Wednesday, March 2

RNC Says "Fix it Now"

Dear RNC Member,

This last week, Republican Members of Congress from across the country returned to their home districts and states to focus on the issue of Social Security. Republicans conducted hundreds of town hall meetings and met with thousands of constituents to discuss the serious problems confronting the program.

In addition to President Bush's efforts as he travels the country and those of our elected leaders, Republicans and groups who believe we need to strengthen Social Security are working hard to make sure American citizens receive the facts. Just last week, over 250,000 phone calls were made in targeted districts and states, over 3,000 people were mobilized to attend town hall events, well over 100,000 emails were sent to RNC Team Leaders, and hundreds of regional media interviews were conducted.

Last week's events helped advance a national dialogue that the President initiated in his State of the Union Address to the American people. The first step in this process is to make our fellow citizens aware that there is a problem and a need to act. These town hall meetings were important because they helped more Americans understand the problem, which must occur before the debate about specific solutions can begin. Public surveys demonstrate that a majority of Americans recognize the Social Security system faces problems and needs to be fixed. Even Democrats are beginning to acknowledge that there is a problem with Social Security.

Thank you to all of you who assisted in our efforts to promote the President's vision to strengthen Social Security and ensure benefits for our children and grandchildren.

Please share your thoughts about saving Social Security with friends and neighbors by visiting our new testimonial page at www.preservingsocialsecurity.com. While you're there don't forget to sign the Social Security petition too!

Sincerely,
Ken Mehlman
Ken Mehlman
Chairman, Republican National Committee

The Future Face of the Court

Dear MoveOn member,

As we write this, the Senate is debating the nomination of mining and cattle industry lobbyist William Myers III for a lifetime appointment to the Circuit Court of Appeals -- the second highest court in the land. Myers is the first of 20 nominees Bush has re-submitted in his second term. All 20 repeat nominees were rejected last term by Senate Democrats (as compared to 204 judges they accepted) because these nominees consistently sided with corporate special interests over the rights of ordinary Americans.

The Senate has the power to approve or reject judicial nominations because judges -- above all else -- must be trusted by Americans on all sides to rule fairly. So why does Bush refuse to send new nominees both parties can agree on? Because while his presidency will be over in 4 years, the judges he appoints will be on the bench for the rest of their lives. This is Bush's big push to lock in his hard right, corporate-friendly ideology for decades to come -- and that is exactly why we must not back down now.

The fight begins today. The Myers vote is a key test -- and may well determine whether Bush can stack the judiciary, all the way up to the Supreme Court, with a steady stream of hard right, pro-corporate judges. It's crucial that our Senators know that we out here in America are counting on them to hold the line against all 20 of Bush's rejected, partisan judges.

Please sign today:

http://www.moveonpac.org/judges/

We will deliver your comments to your Senators before the crucial votes on these 20 judicial nominees.

Here's a brief summary of just the first three of the 20 partisan judges re-nominated by President Bush.

William Myers III has never been a judge and spent most of his career as a lobbyist for the cattle and mining industry.[1] He has written that all habitat conservation laws are unconstitutional because they interfere with potential profit.[2] In 2001, Bush appointed him as the chief lawyer for the Department of the Interior. In that role he continued as a champion of corporate interests, setting his agenda in meetings with former employers he promised not to speak with, and even illegally giving away sacred Native American land to be strip mined.[3]

Terrence Boyle was a legal aide to Jesse Helms. As a judge, his signature decisions have attempted to circumvent federal laws barring employment discrimination by race, gender, and disability.[4] His rulings have been overturned a staggering 120 times by the conservative 4th District Court of Appeals, either due to gross errors in judgment or simple incompetence.[5]

William Pryor Jr. served as Attorney General of Alabama, where he took money from Phillip Morris, fought against the anti-tobacco lawsuit until it was almost over, and cost the people of Alabama billions in settlement money for their healthcare system as a result.[6] He called Roe v. Wade "the worst abomination of constitutional law in our history," and has consistently argued against the federal protections for the civil rights of minorities, lesbian and gay couples, women, and the disabled.[7]

If we falter now, then decades down the road dozens of judges like this will still be ruling in favor of unchecked corporate greed and against the basic principles of accountability and fairness.

The Bush Administration is prepared to stop at nothing to smash Democratic resistance and stack the courts. As President of the Senate, Dick Cheney has even threatened to push these 20 through by using a parliamentary trick so abusive even he calls it the "nuclear option." If they can get away with it, the "nuclear option" would eliminate the right to filibuster -- a rule that has allowed 40 or more Senators to keep extremists from all sides off the courts for centuries.

