.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

 

WaPo: U.S. judge blocks rendition of American to Iraqi jail

Judge Stays Move Of Uncharged, Jailed U.S. Citizen

By Michael Powell, Washington Post Staff Writer -- Saturday, Page A10

A U.S. District Court judge temporarily blocked the federal government from transferring an American citizen to the custody of the Iraqi government, noting Friday that the move could place the prisoner at risk of torture and indefinite confinement.

American forces arrested Shawqi Omar, a naturalized U.S. citizen, on Oct. 29, 2004, at his apartment in Baghdad. Since then, he has been held at the U.S.-run Camp Bucca in southern Iraq and at Abu Ghraib and Camp Cropper in Baghdad.

The United States military has not charged Omar with a crime, nor has it let him talk with his U.S. lawyers, who now number about half a dozen. The attempt to transfer Omar to Iraqi custody came after defense attorneys filed legal papers on his behalf.

Judge UrbinaIn temporarily blocking Omar's transfer, U.S. District Court Judge Ricardo M. Urbina, right, acknowledged that the case is laden with constitutional questions.

"The court recognizes the tension created by the constitutional implications arising out of judicial versus executive branch authority on the matter," Urbina wrote. "The court directs counsel to address this issue head on."

A spokesman for the Justice Department said yesterday that its lawyers had not had a chance to offer counter-arguments. The government expects to file legal papers -- and its first acknowledgment that Omar has been in American custody for 15 months -- on Tuesday.

An Iraqi official told The Washington Post last month that Iraqi prisoners have been subjected to "severe torture" in Iraqi-run prisons. The commander of U.S.-run prisons in Iraq said last month that the military will not turn over detainees until they are satisfied that such abuse has stopped.

Omar, who was born in Kuwait and came to the United States with his family about 25 years ago, moved to Baghdad after the U.S.-led invasion in hopes of gaining reconstruction contracts, according to legal papers filed by his lawyers. U.S. troops detained Omar at his Baghdad apartment, where he had been living with his 10-year-old son.

Full Washington Post story.


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

 

AP: Iraqi Sunnis warn of civil war

By ROBERT H. REID, Associated Press Writer -- Saturday -- 41 minutes ago

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Sunni politicians warned of civil war Saturday after the bullet-riddled bodies of 14 Sunni Arab men were found in Baghdad — apparently the latest victims of sectarian death squads.

A damaged vehicle is removed following a roadside attack, Saturday, Feb. 4, 2006, in Baghdad, Iraq. Four people were injured when a bomb exploded on a passing Iraqi police patrol Saturday afternoon. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)A damaged vehicle is removed following a roadside attack, Saturday, Feb. 4, 2006, in Baghdad, Iraq. Four people were injured when a bomb exploded on a passing Iraqi police patrol Saturday afternoon. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

One person was killed and 12 injured when a mortar shell exploded near a Shiite mosque north of the capital.

Sunni leaders claimed the 14 men were seized last week by Shiite-led security forces. There was no confirmation from the Shiite-led Interior Ministry that government troops were responsible.

AP-Yahoo News - full story.

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

 

AP: Iran resumes enriching uranium - Feb. 4

Associated Press -- 2 hours, 59 minutes ago

TEHRAN, Iran - Iran's president Saturday ordered the resumption of uranium enrichment and an end to snap inspections of its facilities after the U.N. nuclear watchdog voted to report Tehran to the Security Council.

Iran had warned that it would resume enrichment if the International Atomic Energy Agency board voted to refer it to the Security Council, which it did on Saturday. Tehran also said a proposal by Moscow to enrich uranium in Russia was dead.

Iran's president, touring an atomic energy plant"As of Sunday, the voluntary implementation of the additional protocol and other cooperation beyond the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty has to be suspended under the law," President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in a letter addressed to Vice President Gholamreza Aghazadeh, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran.  Ahmadinejad is seen at right touring the Bushehr nuclear power plant.

Javad Vaeidi, deputy head of the powerful National Security Council, said there was no "adequate reason to pursue the Russian plan."

"Commercial scale uranium enrichment will be resumed in Natanz in accordance with the law passed by the parliament," Vaeidi told state television in a telephone interview from Vienna, Austria. Natanz is Iran's main enrichment plant.

Full AP-Yahoo News story.

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

 

Reuters: Senate intelligence chair supports warrantless wiretaps

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Republican chairman of the Senate intelligence committee on Friday endorsed President George W. Bush's domestic surveillance program and said the White House was right to inform only a handful of lawmakers about its existence.

Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) speaks during an appearance on 'FOX News Sunday' in this file photo. Roberts, the Republican chairman of the Senate intelligence committee endorsed President George W. Bush's domestic surveillance program on Friday and said the White House was right to inform only a handful of lawmakers about its existence. (Freddie Lee/Fox News/Reuters)In a letter to the top Republican and Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Pat Roberts, left (news, bio, voting record), of Kansas expressed "strong support" for a program that has raised an outcry from Democrats and some Republicans who believe Bush may have overstepped his authority. The panel is to hear testimony Monday from Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on the issue.

