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Kick Assiest Blog
Friday, September 30, 2005
This Bliggety Blog is Almost Completely Out of Free Space, So... NEW BLOG ADDRESS
Mood:  chatty

This has been fun. 7 months and 800 blog posts later, and at 19.6 MB used of 20 MB available, it's obviously time to begin anew.

And since a fresh, new month is less than an hour away, I can't think of a better time to get bloggin at the new blog.

CLICK ON THE ALL NEW KICK ASSIEST BLOG FOR THE LATEST!

Posted by uhyw at 11:06 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, February 12, 2006 4:03 PM EST
Coward Deanpeace Hypes Hopes For Hillary Clintax In '08 Race
Mood:  suave
Topic: Lib Loser Stories

Coward Deanpeace really is the gift that keeps on giving...to the Republicans. One of the main duties of the chairman of a political party is to promote its unity. Another is to convince the party's rank and file that the party understands and represents their political views.

Yet, Deanpeace seems to be endorsing Sen. Clinton for President before she has even announced. What are other Democratic candidates and Democratic voters to make of that? Can they and their supporters expect a fair chance at the nomination when the Chairman of their party openly favors another candidate? What's democratic about that?

Deanpeace even refers to Clinton as the senior Senator from New York even though he knows that honor belongs to Sen. Schumer. Dean is quite correct to say that "Chuck (Schumer) isn't going to like that." Of course he won't. Why should he? It's a slap in the face to a man who believes he earned his Senate seat well before carpetbagger Hillary Clinton moved to New York.

Dean Hypes Hopes For Mrs. Clinton In 2008 Race

WASHINGTON - The chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Howard Dean, hyped Senator Clinton's presidential prospects in an appearance with her yesterday, describing her as a role model for "young women who hope one day that they will have a spot on the ticket."

Beside an uncomfortable-looking Mrs. Clinton at a DNC Women's Leadership Forum luncheon, Dr. Dean recounted how, in the aftermath of his failed presidential bid last year, enthusiastic young supporters encouraged him to try again in 2008.

"I'm sure I shouldn't tell this story," Dr. Dean said, "because it gets a little political about 2008, which I'm not supposed to get, and I'm not getting involved in all that.

"I'm not running and I'm not on anybody's side," he continued. "But," he said before a pregnant pause and knowing laughter, "after I did not win the primary," he met with supporters about his political future.

"I said, 'Look, there's going to be a lot of people running in 2008, and one of them might be Hillary Clinton,'" Dr. Dean recalled. "Although we don't know that, because she's going to get elected to the Senate first, and she's not even going to discuss this until - maybe she already discusses it - until she wins in 2006, and she will."

Mrs. Clinton is up for re-election next year in New York and has not committed to serving a full term if she is voted back into office.

Dr. Dean identified Mrs. Clinton as New York's "senior senator" before adding, "Chuck won't like that," in reference to New York's Senator Schumer, who is the state's senior senator in terms of length of service in the Senate.

Yesterday, Mrs. Clinton, for her part, appeared focused on her role as senator, in particular offering advice and consent on the judiciary.

Informing her audience that she had just come from voting "no" on the confirmation on the chief justice of the United States, John Roberts - a statement that met with enthusiastic cheers and applause - Mrs. Clinton expressed concern that the president's nominee to fill the second vacancy on the court represented "an even more crucial vote," insofar as the replacement for Justice O'Connor "can tilt the balance of the court and do so in a hurry." Mrs. Clinton said she had advised the White House to appoint a nominee "who could get a near-unanimous vote" to bring "the kind of balance that the court desperately needs."

Meanwhile, Mrs. Clinton, who cut her remarks short before being whisked away to grill Secretary Rumsfeld an Armed Services Committee hearing, added to the Democratic drumbeat alleging Republican corruption and incompetence.

President Bush, she said, "tries to keep people afraid all the time" and is "shredding the social safety net... to prop up the privileged and knock the props out from everybody else." She said the president was turning the deficit into "a ticking time bomb" and accused him "of starving FEMA, of stacking it with cronies."

If Mrs. Clinton was Senate-minded yesterday, she also appeared focused on New York, praising Dr. Dean for his visit to the city, and for "fighting for our Democratic nominee for mayor, Freddy Ferrer."

Dr. Dean, too, spent time yesterday abetting the campaign efforts of Mr. Ferrer, sending out a fundraising e-mail urging Democrats to "take back New York City" and lambasting Mayor Bloomberg for inviting the Republican National Convention to New York last year. Mr. Bloomberg also invited the Democrats to stage their convention in the city, but New York was turned down in favor of Boston.

In his comments at the lunch, Dr. Dean attacked Republicans for bringing what he called a "culture of corruption" to Washington. "It's not just Tom DeLay that's been indicted," Dr. Dean said, citing the recent probe into Senator Frist, the majority leader of the Senate, for potential insider stock trading; investigations into who leaked the name of a CIA official, and the arrest last week of an administration official, David Safavian.

NY Sun ~ Meghan Clyne ** Dean Hypes Hopes For Mrs. Clinton In 2008 Race

Posted by uhyw at 10:46 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, September 30, 2005 10:52 PM EDT
Nets Obscure Earle's Partisan Affiliation; CBS Didn't With Starr
Mood:  loud
Topic: Lib Loser Stories

A reliable way to tell if someone is a Democrat is if the news media publishes a story about his troubles and his political affiliation is NOT given. You almost NEVER hear the mainstream media describe somebody in legal trouble as a Democrat, even when he is one.

Nets Obscure Earle's Partisan Affiliation; CBS Didn't With Starr

The CBS Evening News, which described Ken Starr as the "Republican" independent counsel, on Wednesday night went out of its way to avoid alerting viewers to how Ronnie Earle, the Texas county prosecutor behind the indictment of Tom DeLay, is a Democrat. Anchor Bob Schieffer twice described DeLay not by his title as House Majority Leader, but as the "House Republican Leader." While Schieffer relayed how DeLay "says he's the innocent victim of a rogue district attorney," viewers did not learn of Earle's party affiliation until three-fourths the way through Jim Stewart's story when Stewart related how DeLay believes "the personal vendetta of Democratic prosecutor Ronnie Earle" is "the real cause of his problems."

