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6/30/2005

Dan Nelson and John Thune

This blog has been watching the developments of the Dan Nelson Automotive Iowa AG lawsuit and then it's bankruptcy, but Clean Cut Kid , Thune Watch , Politics in a Dangerous World and Don't Worry About the Government have dug deeper and uncovered some very interesting information.

From Clean Cut Kid,

"So the timeline now looks like this: 1) Nelson becomes aware of the Iowa fraud investigation in September of 2004. 2) Nelson secures loans from MetaBank as late as October of 2004. 3) Nelson files for bankruptcy in June of 2005."

And

"MetaBank being named as Dan Nelson Automotive’s most significant creditor and the fact that South Dakota Senator
John Thune sat on the board of First Federal Savings/First Midwest Financial/Security State Bank from January 27, 2003 until November 18, 2004. In fact, Thune sat on the Audit Committee for the institution. According to Personal Financial Disclosure Reports required by the Senate for candidates, Thune was in a fiduciary relationship with the institution by being paid $35,750 as a board member."

From Thune Watch,

"Back in 1995, when John Thune was a fledging politician running for the House of Representatives for the first time, slick used car dealer
Dan Nelson was Thune’s campaign manager. Following that first campaign the relationship continued to grow and mature throughout the years with Nelson contributing money to each successive Thune race to the tune of $8000.00. In the most recent contest against Tom Daschle, Nelson assisted Thune in several ways; as a financial contributor, landlord, leasing agent and running independent expenditure advertisements in support of Thune"

And,

"What does this mean? Well, to start with it means that John Thune has a lot of questions to answer for the shareholders of Metabank and to the people of South Dakota. First, what kind of oversight did he have as a member of the audit committee have on the loan which was given to his friend while he was a board member and which subsequently has been put into chapter 11 status? Second, whose interest was John Thune serving when that loan was created: the banks, his own, or Dan Nelson? It is a matter of public record that Thune paid Nelson $84,189.87 for office rent during the last campaign which was for a property that eventually used as collateral for the loan in question. What precisely is the nature of this relationship? It sure seems like something may not be quite right here."

It doesn't seem clear whether any laws have been broken or not, but one thing is clear, Sen. Thune certainly has picked some interesting people to associate himself with.

Let's not forget the real people involved in Nelson's fraud.

Crystal from Council Bluffs

"When I purchased my 1996 Cavalier Z24 from Dan Nelson Finance Super Center in Council Bluffs on July 18, 2004, I was told that the car, which they financed at $8284.00 (only worth $2000 max!) and at a 24.95% interest rate, would only be financed like that for 1 year to 18 months while my credit would be reestablished. After that point the sales rep, Tommy, and the finance manager explained the car would be PAID IN FULL, and I would be able to purchase a new vehicle, either through them or another car dealership with a normal bank.

A year later I learned the truth. The "vice president" (which I learned was a lie, he's not), Jim Brown advised me that the negative equity, of more than $5,000 would be applied towards a new loan on a new vehicle. SO basically I would be paying for 2 vehicles but only driving one. Jim also called me a liar and told me that he did not care what I was told, on the same day in that conversation. I have paperwork that states to "Keep your note, WE OWE...." however Dan Nelson says that they do not pay off the loan. What does "WE OWE" in capital letters mean???"

Deb from Walnut Iowa

"Several years ago my husband was diagnosed with a rare inoperable tumor. His medical bills ran us so far into debt that we ended up in bankruptcy. After buying a vehicle from Dan Nelson's Auto, we found we had been cheated, lied to, and put much further in debt with a vehicle that now barely runs."

Julie from Sioux Falls

"I went back down to Dan Nelson and sitting out front was a beautiful 2000 Pontiac Grand Am. It was the best day of my life. I never dreamed I would be able to own a car like that. So I cleaned out the van I had and signed all of the loan papers and drove away in my new car.

Three weeks later they called me at work and told me that the loan had not gone through and that I had to bring the car back.

I was devastated. Not to mention I had all of the paperwork stating that I owned the car. The only explanation they would give me is that the loan had not gone through. But as I said I had paperwork stating otherwise.

I went to take them back the vehicle and they had also in the three weeks I had their car not done anything with my van. It was still sitting in their back lot waiting to be gone through. So now not only do I not have their vehicle, but I have missed a payment on the one I gave to them and am in danger of losing that too. I asked them if they would give me the amount of the missed payment so I could pay for the van. It was only 90.00, but it was 90.00 more than I had. They refused and said that was not something they were allowed to do."

Beverly Romaine from Monroe Iowa

"Romaine, who said a life of paying cash has left her with little credit history, contacted the attorney general's office when the transmission acted up about a month after the sale.

By May, the Taurus burned roughly a quart of oil to make it the 35 miles to and from Des Moines, she said. In June, after replacing the starter twice, Romaine demanded that Nelson take the car back.

Romaine said the dealership eventually picked up the car and quit demanding payment.'The worst of it is, they will sit there and lie to your face,' she said. 'I would like to see them shut right down.'"

All of this might make one wonder, where is South Dakota Attorney General Larry Long on this and why hasn't he filed a similar suit on behalf of the people of South Dakota? Maybe nobody in South Dakota complained to the Attorney General? Maybe someone did, and a long time ago, like say in 2002.

From Michael in Sioux Falls

"My wife and I bought a 2000 Plymouth Voyager from Dan Nelson Finance Center on 1-11-02. We were required to pay $1500.00 for an extended warranty added on to the contract in order to get the loan through Household Finance.

The warranty for the van is through a company known as National Warranty Insurance Company also known as Smart Choice 2000. On 9-3-2003, we went to the shop next door to Dan Nelson (E-car Care) expecting to get our vehicle fixed per the warranty we bought. They have a cooperative agreement for service for Dan Nelson clients. Our transmission is going out on the van.

They are the only ones that can do any repairs under the warranty. They advised me that they couldn’t honor the warranty because the warranty company is being liquidated and will not pay them for services rendered. I spoke with the General Manager at Dan Nelson by the name of Terry Pederson. Although pleasant he said that there was nothing he could do. We have been sold a worthless contract.

I have filed a complaint with the Attorney Genearal's Office. I will keep all updated. "

Now, Dan Nelson Automotive gets to file bankruptcy with $28 million of Meta Bank's money in their pockets, while these people are left to fend for themselves in s system that now limits their opportunities to file for bankruptcy to get from under what was done do them by Dan Nelson Automotive.

If you judge a man by his friends, Sen. Thune is in trouble.

Interesting set of "Prarie Values" Sen. Thune.

Bush a "Socialist"


That according to Sibby and Walter Williams, not me. Sibby has a post entitled "Eminent domain ruling supports socialists" with a link to a Walter Williams story. Now to be clear, I don't agree with the Supreme Court ruling regarding eminent domain, but for the Right to be up in arms and make it seem like it is some liberal ideal is crazy, espeically since their leader made a huge profit by exercising eminant domain in the exact way the Supreme Court now ruled is legal.

"Back in 1989,
Bush hauled in the moolah on the stadium built in Arlington, Texas for the Texas Rangers. What's interesting about this one is that the Texas legislature passed a bill allowing the private corporation that owned the Rangers to exercise eminent domain, normally a power reserved for public entities.

We're all pretty familiar with condemnation for public projects. It's what the Army Corps of Engineers does to build flood-control dams or Municipalities do to construct water mains or Highway Authorities do to obtain rights-of-way. In the Texas Rangers case the condemnation was on behalf of a handful of private individuals, one of whom was George W.

