Pontificator: News and Commentary


Saturday, January 25, 2003 :::
 
The best line on George W. Bush this week came from Jon Stewart on Comedy Central. I can't link to it, but to the best of my memory he said:

Bush's malapropisms become a lot less endearing the closer we get TO WAR!!!!!!


::: posted by Pontificator at 7:10 PM


 
Senator Jeff Sessions is a Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Back during the Clinton Presidency, this is what Mr. Sessions had to say about the role of the Senate in considering judicial appointments, when explaining why he was blocking one of Clinton's judicial appointments:

"There is only one opportunity for the people of this country to confront the question as to whether or not an individual nominated to be a judge will obtain a lifetime appointment. That is our role under the Constitution, to advise and consent to nominations of the President. . . . I think it is our duty, if we are not to be a potted plant or rubber stamp his record, his skill, his background, his philosophy, and see if we want to authorize him, for the rest of his life, to preside over cases, to interpret the law, to interpret the Constitution, and make major decisions in that regard."

Yes, Mr. Sessions, it is the Senate's duty to confront the question as to whether or not an individual nominated to be a judge will obtain a lifetime appointment. I hope you will remember those words as you try to ram through Bush's right wing ideological judicial appointments.


::: posted by Pontificator at 5:02 PM


 
I must be doing something right. I'm starting to get freeper hate-mail.

::: posted by Pontificator at 4:26 PM


 
Dancing Don Rumsfeld.

Sorry Don Rumsfeld.

Which Don Rumsfeld will we see in Iraq???


::: posted by Pontificator at 4:21 PM


 
The Bush Administration continues to fill up with political hacks. They are even seeping into places where they don't belong, such as on scientific advisory committees.

In pertinent part:

"American scientists are growing increasingly worried that the Bush administration is manipulating scientific advisory committees in order to further its political agenda.

The federal government relies on hundreds of these committees to provide agencies with unbiased advice based on the best science available as well as to peer review grant proposals for scientific research.

The Bush administration, many scientists fear, has distorted this process by putting committee members through political litmus tests, eliminating committees whose findings looked likely to disagree with its policies, and stacking committees with individuals who have a vested interest in steering conclusions to benefit effected industries."

This practice is in marked contrast to what was done under the Clinton administration:

"'The Clinton administration did not do this,' said Dr. Lynn Goldman, a pediatrician and professor at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University. 'They did not exclude people based on some sort of litmus test.'"

Here is an example of one of these committee members:

"A new member of the Food and Drug Administration's Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee, Dr. David Hager, helped the Christian Medical Association lobby for a safety review of a drug the committee approved two years ago. The announcement that Hager, who has very few research credits, had been put on the committee was released on Christmas Eve."

All of this is happening under the radar. The religious right is silently seizing control. A bright light needs to shine on these practices.

Oh yeah, and all of Bush's judicial appointments must be filibustered!!!!


::: posted by Pontificator at 3:53 PM


 
On the topic of Scott Ritter, Dan Kennedy observes (link via Atrios), that:

"There has still barely been a word about this in the national media. But the fact remains that someone leaked sealed court documents about a leading (if misleading) critic of the White House's Iraq policy on the eve of a likely military invasion. Is anyone in the media going to get to the bottom of this?"

If this had occured while Nixon was President, would it be fair to infer that the "plumbers" had authored yet another "dirty trick?"

How many Nixon retreads are in the Bush White House ???


::: posted by Pontificator at 1:47 PM


 
Want to be a double agent?

Sign up to be a GOP Team Leader

And wreak havoc!!!


::: posted by Pontificator at 11:13 AM



Friday, January 24, 2003 :::
 
Glenn Reynolds latest post makes a lot of sense, IF YOU LIVE ON SATURN!!!!.

He wants regime change not just in Iraq, but rather "throughout the region."

Sure, it would be nice if all the Kings, Emirs, and Sultans in the gulf states voluntarily stepped down and were immediately (and bloodlessly) replaced with Jeffersonian democrats who miraculously are vested with overwhelming popular support from the the Arab people, who in one massive upheaval give up their Madrases and Jihads in favor of mutual funds at Fidelity and Vanguard.