ABC anchor Elizabeth Vargas teased at the top of World News Tonight how "one of the most powerful men in Washington is facing the prospect of jail time" and she proceeded to identify Earle as simply "a prosecutor." Reporter Linda Douglass cited "District Attorney Ronnie Earle" before, late in her piece, attributing Earle's partisan status to an assertion by DeLay, as if it's a matter of dispute: "DeLay says the prosecutor is a Democrat on a witch-hunt." (Douglass did note that "the indictment provided no evidence that DeLay knew anything.")

In contrast, by citing a claim by DeLay, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams strongly hinted up front at Earle's affiliation. He teased: "Tonight, indicted. Tom DeLay, facing criminal conspiracy charges. The House Majority Leader calls the prosecutor 'a partisan fanatic.'" Chip Reid noted how "DeLay today unleashed a bitter attack on Earle, who is a Democrat." But Reid countered with how "in an interview with NBC News earlier this year, Earle vigorously denied his investigation of DeLay was motivated by politics."

[This item was posted Wednesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. To post your comment, go to: newsbusters.org]

From the MRC archive, a sampling of instances when Dan Rather added a partisan label to independent counsel Ken Starr:

♣ "There is growing controversy tonight, about whether the newly named independent counsel in the Whitewater case is independent or a Republican partisan allied with a get-Clinton movement. Among the questions about Kenneth Starr are these: the involvement of anti-Clinton activists in pushing for Starr's appointment to replace Robert Fiske. Also, Starr's public stand actively supporting a woman's current lawsuit against the President. This is a potentially important and explosive story, correspondent Rita Braver has the latest." -- Dan Rather on the August 8, 1994 CBS Evening News.

♣ "The Republican Whitewater offensive is taking an unprecedented turn: First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton has been subpoenaed and now must testify before a Whitewater federal grand jury. That grand jury is led by a Republican prosecutor, Kenneth Starr." -- Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, January 22, 1996.

♣ "New indications in a CBS News poll out tonight of how the public perceives Republican special prosecutor Ken Starr's investigation. Our poll suggests only 27 percent believe Starr is conducting an impartial probe. And 55 percent think it's time for Starr to drop his investigation." -- Dan Rather, March 2, 1998 CBS Evening News.

♣ "Ken Starr drops another load on President Clinton....Good evening. Just as President Clinton was enjoying a day talking up the economy, officially announcing the first U.S. budget surplus in three decades, Ken Starr hit him again. The Republican independent counsel and special prosecutor decided late in the day to announce his decision to press his subpoena for samples of Monica Lewinsky's handwriting, fingerprints and her voice." -- Dan Rather at the top of the May 26, 1998 CBS Evening News.

♣ "Al Gore must stand and deliver here tonight as the Democratic Party's presidential nominee. And now Gore must do so against the backdrop of a potentially damaging, carefully orchestrated story leak about President Clinton. The story is that Republican-backed special prosecutor Robert Ray, Ken Starr's successor, has a new grand jury looking into possible criminal charges against the President growing out of Mr. Clinton's sex life." -- Dan Rather opening the August 17, 2000 CBS Evening News from the Democratic convention in Los Angeles. A federal judge appointed by President Carter admitted he inadvertently leaked the news.

Full transcript of the September 28 CBS Evening News coverage of DeLay, as provided by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth:

Bob Schieffer, in opening teaser: "Good evening. I'm Bob Schieffer. Big trouble for Tom DeLay. The House Republican Leader is indicted on conspiracy charges in a campaign finance scheme. He says he's the innocent victim of a rogue district attorney. We start there tonight, then we'll have these stories."

Schieffer: "The investigation has been under way for over a year now, and today, the indictments were finally handed down. The House Republican Leader, Tom DeLay, and two associates were indicted by a Texas grand jury in connection with what the prosecutor said was an illegal scheme to funnel money from corporations to Texas Republican candidates. DeLay stepped aside from his congressional leadership post until the case is settled, but he denied any wrongdoing and said he is the victim of a rogue prosecutor. Here's Jim Stewart in Washington."

Jim Stewart: "It has not been a good week on Capitol Hill for Republicans, and today it got worse when House Majority Leader Tom DeLay was required to immediately step down from his leadership role following his indictment back home in Texas."

Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX): "Now let me be very, very clear. I have done nothing wrong."

Stewart: "The White House quickly came to DeLay's defense, calling him a 'good ally,' but carefully said little else."

Scott McClellan: "The President's view is that we need to let the legal process work."

Clip of protesters: "Tom DeLay has got to go."

Stewart: "The charge against DeLay is Texas in its details, but national in scope. Its origin is in a nasty fight three years ago over control of the Texas state legislature that at one point had local Democrats literally fleeing the state to deny Republicans a quorum. DeLay wanted control of the state legislature in Texas to help build a bigger national GOP majority in the U.S. Congress. But to get it, he and his allies allegedly used corporate funds they funneled through a national Republican committee. They won, but the problem is, in Texas, corporate political funding can be illegal. Now, DeLay believes those twin victories and the personal vendetta of Democratic prosecutor Ronnie Earle are the real cause of his problems."

DeLay: "Mr. Earle is abusing the power of his office to exact personal revenge for the role I played in the Texas Republican legislative campaign in 2002."

Stewart: "There is no such thing as good timing for an indictment, but this one is especially bad for Republicans. The President is slipping in the polls, his initiatives are dying on Capitol Hill, and the man the White House had counted on to turn that fight around now stands indicted."

Schieffer than ran through GOP troubles before Gloria Borger, from Capitol Hill, stressed impending doom and how the indictment "really very much plays into the Democrats' charges that Republicans are abusing their power."

Schieffer: "As Jim says, this is just the latest news for Republicans. Reports surfaced recently that federal investigators are looking into some of Senate Republican Leader Bill Frist's stock transactions, a White House aide was arrested last week in connection with a scandal involving a major lobbyist, all of this while, as Jim said, the President's approval ratings are sinking. We want to bring in Gloria Borger from Capitol Hill. Now, Gloria, are Republicans worried about the fallout from this? They must be."