This private corporation condemned not only enough land for a spanking new baseball stadium, but also took an additional 300 acres - yes 300 acres - of surrounding land for commercial development. Arlington residents floated most of the package with jacked-up taxes. These paid for the bonds needed to buy the land. It seems that our no-tax President wasn't ideologically opposed to increasing taxes if it padded his own bank account.

The padding was generous: Bush made out like a bandit with his initial investment of $640,000 zooming to a cool $15.4 million in 1998 when he sold out."

For once I guess I agree with Sibby, Bush is a Socialist.

6/29/2005

Well...We're Waiting...























Thune Watch and Don't Worry About the Government have us all on pins and needles waiting on this "Thune Controversy". I can't wait to see what they've dug up.

6/28/2005

The Real Bush Agenda

Bush was elected by a bunch of everyday Americans who voted for him and other Republicans because they believe in certain things and they felt this group of Republicans, headed by Bush would take on these issues and get the outcome that they desired. Among these issues where abortion, social security reform, homeland security, making tax cuts permanent and opposition to gay marriage.

Bush and Co. have made speeches telling those Americans that they just can't do anything to limit or eliminate abortion or make changes to social security or win the war in Iraq or make those tax cuts permanent or amend the Constitution to ban gay marriage because the mean old obstructionist Democrats just won't let them.

Meanwhile, the real Bush agenda of lining the pockets of his big money political donors is steamrolling right along.
From USAToday.com.

"Just six months into a new term for President Bush and the Republican-controlled Congress, some of their heaviest donors are scoring victories on the legislative and regulatory fronts.

From rewrites of the laws governing bankruptcy and class-action lawsuits to relief for oil, timber and tobacco interests, GOP supporters who gave millions of dollars last year are reaping decisions worth billions from a Congress with more Republicans."

As laws have made it harder for regular American's to start over and declare bankruptcy, they have simultaneously lost the ability to recover suitable damages from companies who's negligence could cost them everything they have.

"In February, Congress passed and Bush signed a bill that sharply limits class-action lawsuits. The savings will likely come to several billion dollars a year, says Russ Sutter of Tillinghast-Towers Perrin, an actuarial firm that studies tort costs."

What the legislative process hasn't taken care of for Bush's donors, government agencies have taken care of themselves.

"Justice Department lawyers this month abruptly scaled back their request for a penalty in the government's lawsuit against tobacco companies. Rather than the 25-year, $130 billion smoking cessation program their own expert had recommended, they are asking for a $14 billion remedy. The tobacco industry favored Republicans three-to-one over Democrats last year, giving $2.7 million to the party and its candidates.

After Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman William Donaldson resigned under fire from business groups who complained about overzealous regulation, Bush replaced him with someone with a pro-corporate record: Rep. Christopher Cox, R-Calif.

'It's hard to imagine somebody with a more nakedly deregulatory agenda,' says William Lerach, a trial lawyer who has brought shareholder lawsuits against corporations accused of securities fraud. Securities and investment firms gave $47.8 million to Republicans last election.

The administration last month reversed a ban on road construction, timber harvesting, mining and energy development on undeveloped national forest land. The government also has expanded oil and gas development on federal lands, including areas in New Mexico and Wyoming.

Energy and natural resources interests gave $39.3 million to the GOP last year, three times the amount given to Democrats."

One wonders if the people who actually cast the votes to elect Bush and other Republicans are ever going to ask "where is what you promised me?" More likely they will continue to believe the party line that everything is the Democrats fault while ignoring what Bush and the Boys can get done for their big money buddies if they really put their minds to it.

One also wonders if Democrats are ever going to take this opportunity to become the party of the common man again? Common people live in red states as well as blue and common people everywhere are looking for advocates for their issues. If Democrats can show these people real results instead of complaints about how the party in control of nothing is somehow stopping everything, then there is no reason these common people won't vote for Democrat candidates again, as they traditionally have in the past.


Separation of Church and State

Two stories in the past two days have me very confused. Do Conservatives think the constitution provides for separation of church and state or not?

First, the US Supreme Court ruled that displaying the Ten Commandments on government property is only permissible in some cases and not ever prescience's if they are there for only religious reasons. From the
Argus,

"The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that displaying the Ten Commandments on government property is constitutionally permissible in some cases but not in others.

The court said the key to whether a display is constitutional hinges on the purpose behind it. If it is arguably posted because of historical ties, it is constitutional. But if the display primarily serves a religious purpose, it should be removed."

Of course this got all the Right wing "constitutional scholars" up in arms.

Robert Regier, director of the South Dakota Family Policy Council, said he sees no problem in displaying the Ten Commandments in a courthouse.

'It shouldn't matter if it's in a historical context or religious context,' he said. 'Religion, in particular the Judeo-Christian ethic, is the foundation of our judicial system.'"

Sure, so if you where say a Christian on trial in say Saudi Arabia and they took you to court and at the entrance was a huge display of a Koran, do you think it may give you pause? Of course Regier sees no problem with it, he's a Christian! Here is the good part though.

"Regier said the rulings on the Ten Commandments resulted from disagreements about what the separation of church and state means.

'They are twisting that phrase,' he said. 'That is not what the fathers intended. ... Separation of church and state never meant that God should be kicked out of the public square.'"

They are twisting the phrase? What do you suppose Mr. Regier thinks the phrase means? If the ten commandments can be placed on courthouse steps, then where would Mr. Regier draw the line? Of course this is exactly what the fathers intended. Nobody is keeping Christians from celebrating their religion anywhere they wish, except on government property. Sorry.

Now, today we find out that the state is trying to collect taxes from churches for certain items they have purchased from out of state. Now the Right wing "constitutional scholars" are at it again only this time they are actually saying this violates the separation of church and state which they don't even acknowledge exists in the first place.

Again form the Argus

"Armed with a 66-year-old law, the state revenue department is pushing churches to pay taxes on candles, Bibles, song books and other liturgical items purchased outside South Dakota."

Wait for it...

"It's corroding the separation between the church and the state, frankly," said Gary Nesdahl, executive director of the Association of Christian Churches of South Dakota, which represents about 1,000 churches in the state."

Corroding the separation between church and state which Mr. Reiger just told us doesn't even exist. Wow! My head is spinning.

Wait, there is more.

"When people put money in the offering plate, they're hoping it's going for the working of the church," says Kermit Staggers, a former state legislator who contends the Department of Revenue's action is a 'gross violation' of the principle of the separation of church and state."

A gross violation of the principle that doesn't really exist.

Can you take more?

"I think it's opening up a whole can of worms," Nesdahl said. "If you identify a church as a business and they have to fall under all regulations, we're looking at a different church. We're sort of flying in the face of tradition."

Sort of like that quaint old tradition of churches not asking who you voted for before deciding if you are allowed to take communion I guess.

Of course the answer to the question of whether Conservatives believe in separation of church and state depends very much on if it fits their current needs.

The GOP, party of opportunism.

6/26/2005

1st Amendment for Republicans Only

Two reporters who worked on the Valarie Plame outing story may land in jail later this week, but not the reporter who initially outed her in the first place. From the LA Times,

"Cooper and Miller have been the most prominent in a recent pageant of journalists jailed or fined for ignoring court orders to reveal sources. Cooper has gained acclaim as Time's dogged, wisecracking White House correspondent; Miller has been praised, and criticized, for pushing forward stories about weapons of mass destruction."

