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Jaime Castillo: High court ruling not good for
Bonilla's Senate dreams
Web Posted: 07/01/2006 12:00 AM CDT
San Antonio Express-News
A majority of U.S. Supreme Court justices earlier this
week cast serious doubt on the future of Republican
Congressman Henry Bonilla.
And it has nothing to do with the immediate impact of
the ruling on Texas redistricting, which said
Republican legislators were wrong to remove 100,000
Latinos from Bonilla's 23rd Congressional District
solely to save him from his own constituents.
Even though Bonilla will have to defend his House seat
once the courts decide how the district should be
redrawn, it's hard to imagine a scenario where the
seven-term incumbent won't be formidable in that
The real damage is the Supreme Court laid out in
painstaking detail why Bonilla's dream of becoming a
U.S. senator might never become a reality.
Politically aware people around the country are
reading an opinion that characterizes Bonilla, long
the Hispanic poster boy of the Texas GOP, as having
weak cachet with Hispanic voters.
There are 16 references to Bonilla in the majority
opinion, and none of them cast his Latino vote-getting
prowess in a favorable light. It is perhaps most
plainly worded on Page 22 of the majority opinion,
which said: "State legislators changed District 23
specifically because they worried Latinos would vote
Bonilla out of office."
That's not a recipe that will excite GOP strategists
should U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison ever decide to
call it quits.
Bonilla's attractiveness as a statewide candidate
would hinge on his ability to be the rare Hispanic
Republican who could hold on to the largely white base
of the GOP, while pulling in a large share of Latinos,
who tend to be Democrats.
Bonilla, as a loyalist to conservative Republicans and
President Bush, would be fine on the first count. But
voting history is not on his side on the second count.
In the three elections from 1998 to 2002, Bonilla
struggled against Hispanic Democratic opponents. Even
with the advantages of money and incumbency, Bonilla
lost two of the most populous Hispanic areas of the
district — Webb and Maverick counties — by
consistently bad margins.
In Webb County, which was 94 percent Hispanic in the
2000 Census, Bonilla's share of the vote plunged from
40 percent in 1998 to 15 percent four years later when
Laredo's Henry Cuellar mounted a serious challenge. In
Maverick County, which was 95 percent Hispanic in
2000, Bonilla went from 44 percent in 1998 to 29
percent in 2002.
Knowing this history, I was intrigued by the
congressman's comments on local TV in the aftermath of
the Supreme Court ruling. Bonilla downplayed his
struggles with Hispanic voters, saying that he enjoys
healthy Hispanic support in places like Maverick
Thinking I either heard wrong or the congressman was
referring to the 2004 election — hardly an apples for
apples comparison — I called his office to see what he
Sure enough, the congressman was pointing to two years
ago, when he bested perennial candidate Joe Sullivan
in Maverick County 59 percent to 38 percent. For those
who don't know, Sullivan is good at presiding over
massive Valentine's Day weddings at the Bexar County
But he's bad at running for office, mounting at least
nine unsuccessful bids for Congress.
To put it bluntly, Bonilla has a good shot of
continuing his House career, but his Senate dreams are
To contact Jaime Castillo, call (210) 250-3174 or
District 23 rivals differ on effects of ruling
Web Posted: 07/04/2006 12:00 AM CDT
Express-News Staff Writer
For voters in Congressional District 23, the U.S.
Supreme Court's redistricting ruling last week was the
political equivalent of hitting the lottery, Rick
And Bolaños, an El Paso Democrat challenging U.S. Rep.
Henry Bonilla for the seat, believes his party will
share some of the largesse.
In a 5-4 decision, the high court ruled that the
district, as redrawn by GOP lawmakers in 2003,
violated the Voting Rights Act. The mapmakers had
moved 100,000 Hispanics out of Bonilla's territory and
into neighboring District 28, essentially cutting
Laredo in half and strengthening Bonilla's re-election
"The most important thing is that disenfranchised
Hispanics will be re-enfranchised," Bolaños said of
It also will give Democrats the advantage going
forward, he said. "The majority of Hispanics in that
area were Democrats to begin with."
Indeed, at the heart of Justice Anthony Kennedy's
opinion was the contention that Bonilla was vulnerable
in the district as it was previously drawn.
But the San Antonio Republican rejects Kennedy's
"Sometimes truth and substance don't make it through
the system," Bonilla said.
He pointed to his success in the majority Hispanic
counties of Dimmit, Maverick, Reeves, Uvalde and Val
Verde, all of which he carried in 2004 against Joe
Sullivan, a perennial Democratic office-seeker. It
marked the first time he carried Dimmit and Maverick.
