Friday, April 29, 2005

Review of Presidential Press Conference

Some random thoughts on the president's well scripted fake news event:

1."Q Mr. President, a majority of Americans disapprove of your handling of Social Security, rising gas prices and the economy. Are you frustrated by that and by the fact that you’re having trouble gaining traction on your agenda in a Republican-controlled Congress?

THE PRESIDENT: Look, we’re asking people to do things that haven’t been done for 20 years. We haven’t addressed the Social Security problem since 1983. We haven’t had an energy strategy in our country for decades. And so I’m not surprised that some are balking at doing hard work. But I have a duty as the President to define problems facing our nation and to call upon people to act. And we’re just really getting started in the process"

Did the presdent just say Americans balk at hard work? Are you kidding me? What about our American work ethic? Apparently, he doesn't believe in that anymore.

And what's the about the presdient 'defining' problems? Does he mean 'create' problems? What if the problems he defines aren't real problems but fake problems created to divide and control people while he and his cronies loot the American people social security trust fund? hmm. How about 'recognizing' some problems like the looming deficit, the crisis he created in Iraq? I guess its better to keep us focused on his defined problems or we might actually expect him to do something to solve our very real problems.

2."You asked about Social Security. For the past 60 days, I’ve traveled our country making it clear to people we have a problem. "

Good thing we didn't have a terrorist attack during his 60 day tour or he would have a lot of explaining to do.

3. "I’ve also spent time assuring seniors they’ll get their check."

Screw everyone else.

4. "Polls? You know, if a President tries to govern based upon polls, you’re kind of like a dog chasing your tail."

Funny how one of his only press conferences occurred right after polls showed that no one believe him anymore.

5. "Some would like to see judges legislate from the bench. That’s not my view of the proper role of a judge."

Not legislate from the bench? Where would they legislate from? The parking lot? What is your view of the proper role of a judge if not to legislate from the bench? Is he to use something other than American law to adjudicate? It is clear to me that mr bush was being totally disingenuous in his response. If he doesn't feel that American judges should use American law from which to parse out fair and equitable judgement, then it can be rightfully assumed that he feels another standard should be used. And since he will be the first to tell you that 'faith' plays a big role in his decisions, I think its safe to assume that he feels that judges should be making 'faith-based' decisions.

4. "THE PRESIDENT: John, actually I said in my opening statement that the best way to affect the current price of gasoline is to encourage producing nations to put more crude oil on the market."

How about if oil and gas companies, who have been raking in record profits pass some of that savings on to the consumer? Is that too much to ask?

5. "Gas is—can only be transported by ship, though, when you liquefy it, when you put it in solid form."

I'm no scientist, but as I recall from my high school, freshman science class, there are only three form of matter: gas, liquid and solid. When you liquefy something, wouldn't you be turning it into a liquid form not a solid form? And he attended college, where again?

6. "Q So am I reading correctly that the energy bill would not have had an effect on today’s high gasoline—
THE PRESIDENT: Well, it would have 10 years ago. That’s exactly what I’ve been saying to the American people

When all else fails, blame Clinton.

7. (this is quote is about social security) "You see, it’s possible if nothing gets done that the payroll taxes will go up to some 18 percent. Imagine that for your children and grandchildren, living in a society where payroll taxes are up at 18 percent."

Imagine what they're going to have to pay to fund the tax cut for the wealthy?

8. "Q Mr. President, you’ve made No Child Left Behind a big part of your education agenda. The nation’s largest teachers union has filed suit against it, saying it’s woefully inadequately funded. What’s your response to that? And do you think that No Child Left Behind is working?"

"Yes, I think it’s working. And the reason why I think it’s working is because we’re measuring, and the measurement is showing progress toward teaching people how to read and write and add and subtract.


And some people don’t like to measure. But if you don’t measure, how do you know whether or not you’ve got a problem in a classroom?"

Ok, its not that teachers don't like to measure progress, its that YOU DIDN'T FULLY FUND YOUR OWN PROGRAM. That's the real problem. If teachers are constrained by budgetary issues, how can they be expected to do their jobs. Again...another example of how shrub doesn't feel that Americans are up to the task. Perhaps if he actually funded education so that teachers could do more than teach abc's and 123's Bill Gates wouldn't be chomping at the bit to bring in foreign workers to do high end jobs.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Threat of Nuclear Blow Up in Congress Not New

In May 2003 Trent Lott introduced the idea of using a 'nuclear option' to break the Democrats' opposition to Charles Pickering.