Roberts said he believes Bush's use of warrantless surveillance is legal, necessary, reasonable and within the president's powers.

"I am confident the president retains the constitutional authority to conduct 'warrantless' electronic surveillance," he said in the 19-page letter addressed to the judiciary panel's Republican chairman, Sen. Arlen Specter (news, bio, voting record) of Pennsylvania, and its senior Democrat, Sen. Patrick Leahy (news, bio, voting record) of Vermont.

Full Reuters News story.

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

 

AFP: Venezualan-US relations deteriorate

President ChavezVenezuelan President Hugo Chavez, right.
 
Caracas, Feb. 4 -- US-Venezuelan relations continue to sour as Washington ordered a Venezuelan diplomat expelled in retaliation for Caracas's move to kick out a US naval attache on espionage charges.
 
(AFP/File/Rodrigo Arangua)
 
Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
lawfirm webpage: www.haigler.info
political blog: http://demlog.blogspot.com

 

AP: Rumsfeld--Iran sponsors terrorism - Feb. 4

By DAVID RISING, Associated Press Writer -- 1 hour, 12 minutes ago

US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld waves in Munich, Germany, on Saturday Feb. 4, 2006 as he leaves the 42nd  International Conference on Security Policy.  Rumsfeld at the conference on Saturday urged the world to work for a 'diplomatic solution' to halt the nuclear program of Iran, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel pushed Russia and China put pressure on Tehran. (AP Photo/Christof Stache)MUNICH, Germany - Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, left, urged America's allies to increase their military spending to prevent the rise of a "global extremist Islamic empire."

He also urged the world to work for a "diplomatic solution" to halt Iran's nuclear program.

"The Iranian regime is today the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism," he said in prepared remarks. "The world does not want, and must work together to prevent, a nuclear Iran."

Rumsfeld was in Munich to address a defense conference focused on the relationship between America and its European allies.

Full AP-Yahoo News story.

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

Friday, February 03, 2006

 

Corn: Bush-Blair 2003 conspiracy on Iraq invasion pretext exposed

Today, Channel 4 in London reported what David Corn calls the The Mother of All Downing Street Memos?

David Corn:

Channel 4 News in England is reporting on the existence of a January 31, 2003 memo that recorded a discussion between Bush and Blair, during which Bush raised the idea of orchestrating an incident in which Saddam would fire on UN reconnaissance planes and, thus, give Bush and Blair cause to attack Iraq. (Click here to watch the Channel 4 news clip.)


Channel 4 has posted the below extracts of the memo:

President Bush to Tony Blair: "The US was thinking of flying U2 reconnaissance aircraft with fighter cover over Iraq, painted in UN colours. If Saddam fired on them, he would be in breach."
Bush: "It was also possible that a defector could be brought out who would give a public presentation about Saddam's WMD, and there was also a small possibility that Saddam would be assassinated."

Blair: "A second Security Council resolution would provide an insurance policy against the unexpected and international cover, including with the Arabs."

Bush: "The US would put its full weight behind efforts to get another resolution and would 'twist arms' and 'even threaten'. But he had to say that if ultimately we failed, military action would follow anyway.''

Blair responds that he is: "solidly with the President and ready to do whatever it took to disarm Saddam."

Bush told Blair he: "thought it unlikely that there would be internecine warfare between the different religious and ethnic groups."

Corn: To my thinking, this is a rather big deal. The president of the United States caught conspiring to create a modern-day version of the sinking of the Maine? How's that for an impeachable offense? I'm presuming the memo is legit. It was first obtained by British human rights lawyer Philippe Sands for a new version of his book, Lawless World. Sands is a friend of friends of mine. He is a trustworthy fellow, and I know that last year he did succeed in prying sensitive documents out of the British government concerning the legality--or illegality--of the invasion of Iraq. His sources were obviously British officials upset with the war. So my informed hunch is that this document is real. If so, how will the White House respond? Will members of the press corps at 1600 Pennsylvania press the point? This revelation--which is more shocking than anything in the Downing Street Memos--should be major news here. But will it?"

(Bill Spier: It looks like some corporate media might pick up on the potentially explosive revelation. My guess is that it will seep out from the edges--like media blogs. As a New Yawker, I await tommorrow's NYT with great interest. Their recent history is to sit on the big one until Republicans get reelected. Keith Obermann of MSNBC might lead with it tonight. Good fellow, Keith)

D.H.: Although this story was posted here at 3:25 p.m., Feb. 3, the U.K. Independent is running it with a dateline of 06:06 a.m., Feb. 4 (congratulations, Bill, on getting this up so quickly). The Independent reports, "Details of the meeting are revealed in a book, Lawless World, published today by Philippe Sands, a professor of law at University College London." The UKI quotes the author, Law Professor Sands, as saying, "Now that plainly looks as if it is deception, and it raises... questions of legality, both in terms of domestic law and international law." Plainly, indeed. I suppose Rush Limbaugh or Bill O'Reilly will discredit this story by pointing out that the professor's name has a French spelling. No spin here, folks.


