

 

Drudge: Bush snubs Helen Thomas again

Veteran White House reporter Helen ThomasThu Jan 26 2006 15:42:32 2006

President Bush today again avoided taking a question from White House doyenne Helen Thomas, left, during his 45-minute press conference, even though he took questions from every reporter around her front-row, center seat.

"He's a coward," Thomas said afterward. "He's supposed to be this macho guy. He'll take on Osama bin Laden, but he won't take me on."

Thomas, who worked as the UPI White House reporter for 57 years and is now a columnist, raised her hand every time the president was concluding an answer to a reporter's question, but he never called on her.

She had a few questions in mind, though. "I wanted to ask about Iraq: 'You said you didn't go in for oil or for Israel or for WMDs. so why did you go in?' "

She also had another question at the ready, just in case, this one about the president's contention that a 28-year-old wiretapping law known as FISA is out of date, which prompted him to order the National Security Agency to conduct a secret electronic surveillance program that Democrats contend is illegal.

"You keep saying it's a 1978 law, but the Constitution 200 years old. Is that out of date, too?"

Afterward, Thomas sat sullenly in her chair in the White House press work area, huddled in her leopard-print winter coat.

But as she left, she made a prediction: "He came on to my turf. I'll bet the next press conference will be in Room 450 of the EEOB," a theater-style room in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, where she would not be in the front row.

Source: Drudge Report. Note: This link changes content regularly.

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


 

Reuters: Major powers pressure Hamas to end violence

Reuters - Yahoo News -- 30 minutes ago

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice puts her hands together as she talks with reporters from Reuters during an interview at the State Department in Washington, January 26, 2006. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, right, said major mediating powers on Thursday agreed Hamas should renounce violence after the militant group's shock victory in a Palestinian parliamentary election.

"We reaffirmed the view that ... you can't have one foot in terror and the other in politics," Rice told Reuters in an interview after senior officials from the so-called Quartet -- Russia, the United Nations, the European Union and the United States -- spoke by telephone.

Rice, who ruled out giving U.S. aid to Hamas, also said she reassured Israel -- in a separate call to her counterpart -- that the international community would demand the militant group recognize the Jewish state.

Full Reuters News story.

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

 

AP: Hamas leader asks to meet with President Abbas - Jan. 27

Associated Press - Yahoo News - 6 minutes ago

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, stands alone as he speaks in reaction to results showing Hamas' victory in parliamentary elections, at his office in the West Bank town of Ramallah, Thursday, Jan. 26, 2006. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer)GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - A senior Hamas leader said Friday he has asked Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, left, to meet within two days to discuss the formation of the next government.

The Hamas leader, Ismail Haniyeh, below right, told worshippers at a mosque in a Gaza refugee camp that he spoke to Abbas earlier Friday.

"We asked him to meet within the coming two days to consult with Hamas, the largest party in the Palestinian legislature, about the shape of the political partnership for the next era and about all the Palestinian people's issues and topics," Haniyeh said.

Hamas leader HaniyehThe meeting would have to take place in Gaza because Haniyeh would not be permitted by Israel to travel to the West Bank, the Palestinians' seat of government.

He spoke a day after official election results gave Hamas 76 seats in the 132-member Palestinian parliament.

Abbas said he would ask Hamas to form the next government.  "Until now, we haven't asked anyone to form the government," Abbas said outside his office. "We are carrying on contacts with all factions, and of course we will ask the party that won the majority to form the government."

Source:  AP-Yahoo News.

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

 

Slate-Dickerson: Playing dodgeball with Bush

How George Bush ducks questions
By John Dickerson - Posted Thursday, Jan. 26, 2006, at 7:06 PM ET

Bush posing thinking about a questionGeorge Bush, posing, right, thinking about a question, is a quick wit. When a camera fell and dangled from the briefing room ceiling at his Jan. 26 press conference, he quipped to those seated below:  "Are you wearing your helmets?" Later, a radio reporter prefaced his question about the Jack Abramoff scandal by saying he wasn't interested in pictures of Bush and the disgraced lobbyist. "Easy for a radio guy to say," Bush interjected.  Photograph of George Bush by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.
 