However, since 1992, he's consistently won only Uvalde
and Val Verde counties among the five he mentioned.
His district stretches from San Antonio nearly to El
Supporters of Bonilla, who's won seven terms, point to
his narrow victory against Democrat Henry Cuellar in
2002 as a showing of his viability.
The district's boundaries hadn't yet been reworked —
so it still included all of Laredo, Cuellar's hometown
— while fellow Democrat and Laredoan Tony Sanchez was
spending from his personal fortune to get out the vote
in a losing bid to unseat Gov. Rick Perry.
Bonilla pulled in 51.5 percent of the vote.
"If they couldn't beat Henry Bonilla in that old
district with Tony Sanchez's $75 million, then nobody
can," said Steve Heinrich, communications director for
the Bexar County Republican Party.
Bonilla overwhelmed Cuellar in the Republican-heavy
portions of Bexar County. But Cuellar's home base in
Webb County gave the Democrat 84 percent of the local
"But (Bonilla's) margin of victory has never been less
than ... in 2002, which was a fluke," said Jim Lunz, a
longtime Republican activist in Bexar County. "It
won't happen again."
Lunz said the redrawing of the district's boundaries
was unnecessary. Bonilla "was perfectly safe in that
Bonilla said then-U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay
and other GOP leaders didn't redraw the lines to
protect him, but to make the district "more favorable"
to a Republican running after Bonilla leaves office.
Justice Kennedy, in his opinion, concluded that the
GOP wanted to protect Bonilla.
"After the 2002 election," Kennedy wrote, "it became
apparent that District 23 as then drawn had an
increasingly powerful Latino population that
threatened to oust ... Bonilla."
Bonilla, the justice added, steadily lost Hispanic
voters starting with the 1996 election.
In the meantime, the 23rd district's Hispanic
population is growing at a faster clip than the Anglo
population, said Henry Flores, dean of graduate
studies at St. Mary's University and a witness for
plaintiffs in the redistricting case.
"If the district had remained the same, Cuellar most
likely would have won" in a rematch, Flores said.
Two years after his loss to Bonilla, Cuellar unseated
then-Rep. Ciro Rodriguez in the Democratic primary in
District 28, which had been redrawn to include half of
Cuellar's district and at least four others likely
will see their boundaries altered as a result of the
redrawing of the 23rd district's lines.
Parties in the case have until July 14 to present
their proposed remedies in federal court.
Wanted to take the opportunity to wish everyone a Happy 4th. On this day of celebrating our countries birthday, let us also not forget the men and women who died to give it to us.
Do you Yahoo!?
Next-gen email? Have it all with the all-new Yahoo! Mail Beta.
> Wanted to take the opportunity to wish everyone a Happy 4th. On
this day of celebrating our countries birthday, let us also not forget
the men and women who died to give it to us.
Abraham Lincoln's Independence Day Address of July 7, 1863
Researched by James R. Heintze. All rights reserved.
Abraham Lincoln's Independence Day address of 1863 in Washington is
significant in that it was presented three days after the city had
celebrated the holiday and represented one of only a few Fourth of
July addresses given in Washington during the 19th century that were
reprinted in newspapers outside the city.
Perhaps not referred to as often as his other speeches, Lincoln's July
7 address is nonetheless important. Presented, apparently
spontaneously, as a response to hundreds of persons who had gathered
in front of the White House as an expression of joy regarding news of
the Civil War's Vicksburg campaign, Lincoln's words were elegant, and
in some sense, might have been a prelude to his Gettysburg Address of
November 19 later that year. The wording and theme of the July 7
address bears resemblance to the November 19 address. Its possible
that the idea and emotion for Lincoln's timeless Gettysburg Address
were already gestating in his mind as early as July.
On July 4, Lincoln passed up any opportunities to participate in
Washington's ceremonies. He was aware of the direction the Gettysburg
engagement had taken on that day and was encouraged that Southern
forces were retreating. But the President was also concerned about the
Vicksburg campaign and was reluctant to participate in any sort of
festive celebration until he heard news of that battle's outcome. He
did issue a brief statement in the form of a letter to the American
people on July 4:
Washington, July 4.--The President of the United States announces
to the country that the news from the Army of the Potomac until 10
o'clock P.M., on the 3d inst., is such as to cover that army with
brightest honor--to promise a great success to the cause of the Union,
and to claim the condolence of all for the many gallant fallen, and
that for this he especially desires that on this day, He whose will,
not ours, should ever be done, be everywhere remembered and reverenced
with profoundest gratification. (Signed) Abraham Lincoln.
