Saturday, December 09, 2006

NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST December 09, 2006

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Panel Blasts Hastert in Foley Scandal

Associated Press Writer

December 8, 2006, 11:04 PM EST

WASHINGTON -- Republican lawmakers and aides failed for a decade to protectmale pages from sexual come-ons by former Rep. Mark Foley -- once describedas a "ticking time bomb" -- but they broke no rules and should not bepunished, the House ethics committee concluded Friday.

The committee harshly criticized Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., saying theevidence showed he was told of the problem months before he acknowledgedlearning of Foley's questionable e-mails to a former Louisiana page. Itrejected Hastert's contention that he couldn't recall separate warnings fromtwo House Republican leaders.

Hastert said he was pleased the committee found "there was no violation ofany House rules by any member or staff."


The Washington Post

Annan Decries Failure To Halt Darfur Killings
Passivity of Most Governments Faulted

By Colum Lynch
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, December 9, 2006; A14

UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 8 -- U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan scoldedgovernments Friday for failing to halt mass murder in Darfur, saying thatthe world has not learned the lessons of Rwanda and Srebrenica, wheregenocidal killings in the early 1990s defied the global ability to stop it.

"Sixty years after the liberation of the Nazi death camps, and 30 yearsafter the Cambodian killing fields, the promise of 'never again' is ringinghollow," Annan said in his final speech on human rights as the U.N. leader.

Annan said the failure to protect civilians in the Sudanese region marked alow point in recent U.N. history. In a speech organized by Human RightsWatch in honor of International Human Rights Day, he faulted the "shamefulpassivity of most governments" in the face of a government-backed militarycampaign that has driven more than 2 million people from their homes andkilled hundreds of thousands.


The New York Times

December 8, 2006

Panel Finds Negligence in Foley Case

WASHINGTON, Dec. 8 - House Republican leaders did not break any rules inhandling the case of former Representative Mark Foley, but they werenegligent and in some instances "willfully ignorant" of his improperadvances toward male pages, the House ethics committee said today.

The panel said that collective failure to probe deeply "is not merely theexercise of poor judgment; it is a present danger to House pages and to theintegrity of the institution of the House."


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

On Building a Progressive Governing Coalition Around Net Neutrality
From MyDD, December 6, 2006
By Matt Stoller

Last year, we could throw wrenches into the works and call it a victory.This year, we're going to try to govern, and this means that we actuallyhave to accomplish stuff. And based on what I'm seeing on the net neutralityfront, the progressive movement has a lot of work to do. Take net neutralityfor instance.

One would think that net neutrality is a no-brainer for the Democraticcaucus, right? It's not a first 100 hours issue, but surely it'll get donesoon, at least within the next two years. That's what you would think if youread the blogs or the newspaper, or if you assumed that CongressionalDemocrats were savvy about politics and sought to protect the internet,which arguably propelled them into the majority. But that's not the realityof where we are in this fight.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

How the 21st Century Robber Barons Operate
From Dana Blankenhorn Blog, December 6, 2006
By Dana Blankenhorn

The Bell monopoly is the most destructive economic roadblock of our time.

It has caused the United States to fall behind the rest of the world inbroadband.

And now these same monopolists are threatening to make things worse byfavoring specific Web providers over others, eliminating the networkneutrality agreement that has allowed the Internet to grow.

They have to be stopped, now.

This monopoly is identical, in its impact, to the robber barons of the 1880swhose depredations gave rise to Populism and the first governmentregulations. (This book on the original robber barons available atAmazon.Com, despite being 44 years old.)


Forwarded from Susan Frishkorn
Tri-County -

Congress Must Insist Bush Isn't Above Law
By Jesse Jackson
The Chicago Sun-Times
Tuesday 05 December 2006

Should President Bush be impeached? The very idea seems extreme, if notloony. Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has explicitly ruled impeachmentoff the Democratic majority's agenda. But activists and legal scholars areorganizing to pressure Democrats to begin impeachment hearings. And theincoming chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. John Conyers, hasissued two remarkable studies on abuses of presidential authority, raisingthe question of impeachable offenses.

