Sunday, November 05, 2006


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The Miami Herald
November 5, 2006

What to recall, what to forget on Election Day


The latest New York Times/CBS poll shows that only 29 percent of Americansapprove of how President Bush is handling the war in Iraq.

That's terrible news for Republicans on the eve of mid-term elections. Whilesome frantically try to distance themselves from the president, others arefrantically trying to distract voters.

Please worry about illegal immigration, they say.

Worry about gay marriages.

Worry about income taxes.

Worry about the stand-up comedy career of John Kerry.

But please, please put the ongoing debacle in Iraq out of your mind when youwalk into the voting booth.


The Boston Globe

Prejudging the judges
November 5, 2006

CONSERVATIVES have a new cause to rally the faithful at the polls in this week's national election: those scary activist judges. Constitutional amendments are on the ballot in six states that would curb judicial authority in novel and dangerous ways. Wise voters will resist the hyperbole about judges run amok. The nation's founders held high the principle of an independent judiciary, and that should not be undermined by the political whims of the moment.

In Colorado, a ballot proposal would impose 10-year term limits on appellate judges, even though judges in that state already face retention elections every 10 years. The term limits would be retroactive, so some of the state's top judges could be summarily replaced. In Oregon, an initiative provides for the election of top judges by district instead of statewide, to diminish the influence of Portland's liberal voters. In North Dakota,a proposal would severely curtail the discretion judges have in settling custody disputes.


New York Times

November 5, 2006

C.I.A. Review Highlights Afghan Leader's Woes

HERAT, Afghanistan, Nov. 4 - A recent Central Intelligence Agency assessmentfound that the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, had been significantlyweakened by rising popular frustration with his American-backed government,American officials say.

The assessment found that Mr. Karzai's government and security forcescontinued to struggle to exert authority beyond Kabul, said a seniorAmerican official who spoke only on the condition of anonymity. Theassessment also found that increasing numbers of Afghans viewed Mr. Karzai'sgovernment as corrupt, failing to deliver promised reconstruction and tooweak to protect the country from rising Taliban attacks.


New York Times

November 5, 2006

Saddam Hussein Is Sentenced to Death

BAGHDAD, Nov. 5 - An Iraqi special tribunal today convicted Saddam Husseinof crimes against humanity and sentenced him to death by hanging for thebrutal repression of a Shiite town in the 1980s.

As the verdict was read, Mr. Hussein shouted, "Long live the people! Longlive the Arab nation! Down with the spies!" He then chanted "God is great."The chief judge, Raouf Rasheed Abdul Rahman, tried to calm Mr. Hussein down."There's no point," Mr. Rahman said.

The five-judge panel, which heard more than nine months of testimony in thecase, also issued death sentences for two of his seven co-defendants: BarzanIbrahim al-Tikriti, Mr. Hussein's half-brother, who was head of Iraq'sdomestic intelligence agency; and Awad al-Bandar, president of Mr. Hussein'srevolutionary court.


The Sacramento Bee

Editorial: Another reason to vote 'No' on Proposition 83
Published 12:00 am PST Sunday, November 5, 2006
Voters who worry about protecting children from sexual predators haveanother reason to vote No on Proposition 83. The initiative, dubbed"Jessica's Law" by its backers, bars sexual offenders on parole from livingwithin 2,000 feet of a park or school and requires them to wear globalpositioning devices for life. Supporters claim those provisions will betterprotect the public. Sadly, it will likely have the opposite effect, as adraft analysis of the measure prepared by state corrections officialspredicts.

The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is gearing up to implementthe initiative. Analysts who wrote the department's report anticipate that,rather than comply with its onerous restrictions, "many will simply chooseto abscond supervision" and that "this will place the community at greaterrisk." A department spokesman downplayed the draft, saying the statements init "probably should not have been so sweeping."


The Sacramento Bee
George F. Will: Election night,doing the math on the sidelines
By George F. Will -
Published 12:00 am PST Sunday, November 5, 2006
As ballpark vendors say, you can't enjoy the game without a score card. Hereis one for Tuesday night.

. The election actually began four weeks ago, with early voting.

Passion drives turnout; anger is a passion; contentment is not. Is thereanger at incumbents generally, or only at Republican incumbents? Two yearsago, 162 incumbents in each party (78 percent of Republicans re-elected and87 percent of Democrats) won with at least 60 percent.

Only 21 incumbents won with 55 percent or less. Will these numbers -- andthe 98.6 re-election rate for incumbents since 1996 -- change dramatically?

. In the 14 presidential elections since 1952, only once (1964) didDemocrats win more than 50 percent of the suburban vote. Last May, a GallupPoll measured President Bush's approval among suburban voters at 29 percent.


The Washington Post

Two Tales of War: Read 'Em and Weep

By Colbert I. King
Saturday, November 4, 2006; A23

Maybe it was the memory of the turbulent time I spent in the StateDepartment as the Vietnam War escalated. Perhaps it was the names of HowardUniversity classmates on the wall of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Or maybeit was just the recollection of the arrogance, prevarication and outrightlies by the government during the Vietnam era that caused a sick feeling inthe pit of my stomach as I read "State of Denial," Bob Woodward's insidelook at the Bush administration and the Iraq debacle.

How in the world could we be reliving a nightmare like Vietnam?

To be sure, that war and Iraq are different in the number of casualties, thegeography and the enemy. But there are ghostly similarities. Writing aboutVietnam in his book "My American Journey," Gen. Colin Powell made itabundantly clear that U.S. policymakers had almost no understanding of whatthey had gotten themselves into. Woodward makes the same point aboutPresident Bush and his advisers, and in excruciating detail. Vietnam was aquagmire; so is Iraq.