("Congratulatory Address by the President," The Frederick Examiner, 8
July 1863, 2.)
Vicksburg surrendered to the Union on July 4, but the news did not
reach Lincoln's desk in the White House until July 7. About midday
Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles received the news and immediately
went to the White House to report to Lincoln what he heard. Word
spread quickly through the streets, taverns, and hotels in Washington.
Crowds gathered and officers of the Thirty-Fourth Massachusetts
Regiment promptly decided that a military parade to the White House
was in order.
That evening the parade of military accompanied by one or more bands
of music commenced up Pennsylvania Avenue drawing hundreds of citizens
as it made its way to the White House. At 8 p.m. with the immense
throngs in front of the Executive Mansion, Lincoln, who was in the War
Department, was compelled to respond and thus quickly returned to the
Benjamin B. French, a highly regarded citizen of the city, commented
in a Fourth of July oration he gave in 1870 that he was on the White
House grounds on July 7, 1863 and that President Lincoln was elated:
We were celebrating the day in the President's grounds when the
news of victory came, and I shall never forget the exultant joy with
which it was received. The countenance of President Lincoln, never
very demonstrative, beamed all over with gladness; and the sun that
rose that day, on many fears, went down in glory on the universal idea
that the Union was saved. (Washington Evening Star, 5 July 1870, 4.)
A local newspaper described the event and the festive atmosphere:
Last evening, in response to a notice hastily given, a large
assemblage of citizens gathered in front of the National Hotel, and,
preceded by the band of the thirty- fourth Massachusetts Regiment,
marched to the Executive Mansion, to offer their congratulations to
the President upon the late successes of our Army and Navy. As the
column marched up the Avenue it gained constant accessions, like a
rolling snowball, and an immense crowd entered the space in front of
the White House, about half past 8 o'clock.
Mr. Lincoln was at that moment absent at the War Department, but
he promptly came over, and made his appearance at the window of the
portico of the Executive mansion. When he stood before them, hearing
the marks of the excessive labor and care that has fallen to his lot
ever since he assumed the duties of his office, but wearing a smile of
supreme satisfaction at the glorious events which his fellow-citizens
were celebrating, vociferous cheers vent the air. The crowd cheered
Abraham Lincoln, General Grant, General Meade, General Rosecrans, and
President Lincoln again. ("The Rejoincings Last Night," Daily National
Republican, 8 July 1863, 2.)
Another Washington newspaper thought the crowd "numbered many
thousands" (Washington Evening Star, 8 July 1863, 2). News of the
event quickly spread along the Eastern seaboard. In a dispatch sent to
New York, it was reported that "The news spread like wildfire through
the city[Washington]. Flags were thrown from public and private
buildings, and cheers given to all extent and with an enthusiam such
as have rearely been paralleled here. The fact that the capture was
made on the Fourth of July gave an added zest to the general
satisfaction (New York Times, 8 July 1863, 1.) Even in the Confederate
South, in Charleston, S.C., the "tremendous rejoicing all over the
North" was reported. However, Lincoln's address was referred to there
as a "foolish speech" (Charleston Daily Courier, 13 July 1863, 1).
Lincoln's July 7 speech was made available and was printed in
newspapers across the country. A comparison of some of these
reprintings of the speech reveals that the texts do not exactly match.
Apparently, editors of these newspapers recopied the text and in so
doing changed and deleted words which resulted likely in detracting
from Lincoln's intentions. Among the variant versions of the speech, I
have selected that printed in the Washington Evening Star,8 July 1863,
2, because first, its a version closer to home, likely not having
passed through as many hands, and second, its text displays more
elegance than the others I have examined; it just seems more Lincolnesque:
Fellow-citizens: I am very glad to see you to-night. But yet I
will not say I thank you for this call. But I do most sincerely thank
Almighty God for the occasion on which you have called. [Cheers.] How
long ago is it? Eighty odd years since, upon the Fourth day of July,
for the first time in the world, a union body of representatives was
assembled to declare as a self-evident truth that all men were created
That was the birthday of the United States of America. Since then
the fourth day of July has had several very peculiar recognitions. The
two most distinguished men who framed and supported that paper,
including the particular declaration I have mentioned, Thomas
Jefferson and John Adams, the one having framed it, and the other
sustained it most ably in debate, the only two of the fifty-five or
fifty-six who signed it, I believe, who were ever President of the
United States, precisely fifty years after they put their hands to
that paper it pleased the Almighty God to take away from this stage of
action on the Fourth of July. This extraordinary coincidence we can
understand to be a dispensation of the Almighty Ruler of Events.