I wish the president's serious answers were as tart and on point. Dealing with delicate issues on camera, Bush's mind may work just as quickly, but he keeps his mouth shut. The pause to think gives him away. When he doesn't punch out a response, he's not puzzling out the answer. He's puzzling out the spin.

Here are three of the president's favorite dodges, as executed at the press conference:

Hamas: Put on a Happy Face

President Bush believes in a simple formula. Democracy is good. Terrorism is evil. When democracy is introduced in hostile countries it acts like enchanted water: Apply a drop and liberty flowers. That theory, never plausible, obviously has now been undone: The victory of the radical Islamic organization Hamas in the Palestinian elections demonstrates that democracy and terrorism are not mutually exclusive.

Instead of dealing with the topsy-turvy result, the president focused on the sunny side. He said the elections "remind me of the power of democracy" and added, "I like the competition of ideas." Groovy. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, one of Bush's strongest allies in the war on terror, was blunter. He said the result was "very, very, very bad."

The president did restate the U.S. position that he will not deal with Hamas, which advocates, among other things, the eradication of Israel. But he never tried to reconcile this position with his glowing remarks about liberty spreading across the Middle East. Nor did he explain how he reacts to the fact that his black-and-white world has suddenly gone gray.

NSA Spying: Just Trust Us

The president was asked six questions about the NSA's warrantless eavesdropping, which he carefully calls a "terrorist surveillance program." The questions and answers hopped around over well-worn territory. Finally, Bush played the trump card that shuts off further discussion: To talk any more about the program, or even consider legislation to codify it, would help the terrorists. This doesn't avoid the question so much as it makes asking too many pointed ones an act of treachery. "This program is so sensitive and so important that if information gets out to how we do it, how we run it, or how we operate, it will help the enemy," he said. "I think the American people understand that. Why tell the enemy what we're doing, if the program is necessary to protect us from the enemy?"

It's very hard to get past such a statement, which is why the issue has the potential to work for the president politically. Any Democrat or Republican who wants to poke at the premises behind Bush's assertion is helping the terrorists. Ultimately, Bush demands that we trust that he has asked the questions for us. He says it's legal and our civil liberties are protected. How does he know? He's asked his own staff. He asked Al Gonzales, now his attorney general, and other administration lawyers, and they gave the thumbs up. He's asked officials at the NSA and they've given the OK, too. If we don't trust him, the president is saying, we should at least trust his employees he's told to tell us to trust him.

Abramoff: Look at the Shiny Ornament!

Another trick: Distract the questioner with something else. Show reporters a sparkly ornament, and hope we'll forget the tree it's hanging on. (Talking about Saddam Hussein has served this purpose in ducking tricky Iraq questions.) When talking about Jack Abramoff, Bush focused on the pictures of the two together rather than the larger issue of what influence the lobbyist had with White House officials and what, if anything, he may have gotten in return for all of that campaign cash.

The president continued to define the photographs as a few of the thousand taken at "grip and grin" sessions. This wasn't a dodge: It was a deception. At least one of the snapshots with the chairman of the Kickapoo Indians was clearly something more. Bush had a scripted joke for this eventuality. "Having my picture taken with someone doesn't mean that, you know, I'm a friend with them or know them very well," he said setting up the gag. "I've had my picture taken with you at holiday parties."

Bush's questioners' fixation on the pictures helped him stay focused on just the pictures. (Have you seen how shiny the ornament is! Yes, and he just mentioned us!) The real questions are: What happened in the rooms where there were no photographs taken and where Abramoff met with White House staff? Whom did Abramoff meet with, what did he want, and what did the White House officials want from him?

