Friday, January 27, 2006

ON THE ALITO FILIBUSTER, DOUBLE SPEAK, PURGING BUSH/ABRAMOFF PHOTOS AND A SERIOUSLY COMPROMISED MEDIA

ON DOUBLE SPEAK

The Bush double-talking, message-manipulating machine and hypocritical WH rejected a proposal for surveillance in 2002.

Excerpt:

The Bush administration rejected a 2002 Senate proposal that would have made it easier for FBI agents to obtain surveillance warrants in terrorism cases, concluding that the system was working well and that it would likely be unconstitutional to lower the legal standard.

WHITE HOUSE DISMISSED 2002 SURVEILLENCE PROPOSAL

SERIOUS NEWS AT RISK

Booted CNN anchor Aaron Brown of the former News Night expresses his views on journalism today.

Excerpt:

Journalists have fallen short in presenting important news in ways that allow viewers to see how it matters in their lives. But viewers must take up the battle as well, he said. "It's not enough to say you want serious news. You have to watch it. It isn't enough to say you want serious debate. You have to engage in it."

My sentiments exactly. LS

SERIOUS NEWS AT RISK

A POWERFUL ANALYSIS OF THE MEDIA TODAY and why it continually not only upholds and reinforces Republican ideology but most disturbingly, it simultaneously trashes and bashes Democrats on every level. Worse, the media is completely unaware that it has become completely embedded in the GOP belief system.

A brilliant piece by Peter Daou of Salon. LS

Excerpt:

There's a critical distinction to be made here: individual reporters may lean left, isolated news stories may be slanted against the administration. What I'm describing is the wholesale peddling by the "neutral" press of deep-seated narratives, memes, and soundbites: simple, targeted talking points that paint a picture of reality for the American public that favors the right and tarnishes the left.

You’ve heard the narratives: Bush is likable, Bush is a regular guy, Bush is firm, Bush is a religious man, Bush relishes a fight, Democrats are muddled, Democrats have no message, national security is Bush’s strength, terror attacks and terror threats help Bush (even though he presided over the worst attack ever on American soil), Democrats are weak on security, Democrats need to learn how to talk about values, Republicans favor a “strict interpretation” of the Constitution, and on and on.

THE TRIANGLE: MATTHEWS, MOORE, MURTHA AND THE MEDIA

ABRAMOFF WON'T RELEASE OR SELL PHOTOS OF HIMSELF WITH ABRAMOFF

Who is bribing whom now?

ABRAMOFF WON'T RELEASE PHOTOS OF HIMSELF AND BUSH

PHOTOGRAPHY FIRM THAT TOOK PHOTOS OF BUSH WITH ABRAMOFF PURGED THE PHOTOS FROM THEIR DATABASE

I am sure you are as stunned as I am over this finding. But you won't be appalled when you read the piece below the photography purging in which Reflections Photography earned $140K from the Bush/Cheney 2004 campaign.

REFLECTIONS PHOTOGRAPHY PURGED BUSH AND ABRAMOFF PHOTOS FROM DATABASE

THE REASON WHY?

REFLECTIONS PHOTOGRAPHY WHO PURGED BUSH ABRAMOFF PHOTOS PROFITED NICELY FROM THE BUSH CHENEY 2004 CAMPAIGN

...................................................MOVING ON TO ALITO..................................................................

KERRY WILL LEAD THE FILIBUSTER

I saved the best piece, sent by Ken, for the last.

Breaking: Kerry Will Lead Filibuster
By Bob Fertik
Created 2006-01-26 13:06

ARTICLE HERE OR READ BELOW

I have confirmed reports that Kerry wants to filibuster Alito, and he is talking to his colleagues to round up the 41 votes he needs.

Only two Democrats (Ben Nelson and Tim Johnson) support Alito. Only two others (Mary Landrieu and Ken Salazar) say they oppose a filibuster, but are expected to vote against Alito.

So right now, without the support of any Republicans, we still have 41 possible votes for a filibuster. There are roughly 6 moderate Republicans who should also be targeted (Lincoln Chafee, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Bob Smith, Olympia Snowe, George Voinovich). And we should work as hard as we can to persuade Landrieu and Salazar that a vote against Alito is meaningless if they don't support a filibuster.