Borger: "Oh, you bet they are, Bob. I mean, they understand that this is a real negative for them and that this also really very much plays into the Democrats' charges that Republicans are abusing their power. Republicans control both the House and the Senate. But what they're more worried about, Bob, are those presidential approval ratings which keep heading South. I had one Republican say to me, we're less worried about Tom DeLay right now than we are about the President. And we think that about 70 seats could really be up for grabs in those mid-term elections. That's twice as many as they had originally thought."

Schieffer: "Well, are they really thinking that maybe they could lose control of the House next time around?"

Borger: "They don't want to think that, Bob. And they know that that would be a real uphill fight for the Democrats, but they're beginning to believe that this smells really, really badly for them, and they're very, very worried about it now because they know they cannot depend on this president and his coattails any longer."

Coverage on ABC's World News Tonight:

Elizabeth Vargas' tease: "On World News Tonight, one of the most powerful men in Washington indicted in a campaign finance scheme. He calls it a political witch-hunt. Tonight, the implications for the Republican Party and the President."

Vargas began: "Good evening. They call him 'The Hammer.' Congressman Tom DeLay is known for many things in Washington -- steering President Bush's legislation through the House, keeping his fellow Republicans in line. That's the 'Hammer' part. But most of all, he's been incredibly successful at raising money for other members of Congress. Today, in his home state of Texas, a prosecutor charged Mr. DeLay with violating the state law that regulates how that money is raised. And tonight, one of the most powerful men in Washington is facing the prospect of jail time. We begin with ABC's Linda Douglass on Capitol Hill."

Linda Douglass: "Tom DeLay is the master of political hardball. He forced through the Medicare prescription drug bill. He brought Congress back to intervene in the Terri Schiavo case. He never backs away from a fight."

Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX): "I have done nothing wrong. I have violated no law, I have violated now law, no regulation, no rule of the House."

Douglass: "DeLay was indicted on one charge of conspiracy to violate Texas campaign finance law."

DeLay: "This is one of the weakest, most baseless indictments in American history. It's a sham, and Mr. Earle knows it."

Douglass: "For three years, District Attorney Ronnie Earle has been trying to prove that DeLay and two political associates funneled corporate money into state legislative campaigns, which is illegal in Texas. Prosecutors say the men disguised the donations by sending the money to the Republican National Committee, which in turn sent money back to Texas."

Ronnie Earle, Travis County District Attorney: "Corporate money, which cannot be given to candidates in Texas, was sent to the Republican National Committee where it was exchanged for money raised from individuals, and then sent to those Texas legislative candidates."

Douglass: "The only evidence cited in the indictment, a check for $190,000 used in the alleged contribution swapping scheme. The indictment provided no evidence that DeLay knew anything."

Chris Lewis, prosecutor: "It's a very skeleton indictment, if you will. There's not really a lot of meat on the bone of this indictment."

Douglass: "Sources familiar with the case say there is more evidence. DeLay says the prosecutor is a Democrat on a witch-hunt."

DeLay: "An unabashed partisan zealot with a well-documented history of launching baseless investigations."

Douglass: "Today, House Republicans temporarily replaced DeLay as House Leader with Missouri's Roy Blunt, who insisted DeLay will be back in his job. Now, publicly, the Republicans are defending DeLay. But privately, many of them are fretting, Elizabeth, that his frequent brushes with controversy are hurting their party."

Vargas then turned to George Stephanopoulos, who appeared from Washington, DC:

Vargas: "The indictment today has big implications for the Republican Party and the President. And ABC's George Stephanopoulos joins us. George, Mr. Delay says he's the victim of a, quote, 'political witch-hunt,' by a, quote, 'partisan fanatic.' Is any part of that true?"

Stephanopoulos: "Well, Ronnie Earle is a Democrat, but his office says that he's prosecuted actually more Democrats than Republicans. But he has opened himself up to these questions. He first talked about the DeLay indictment at a Democratic fund-raiser. He brought the indictment on the last day the grand jury was empaneled. And there was a question about his competence. His highest-profile indictment was a Republican Senator, Kay Bailey Hutchinson, and that was dismissed as soon as it got to the judge."

Vargas: "Congressman DeLay is the single most powerful member of Congress. This has got to affect the Republican Party."

Stephanopoulos: "No question. It is a big blow because he is such a big player. He solidified the Republican majority. He's single-handedly done the most of any other member of Congress to pass the Bush agenda. And he's created this network of loyal Republican lobbyists. More than 200 corporations have hired DeLay staffers. As one top Republican told me, him stepping aside, the vacuum created by DeLay stepping aside will create chaos in the House."

Some excerpts from the NBC Nightly News coverage:

Brian Williams teased: "Tonight, indicted. Tom DeLay, facing criminal conspiracy charges. The House Majority Leader calls the prosecutor 'a partisan fanatic.'"

Williams led his broadcast: "Good evening. Tonight a blast out of Texas has taken the place of the ongoing storm aftermath at the very top of our broadcast tonight and it's in the form of an indictment. Tom DeLay, the Majority Leader in the House of Representatives, the second most powerful Republican in the House, was indicted today. He is out of that management job for now. He's an enormously powerful politician and this case is charged with politics. This Texas indictment echoed loudly inside the Bush White House."

In his subsequent story, Chip Reid noted: "DeLay today unleashed a bitter attack on Earle, who is a Democrat."

DeLay: "This act is the product of a coordinated, premeditated campaign of political retribution, the all-too predictable result of a vengeful investigation led by a partisan fanatic."

Reid: "But in an interview with NBC News earlier this year, Earle vigorously denied his investigation of DeLay was motivated by politics."

Earle, in March: "We prosecuted four times as many Democrats as Republicans. This is not about Democrats and Republicans. This is about cops and robbers."

Media Research Center ** Nets Obscure Earle's Partisan Affiliation; CBS Didn't With Starr

Posted by uhyw at 10:23 PM EDT
Attorney general files lawsuit against state senator (MA dem)
Mood:  chatty
Topic: Lib Loser Stories

Attorney general files lawsuit against state senator

BOSTON - The attorney general and the head of the state's campaign finance office filed a lawsuit Wednesday against Sen. Dianne Wilkerson (right), alleging she had not reported nearly $27,000 in donations and refused to explain more than $18,000 in personal reimbursements.