Other White House officials have refused to answer those questions. And today, the president just ducked them. Asked about the staff meetings he said in his reply: "It's part of the job of the president to shake hands and—with people, and smile. And I do."

John Dickerson is Slate's chief political correspondent. He can be reached at slatepolitics@gmail.com.

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

 

Newsweek Satire: Bush naked with Abramoff

Andy Borowitz-The Borowitz Report

WEB-EXCLUSIVE SATIRE
By Andy Borowitz (above) - Newsweek
 
(excerpt)

Presidential spokesman Scott McClellan said that the American people "would have no problem believing" that Bush posed naked with Abramoff on five different occasions without actually knowing who he was. "Our polls show that the American people think that most of the time the president is in the Oval Office, he does not know what he is doing," he said.

Full Newsweek spoof.

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

Thursday, January 26, 2006

 

CNN: Kerry calls for Alito filibuster - Jan. 26

Thursday, Posted: 5:46 p.m. EST (22:46 GMT)
 
KerryWASHINGTON (CNN) -- Sen. John Kerry, left, will attempt a filibuster to block the nomination of Judge Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court, CNN has learned.

Kerry, in Davos, Switzerland, to attend the World Economic Forum, was marshaling support in phone calls during the day, he told CNN.  Kerry said he told a group of Democratic senators Wednesday, and urged that they join him. Kerry said he has the support of fellow Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy.

Some senior Democrats told CNN they are worried that the move could backfire.

Republicans would need 60 votes to overturn a filibuster -- a procedural move that extends Senate debate indefinitely, effectively blocking a vote. Senior White House officials said the move would make the Democrats look bad, and that Republicans believe they have enough votes to overcome any filibuster attempt.

Majority Leader Bill Frist, a Tennessee Republican, scheduled a vote to end debate on the nomination -- called a cloture vote -- Monday at 4:30 p.m. If that vote is successful, the final vote would be Tuesday morning.

Nearly all 55 Republican senators have said they will vote for Alito. Only three Democrats -- Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia and Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota -- have said they will vote for the nominee.

Earlier Thursday, Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana said she would oppose a filibuster.  "Because we have such a full plate of pressing issues before Congress, a filibuster at this time would be, in my view, very counterproductive," said Landrieu, who is pushing the Senate to focus on the rebuilding of the Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Party line vote

On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted along party lines to send Alito's nomination to the full Senate.  In supporting Alito, the 10 committee Republicans praised his qualifications and long judicial career.

Democrats have been mostly united in opposition to Alito. The panel's eight Democrats opposed him, saying he would be too deferential to presidential authority and would restrict abortion rights.

Republicans and the White House are pushing to have that vote before President Bush gives his State of the Union speech January 31, Senate sources have said.

In the floor debate of Alito's nomination, Democrats have been highly critical of the nomination, saying he would threaten civil liberties and fail to act as a check on executive power.  "If an originalist analysis was applied to the Fourteenth Amendment, women would not be provided equal protection under the Constitution, interracial marriages could be outlawed, schools could still be segregated and the principle of one man, one vote would not govern the way we elect our representatives," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat.

Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the Judiciary Committee's ranking Democrat, had supported Chief Justice John Roberts' nomination last fall.  But this time, he said, "I am concerned that if we confirm this nominee it will further erode the checks and balances" between the branches of government.

CNN's Ed Henry and Dana Bash contributed to this report.  Source:  CNN News.

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

 

AP: US general in iraq admits army stretched

By NICK WADHAMS, Associated Press Writer - 16 minutes ago

DIWANIYAH, Iraq - The top U.S. commander in Iraq acknowledged on Thursday that the U.S. Army was stretched but insisted forces here were capable of accomplishing their mission and any recommendation to reduce troops further would be dictated by the situation on the battlefield.