Even the Russians pity our loss of freedom under the Bush dictatoship.

"Bill Keller, executive editor of the New York Times, recently described how a colleague explained to a group of Russian journalists visiting the Times how Miller might go to jail for refusing to reveal the identity of confidential sources.

'The Russians were flabbergasted,' Keller said, 'since they have grown up regarding our freedoms with envy.'"

Here is a quick rundown of the events that got us to this point.

"The convoluted series of events that could put Cooper and Miller in jail began to unfold two years ago, when retired diplomat Joseph C. Wilson IV accused President Bush of 'misrepresenting the facts on an issue that was a fundamental justification for going to war.'

The former ambassador was one of the first to debunk Bush's accusation in the 2003 State of the Union address that Saddam had sought uranium in Africa for nuclear weapons.

The administration made a concerted effort to undermine Wilson's charge. Sources supporting Bush said that Wilson had made a cursory review in Niger and that he was able to make the trip only because of nepotism by his wife, a official assigned to monitor weapons of mass destruction.

These claims were floated to several reporters, but columnist Robert Novak was the first to name Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, as a CIA operative.

That, in turn, attracted the attention of then-Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft who ordered an investigation into whether administration officials broke the law by identifying a covert agent, in violation of the Intelligence Act of 1980. Ashcroft appointed a special prosecutor, Patrick J. Fitzgerald. He has aggressively pursued the identity of the administration leakers.

Several prominent journalists who worked on the Plame story received subpoenas. A few — such as Walter Pincus of the Washington Post and Tim Russert of NBC — avoided the possibility of jail when their sources agreed the journalists no longer had to keep their identities secret. It remains a mystery whether Novak had to testify. He has declined to comment."

This whole thing is making Bush look like a man who lies (which I guess he does) so much that pretty soon he starts to contradict himself in order to keep covering up the lies. He gets pissed at Wilson and leaks the info about his wife to White House mouthpiece Novak who is all to willing to out her in public. Then Bush realizes that the whole thing may have been illegal, so he sicks a special prosecutor on whoever leaked the info. Amazingly enough this special prosecutor can't figure out who did it, so instead of asking Novak to give up his source, they go to a couple of non-Republican reporters who simply wrote follow up stories on what Novak wrote, and want them to give up their sources. When they refuse, this really pisses Bush off and so he throws them in jail, essentially for not telling Bush what he already knows, which is who outed Valarie Plame.

Gitmo isn't the only place where this bunch resembles Nazi's. The next group of people who should be nervous as hell is University professors, then artists, then YOU!

6/23/2005

Thune Talking in Circles...Again

Sen Thune made an appearance on national TV today when he took to the airwaves on C-SPAN in his continuing effort to find the real killers...no...I mean to keep Ellsworth open. Johnnie (I call him that just for Sibby) had some interesting things to say. I mean interesting in a rambling Sibby sort of way.

From the AP

"One caller pointed out that following the May 13 announcement, Thune had threatened to withhold support for some Bush administration initiatives.

Thune, a freshman senator, said he has made it clear from the start that he would do everything possible for Ellsworth.

'That obviously means using the tools that you have, the powers you have at your disposal as a United States senator,' he said. 'Clearly, I'm going to do what I think is in the best interest of my state of South Dakota as well as in the best interest of the country because I think that's our responsibility as senators.'"

I guess Johnnie is trying to say that voting against Bolton is both good for South Dakota and good for the country. Of course you may remember Thune's appearance on Hardball when he uttered these now infamous words.

MATTHEWS: That is not the charge here. The charge here is, he is forcing people to do things they don‘t want to do.

THUNE: And those are issues that are being reviewed and looked at.


But I think, again, if you look at his record, he has been confirmed previously. And he is a guy who shakes things up. And I think the U.N. needs that.

But this flip flop is old news. Today's C-SPAN appearance gave us a new one.

Again, from the AP (bear with me)

"Thune, a freshman senator, said he has made it clear from the start that he would do everything possible for Ellsworth.

That obviously means using the tools that you have, the powers you have at your disposal as a United States senator,' he said. 'Clearly, I'm going to do what I think is in the best interest of my state of South Dakota as well as in the best interest of the country because I think that's our responsibility as senators.'"

Now that sounds like Thune saying he is punishing the president by voting against Bolton. Fair enough I guess, but later Thune admits that he is barking up the wrong tree.

"The Bush administration has taken a hands-off attitude and allowed the base closure process to work, Thune said. 'They have not tried to influence the decisions that were made by the Pentagon.'"

So, to recap.

Bolton Good.
Bolton not Good.
Must vote against Bolton so President will save Ellsworth.
President has not tried to influence the decision on Ellsworth in the first place.

Johnnie sure is one hell of a statesman isn't he?

Dan Nelson Automotive

Car dealer and Republican hack Dan Nelson has declared his auto company bankrupt. He says a pending lawsuit in Iowa has cut into his business.

"Citing an ongoing legal fight with the Iowa attorney general, an embattled Sioux Falls car dealer has declared bankruptcy.

Dan Nelson Automotive Group Inc. filed for Chapter 11 reorganization late Tuesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Sioux Falls. Court documents show the company with total assets of $6.4 million and total debts of $29.9 million."

The lawsuit brought by the Iowa AG accuses Nelson's company of "taking advantage of financially vulnerable customers."

The ironic thing here is that while Dan Nelson Automotive has no problem filing for bankruptcy, the consumers they screwed over, now may have a harder time declaring personal bankruptcy because of recent legislation rammed through by Nelson's Republican brethren.

Just another day under the thumb of modern Conservatism I guess.

6/22/2005

Thune "Optomistic" That He Can Take Away Our Rights

The House has again approved a constitutional amendment banning burning the American flag. This isn't news, it's the sixth time the House has done so just since 1995. The news is that with all the new conservative idiots in the Senate, it might actually get through that body as well and then we will all get to go vote on actually amending the constitution that gives us our rights to in fact take one of those rights away.

As Terri Ann Schroeder of the ACLU put it,

"We cannot guarantee that we will win this vote. My concern is that we will wake up the next morning and say, 'Oops, did we just amend the First Amendment?'"

At least my junior senator, John "Looney" Thune doesn't support taking my rights away. Oh wait, yes he does, and he is proud of it too.

"I'm optimistic this Senate will find the handful of votes we've lacked in the past to protect the American flag," said Sen. John Thune, R-S.D.

Of course last time Thune promised to "protect" something he did a fairly poor job of it(see Ellsworth AFB closing), so I guess his track record on "protecting" things isn't the best.

Remember during the election when he taught us all how to "protect" our daughters?

"This is a gun-owning culture out here. I'm training my daughters on how to use a semiautomatic handgun because ... someday they're going to be out living on their own, and it's something they need to know." - John Thune.

That reminds me, I have to add that to my list of essentials that todays young woman needs. Education, ambition, sense of humor, intelligence, competitive nature, semiautomatic handguns. Good list.

You may as well get used to this though, because if Thune and his fellow looney's have their way, we will end up back at the polls voting on whether or not to amend the constitution to take away the rights of the gay people among us. That's right, Thune wants to "protect" us from the evils of gay marriage as well.

"Extremist groups in Washington, politicians, even judges... have made it clear that they are willing to run over any state law defining marriage. They’ve done it in Massachusetts and they can do it here." From a Thune campaign radio ad.

"John Thune, said he would support an amendment so there's uniformity among states and the issue is decided by the people and not judges.

