Archive for January 15th, 2007


Max Baucus moving on Medicare?

Gwen Florio profiles the state legislators’ use of computers

Hey! I agree with the Montana Chamber of Commerce! SB 135 – giving unused gift card revenue to the state – is a bad, bad idea, and HB 22 – which prohibits judges from working cases if they’ve received a contribution from on of the involved lawyers – is a good idea.

Meanwhile Pogie hates SB 15, the funeral protest bill. Despite his stance, the bill successfully emerges from committee.

Cece slams SB 28, which would strip the courts the power to determine if a juvenile has the right to bypass parental notification in getting an abortion.

Craig dislikes HB 263, which forces someone accused of a felony to provide a DNA sample. I’m not sure why this is so offensive. Anyone? Don’t suspects get swabbed all the time?

Jason thinks Dan McGee’s attempt to overturn the voter-enabled initiative is misguided. Someone enroll the senator in a civics class!

At least one retired Montana general thinks Bush’s escalation plan is a bad idea.

Idaho Governor Butch Otter says Bush can’t use his state’s Guard units for escalation.

Capitalism and Democracy go together like…a fish on a bicycle?

IRS lets big business off the hook – while showing no mercy to the little guy…

Congressional Republicans feel “free” to finally represent their constituents.

And here’s a trend that will sink the GOP as it struggles with its minority status…

Remember Jack Kingston? The one who said Congress shouldn’t work too much because of their need to be with family? Guess what this ass-hat had to say about the minimum wage bill? The poor should work longer hours.

Idaho’s newly-elected Representative introduces legislation on the floor of the House to reduce Earth’s gravity

It’s so nice to see Jim Webb at work in the Senate…

Colorado’s Republican Senator, Wayne Allard, says he will retire after this term. Kos sees his seat as an excellent pickup opportunity for the Democrats. IMHO, Mark Udall would make an excellent Senator…

Barak Obama, political genius?

Telephone, mail, now the government reveals it’s looking through bank records.

Bush appears on “60 Minutes” and smirks and grimaces while making it obvious he’s committed to escalation.

Rogue president? One option is to limit the president’s ability to make war. For example, writes Kossak Kagro X, Congress could repeal or amend the Authorization for the Use of Military Force act.

Frank Rich on Bush: “He’s in the Bunker Now.”

Condi Rice explains why the Bush administration is an abject failure in every way.

Senate Minority Leader threatens to filibuster a non-binding resolution on Iraqi escalation, and I join Steve Benen: “bring it on.”

A Spocko update: KSFO is nervous. Melanie Morgan calls the Waaaaahmbulance.

Olbermann responds to Bush’s speech.

Bill O’Reilly: off the deep end.

Jon Stewart: is Bush the new Lincoln?

Stewart analyzes Bush’s escalation speech.

Colbert on Gitmo.

by Jay Stevens

The AP on Bush and Cheney rhetoric on Congress’ role in the Iraqi escalation:

“I fully understand they could try to stop me from doing it. But I’ve made my decision. And we’re going forward,” Bush told CBS'”60 Minutes” in an interview to air Sunday night.

Vice President Dick Cheney asserted that lawmakers’ criticism will not influence Bush’s plans and he dismissed any effort to “run a war by committee.”

“The president is the commander in chief. He’s the one who has to make these tough decisions,” Cheney said.


I have long said that the Republicans are undemocratic, but now they’re just coming right out and saying it: democracy is all well and good until the people and their representatives object to what the president is doing at which point the people and their representatives become a superfluous “committee.” They have interpreted the words “commander in chief” to mean that the constitution gives the president dictatorial powers during “wartime” (which the president defines.)

These are two dangerous and selfish men who aren’t running for office and so have no political constraints. Not even a 30% approval rating or 12% support for this decision has made them think twice. They are completely confident that history will vindicate them.

That same Bush quote jumped out at me from Bush’s “60 Minutes” appearance. “I understand that they could try to stop me…” Not that they “can” stop him, only that they can “try” to stop him.

Even if this wording could be brushed away with the excuse that Bush was ad-libbing and is a poor and sloppy thinker, his interview on the program can only be seen as a direct challenge to Congress: stop me if you dare.

And what do you think Congress will do? Actually, I’m puzzled. I have no idea. But I suspect the Democrats will organize a non-binding resolution speaking out against the escalation, then shimmy up to the funding vote with “yeas” on their lips. In other words, I think Congress – led by Democrats this time – will do what they’ve always done since the beginning of the Iraq war: when faced with an issue the President promises to do what he wants, regardless of the vote, Congress will give the President the powers he wants.

You saw it in the Iraqi resolution. Bush at first claimed that he didn’t need Congressional approval to invade the country, but his advisors – especially Powell – convinced him to put it before the House and Senate. They voted for invasion.

You saw it in the torture bill. Despite great misgivings from Arlen Specter and just about every jurist in the country, Specter and his pals voted for the bill, largely because the administration has been using torture and suspending habeas corpus for about three years already and wasn’t planning on quitting its policy, no matter which way Congress voted.

Whenever the President has threatened to make Congress irrelevant, Congress has rushed to approve of what he wanted, as if to avoid a “constitutional crisis.” That is, by rubber-stamping Bush policy, they avoid appearing powerless and have, in effect, become powerless in doing so.

So now we’ll see. Will the Democratic-led Congress actually cut the purse strings for Bush’s quixotic Iraq plans? Or will they continue to rubber stamp, hoping no one will notice that they’re not actually representing us?

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