Archive for September 7th, 2006

At last, Senate Republicans have begun to act in their body’s own self-interest and in the interest of the nation by standing up to the Bush administration’s extra-Constitutional activitives.

First is some rumbling about Sen. Arlen Specter’s (R, naturally) plan – co-authored by Darth Cheney – to gut FISA. The revised plan would make warrants for wiretapping optional. (A cost-cutting measure!) Which means, of course, no warrants. Alas for Bushian dreams of authoritarian glory, a bi-partisan group of Senators declared its ambivalence towards the bill, effectively halting it in committee. Why?

We believe that additional information is necessary before the Senate can responsibly consider legislation that would dramatically alter FISA and significantly expand the surveillance authority of the executive branch. … We are concerned by provisions in the newest version of your bill that suggest that the executive branch could conduct wiretaps and physical searches without the court orders currently required by FISA, and that would amend FISA to authorize “program warrants.” In addition, we believe that Congress needs far more information about the newest section of your bill, which contains numerous complex amendments to FISA that appear to rewrite that law significantly.

Could it be that even some Republicans are realizing that the NSA wiretapping doesn’t stand a chance in court?

And then Senator Lincoln Chaffee held up John Bolton’s nomination as UN Ambassador in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, no doubt because he’s questioning the wisdom of installing a man who has openly derided and belittled the organization he has served in a time when foreign policy calls for careful and effective diplomacy. Which, incidentally, might cost him his primary race — he’s already trailing paleo-conservative Steve Laffey by 17 points in the polls.

And now Republicans and Pentagon (!) lawyers say that Bush’s plans to try leading terror suspects need to be revised:

The Bush administration’s proposal to bring leading terror suspects to trial met stiff resistance Thursday from key Republicans and top military lawyers who said that some provisions would not withstand legal scrutiny or do enough to repair the nation’s tarnished reputation internationally.

All in one day! What’s the deal? Could it be that Republicans, emboldened by the President’s worsening reputation among American voters, are finally acting in conscience? Or is it a political maneuver, in effect distancing themselves from the President in an election year in which their grip on the House looks to be done, and their Senate majority threatened – by Allen’s “macaca” remarks or Corker’s unanswered 9/11 calls?

Let’s hope it’s the former. Let’s hope the conservative lawmakers are now acting in good conscience to defend the nation and its laws – and the Constitution that binds them – from attempts to alter our form of government for the worse and forever.

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On September 10, after the Hamilton debate between Jon Tester and Conrad Burns, Missoula citizens and concerned voters are hosting a Tester block party…and you’re invited!

The stats:

What: Tester Block Party

When: September 10, from 5 – 7 pm.

Where: On Ronald Ave, between Keith and McLeod Aves.

Suggested donation: $35 – it’s not an entry fee!

Jon will be showing up around 6, and there’ll be beverages and snacks for all comers.

I’m planning on going after live-blogging from the Hamilton debate. Come on down!

Links…

Apparently one of Burns’ biggest fans is a California dominatrix. Huh. So even Burns’ supporters like beating him…

I should say I agree with the general premise of the Missoulian editorial, that good immigration reform is worth waiting for…but not because I’m afraid the country’s going to be “overrun” by Mexicans or because I reflexively react to anything that “smacks of American nationalism.” Matt spots the inherent racism in the paper’s fear-mongering. Pogie notes the inherent cowardice in the paper’s racism.

PSA: Travis Butcher defends CI 97 on Yellowstone radio tonight.

Part 2 of New West’s profile on Oregon’s regulatory takings initiative, the b*stard stepbrother of 154.

Notorious Steve T on how to be an anti-semite. It’s easy! Just disagree with Mike!

President Clinton complains about ABC’s partisan 9/11 “documentary.” Apparently the network has altered the controversial scenes…Meanwhile, Scholastic has withdrawn its educational materials to accompany the show. Hoo-ray! Truth has prevailed! What a nice feeling… (Kos with a roundup of subplots.)

Southern women hate President Bush.

Are GOP Congressmen growing some b*lls? There’s bi-partisan opposition to Specter’s gutting of FISA.

Bolton nomination, dead?

On Katie Couric’s anchorwoman debut tossing softballs to President Bush. So much for that little expirament.

The same people who rail against “Big Government” are also willing volunteers to live in a police state. Montana, meet your conservatives!

Burns’ latest radio attack ad came out recently, and it’s a doozy. Burns stops short of calling Jon a traitor and calling for the rope and tree, but he comes close. It’s ironic, too, that Burns is concentrating on security, when his own record on the issue is so poor, and he’s a stalwart champion of Bush’s quixotic “security measures.” Oh well.

I’ve provided you a transcript of the ad, and have linked to stories and pictures that explain the real issue and positions that the candidates take:

Jon Tester talks tough about security. (Tester’s voice.) “I will never waiver in keeping America safe and strong.” Tester says we should go after terrorists wherever they are, but then he wants to cut and run in Iraq, even though we fight al Qaeda terrorists there every day. Jon Tester isn’t being honest with you. His position on Iraq is constantly changing, and he’s taken thousands from ultra-liberal groups that mocked American deaths. Tester opposes the Patriot Act and sides with liberal judges in opposing successful anti-terror programs. Tester’s not tough on terror. He’s deceitful. But Conrad Burns is a Marine who won praise for strong support of our military, and an unwavering commitment to the war on terror. So when you hear Tester’s tough talk, remember: Tester will say anything to get elected. Anything. But he won’t be honest about your family’s security.

There you go. You know what to do.




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