If that happens, when Supreme Court vacancies begin to open up in a few months there will be no motivation for Bush to nominate justices acceptable to both parties, and no ability for Democrats to oppose even the most dangerous extremists.

We must draw the line here, by stopping Bush's 20 repeat nominees. They were rejected once -- they can and must be rejected again.

Please sign the petition today:
http://www.moveonpac.org/judges/

Thanks for all that you do,

--Ben Brandzel, Eli Pariser and the whole MoveOn PAC Team
Tuesday, March 1st, 2005

Notes:

[1] "Unfit to Judge," Community Rights Council, 4/2/04.

[2] "Myers Troubling Legal Philosophy," People for the American Way.

[3] "Environmental Group Calls on Senate to Block Myers Nomination: Ethical Problems and Anti-Environmental Activism Make Him Unfit for Judgeship," Friends of the Earth, 2/5/05.

[4] "Federal Judge Terrence Boyle Unfit for Promotion to Appeals Court," People for the American Way, 2/23/05.

[5] "Eastern District of North Carolina Terrence Boyle Nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit," Alliance for Justice.

[6] Eric Fleischauer, "Pryor Called a Tobacco Sellout," Decatur Daily News, 10/30/02.

[7] Ann Woolner, "Bush Judicial Candidate Shows How Things Change," Bloomberg News, 5/16/03.

PAID FOR BY MOVEON PAC

Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

Tuesday, March 1

Rumsfeld Sued



Lawsuit Against Rumsfeld

March 1, 2005

The Lawsuit Against Donald Rumsfeld
Over U.S. Torture Policies

VIDEO: PRESS CONFERENCE >

(pdf)

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld bears direct responsibility for the torture and abuse of detainees in U.S. military custody, the ACLU and Human Rights First charged in the first federal court lawsuit to name a top U.S. official in the ongoing torture scandal in Iraq and Afghanistan that has tarnished America's reputation. Press: , English

The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Illinois on behalf of eight men who were subject to torture and abuse at the hands of U.S. forces under Secretary Rumsfeld's command. The groups charged Secretary Rumsfeld with violations of the U.S. Constitution and international law prohibiting torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment.

LEGAL PAPERS
> Legal basis
> Rumsfeld complaint (pdf)
> Karpinski complaint (pdf)
> Sanchez complaint (pdf)
> Pappas complaint (pdf)

OFFSITE LINKS
Human Rights First

BIOS
> Plaintiffs involved
> Press conference speakers

NEWS RELEASES
> Rumsfeld Is Sued Over U.S. Torture Policies
English,

REPUBLICANS, BLOGGERS AND GAYS, OH MY!

REPUBLICANS, BLOGGERS AND GAYS, OH MY!
February 23, 2005


In response to the public disgrace and ruin of New York Times editor Howell Raines, CBS anchor Dan Rather and CNN news director Eason Jordan, liberals are directing their fury at the blogs. Once derided as people sitting around their living rooms in pajamas, now obscure writers for unknown Web sites are coming under more intensive background checks than CIA agents.

The heretofore-unknown Jeff Gannon of the heretofore-unknown "Talon News" service was caught red-handed asking friendly questions at a White House press briefing. Now the media is hot on the trail of a gay escort service that Gannon may have run some years ago. Are we supposed to like gay people now, or hate them? Is there a Web site where I can go to and find out how the Democrats want me to feel about gay people on a moment-to-moment basis?

Liberals keep rolling out a scrolling series of attacks on Gannon for their Two Minutes Hate, but all their other charges against him fall apart after three seconds of scrutiny. Gannon's only offense is that he may be gay.

First, liberals claimed Gannon was a White House plant who received a press pass so that he could ask softball questions — a perk reserved for New York Times reporters during the Clinton years. Their proof was that while "real" journalists (like Jayson Blair) were being denied press passes, Gannon had one, even though he writes for a Web site that no one has ever heard of — but still big enough to be a target of liberal hatred! (By the way, if writing for a news organization with no viewers is grounds for being denied a press pass, why do MSNBC reporters have them?)

On the op-ed page of The New York Times, Maureen Dowd openly lied about the press pass, saying: "I was rejected for a White House press pass at the start of the Bush administration, but someone with an alias, a tax evasion problem and Internet pictures where he posed like the 'Barberini Faun' is credentialed?"

Press passes can't be that hard to come by if the White House allows that old Arab Helen Thomas to sit within yards of the president. Still, it would be suspicious if Dowd were denied a press pass while someone from "Talon News" got one, even if he is a better reporter.