Other links:

Media Matters for America.

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

Buzzflash News.

Latest post to DemLog.


 

MMfA: Robertson again calls for Chavez's assassination

"Not now, but one day"

Pat RobertsonSummary: On Hannity & Colmes, Pat Robertson, right, once again called for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, "Not now, but one day, one day."

During the February 2 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, Christian Coalition founder and 700 Club host Pat Robertson reiterated his call for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (excerpt):

COLMES: So, you're not taking back the comment. You believe assassination of Hugo Chavez would be in the best interests of the world.

ROBERTSON: Well, rather than going to war. One day, we're going to have to go to war, I'm afraid, if he continues his policy, you know. But, I don't know. I wrote him a letter. I apologized to him.

COLMES: But, wait a minute. If you say you apologized to him, what you just said seems to contravene that, because you just now said --

ROBERTSON: I know. I know.

 Source:  Media Matters for America.

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

 

AP: Iran objects to Russian nuke proposal

By GEORGE JAHN, Associated Press Writer -- 14 minutes ago -- Feb. 3

Iran's girls attend in a rally to support Iran's nuclear programe in Tehran on Friday, Feb. 3, 2006. (AP Photo/Hasan Sarbakhshian)Tehran - Iran's girls attend in a rally to support Iran's nuclear programme in Tehran on Friday. (AP Photo/Hasan Sarbakhshian)

Meanwhile, in VIENNA, Austria, Iran warned Friday it no longer would consider a Kremlin proposal to move its uranium enrichment program to Russia if it is referred to the U.N. Security Council for allegedly violating a nuclear arms control treaty.

If Iran's nuclear file goes to the Security Council, "there will be no way we can continue with the Russian proposal," said Javad Vaeidi, deputy head of the powerful National Security Council and a top nuclear negotiator.

Full AP-Yahoo News story.


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

 

AP: 2nd short Patriot Act extension passed

By LAURIE KELLMAN, Associated Press Writer -- Fri Feb 3, 1:42 AM ET

WASHINGTON - Congress sent President Bush a second five-week extension of the Patriot Act as Senate negotiators worked to close a deal with the White House on renewing the antiterrorism law with some new civil liberties protections.

"We need the Patriot Act," said Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter. "I'm prepared to work on it further to improve it."

Sixteen provisions of the 2001 law were to have expired last Dec. 31, but Congress extended them until Friday after Democrats and a handful of Senate Republicans demanded an avenue of appeals when the FBI makes demands for people's financial and other private records.

FeingoldThe Senate voted 95-1 Thursday night to extend the current law unchanged through March 10 and give negotiators more time to reach a deal. Sen. Russell Feingold, D-Wis., right, a longtime opponent of the Patriot Act, cast the sole vote against the extension. The House passed it Wednesday.

Several Republican and Democratic officials involved in negotiations said that agreements had been reached on several issues but that others needed more time.

Earlier in the week, Sen. Larry Craig (news, bio, voting record), R-Idaho, one of the negotiators who helped block the act's renewal last year, told reporters almost all of his concerns had been worked out with the White House.

Full AP-Yahoo News story.

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

 

Slate-Papers: GOP Blunted - Feb. 3

By Eric Umansky, posted 4:22 a.m. (excerpt)

Majority Leader BoehnerNewly elected House Majority Leader John Boehner, left, was once part of the House leadership under former Speaker Newt Gingrich, but was kicked to the curb around when Gingrich went down. He is not Mr. Clean. The Wall Street Journal notes that he reportedly has accepted $150,000 worth of junkets since 2000, "more than all but six other members of Congress." He's generally tight with business lobbies (not that there's anything wrong with that). And of course, about 10 years ago Boehner handed out checks from the tobacco industry while on the House floor.

The WP and LAT front (and NYT stuffs) the uptick in protests by Muslims in response to European papers printing cartoons of the prophet Mohammad. Among the "protests," gunmen in Gaza took briefly took over a European Union office. One of the cartoons showed Mohammad with a bomb on his head in place of a turban. In Islam, all images of Mohammad are verboten. Some European papers have been insisting on reprinting the cartoons as a kind of statement for free speech.

Nobody fronts Iraq, where the U.S. reported the deaths of four GIs and a Marine. And about a dozen Iraqis were killed by two closely coordinated car bombings in Baghdad. The NYT calls it the "worst attack in the capital in weeks." Also a U.S. helicopter responding to gunfire fired rockets in a Shiite neighborhood in Baghdad, killing one woman. The Associated Press says the incident "enraged Shiites across Iraq." Meanwhile, the papers mention that the bodies of 16 men were found blindfolded and shot at close range.

