BUSH WON’T COMMENT on Plame leak “ongoing” investigation, but has no problem declaring Tom Delay innocent and Randy Duke should be punished.
President Bush said yesterday he is confident that former House majority leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) is innocent of money-laundering charges, as he offered strong support for several top Republicans who have been battered by investigations or by rumors of fading clout inside the White House. In an interview with Fox News, Bush said he hopes DeLay will be cleared of charges that he illegally steered corporate money into campaigns for the Texas legislature and will reclaim his powerful leadership position in Congress. "I hope that he will, 'cause I like him, and plus, when he's over there, we get our votes through the House," Bush told Fox News's Brit Hume.
SOME INVESTIGATIONS are more ongoing than others. The White House must think the people are fools that this won't be noticed. Whether "reporters" are fools will be discovered at the next White House Press Briefing. Who will ask Scott McLellan about the apparent disparity, or inequity, in "ongoing" investigations? Until then the message seems clear here. When an ally is still an asset, he is innocent. You can tell somebody is on the way to guilty when the investigation is "ongoing."
MORE FROM THE BRIT HUME George Bush Fox interview: When all the politics cease and the debate ends, Bush said he hopes that people will remember him "as a fellow who had his priorities straight: his faith, his family and his friends are a central part of his life." Bush said that he still prays several times a day and particularly appreciates the prayers of fellow citizens. He said his faith plays a big role in his life and guides him through it. Despite that devotion, Bush said that he is not confused about how he got into office. "There's a difference between a personal relationship with an almighty and kind of this notion in some quarters of the world that some have God as directing policy out of the White House," Bush said. "I think I was chosen by the American people and I knocked on their doors an awful lot in 2000 and 2004 ... I do pray that I, to the best extent possible, that God's will shines through me as an individual, but I don't subscribe to that God picked me over somebody else," he said. [transcript]
SO IF DELAY’S TRICK of “redistricting” in Texas until he got his extra Republican seats gets overturned, will all the votes in the House get recast? Do the people get a do over here or do the Republicans get a mulligan?
The Supreme Court said Monday it would consider the constitutionality of a Texas congressional map engineered by Rep. Tom DeLay that helped Republicans gain seats in Congress. The 2003 boundaries helped Republicans win 21 of the state's 32 seats in Congress in the last election up from 15. They were approved amid a nasty battle between Republican leaders and Democrats and minority groups in Texas.
SOMEBODY SHOULD TAKE a look at all the narrow votes won by six Republican votes. Somebody should ask how cynical it is to take power where and how you can and get away with as much as you can until you get caught. Somebody should ask whether there is something evil in that approach to representing the people of the United States in the all too apparent business of their government. Or maybe somebody just did.
BILL FRIST IS NOT JUST a senator, he is also doctor and a part time weatherman. Yesterday Good Old Boy Medical Bill put down the embalming fluid cocktail that gives him his lively look long enough to warn Democrats about a long possible nuclear winter:
"It would be against the intent of the Founding Fathers and our Constitution to deny Sam Alito an up-or-down vote on the floor of the United States Senate," he said on "Fox News Sunday."
FRIST WHO ONLY LOOKS like he is dead apparently had a séance to speak with the dead to learn the Founding Fathers’ intent. The Founding Mothers were unavailable for comment. Nobody on the ghost of journalism Fox News pointed out to Frist that the words “up and down vote” do not appear in the Constitution. Whether the Constitution is still living when Frist is done with it, no one knows. “The answer is yes,” Frist said when asked if he would he would say no to a Democratic filibuster of Sudden Sam Alito’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT to be the sacrificial lamb against Hillary Clinton in her New York Senate race before Clinton runs for President is anyone’s guess. The morsel Hillary might munch before lunch shows herself to be quite the politician, at least as she starts her spin out of sight for now. Here’s what the NY Times say about Jeanine F. Pirro:
After the meeting with Governor Pataki today, Ms. Pirro tried to put a positive spin on why members of her own party have called for her to drop her Senate candidacy. "What's happened in the last several days is that there are people who are complimenting my abilities to run for other offices as well, and I am grateful for their belief that I can run for any office in this state," she said.
YEAH, JEANINE run for anything. Just not this. I love New York.
THE HERETIK GUESSES Pirro still challenging Clinton is true. Guess it depends in a Clintonian way on what the definition of is, is. Jeralyn Merritt reviews the political menu: My view: Jeanine in the Senate race is political suicide.
THE BATTLE AIN’T OVER until one man has his say. Redistricting in Texas got redone until Tom Delay was satisfied with the results. Call that Texas justice. The Department of Justice called it something else, but Delay had his say anyway. Anonymous tongues once again wag.