But Dowd was talking about two different passes without telling her readers (a process now known in journalism schools as "Dowdification"). Gannon didn't have a permanent pass; he had only a daily pass. Almost anyone can get a daily pass — even famed Times fantasist Maureen Dowd could have gotten one of those. A daily pass and a permanent pass are altogether different animals. The entire linchpin of Dowd's column was a lie. (And I'm sure the Times' public editor will get right on Dowd's deception.)

Finally, liberals expressed shock and dismay that Gannon's real name is "James Guckert." On MSNBC's "Hardball," Chris Matthews introduced the Gannon scandal this way: "Coming up, how did a fake news reporter from a right-wing Web site get inside the White House press briefings and presidential news conferences?"

Reporter David Shuster then gave a report on "the phony alias Guckert used to play journalist" — as opposed to the real name Shuster uses to play journalist. (You can tell Schuster is a crackerjack journalist because he uses phrases like "phony alias.") With all the subtlety of a gay-bashing skinhead, Matthews spent the rest of the segment seeing how many times he could smear Gannon by mentioning "HotMilitaryStuds.com" and laughing.

Any day now, Matthews will devote entire shows to exposing Larry Zeigler, Gerald Riviera and Michael Weiner — aka Larry King, Geraldo Rivera and Matthews' former MSNBC colleague Michael Savage. As a newspaper reporter, Wolf Blitzer has written under the names Ze'ev Blitzer and Ze'ev Barak. The greatest essayist of modern times was Eric Blair, aka George Orwell. The worst essayist of modern times is "TRB" of The New Republic.

Air America radio host and "Nanny" impersonator "Randi Rhodes" goes by a fake name, and she won't even tell people what her real last name is. (She says for "privacy reasons." That name must be a real doozy.) As Insideradio.com describes Rhodes, she refuses "to withhold anything from her listeners" and says conservatives "are less likely to share such things." How about sharing your name, Randi? We promise not to laugh.

Democrats in Congress actually demanded that an independent prosecutor investigate how Gannon got into White House press conferences while writing under an invented name. How did Gary Hartpence, Billy Blythe and John Kohn (Gary Hart, Bill Clinton and John Kerry) run for president under invented names? Admittedly, these men were not reporters for the prestigious "Talon News" service; they were merely Democrats running for president.

Liberals keep telling us the media isn't liberal, but in order to retaliate for the decimation of major news organizations like The New York Times, CBS News and CNN, all they can do is produce the scalp of an obscure writer for an unknown conservative Web page. And unlike Raines, Rather and Jordan, they can't even get Gannon for incompetence on the job. (Also unlike Raines, Rather and Jordan, Gannon has appeared on TV and given a series of creditable interviews in his own defense, proving our gays are more macho than their straights.)

Gannon didn't write about gays. No "hypocrisy" is being exposed. Liberals' hateful, frothing-at-the-mouth campaign against Gannon consists solely of their claim that he is gay.

Monday, February 28

Mad Cow, Yes - Lipitor, No!



Dems decry Dubya's drug duplicity
By Staff and Wire Reports
Feb 27, 2005, 06:24
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The Bush administration cites public safety in trying to block admission of cheaper prescription drugs from Canada, but has agreed to expand imports of Canadian beef and cattle despite cases of mad cow disease, Montana's Democratic governor complained Saturday.

"President Bush was recently here in Montana and we had just one question for him," Gov. Brian Schweitzer said in his party's weekly radio address. "Why allow bad beef to enter the U.S. from Canada and not allow safe medicine?"

Schweitzer, who was elected in November as the state's first Democratic governor in 16 years, has been a staunch proponent of allowing drug imports from Canada, saying they could dramatically cut costs for senior citizens and others on fixed incomes.

"For five years now, the federal government has had the ability to lower the prescription drug cost for everyone in America by as much as 50 percent," he said. "And if five years, they've not delivered."

During an earlier, unsuccessful campaign for a Senate seat, Schweitzer became known for chartering buses to take older people to Canada to buy their prescription drugs.

He said he often gave those on board clipboards and asked them to make note of the number of Canadian trucks headed into the United States carrying cattle, hogs and lumber.

"Yet prescription drugs made in the U.S., shipped to Canada, aren't allowed back across the border. This makes no sense," Schweitzer said.

Drugs purchased from Canada and other countries are often far cheaper than the same ones bought in the United States, but the administration has opposed the practice, contending it's unsafe.

Schweitzer noted that a top official of the Food and Drug Administration acknowledged last year that there had never been a documented case of an unsafe drug imported from Canada.

He also noted that after a case of mad cow disease was discovered in Canada, the United States closed the border to beef and cattle shipments, but later allowed some imports to resume.

The administration has proposed expanding that even further on March 7, despite two more recent cases of mad cow disease in Canada.