A Page One Post piece details a whole host of government employees complaining that the NASA's inspector general, "suppressed audits, stopped investigations and otherwise edited IG activities to avoid embarrassing the agency or its leadership." The IG was appointed by President Bush and is now being investigated by an FBI-led ethics office.

Justice AlitoOnly the WSJ goes up high with Justice Alito (right)'s interesting first day at the office: He split with the court's conservatives and voted for a stay of execution for a man on Missouri death row.

FarhatA front page NYT piece features Mariam Farhat, left, noticing that six of the 74 parliamentary seats Hamas took were won by female candidates. Saying this about her:

*Mariam Farhat, the mother of three Hamas supporters killed by Israelis. She bade one son goodbye in a homemade videotape before he stormed an Israeli settlement, killing five people, then being shot dead. She said later, in a much-publicized quotation, that she wished she had 100 sons to sacrifice that way. Known as the "mother of martyrs," she was seen in a campaign video toting a gun.

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




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


 

AP: Boehner reinvents self as reform candidate for majority leader

By JESSE J. HOLLAND, Associated Press Writer -- 11 minutes ago

Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, gestures during an interview in his Capitol Hill office in this Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2003 file photo. Boehner has been chosen as the new House majority leader, replacing Rep. Tom DeLay.    (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)WASHINGTON - Republicans are counting on their new House leader, John Boehner, right, to help defuse an ethics scandal as the clock ticks toward November congressional elections.

Boehner of Ohio replaces Rep. Tom DeLay, who had to step down as majority leader after being indicted on campaign finance charges in his home state of Texas and tarred by his association with a scandal-scarred lobbyist. To win the seat, Boehner defeated a close DeLay ally who had been filling in as acting majority leader, Rep. Roy Blunt (news, bio, voting record) of Missouri.

"I think our members wanted obviously to make a big decision, and they did," Boehner, whose name is pronounced BAY'-nur, said after House GOP members elected him Thursday.

In 1998, Republicans suffered losses at the polls that shrank their majority. Boehner was a casualty of the upheaval, losing his leadership post to a new face, then-Oklahoma Rep. J.C. Watts, the chambers' only black Republican.

Now Boehner, a 56-year-old veteran of 15 years in Congress, is back, reclaiming a powerful leadership post after the most-contested election among House Republicans since the upheavals that followed the 1998 ethics allegations and election losses.

Source:  AP-Yahoo News.

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

Thursday, February 02, 2006

 

Raw Story: White House Loses Some 2003 Emails

Prosecutor Fitzgerald Says White House May Have Destroyed Some Emails Potentially Relevant To CIA Leak Case

Filed by
RAW STORY

RAW STORY has acquired a letter from CIA leak Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald to Vice President Dick Cheney’s former Chief of Staff, I. Lewis Libby, who was indicted for allegedly obstructing justice and other charges for his role in the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame. In the letter, Fitzgerald admits that he has been told some emails from the President and Vice President’s offices have been deleted, though he cautions that “no pertinent evidence has been destroyed.”

“In an abundance of caution,” he writes, “we advise you that we have learned that not all email of the Office of the Vice President and the Executive Office of the President for certain time periods in 2003 was preserved through the normal achiving process on the White House computer system.”

The New York Daily News’ James Meek reported <http://www.nydailynews.com/02-01-2006/news/story/387396p-328749c.html> this morning that “CIA leak prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald collected 10,000 pages of documents - including the most sensitive terrorism memos in the U.S. government - from Vice President Cheney’s office, he said in court papers released yesterday.

Libby’s lawyers are seeking classified material to aid their defense, which many legal analysts see as an attempt to force the prosecutor’s hand in dropping the case or reducing certain charges in the interests of national security.

Meek added: “Fitzgerald, who is fighting Libby’s request, said in a letter to Libby’s lawyers that many e-mails from Cheney’s office at the time of the Plame leak in 2003 have been deleted contrary to White House policy.”

The relevant page of that letter follows in image form. To download Fitzgerald’s entire letter in PDF form, click here.

 

Roll Call: GOP has too-many votes for Majority Leader

Do-Over Required on First Ballot - Somebody Votes Twice

Thursday, Feb. 2 - By Ben Pershing, Roll Call Staff

House Republicans are taking a mulligan on the first ballot for Majority Leader. The first count showed more votes cast than Republicans present at the Conference meeting. Stay with RollCall.com for updates.

Source: Roll Call Magazine.

Note from John Pettit: The Cons just can't help themselves. They cheat on voting even when it is merely a party election.

 

AP: Nuke watchdog agency considers Iran plans

By GEORGE JAHN, Associated Press Writer -- Thursday, 3 minutes ago

VIENNA, Austria - The U.N. nuclear watchdog agency met Thursday to consider referring Iran to the U.N. Security Council over its nuclear program, which the United States and European Union believe is not "exclusively for peaceful purposes."

