Thursday, May 26, 2005

Remember...You Heard it Here First

Yesterday, I complained about Christ Matthews espousing WH talking points about the Democrats being obstructionist. Well, Media Matters for America has also picked up Matthews' allegiance to the neocons.

Furthermore, Media Matters reports that Joe Scarborough (former republican congressman) has distorted polls so that it appears as if Americans don't support the right of the minority party to filibuster.

They are encouraging individuals to contact MSNBC to voice their dissent in the way they are orchestrating their political stories. How they report the news matters!

Here are some e-mail addresses:

or snail mail:

MSNBC on the Internet
One Microsoft Way
Redmond, WA 98052

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

An Opportunity

It looks like the republican party and their grip on political dialogue is starting show some fissures. Howard Fineman wrote a great article (I have included the links for everything I read this morning below) about the internal problems within the republican party.

It sounds to me that Democrats have a real opportunity here to turn things around to their favor if they can capitalize on the current breakdown within the republican party and really create some wedges of their own.

While the agreement with the 14 moderate members of the Senate has held off a rules change for now, its clear that Frist is feeling supremely dissatisfied and still plans to push for a rules change the first time the Democrats even think about a filibuster. Thus, my concern that the republicans would lord the threat of a rules change over the heads of the Democrats was realized just hours after the agreement.

I also included an interesting conversation on's hardblogger blog. While I've long suspected that Nora O'Donnell was a true-believer in Bush's policies, it has become increasingly clear that Chris Matthews is also guilty of drinking the kool-aid at the White House as well. I was appalled when I sat there and listened to him call the Democrats obstructionists because they dared to filibuster 7 of Bush's nominees based on pricinple.

For the record, Democrats have voted to confirm 97% of Bush's judicial nominees. That is hardly obstructionist. That is a far better record than 60 nominees the republicans did not even bring to a vote while Clinton was in office.

Quite frankly, I'm glad that the Democrats have stood up for what our party believes in and has filibustered some of these extremist judges.

Can you imagine what would happen if Democrats controlled the White House, Congress and Senate and a Democratic President nominated someone for the federal bench who believed in legalizing marijuana, federally funded abortions on demand, and end to all war, the creation of a Peace Department, free college education for all, single-payer health care and an end to the corporate grip on American Society (you know, Dennis Kucinich). The republicans couldn't filibuster a nominee of this ilk fast enough to satisfy their base. And they would scream from the highest mountain about her/his extremist views. Then imagine that the Democrats tried to change the rules so that a filibuster for such nominees were impossible and they were told to shut and tow the line because they lost the election and had no right to a voice. And then have Chris Matthews call them obstructionist for trying to stand up for what they call their values. Can you just imagine the outrage?

Liberal press, my ass.

A Food Fight in the Big GOP Tent

Frist issues new warning on filibusters

The Top 10 Filibuster Falsehoods

Nuclear Brinkmanship

The Senate's Cease-Fire

The Center Holds

Breakthrough Pact Unlikely To End Battle

Hardblogger's Blog about the Filibuster Deal

Liberal Federal Judges?

Conservatives near lock on US courts.

Sen. Leahy condemns religious activists, Focus on the Family

A Bench Tilting Right

The 9th Circuit Follows

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Air America and the Freedom of Press

I encourage everyone to go to and livestream the testimony Randi Rhodes is giving to congress regarding free speech in the media. Or go to C-Span and see if it is playing there.

Furthermore, we should all encourage Air America to rebroadcast the speeches that their air personalities have given to congress today.

Nuclear Meltdown Averted

It appears that a nuclear meltdown of the Senate has been averted. Seven republicans and seven Democrats reached an agreement yesterday in which Democrats would allow a vote on 5 of Bush' s nominations and republicans would avoid using the nuclear option, this time.

I am glad that an agreement was made. I think that using the nuclear option would have been disasterous for the American people. It would have been a true breech of our trust in the system. I think the potential use of the nuclear option is nothing more than a power grab by power hungry conservatives who cannot stand to hear any opposition to their policies. It was an attempt to completely decimate the democratic process and permanantly silence the Democratic party, ensuring that the American public only had one option for political representation.

As it stands, I think this agreement falls far short of ensuring that our political process will remain free from republican manipulation. While I think taking a step back from the nucelar option is a good thing, I think that this agreement unnecessarily restrains Democrats while securing no guarantee from the republicans that they won't play the 'nuclear' card in the future. Here are some of my concerns:

  • There is no guarantee that republicans will actually give thoughtful consideration to the records of the five judges who will have a vote under this agreement. In other words, this agreement may give the president the rubber stamp agreement from Congress that he wants and the 7 Democrats who signed this agreement will have given it to them without making the republican extremists take responsibility for ramrodding these people through the confirmation process.
  • If Democrats try to filibuster a nomination they feel in good conscience is not a good choice for the American people and if one of the republicans who signed this agreement feels that the decision has no merit , they can still invoke the nuclear option and change the rules anyway. In short, this agreement could be used to keep Democrats from filibustering any nominee for any reason.
  • There is no guarantee that the nuclear option won't be invoked to change the rules should one or more seats become available on the supreme court.
  • There is no guarantee that the nuclear option won't be invoked if Democrats try to challange or block controversial legislation.

I would like to believe that my fears are without basis and that both Democrats and republicans will honor both the words and the spirit of this agreement, but considering rhetroic and lies that have come out of this administration and the republican party, I am worried.

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