"Charles Pickering was subjected to two contentious hearings last year in which Democrats on the judiciary panel harshly criticized some of the judge's decisions and suggested he is insensitive to civil rights and women's rights. Democrats, who controlled the committee last year, rejected Pickering's nomination."

"The GOP is in control this year, but the party lacks the 60 votes needed in the Senate to stop a Democratic filibuster of Pickering's nomination. Democratic filibusters have stalled nominations of two other conservative candidates for federal judgeships, Miguel Estrada and Patricia Owen.
A rules change would require a two-thirds vote in the Senate, an unlikely occurrence. GOP leaders also are considering trying to change the filibuster rule from the chair of the Senate, which would require only a simple majority vote to approve if Democrats challenged the ruling.

That tactic is known as the "nuclear option." Democrats have warned of "fallout" if Republicans resort to that maneuver.

"I'm for the nuclear option, absolutely," Lott has said. "The filibuster of federal district and circuit judges cannot stand. ... It's bad for the institution. It's wrong. It's not supportable under the Constitution. And if they insist on persisting with these filibusters, I'm perfectly prepared to blow the place up. No problem."

I heard yesterday on Randi Rhodes show on Air America Radio that the republicans are trying to change how they refer to their 'nuclear' option. They are trying to call a rule change elminating the filibuster on judicial nominations a 'constitutional option.' They are trying to say that the Democrats came up with the name 'nuclear' option because they plan to shut down the Senate if the republicans change the filibuster rules. I think this clearly shows that the republicans were using the term 'nuclear option' two years ago to describe their own high-handed tactics.

Furthermore, the republicans have been trying to put forth the idea that a filibuster has never been used to block judicial nominations in the past and that it is unconstitutional. The simple fact is that they are wrong on this issue.

"That is simply untrue and also beside the point. Writing in the National Law Journal, attorney Joshua Spivak says that "since 1789, 33 of the 148 nominees for the highest court have either been rejected by a vote of the Senate, had the voting on their nomination repeatedly postponed or filibustered into nonexistence or eventually bowed out. In the 19th century, more than a third of the nominees went down to defeat." More recent harmony, Spivak says, was due mostly to Democratic domination of both the presidency and Congress. "

Republicans are also saying that the appointed judges deserve and up or down vote on the Senate floor.

"In his statement on the "nuclear option," Coleman says that senators have a "right to vote 'yes' or 'no' on judges." In fact, they have that right in a cloture vote; it simply takes 60 of them to advance a nomination. But the majority Republicans have been very good at denying senators that right by simply refusing to either allow any vote at all or by refusing in committee to even schedule a hearing on a nominee."

I think it is clear that it is the republicans' actions which are not supported by the constitution. The Democrats are using the only option that a minority party has in trying to protect their agenda and have their voice heard. It has been used by both Democrats and republicans all throughout our history on various issues. It is what the founding fathers meant to happen when they established rule by a reasonable majority.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

No Deal

According to Bill Frist, there will be no deal with Democrats on the "nuclear" option.

You know, I have to say I'm kind of glad about this. I was really afraid that the Democratic leadership was once again caving to republican pressure. In this case, there is no need to, Americans are with us on this issue.

I do understand why Reid would want to take the 'nuclear' option off the table. If the republicans use the nuclear option, they would be able to approve any judge they wanted to any court, including the supreme court, which could have a huge impact on individual liberty for decades. And negotiating a resolution to any problem is frequently a better idea than not.

However, the problem I have with Dems negotiating with them now is threefold. One, it will look as if the evangel-a-thon the republicans had on Sunday is affecting Dems decision to negotiate because the Dems are losing ground on this issue. That is far from the truth. The American public is against the 'nuclear'option. I would much prefer that Dems stick to their guns and let the American public see that republicans WILL SAY AND DO ANYTHING to get their own way. Let America see the republicans for what they really are, self-serving, high handed tactic wielding, self-righteous, pompus asses. And it will show the American public that we are on their side. We are with them on this issue and WE represent their point of view. This could cause a fissure in the veneer of the republican rhetoric from which all of their credibility on any issue will seep. And Dems could continually push on that fissure until the gulf between the neo-con agenda and what's best for the American people is seen by everyone. Two, negotiating and allowing "some" of the nominees get through makes it appear as if the Dems are caving on their agenda, again. The more we give in on our values, the more it validates the rhetoric of the right. Lastly, negotiating removal of the 'nuclear' option now does not prevent them from putting it back on the table when an opening on the Supreme Court becomes available.