Gen. CaseyU.S. officials said Gen. George Casey, right, was speaking about the Army in general and not specifically about the 136,000-strong force in Iraq. However, his comments are likely to fuel a debate inside the U.S. government over whether the United States can sustain the fight long enough to break the back of the Sunni Arab-led insurgency.

"The forces are stretched ... and I don't think there's any question of that," Casey told reporters. "But the Army has been for the last several years going through a modernization strategy that will produce more units and more ready units."

Full AP-Yahoo News story.

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

 

AP: Islamic militants win Palestinian election - Jan. 26

By SARAH EL DEEB - Associated Press Writer - 4 minutes ago

RAMALLAH, West Bank - Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas will ask Hamas to form the next Palestinian government after the Islamic militants swept parliamentary elections yesterday, and the defeated Fatah Party will serve in the opposition, a senior Fatah legislator said Thursday morning.

Senior Hamas leader and top candidate for the Palestinian parliamentary elections, Ismail Hanieh, center, waves to supporters during a rally to mark the 18th anniversary of the founding of the Islamic group, in Gaza City, Friday Dec. 23, 2005. Despite no immediate public displays of celebration,  Hamas on Thursday claimed victory in Wednesday parliament election, saying that based on partial results it won a solid majority of seats, a dramatic upset confirmed by senior officials in the rival Fatah Party. Israel and the United States have said they would not deal with a Hamas-led Palestinian government. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has said he would step down if he could no longer pursue his peace agenda with Israel.  (AP Photo/Adel Hana/File)Senior Hamas leader and top candidate for the Palestinian parliamentary elections, Ismail Hanieh, center, waves to supporters during a rally to mark the 18th anniversary of the founding of the Islamic group, in Gaza City, in this file photo. Despite no immediate public displays of celebration, Hamas on Thursday claimed victory in Wednesday parliament election, saying that based on partial results it won a solid majority of seats, a dramatic upset confirmed by senior officials in the rival Fatah Party. Israel and the United States have said they would not deal with a Hamas-led Palestinian government. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has said he would step down if he could no longer pursue his peace agenda with Israel. (AP Photo/Adel Hana/File)

A Hamas-only government, without Fatah as a moderating force, is sure to throw Mideast peacemaking into turmoil. The Islamic militants, who carried out dozens of suicide bombings and seek Israel's destruction, have said they oppose peace talks and will not disarm. Israel and the United States have said they will not deal with Hamas.

Khaled MashaalEarlier Thursday, exiled top Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, right, told Abbas his group is ready for a political partnership. Mashaal's biography says he once survived an assassination attempt on 25-Sep-1997, in which agents of the Israeli Mossad injected him with an unknown chemical. Jordanian King Hussein I intervened on his behalf, citing a 1994 peace treaty, and Israel was forced to supply the antidote for Mashall.

However, Fatah does not want to join a Hamas government, said Fatah legislator Saeb Erekat. "We will be a loyal opposition and rebuild the party," Erekat said, after meeting with Abbas. Abbas will ask Hamas to form the next government, Erekat said.

Officials in both parties said Hamas appeared to have captured a large majority of seats in Wednesday's elections. The Central Election Commission said the vote count had not been completed and that it would make an official announcement Thursday evening.

Israel and the United States have said they would not deal with a government led by Hamas, which has carried out dozens of suicide bombings and which they consider a terrorist group.

Acknowledging the Hamas victory, Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia and his Cabinet ministers resigned Thursday -- hours before official results from Wednesday's vote were released.

"This is the choice of the people. It should be respected," Qureia said. "If it's true, then the president should ask Hamas to form a new government." The Cabinet remained in office in a caretaker capacity.

Under the law, Abbas must ask the largest party in the new parliament -- presumably Hamas -- to form the next government. Abbas was elected separately a year ago and remains president.

Hamas capitalized on widespread discontent with Fatah's corruption and ineffectiveness. Much of its campaign focused on internal Palestinian issues, while playing down the conflict with Israel.

