Friday, November 19, 2004

Anti-Choice Forces Still Hard At Work

Anti-Specter Forces Aren't Calling It Quits; Threaten Retaliation Against Santorum

by Robert B. Bluey

Nov 19, 2004

Conservative activists who protested Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter's bid to chair the Judiciary Committee are vowing are keep pressure on the liberal Republican and his Senate colleagues who have vowed to support him.

A formal vote on Specter's ascension won't happen until January. Even though the nine Republicans on the Judiciary Committee are backing Specter, his support in the 55-member Senate Republican Conference remains unclear."

Anything can happen in two months," said the Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, who led a protest against Specter earlier this week on Capitol Hill. "Let's face the political realities, but I don't think it's both morally or strategically wise to throw in the towel this early."

Mahoney told HUMAN EVENTS his Christian Defense Coalition was still planning to hold a nationwide protest against Specter on December 9. On that day, constituents are encouraged to visit their senators' home-state offices to voice their concerns about Specter...Read on



Washington D.C: House GOP changes rules

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans demonstrated their loyalty to Majority Leader Tom DeLay on Wednesday, changing a party rule that would have cost him his leadership post if he were indicted by a Texas grand jury that has charged three of his associates.

DeLay watched from the back of the room but did not speak as GOP lawmakers struggled in closed session before ending a requirement that leaders indicted on felony charges relinquish their positions. Republicans will now decide a House leader's fate in a case-by-case review.

The change received overwhelming but not unanimous approval in a voice vote that showed Republicans' eagerness to protect the leader who raised countless campaign dollars for them. Read on

Michigan: 'Pledge' bill is smart politics and good policy

Friday, November 19, 2004

Republicans have proven they are the masters of the game of mixing politics and religion, and politics with patriotism. Democrats need to get up to speed now that Michigan has become a key battleground state.

State Sen. Patty Birkholz, R-Saugatuck, outmaneuvered Democrats with her new bill that would require all Michigan students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Senate Democrats, and even Republicans, who may have held some qualms about the bill had no choice but to go along lest they look unpatriotic. So Birkholz's bill passed unanimously, 36-0, and is headed to the House of Representatives.

Where did this bill come from, and what necessitated its rapid passage? Clearly there is more to it than just politics.

Birkholz stated she just felt that the times require patriotism from students: "If there was ever a time we should be honoring our flag and the democratic process, it's now." Some 35 states now require recitation of the Pledge....Read on

Pacific Northwest: Bush ready to reshape federal forests

The president's second term promises several policy shifts that favor more Northwest logging

Thursday, November 18, 2004

MICHAEL MILSTEIN

President Bush enters his second term poised to refashion the Northwest's public forests, reviving some logging after its near collapse while curtailing environmental reviews that opponents use to restrain cutting.

His actions over the next four years may fell more old-growth trees, reconsider safeguards for the northern spotted owl and shrink the U.S. Forest Service -- the biggest federal land manager in Oregon and Washington.

Together the moves could rebalance federal land use by stressing logging for jobs and revenue -- and as a tool to clear overgrown, flammable stands.

Although forest issues received little notice during the presidential campaign, "there's very little doubt we're going to see comprehensive changes in the rules," said Michael Goergen, chief executive officer of the Society of American Foresters.

The administration laid the groundwork with subtle adjustments in regulations during the president's first term, when cutting rose only slightly. His second term is likely to leave a more lasting imprint, with policy shifts that include:

Making logging a top priority on 2.2 million federal acres in Western Oregon, and possibly dropping older forest reserves meant for wildlife.

More cutting of old-growth trees. The cutting was called for in the Clinton administration's 1994 Northwest Forest Plan but slowed by lawsuits and species safeguards.

Looking at industry arguments that the northern spotted owl and other protected species do not need extensive older forest reserves.

Reshaping the Forest Service into a smaller agency more focused on goals such as thinning fire-prone forests.

Tightening budgets will cost the agency jobs, and nearly half its staff becomes eligible for retirement in the next five years.

Undoing Clinton administration rules that put roadless national forest land off-limits; instead, letting state governors recommend how much of that land merits protection.

Appointment of federal judges more likely to let timber sales and other projects proceed even when challenged by activists....Read on

Thursday, November 18, 2004

GOP tosses ethics rule so DeLay can keep post

Washington -- House Republicans adopted a rule change Wednesday that would allow their powerful majority leader, Rep. Tom DeLay of Texas, to keep his post if he is indicted on state corruption charges stemming from a fund-raising scandal that has already involved three of his associates.

