Cost of the War in Iraq
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Friday, May 27, 2005

War Supporter Calls on Bush to Shut Gitmo Down 

Tom Friedman's plea to shut down Gitmo. I couldn't agree more.

Just Shut It Down - New York Times

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Reaching out to the political minority 

"In talks with Iraq's new Shiite leaders, [Condi Rice] urged a more convincing effort to reach out to the dispossessed Sunni Arab minority, warning that success in the war required a political strategy that encouraged at least some Sunni insurgent groups to turn toward peace." NYT, courtesy of Truthout.org

So the Senate isn't at war, but the majority is insisting on circumventing the rules to achieve its will. Condi Rice at least recognizes the need to include the minority to make democracy meaningful. Bush and the GOP in the Senate are trying to ram through the confirmation process a handful of judicial nominees so offensive to the minority party that its members are willing to filibuster. Reasonable people would withdraw the names in favor of other more acceptable candidates.

That does not mean that the opposition party needs to approve of the nominee. Rather, it means that the nominee may not get a unanimous vote, but he or she would not be subject to a filibuster. There have been plenty of judges like that appointed to the federal bench during Bush's presidency.

Fault for the current fight rests squarely at the feet of President Bush and the rest of the GOP leadership in Congress. They really ought to take note of Condi's admonition to the Shiites in Iraq. Maybe then the Senate could move on to other business more pressing for the American people.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

A Few Words on the Power Grab in the Senate 

The current fight over the use of the filibuster in judicial nominations is so scary, and it makes me sad for our country. Do people really understand what the GOP is planning to do? I hear lots of talk about changing the rules and the history of the Senate. It's not just about that. There aren't enough votes to go through the established rules change process to modify the cloture rule, which requires 60 Senators to stop extended debate or filibuster.

Instead of using the process the Senate itself established, Vice President Dick Cheney plans to pronounce the cloture rule unconstitutional in debates over judicial nominees. This is the most blatant and unprecedented assertion of power. One man, the Vice President, gets to set a precedent to pronounce Senate rules unconstitutional and thereby circumvent the established and legitimate process for Senate rulemaking.

Why does this make me so sad? Well, it is an affront to the most important and basic tenet of democracy and the rule of law: due process. Process is so important because the more it is perceived as corrupt or unjust, the less legitimate the outcomes become. A society governed by the rule of law depends on confidence in the processes used to make, interpret, and enforce laws. The GOP's move, if successful will be the most obvious sign that this democracy is more at risk under the Bush administration than at any time before.

What makes this so much more aggravating is the arrogance and power-hungry move Bush made by nominating Priscilla Owen, the nominee currently being debated, after she had already been rejected by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Sure, he's entitled to nominate anyone he wants. But the leader of the Executive branch should exercise better judgment. He's putting politics (and his nearly insatiable desire for more power) ahead of the interests of the people of this country. Surely there are other experienced attorneys or judges qualified to sit on the 5th Circuit.

Due process means that rule of law prevails over the rule of man. That principle is under assault by the GOP and I hope that assault fails miserably. I'm not hopeful.

UK's Galloway's statement re: oil for food accusations 

If you are not a C-SPAN watcher you probably missed MP Galloway's statement before the Senate committee investigating the UN oil for food scandal. You missed an incredible performance. It is so rare that we see witnesses telling our Congressmen they are full of it when they are full of it. Galloway did what I think many people in this country would like to do but don't. Anyway, here's the transcript of his remarks. You really ought to read the whole thing. Even if this guy did everything he is accused of doing, his remarks still ring true.

World news from The Times and the Sunday Times - Times Online

FBI = Fascist Bureau of Investigation 

Oh the hypocrisy. We invade other countries to bring freedom and yet sick our federal law enforcement officers on political activists in this country who oppose the Bush administration in a blatant attempt to intimidate them.

Protesters Subjected To 'Pretext Interviews'

WorkingForChange-Don't blame Newsweek 

Molly Ivins on what I like to call the Newsweek brouhaha

WorkingForChange-Don't blame Newsweek

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Keith "Countdown" Olberman on the Newsweek brouhaha 

The resignation of Scott McClellan - Bloggermann - MSNBC.com

Monday, May 09, 2005

Iraqi Sovereignty . . . Well, Almost 

Amidst Doubts, CIA Hangs on to Control of Iraqi Intelligence Service

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