Israeli officials declined comment on the outcome, but senior security officials gathered Thursday to discuss the results. Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, below left, scheduled talks with senior officials later in the day.

Acting Israeli PM OlmertOlmert said Wednesday, before Hamas claimed victory, that Israel cannot trust a Palestinian leadership in which the Islamic group has a role.

"Israel can't accept a situation in which Hamas, in its present form as a terror group calling for the destruction of Israel, will be part of the Palestinian Authority without disarming," Olmert said in a statement issued by his office.

Reactions to the Hamas victory streamed in from around the world. Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi, according to news reports, called it a "very, very, very bad result." But Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the European Union's external relations commissioner, said Hamas must be "ready to work for peace" with Israel if it joins the Palestinian government.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan congratulated the Palestinian people on the peaceful elections, which he views as an important step toward a Palestinian state.

President Bush told The Wall Street Journal in an interview Wednesday the United States will not deal with Hamas until it renounces its position calling for the destruction of Israel.

Hamas said before the election it does not want to govern alone, and would prefer to bring Fatah into a coalition. Hamas officials said the group would declare its intentions after official results are announced.

Hamas' exiled supreme leader, Khaled Mashaal, called Abbas from Syria to discuss the results. "He stressed Hamas insists on a partnership with all the Palestinian factions, especially our brothers in Fatah," Hamas said on its Web site.

Before the election, Hamas had suggested it would be content as a junior partner in the next government, thus avoiding a decision on its relationship with Israel. Throughout the campaign, leaders sent mixed signals, hinting they could be open to some sort of accommodation with Israel. Its apparent victory will now force it to take a clearer position on key issues, including whether to abandon its violent ideology.

Mushir al-Masri, a Hamas candidate who won election in the northern Gaza Strip, sent mixed signals about the group's plans. He said peace talks and recognition of Israel are "not on our agenda" but the group is ready for a partnership -- presumably with Abbas.

Fatah's official position wasn't immediately clear. Officials appeared to be in shock, turning off their phones and avoiding reporters. There was no reaction from Abbas.

One defeated Fatah candidate, Nabil Amr, said he did not expect his party to accept a junior position in a Hamas-led government. "I don't think Fatah can participate in a lower position," said Amr.

The election marked the first time Hamas has contested a legislative vote, and leading the Cabinet could give it significant powers. The Cabinet holds wide control over security forces, finance and other government functions, though Abbas has retained power mainly through tradition and political leverage.

Abbas, in his role as leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization, would still remain in charge of negotiations with Israel.

Palestinian election officials confirmed early Thursday that Hamas had won a large majority of the seats up for grabs in electoral districts in the West Bank and Gaza.

Half the seats were chosen on a national list and the other half by districts. While the national voting appeared to be close, election officials said Hamas had won a large majority in the district races. Hamas apparently took advantage of divisions in Fatah; the long-ruling party fielded multiple candidates in many districts, allowing the Islamic group to capitalize.

Initial exit polls had forecast a slight edge for Fatah, with Hamas coming in a strong second. The polls predicted that neither party would have a majority and would have to rely on smaller parties to form a coalition.

However, on Thursday morning, Hamas officials said the group had won up to 75 seats -- giving it a solid majority in the 132-member parliament.

Officials in Fatah conceded that Hamas had won about 70 seats. They spoke on condition of anonymity because counting in some districts was continuing.

Palestinian pollsters were at a loss to explain the discrepancy between the exit polls. Many voters said they had been afraid to admit to pollsters they had supported Hamas, fearing retribution.

Legislator Hanan Ashrawi, confronted by Israeli policeman, rightPalestinian legislator Hanan Ashrawi (seen when confronted by an Israeli border policeman, right, asking her to stop displaying a banner at Damascus Gate), who apparently was re-elected on a moderate platform, said the Hamas victory was a dramatic turning point. She said she is concerned the militants will now impose their fundamentalist social agenda and lead the Palestinians into international isolation.