Democrats led by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco -- who was unanimously re-elected to her post Wednesday -- assailed the Republican action as hypocritical and arrogant.

The Republicans made the change after debating it for hours in a closed- door session Wednesday morning. Members said several GOP lawmakers objected to the change......

....The original rule was adopted by Republicans in 1993 when they were the minority party attacking the Democratic-controlled leadership as corrupt and arrogant. The rule required House GOP leaders to step aside if indicted for a crime that could bring a sentence of at least two years in state or federal prison.
The new rule, proposed by Rep. Henry Bonilla, R-Texas, empowers the House Republican Steering Committee to decide within 30 days of a felony indictment whether to recommend to the full membership whether an affected member would have to leave a leadership post. ..... Read entire article

Specter Wins Support for Chairmanship

November 18, 2004

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON Sen. Arlen Specter on Thursday won the support of the Senate Judiciary Committee's Republicans to be their chairman next year, surviving complaints from abortion opponents who lobbied to skip over him in favor of a conservative.

"I have assured the president that I would give his nominees quick committee hearings and early committee votes," Specter said at a news conference where outgoing chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said the panel's Republican were unanimous in backing the Pennsylvania moderate.

"I have no reason to believe that I'll be unable to support any individual President Bush finds worthy" of the federal bench, Specter told reporters.

He read from a statement he wrote that was cleared painstakingly in advance by committee members as well as the GOP leadership, who are determined to confirm Bush's second-term nominees, possibly including a Supreme Court vacancy.

Even so, Specter said he felt no pressure to make the commitments he made.

By JESSE J. HOLLAND Associated Press Writer

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

GOP plans to revise species protections

Congressional Republicans map a limited forestry agenda and changes in the Endangered Species Act

Friday, November 12, 2004
JIM BARNETT

WASHINGTON -- Despite winning the White House and bigger majorities in Congress, Republicans have mapped out a limited agenda of forestry legislation for the 109th Congress, but they do plan changes to the Endangered Species Act.

The top priority for the second Bush administration will be implementing the Healthy Forests Restoration Act and treating fire-prone timberlands, Mark Rey, undersecretary of agriculture, said in an interview Thursday. .. continue

Ohio Ballot Recount?

Statewide Ohio Recount Expected

By Bobby Eberle
Talon News
November 17, 2004

A statewide recount of ballots in Ohio seems likely as two third party candidates announced on Tuesday they have raised the money required for it to begin. The recount effort is requested by Libertarian presidential candidate Michael Badnarik and Green Party candidate David Cobb.

Cobb, a write-in candidate in Ohio, said, "I don't expect to win Ohio. But the Green Party has been standing up for democracy and the right for all voters to cast their votes."

Nationally, Cobb received less than 1/10 of 1% of the presidential vote. Badnarik received 14,331 votes in Ohio.

President Bush leads John Kerry in Ohio by 136,483 votes.

"Thanks to the thousands of people who have contributed to this effort, we can say with certainty that there will be a recount in Ohio," Blair Bobier, Media Director for the Cobb-LaMarche campaign, told the Times-Standard.

"The grass-roots support for the recount has been astounding. The donations have come in fast and furiously," Bobier continued.

The Cobb campaign reports that it has received close to $150,000 in donations, mostly from small individual donors.

The state of Ohio requires payment of $10 per precinct or a total of $113,000 to recount the entire state.

According to a spokesman for Ohio's Secretary of State Carlo LoParo, the actual cost to the state of Ohio for recounting the state's ballots will be closer to $1.5 million.

Ohio ballots will not be recounted until December following the official state certification of the first count which is expected in early December. Provisional and absentee ballots are still being counted.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry conceded the election to President Bush on November 3 stating, "[It is] clear that even when all the provisional ballots are counted, which they will be, there won't be enough outstanding votes for us to be able to win Ohio. And therefore we cannot win this election."

Nevertheless, leftist bloggers and Internet forums have continued to spin conspiracy theories of Republican fraud and a stolen election in Ohio.

The theories have been taken from the Internet by a few left-leaning members of the mainstream media such as little known MSNBC host Keith Olbermann who has broadcast them on his evening program, "Countdown With Keith Olbermann".