We need to hold tough. We are winning on this issue. And although the nuclear option may eventually be used by the republicans, it will only show their self-serving, duplicitous nature and will affect the outcome of the 2006 elections.

Ranting Upwards

Wonkette has a hilarious comparison between a screaming Howard Dean and a screaming John Bolton.

Check it out.

Daily News Items

The Myth of the Three Northeast Republican Moderates: They're Republican Stupid!
"They could have become Democrats and joined the DLC. But if the DLC is too liberal for them, you know that they are not, by any stretch of the imagination, moderates. "

Filibuster Rule Change Opposed

Frist, Reid Work on Deal over Judge Approvals

Why We Need Delay to Stay

Delay joining Bush at Social Security Stop

Bush Urges Saudi's to increase Oil Production

Rice stands fast on Bolton nomination

Marines From Iraq Sound Off About Want of Armor and Men

Wake Up Walmart

Conservative Southern Dems Disappearing

A Blue Tinge in the West

Disabled Program Changes Decried

Right-wing jihad
"These extremists have much in common with the jihadist wing of Islam. While Christian extremists usually don't practice violence, but merely threaten it (see Greer, above), they share with extremist Muslims the belief that all people should be forced to live according to their views. That's about as un-American as it gets."

Microsoft paying Religious Right leader Ralph Reed $20,000 a month retainer

Senate Committee Takes Up Bid to Overhaul Social Security

Some U.S. Security Agents Chafe Under Speech Limits

The Disappearing Wall

N. Korea, 6, and Bush, 0

Personal Accounts Are Not A Certainty


Monday, April 25, 2005

Daily News Items

Any Kerry Supporters on the Lines

Nuking the Filibuster
"Senate Republicans, including Sen. Norm Coleman, argue that, in Coleman's words, "There has never before in the history of the Senate been a filibuster of a judicial nominee who could have been confirmed ...."
That is simply untrue and also beside the point. Writing in the National Law Journal, attorney Joshua Spivak says that "since 1789, 33 of the 148 nominees for the highest court have either been rejected by a vote of the Senate, had the voting on their nomination repeatedly postponed or filibustered into nonexistence or eventually bowed out. In the 19th century, more than a third of the nominees went down to defeat." More recent harmony, Spivak says, was due mostly to Democratic domination of both the presidency and Congress.
"In 1968, however, President Lyndon Johnson nominated Supreme Court Associate Justice Abe Fortas to succeed Earl Warren as chief justice. Republicans, joined by a few conservative Southern Democrats, successfully filibustered Fortas' nomination. Cloture was rejected on a vote of 45 for cloture, 43 against. Fortas was denied the up-down vote on the Senate floor Coleman says he deserved. Coleman waves that aside, asserting that Fortas would have been rejected anyway. In fact, the historical record strongly suggests he would have won, but that ultimately is unknowable absent that up-down vote."
"In fact, the Congressional Research Service reports that between 1967 and 2002, cloture was sought on filibusters of 17 judicial nominees."
"Sen. Orrin Hatch, former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, was singularly successful in rejecting Clinton's nominees by simply refusing to even hold a committee hearing on them. In total, more than 60 of Clinton's nominees were bottled up in the Senate this way.

A High-Tech Lynching in Prime Time

Secret Service records raise new questions about discredited conservative reporter

The Oblivious Right

The Agony of War

Turbulence on Campus in 60's Hardened Views of Future Pope

Wisps of Life in Congress

UN Investigator Who Exposed US Army Abuse Forced Out of His Job

The Democracy Trap

Fixing What Ails the Schools

Let the District Decide

Towards Equality

A Boldface Name Invites Others to Blog With Her

Preserving the Right to a Lawyer

Memo to Karen Hughes

Sedition and the Fundamentalist Jihad

Republican Party Loyalty Oath Courtesy of Kim Jong Il of North Korea

« Liberal Blogs »
Blogarama - The Blog Directory this is a Proud Liberal Site