The civil suit, filed in Suffolk Superior Court, alleges the Boston Democrat and her former campaign treasurer, Ajibola Osinubi, violated state campaign finance laws in seven ways from 2000 to 2001 after Wilkerson settled with both offices for similar offenses in 1998.

Among them were:

$26,935 in contributions deposited in her campaign account but never reported to the Office of Campaign and Political Finance.

$13,503 in expenditures by the committee never or under-reported to the agency.

$20,264 in reimbursements, including $18,277 in reimbursements to the senator herself, for which Wilkerson has been unable to link to a legitimate campaign-related purpose. In one case, her campaign reported a $200 reimbursement but her committee wrote her a check for $2,000. "These violations suggest that these reimbursements may have been for personal use," the complaint states.

$15,550 in so-called consulting fees to four people, including Wilkerson's sons Cornell and Kendall Mills, for which the senator has been unable to link to a legitimate campaign-related purpose.

$3,200 in contributions from six political action committees --including one from the Boston Police Patrolmen's Association -- that were not reported to the OCPF. Wilkerson was asked in June 2001 to report the donations yet failed to do so despite seven additional letters repeating the request.

$550 in illegal contributions from coporations, as well as an illegal $250 donation from a federal political action committee.

Wilkerson, an attorney from Roxbury and vice chairman of the Senate Financial Services Committee, was previously sentenced to house arrest in December 1997 after pleading guilty for failing to pay $51,000 in federal income taxes in the early 1990s.

In 2001, she also was fined $1,000 by the State Ethics Commission for failing to properly report that a bank she lobbied for as senator was paying her more than $20,000 a year as a consultant.

"We are confident that the outstanding matters will be fully resolved with complete and sufficient documentation," the senator said in a statement. "Most of the requested documentation listed in the complaint has already been submitted to the attorney general. We look forward to resolving this matter expeditiously."

Senate President Robert Travaglini, D-Boston, had no immediate comment on the lawsuit, while the Massachusetts Democratic Party did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Attorney General Tom Reilly and Michael Sullivan, director of the Office of Campaign and Political Finance, said in a joint statement that Wilkerson was notified of the alleged discrepancies in August 2002 but chose not to explain them.

The statement said the senator was "unable or unwilling to provide such information" when contacted anew by Reilly's office. The lawsuit itself said negotiations continued until August, at which time Wilkerson declared "we have discovered a very large leather satchel of documents ... left by Ajibola Osinubi, all related to the year 2000."

Wilkerson, however, failed to produce the documents, despite a written request from the attorney general, the lawsuit says.

In a statement to The Associated Press, Reilly said: "It is unfortunate that Sen. Wilkerson allowed this situation to reach this point, but I am committed to do what is necessary to make sure that our campaign finance laws are enforced."

The seven-count complaint seeks a court order requiring Wilkerson to amend her 2000 and 2001 campaign finance reports, to the pay the state for "all contributions for which she is unable to properly disclose the contributor," as well as to pay for all unexplained expenditures and for civil penalties and investigative costs.

In 1998, Wilkerson entered into an agreement with the OCPF and attorney general to resolve similar allegations of unexplained expenditures and undisclosed political action committee contributions.

She and her committee agreed to pay back all unaccounted expenditures and to pay civil penalties totaling $11,500.

In their lawsuit, Reilly and Sullivan cite the prior settlement and subsequent problems before stating: "Wilkerson and the committee's continued and repeated violations of (Massachusetts General Laws Chapter) 55 as alleged herein ... indicate that Wilkerson and the committee will continue to violate G.L. c. 55 unless permanently enjoined from doing so."

On the Net:
Attorney General Tom Reilly
Office of Campaign and Political Finance
Sen. Dianne Wilkerson, D-Boston

Boston Globe ~ Associated Press - Glen Johnson ** Attorney general files lawsuit against state senator

Posted by uhyw at 9:47 PM EDT
Libtard Earle Offered ''Dollars for Dismissal'' ...Translation: EXTORTION
Mood:  smelly
Topic: Lib Loser Stories

DeLay’s Prosecutor Offered "Dollars for Dismissals"

How Ronnie Earle works.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Travis County, Texas prosecutor Ronnie Earle, the man behind Wednesday's indictment of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay on state campaign-finance charges, has also indicted several corporations in the probe. But last June, National Review's Byron York learned that Earle offered some of those companies deals in which the charges would be dismissed — if the corporations came up with big donations to one of Earle's favorite causes. Here is that report, from June 20, 2005:

Ronnie Earle, the Texas prosecutor who has indicted associates of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay in an ongoing campaign-finance investigation, dropped felony charges against several corporations indicted in the probe in return for the corporations' agreement to make five- and six-figure contributions to one of Earle's pet causes.

A grand jury in Travis County, Texas, last September indicted eight corporations in connection with the DeLay investigation. All were charged with making illegal contributions (Texas law forbids corporate giving to political campaigns). Since then, however, Earle has agreed to dismiss charges against four of the companies — retail giant Sears, the restaurant chain Cracker Barrel, the Internet company Questerra, and the collection company Diversified Collection Services — after the companies pledged to contribute to a program designed to publicize Earle's belief that corporate involvement in politics is harmful to American democracy.

Some legal observers called the arrangement an unusual resolution to a criminal case, at least in Texas, where the matter is being prosecuted. "I don't think you're going to find anybody who will say it's a common practice," says Jack Strickland, a Fort Worth lawyer who serves as vice-chairman of the criminal-justice section of the Texas State Bar. Earle himself told National Review Online that he has never settled a case in a similar fashion during his years as Travis County district attorney. And allies of DeLay, who has accused Earle of conducting a politically motivated investigation, called Earle's actions "dollars for dismissals."

YOU'VE BEEN A BAD, BAD CORPORATION
On September 21, 2004, a grand jury in Travis County indicted three associates of DeLay — John Colyandro, the head of DeLay's political-action committee, Texans for a Republican Majority (TRMPAC), Jim Ellis, a DeLay aide and officer of the committee, and Warren Rebold, a Washington fundraiser. The indictments received front-page coverage, with a number of commentators suggesting that Earle was moving toward ultimately indicting DeLay.