Another of our Presidents, five years afterwards, was called from
this stage of existence on the same day of the month, and now on this
Fourth of July just past, when a gigantic rebellion has risen in the
land, precisely at the bottom of which is an effort to overthrow that
principle "that all men are created equal," we have a surrender of one
of their most powerful positions and powerful armies forced upon them
on that very day. [Cheers.] And I see in the succession of battles in
Pennsylvania, which continued three days, so rapidly following each
other as to be justly called one great battle, fought on the first,
second and third of July; on the fourth the enemies of the declaration
that all men are created equal had to turn tail and run. [Laughter and
Gentlemen, this is a glorious theme and a glorious occasion for a
speech, but I am not prepared to make one worthy of the theme and
worthy of the occasion. [Cries of "go on," and applause.] I would like
to speak in all praise that is due to the the [sic] many brave
officers and soldiers who have fought in the cause of the Union and
liberties of this country from the beginning of this war, not on
occasions of success, but upon the more trying occasions of the want
of success. I say I would like to speak in praise of these men,
particularizing their deeds, but I am unprepared. I should dislike to
mention the name of a single officer, lest in doing so I wrong some
other one whose name may not occur to me. [Cheers.]
Recent events bring up certain names, gallantly prominent, but I
do not want to particularly name them at the expense of others, who
are as justly entitled to our gratitude as they. I therefore do not
upon this occasion name a single man. And now I have said about as
much as I ought to say in this impromptu manner, and if you please,
I'll take the music. [Tremendous cheering, and calls for the President
It was reported in the Washington Evening Star that after Lincoln's
speech, there was music by the band and the crowd then went to the War
Department to hear speeches by Secretary Stanton and others.
(Note: Lincoln's July 7 speech was printed in, for example, New York
Tribune, (8 July 1863, 1), New York Times, (8 July 1863, 8),
Philadelphia Inquirer, (8 July 1863, 4), Alexandria Gazette, (8 July
1863, 1), Boston Evening Transcript, (8 July 1863, 4), Daily National
Republican, (8 July 1863, 2.), and National Intelligencer, ( 9 July
North Korea fires at least 3 missiles
By ERIC TALMADGE, Associated Press Writer 9 minutes
North Korea launched a long-range missile Wednesday
that may be capable of reaching the United States but
it failed after 35 or 40 seconds, two State Department
The missile was one of at least three that were fired.
The two others were short-range missiles. All landed
in the Sea of Japan, said the Japanese government,
which was unable to confirm that they included a
The officials in Washington, who spoke on condition of
anonymity, said the long-range missile was the
Taepodong-2, North Korea's most advanced missile with
a range of up to 9,320 miles.
The launch came after weeks of speculation that the
North was preparing to test its advanced Taepodong-2
missile from a site on its northeast coast. The
preparations had generated stern warnings from the
United States and Japan, which had threatened possible
economic sanctions in response.
The Sea of Japan lies between Japan and the Korean
"North Korea has gone ahead with the launch despite
international protest," Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo
Abe said. "That is regrettable from the standpoint of
Japan's security, the stability of international
society, and non-proliferation of weapons of mass
AP reporters Larry Margasak in Washington and Edith M.
Lederer at the United Nations contributed to this report.
--- fnsnews@... wrote:
> Date: Tue, 04 Jul 2006 12:10:36 -0600
> From: fnsnews@...
> Subject: FNS Special Report: Mexicoï¿½s Cliffhanger
> To: fns_nmsu-l@...
July 4, 2006
Will the Courts Decide Mexico's Presidential Election?
Lodged in a trailing but tight race with arch-rival
Calderon, Mexican presidential candidate Andres Manuel
Lopez Obrador says he will ask the Federal Electoral
Commission (IFE) for a careful, vote-by-vote count of
July 2 balloting when the formal tally commences on
Wednesday, July 5. Mexico's legal election overseer
not yet officially named a winner, but nearly-complete
preliminary results from last Sunday's election
that Calderon holds a one percentage-point lead over
Obrador-a difference of about 400,000 votes.