IAEA's Director General Mohamed ElBaradei, right, talks to Deputy Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Chief U.N. Weapons Inspector Olli Heinonen prior to the start of the IAEA's 35-nation board meeting on escalating nuclear standoff with Iran, on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2006, at Vienna's International Center. (AP Photo/Rudi Blaha)IAEA's Director General Mohamed ElBaradei talks to Deputy Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Chief U.N. Weapons Inspector Olli Heinonen, left, prior to the start of the IAEA's 35-nation board meeting on escalating nuclear standoff with Iran, on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2006, at Vienna's International Center. (AP Photo/Rudi Blaha)

Positions appeared to harden on the eve of the two-day International Atomic Energy Agency meeting after European nations formally submitted a U.S.-backed motion for the IAEA's 35-nation board to refer Iran to the Security Council.

Iran remained defiant, warning Wednesday that such action will provoke it into doing exactly what the world wants it to renounce -- starting full-scale uranium enrichment, a possible pathway to nuclear weapons.

Full AP-Yahoo News story.


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



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

 

AP: Capitol police apologize for ejecting Sheehan & others

Activist Cindy Sheehan  of the Gold Star Families for Peace participates on a panel calling for the impeachment of President. Bush on Monday, Jan. 30, 2006 in Washington. Sheehan joined a coalition of groups at the forum on the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke)WASHINGTON - Capitol Police dropped a charge of unlawful conduct against anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan, right, on Wednesday and apologized for ejecting her and a congressman's wife from President Bush's State of the Union address for wearing T-shirts with war messages.

"The officers made a good faith, but mistaken effort to enforce an old unwritten interpretation of the prohibitions about demonstrating in the Capitol," Capitol Police Chief Terrance Gainer said in a statement late Wednesday. "The policy and procedures were too vague," he added. "The failure to adequately prepare the officers is mine."

The extraordinary statement came a day after police removed Sheehan and Beverly Young, wife of Rep. C.W. "Bill" Young, R-Fla., from the visitors gallery Tuesday night. Sheehan was taken away in handcuffs before Bush's arrival at the Capitol and charged with a misdemeanor, while Young left the gallery and therefore was not arrested, Gainer said.

"Neither guest should have been confronted about the expressive T-shirts," Gainer's statement said. Gainer added that he was asking the U.S. attorney's office to drop the charge against Sheehan. The statement also said he apologized to the Youngs and "share the department's plans for avoiding this in the future. A similar message has been left with Mrs. Sheehan," Gainer said.

Photograph of Congressman HastingsA foreign-born American citizen who was the guest of Rep. Alcee Hastings, left (news, bio, voting record), D-Fla., also was taken by police from the gallery just above the House floor, Hastings said Wednesday. The congressman met with Gainer and House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., about the incident. "I'd like to find out more information," Hastings said in an interview, identifying the man only as being from Broward County in Florida. "He is a constituent of mine. I invited him proudly."

Sheehan's T-shirt alluded to the number of soldiers killed in Iraq: "2245 Dead. How many more?" Capitol Police charged her with a misdemeanor for violating the District of Columbia's code against unlawful or disruptive conduct on any part of the Capitol grounds, a law enforcement official said.

Young's shirt had this message: "Support the Troops -- Defending Our Freedom."

The two women appeared to have offended tradition if not the law, according to several law enforcement and congressional officials. By custom, the annual address is to be a dignified affair in which the president reports on the state of the nation. Guests in the gallery who wear shirts deemed political in nature have, in past years, been asked to change or cover them up.

Full AP-Yahoo News story.


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

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

 

AP: Alito sides against court conservatives on death reprieve

Alito at the White House this morningBy GINA HOLLAND, Associated Press Writer -- Wednesday -- 6 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - New Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito (shown left being sworn in at the White House this morning) split with the court's conservative Wednesday night, refusing to let Missouri execute a death-row inmate contesting lethal injection.

Alito, handling his first case, sided with inmate Michael Taylor, who had won a stay from an appeals court earlier in the evening. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas supported lifting the stay, but Alito joined the remaining five members in turning down Missouri's last-minute request to allow a midnight execution.

Full AP-Yahoo News story.


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

 

Van Os: Forget the Irrelevant Senate Democrats

David Van Os, right, with Dave Haiglerby David Van Os, right (shaking hands with Dave Haigler)

Some Democrats go around questioning the intelligence or humanity of their fellow citizens who believe George Bush's pack of lies. I do not agree with this attitude.

Don't blame it on the people for not seeing through the Bushite lies. That's blaming the victims for the crime. Blame it on the pathetic Beltway Democratic upper crust. The political process is an adversary process. In order for the public to perceive the truth when the dominant party is misleading them, there has to be an opposition party that fights for the truth, in both words and deeds. We don't have that. Democrats don't have that; hence America doesn't have it.