Receiving less attention was the grand jury's decision to indict the eight companies for making allegedly illegal contributions to TRMPAC. In addition to Sears, Cracker Barrel, Questerra, and Diversified Collection Services, the group of indicted companies included Bacardi USA, Westar Energy, Williams Companies, and the trade group Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care. Under Texas law, corporations are not allowed to contribute directly to political campaigns, but are allowed to fund the administrative expenses of a political committee.

After the indictment, Earle announced that his prosecutors had uncovered "the outline of an effort to use corporate contributions to control representative democracy in Texas."

The companies denied wrongdoing. Two sources with extensive knowledge of the case involving one of those companies, Sears, spoke at length to NRO and say that Sears executives were convinced the company had done nothing illegal when it contributed $25,000 to TRMPAC. Given that, according to the sources, Sears lawyers were not interested in a plea bargain to end the case. "We were pretty confident that we would win," one source says.

When the company's representatives spoke to Earle, they discovered that the prosecutor was not as adamant about prosecuting them as his public words might have suggested. Indeed, the sources say Earle was willing to drop the charges, providing Sears met a few of his conditions.

First among those, according to the sources, was that Sears make a significant contribution to an organization known as the Center for Deliberative Democracy at Stanford University. The Center is devoted to something called "deliberative polling," which was developed by a Stanford professor (and Earle acquaintance) named James S. Fishkin.

Deliberative polling, according to Fishkin, is designed to measure public opinion on issues about which many members of the public are essentially uninformed. According to the Center's website, it works like this:

Deliberative Polling is an attempt to use television and public opinion research in a new and constructive way. A random, representative sample is first polled on the targeted issues. After this baseline poll, members of the sample are invited to gather at a single place for a weekend in order to discuss the issues. Carefully balanced briefing materials are sent to the participants and are also made publicly available. The participants engage in dialogue with competing experts and political leaders based on questions they develop in small group discussions with trained moderators. Parts of the weekend events are broadcast on television, either live or in taped and edited form. After the deliberations, the sample is again asked the original questions. The resulting changes in opinion represent the conclusions the public would reach, if people had opportunity to become more informed and more engaged by the issues.

Earle and Fishkin know each other. Earle told NRO that he became aware of Fishkin's work a few years ago and had become "casually acquainted" with Fishkin when Fishkin was a professor at the University of Texas in Austin, before moving to Stanford. Fishkin, who told NRO that "I don't know [Earle] really well, but I know him slightly," says he once sent Earle a tape of a deliberative-polling production done in Britain, and that Earle "has talked to me vaguely about doing some kind of project."

Earle says a program based on deliberative polling would be a good way to "educate" Americans about the threat that he believes corporate political activity poses to the country's political system. Such a program's influence, he says, would extend far beyond Texas, which is one of 18 states that ban corporate giving. To be most effective, the program would be televised nationally; Fishkin has in the past done polls in conjunction with MacNeill-Lehrer Productions, the company that produces "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" on PBS.

"My concern has been that there needed to be a conversation about the role of corporations in American democracy," Earle told NRO. "How do you do that? I think it is vitally important to the future of the country that there be a discussion of this concept."

THE $1 MILLION POLITICAL LESSON
That's where the indicted corporations came in. According to the sources with knowledge of the Sears case, Earle told company representatives that he wanted Sears to contribute to the Deliberative Democracy group at Stanford, and that a program devoted to the dangers posed by corporate political money might cost as much as $1 million.

"They asked for an outrageous amount of money," says one Sears source, noting that the maximum penalty the company would have been forced to pay if it had gone to trial and lost would have been $20,000. "All the defendants would pay in similar amounts to a fund that would fund a symposium or seminar or event that would be produced in conjunction with PBS, and it would be televised, and the goal of it would be to explore the evils of corporate money in politics and why that is a bad thing."

Sears representatives balked at the offer. Not only was the dollar figure too high, but they believed that the resulting program would be devoted solely to bashing the political activities of corporations, while leaving untouched those of labor unions and other interest groups like trial lawyers. The two sides agreed to talk again later.

Sears was not dead set against paying some money into some sort of project, but company officials were determined that it not go to Stanford, which, Sears believed, would produce an anti-corporation project. When Sears raised its objections, Earle was adamant that Stanford get the money. In response, Sears suggested an alternative, saying it might be interested in contributing some amount of money to the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas. Even though the university was in his own back yard, Earle still wanted Stanford.

The two sides agreed to talk yet again. The impasse was resolved when, a short time later, Earle changed his mind and agreed that the money — the final figure would be $100,000 — could go to the University of Texas. (As it turned out, a top protege of Fishkin, professor Robert Luskin, does deliberative polling work at the University of Texas.) The final agreement says that, "The defendant, after discussions with the district attorney, has decided to financially support a nonpartisan, balanced and publicly informative program or series of programs relating to the role of corporations in American democracy, which shall include a program conducted through the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas."

The agreement contained a number of other conditions. First, Sears agreed to "modify [its] website to provide for public access to and disclosure of corporate contributions made by the company." Second, Sears agreed to "not make any illegal corporate political contributions," either in Texas or any other state where such contributions are illegal. Third, Sears agreed to "cooperate with the State of Texas in its prosecution and investigation of any other person for any offense related to the corporate contribution made by defendant." And fourth, Sears agreed to a statement defining its political activity as a danger to the country. "The defendant further acknowledges that the historical basis for the Texas prohibition against corporate political contributions is that they constitute a genuine threat to democracy," the agreement said.

In return, Earle stipulated that the alleged offense charged in the indictment "appears to be restricted to a single incident within the State of Texas and does not constitute a continuing course of conduct." Earle also conceded that Sears had no intent to break the law and "has a history of good citizenship and high ethical standards." Earle noted that Sears had hired a compliance officer, and "has already begun a thorough review of the company's contributions policies and practices." Finally, the agreement said Earle believed that dropping the charges "will serve to cause corporations to more closely monitor and evaluate their political contributions in Texas and throughout the United States."