Justice Department lawyers concluded that the landmark Texas congressional redistricting plan spearheaded by Rep. Tom DeLay (R) violated the Voting Rights Act, according to a previously undisclosed memo obtained by The Washington Post. But senior officials overruled them and approved the plan.
SPEAKING UP IS NOT ENOUGH when one Texas jackass has the power to tell people to shut up. Delay himself is taking some kicks in the ass. How many Hispanics feel sorry for him? This is not just a Texas thing.
"The State of Texas has not met its burden in showing that the proposed congressional redistricting plan does not have a discriminatory effect," the memo [pdf] concluded. The memo also found that Republican lawmakers and state officials who helped craft the proposal were aware it posed a high risk of being ruled discriminatory compared with other options. But the Texas legislature proceeded with the new map anyway because it would maximize the number of Republican federal lawmakers in the state, the memo said. The redistricting was approved in 2003, and Texas Republicans gained five seats in the U.S. House in the 2004 elections, solidifying GOP control of Congress.
WHAT HAPPENS IN TEXAS doesn’t stay in Texas. Votes denied in Texas ripple across the nation’s political pond. At the edges we endure endless small wave upon wave of power corrupted, corrupting justice and the law itself. We are a nation of laws, not men. But the men who make the law make us shamed at what they do.
RECOMMENDED ADDITIONAL READING TEXAS AMBUSH [Common Dreams] Led by U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and Bush political mastermind Karl Rove, Texas Republicans have completed their ambush of congressional Democrats. After Delay spent three days huddled in private conferences with bickering Republican legislators, they gerrymandered U.S. House districts in order to knock off as many as seven Democratic incumbents -- and help secure Republican dominance of the House of Representatives for a decade. For months, Texas Republicans tried to re-open the can of worms known as redistricting in an unprecedented series of special sessions. Twice Democratic legislators fled the state to block a quorum. But power-hungry Republicans were relentless, and now they've finally crushed Democratic opposition. The battle moves to the courts and the Department of Justice, but it's unlikely that the carefully vetted map will be overturned. Simply by rejiggering district lines in Texas, Republicans have padded their slim majority in the U.S. House so that they can even more brazenly avoid any need to work with House Democrats -- or even moderate Republicans. Their dominance has little to do with how many votes they win, or how popular Republican candidates are, either nationally or in Texas. It's much more the power of computers and databases to slice and dice the electorate, creating precisely crafted "designer districts" for the candidates of the party in power.
IF YOU FORGOT ENRON [WaPo] In May 2001, Enron's top lobbyists in Washington advised the company chairman that then-House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) was pressing for a $100,000 contribution to his political action committee, in addition to the $250,000 the company had already pledged to the Republican Party that year. DeLay requested that the new donation come from "a combination of corporate and personal money from Enron's executives," with the understanding that it would be partly spent on "the redistricting effort in Texas," said the e-mail to Kenneth L. Lay from lobbyists Rick Shapiro and Linda Robertson.
THE HERETIK NOTES for those who haven't noticed. Less voices in government speaking and less heard are the clarion calling that we may be witnessing the end of any hope of honest democracy and the rise of oligarchs and plutocrats.
OTHER VOICES IN THE SOUND AND THE FURY Dem in CT at The Next Hurrah continues with little daggers that bleed the truth. "Screw the country, this is good for Republicans." It's, of course, the same arrogance that led to this and this. The latter, at least, will be in a venue where spin and 'political theatre' (the dismissive view of Americans who hate politics and see the sides as being equally corrupt) can't be the deciding factors. That honor will go to the justice system. And, no, the sides aren't equally corrupt any more than they will be found equally guilty.
THE HERETIK AGREES and laments the creeping "sense of fairness" used by the foul to suggest both sides are equally to blame, that both sides in a story deserve equal attention even when one side so blatantly lies and manipulates the process of the telling of stories itself. You could call the problem creeping Broderism. Michael Kinsley is a must read: Business As Usual: Corrupt.
MOREJoe Gandelman snarks: there will surely be plenty of explanations: after all, everyone involved in this case is a lawyer... Blogger Radio broadcasts: In-effect, there are 5 Representatives in the U.S. House, from Texas, whose seats are really illegitimate. Fake Congress-persons, if you will. Illegal even. Gerrymandered into office.