The Gingrich Congress' attempt to railroad President Clinton out ofoffice gave impeachment a bad press. It is scorned as irresponsible,vindictive, partisan spitball politics. Rather than addressing thechallenges the nation faces, impeachment, many pundits argue, wastes monthson harsh, divisive wrangling. And of course, in 1998, the public punishedRepublicans - ultimately leading to the toppling of Gingrich himself.


The New York Times

December 9, 2006
Guest Columnist

The Rascals on the Right

The early jockeying for the Republican presidential nomination reveals asplit in the G.O.P. between sociocultural conservatives and the economy/national defense wing, a split likely either to expand Democraticopportunities in 2008 or to produce an exceptionally viable Republicannominee.

The most significant development at this stage of the race is the failure ofany G.O.P. candidate to emerge as the consensus conservative, uniting whiteevangelicals, family-values traditionalists, defense hawks, and opponents ofthe tax and regulatory state. "There is a vacuum in the field," says theRepublican pollster Tony Fabrizio, "a big, gaping hole."

The two Republican candidates leading in polls, John McCain and RudyGiuliani, both fail the consensus test. Each stands to the left of theparty - well to the left in Giuliani's case - on the "traditional values"issues: sexual mores, family structure, reproductive choice, gay rights,embryonic stem cell research, and so forth.


The New York Times

December 9, 2006
Back to the Moon, Permanently

Three years after President Bush announced an ambitious long-term goal toreturn astronauts to the Moon and then send them on to Mars, the NationalAeronautics and Space Administration has finally put some flesh on hisnebulous aspirations. This week, the agency announced plans to establish apermanent base on the Moon by 2024, explained why we should want to sendastronauts back to a world they visited repeatedly more than three decadesago, and described what they might do when they get there. It was belatedjustification for a decision that the Bush administration and Congress havealready made. But the payoff is distant and the likely future costs veryhigh, leaving it unclear how realistic these aspirations will prove to be.


CBS News

McKinney Introduces Bill to Impeach Bush
Georgia Rep. McKinney introduces bill to impeach Bush; legislation has nochance of passing
WASHINGTON, Dec. 9, 2006
By BEN EVANS Associated Press Writer

(AP) In what was likely her final legislative act in Congress, outgoingGeorgia Rep. Cynthia McKinney introduced a bill Friday to impeach PresidentBush.

The legislation has no chance of passing and serves as a symbolic partingshot not only at Bush but also at Democratic leaders. Incoming House SpeakerNancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has made clear that she will not entertain proposalsto sanction Bush and has warned the liberal wing of her party against makingpolitical hay of impeachment.


The New York Times

December 9, 2006
Op-Ed Contributors

Words Fail Them

STEPHEN HARPER, the prime minister of Canada, stunned the country last monthwhen he proposed a resolution recognizing that the seven million "Québécoisform a nation within a united Canada." Anyone who has traveled to Montrealor Quebec City will recognize that Mr. Harper was merely stating theobvious, at least where the term "nation" is concerned. But for Canadians,Mr. Harper's words reopened a long, tortured debate over national identity,and recast it in stronger terms than ever.

The background to his declaration is, of course, Quebec's secessionistmovement - strong enough to have monopolized Canadian politics for the last50 years, but not quite strong enough to actually win a referendum onindependence. The struggle has largely been a war of words.

Since the 1940s, Canadians have been looking for the right word - some sayformula - to answer the question: "What does Quebec want?" For the last 20years, the thinking has been to give Quebec some kind of recognition.


The Washington Post

Conservatives Attack Use of Koran for Oath
Sacred and Secular Books Have Subbed for Bible

By Omar Sacirbey
Religion News Service
Saturday, December 9, 2006; B09

When Keith Ellison, the Minnesota Democrat whose election last month willmake him the first Muslim in Congress, announced he would take his oath ofoffice on Islam's holy book, the Koran, he provoked sharp criticism fromconservatives and some heated discussion on the blogosphere.