Earle made similar deals with Cracker Barrel, Questerra, and Diversified Collections Systems. (Cracker Barrel agreed to pay $50,000, and the amount paid by the other two could not be determined by press time.) Cracker Barrel included the text of its agreement with Earle in a filing with the Security and Exchange Commission, where it can be viewed on the SEC's "Edgar" database.

FLIPPED?
Earle's deals with the corporations received relatively little press coverage in light of reporters' continuing interest in the DeLay angle of the story. What coverage there was, was not entirely accurate, according to the Sears sources.

On January 12 of this year, the Los Angeles Times reported that the corporations had "flipped," that is, agreed to cooperate with prosecutors. Citing unnamed sources, the paper reported that "information gleaned from the companies could be used as leverage to pressure remaining defendants and, potentially, to target more powerful members of the Republican Party in Texas and Washington."

The "flipped" reference rankled insiders. "That was absolutely not true," says one Sears source. "There was no shred of truth to it." Sears officials, the sources say, had already cooperated fully, telling Earle everything they knew about Sears' lone contribution to TRMPAC. In addition, the sources say, Sears had no knowledge of any illegal activity on the part of anyone else. The implication that Sears had turned state's evidence and might finger other companies involved in similarly illegal acts — which, of course, Sears denied it had committed — was, the sources contend, simply wrong.

In any event, the agreements between Earle and the corporations struck some outside observers as not only unusual but also indicative of the highly political nature of the case. "What does funding think tanks and polling organizations have to do with a violation of the criminal law?" asks former United States Attorney Joseph DiGenova, who has publicly supported DeLay. "This is an extortionate use of the indictment power." One close ally of DeLay calls it a "dollars for dismissals" scheme.

Making the situation worse, say DeLay allies, is what they believe is Earle's political motivation in pursuing DeLay. As an example, they point to Earle's attendance at a Democratic fundraiser in Dallas on May 12, in which Earle publicly discussed DeLay. For his part, Earle, an elected Democrat, has denied having any partisan purpose in the investigation. Whatever the case, Earle's dismissal of the charges against Sears, Cracker Barrel, and the other corporations has at least raised the question of whether his allegations were very strong in the first place.

National Review Online ~ Byron York ** DeLay’s Prosecutor Offered "Dollars for Dismissals"

— Byron York, NR's White House correspondent, is the author of the new book The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy: The Untold Story of How Democratic Operatives, Eccentric Billionaires, Liberal Activists, and Assorted Celebrities Tried to Bring Down a President — and Why They'll Try Even Harder Next Time.

Posted by uhyw at 9:06 PM EDT
Money connected to Libtard Reid; Senator arranged for grant now involved in indictment of pastors
Mood:  d'oh
Topic: Lib Loser Stories

Money connected to Reid

CORRECTION ON 09/30/05 -- A story in Thursday's paper incorrectly said that Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., had not contributed money to the Second Baptist Church in Las Vegas since 1997. Reid gave the church $100 in December 1999, $500 in November 2002, $200 in September 2002 and $500 in February of this year from his campaign and political funds, as allowed by Senate rules. The story also mischaracterized the actions of a Reid staff member who discussed a federal grant that was tied to an indictment of church officials this week. Spokeswoman Tessa Hafen gave information about the grants in response to questions.

Senator arranged for grant now involved in indictment of pastors

By TONY BATT
STEPHENS WASHINGTON BUREAU

WASHINGTON - The money that led to the indictment this week of two Las Vegas pastors and the wife of one of them came from federal grants arranged by Sen. Harry Reid in September 2001, a Reid spokeswoman said Wednesday.

Moving to distance Reid from a possible scandal, aide Tessa Hafen said the senator sought the money on behalf of a nonprofit social services agency and not for the churches or persons who have been accused of mishandling the money.

"The money was administered by the Department of Justice, and it went to the agency in Nevada (Alliance Collegiums Association of Nevada)," Hafen said.

The Rev. Willie Davis, the longtime pastor of Second Baptist Church, and his wife, Emma, were indicted Tuesday on fraud charges with an associate minister, the Rev. McTheron Jones.

They are accused of spending $330,000 from federal grants on themselves although the money was intended for halfway houses for prison inmates in Southern Nevada.

The indictment identifies Willie Davis as president of the Alliance Collegiums Association of Nevada board of directors.

In late 2002, Emma Davis became executive director, and Jones was assistant director.

According to the indictment, a grant of $423,000 was approved for the alliance in September 2002.

The indictment charges the defendants of using the grant money to benefit themselves.

A Reid relationship with the Second Baptist Church surfaced in 1997, when the senator donated $250 to the church where Davis was and still is pastor.

The money came from John Huang, who was convicted of making illegal contributions to the 1996 re-election campaign of President Clinton.

At about the same time, Reid donated another $250 from Huang to the First African Methodist Episcopal Church in Las Vegas.

Reid said he made the contributions to the churches instead of returning the money to Huang because he did not think Huang deserved it.

Hafen said Reid has not made contributions to Davis or his church since 1997.

Reid has attended services at the Second Baptist Church "about three or four times" since 1997, Hafen said.

"He says hello to the pastor (Davis) when he goes to the church, but apart from that, the only other time he has seen him was in May when he met with about 30 or 40 ministers to organize a faith-based summit," Hafen said.

Las Vegas Review-Journal ~ Tony Batt ** Money connected to Reid

Posted by uhyw at 8:41 PM EDT
Thursday, September 29, 2005
Chief Justice, John G. Roberts, libtards are pissing lava
Mood:  special
Topic: News

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn), center, smiles next to Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Arlen Specter, left, and Sen. Mitch McConnell after John Roberts was confirmed by the U.S. Senate to become the next Chief Justice of the Supreme Court on Capitol Hill, on Thursday. \/


Roberts sworn in as Democrats warn of battle on next nominee

Feinstein and Boxer among 22 senators to vote against Bush's choice for chief justice

Washington - Even as John Roberts took the oath of office as the 17th chief justice of the United States and its youngest in more than two centuries, Democrats promised a much tougher fight Thursday on President Bush's next nominee to the Supreme Court, which could come as early as today.