'Let's put it in the Constitution so there's no question in the future about what constitutes a marriage,' he said. Had the nation's founders 'known where they would be 225 years in the future, they probably would have addressed the issue then,' Thune said."

Wow, I sure to feel safe knowing that one of my senators is out there "protecting" me from flag burning and gay marriage. And, as the father of two young girls, I am forever thankful to him for his parenting advice about training them to use semiautomatic handguns. Maybe we are better off with Thune "protecting" us than with Daschle representing us. Maybe not.

6/19/2005

Moving the Center Back to the Center

I don't know if recent comments by Howard Dean and Dick Durbin where made for this purpose or not, but they have created an opportunity for other Democrats to move to the "center", and actually still be a bit left of center.

I shouldn't be hard for Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton or any other Democrat who has presidential aspirations, to take advantage of this. It should be easy for them to stand up and say something like this,

"Hey, I don't agree with Sen. Durbin. I think it is obvious that Gitmo is not a gulag or a Nazi concentration camp, but, just because it isn't as bad as that doesn't mean it is something American's should be proud of or condone either. This administration needs to to tell the American people exactly what is going on there. We need to know that those prisoners are being given due process. The GOP will tell us that they don't leagally derserve due process, but I think most Americans feel that as Americans, we need to provide everyone in custody with the chance to know why they are being held, with access to lawyers, the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. These are basic, fundamental things that Americans believe in, and supposedly what we are fighting for in Iraq. This administration's continued disregard for how the Arab world views Gitmo continues to make it more and more difficult for our soldiers in the field to do their job. The administration needs to make the process at Gitmo transparent, not only for the benefit of the American people but for the benefit of the American troops."

Something like that anyway. I mean the Republicans have been doing stuff like this for years. Some crazy right wing Senator will say something totally crazy and then Bush will say something that isn't quite as crazy and comes off sounding like a "centrist". Over the passage of time this tactic has moved the "center" further and further to the right. Now, Howard Dean and Dick Durbin are simply making it possible other Democrats to move the "center" back to the left a little. The problem is, Obama and Clinton et al won't stand up and do it.

Just in case you don't think there are Republican Senators who have said crazy things in the past, here is a sampling.

Sen Tom Coburn (R-OK).

"You know, Josh Burkeen is our rep down here in the southeast area. He lives in Colgate and travels out of Atoka. He was telling me that lesbianism is so rampant in some of the schools in southeast Oklahoma that they'll only let one girl go to the bathroom at a time."

That is nothing compared to this one,

"I favor the death penalty for abortionists and other people who take life."

Then there is Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), one of Thune's fellow freshman senators who have called for Durbin to aplogize

"Let's stop whining about job losses."

And this one,

“folks teaching in school need to represent our values" if teachers are "openly gay, I do not think that they should be teaching at public schools.”

And this one,

"In a debate Sunday with Democrat Inez Tenenbaum DeMint said openly gay people should not be allowed to teach in the state's public schools. DeMint defended that remark during an interview Tuesday with the Aiken Standard and said he would feel the same way about single, pregnant women who live with a boyfriend teaching if they were teaching a third grade child."

No discussion of crazy Republican senators would be complete without mentioning Sen Sam Brownback (R-KS). Crazy Sam is not particularly fond of the notion of same-sex-marriage, but did you konw that if same-sex couples where allowed to marry that child abuse and poverty would increase? That's what "good ol boy" Sam says.

"Social science tells us that child poverty, child abuse, and child developmental problems increase with the decline of marriage. It also tells us that the children of intact, traditional marriages are much healthier in body, spirit, and mind, more successful in school and life, and much less likely to use illegal drugs, abuse alcohol, or engage in crime than are children from homes without a mother and a father. This is not to say that good children cannot be raised in other family settings"

By that line of reasoning Sam must want to also have a constitutional amendment making divorce illegal too.

And then there was Senate Bill 2082 that Brownback offered up.

"Senate bill 2082, designed to allow federal, state, and local government officials to overrule all other laws by appealing to the "higher source" of all law ("God") and to forbid the Supreme Court from doing anything about it.

Unbelievable? Here's S. 2082's proposed addition to Sec. 1260 of Title 28, Chapter 81 of the U.S. Code: "Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, the Supreme Court shall not have jurisdiction to review, by appeal, writ of certiorari, or otherwise, any matter to the extent that relief is sought against an element of Federal, State, or local government, or against an officer of Federal, State, or local government (whether or not acting in official personal capacity), by reason of that element's or officer's acknowledgement of God as the sovereign source of law, liberty, or government."

In case you can't make sense of that, let Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution party break it down for you,

"This means, that the federal judiciary would be prohibited from interfering with any expression of religious faith by any elected local, state, or federal official. In other words, federal judges could not prevent the Ten Commandments from being displayed in public buildings or Nativity Scenes from appearing on court house lawns or 'under God' from being recited in the Pledge of Allegiance or prayers being spoken in public schools, etc. This bill would limit the jurisdiction of the federal courts in these matters."

So now Durbin and Dean are attempting to move the "center" back towards the actual "center" and the Republicans don't like it. I hope Durbin doesn't apologize. I do hope other Democrats take the opportunity say they don't agree with Durbin and actually move the country a little to the left.

By the way, when are these GOP Senators going to apologize for their crazy hatred?

6/17/2005

Rangel and Conyers Calling for DSM Investigation

Rep. Charles Rangle of New York and Rep John Conyers of Michigan are leading the charge demanding a full investigation of the facts brought to light in the various DSM that appear to show a concerted effort of both the British and the American governments to fix evidence about WMD in Iraq to "make the war legal".

"Quite frankly, evidence that appears to be building up points to whether or not the president has deliberately misled Congress to make the most important decision a president has to make, going to war," said Rangel, senior Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee.

Conyers delivered a petition signed by 105 members of congress and over 540,000 American citizens urging Bush to answer questions about the memo.

All of this took place in the context of a bipartisian movement in congress to start the withdrawl of American troops from Iraq by October of next year. This coalition includes both Democrats who have always been against the war (Dennis Kucinich (OH) and Neil Abercrombie (HI)) and Republicans who have been against the war (Ron Paul (TX)) and orginally in favor of the war (Walter Jones (NC)).

Jones was behind the change of Capitol Hill menus changing French Fries to Freedom Fries. Now Jones says this, ""After 1,700 deaths, over 12,000 wounded and $200 billion spent, we believe it is time to have this debate and discussion on this resolution."

6/15/2005

Evangelical Bible School Gets 1 Million of Your Dollars

A Christian "school" and I use the word school in only the broadest sense of the word, has received $1 million in federal money in the last two years. The name of the school is the Alaska Christian College. Again, college is a generous name for this institution.

Now the federal government is allowed to give grant money to religious schools, but it must be used for secular purposes, which seems unlikely in this case considering this un-accredited school does not even offer degrees. No, you get a certificate in biblical studies after completing one year and a certificates in biblical studies and general studies if you stick it out for two years.

Now why should the federal government be in the business of subsidizing bible study? They shouldn't.

This is even more amazing when you consider the enrollment at this bible study school. 37. That's it. 37. You heard me. $1 million on 37 bible studying students. That's about $27,000 per student. $27,000 per student for 37 students to get a certificate in biblical studies. That's $27,000 per student in taxpayer money. If you say it enough it really starts to sound amazing.

As the Anchorage Daily News astutely points out,

"Alaska's congressional delegation might just as well have put a $1 million check in the church collection plate."