"All the (exit) polls I knew of yesterday were in
us," said Lopez Obrador in an interview on Mexican
television. While not openly labeling the
election fraudulent, Lopez Obrador said an initial
count that gave Calderon a 7-point lead but then
diminished raises serious questions that need to be
"If we lost the election, I will recognize it," Lopez
Obrador said on national television. Responding to
Obrador's contentions, Cesar Nava Vazquez, the
for Calderon's conservative National Action Party
urged the former Mexico City mayor to throw in the
and call it quits. "In a democracy, you win by one
not to mention more than 400,000 votes," Nava said.
According to the IFE, 59 percent of Mexico's
voters turned out to vote last Sunday, but Lopez
spokesman Horacio Duarte contends the rate of
participation was far less-54 percent. "We have two
hypotheses: someone is adding votes or someone is
them," said Duarte on CNN's Spanish language channel.
President Luis Carlos Ugalde later confirmed that 3
million votes were not included in the preliminary
because of questions about the ballots' veracity.
Coming in the aftermath of Mexico's elimination from
World Soccer Cup, the presidential election was the
major event to jolt the nation in recent days.
were stunned early in the evening of July 2 when IFE
President Luis Carlos Ugalde failed to announce a
presidential vote-getter based on the rapid count.
According to the Mexico's chief election official, a
committee of 5 "scientists" from the national
determined that conditions did not exist to make a
"The IFE has done a very professional job," Ugalde
countered, "and what's happened is that the voters
decided to vote the way they have and there is a tie."
Headlined "Tie," an extra edition of Mexico City's El
Universal daily hit the streets within hours. The July
edition of the Excelsior daily was simply
headlined: "Who?" Comparisons to the 2000 Bush-Gore
deadlock in Florida were quickly heard.
Contrary to earlier appeals from the IFE that urged
candidates to not make premature statements, both
and Lopez Obrador were proclaiming themselves the
by the late in the evening of July 2. Exercising
the Calderon campaign kept a leash on its supporters
an expected victory celebration at Mexico City's Angel
Independence Monument did not materialize. However,
thousands of Lopez Obrador supporters sped through
City's streets honking their horns and braving the
drizzle that dampened the night to celebrate in the
capital city's Zocalo.
At first, news of the election toss-up unbalanced the
financial world. The peso immediately dropped in
but recovered on July 3 along with the Mexican stock
market. Boosted by news of Calderon's continuing lead,
Monday's stock market registered its second biggest
In contrast to the presidential race, clear winners
emerged in the federal congressional election. The big
loser was the former ruling Institutional Party of the
Revolution (PRI), which fell to third place.
National Action Party (PAN) became the "first
force in the new congress, followed by the three
making up Lopez Obrador's For the Good of All
Two smaller parties, the New Alliance Party (PANAL)
the Alternative Social Democrat and Farmers Party led
feminist Patricia Mercado, apparently attracted enough
votes to maintain their registrations and win
representation in the congress. "We were the biggest
surprise of the federal elections," said Roberto
the PANAL's gleeful presidential candidate
The tightness of the presidential race supports the
that every count counts, but many votes that were
last Sunday's election will not be counted. Posted
July 3, the preliminary results reported that more
800,000 ballots were annulled. Mexican election law
permits ballots to be tossed out if a voter sloppily
a space or commits another mistake that raises doubts
about the intention of vote. The initial percentage of
discarded ballots on July 2 was slightly more than two
percent of the total votes cast, a figure similar to
previous elections, according to the IFE.
Another serious, recurring problem cropped up on July
Many people who tried to vote simply could not. As in
elections, the IFE set up more than 800 special voting
precincts for people who were away from home. Despite
growing population and an increased mobility in
Mexican law has limited each special precinct to 750
ballots in order to guard against fraud. Press
from geographic zones scattered throughout Mexico
thousands of people were unable to vote at the special
precincts because the ballots ran out, usually by
In Mexico City, a long line made up of people from
Chihuahua, Tamaulipas, Sonora, Durango, Veracruz, and
other states snaked around a full city block in front
the Zocalo, where special precincts were installed.
Interviewed by Frontera NorteSur, several people
waiting several hours to cast their votes; others
they were being turned away.
Mexico City resident Maria Refugio Diaz said that
officials suggested sher try the special precincts
her name did not appear on the voter list in her
precinct, though she had obtained a voter
card one year earlier. "My vote doesn't count,"
Saying he rose bright and early, Luis Gerardo Espinoza
Escalante wasn't impressed with the gripes. "I
like these elections in Mexico to be seen abroad as
turbulent," Espinosa told Frontera NorteSur. "I came
and cast my vote...the people who are lazy and don't
up early can't vote because this is a special precinct
they will have the bad luck that the ballots run out."