She said Fatah's corruption, Israel's tough measures and international indifference to the plight of the Palestinians were to blame for Hamas' strong showing.

Washington miscalculated in pushing for the vote, as part of its pro-democracy campaign in the Arab world, she said. "The Americans insisted on having the election now, so they have to respect the results of the election, as we all do," she said.

Israel has repeatedly asked Abbas to force Hamas and other militant groups to disarm but Abbas has refused, warning such an act could cause civil war. Hamas has committed dozens of suicide bombings against Israel.

Turnout was heavy, with nearly 78 percent of 1.3 million eligible voters casting ballots. Polling stations were heavily guarded, and there were no reports of major violence.

President Carter visiting polling station yesterdayInternational observers, including former President Carter, left, reported no major problems with fraud. President Carter is seen as he visits a polling station in Al-Eizariya, on the edge of Jerusalem, January 25, 2006. Palestinians voted on Wednesday in their first parliamentary elections in a decade. About 900 foreign observers, led by Carter, were monitoring the process. REUTERS/Mahfouz Abu Turk.

D.H.: So much for Bush exporting Democracy and Christianity to the Middle East. It's working, Mr. President -- only too well. I think we need to revise our policy of not working with terrorists, and say we work only with friendly terrorists, or peaceful terrorists who use poison and not bombs. Clarification is needed here, Mr. Bush. Maybe we should stop inviting the Mossad to attend our CIA training schools as well.


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

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

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

 

GFP: Georgetown students shun Gonzales - Jan. 25

Gonzales, rear center, shunned by law studentsU.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, right rear center, spoke at Georgetown University Law Center yesterday. Members of the audience, some wearing black hoods, stand up and turn their backs on Attorney General Gonzales, rear center, as he speaks at the Law School Tuesday. Answering the Bush administration's critics, Gonzales said Tuesday that warrantless surveillance is critical to prevent another terrorist attack within the United States. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Source: Global Free Press. D.H.: My thanks to Dr. John Gullett for bringing this story to my attention.


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

 

AP: Bush invokes Bin Laden to justify illegal wiretaps

By NEDRA PICKLER, Associated Press Writer - 51 minutes ago

President Bush gestures during a visit to the National Security Agency on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2006, in Fort Meade, Md.  Bush travelled to the heavily-secured site of the super-secret spy agency in suburban Maryland to give a speech behind closed doors and meet with employees in advance of Senate hearings on the much-criticized domestic surveillance. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)FORT MEADE, Md. - President Bush, right, defending the government's secret surveillance program, said Wednesday that Americans should take Osama bin Laden seriously when he says he's going to attack again.

"When he says he's going to hurt the American people again, or try to, he means it," Bush told reporters after visiting the top-secret National Security Agency where the surveillance program is based. "I take it seriously, and the people of NSA take it seriously."

It was Bush's first comment about bin Laden since the al-Qaida leader warned in a tape aired last week that his fighters are preparing new attacks in the United States. Bin Laden offered a truce, without specifying the conditions, and the White House responded that the United States would never negotiate with the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Bush's NSA visit was part of an aggressive administration effort to defend the surveillance program. Experts and lawmakers from both parties have questioned whether it's legal for the government to listen to conversations in the United States without a warrant, which the administration could get through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

Four leading Democratic senators wrote Bush Wednesday saying they support efforts to do everything possible within the law to combat terrorism, but that the NSA program is an "apparent violation of federal law."

"If you or officials in your administration believe that FISA, or any law, does not give you enough authority to combat terrorism, you should propose changes in the law to Congress," wrote Sens. Harry Reid, Edward Kennedy, Richard Durbin and Russ Feingold. "You may not simply disregard the law."

Full AP-Yahoo News story.

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

 

USAT: Bush is Destroying the Military

Study: Army Stretched To Breaking Point - By USA Today

WASHINGTON (AP) — Stretched by frequent troop rotations to Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army has become a “thin green line” that could snap unless relief comes soon, according to a study for the Pentagon.