The New York Times

November 5, 2006
Kennedy's Choice
The Roberts Court Takes on Abortion

THE arguments the Supreme Court will hear on Wednesday on theconstitutionality of the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act promise muchmore than a resumption of a familiar debate over a method of terminating apregnancy.

In defining the permissible limits on access to abortion, only six yearsafter declaring a similar restriction unconstitutional in a case fromNebraska, the court must go a long way toward defining its stance towardprecedent, its relationship to Congress, and its view of its own role in theconstitutional system. As it decides the new cases, the still-emergingRoberts court will inevitably be defining itself.


The New York Times

November 5, 2006
Op-Ed Columnist

The Fighting Democrat

Once upon a time, the Democrats were the majority party, but then came the1960s and many middle-class whites like Jim Webb drifted away. Webb servedheroically in Vietnam and came back disgusted with the liberal elites whoreviled the military and, as he wrote in 1997, "were trying to destroy thefoundations of American society."

"Jane Fonda can kiss my [behind]," he once told a radio interviewer in thebracing and irrepressible manner that is his trademark. "I wouldn't goacross the street to watch her slit her wrist."

Webb found himself at Georgetown Law School. "Webb came to view the majorityof his fellow students as the most miserable, neurotic and obsessivecollection of individuals he had ever met," Robert Timberg wrote in "TheNightingale's Song."


The New York Times

November 5, 2006
Op-Ed Contributor
Separate but Equal
Franklin, Tenn.

HAROLD FORD, the Democratic representative running for senator in Tennessee,has surprised most of us with his formidable campaign against Bob Corker,the former mayor of Chattanooga, for Bill Frist's seat.

Yet, if truth were known, Mr. Ford's electability seems to be based on whathe has in common with Mr. Corker and not where they differ. Ironic, when youthink about how important this election is, not just for Tennessee, but forthe nation as a whole.

This election is so important that the Republican National Committee createda nasty little ad that included an attractive white woman saying to Mr.Ford, "Call me." The ad, we are told, was a parody, making pointed fun ofMr. Ford's once having attended a party sponsored by Playboy magazine. Butwhat it really did was play to the old fears of miscegenation that many ofmy fellow white Tennesseans haven't been able to strip from their gene pool.It was a crummy, low blow, and I respect Mr. Corker for asking the nationalcommittee to pull it when, in other elections, candidates have been willingto let such garbage be broadcast while claiming they have no control overwhat others put out.


The New York Times

The Difference Two Years Made

On Tuesday, when this page runs the list of people it has endorsed forelection, we will include no Republican Congressional candidates for thefirst time in our memory. Although Times editorials tend to agree withDemocrats on national policy, we have proudly and consistently endorsed along line of moderate Republicans, particularly for the House. Our onlypolitical loyalty is to making the two-party system as vital and responsibleas possible.

That is why things are different this year.

To begin with, the Republican majority that has run the House - and for themost part, the Senate - during President Bush's tenure has done a terriblejob on the basics. Its tax-cutting-above-all-else has wrecked the budget,hobbled the middle class and endangered the long-term economy. It hasrefused to face up to global warming and done pathetically little about thecountry's dependence on foreign oil.


The New York Times

November 4, 2006

U.S. Churches Sharply Divided on Iraq War
Filed at 8:33 a.m. ET

DALLAS (Reuters) - America's churches are still sharply divided on the warin Iraq as their flocks prepare to go to the polls, although backing for theconflict has dimmed even among the once solidly supportive evangelicalcommunity.

Public opposition to the war -- polls show a solid majority of more than 60percent of Americans opposed -- is seen as a major reason President GeorgeW. Bush's Republican Party is battling to retain control of the U.S.Congress in Tuesday's elections.

And with far higher church attendance rates in the United States than inother parts of the rich industrialized world church stances on the war, ason other issues, loom large in politics.


November 3, 2006 at 12:10:30

The Dawning of Karl Rove's October Surprise
by Anthony Wade

November 3, 2006

I was thinking all week what surprise Karl Rove had for America before theelections. Friday afternoon was when I expected it, but then it came to me.I had forgotten all about the true surprise he has waiting for America.

In 2004, on the Friday before the election, Karl Rove put out a "new" fakeOsama bin Laden tape, designed to scare voters to vote for Bush. It wasprecisely released after the Washington Press Corps had gone home for theweekend, so that it would receive unfettered coverage for three straightdays heading into the presidential election. By the time the analystsfigured out that it was clearly designed to help Bush, he was alreadyaccepting concession from John Kerry.


Today's commentary:

ZNet Commentary
The Blair Doctrine: Blood & Money
November 03, 2006
By John Pilger

On 17 October, President Bush signed a bill that legalised torture and kidnapping and effectively repealed the Bill of Rights and habeas corpus. The CIA can now legally abduct people and "render" them to secret prisons in countries where they are likely to be tortured. Evidence extracted under torture is now permissible in "military commissions"; people can be sentenced to death based on testimony beaten out of witnesses. You are now guilty until confirmed guilty. And you are a "terrorist" if you commit what George Orwell, in Nineteen Eighty-Four, called "thoughtcrimes". Bush has revived the prerogatives of the Tudor and Stuart monarchs: the power of unrestricted lawlessness. "America can be proud," said Senator Lindsey Graham, one of the bill's promoters, who stood with other congressmen, clapping as Bush signed away the American constitution and the essence of American democracy.

The historic significance of this was barely acknowledged in Britain, the source of these abandoned ancient rights, no doubt because the same barbarians' law is taking hold here. The great crime of Iraq is a moral tsunami that has left New Labour's vassals floundering and shouting their hopeless inversions of the truth as they await rescue by Washington.

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