Where did the money come from?

"The money has come in chunks, the most recent of which -- $430,000 -- was buried in a catch-all spending bill Congress approved last year. That money came out of the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education, an obscure government program"

Alaska's Representative in the House, Don Young took credit for this grant in a
press release on November 23, 2004.

"I am pleased that we were able to work out agreeable terms in this short 'Lame Duck' session. Now we can present the President with a bill for his signature that will keep America running."

Yeah, America would come to a screeching halt if this bible study group didn't get their $430,000 from the federal government.

The very next item listed on that press release was this.

"$33,000 to the University Of Washington School Of Medicine for the Alaska Medical student participation in the WWAMI rural training program "

OK. So to recap. $430,000 for 37 students to study the bible and $33,000 for the school of medicine to teach students how to administer health care in rural areas. Interesting set of priorities there.

How does this funding compare with federal dollars received by actual colleges in Alaska? Funny you should ask.

Here is part of another Rep. Don Young press release, this one dated March 30, 2005.

$217,251 grant to the University of Alaska Anchorage

$220,000 grant to the University of Alaska Fairbanks

$220,000 grant to the University of Alaska Southeast

In a real shocker, Rep. Young did not return phone calls to the Washington Post seeking comment on a story they where doing on this issue in May.

Civil Liberties 1 - Patriot Act 0

The US House of Representatives is again showing signs of having a backbone and a conscience.

From the NYT,

"The House voted Wednesday to block a provision of the USA Patriot Act that makes it easier for federal investigators to review the records of libraries and bookstores on national security grounds."

This quote form Bernard Sanders an Independent from Vermont who lead the fight against these provisios of the Patriot Act is pretty funny when you really think about it.

"Congress has begun to hear that civil liberties and privacy issues are important to Americans,"

Did congress really have to "hear" that civil liberties and privacy are important to Americans? I mean that seems like a given unless you are George Bush doesn't it?

Speaking of King George,

"The White House has threatened to veto the measure if it impedes the Patriot Act, and Mr. Bush as recently as Tuesday personally urged lawmakers to renew the law."

So the two things (the only two things) that Bush has seen fit to veto (or threaten to veto) in 5 years as President is Stem Cell research legislation that could possibly save countless lives and Patriot Act legislation that gives back the right to privacy that never should have been taken away in the first place. At least we may get some "real" work done with this whole flag burning bill. I'm sure as Federal agents rifle through the book purchases of a person with Lou Gehrig's disease, that person will feel much better about there lot in life knowing they will never have to live though the horror of seeing a flag burned again. Such is the state of modern Conservatism.

Global Warming "Editor" Get New Gig

Remember Philip Cooney? He is the now former White Official who changed scientific reports produced by the White House in order to downplay the role of say oil companies in the growing problem.

Now, Cooney has resigned from the White House in order to take a new job. Can you guess who hired him? It's Exxon Mobile Corp. Why I am shocked.

Here is my favorite part of the LA Times article.

"The White House announced that Philip Cooney, chief of staff of its Council on Environmental Quality, had resigned, calling it a long-planned departure"

Yeah, long-planned like since last week.

What a bunch of lying weasels.

6/14/2005

"Democracy" Is On The March In Iraq

Well, you have to hand it to Bush, he has created exactly the kind of "democracy" in Iraq that he is trying to create right here in America. It seems that those not loyal to the Kurdish political parties in Kirkuk are simply being abducted.

This story is truely unbelievable. It's from the Washington Post.

"Police and security units, forces led by Kurdish political parties and backed by the U.S. military, have abducted hundreds of minority Arabs and Turkmens in this intensely volatile city and spirited them to prisons in Kurdish-held northern Iraq, according to U.S. and Iraqi officials, government documents and families of the victims."

Democracy is on the march!

"Seized off the streets of Kirkuk or in joint U.S.-Iraqi raids, the men have been transferred secretly and in violation of Iraqi law to prisons in the Kurdish cities of Irbil and Sulaymaniyah, sometimes with the knowledge of U.S. forces. The detainees, including merchants, members of tribal families and soldiers, have often remained missing for months; some have been tortured, according to released prisoners and the Kirkuk police chief."

Democracy is on the march!

"A confidential State Department cable, obtained by The Washington Post and addressed to the White House, Pentagon and U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, said the 'extra-judicial detentions' were part of a concerted and widespread initiative' by Kurdish political parties 'to exercise authority in Kirkuk in an increasingly provocative manner.'

"Extra-Judicial" means illegal. "Provocative manner" means illegal.

Democracy is on the March!

"'The abductions have "greatly exacerbated tensions along purely ethnic lines' and endangered U.S. credibility, the nine-page cable, dated June 5, stated. 'Turkmen in Kirkuk tell us they perceive a U.S. tolerance for the practice while Arabs in Kirkuk believe Coalition Forces are directly responsible.'"

Democracy is on the March!

"The transfers occurred 'without authority of local courts or the knowledge of Ministries of Interior or Defense in Baghdad,' the State Department cable stated. U.S. military officials said judges they consulted in Kirkuk declared the practice illegal under Iraqi law"

Democracy is on the march!

"Early on, the campaign targeted former Baath Party officials and suspected insurgents, but it has since broadened. Among those seized and secretly transferred north were car merchants, businessmen, members of tribal families, Arab soldiers and, in one case, an 87-year-old farmer with diabetes."

Democracy is on the March!

"Blagburn said he and other U.S. officers intervened with Kurdish leaders after discovering the practice nearly a month ago. He said he was 'pretty sure' the practice had ended.

'We put a stop to it,' Blagburn said, adding: 'One of the myths is that it is spiraling out of control and nobody is doing anything about it and nobody cares. That is absolutely not true.'"

"On Sunday, two days after Blagburn's remarks, the U.S. military received reports that nine more Arabs and Turkmens were missing."

Democracy is on the March!

There's more in the article, but you get the idea. I'm sure that on the off chance that someone actually asks Scott McClellen about this story, he will demand a full apolgy from the Wasington Post, a retraction, and community service. This administration has become the laughing stock of the entire world and THEY are the parties putting ou soldiers at risk overseas. I'm sure they are going to try to pin this on some civilian contractors and a couple of Privates who where certainly not acting on orders from say Donald Rumsfeld or Dick Cheney or George Bush. Nope. Those guys are untouchable. Never made a mistake, never will.

Democracy is on the March and it is coming for you and your flag next. (See the post below)

Thune About to "Save" Us From Flag Burning?

Sure, Ellsworth is dust. We are going to get half the funding for water projects that is really needed. John Bolton is qualified. No wait, Bolton is not qualified because Ellsworth is closing. Thune has the President's ear but he just isn't listening. Don't worry though, cuz Looney Thune is thiiiissss close to saving us from that age old epidemic of flag burning. When was the last time you saw a flag burned on American soil anyway?

From
USToday.com

"The Senate may be within one or two votes of passing a constitutional amendment to ban desecration of the U.S. flag, clearing the way for ratification by the states, a key opponent of the measure said Tuesday."

Our boy Thune is right in the middle of it too.

"But this time may be different. Amendment supporters say last year's election expanding the Senate Republican majority to 55 has buoyed their hopes for passage. Five freshmen senators — Richard Burr of North Carolina, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Jim DeMint of South Carolina, John Thune of South Dakota and David Vitter of Louisiana — voted for the amendment as House members and plan to do so again.