Soldiers with the Army's 173rd Airborne, left, meet Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld in Kandahar, Afghanistan. By Jim Young, Getty Images.


Andrew Krepinevich, a retired Army officer who wrote the report under a Pentagon contract, concluded that the Army cannot sustain the pace of troop deployments to Iraq long enough to break the back of the insurgency. He also suggested that the Pentagon’s decision, announced in December, to begin reducing the force in Iraq this year was driven in part by a realization that the Army was overextended.

As evidence, Krepinevich points to the Army’s 2005 recruiting slump — missing its recruiting goal for the first time since 1999 — and its decision to offer much bigger enlistment bonuses and other incentives.

“You really begin to wonder just how much stress and strain there is on the Army, how much longer it can continue,” he said in an interview. He added that the Army is still a highly effective fighting force and is implementing a plan that will expand the number of combat brigades available for rotations to Iraq and Afghanistan.

The 136-page report represents a more sobering picture of the Army’s condition than military officials offer in public. While not released publicly, a copy of the report was provided in response to an Associated Press inquiry. Illustrating his level of concern about strain on the Army, Krepinevich titled one of his report’s chapters, “The Thin Green Line.” He wrote that the Army is “in a race against time” to adjust to the demands of war “or risk ‘breaking’ the force in the form of a catastrophic decline” in recruitment and re-enlistment.

Col. Lewis Boone, spokesman for Army Forces Command, which is responsible for providing troops to war commanders, said it would be “a very extreme characterization” to call the Army broken. He said his organization has been able to fulfill every request for troops that it has received from field commanders.

The Krepinevich assessment is the latest in the debate over whether the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have worn out the Army, how the strains can be eased and whether the U.S. military is too burdened to defeat other threats.

Rep. John Murtha, the Pennsylvania Democrat and Vietnam veteran, created a political storm last fall when he called for an early exit from Iraq, arguing that the Army was “broken, worn out” and fueling the insurgency by its mere presence. Administration officials have hotly contested that view.

George Joulwan, a retired four-star Army general and former NATO commander, agrees the Army is stretched thin. “Whether they’re broken or not, I think I would say if we don’t change the way we’re doing business, they’re in danger of being fractured and broken, and I would agree with that,” Joulwan told CNN last month.

Defense Secretary Rumsfeld has argued that the experience of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan has made the Army stronger, not weaker. “The Army is probably as strong and capable as it ever has been in the history of this country,” he said in an appearance at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies in Washington on Dec. 5. “They are more experienced, more capable, better equipped than ever before.”

Krepinevich said in the interview that he understands why Pentagon officials do not state publicly that they are being forced to reduce troop levels in Iraq because of stress on the Army. “That gives too much encouragement to the enemy,” he said, even if a number of signs, such as a recruiting slump, point in that direction. Krepinevich is executive director of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a non-profit policy research institute. He said he concluded that even Army leaders are not sure how much longer they can keep up the unusually high pace of combat tours in Iraq before they trigger an institutional crisis. Some major Army divisions are serving their second yearlong tours in Iraq, and some smaller units have served three times.

Michael O’Hanlon, a military expert at the private Brookings Institution, said in a recent interview that “it’s a judgment call” whether the risk of breaking the Army is great enough to warrant expanding its size. “I say yes. But it’s a judgment call, because so far the Army isn’t broken,” O’Hanlon said.

Full story: USA Today.