Some, like a reported 93,000 extra votes for Bush in Ohio, turned out to be nothing more than a computer anomaly where absentee ballots from many precincts were mistakenly attributed to a single precinct.

Olbermann has also reported on precincts in northern Florida where President Bush received more votes than there were registered Republicans without mentioning that those precincts have traditionally voted for Republican presidential candidates for years.

The Electoral College is expected to cast its votes for president on December 13. Congress will open the votes January 6, 2005.

http://www.mensnewsdaily.com

Alberto Gonzales: A Record of Injustice

As White House Counsel

GONZALES APPROVED MEMO AUTHORIZING TORTURE: An August 2002 Justice Department memo "was vetted by a larger number of officials, including...the White House counsel's office and Vice President Cheney's office." According to Newsweek, the memo "was drafted after White House meetings convened by George W. Bush's chief counsel, Alberto Gonzales, along with Defense Department general counsel William Haynes and [Cheney counsel] David Addington." The memo included the opinion that laws prohibiting torture do "not apply to the President's detention and interrogation of enemy combatants." Further, the memo puts forth the opinion that the pain caused by an interrogation must include "injury such as death, organ failure, or serious impairment of body functions—in order to constitute torture." The methods outlined in the memo "provoked concerns within the CIA about possible violation of the federal torture law [and] also raised concerns at the FBI, where some agents knew of the techniques being used" overseas on high-level al Qaeda officials. [Gonzales 8/1/02 memo; WP, 6/27/04; Newsweek, 6/21/04; NYT, 6/27/04]

GONZALES BELIEVES MANY GENEVA CONVENTIONS PROVISIONS ARE OBSOLETE: A 1/25/02 memo written by White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales said "the war against terrorism is a new kind of war" and "this new paradigm renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions." The memo pushes to make al Qaeda and Taliban detainees exempt from the Geneva Conventions' provisions on the proper, legal treatment of prisoners. The administration has been adamant that prisoners at Guantanamo are not protected by the Geneva Conventions. [Gonzales 1/25/02 memo; Newsweek, 5/24/04]

GONZALES ADMITTED HIS VIEWS 'COULD UNDERMINE U.S. MILITARY CULTURE': The 1/25/02 memo shows Alberto Gonzales was aware of the risk that ignoring the Geneva Conventions could create for the military. One concern expressed is that failing to apply the Geneva Conventions "could undermine U.S. military culture which emphasizes maintaining the highest standards of conduct in combat, and could introduce an element of uncertainty in the status of adversaries," which is what happened at Abu Ghraib. Secretary of State Colin Powell strongly warned against taking this decision, as did lawyers from the Judge Advocate General's Corps, or JAG. This week, a federal judge ruled that "President Bush had both overstepped his constitutional bounds and improperly brushed aside the Geneva Conventions" when he established military tribunals in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to try detainees as war criminals. [Gonzales 1/25/02 memo; Bloomberg, 6/14/04; New York Times, 11/9/04]

GONZALES BLOCKS INFORMATION FROM CONGRESS: Historically, senators have been allowed to review some memoranda by judicial nominees. But, in a letter [about nominee Miguel Estrada], Gonzales told the Democrats that the administration would not produce the memos, because to do so would chill free expression among administration lawyers and violate the principle of executive privilege, which protects the internal deliberations of the president's aides. [New Yorker, 5/19/03]

As Texas Chief Legal Counsel

DEATH PENALTY MEMOS: GONZALES'S NEGLIGENT COUNSEL: As chief legal counsel for then-Gov. Bush in Texas, Gonzales was responsible for writing a memo on the facts of each death penalty case – Bush decided whether a defendant should live or die based on the memos. An examination of the Gonzales memoranda by the Atlantic Monthly concluded, "Gonzales repeatedly failed to apprise the governor of crucial issues in the cases at hand: ineffective counsel, conflict of interest, mitigating evidence, even actual evidence of innocence." His memos caused Bush frequently to approve executions based on "only the most cursory briefings on the issues in dispute." Rather than informing the governor of the conflicting circumstances in a case, "The memoranda seem attuned to a radically different posture, assumed by Bush from the earliest days of his administration—one in which he sought to minimize his sense of legal and moral responsibility for executions." [Atlantic Monthly, July/August, 2003]