But that's not the way it would work. Regime change anywhere in the middle east will be horribly chaotic, with rival factions, including the religious extremists, fighting for power.

And chaos is exactly the environment in which Al Qaeda (remember them, Glenn?) will thrive.

Can you imagine it, the present middle east governments toppling, violent unrest THROUGHOUT THE REGION, and AL Qaeda setting up camps here, there, and everywhere. Those camps, the Al Qaeda ones, will be indistinguishable from the many other camps for the many other forces trying to grab power in the Arab regions. Given the chaos, Al Qaeda will only grow. And the presence of tens of thousands of heavily armed American forces probably won't help matters.

Sorry Glenn, that's just nuts.


::: posted by Pontificator at 8:21 PM


 
Rush Limbaugh's game is based on outrageous personal insult. People who express liberal points of views on issues are "Fascists and Anti-American," according to Rush. Rush accuses anyone liberal of not merely having bad policies, but of being immoral, unethical, and driven by craven anti-Americanism. This is unacceptable in political discourse. And it's time WE (as opposed to the Government, which is thankfully restricted by the First Amendment) did something about it. Thanks to "Take Back the Media," I can give you the names of the companies who advertise on Rush's program. I suggest you write them and tell them to stop! I know I will.

Here is the List of current Rush Limbaugh advertisers as of 1/24/03:

AutoZone Inc.
P.O. Box 2198
Memphis, TN 38101
Phone (901) 495-7185
Fax (901) 495-8374
investor.relations@autozone.com

Citracal - Mision Pharmacal
Bennett Kennedy - Citracal Product Manager
Mission Pharmacal
P.O. Box 786099
San Antonio, TX 78278-6099

Blue-Emu
Jennifer Golleher
1-800-432-9334
http://www.blue-emu.com/

Red Lobster
Write to:
P.O. Box 593330
Orlando, FL 32859-3330
Guest Relations Hotline
1-800-LOBSTER (1-800-562-7837)

Lumber Liquidators
Toll Free: 877-645-5347
Contact list: http://www.lumberliquidators.com/contact_us.html

Avacor (hair loss treatment)
(customer comments email)
comments@avacorusa.com

Inverness Medical (maker of stresstabs)
51 Sawyer Road
Waltham, MA 02021
1-800-899-7353 weekdays, 8 am. - 6 p.m. (Eastern Time.)

Overstock.com
(customer comments and service email)
otherinfo@overstock.com

Lazerguide® (golf instruction tool)
PO Box 807
New Hudson Michigan 48165
1-877-266-6430 (toll free)


Mission Pharmacal Company
10999 IH-10 West Suite 1000
San Antonio, TX 78230
Telephone: (800) 531-3333


General Steel Metal Buildings
1075 South Yukon, Ste. 250
Lakewood, Colorado 80226
Toll Free: 1-888-98-STEEL
Phone: 303-904-4837
Fax: 303-979-0084


Life Quotes, Inc.
32045 Castle Court
Evergreen, CO 80439
1-800-670-5433
info@lifequotes.com.au


Select Comfort Corporation
6105 Trenton Lane N
Minneapolis, MN 55442
Phone: 763-551-7000
Fax: 763-551-7826
investorrelations@selectcomfort.com

Scottrade Inc
12855 Flushing Meadows Drive
Saint Louis, MO 63131
1-800-619-SAVE
support@scottrade.com


RegionalHelpWanted.com, Inc.
1 Civic Center Plaza, Suite 506
Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
800-365-8630
845-471-5200
Feedback@RegionalHelpWanted.com


The Swap Shop CLICK HERE
3291 East Sunrise
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
swapshop@aol.com
Phone - 954.791.$WAP


Pfizer Inc
equiserve@equiserve.com
235 East 42nd Street
New York, NY 10017
(212)733-2323


::: posted by Pontificator at 6:56 PM


 
More evidence of Bush's brilliant diplomacy


In pertinent part:

"Turkey's top politician harshly criticized the United States on Friday, calling its drive to disarm Iraq hypocritical, and said his country would not decide whether to support U.S. military action until the UN Security Council weighs in."