Actions speak far louder than words. The Democratic surrender on Alito said loudly and clearly by action that the Senate Democrats as a group have no core convictions and their words are all talk. Even though there are a handful of individual exceptions, the group action is what the public sees. Even those who voted against cloture did not passionately fight for a filibuster within the Democratic caucus, but cast their "nay" against cloture as a symbolic formality. In the final analysis, re-election politics counted for more than any principles, just as it always does in the corrupted and self-serving congressional political culture.

As for any misguided thoughts of going "third party": The Democratic Party is the oldest continuously existing political party in the world. Jefferson and Madison founded it (at first called simply the "anti-federalist caucus") as the party of the people and in its history and its noble ideals it remains the party of the people. The party of the people still burns brightly today in the strong hearts, minds, and values of tens of millions of grassroots Democrats. Weak, self-promoting individuals who slither their way into high positions through unprincipled brokerage politics continually sell out those millions of grassroots Democrats. But as Jim Hightower so aptly says, we don’t need a third party; we just need a real Democratic Party.

Don't waste your energy on being angry with the weak-kneed Senate Democrats. Realize they are irrelevant and that they will be the last to recognize their own irrelevance. Concentrate on your state and show your fellow citizens what Fighting Democrats are all about. Fight 'till hell freezes over, and then fight on the ice.

David Van Os - Democratic Candidate for Attorney General of Texas



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

 

SoJo: Palestinian comments on Hamas victory

Rev. Mitri Raheb* - SojoMail 2-01-2006 (excerpt)

I am not minimizing the threat and danger behind this green revolution. Neither do I dismiss the possibility of the society's Islamization, a potential clash between Hamas and Fatah, or the likely isolation of Palestine internationally. Yet, one must see the other side of the coin. This is the only time in the Middle East that a one-party rule has ended peacefully by democratic elections. We must accept this as the best way to rotate political power. The people decided that enough is enough with Fatah and its rule. They opted for change. This change has not only to do with the power of Hamas but also with a process that is necessary for our society. In reality, this change means the end of the PLO as we know it, since its parties and structures do not relate anymore to the issues of Palestinian society. A new political landscape has to emerge now. This brings with it endless possibilities. The identity of Fatah after Arafat has to be shaped. The leftist parties in Palestine have to wake up from their sweet dreams and ideologies, to unite, restructure and to develop a new vision. Hamas is now obliged to show their capability of delivering what they were promising, and to learn how to build a government rather than being in the "lazy chair" of the opposition. The people of Palestine have to get used to regularly call their representatives to accountability through this medium of democratic elections.

Full Sojourners Magazine online article.  Rev. Mitri Raheb is senior pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem, Palestine, and general director of The International Center of Bethlehem and Dar al-Kalima Academy.

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


 

AP: GOP congressman's wife calls policeman "idiot" for ejecting her over T-shirt

By LAURIE KELLMAN, Associated Press Writer -- 38 minutes ago

Activist Cindy Sheehan  of the Gold Star Families for Peace participates on a panel calling for the impeachment of President. Bush on Monday, Jan. 30, 2006 in Washington. Sheehan joined a coalition of groups at the forum on the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke)WASHINGTON - Cindy Sheehan, right, mother of a fallen soldier in Iraq, wasn't the only one ejected from the House gallery during the State of the Union address for wearing a T-shirt with a war-related slogan that violated the rules. The wife of a powerful Republican congressman was also asked to leave.

Beverly Young, wife of Rep. C.W. Bill Young (news, bio, voting record) of Florida — chairman of the House Defense Appropriations subcommittee — was removed from the gallery because she was wearing a T-shirt that read, "Support the Troops — Defending Our Freedom."

Mrs. Young was sitting about six rows from first lady Laura Bush and asked to leave. She argued with police in the hallway outside the House chamber.  "They said I was protesting," she told the St. Petersburg Times. "I said, "Read my shirt, it is not a protest.' They said, 'We consider that a protest.' I said, 'Then you are an idiot.'"

They told her she was being treated the same as Sheehan, a protester ejected before the speech Tuesday night for wearing a T-shirt with an antiwar slogan. Sheehan wrote in her blog Wednesday that she intends to file a First Amendment lawsuit.

Full AP-Yahoo News story.  D.H.: This GOP congressman apparently thinks you can wear a T-shirt supporting the war in the House gallery, but not one opposing it.  Sweet!  Just pass a law, sir, saying the Capitol Police need to distinguish pro- and con- messages on t-shirts before they eject someone, and we'll see how much sense that makes.  Sounds like the Capitol Police had a simple, enforceable rule -- eject all t-shirts with messages, regardless of content, and they had more sense than the congressman did about this tempest in a teapot. 

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

 

Spier: More on the SOTU -- An Apocalyptic Bush?