Senate Democrats fractured down the middle as half voted with all 55 Republicans and one Independent to confirm the 50-year-old appellate court judge on a 78-22 vote.


California's two Democratic senators, Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, voted against confirmation in a rare session in which all the members stood at their Senate desks to call out their votes -- testament to the weight placed on a lifetime appointment to head the nation's judiciary.

Feinstein said afterward she is very worried -- "8 1/2 on a scale of one to 10" -- that the nominee for the seat of retiring centrist Justice Sandra Day O'Connor will be more conservative than Roberts. The president initially chose Roberts to succeed O'Connor when she announced her retirement earlier this summer, but renominated him as chief justice after Chief Justice William Rehnquist died Sept. 3.

President Bush looks on as John Roberts is sworn in by Justice John Paul Stevens as 17th Chief Justice of the United States in the East Room of the White House on Thursday. Roberts' wife Jane holds the Bible. \/


O'Connor, an Arizona Republican, often shifted the court to more moderate or liberal decisions in 5-4 rulings on such divisive social issues as affirmative action and abortion rights. Her replacement could cement a conservative majority on the court, a long-standing and often thwarted Republican goal.

Sen. Charles Schumer, the New York Democrat who has led the fight against Bush's court nominees, warned that several names in contention for O'Connor's seat on the Supreme Court could draw a filibuster -- a traditional procedural move that minority groups of senators can use to block action they oppose.

Schumer named federal appellate court judges Janice Rogers Brown, an African American and former California Supreme Court justice, and Patricia Owen, a former Texas Supreme Court justice, as likely filibuster targets. Both won spots on the federal bench after the bipartisan "Gang of 14" senators agreed last May to preserve the judicial filibuster, but only for extraordinary circumstances.

That pact could be sorely tested with the next nominee.

President Bush and Chief Justice nominee John Roberts watch the Senate vote on Roberts' nomination Thursday in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. The Senate voted 78-22 to confirm Roberts. \/


Roberts, now the court's youngest justice, was sworn in by the Supreme Court's oldest, 85-year-old Justice John Paul Stevens, at a White House ceremony. Roberts' wife, Jane, held the swearing-in Bible while his family, Bush, senators and Supreme Court justices looked on.

Roberts, the first new justice since 1994, will take his place on the court Monday when it begins its new term. He will be the youngest chief justice since John Marshall was confirmed in 1801 at age 45.

"All Americans can be confident that the 17th chief justice of the United States will be prudent in exercising judicial power, firm in defending judicial independence, and above all, a faithful guardian of the Constitution," Bush said in his introduction.

Roberts turned first to thank Stevens rather than Bush, a notable gesture to his new colleague, as he emphasized the judiciary's independence from the other branches of government.

"What Daniel Webster termed 'the miracle of our Constitution' is not something that happens every generation," Roberts said. "But every generation in its turn must accept the responsibility of supporting and defending the Constitution and bearing true faith and allegiance to it.

"That is the oath that I just took. I will try to ensure, in the discharge of my responsibilities, that with the help of my colleagues I can pass on to my children's generation a charter of self-government as strong and as vibrant as the one that Chief Justice Rehnquist passed on to us."

Roberts said he viewed the morning's Senate vote "as confirmation of what is for me a bedrock principle: that judging is different from politics."

Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Arlen Specter, second from left, speaks about the confirmation of John Roberts by the Senate to become the next Chief Justice of the U.S. on Capitol Hill in Washington on Thursday. \/


Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee whose endorsement of the conservative Roberts shocked activists and provided political cover for other Democrats, said he took the judge at his word that he does not have an ideological agenda and will be his own man.

"I hope that he will, and I trust that he will," Leahy said Thursday.

Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., a moderate and an abortion rights backer who chairs the Judiciary Committee and who will play a central role in the next nomination, hailed the lopsided vote as remarkable, considering that just five months ago the Senate was locked in a fiercely partisan struggle over judicial filibusters. That political battle ended only when centrists from both parties broke with their leaders.

Specter said Bush disarmed his critics with his nomination of Roberts, a former Reagan and George H.W. Bush administration lawyer who was one of the nation's top lawyers practicing before the Supreme Court. Roberts had served the past two years as a federal appellate judge.

"It is my hope that the president will now send us a nominee for Justice O'Connor's spot in the mold of Judge Roberts," Specter said.

Many Republicans are urging Bush to ignore calls to name a woman or a minority to the court -- although Bush could make history by appointing the court's first Latino. They contend that Roberts' easy confirmation offers a road map showing that a conservative of impeccable credentials and a short paper trail of legal writings can be confirmed.

Still, many conservative activists, though publicly supporting Roberts, were shaken by his embrace during his hearings of a privacy right in the Constitution -- the foundation of abortion and gay rights -- and the emphatic weight he placed on precedent as a source of stability in the law.

Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., an abortion rights opponent, demanded that the next nominee explicitly state his or her views on abortion and other controversial social issues -- and liberals are making the same demands.


Many Democrats who supported Roberts said they will take a harder look at the next nominee, because the stakes are higher for the moderate O'Connor's seat.

Feinstein said she voted against Roberts because she couldn't be assured of his views.

"My belief is that you should be open in public about your views," Feinstein said. "I couldn't penetrate to the extent that I could feel comfortable, knowing the things I care deeply about, that I ran for the Senate for, will be protected."

San Francisco Chronicle ~ Carolyn Lochhead ** Roberts sworn in as Democrats warn of battle on next nominee

Posted by uhyw at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, September 30, 2005 8:19 PM EDT
IndyMedia website announcing the plan for Cindy Windy to be arrested - BEFORE THE PROTEST
Mood:  silly
Topic: Lib Loser Stories

9/26 Mass Civil Disobedience Action Against the Iraq War. Cindy Sheehan will participate.

Cindy Sheehan to Join Nonviolent Civil Disobedience at the White House on Monday, Sept. 26

MEDIA ADVISORY

Cindy Sheehan to Join Nonviolent Civil Disobedience at the White House on Monday, Sept. 26

Hundreds will be arrested as they express their opposition to the Iraq War

WHEN: Monday, Sept. 26, 12:30 PM

WHERE: Lafayette Park entrance to the White House

WHAT: In the tradition of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., hundreds of people from throughout the United States will participate in a nonviolent civil disobedience action on Monday, Sept. 26 at the White House. Cindy Sheehan will participate in the action and risk arrest as will members of the clergy and other military families.