MEMORANDUM ON TERRY WASHINGTON: A CASE STUDY IN INCOMPETENCE: In his briefing on death-row defendant Terry Washington – a mentally retarded 33-year-old man with the communication skills of a seven-year-old – Gonzales devoted nearly a third of his three-page report to the gruesome details of the crime, but referred "only fleetingly to the central issue in Washington's clemency appeal—his limited mental capacity, which was never disputed by the State of Texas—and present[ed] it as part of a discussion of 'conflicting information' about the condemned man's childhood." In addition, Gonzales "failed to mention that Washington's mental limitations, and the fact that he and his ten siblings were regularly beaten with whips, water hoses, extension cords, wire hangers, and fan belts, were never made known to the jury, although both the district attorney and Washington's trial lawyer knew of this potentially mitigating evidence." Nor did he mention that Washington's lawyer had "failed to enlist a mental-health expert" to testify on Washington's behalf, even though "ineffective counsel and mental retardation were in fact the central issues raised in the thirty-page clemency petition" it was Gonzales's job to review. This all came at a time when "demand was growing nationwide to ban executions of the retarded." [Atlantic Monthly, July/August, 2003]

GONZALES TOLD GOV. BUSH HE COULD IGNORE INTERNATIONAL LAW: In 1997, Alberto Gonzales wrote a memo for then Gov. Bush to justify non-compliance with the Vienna Convention. The Vienna Convention, ratified by the Senate in 1969, was "designed to ensure that foreign nationals accused of a crime are given access to legal counsel by a representative from their home country." Gonzales sent a letter to the U.S. State Department in which he argued that the treaty didn't apply to the State of Texas, as Texas was not a signatory to the Vienna Convention. Two days later, Texas executed Mexican citizen Irineo Tristan Montoya, despite Mexico's protestations that Texas had violated Tristan's rights under the Vienna Convention by failing to inform the Mexican consulate at the time of his arrest. (Slate, 6/15/04)

GONZALES GETS BUSH OUT OF JURY DUTY TO KEEP DUI SECRET: In 1996, as counsel to Gov. Bush, Gonzales helped to get him excused from jury duty, "a situation that could have required the governor to disclose his then-secret 1976 conviction for drunken driving in Maine." Gonzales argued "that if Bush served, he would not, as governor, be able to pardon the defendant in the future." [USA Today, 3/18/02]

As Texas Supreme Court Justice

GONZALES DOES ENRON'S BIDDING: As an elected member of the Texas Supreme Court, "Enron and Enron's law firm were Gonzales's biggest contributors," giving him $35,450 in 2000. Overall, Gonzales raked in $100,000 from the energy industry. In May 2000, "Gonzales was author of a state Supreme Court opinion that handed the energy industry one of its biggest Texas legal victories in recent history." Since Bush brought him into the White House, Gonzales has worked doggedly to keep secret the details of energy task force meetings held by Vice President Cheney. [New York Daily News, 2/2/02]

ACCEPTING DONATIONS FROM LITIGANTS: In the weeks between hearing oral arguments and making a decision in Henson v. Texas Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance, Justice Alberto Gonzales collected a $2,000 contribution premium from the Texas Farm Bureau (which runs the defendant insurance company in this case). In another case, Gonzales pocketed a $2,500 contribution from a law firm defending the Royal Insurance company just before hearing oral arguments in Embrey v. Royal Insurance. [Texas for Public Justice]


Blowing Through the Debt Ceiling

November 17, 2004

Since President Bush took office, he and his Congressional allies have sent federal deficits spiraling into the stratosphere. Their spree of tax breaks for the wealthy and the cost of the preemptive war in Iraq have saddled future generations of Americans with massive amounts of debt. Now, for the third time in four years, the administration and Congress have blown through the legal limit of the amount of debt the federal government can accrue – an astonishing $7.4 trillion.

  • Conservatives waited until after the election was over to breach the country's debt ceiling. Although the country actually reached $7.4 trillion in debt in early October, Treasury Secretary John Snow employed a host of accounting tricks to technically avoid breaching the limit. One trick even including suspending investments in the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund. Snow's moves were directly designed to prevent conservatives in the House from having to vote on such a politically sensitive matter in the weeks before the election.


  • President Bush and his allies have been fiscally irresponsible since they took office. In the year 2000, independent projections showed that the Untied States was on the path to a $5.6 trillion surplus. Now, due to irresponsible fiscal policy, tax cuts, and the cost of the war in Iraq, we face a $3 trillion deficit – a collapse of nearly $9 trillion. Including this latest increase in the debt ceiling, the right wing has now raised the debt limit by more than $2 trillion since Bush took office.


