Friday, April 01, 2005

DeLay Threatens Judges in Schiavo Case

April 1, 2005

On a day that should have been reserved for the Schiavo and Schindler families, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay again thrust himself into the limelight to issue a thinly veiled threat against judges. Following Terri Schiavo's death, DeLay released a statement warning that "The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior, but not today." This vague and provocative comment came in the midst of a broadside of attacks against those judges – several of them self-described conservatives appointed by conservative presidents – whom DeLay said typified "an arrogant, out of control, unaccountable judiciary." With attacks on judges increasing across the country, DeLay's rhetoric is the height of recklessness and poor judgment.

Judges in the Schiavo case have already been threatened by extremists. Florida Pinellas County Circuit Court Judge George Greer has been "under 24-hour protection by two U.S. marshals due to increased threats against his life by those unhappy with his handling of the Schiavo case," according to CNN. Last Thursday, police arrested an Illinois man they said robbed a Florida gun store as part of an attempt to "rescue Terri Schiavo." The next day, FBI officials took into custody a North Carolina man for placing a $250,000 bounty "on the head of Michael Schiavo" and another $50,000 to murder Judge Greer. And police yesterday said they had "logged several bomb threats" to the hospice where Schiavo died and "the circuit and federal courts that refused to order her feeding tube restored."

The House Majority Leader has no place threatening other members of government or encouraging others to seek retribution against judges. Such incendiary statements are even more inappropriate considering the recent high-profile acts of violence against judges, including the March 11 killings of a federal judge and several others at an Atlanta courthouse. Sen. Edward Kennedy called DeLay's statement "irresponsible and reprehensible," and urged that "at a time when emotions are running high, Mr. DeLay needs to make clear that he is not advocating violence against anyone. People in this case have already had their lives threatened." Tom DeLay should disavow this irresponsible rhetoric and end his personal attacks on the men and women who serve as America's judges.

DeLay's comments are indicative of the extreme, personally vindictive sentiments of right-wing leaders across the country. Dr. James Dobson, founder of the right-wing Focus on the Family, said "the judges who would not stop the removal of Ms. Schiavo's feeding tube were guilty not only of judicial malfeasance - but of the cold-blooded, cold-hearted extermination of an innocent human life." Dr. Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention said of those who opposed congressional intervention in the case, "If they want to be vigorous defenders of Michael Schiavo and his right to have his wife killed by starving and dehydration, my words to them are 'Go ahead, be Michael's defenders' - and I wish on each of them a son-in-law like Michael Schiavo."

Daily Talking Points is a product of the American Progress Action Fund.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Oregon: Wyden’s there; where’s Gordon?

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Republicans used to defend federalism and personal freedomIn its rush to remake the world, the religious right and the neoconservatives who run the White House are determined to obliterate Oregon’s assisted suicide law.

Despite the dire predictions that Oregon would become a mecca for prospective medical suicides, terminally ill people have used the law relatively rarely. In the law’s six years of existence, just 171 have used it to end their lives.

Even though the Oregon law has not lived up to the dark foreboding of the religious right, that powerful faction fears the proliferation of the concept of assisted suicide in other states.

Now we have the U.S. Supreme Court taking up an appeal of the case which former Attorney General John Ashcroft brought in 2001. Ashcroft lost in federal district and circuit courts. We also have, according to The Oregonian Sunday, a budding legislative drive to nullify Oregon’s law. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, who has presidential ambitions, is the new champion of cutting down Oregon’s law.

There is a huge contradiction at the heart of this. The Republican Party used to be the party of federalism, of states’ rights, and it was the party of personal freedom. The drive to kill Oregon’s law tramples on federalism and it mocks personal freedom.Also at the heart of this drama is an abiding question: Where is U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith, who describes himself as the senator for Oregon?

Smith’s invisibility is especially apparent because Sen. Ron Wyden is so highly visible as Oregon’s defender against those who would nullify a law which Oregon voters have twice approved.

Gordon Smith could have stopped the White House initiative to quash Oregon’s law. The Republican establishment views Smith as an important figure in the Western GOP. When Attorney General Ashcroft moved against the Oregon law in 2001, it was clear that Sen. Smith had assented by remaining silent. Ashcroft would not have moved without tacit assent from Smith. Similarly, Majority Leader Frist would not take aim at Oregon’s law if Sen. Smith objected.

Like Sen. Smith, The Oregonian’s editorial page opposed the assisted suicide initiative. The newspaper’s editorial of Wednesday provides Smith with an excellent rationale for defending Oregon’s law.

Oregonians who have twice affirmed the assisted suicide law may rightly feel like someone who is being stalked by a big, threatening bully. History and Oregon voters are knocking on Sen. Smith’s door. We wish he would protect us.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Rove Is Promoted To Deputy Staff Chief

Job Covers a Broad Swath of Policy

By Peter Baker

Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 9, 2005; Page A21

During President Bush's first term, outsiders often suspected that Karl Rove was really behind virtually everything. Now it's official. Rove, the political mastermind behind two presidential elections, yesterday was named White House deputy chief of staff in charge of coordinating domestic policy, economic policy, national security and homeland security.


Saturday, February 05, 2005

Republicans Question Social Security Plan

By LAURA MECKLER, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - Congressional Republicans are expressing doubt that President Bush's plan for personal accounts in Social Security can win approval, saying lawmakers fear the political consequences of voting major change to the popular retirement program.

Some suggested that Bush jettison the central feature of his plan, which is to let younger workers divert part of their Social Security payroll taxes to private retirement accounts.

"Politically speaking, right now it's probably not doable," Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., said Thursday, citing lack of Democratic support.