Through the civil disobedience action, the participants will remember and mourn the precious lives lost on both sides of the war in Iraq while firmly placing the blame for the carnage and suffering on the Bush administration. The participants will insist that the President end the war in Iraq and bring the troops home, and are willing to go to jail if the President does not agree to their demands.

Also on Monday, nearly 1,000 people will be lobbying their Senators and Representatives, imploring them to end the war and bring the troops home. The war in Iraq has taken the lives of more than 1,900 US soldiers and tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis. One billion dollars per week are spent on the war that could otherwise pay for housing, education, healthcare and other services needed in the US and in Iraq as well. There were no links between Iraq and Sept 11, nor were there any weapons of mass destruction.

IndyMedia Announcement ** 9/26 Mass Civil Disobedience Action Against the Iraq War. Cindy Sheehan will participate

Posted by uhyw at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, September 30, 2005 7:31 PM EDT
Libtard prosecutor Ronnie Earle Sheib's movie about his work on ''Getting Delay''
Mood:  silly
Topic: Lib Loser Stories

Coming Soon: The Ronnie Earle Movie

The DeLay prosecutor has let a film crew follow him through the whole case.

For the last two years, as he pursued the investigation that led to Wednesday's indictment of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, Travis County, Texas prosecutor Ronnie Earle has given a film crew "extraordinary access" to make a motion picture about his work on the case.

The resulting film is called The Big Buy, made by Texas filmmakers Mark Birnbaum and Jim Schermbeck. "Raymond Chandler meets Willie Nelson on the corner of Wall Street and Pennsylvania Avenue in The Big Buy, a Texas noir political detective story that chronicles what some are calling a 'bloodless coup with corporate cash,'" reads a description of the picture on Birnbaum's website, markbirnbaum.com. The film, according to the description, "follows maverick Austin DA Ronnie Earle's investigation into what really happened when corporate money joined forces with relentless political ambitions to help swing the pivotal 2002 Texas elections, cementing Republican control from Austin to Washington DC."

"We approached him [Earle], and he offered us extraordinary access to him and, to an extent, to his staff," Birnbaum told National Review Online Thursday. "We've been shooting for about two years."

Birnbaum and Schermbeck showed a work-in-progress version of The Big Buy last month at the Dallas Video Festival. At the moment, they do not have a deal for the film to be shown anywhere else. Their last film, Larry v. Lockney, was shown on PBS, and they hope that perhaps a similar arrangement might be made for the new picture. Whoever ends up showing it, the film has so far been funded entirely by its makers. "We tried really hard to get it funded," Birnbaum says, "but we didn't get any takers."

Schermbeck told National Review Online that the film was an irresistible Texas story. "I've been pretty interested in watching Tom DeLay work," Schermbeck says. "I thought he was a fascinating guy, certainly the most powerful Texan to emerge on the national scene in some time, a kind of Republican Sam Rayburn type, with that kind of mastery of the machinery and the will to do it."

But DeLay did not cooperate with the filmmakers, and neither did a number of DeLay allies. Earle, on the other hand, did. "I had known about Ronnie Earle for a very long time," Schermbeck says. "I thought that would be an angle to approach the whole story, telling something about Tom DeLay, even though Tom DeLay wouldn't grant us an interview."

Earle "allowed us behind the scenes when the indictments came down last year, the first wave of indictments," Schermbeck says. "We got to follow him back to his home a couple of times, which I understand he doesn't allow anybody to do." Schermbeck says the film includes interviews with some critics of Earle, as well as lawyers who are representing some of the targets of the investigation.

So far, The Big Buy has received almost no attention in the press. With DeLay's indictment, and increased attention to Earle as well, that situation seems likely to change. (The filmmakers say they will be back at work next week, filming a new ending to the picture.) "We're pretty low on everybody's radar," Schermbeck says. "We kind of took a gamble three years ago. We didn't know what was going to happen. We feel like, as documentary filmmakers, we gambled and it paid off."

National Review Online ~ Byron York ** Coming Soon: The Ronnie Earle Movie

— Byron York, NR's White House correspondent, is the author of the new book The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy: The Untold Story of How Democratic Operatives, Eccentric Billionaires, Liberal Activists, and Assorted Celebrities Tried to Bring Down a President — and Why They'll Try Even Harder Next Time.

Posted by uhyw at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, September 30, 2005 9:10 PM EDT
Libtard Clintax Judge Orders Release of Abu Ghraib Photos
Mood:  don't ask
Topic: Lib Loser Stories

More Abu Ghraib Photos Ordered Released

NEW YORK - A federal judge ordered the release Thursday of dozens more pictures of prisoners being abused at Abu Ghraib, rejecting government arguments that the images would provoke terrorists and incite violence against U.S. troops in Iraq.

U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein (right) said that terrorists "do not need pretexts for their barbarism" and that suppressing the pictures would amount to submitting to blackmail.

"Our nation does not surrender to blackmail, and fear of blackmail is not a legally sufficient argument to prevent us from performing a statutory command. Indeed, the freedoms that we champion are as important to our success in Iraq and Afghanistan as the guns and missiles with which our troops are armed," he said.

Hellerstein ordered the release of 74 pictures and three videotapes from the Abu Ghraib prison, potentially opening the military up to more embarrassment from a scandal that stirred outrage around the world last year when photos of abuse became public.

The photographs covered by Thursday's ruling were taken by a soldier. A military policeman who saw them turned them over to the Army. Some may be duplicates of photos already seen by the public.

An appeal of Hellerstein's ruling is expected.

Gen. John P. Abizaid, commander of U.S. Central Command, said that releasing the photos would hinder his work against terrorism.

The American Civil Liberties Union sought release of the photographs and videotapes as part of an October 2003 lawsuit demanding information on the treatment of detainees in U.S. custody.

Washington Post ~ Associated Press ** More Abu Ghraib Photos Ordered Released

Posted by uhyw at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, September 30, 2005 8:47 PM EDT

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