"'We're going to have deeper support for this, and the intensity is growing,' Thune said Tuesday, which was Flag Day. 'There's momentum.'"

My favorite quote is from Utah Sen Orrin Hatch though.

"Still, 'it's important that we venerate the national symbol of our country,' said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, the amendment's chief sponsor. 'Burning, urinating, defecating on the flag — this is not speech. This is offensive conduct.'"

What the hell? Defecating on the flag? Who does that? I heard that baseball player Moises Alou urinates on his hands during the season to toughen them up, but to my knowledge he has never urinated on the flag during the National Anthem.

Yeah, I really can't think of anything better to spend time, not to mention money, on than going through the process of amending the constitution to actually take away a right. While we are at it maybe we can amend the constitution to make the un-Patriot Act permanent.

Bush and Blair Continue to Dig Their Own Graves

At a joint press conference in Washington last week, Tony Blair and George W Bush trotted out their same old tired line that they went to the UN Securtity Council as part of a diplomatic attempt to stave off the impending invasion of Iraq. Now, as The Sunday Times points out, the real story seems to be different.

This quote is in reference to the 2nd classified memo that has been leaked to The Times and was published on Sunday.

"The document said the only way the allies could justify military action was to place Saddam Hussein in a position where he ignored or rejected a United Nations ultimatum ordering him to co-operate with the weapons inspectors. But it warned this would be difficult.

“It is just possible that an ultimatum could be cast in terms which Saddam would reject,” the document says. But if he accepted it and did not attack the allies, they would be “most unlikely” to obtain the legal justification they needed.

The suggestions that the allies use the UN to justify war contradicts claims by Blair and Bush, repeated during their Washington summit last week, that they turned to the UN in order to avoid having to go to war. The attack on Iraq finally began in March 2003."

Then there is this bit of wishful thinking by the Times.

"The briefing paper is certain to add to the pressure, particularly on the American president, because of the damaging revelation that Bush and Blair agreed on regime change in April 2002 and then looked for a way to justify it."

One would like to think this would put pressure on Bush, but I'll believe it when I see it.

6/13/2005

Oh Those Tricky Republicans

"Inside the Beltway" reports this classic.

"In what could be a Capitol Hill first, a lawmaker last week attempted to cast a vote of 'not present.'"

It all started with a crazy Republican from Texas, it wasn't even Tom Delay.

"But then Rep. Ron Paul, Texas Republican, principled libertarian and chronic skunk at congressional garden parties, offered an 'American sovereignty restoration' amendment calling for the United States to pull out of the United Nations altogether. Mr. Paul noted, correctly, that the case for his amendment had just been made by all the negative comments his colleagues had been airing for the previous two hours."

Democrats in the House then called for an immediate roll call vote to make Republicans go on the record either for against the UN. Here is the good part.

"Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, California Republican, was absent when the clerk first called his name for the Paul amendment. But, perhaps mistiming his return to the committee room, Mr. Rohrabacher took his seat before the voting had officially closed.

His lips pressed firmly together, Mr. Rohrabacher only smiled and waved his hand when the clerk asked for his vote. 'Present?' she helpfully asked, to which Mr. Rohrabacher simply shook his head, plainly hoping the clerk would just pass him by.

The performance elicited a few mocking chicken clucks from committee Democrats. In the end, the California Republican was recorded as voting "present" on the Paul amendment. For the record, the amendment was rejected on a 39-3 (one present) vote"

First they try to
stifle debate on the "Patriot Act" and then they sit there, look at you and say "Oh, did I miss something while I was in the John? Well, I'm lost now, just pretend like I'm not here." And they wanna be my latex salesmen. (!!!Arcane reference to Seinfeld alert!!!)

Thune Named "Porker of the Month"

This is a couple of days old, but I was busy this weekend so I didn't get a chance to post it. On Friday "Citizens Against Government Waste" named our very own freshman Sen. John Thune "Porker of the Month" for June.

Here is the good part,

"In a thinly-veiled attempt to punish the Bush administration for not compromising the integrity of the BRAC process, Sen. Thune threatened to reverse his decision on ambassador to the United Nations nominee John Bolton, whom he had vocally supported in the past. Sen. Thune has also signaled that he will vote against the administration on the upcoming CAFTA-DR free trade agreement and legislation regarding importation of drugs from Canada.

But Sen. Thune's sabotage campaign is completely unnecessary to ensure the economic survival of his constituents, according to CAGW. A May 2005 Government Accountability Office report showed that towns affected by base closings continue to recover and fare well compared to average rates for unemployment and income growth. Creative planning from local leaders has helped recover 90 percent of the civilian jobs lost during the past four rounds of base closings.

For throwing a congressional tantrum instead of seeking to understand Pentagon decisions, for impeding military transformation and placing parochial interests above the interests of taxpayers and national security, for threatening to alter votes based on political grudges, and for failing to show proper leadership for constituents that could soon face a difficult period of adjustment, CAGW names Sen. John Thune its Porker of the Month for June 2005."


It's always fun to watch the right turn on each other.

Yet Another British Memo

In a recent "hard hitting" interview of President Bush by FOX News' Neil Cavuto, Cavuto actually asked the following question of Bush,

"Do you think that the focus on Michael Jackson has hurt you?"

If Bush was honest (don't laugh at that. I didn't mean that to be a joke) he would have told Cavuto that all the Focus on Jackson is actually helping him. While 2,000 plus "media" types where waiting for the Jackson verdict, including White House mouthpiece Sean Hannity who didn't even take commercial breaks while breathlessly awaiting the verdict, nobody, and certainly not Hannity, was talking about yet another damning memo that has surfaced "across the pond."

This one again appeared in The Sunday Times in London and was produced on July 21st, 2002.

Here are some of the high points,

"The US Government's military planning for action against Iraq is proceeding apace. But, as yet, it lacks a political framework. In particular, little thought has been given to creating the political conditions for military action, or the aftermath and how to shape it."

I think this one is my favorite,

"We need now to reinforce this message and to encourage the US Government to place its military planning within a political framework, partly to forestall the risk that military action is precipitated in an unplanned way by, for example, an incident in the No Fly Zones. This is particularly important for the UK because it is necessary to create the conditions in which we could legally support military action. Otherwise we face the real danger that the US will commit themselves to a course of action which we would find very difficult to support."

This part is pretty good too. It's under the heading "Justification",

"US views of international law vary from that of the UK and the international community. Regime change per se is not a proper basis for military action under international law. But regime change could result from action that is otherwise lawful. We would regard the use of force against Iraq, or any other state, as lawful if exercised in the right of individual or collective self-defence, if carried out to avert an overwhelming humanitarian catastrophe, or authorised by the UN Security Council. A detailed consideration of the legal issues, prepared earlier this year, is at Annex A. The legal position would depend on the precise circumstances at the time. Legal bases for an invasion of Iraq are in principle conceivable in both the first two instances but would be difficult to establish because of, for example, the tests of immediacy and proportionality. Further legal advice would be needed on this point."

OK boys, what we are planning is illegal, so what's say we find a way to make it legal (wink, wink). Oh, and did you know that the US views international law differently than every other nation on the planet? I was shocked.

Oh, and if you can't think of a way to "make it legal" on your own, try this one.

"It is just possible that an ultimatum could be cast in terms which Saddam would reject (because he is unwilling to accept unfettered access) and which would not be regarded as unreasonable by the international community. However, failing that (or an Iraqi attack) we would be most unlikely to achieve a legal base for military action by January 2003."