UPDATE BAD NEWS FOR DELAY [NY Times] With a federal corruption case intensifying, prosecutors investigating Jack Abramoff, the Republican lobbyist, are examining whether he brokered lucrative jobs for Congressional aides at powerful lobbying firms in exchange for legislative favors, people involved in the case have said. The attention paid to how the aides obtained jobs occurs as Mr. Abramoff is under mounting pressure to cooperate with prosecutors as they consider a case against lawmakers. Participants in the case, who insisted on anonymity because the investigation is secret, said he could try to reach a deal in the next six weeks. Many forces are bearing down on Mr. Abramoff. Last week, his closest business partner, Michael Scanlon, pleaded guilty to conspiracy in exchange for cooperating in the inquiry, being run by an interagency group, into whether money and gifts were used in an influence-peddling scandal that involved lawmakers.
CONVENIENT HERETIK SHORTHAND for how DC works for some and not for all: Special Business Interest>> K Street Lobbyist>> Congress >> Special Business Interest>> K Street Lobbyist>> Congress. The door revolves until someone grows rich enough and opts out, or gets indicted. Or both.
JOHN WARNER, DISTINGUISHED cut and paste Republican senator from Virginia, may or may not be charged with plagiarism in the new cut and paste Republican “plan” to cut and run from Iraq. Message: Get out, America. But there is an underlying message below the lying words. Bush, you are done. [story]
Mr. Warner said the underlying message was, "we really mean business, Iraqis, get on with it." The senator, an influential party voice on military issues, said he did not interpret the wording of his plan as critical of the administration, describing it as a "forward-looking" approach. "It is not a question of satisfaction or dissatisfaction," he said. "This reflects what has to be done."
THE SURPRISE HERE is Mister Warner can pronounce vowels clearly when he talks out of both sides of his mouth. His statement is both satisfying and unsatisfying at the same time.
Democrats said the plan represented a shift in Republican sentiment on Iraq and was an acknowledgment of growing public unrest with the course of the war and the administration's frequent call for patience. "I think it signals the fact that the American people are demanding change, and the Republicans see that that's something that they have to follow," said Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic leader.
CUT AND PASTE vs cut and run? Bill Frist runs with the rundown of Democrats who took the time to offer a timetable for withdrawal. The Republican plans withdraw from a firm withdrawal. The Republican firmly believe their “plan” is more solid.
Mr. Frist said an important reason for the Republican proposal was to offer an alternative to the Democratic call for a withdrawal timetable. "The real objective was to get out of this timeline of cutting and running that the Democrats have in their amendment," he said. Mr. Warner said he decided to take the Democratic proposal and edit it to his satisfaction in an effort to find common ground between the parties on the issue.
THE HERETIK SEES once again we are united in our division. Go bless America.
THE HERETIK’S CUT AND PASTE, CUT AND RUNDOWN NITWIT nit and picks from The Nitpicker; My side hurts from laughing at these silly bastards for the last few weeks.
THE HERETIK AGREES and would say you'll laugh so much, your sides will ache, your heart will go pitter pat, but fears he will be sued by this guy for plagiarism. For tips on how to steal and get caught, ask this man.
Rightwing Nuthouse: Senate Republicans appear to be about ready to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in Iraq.
Captain's Quarters: Republicans want to stay ahead of the Democrats in war management, and this keeps the GOP in the lead.
WAR MANAGEMENT? THE HERETIK ASKS Where all this leads is out, out, out of the damned spot, Iraq.
ALSO RECOMMENDED THE KATE AND MATT FACTOR [Richard Cranium/ The All Spin Zone] Sen. Bill “HCA” Frist did face time on the Today Show this morning. This is a continuance of the PR strategy and media offensive ginned up last week by BushCo to reclaim the public narrative. The Today Show appearance by Frist is significant, because Matt and Katie reach a very targeted demographic that the GOP wants to keep - the “stay at home security moms”. It'll be interesting to see if GE-owned NBC (and the Today Show) provides a rebuttal opportunity for a leading Democrat.
THE HERETIK OBSERVES the Republican attempts to regain control of the narrative, as RC does. Plus some tough facts for Republicans to spin.
SO WHY THIS, WHY NOW? [Bloomberg News] While the measures express a non-binding ``sense of the Senate,'' together they're ``early pressure on a major U.S. military operation, in contrast to the Vietnam War'' where congressional resistance didn't occur until the early 1970s or about eight years after the start of the major military build- up, said Louis Fisher, a senior specialist on congressional war powers for the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service. The measures will prove attractive to Republicans up for re-election next year who want ``to distance themselves from the White House,'' Fisher said.
THE HERETIK NOTES Bush is now in Asia. Many Republicans may hope Bush doesn’t come back. A larger question? Can Bush come back? Why this, why now? The Republicans want to have a chance in 2006. They probably don’t. You go to war with the President you have, not with the one you wish you had. Nothing tells a President he is done than when Congressional Republicans tell them he is not invited to their Republican party. Oy.