As Zapatista Sub-Comandante Marcos puffed away on his
trademark pipe during an anti-election rally
simultaneously underway in the Zocalo, tension and
erupted across the street in front of the special
precints. "Defrauded!" protested a chorus of hopeful
voters as speeches blasting the election and the
attack on residents of San Salvador Atenco last May
drifted over the crowd from the sound system in the
In the next act, the IFE is expected to declare a
presidential election winner sometime later this week.
the declared victor is Calderon as expected, analysts
Daniel Tacher, a representative of the
organization Civic Alliance, anticipate that the Lopez
Obrador camp will take matters one step further and
legally challenge the election in court. In Mexico,
legal authority with the final say-so is the Federal
Election Tribunal. According to Tacher, the tribunal
then have until early September to render a decision
who will be Mexico's next president.
Additional sources: El Universal, July 2 and 3, 2006.
Univision/Unicable, Televisa, July 2, 3 and 4, 2006.
Azteca, July 2, 2006. Excelsior, July 3, 2006. La
July 3, 2006. Articles by Fabiola Martinez, Alonso
Urrutia, Jesus Aranda, Elizabeth Velsaco C., Matile
and editorial staff. CNN en Espaï¿½ol, July 3, 2006.
Frontera NorteSur (FNS): on-line, U.S.-Mexico border
Center for Latin American and Border Studies
New Mexico State University
Las Cruces, New Mexico
For a free electronic subscription email
Mexico begins review of presidential vote
By IOAN GRILLO, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 49
MEXICO CITY - Mexico began a marathon review of vote
tallies Wednesday to determine whether conservative
candidate Felipe Calderon really won the tight
presidential race, while his leftist challenger
insisted he was victorious and denounced what he
called widespread irregularities.
Calderon told The Associated Press that he would be
willing to include his charismatic challenger in his
Cabinet in an effort to avoid weeks of political
impasse. But he said he didn't think Andres Manuel
Lopez Obrador would accept, adding that the two men
hadn't talked since the election.
A preliminary count showed Calderon, of President
Vicente Fox's conservative National Action Party,
ahead by just 1 percentage point. Lopez Obrador
demanded a recount of every ballot, saying Wednesday:
"The political stability of the country hangs in the
Lopez Obrador could mobilize millions if he doesn't
get his way. In a news conference Wednesday, Calderon
raised the possibility that he would do the same.
"We could also call for protests, but the vote can't
be replaced by demonstrations," he said. "They are
trying to undermine an election without having the
results to back it up."
Federal Electoral Institute President Luis Carlos
Ugalde said late Tuesday that 2.6 million votes were
not included in the preliminary count because of
"inconsistencies," such as poor handwriting or
extraneous marks on the tally sheets attached outside
each ballot box. Lopez Obrador had initially said
those 2.6 million were "missing."
If a review of the uncounted votes inside prove the
numbers on these tally sheets are valid, Calderon
would still lead, but by just 0.64 percent — about
250,000 of the 41 million votes cast, Ugalde said.
Electoral officials across Mexico began to review all
the tally sheets Wednesday, a process that by law must
continue around the clock until the final, official
result is determined. It was unclear when that might
The final count will be turned over to Mexico's
electoral courts, where political parties can dispute
the results. The electoral court is to certify the
winner Sept. 6.
Ugalde said officials would open ballot boxes to
conduct individual counts only where there are tally
In an initial meeting between electoral officials and
party representatives, Horacio Duarte of Lopez
Obrador's Democratic Revolution Party demanded that
officials recount all the votes "for the health of the
"There is one thing missing in this process:
certainty," Duarte said.
National Action's German Martinez responded, "They
want to throw out the election because it didn't favor
them. Pressure and blackmail should not prevail."
The review that began Wednesday is crucial to proving
the balloting was clean to a nation that emerged six
years ago from 71 years of one-party rule replete with
election fraud. Some fear that failure to convince the
public and candidates it was a fair vote could spark
widespread civil unrest.
"Such a close race is a nightmare scenario," said Ted
Lewis, an election observer for the San
Francisco-based Global Exchange. "If the ruling party
wins by a hair, a lot of people will jump to the
conclusion that something is amiss."
Lopez Obrador aide Claudia Sheinbaum said Wednesday
that the party found "very grave inconsistencies" in
at least 50,000 polling places, including 18,646 in
which votes cast outnumbered ballots distributed by
officials. There was no immediate response from
"The entire handling of the preliminary count was
irregular," Lopez Obrador told Mexico's TV Azteca in
an interview Tuesday night. "We are convinced that we
won and we're going to prove it."