And now a look into the future, that the Bushies never saw.

"Even with a legal base and a viable military plan, we would still need to ensure that the benefits of action outweigh the risks. In particular, we need to be sure that the outcome of the military action would match our objective as set out in paragraph 5 above. A post-war occupation of Iraq could lead to a protracted and costly nation-building exercise. As already made clear, the US military plans are virtually silent on this point. Washington could look to us to share a disproportionate share of the burden. Further work is required to define more precisely the means by which the desired endstate would be created, in particular what form of Government might replace Saddam Hussein's regime and the timescale within which it would be possible to identify a successor. We must also consider in greater detail the impact of military action on other UK interests in the region."

It just seems like the evil, liberal, MSM should be paying a wee bit more attention to this...don't ya think?. Maybe now that the Jackson thing is over all those "reporters" can start to do their real job.

6/10/2005

Mark Warner Set to Run for President

Moderate. Southern. Governor. Mark Warner. Virginia Governor to be exact. Moderate, southern and governor has been a winning combination in the past for Democrats (Bill Clinton for example). Warner has formed a PAC and hired a former Al Gore staffer to help guide him through the beginning stages of a 2008 Presidential run.

From the Richmond Times-Dispatch,

"Gov. Mark R. Warner has formally waded into national political waters by establishing a federal political-action committee and hiring a one-time top adviser to former Vice President Al Gore.

Democrat Warner, who has been mentioned by some as an attractive candidate for the party's presidential nomination in 2008, may be considering such a run or even a challenge next year to U.S. Sen. George Allen, R-Va.

But few, if any, advisers close to Warner believe he will risk challenging the popular Allen, who also is exploring a presidential bid.

'At this point, he's keeping all of his options open,' said Mary A. "Mame" Reiley, director of the governor's One Virginia political action committee.

In an interview yesterday, Reiley said the governor has hired Monica Dixon as the first part-time consultant on his soon-to-be-announced political committee to raise money."

The Republican response was predictable for a party that despises people who actually govern when elected instead of whining an complaining that the other party is obstructing them.

"Shawn Smith, executive director of the Republican Party of Virginia, said that Warner, who also has mentioned a second run for governor in 2009, will be dogged by his record.

'Mark Warner will have difficulty trying to defend his high-tax, liberal record no matter which political office he intends to seek,' Smith said."

"Liberal record"? Interesting. Most real Republicans would love to have Warner's record in Virginia. In only one term he has turned a $6 billion shortfall into a balanced budget while reducing the income tax that each and every Virginia resident pays. Warner has made huge state investments in things Republicans hate like public schools, law enforcement and healthcare. All it took to give every family in Virginia a tax break was to close all those corporate tax loopholes that the GOP is so fond of.

Warner has also backed some restrictions on abortion and signed two handfulls of gun rights bills, things some Democrats will have to get over.

Check out his bio here. Warner is a good candidate in my opinion. He puts at least some of the South back in play for us in 2008 and he has a great record of achievement.

Who's Ignoring the "Truth"?

A certain right-wing South Dakota blogger is now accusing SD Dems of "ignoring the truth" regarding the Ellsworth situation. Here is the good part,

"The South Dakota Democrats need to
take note:

'Before that Base Realignment and Closure Commission hearing in Rapid City, the task force and others want to review information used by the Pentagon in making its decision and prepare a rebuttal. That commission can make changes before the report goes to President Bush and Congress.'

Note, the 'changes before the report goes to President Bush and Congress'. The President is not the one who put Ellsworth on the list. The president has not been involved in the decision making process…yet.

But the facts don’t seem to matter to the South Dakota Democrats."

How naive. I mean do we really think that President Bush couldn't have kept Ellsworth off the list if he had really wanted to?

Maybe not, I mean it's not like this administration
pays the media to tout it's programs, or has a non-scientist set scientific policy and change scientific facts in scientific documents, or conspires with leaders of other countries to pressure intelligence agencies to skew their findings to justify an unjust war. Oh wait...I guess he DID do all of that.

Your probably right though, Bush couldn't possibly have kept Ellsworth off the closure list. Of course Sen John Thune doesn't agree with you, he is planning to "
punish" Bush for closing Ellsworth by not voting for Bush UN nominee John Bolton. I forget, which facts where we ignoring?

6/09/2005

Follow the Bouncing Thune

Just thought it might be fun to take a look at the long, strange trip around John Bolton that John Thune has taken.

First, on Hardball on April 19,

THUNE: I think you have to look at issues of conduct as they relate to the level of professionalism that a person brings to the job. If it‘s because that person is demanding and they are making people work hard and that‘s—that‘s probably OK.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: That is not the charge here. The charge here is, he is forcing people to do things they don‘t want to do.

THUNE: And those are issues that are being reviewed and looked at.
But I think, again, if you look at his record, he has been confirmed previously. And he is a guy who shakes things up. And I think the U.N. needs that.

So I guess Thune thinks Bolton is a good man for the job.

Then from the Argus Leader,

"Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., said Thursday that he would vote against the nomination of John Bolton to be ambassador to the United Nations, hinting his vote is a protest against the Pentagon's recommendation to close Ellsworth Air Force Base.

But he did support his party on the vote that mattered most Thursday.

Republicans needed 60 votes to end the Democratic procedural delays and move to an immediate final vote on Bolton's confirmation. Fifty-six senators - including Thune - voted to end the stalling, four shy of that threshold. Now the final Bolton vote will probably not take place until June.

Thune said Thursday that saving Ellsworth is 'inseparable from my work' in the Senate.

'It is part of the fabric of every day of our agenda and the things we are trying to accomplish here,' Thune said Thursday. 'It's something that has become a great preoccupation of mine now.'

Asked whether his opposition to Bolton was because of his qualifications or the base-closing plan, Thune said dryly: 'I'm concerned about our diplomatic posture as a nation, and I'm concerned about our defensive posture. These issues are not unrelated.'"

So I guess now that Ellsworth is about to go, Bolton may not be the best man for the job, and he is somehow "not unrelated" to Ellsworth's closing. Sort of like that old George Carlin bit when he says he likes to reply, "I'm not unwell" when asked how he's doing.

Of course Thune wasn't concerned enough to vote against cloture on the nomination, just concerned enough to register a meaningless vote against Bolton once he reaches the floor, if he ever does.

This one makes me laugh. From "The Hill"

“'I don’t think he’s the best person for the job,' Thune said of Bolton yesterday. 'People can ascribe whatever they want to [this decision]. What I’ve said is, I take our foreign-policy posture very seriously and I take our defense posture very seriously. The base issue is something extremely important to me.' He added, 'I’m going to do anything and everything within my power, and use all tools at my disposal' to get Ellsworth off the base closure list.'"

Really John? You're going to do "anything and everything within your power"? I guess that comes down to an empty threat to vote against a nominee, that if he get to the floor, will pass with or without Thune, and fighting a losing battle to delay Ellsworth's closing until the troops come home from Iraq and other places overseas. Is anyone else troubled by that plan by the way? As if these guys need further enticement to find MORE places around the world for us to spread the gospal of King George at the point of a gun.

I wonder if Rapid City and all the people West River who will lose their jobs when Ellsworth closes will view these feable, a day late and a dollar short attempts as Thune doing anything and everything within his power to keep Ellsworth open?

Sadly, I'm sure some will.

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

Ken Sanders at Politics of Dissent has a great post detailing how Bush and his administration have systematically lied to Americans in the past month as well as revealing Bush & Co's obvious hatred for America.