More details soon, but keep calling the Alito 8!
http://democrats.com/alito-8

Here is part of the speech Kerry gave yesterday. Kerry is absolutely right that Bush's nomination of Alito was all about capitulating to the radical right after they shot down Harriet Miers. I love the part about Ann Coulter!!!


„President Bush had the opportunity to nominate someone who would unite the country in a time of extreme divisiveness. He chose not to do this, and that is his right. But that he didn‚t and how this nomination happened tells us a great deal about this presidency and how politics is driving this process.


„Under fire from his conservative base for nominating Harriet Miers˜a woman whose judicial philosophy they mercilessly attacked˜President Bush broke to extreme right-wing demands. This was a coup. Miers was removed and Alito was installed. The President did not consult with members of the Senate, as is required by the Constitution. He gave no thought to what the American people really wanted˜or needed.


„Instead, he made this nomination about his political base. He made it about an ideological shift in the Court. He made it about unassailable conservative credentials and an unimpeachable conservative judicial philosophy.


„If you need proof, just look at the response of Ann Coulter. Ms. Coulter is as inflammatory and as conservative as anyone in the country. She makes her living through character assassination. She denounced the nomination of John Roberts. She attacked the nomination of Harriet Miers, calling her completely unqualified and lamenting that President Bush had Ĺ’thrown away a Supreme Court seat.‚ Yet she celebrated the nomination of Samuel Alito, stating that Bush gave Democrats a right-hook‚ with this stunningly qualified‚ nominee. This from a woman who said that Republicans need to nominate a person who wake[s] up every morning . . . chortling about how much his latest opinion will tick off the left.‚

Kerry also highlights the issue of dictatorship and the "unitary theory":


Judge Alito's hostility to individual rights is not limited to civil rights. He consistently excuses government intrusions into personal privacy - regardless of how egregious or excessive they are. In Doe v. Groody, for example, he dissented from an opinion written by then-Judge Michael Chertoff because he believed that the strip search of a 10-year old was 'reasonable.' He also thought the government should not be held accountable for shooting an un-armed boy trying to escape with a stolen purse, nor for forcibly evicting farmers from their land in a civil bankruptcy proceeding without any show of resistance.


This pattern of deference to government power is reinforced by a speech he gave as a sitting judge to the Federalist Society just five years ago.


In his speech, Judge Alito 'preach[ed] the gospel' of the Reagan Administration's Justice Department: the theory of a unitary executive. Though in the hearings, Judge Alito attempted to downplay the significance of this theory by saying it did not address the scope of the power of the executive branch but rather addressed the question of who controls the executive branch, don't be fooled. The unitary executive theory has everything to do with the scope of executive power.


In fact, even Stephen Calabresi, one of the fathers of the theory, has stated that '[t]he practical consequence of this theory is dramatic: it renders unconstitutional independent agencies and counsels.' This means that Congress would lose the power to protect public safety by creating agencies like the Consumer Product Safety Commission - which ensures the safety of products on the marketplace - and the Securities and Exchange Commission - which protects Americans from corporations like Enron - and the President would gain it.


Carried to its logical end, the theory goes much further than invalidating independent agencies. The Bush Administration has used it to justify both its illegal domestic spying program and its ability to torture detainees. The Administration seems to view this theory as a blank check for executive overreaching.


Judge Alito's endorsement of the unitary executive theory is not my only cause for concern. In 1986, while working in the Justice Department, Judge Alito endorsed the idea that presidential 'signing statements' could be used to influence judicial interpretation of legislation. His premise was that the President's understanding of legislation was as important as Congress' in determining legislative intent - startling when you consider that Congress is the legislative branch.


President Bush has taken the practice of issuing signing statements to a new level. Most recently, he used a signing statement to reserve the right to ignore the ban on torture that the Congress overwhelmingly passed. He also used signing statement to attempt to apply the law restricting habeas corpus review of enemy combatants retroactively - despite our understanding in Congress that it would not affect cases pending before the Supreme Court at the time of passage.


The implications of President Bush's signing statements are astounding: his Administration is reserving the right to ignore those laws it does not like. Only one thing can hold the President accountable: the Supreme Court. I am not convinced that will happen if Judge Alito is confirmed.


Reigning in excessive government power matters more today than ever before as we work to find the balance between protecting our rights and our safety. As Justice O'Connor said, the war on terror is not a blank slate for government action. We can - and must - fight it in a manner consistent with the Constitution.

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