Generally, when one of your most critical allies impugns your motives as "hypocritical," you're doing something wrong.


::: posted by Pontificator at 3:04 PM



Thursday, January 23, 2003 :::
 
Scoobie Davis is naming Friday January 24, 2003 as the Jam-The-Phone-Lines-On-The-O’Reilly-Factor-Radio-Show. The show is from noon to 2:00 EST. The phone number is 1-877-966-7746.

I hope you all participate.


::: posted by Pontificator at 8:47 PM


 
Bush is attempting to turn the federal judiciary into his own personal axis of evil.

He can be stopped in the Senate with the filibuster.

And we can start with:

"Charles Pickering, Sr., who has been re-nominated despite his rejection by the Senate Judiciary Committee last year and has consistently displayed insensitivity and hostility towards fundamental civil rights laws and precedents, including the Voting Rights Act and Roe v. Wade.


Priscilla Owen, who was re-nominated despite her rejection by the Judiciary Committee in 2002 and has been criticized by conservative Bush appointees to the Texas Supreme Court for conservative judicial activism and trying to rewrite the laws from the bench concerning reproductive rights, employment discrimination, and other subjects.


Deborah Cook, who has advocated views harmful to worker and consumer rights and religious liberty, prompting strong opposition from organizations concerned with protecting the rights of individuals.


Miguel Estrada, who has been opposed by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund because of concerns about his record, but refused even to answer key questions by the Senate Judiciary Committee about his judicial philosophy.


Jeffrey Sutton, who has worked aggressively to severely limit federal protections against discrimination and injury based on disability, race, age, sex, and religion."


::: posted by Pontificator at 8:25 PM


 
Deborah Cook -- another right-wing ideologue appointed by Bush.

"According to the National Journal, an Ohio trial attorney who has appeared before [Ms. Cook] stated that, “If I had to rank Cook, she is by far the most conservative justice in her views about the role of courts on constitutional issues.” Richard Mason, director of the Ohio Academy of Trial Lawyers said, “She would add to what we perceive as an already conservative federal bench. She too often chooses to side with corporate interests.” Justice Cook is also perceived by many as out of the mainstream on the court; she has authored well over 300 dissents, more than any other Justice in the eight years she has been on the court, and a large majority are dissents against injured workers, consumers, and other plaintiffs and in favor of big business interests."

Oh yeah, Ms. Cook was also endorsed by the Ohio Right to Life Committee.

There is only one appropriate response to this latest Bush insult -- a Senate Filibuster!!



::: posted by Pontificator at 12:38 AM



Wednesday, January 22, 2003 :::
 
This is what the Republican party is up to, in Virginia, in 2003.

I'm sure Andrew Sullivan has something really important to say about Howell Raines today.


::: posted by Pontificator at 11:57 PM



Tuesday, January 21, 2003 :::
 
Seymour Hersh's New Yorker article explains how the Bush's administration's arrogance has led to nuclear crisis on the Korean peninsula.

Let's forget that for a moment, however, and focus on this bone-chilling paragraph:

"An American intelligence official I spoke with called Pakistan's behavior the "worst nightmare" of the international arms-control community: a Third World country becoming an instrument of proliferation. "The West's primary control of nuclear proliferation was based on technology denial and diplomacy," the official said. "Our fear was, first, that a Third World country would develop nuclear weapons indigenously; and, second, that it would then provide the technology to other countries. This is profound. It changes the world." Pakistan's nuclear program flourished in the nineteen-eighties, at a time when its military and intelligence forces were working closely with the United States to repel the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The official said, "The transfer of enrichment technology by Pakistan is a direct outgrowth of the failure of the United States to deal with the Pakistani program when we could have done so. We've lost control.""

Yes, we're doomed.

Oh yeah, and it's Reagan's fault.


::: posted by Pontificator at 11:41 PM


 
Yikes!

The government logo for the new Department of Homeland Security appears to be an eye (??) looking though a keyhole (?!?!?!).