First the hatred part,

"Bush declared last month that the accusations of torture and abuse by detainees at Guantanamo weren't credible because they were made by 'people who hate America, people that had been trained in some instances to disassemble.'

Sadly, detainees at Guantanamo are not the only haters of America who are trained to lie. It is clear that the Bush administration hates this country, those who defend it, and those who call it home. It is also clear that the Bush administration, notwithstanding all claims about Bush being a straight-shooter, are well-trained in the art of dissembling.

If Bush & Co. didn't hate America, they wouldn't take advantage of every opportunity to lie, cheat, and steal in furtherance of their and their cronies' selfish ends. If they didn't hate this country and those who defend it, they wouldn't have instituted a war through fraud and sent thousands of men and women off to be killed and wounded for a lie.

If they didn't hate this country and its citizens, they wouldn't be so hell-bent to exploit our fears to curtail the very civil rights and liberties that purportedly distinguish us from the rest of the world.But they do hate America and they demonstrate their hatred through their lies, deceit, and manipulation.

Then the deceit part,

"First, the Inspector General of the Pentagon deleted 45 references to White House officials from his report to the Senate Armed Services Committee on the incestuous $30 billion air-tanker deal between Boeing and the Air Force. In a letter to the Committee leading up to the reports release, the Inspector General revealed that the redactions were made at the White House's behest."

And,

"The second example from this month of the Bush administration's contempt for truth, justice, and the American way (particularly the truth part), came in the form of revelations that a White House official and former energy lobbyist doctored reports on global warming to minimize links to greenhouse emissions. The dissembler-in-chief was Philip Cooney, chief of staff for the White House Council on Environmental Quality. By sheer coincidence, Mr. Cooney's previous job just happened to be as a lobbyist for the American Petroleum Institute, the largest oil-industry trade group and staunch opponent to limits on greenhouse gases. Go figure."

Take the time to read the
entire post, it is well worth it.

Thune Cancels NYC Fundraiser

According to today's Kranz article, John Thune has canceled his NYC Fundraiser for his Heartland Values PAC.

"Sen. John Thune's Heartland Values Political Action Committee fund-raiser June 13 in New York has been canceled. No reason was given."

I wonder if it was due to lack of interest?

6/08/2005

Cooney Documents

Changes Philip Cooney made to documents related to global warming Posted by Hello

Above is the actual text of some of the changes Cooney made Whitehouse documents after they had already been approved by others in the administration. Click here to get a bigger version.

Bush Cooking the Books Again

In what has now become a disturbing habit, the Bush administration continues to manipulate facts to fit their narrowly defined agenda. This time in regards to the climate and global warming, which of course they insist doesn't exist, just like any other form of science (if it's not in the Bible, then they don't believe it).

According the the
NY Times:

"In handwritten notes on drafts of several reports issued in 2002 and 2003, the official, Philip A. Cooney, removed or adjusted descriptions of climate research that government scientists and their supervisors, including some senior Bush administration officials, had already approved. In many cases, the changes appeared in the final reports."

Here's a funny thing about Philip A. Cooney. He is chief of staff for the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the office that helps devise and promote administration policies on environmental issues. That's not the funny thing. The funny thing is that Mr. Cooney isn't even a scientist, he is a former lobbyist for the oil industry. Anyone else see a problem with having someone who works for the oil industry shaping polution policy? Perhaps a scientist would have been a better choice, or at least someone who doesn't have something to gain from helping corporate poluters. It's hard to understand why Democrats want to hold up Bush's crazy appointees isn't it.

Here is an example of the changes Mr. Cooney made to reports. First the way it originally appeared,

"Many scientific observations indicate that the Earth is undergoing a period of relatively rapid change."

Then Mr. Cooney's changes,

"Many scientific observations point to the conclusion that the Earth may be undergoing a period of relatively rapid change."

Now Republicans, of all people, should understand what the meaning of the word "is" is. Mr. Cooney should lose his job at the very least, but I'm sure he will probably get a promotion. There may be an opening at the UN soon.

6/07/2005

Kranz Stole my Idea

I think it's cute that Sibby thinks we need to lead around by the nose by the "SDMSM" to come up with ways to attack Thune. Today he acts like the notion of Thune being in a no win situation was first floated in today's David Kranz column.

"David Kranz's
column today provides the angry South Dakota Dumped Daschle Disciples with ammunition to attack John Thune, no matter what he does on the Bolton nomination."

Of course yourstrulyy floated this very notion back on May 26th in a post cryptically titled "
Thune In No Win Situation" The only difference is that I think Thune is to blame for his being in said "No Win Situation" by opening his big mouth during the campaign and then not being able to back it up. Of course Sibby thinks it's all Kranz's fault.

I really don't know why it's so hard to for these folks to understand that we can actually think for ourselves and come with our own reasons to attack Thune, and make no mistake, I will continue to attack Thune when he deserves it, it's called the "Loyal Opposition" and without it we live in adictatorshipp, which is what most on the right would prefer I'm sure.

6/06/2005

Former Daschle Staffer to Leave Thune Alone

Sheldon Whitehouse who is hoping to be the Democrat nominee trying to unseat Rhode Island Sen. Lincoln Chafee has hired a former Daschle staffer to manage his campaign. That staffer would be Mindy Myers who most recently served as the political director of DASHPAC, Daschle's political action committee.

Myers said she would start out on a part time basis as most of her time is eaten up right now directing the anti-Thune "endless campaign" being secretly funded by DASHPAC. She then said "oh shit...did I say that out loud? I meant to say that once we tie up some loose ends with DASHPAC I will be ready to help Sheldon Whitehouse become the next Senator from the great state of Rhode Island."

OK. I made that entire last paragraph up, but the first paragraph was true.

New Pope...Same as the Old Pope

It's nice to see the new Pope is continuing to try to steer the Catholic faith down a road of intolerance that will continue to alienate nearly everyone until the faith simply doesn't exist anymore because nobody can be the perfect person one has to be to be a Catholic in good standing.

In a
wide ranging speech today the Pope touched on a bunch of subjects and spewed intolerance and hatred at every turn.

On gay marriage, "Pope Benedict, in his first clear pronouncement on gay marriages since his election, on Monday condemned same-sex unions as fake and expressions of 'anarchic freedom' that threatened the future of the family."

To be fair, who hasn't seen those wacky same-sex couples marching on the state capitol wearing those "Anarchy Rulz" tee shirts? By the way, why is the fact that priests are not allowed to marry not an affront to the future of "traditional" marriage?

Let me see if I follow this line of reasoning. I guess if we don't allow gay marriage then those people will seek out "traditional" unions with the opposite sex? I'm still not sure how stopping same-sex marriage ensures more and stronger "traditional" marriages.

Oh, but just because you are a good heterosexual doesn't mean you are off the hook either. If you use birth control, have been divorced or are simply in a common law situation you are also doomed. "Today's various forms of dissolution of marriage, free unions, trial marriages as well as the pseudo-matrimonies between people of the same sex are instead expressions of anarchic freedom which falsely tries to pass itself off as the true liberation of man" And on birth control, "In a clear reference to contraception, the Pope said couples went against the nature of love itself when they 'systematically shut off' the possibility of 'the gift of life.'"

If only the Republicans could figure out a way to nominate a German for president I think we'd have our 2008 GOP nominee. I guarantee he would fair better in Southern and Western primaries than either Rudy Guliani or John McCain.

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