  • Massive tax breaks and enormous deficits have negative economic consequences. When the government has to borrow large sums of money as they do now, there is less money for average Americans to buy a house, car, or pay for college tuition. This smaller pool of money leads to higher interest rates, which slows economic growth by putting the squeeze on consumers and business investment.


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

    A Dangeous Lot: Tax-Cut and Spend Conservatives

    "CONSERVATIVES" TRY TO HIDE RECKLESS SPENDING FROM THE PEOPLE: The country actually reached its $7.38 billion credit limit in early October. Since that time, Treasury Secretary John Snow has employed a series of extraordinary accounting tricks to avoid technically breaching the limit. Why? Conservatives in Congress wanted to avoid "increasing the borrowing limit before the Nov. 2 election as leaders did not want to have the politically sensitive vote." This strategy is not without consequences. Snow's most recent "trick" – announced yesterday – was suspending investments in the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund.

    Right-Wing Briefing

    Religious Right

    In a column titled "Who Are the Real Christians?," Chuck Colson of Prison Fellowship warns fellow members of the religious right that: "We are going to be cast as fundamentalist right-wing bigots who want to deny a woman control of her body and deny gays the right to marry." Read

    Slate features a piece on Focus on the Family's James Dobson describing him as the "religious right's new kingmaker." Read

    The Illinois Leader offers a three-part interview with Eagle Forum's Phyllis Schlafly. Read

    Creationism vs. EvolutionDover, Pennsylvania becomes the first community in the nation to mandate the teaching of "intelligent design." Read

    Agape Press reports on recent creationist activity in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Texas.Read

    In the States

    Concerned Women for America has published 2005 Family-Friendly State Legislation, a resource to help "state legislators and family activists across America to review and introduce tested legislation that advances the pro-family agenda." CWA provides examples of legislation relating to abortion, sex education, cloning, AIDS reporting, faith-based organizations, and more. Read

    Judges

    Andrew C. McCarthy of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies urges the Senate GOP to use the "nuclear option" to outlaw the use of filibusters when considering judicial nominees: "If Republicans want to make good on President Bush's commitment to staff the federal courts with jurists who believe that judicial power has real, objective limits in a democracy, the Senate rules will have to be changed." Read

    Likewise, the American Center for Law and Justice has released two legal memos urging the Senate to change the rules and outlaw the filibuster. Read

    The Wall Street Journal's Melanie Kirkpatrick offers "a short list of who might be on deck for the Supreme Court." The list includes such familiar names as Miguel Estrada and Janice Rogers Brown. Read

    Judiciary Committee

    The Right continues its campaign opposing Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. According to Human Events, Focus on the Family's James Dobson has warned that "Republican senators who support Sen. Arlen Specter's bid to chair the Judiciary Committee could face retribution from disgruntled conservative and Christian voters." Read

    Coral Ridge Ministries' D. James Kennedy also weighs in against a Specter-led Judiciary Committee: "President Bush made a costly mistake last spring when he campaigned for Specter against his pro-life opponent in the Republican Senate primary. With the president's help, Specter squeaked by in the primary contest, winning by one percent. The president helped secure the re-election of a man whose uncompromising commitment to abortion rights trumps all else, including what political loyalty, if any, he has for the president." Read

    Columnist Bruce Fein says Sen. Specter has not earned the chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee. It should go to a Senator "whose loyalties to the Republican Party mainstream are unwavering and enthusiastic." Read

    Rabbi Yehuda Levin, speaking for the Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the United States and Canada and The Rabbinical Alliance of America, along with gun-rights group, the Gun Owners of America, announce their opposition to Specter. Read

    Separation of Church and State

    World Magazine profiles Mat Staver, head of the Liberty Counsel, affiliated with Jerry Falwell's organization. Staver will argue before the Supreme Court McCreary County, Kentucky vs. ACLU of Kentucky. At issue: whether public displays of the Ten Commandments violate the Constitution. Read

    Reproductive Rights

    Cybercast News Service reports that the American Life League has placed an ad in The Washington Times urging that the Holy Eucharist be denied to pro-choice politicians. The ad pictures Sen. Kerry with the caption, "Even a Loser's Soul is Worth Saving," and addresses the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, meeting in Washington this week. Read