Will they have to rename it as the Department of Homeland Perversity?


::: posted by Pontificator at 5:32 PM


 
Go read the Cogent Provacateur. All of it. Take your time.

::: posted by Pontificator at 11:04 AM



Monday, January 20, 2003 :::
 
Oh yeah, Judge Charles Pickering is the best qualified person for the open spot on the Fifth Circuit. Other than a stalk of celery, that is.

::: posted by Pontificator at 9:13 PM


 
If the Republicans were serious about putting the best conservative-minded jurists on the bench, there is no question that this guy (former Pennsylvania Governor and United States Attorney General Dick Thornburgh) would be on every short list for the Supreme Court.

Unfortunately for Mr. Thorburgh, however, he's actually SANE, and not a half-blind right wing ideologue. Despite his awesome credentials, what disqualifies Mr. Thornburgh is that he is actually a reasonable, practical person who has effectively gotten things done in his career, as opposed to devoting his time to licking the boots of the Christian right. He's Colin Powell, not Richard Perle. In Bush's world of judicial appointments, that's a disqualification.


::: posted by Pontificator at 9:13 PM


 
The Senate must stop John Roberts, Bush's appointment to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, the second most important federal court in the country.

The incomparable Alliance for Justice points out that Mr. Roberts:

Will gut the federal government's ability to protect the environment:

"As a member of the Solicitor General's office, Mr. Roberts was the lead counsel for the United States in the Supreme Court case Lujan v. National Wildlife Federation,4 in which the government argued that private citizens could not sue the federal government for violations of environmental regulations. As a student, Mr. Roberts wrote two law review articles arguing for an expansive reading of the Contracts and Takings clauses of the Constitution, clauses some conservatives read as restricting Congress' ability to protect the environment."

Will knock down the Constitutional wall between church and state:

"While working with the Solicitor General's office, Mr. Roberts co-wrote an amicus brief on behalf of the Bush administration, in which he argued that public high schools can include religious ceremonies in their graduation programs, a view the Supreme Court rejected 5-4."

And -- will vote to reverse Roe v. Wade:

"As a Deputy Solicitor General, Mr. Roberts co-wrote a Supreme Court brief in Rust v. Sullivan, for the Bush administration, which argued that it could prohibit doctors in federal government-sponsored family planning programs from discussing abortions with their patients. The brief not only argued that the regulations were constitutional, notwithstanding the Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade, but it made the broader argument that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided-an argument unnecessary to defend the regulation. The Supreme Court sided with the government on the narrower grounds that the regulation was constitutional, rather than holding more broadly that Roe v. Wade should be overturned."

Don't believe me? -- how about this:

"As Deputy Solicitor General, Roberts argued in a brief before the U.S. Supreme Court (in a case that did not implicate Roe v. Wade) that '[w]e continue to believe that Roe was wrongly decided and should be overruled... [T]he Court's conclusion in Roe that there is a fundamental right to an abortion... finds no support in the text, structure, or history of the Constitution.'"

Mr. Roberts is undoubtably a fine lawyer. But that is not why Bush has nominated him for the bench. Mr. Roberts was nominated because he has toed the hard-right conservative line on issue after issue, and has convinced the religious right and the American Enterprise Institute-types that he will do their bidding for years to come.

Bush lost the popular vote, yet nevertheless he insists on appointing lifetime-tenured judges whose views represent only a narrow minority (albeit a loud one) of the American population.

It is time to draw a line in the sand.

John Roberts -- ye shall be filibustered!!!


::: posted by Pontificator at 3:50 PM


 
Bill O'Reilly -- Chicken-Hawk Draft Dodger!!!

::: posted by Pontificator at 12:17 AM



Sunday, January 19, 2003 :::
 
This confirms my worst fear:

"White House aides have developed a strategy for filling a future vacancy on the Supreme Court that calls for nominating an ideological conservative even if it increases the chance that the person would not be confirmed"

Do you need more proof of the need for the filibuster?

When one side plays hardball, and the other side acts wishy-washy, which side do you think wins?