By Bill Spier, right

President Bush ended his uninspiring address with this:

We have entered a great ideological conflict we did nothing to invite.... [E]very great movement of history comes to a point of choosing. Lincoln could have accepted peace at the cost of disunity and continued slavery. Martin Luther King could have stopped at Birmingham or at Selma, and achieved only half a victory over segregation. The United States could have accepted the permanent division of Europe, and been complicit in the oppression of others. Today, having come far in our own historical journey, we must decide: Will we turn back, or finish well?

If King stopped at Birmingham, would only half of the country remain segregated and immersed in Jim Crow? And after WWII, did Truman, Churchill and DeGaulle have any choice but to accept a divided Europe? We did accept division and did so for nearly 50 years. Is the attack on Iraq and the massive bloodshed that followed the historical journey Americans really were looking for after the criminal attack on New York and the Pentagon?

And, "Will we turn back, or finish well?" What is he saying here? I guess he meant to tell his base that we will stay tough. But does finish well have an apocalyptic nuance signaling a battle of Armageddon proportions to come? If you cannot fathom this nuance, you at least cringed when you heard two words that seemed delusional.

This speech was a press release for the shrinking base of people who will vote Republican in the 2006 Congressional races. After all, this next election is about subpoena power in Congress and who will get it.

One last Rovian gem from a speech comprised of lies and obfuscations:

"Fellow citizens, we've been called to leadership in a period of consequence."

Unfortunately, the consequences are of our own making.

D.H.: And what about this, "a great ideological conflict we did nothing to invite?" We've been betraying various factions in Iraq for decades. And in the leadership vacuum we created there, after we ran Saddam Hussein off, there has arisen a hatred for America and the west and a complicity with terror that never existed before. 75% of the people of all factions there want us out, period. This hatred is stronger than any "ideology" Bush can conceive of. And it's all of our own making. We should have finished the job in Afghanistan and brought our troops home, and not let Bush use 9/11 as a pretext for invading Iraq. We have hell to pay for that mistake.

Other links:

Media Matters for America.

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

Buzzflash News.

Latest post to DemLog.


 

AP: Iran president vows to resist bully nations

By ALI AKBAR DAREINI, Associated Press Writer -- 5 minutes ago

TEHRAN, Iran - Iran's president lashed out Wednesday at the United States and vowed to resist the pressure of "bully countries" as European nations circulated a draft resolution urging that Tehran be brought before the U.N. Security Council for its nuclear activities.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks in Bushehr, southern Iran, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2006, the site of Iran's only nuclear power plant to which Russia is putting the finishing touches. Iran will defy Western pressure and complete its nuclear program,  Ahmadinejad vowed Wednesday, a day before the U.N. nuclear agency is likely to vote to haul the country before the Security Council. (AP Photo/ISNA/Amir Khuloosi)In a speech to thousands of supporters hours after President Bush's State of the Union address, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, left, derided the United States as a "hollow superpower" that is "tainted with the blood of nations" and said Tehran would continue its nuclear program.

"Nuclear energy is our right, and we will resist until this right is fully realized," Ahmadinejad told the crowd in the southern Iran city of Bushehr, the site of Iran's only nuclear power plant.

"Our nation can't give in to the coercion of some bully countries who imagine they are the whole world and see themselves equal to the entire globe," he added.

The crowd responded with chants of "Nuclear energy is our right!"

Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, said at a news conference that the Islamic republic would halt intrusive U.N. inspections of its nuclear facilities and resume large-scale enrichment of uranium if it is taken before the U.N. Security Council, which could impose sanctions.

Larijani also said Iran remains committed to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, despite calls from hard-line newspapers to withdraw from the agreement if the International Atomic Energy Agency reports Iran to the Security Council on Thursday, as expected.

Full AP-Yahoo News story.

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

 

Spier: Same Old BS From Bush

by Bill Spier, right

I thought I would take some space to debunk Bush's slippery SOTU BS, but Think Progress and Dave Haigler covered the BS very well.

Corporate media is trumpeting Bush's "America Is Drunk On Oil" spin as an awakening in today's papers. But on the previous day, they all reported that Exxon-Mobil profits for the year are greater than the GDP of Saudi Arabia. Only hardwired believers in Republican and corporate propaganda and addicts of American Idol will miss the irony in all this.

Every year, Bush says we must tackle problems in healthcare, fossil fuel use, the "terror" threat, and the lack of democracy throughout the world. The latter issue metastisized from a simple grab for resources in Iraq to a madman's delusion.

Other links:

Media Matters for America.

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

Buzzflash News.

Latest post to DemLog.


 

DH: Abilene Dems join WCW protests

Everman Park gang of 16 DemsAbilene, Feb. 1 - A group of 16 Abilene Democrats, left, staged a protest of President Bush's State of the Union address at Abilene's Everman Park last night, joining "World Can't Wait" protestors throughout the country.  (Click on pictures to enlarge.)
 