    Tuesday, November 16, 2004

    Right-Wing Briefing

    November 16, 2004

    Religious Right

    In a column titled "Who Are the Real Christians?," Chuck Colson of Prison Fellowship warns fellow members of the religious right that: "We are going to be cast as fundamentalist right-wing bigots who want to deny a woman control of her body and deny gays the right to marry." Read

    Slate features a piece on Focus on the Family's James Dobson describing him as the "religious right's new kingmaker." Read

    The Illinois Leader offers a three-part interview with Eagle Forum's Phyllis Schlafly. Read

    Creationism vs. Evolution

    Dover, Pennsylvania becomes the first community in the nation to mandate the teaching of "intelligent design." Read

    Agape Press reports on recent creationist activity in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Texas.Read

    In the States

    Concerned Women for America has published 2005 Family-Friendly State Legislation, a resource to help "state legislators and family activists across America to review and introduce tested legislation that advances the pro-family agenda." CWA provides examples of legislation relating to abortion, sex education, cloning, AIDS reporting, faith-based organizations, and more. Read

    Judges

    Andrew C. McCarthy of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies urges the Senate GOP to use the "nuclear option" to outlaw the use of filibusters when considering judicial nominees: "If Republicans want to make good on President Bush's commitment to staff the federal courts with jurists who believe that judicial power has real, objective limits in a democracy, the Senate rules will have to be changed." Read

    Likewise, the American Center for Law and Justice has released two legal memos urging the Senate to change the rules and outlaw the filibuster. Read

    The Wall Street Journal's Melanie Kirkpatrick offers "a short list of who might be on deck for the Supreme Court." The list includes such familiar names as Miguel Estrada and Janice Rogers Brown. Read

    Judiciary Committee

    The Right continues its campaign opposing Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. According to Human Events, Focus on the Family's James Dobson has warned that "Republican senators who support Sen. Arlen Specter's bid to chair the Judiciary Committee could face retribution from disgruntled conservative and Christian voters." Read

    Coral Ridge Ministries' D. James Kennedy also weighs in against a Specter-led Judiciary Committee: "President Bush made a costly mistake last spring when he campaigned for Specter against his pro-life opponent in the Republican Senate primary. With the president's help, Specter squeaked by in the primary contest, winning by one percent. The president helped secure the re-election of a man whose uncompromising commitment to abortion rights trumps all else, including what political loyalty, if any, he has for the president." Read

    Columnist Bruce Fein says Sen. Specter has not earned the chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee. It should go to a Senator "whose loyalties to the Republican Party mainstream are unwavering and enthusiastic." Read

    Rabbi Yehuda Levin, speaking for the Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the United States and Canada and The Rabbinical Alliance of America, along with gun-rights group, the Gun Owners of America, announce their opposition to Specter. Read

    Separation of Church and State

    World Magazine profiles Mat Staver, head of the Liberty Counsel, affiliated with Jerry Falwell's organization. Staver will argue before the Supreme Court McCreary County, Kentucky vs. ACLU of Kentucky. At issue: whether public displays of the Ten Commandments violate the Constitution. Read

    Reproductive Rights

    Cybercast News Service reports that the American Life League has placed an ad in The Washington Times urging that the Holy Eucharist be denied to pro-choice politicians. The ad pictures Sen. Kerry with the caption, "Even a Loser's Soul is Worth Saving," and addresses the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, meeting in Washington this week. Read

    Monday, November 15, 2004

    White House Seeks To Purge 'Disloyal' CIA Officers

    November 15, 2004

    At a time when the nation needs accurate, candid intelligence more than ever before, the White House penchant for politicizing our national security has left Americans less secure. This weekend, we learned that the White House has ordered CIA Director Porter Goss to purge intelligence officers perceived to be critical or disloyal to the president. According to a senior CIA official, the agency is planning to get rid of "liberals" and others who are perceived as "obstructing the president's agenda."

  • America's national security must trump partisan politics. The ongoing political tensions in the CIA threaten to disrupt the fight against terrorism. The White House alone is responsible for addressing these problems and the administration should take whatever steps are necessary to protect the public and bridge the divides in the intelligence community.


  • The intelligence community must be free to give candid advice to policymakers. By manipulating raw data and suppressing dissent, the administration has dangerously politicized the intelligence process. Vice President Cheney's interference with the CIA and other intelligence units paved the way for the unwarranted rush to war in Iraq and continued interference will only make matters worse going forward.