::: posted by Pontificator at 8:22 PM


 
Let’s state the problem succinctly:

A small minority of Americans are attempting to force their views down the throat of all Americans by taking over the Federal Judiciary.

Right wing ideologues, who are in favor of outlawing abortion, criminalizing homosexuality, unraveling environmental protections, and creating a police state (except when it comes to guns) are seeking to put young lawyers who share their views on the federal bench, where they will remain for forty years or more.

These right wing ideologues have very little public support, and whatever support they have is shrinking.

Thomas Edsell made this point in a brilliant article in the Atlantic Monthly:


“In a 1998 paper on American sexual behavior Tom W. Smith, the director of the General Social Survey of the National Opinion Research Center, at the University of Chicago, found that among people born before 1910, 61 percent of the men and just 12 percent of the women reported having had sex before marriage. These percentages have grown through the generations, much more dramatically among women than among men. Ninety percent of the men born in the 1940s had sex before marriage, as did 63 percent of the women. And of the women born since 1952, only 20 percent reported having been virgins when they married. Many women—and many men, too—cherish the rights that fall under the post-1960s rubric of autonomy and personal freedom, strongly valuing their sexual and reproductive independence. They are willing to vote based on this cluster of issues—and when they do, they vote Democratic.

The demographic reality is that as currently constituted, liberal Blue America is growing and conservative Red America is in decline. Take church attendance. Exit polls in 2000 showed that the more often a voter attended religious services, the more likely he or she would be to cast a ballot for the Republican Party. But long-range trends in religiosity (the term sociologists use for "depth or intensity of religiousness"), as measured by the National Election Studies polling series on church attendance, do not favor the Republicans. From 1972 to 2000 the proportion of voters who said they attended services every week dropped from 38 to 25 percent. The proportion who said they went "almost" every week remained nearly constant at 11 to 12 percent, and the proportion who attended "once or twice a month" rose only slightly, from 12 percent to 16 percent. The proportion who attended just "a few times a year" dropped from 30 to 16 percent. The one group that has grown dramatically consists of those who never go to church or synagogue. This group, which has become a mainstay of liberal politics, made up just 11 percent of the population in 1972 but 33 percent in 2000.”


The right wing ideologues are understandably concerned about this trend. That is why they are focusing on the judiciary. If they can put their judges on the bench now, it doesn’t matter when they lose the elected branches in the future, they will have perpetual control over the third branch – the unelected judiciary.

In light of these facts, the solution is obvious.

All right-wing ideologues nominated by Bush to the Federal Bench must be filibustered in the Senate.

I’ll say it again.

All right wing ideologues nominated by Bush to the Federal Bench must be filibustered in the Senate.

One more time for those of you who haven’t gotten it yet.

All right wing ideologues nominated by Bush to the Federal Bench must be filibustered in the Senate.

Will Republicans accuse Democrats of being obstructionist? Yes they will. Will there be Democratic hand-wringing over whether the Democrats will be hurt by this?

Fuck it.

Remember, this is, and will continue to be, a Democrat issue. If the Republicans want to turn the national debate into a referendum on whether the religious right gets to take over the American judiciary, the Republicans will get slaughtered.

By filibustering all right wing ideologues, the Democrats hit the trifecta:

1. They stop right wing judges

2. They lay a trap for Republicans – forcing them to defend the religious right; and

3. They make Bush look weak, since he won’t be able to get done what he wants to get done.

Once again, say it with me:

All right wing ideologues nominated by Bush to the Federal Bench must be filibustered in the Senate.


::: posted by Pontificator at 1:35 PM


 
Am I wrong, or did Condaleeza Rice just call the president of South Korea a liar (on Meet the Press, just minutes ago).

Nice diplomacy there, Condi. . .

The subject was the South Korean president's statement that a high level white house official told him previously that Bush was considering military action against North Korea. Condi replied that she had been at all the high level meetings with South Korea and the President's policy has been consistently in favor of negoitations.

In diplo-speak, that means the President of South Korea is a LIAR.

Just another chapter in the Bush-engineered Korea debacle.



::: posted by Pontificator at 10:48 AM






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