Directing his remarks to electoral officials, he said,
"Make the review thorough so all will be satisfied.
Ugalde said officials will open up ballot boxes to
conduct individual counts only if there is evidence of
Mexico became accustomed to widespread accusations of
electoral shenanigans during seven decades of rule by
the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI.
Fears of such fraud have sharply diminished since the
electoral institute was founded in 1990s. The
now-autonomous institute oversaw Fox's peaceful defeat
of the PRI in 2000 and has been praised as a
world-class electoral body that has advised emerging
democracies, including Iraq and Haiti.
Many Mexicans have a hard time discarding conspiracy
"It's very suspicious," said Miguel Angel Bobadilla, a
33-year-old orange juice seller who voted for Lopez
Obrador. "It has been three days since the election
and they still haven't declared a winner."
The silver-haired former mayor of Mexico City has
inspired passionate support with promises to help
millions of poor Mexicans, and has successfully
rallied supporters to participate in huge marches.
He has not called for any demonstrations since the
election, although there were some scattered, peaceful
protests supporting him Tuesday.
Interior Secretary Carlos Abascal said Tuesday that
the Fox administration "does not endorse the victory
of anyone, at all."
But political analyst Jose Antonio Crespo said there
is still concern that some electoral officials are too
close to Calderon. He said the electoral institute
needs to be scrupulous in its review to prove Mexico's
"I am worried," Crespo said. "All the players must
tread very carefully or this situation could escalate
out of control."
On the Net:
Federal Electoral Institute: http://www.ife.org.mx
(has English language site)
Would have liked to have seen a similar reaction from
--- Greg Cannon <gregcannon1@...> wrote:
> Mexico begins review of presidential vote
> By IOAN GRILLO, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 49
> minutes ago
> MEXICO CITY - Mexico began a marathon review of vote
> tallies Wednesday to determine whether conservative
> candidate Felipe Calderon really won the tight
> presidential race, while his leftist challenger
> insisted he was victorious and denounced what he
> called widespread irregularities.
> Calderon told The Associated Press that he would be
> willing to include his charismatic challenger in his
> Cabinet in an effort to avoid weeks of political
> impasse. But he said he didn't think Andres Manuel
> Lopez Obrador would accept, adding that the two men
> hadn't talked since the election.
> A preliminary count showed Calderon, of President
> Vicente Fox's conservative National Action Party,
> ahead by just 1 percentage point. Lopez Obrador
> demanded a recount of every ballot, saying
> "The political stability of the country hangs in the
> Lopez Obrador could mobilize millions if he doesn't
> get his way. In a news conference Wednesday,
> raised the possibility that he would do the same.
> "We could also call for protests, but the vote can't
> be replaced by demonstrations," he said. "They are
> trying to undermine an election without having the
> results to back it up."
> Federal Electoral Institute President Luis Carlos
> Ugalde said late Tuesday that 2.6 million votes were
> not included in the preliminary count because of
> "inconsistencies," such as poor handwriting or
> extraneous marks on the tally sheets attached
> each ballot box. Lopez Obrador had initially said
> those 2.6 million were "missing."
> If a review of the uncounted votes inside prove the
> numbers on these tally sheets are valid, Calderon
> would still lead, but by just 0.64 percent — about
> 250,000 of the 41 million votes cast, Ugalde said.
> Electoral officials across Mexico began to review
> the tally sheets Wednesday, a process that by law
> continue around the clock until the final, official
> result is determined. It was unclear when that might
> The final count will be turned over to Mexico's
> electoral courts, where political parties can
> the results. The electoral court is to certify the
> winner Sept. 6.
> Ugalde said officials would open ballot boxes to
> conduct individual counts only where there are tally
> sheet problems.
> In an initial meeting between electoral officials
> party representatives, Horacio Duarte of Lopez
> Obrador's Democratic Revolution Party demanded that
> officials recount all the votes "for the health of
> "There is one thing missing in this process:
> certainty," Duarte said.
> National Action's German Martinez responded, "They
> want to throw out the election because it didn't
> them. Pressure and blackmail should not prevail."
> The review that began Wednesday is crucial to
> the balloting was clean to a nation that emerged six
> years ago from 71 years of one-party rule replete
> election fraud. Some fear that failure to convince
> public and candidates it was a fair vote could spark
> widespread civil unrest.
> "Such a close race is a nightmare scenario," said
> Lewis, an election observer for the San
> Francisco-based Global Exchange. "If the ruling
> wins by a hair, a lot of people will jump to the
> conclusion that something is amiss."