  • We need intelligence reform now. The intelligence structure that failed the nation before the 9/11 attacks, and then again before the Iraq war, remains in place today. The White House promised to reform intelligence, but has yet to force legislation in Congress and appears more interested in stacking the intelligence community with political hacks than in reforming it to protect the American public.

  • Sunday, November 14, 2004

    Bush Orders A Purge Of The CIA

    CIA plans to purge its agency Sources say White House has ordered new chief to eliminate officers who were disloyal to Bush

    BY KNUT ROYCE WASHINGTON BUREAU
    November 14, 2004

    WASHINGTON -- The White House has ordered the new CIA director, Porter Goss, to purge the agency of officers believed to have been disloyal to President George W. Bush or of leaking damaging information to the media about the conduct of the Iraq war and the hunt for Osama bin Laden, according to knowledgeable sources.

    "The agency is being purged on instructions from the White House," said a former senior CIA official who maintains close ties to both the agency and to the White House. "Goss was given instructions ... to get rid of those soft leakers and liberal Democrats. The CIA is looked on by the White House as a hotbed of liberals and people who have been obstructing the president's agenda."

    One of the first casualties appears to be Stephen R. Kappes, deputy director of clandestine services, the CIA's most powerful division. The Washington Post reported yesterday that Kappes had tendered his resignation after a confrontation with Goss' chief of staff, Patrick Murray, but at the behest of the White House had agreed to delay his decision till tomorrow.

    But the former senior CIA official said that the White House "doesn't want Steve Kappes to reconsider his resignation. That might be the spin they put on it, but they want him out." He said the job had already been offered to the former chief of the European Division who retired after a spat with then-CIA Director George Tenet.

    Another recently retired top CIA official said he was unsure Kappes had "officially resigned, but I do know he was unhappy."

    Without confirming or denying that the job offer had been made, a CIA spokesman asked Newsday to withhold naming the former officer because of his undercover role over the years. He said he had no comment about Goss' personnel plans, but he added that changes at the top are not unusual when new directors come in.

    On Friday John E. McLaughlin, a 32-year veteran of the intelligence division who served as acting CIA director before Goss took over, announced that he was retiring. The spokesman said that the retirement had been planned and was unrelated to the Kappes resignation or to other morale problems inside the CIA.

    It could not be learned yesterday if the White House had identified Kappes, a respected operations officer, as one of the officials "disloyal" to Bush.

    "The president understands and appreciates the sacrifices made by the members of the intelligence community in the war against terrorism," said a White House official of the report that he was purging the CIA of "disloyal" officials. " . . . The suggestion [that he ordered a purge] is inaccurate."

    But another former CIA official who retains good contacts within the agency said that Goss and his top aides, who served on his staff when Goss was chairman of the House intelligence committee, believe the agency had relied too much over the years on liaison work with foreign intelligence agencies and had not done enough to develop its own intelligence collection system.

    "Goss is not a believer in liaison work," said this retired official. But, he said, the CIA's "best intelligence really comes from liaison work. The CIA is simply not going to develop the assets [agents and case officers] that would meet the intelligence requirements."

    Tensions between the White House and the CIA have been the talk of the town for at least a year, especially as leaks about the mishandling of the Iraq war have dominated front pages.

    Some of the most damaging leaks came from Michael Scheuer, former head of the CIA's Bin Laden unit, who wrote a book anonymously called "Imperial Hubris" that criticized what he said was the administration's lack of resolve in tracking down the al-Qaida chieftain and the reallocation of intelligence and military manpower from the war on terrorism to the war in Iraq. Scheuer announced Thursday that he was resigning from the agency.

    http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2004/11/303369.shtml

    Oregon: State proposes $10,000 fine against Lane Co. Republicans

    November 13, 2004

    EUGENE, OR (AP) — The state has proposed a maximum $10,000 fine against the Lane County Republican Party after it took nearly six months to correct inaccuracies in a campaign fund-raising report.

    The Oregon Elections Division notified the party of the proposed penalty after the county GOP filed its corrected report on fund-raising and spending through April 1. The report had been due May 10 but was not filed until last week.

    Originally, party officials reported contributions totaling $40,093, with a cash balance of $5,731. But after fixing errors in that report, they determined their contributions had been only $17,936, and they really had only $1,431 on hand at the end of the reporting period.