The discussion has revived the debate about whether the nation's values andlegal system are shaped only by Judeo-Christian heritage or if there is roomfor Islamic and other traditions.

"America is interested in only one book, the Bible. If you are incapable oftaking an oath on that book, don't serve in Congress," Dennis Prager, aconservative talk radio host in Los Angeles, wrote on, who is Jewish and serves on the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council,said Ellison should not be allowed to take his oath on the Koran.


The Washington Post

Uploading American Politics

By Raul Fernandez
Saturday, December 9, 2006; A19

Technology won the 2006 elections for the Democrats. No, not electronicvoting machines, but the power of the Internet, fueled by innovativeapplications that let citizens create and publish their own content. TheInternet not only changed the balance of power in the House and Senate, italso helped sack the secretary of defense. Welcome to viral democracy.

In 1994, the last time the House changed hands, the Internet was mainly auniversity and military application. AOL, with its first 1 million members,was an up-and-coming player in the emerging online world. Marc Andreessenwas just leaving school to start Netscape. And Google, eBay and Amazon.comdid not exist, even as business plans.


Incoming Democrats face fiscal minefield
Funding gaps left in programs

By Rick Klein, Globe Staff | December 9, 2006

WASHINGTON -- The outgoing Republican Congress has placed a political timebomb for incoming Democrats: Nearly all domestic programs paid for by thefederal government are level funded through mid-February with no adjustmentsfor inflation, a situation that probably will trigger cuts or reductions insuch popular areas as veterans' affairs, children's healthcare, housingvouchers, and low-income fuel assistance.

Democrats, who take control of Congress in January, will therefore have toimmediately choose between restoring any lost services and their campaignpledge to control government spending. The clash could expose tensionswithin the party in the crucial first weeks of Democrats' leadership -- andthe party's agenda could get sidetracked in a pitched battle over spendingpriorities.

"As the Republicans leave their control of Congress, they've decided to blowup the room," said Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the assistantDemocratic leader. "They're leaving behind a disaster for us to deal with."


The New York Times

December 9, 2006

Desperately Seeking Ethics

Watching our elected leaders in action, it's not surprising that Americanswonder if there is any limit to the crass misbehavior that members ofCongress are willing to tolerate from their colleagues to protect theirprivileges and hold on to their own jobs. The House ethics committeeanswered that question yesterday with a resounding "No."

Sixty-four days after it promised to find out who knew about RepresentativeMark Foley's wildly inappropriate, sexually predatory behavior with teenageHouse pages, and why they failed to stop it, the bipartisan committeeproduced a report yesterday that was a 91-page exercise in cowardice.

The report's authors were clearly more concerned about protecting themembers of the House than the young men and women under their charge in thepage program. And they made absolutely no effort to define the high standardof behavior that should be required of all members of Congress and theirstaffs.

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1 comment:

Causal said...

Holding government officials accountable for their actions strengthens our democracy. Letting lawlessness stand weakens it.

Sometimes reprimanding a child (president) doesn't make the family (Washington) a happy place. But you still have to do it so the child and his siblings (future presidents) learn about accountability. Impeachment is horribly UNDERUSED, which is part of why there's so much corruption at the top. Politicians must learn to fear it. People think things are better because we improved the make-up of our law-making body, Congress. But Bush is BREAKING LAWS. So, it doesn't matter how many laws Congress passes if they don't serve their OVERSIGHT duties as well by impeaching. They swore to defend the Constitution. What are laws without enforcement?

Besides, Bush can still do a lot of damage. Our troops, Iran, and our Supreme Court are all endangered so long as he remains in office. Waiting until Bush is out of office will leave us complicit in any further crimes he commits. The Union of Concerned Scientists has estimated that the death toll from a "tactical" nuclear weapon of the kind Bush is contemplating using in Iran would be at minimum 3 million men, women, and children. The path of death would stretch across country boundaries into India.

Perhaps worst of all, we set a terrible precedent by allowing Bush to stay in office after he's broken so many laws. Impeachment will stop future presidents from using Bush's actions as justification for even more lawbreaking and erosion of civil liberties.