Democratic Club President Roger Spier, M.D., organized the protest.  Club Vice President Allen D. Glenn, a retired attorney, carried a sign painted by his artist wife, Esme Glenn, saying, "Lies, No-W, WMD, Weapons of Mass Deception."  Others in attendance included John & Kay Pettit, Larry Doty, Barbara Backus, and Jim & Jewel Halford. 
 
DH rebuts Bush SOTU speechCounty Democratic Chair Dave Haigler, right, read excerpts from the president's speech and Haigler's rebuttal, which was previously blogged here.
 
Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
lawfirm webpage: www.haigler.info
 
If those links don't work, try our political blog: http://demlog.blogspot.com.

 

Slate-Papers: Crude Awakening

By Eric Umansky - Posted Feb. 1, at 6:45 AM: ET

Justice Alito, at State of Union address last nightThe Washington Post, alone, leads with the Senate's less-than-surprising confirmation of now Justice Alito, left. The vote: 58-42. Four Democrats voted for Alito -- Senators Byrd, Conrad, Johnson and Nelson. One Republican -- Lincoln Chafee, below right -- went against him. The Wall Street Journal and New York Times preview some of the cases Alito might tip. The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Journal world-wide newsbox, and NYT lead with President Bush's State of the Union, which featured "no far-reaching proposals" and amounted to what the Post dubs "a pep talk from a president on the defensive."

Sen. ChafeeThe spiciest bit in the speech -- and it's all relative -- was the president's pronouncement that "America is addicted to oil." The president, below left, said he's going to address the problem with a 22 percent increase in "clean-energy research." Among the breakthrough technologies that will save us: creating ethanol from "wood chips and stalks or switch grass."

President Bush, with Cheney behindThe papers, and in particular the NYT, do a solid job explaining why you won't be cruising around in a wood-chip burning Camry soon and why the president's pitch doesn't amount to much. The Journal says the new proposal is "far more modest" than what was in the energy bill passed last summer and would only increase spending "by about $300 million." Bush also talked about cutting oil imports from the Middle East by 75 percent. Which sounds good, but the Post notices cherry-picking:

Since Bush took office, net foreign imports have risen from 53 percent to 60 percent. By focusing on his goal of reducing use of Middle Eastern oil by 75 percent, he singled out the share that is not rising. Oil from the Persian Gulf region now represents 11 percent of U.S. oil consumption, less than when Bush was inaugurated.

The papers are filled with fact-checking like that -- which make the papers' deference-laden headlines all the screwier. "BUSH CALLS FOR CUTS IN OIL RELIANCE," says the LAT. And TP "calls" for special time with Scarlett Johansen. The question is, does either have a realistic plan for making it happen?

The NYT is worse, announcing on top of Page One: "BUSH, RESETTING AGENDA, SAYS U.S. MUST CUT RELIANCE ON OIL." Whoever wrote that might have benefited from reading one of the nation's best papers, the New York Times. As the Times mentioned inside, the only thing the president is "resetting" is the clock: "Bush has called in each of his past four State of the Union addresses for a reduction in the dependence on foreign oil."

In other SOTU highlights, the president proposed: expanding controversial healthcare savings accounts, which allow people to save for medical expenses tax free so long as they have certain high deductible insurance plans; tax cuts for companies engaged in basic R&D; hiring 70,000 math and science teachers; and oh, and he insisted he hasn't given up on tweaking Social Security. He's going to appoint a commission.

The NYT tweaks the president on what wasn't mentioned: He "offered no new ideas for rebuilding New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and made no proposal to clamp down on lobbying abuses in Congress." Also MIA: Mars.

The LAT's Ron Brownstein plays SOTU word association: "Chastened. Deferential. Modest."

Slate's John Dickerson notices that Bush suggested he was fine with being criticized; it's just that he also sees those who "oppose him as lazy, retreating, and negative."

The NYT previews a leaked U.N. nuclear inspectors' report concluding that Iran is engaged in … some really fishy stuff. The report cites evidence that the uranium enrichment program -- which Iran insists is only for civilian purposes -- is actually connected to the military's development of high explosives and missiles warheads, all helpful stuff for nukes. "The obvious technical connection is that these are all central elements of a program to develop nuclear weapons and delivery capability," said one nuclear engineering prof.

The Journal highlights another wrinkle from the inspectors, namely their "conclusion that a document Iran obtained on the nuclear black market serves no other purpose than to help make an atomic bomb." It's worth knowing that the Post seems to have seen the same inspectors' report but plays down the purported Mrs. King, in 1999  file photorevelations.

Everybody fronts the death of Coretta Scott King, right, who was 78 and had been in poor health since a stroke last year. King had long carved her own path advocating civil rights and women's rights. (She was also sometimes criticized over the management of the King Center.) Though not an activist in her early years, she wasn't exactly tradition-bound: "She stunned Dr. King's father, who presided over [their] wedding, by demanding that the promise to obey her husband be removed from the wedding vows."

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

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