Disgraced Ex-Congressman From Oregon Found Liable for Fraud

Disgraced Ex-Congressman Found Liable for Fraud, Ordered to Pay Investors
The Associated Press

The Associated Press
Published: Feb 3, 2005

ST. LOUIS (AP) - A former Oregon congressman who dropped his re-election bid in disgrace nine years ago for lying about his military background was found to have defrauded investors in an Internet startup.

A jury on Wednesday found that former Rep. Wes Cooley and a partner lied in 2000 when they said online-auction giant was about to buy their The two were ordered to pay $2.2 million to 11 St. Louis-area investors.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Oregon Rep. Dan Dolyes Previous Trouble With The Law

This is another legal problem Oregon's Representative, Dan Doyle had a little over a year ago.

Metro News
Bar suspends lawmaker's license for 30 days

Rep. Dan Doyle, R-Salem, is sanctioned in connection with complaints from two former clients

Friday, May 21, 2004


SALEM -- The Oregon State Bar has suspended Rep. Dan Doyle's law license for 30 days for failing to return money and pursue the claims of one client, and failing to return the files of another.

Doyle, R-Salem, is a high-profile member of the Oregon House who recently lost a bid to be House majority leader. The two-term legislator is sponsoring a tax reform proposal being considered for a special session in June.

The bar's disciplinary agreement addresses the grievances of two clients Doyle represented between April 2001 and mid-2002. A formal complaint was filed in May 2003.
In the first case, Doyle failed to properly account for $4,000 paid in retainer money by the client, and he did not pursue her case diligently or return her phone calls. Doyle eventually returned the money in July 2002, two months after her new lawyer demanded it.

In the second case, Doyle took about eight months to provide a client's new attorney with a copy of her file. He handed over the file in March 2003. Doyle declined to comment on Thursday, but issued a statement in which he said this was a "hard and embarrassing lesson to learn."

He said he underestimated the time it would take to represent his law clients and fulfill his duties as a legislator. The 2001 legislative session ended in July, but lawmakers convened for five record special sessions in 2002.

"I placed my legislative duties before the duty I owed to my individual law clients and there were repercussions for my actions," he said.

The state bar found as mitigating circumstances the absence of a prior disciplinary record and the absence of "a dishonest or selfish" motive.

Doyle, who was admitted to the bar in 1992, cooperated with the investigation.

Doyle said he would start his suspension June 5. He must also pay the state bar about $500 for costs incurred.

Kateri Walsh, a spokeswoman for the state bar, said there are roughly 11,000 lawyers on active status in Oregon. The bar sanctioned 69 lawyers last year, including 24 license suspensions and 32 public reprimands.

Suspensions can range from 30 days to 5 years.

Janie Har: 503-221-8213;

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Rural rage festers in King County

By Natalie Singer
Seattle Times Eastside bureau

Something has gone awry in rural King County.

Across farmland and along country roads, a seething anger is spreading. Residents from North Bend to Enumclaw to Vashon Island say they have never been more furious with the government meant to serve them. In recent months, they've accused county leaders of dumping unwanted projects on unincorporated land and ignoring concerns of those outside the urban core.

The frustration — playing out in the courts, the Legislature and in people's back yards — has turned into the seeds of rural rebellion:

(Republican) Legislator alters TV ad charges

Rep. Dan Doyle, R-Salem, changes his campaign spending report after a complaint says no ads were aired

Tuesday, January 25, 2005


Oregon election officials are investigating an allegation that the co-chairman of the Legislature's budget-writing committee improperly reported spending $9,245 last year for cable television ads that never aired.

A few hours after the complaint was filed Friday, Rep. Dan Doyle, R-Salem, amended his campaign spending report to say he made no payments to the cable TV company.

He faces a possible penalty of about $3,800 for the delayed changes to his disclosure report.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Bush's Con on Social Security: Cut Benefits and Roll the Die

January 4, 2005

Preliminary details of President Bush's plan to dismantle Social Security emerged yesterday, and the early indications confirm the worse. Rather than finding a sensible way to ensure Social Security's solvency, the White House is proposing to cut benefits for retirees by one third over the next decade, forcing Americans to gamble for the rest of their retirement income in the volatile stock market.

  • Your Social Security benefits will be cut under President Bush's privatization scheme. The White House is currently floating the idea of "price indexing" of Social Security benefits—shifting the calculation of benefits from what you earn to annual inflation rates. "It's like saying elderly people today should live at a 1940 standard of living," said Robert Greenstein, executive director of the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. What does this mean for you? The Washington Post reports, that "a retiree in 2075 would receive 54 percent of the benefit now promised."

  • With Social Security benefits cut, you will be forced to make up the difference on your own. The White House wants you to believe that the "miracle" of private accounts will magically make up the retirement money lost from your soon-to-be cut Social Security benefits. But analysis by MIT professor Peter Diamond and Brookings economist Peter Orszag shows (based on figures from the Social Security actuaries) that average life time earners retiring in 2075 can expect to make up less than half of the cut to their Social Security benefits through private accounts.

  • Bush's privatization plan is nothing more than a con: "Let me have twenty bucks, give you ten in return, and you can make up the difference and possibly more at the track." Social Security is the most successful social program in U.S. history. It has led millions of elderly Americans out of poverty and has protected the disabled and orphans. President Bush—the same president who squandered a $5 trillion budget surplus to provide tax cuts for the wealthy—now wants you to give it all up for a hit-or-miss private account. Americans would be wise to avoid this con.

  • Daily Talking Points is a product of the American Progress Action Fund.