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"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety" - Benjamin Franklin

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The Truth Shall Set You Free
or not

There's been a lot of discussion about Tom DeLay and his current problems. His supporters want to make this all about political harassment. His detractors want to nail him to the wall. I just want to understand what's going on. So, here's what I see.

The indictments handed down by the Travis County (Austin) grand jury describe a scheme to circumvent Texas law by a state political action committee established and controlled by DeLay.

Here's how it worked: This committee {Texans for a Republican Majority} solicited $155,000 in corporate contributions from companies such as Sears Roebuck and Bacardi, and sent that money, along with another $35,000 (for a total of $190,000), to a subcommittee established by the Republican National Committee to help local and state candidates. Texans for a Republican Majority (TRMPAC) also sent along a list of seven state candidates in Texas who were to receive this $190,000.
The Republican National Committee then sent checks totaling the exact $190,000 amount to these seven candidates out of one of its non-corporate accounts.

The allegation is that DeLay and two of his employees "washed" this $190,000 in corporate money through the Republican National Committee, having the RNC make contributions that would have been illegal had they been made directly by TRMPAC.[ source ]

The two aides being charged are very closely tied to DeLay's political activities, and it is possible that one or both of them are now cooperating with the prosecution. Which explains why more than one Grand Jury was impaneled. In the original investigation, one or both of the aides refused to 'testify' . By the time the second GJ was impaneled, one or possibly both aides had decided it might be to their benifit to fess up. The third GJ was for additional charges. There were not repeated attempts to 'get' DeLay.

These are FACTS. Supported by the indictment documents.

Now for opinions.
Is it possible that it's merely a coincidence that the exact amount of money sent to the RNC was the exact amount given to the campaign's of the exact same seven candidates that were on the list? Well in that almost anything is possible, yes, it's possible. That will be up to a jury to decide.
Is it also possible that DeLay was unaware of what was going on? Again, anything is possible. But seeing that the two other individuals being charged swear he knew, it's highly unlikely. Again, this is for a jury to decide.
That is if the case ever makes it to court. Because this is politics and there is one very powerful politician involved, it's entirely possible that through legal manuvers and technicalities, a jury will never have the opportunity to hear the case.
If I were DeLay, I wouldn't be worried. People in Texas worship the man. They may have to go through three quarters of Texas's population before they can find 12 people to make up a fair and impartial jury.

Finally, the claim that Ronnie Earle (the Prosecutor in this case) is a partisan Democratic hack doesn't hold water. Earle has indicted both Democrats (12) and Republicans (3) over the years, and is not universally loved by members of his own party for that reason.
Try as hard as they might, DeLay's supporters and his legal team can't make this about Ronnie Earle. This is about Tom DeLay and his actions as part of Texans for a Republican Majority.

DeLay deserves his day in court. If he has broken the law then he should be held accountable. The public deserves straight information about what happened in this case. And that's a FACT.


Sunday, October 09, 2005

A Fair Up or Down Vote
or hypocrites in action

For months now all we've heard from the right is how Bush's judicial nominees deserve a fair up or down vote . The commenters here were adamant, as President, Bush had to the right to have his nominees approved after a fair vetting by the Senate. They (Republicans) were so incensed by threats from Democrats to filibuster questionable nominees, they went so far as to attempt to do away with that time honored tradition. It was President Bush's right to nominate whomever "HE" felt was the best person for the job. Democrats had no right to stop him from his appointed duties. I can distinctly remember thinking this is going to bite them in the ass, mark my words.
Karma is a bitch.
From stage left [sic] enters Harriet Miers. She is, in President Bush’s words, "the best person I could find". Far be it for me to say he didn't look very far. Why should I? The right is screaming it loudly enough for all to hear and see. "Bush may as well appoint his chauffeur head of Nasa (or his horse trainer head of FEMA*) as put Miers on the Supreme Court," exploded the right-wing blowhard Ann Coulter. Then there's Trent Lott, about as hard right as you can find, a man who once publicly regretted the end of racial segregation and ran the Republican Senate: "Is she the most qualified person? Clearly, the answer to that is ‘no’!" Conservative columnist George Will put the case with more restraint but, in some ways, more viciousness. President Bush, he wrote, "has neither the inclination nor the ability to make sophisticated judgments about competing approaches to construing the constitution. Few presidents acquire such abilities in the course of their pre-presidential careers, and this president particularly is not disposed to such reflections"**.[ source ]

What the heck happened to "as President he has the right to have his nominees approved"? What happened to the nominee deserves "a fair up or down vote" ?
We in the center and on the left have been saying this** for five years. Is this tiny little woman, who never harmed a soul in her life, what it took for the right to wake up?
I've seen a few of those ads they aired back during the Robert's hearings. Funny thing is I don't think those ads are aimed at Democrats these days.

Cronyism is nothing new to politics. Most non-conservatives would have said that Bush had taken it to a new level. But hey that's one of the priviliges of being the guy at the top. Right? Maybe this is another one of those 'time honored traditions' the Republicans might want to think about doing away with. Maybe someone should float the concept that a person has to actually have some experience and be at least minimally qualified to hold the position their being appointed too. I'm just saying it could be auspicious for both sides.

To be honest, I don't know any more about Ms Miers than I did about John Roberts. I don't think anyone does. Well, other than maybe the President. So what makes her so much more a threat than Roberts? Why ARE the neo-cons all up in arms over her nomnation as opposed to his? Is it because she's a woman? Is it because she's never been married (thus all those nasty rumors regarding her sexuality)? Is it because she thinks George Bush is the smartest man she knows? I have to admit that one gives me pause for thought as well.

Or is it because lately George has been showing signs of at long last being out from under the thumb of his puppet masters and making the BIG decisions on his own. I'm not even going to get into those nasty rumors about his sobriety. Suddenly he's become a lot less easy to manipulate and control. After all he's got nothing left to loose. It's not like he's going to be running for any public offices any time soon. Could the REAL George Walker Bush be taking center stage? I have to admit I'm starting to like the guy a whole lot more these days. I love that he's found the balls to piss off people left AND right.
Whatever the reasons, it's time for the right to fall in line. Folks you elected him. You put him in office. You gave him the power. Now do what you've been telling the rest of us to do since November of 2000, shut the hell up and live with it .
Frankly, I'd kinda get a kick out of seeing Ms Miers join Mr Roberts on the court. It could lead to years of entertainment watching her come into her own. Who knows maybe she knows something about George that we don't. If she turns out to be a flaming full on conservative, so what? That's what we were gonna get anyway. If not, if she like many before her takes the job very seriously and shows herself to be able to make rational decisions based on The Constitution rather than her personal beliefs, then all the better for all of us. I say, lets give the lady her up or down vote then give her the approval she deserves. After all the President has the right to have his nominees approved. Right?

Yep, Karma is a bitch.


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