 

AP: Close Palestinian election predicted

By KARIN LAUB, Associated Press Writer - 2 hours, 33 minutes ago

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - Amid tight security and a sea of green and yellow flags, Palestinians cast ballots in their first parliamentary election in a decade Wednesday — a historic vote that could shape the future of the peace process with Israel.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, casts his ballot as he votes for the Palestinian Parliamentary elections at a polling station at his headquarters in the West Bank town of Ramallah Wednesday Jan. 25, 2006.(AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, left, casts his ballot as he votes for the Palestinian Parliamentary elections at a polling station at his headquarters in the West Bank town of Ramallah Wednesday Jan. 25, 2006. (AP Photo-Muhammed Muheisen)

Both the ruling Fatah Party and its challenger, the Islamic militant Hamas, said they were confident of victory, while pollsters said the race was too close to call. Both parties said they would consider a coalition if no clear victor emerges.

Full story:  AP-Yahoo News.

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

 

WOJ: Ivins wins Wings of Justice Award for zapping Hillary - Jan. 25

from Wings of Justice

Molly Ivins, right, has been around so long that she remembers writing about populist Democrats winning in Texas. If anyone deserves to by cynical about the GOP Texas thugs who have taken over America, it's Molly.

But when we interviewed Molly Ivins for BuzzFlash awhile back, we were struck by how thoughtful she was in her critique of the Lone Star Republican mafia. She's a progressive journalist, but she's still an old-fashioned one, who isn't going to exaggerate or be disingenuous for her paycheck.

Besides, Molly would be the first to tell you that when you are a columnist covering politics in Texas, you don't have to make anything up. It's over the top already.

That's why a piece she wrote last week caused a sensation. Molly, who has seen everything, finally became mad as hell and wasn't going to take it anymore.

This is part of what she wrote: "I'd like to make it clear to the people who run the Democratic Party that I will not support Hillary Clinton for president. Enough. Enough triangulation, calculation and equivocation.... Do not sit there cowering and pretending the only way to win is as Republican-lite. If the Washington-based party can't get up and fight, we'll find someone who can."

Ivins was nominated by a BuzzFlash reader for "speaking the truth to the Democratic Party. She shines a light on the lack of leadership and courage within the Dems in Washington!"

All we can say is "Amen!" Molly, thanks for reminding us what it means to be a Democrat.

Nominated by Tracy Foster of West Hills, California.

Source:  Wings of Justice.

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


Tuesday, January 24, 2006

 

Pettit: Face it - Daddy Left You to Die...

Face it: Daddy Left You to Die...

Does anyone seriously think that al Qaeda suicide bombers are scared of Rove and Bush? The fact is Bush isn't any good against terror. He didn't even take them seriously, they were just a bunch of "cockroaches," remember?

Other nations have dealt more effectively with their terrorists by treating them like organized crime. Bush made is a war and then blew it. Maybe he needs the terrorists to terrorize you?

A bunch of tin-pot caliphate fantasists, dreaming in a cave? Not exactly your axis powers! Bush got his butt whooped by a 98 pound weaking and has spent the last four years claiming he got jumped by a whole gang. Bullshit. Nineteen guys pulled off 9/11. Nineteen. The scale of the devastation of 9/11 isn't a measure of al Qaeda's strength, it's the measure of George Bush's weakness.

Getting serious about defeating terror starts with getting rid of George Bush. His incompetence is getting people killed and, for the most part, they're the wrong people. We can't afford for Bush to let us down again.

Bush was so not serious about terror he invaded the wrong country. Iraq wasn't even on their list of state sponsors of terror on 9/11. Hell, Bush was talking about invading Iraq five years ago today, as O'Neill revealed. They were so hot to trot on Iraq that they missed al Qaeda. And then ... they went after Iraq anyway! It's like they're hell bent on screwing up.

All these special spying powers and they still can't find bin Laden. The only thing the Bush administation has used them for is spying on us. We're their real enemy. Blah blah blah about fighting terror coming from the right, it's nothing but talk. They can't be bothered to know our enemy, and they won't sign up to go fight our enemy.

And terror/national security is supposed to be THEIR issue? Yeah, only because the Democrats can't get organized.

By G.M. Texan, at Moment of Triumph.

John Pettit comment: Another blogspot user is dead on target here, I gotta say "AMEN, brother"

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