> Lopez Obrador aide Claudia Sheinbaum said Wednesday
> that the party found "very grave inconsistencies" in
> at least 50,000 polling places, including 18,646 in
> which votes cast outnumbered ballots distributed by
> officials. There was no immediate response from
> election officials.
> "The entire handling of the preliminary count was
> irregular," Lopez Obrador told Mexico's TV Azteca in
> an interview Tuesday night. "We are convinced that
> won and we're going to prove it."
> Directing his remarks to electoral officials, he
> "Make the review thorough so all will be satisfied.
> Ugalde said officials will open up ballot boxes to
> conduct individual counts only if there is evidence
> specific irregularities.
> Mexico became accustomed to widespread accusations
> electoral shenanigans during seven decades of rule
> the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI.
> Fears of such fraud have sharply diminished since
> electoral institute was founded in 1990s. The
> now-autonomous institute oversaw Fox's peaceful
> of the PRI in 2000 and has been praised as a
> world-class electoral body that has advised emerging
> democracies, including Iraq and Haiti.
> Many Mexicans have a hard time discarding conspiracy
> theories, though.
> "It's very suspicious," said Miguel Angel Bobadilla,
> 33-year-old orange juice seller who voted for Lopez
> Obrador. "It has been three days since the election
> and they still haven't declared a winner."
> The silver-haired former mayor of Mexico City has
> inspired passionate support with promises to help
> millions of poor Mexicans, and has successfully
> rallied supporters to participate in huge marches.
> He has not called for any demonstrations since the
> election, although there were some scattered,
> protests supporting him Tuesday.
> Interior Secretary Carlos Abascal said Tuesday that
> the Fox administration "does not endorse the victory
> of anyone, at all."
> But political analyst Jose Antonio Crespo said there
> is still concern that some electoral officials are
> close to Calderon. He said the electoral institute
> needs to be scrupulous in its review to prove
> democratic credentials.
> "I am worried," Crespo said. "All the players must
> tread very carefully or this situation could
> out of control."
> On the Net:
> Federal Electoral Institute: http://www.ife.org.mx
> (has English language site)
July 6, 2006, 11:54AM
Judge's ruling keeps DeLay on ballot
By R.G. RATCLIFFE
Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle
AUSTIN - A federal judge ruled today that Republicans
cannot replace former U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay on the
ballot for the 22nd Congressional District race.
U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks, a Republican
appointee, ruled that DeLay must appear on the Nov. 7
ballot as the GOP nominee for the congressional seat
that he abandoned last month.
Click to learn more...
Sparks said DeLay could "withdraw'' from the race
under Texas election law, but that still would not
allow the Republicans to replace him on the ballot.
DeLay had sought to have state Republican Chair Tina
Benkiser declare him ineligible by moving from Sugar
Land to his condominium in Virginia. But Sparks said
that would not make him ineligible because the
requirement under the Constitution is whether DeLay is
an inhabitant of Texas on election day.
Sparks said contradicting evidence raised questions
about whether DeLay planned to remain a resident of
Virginia, but he said that did not matter because
DeLay could not say where he would be on election day.
"The court holds that allowing Benkiser to declare
DeLay ineligible at this time would amount to a de
facto residency requirement in violation of the United
States Constitution,'' Sparks said in his opinion.
Sparks' ruling halts the process of replacing DeLay on
the ballot, but the GOP is expected to appeal the
decision to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.
If the Republicans lose on appeal, DeLay will have to
decide whether to campaign for an office from which he
already has resigned.
When he announced his resignation, DeLay said he
believed he could win re-election but thought he would
be a drag on other Republican candidates for office
because Democrats would use him as a lightening rod to
raise money and attack the GOP in general. So he
resigned and dropped his re-election bid.
Precinct chairs in the four counties of the 22nd
District already have started the process of selecting
a new nominee.
Republicans who have been vying for the seat are Sugar
Land lawyer Tom Campbell; state Reps. Charlie Howard
or Sugar Land and Robert Talton of Pasadena; state
Sen. Mike Jackson of Houston; Houston City
Councilwoman Shelley Sekula-Gibbs; Fort Bend County
Commissioner Andy Meyers; Sugar Land Mayor David
Wallace; retired Air Force Maj. Don Richardson; and
former state GOP executive committee member Tim
The Democratic nominee is former U.S. Rep. Nick
Lampson of Houston. The Libertarian Party is
represented by Bob Smither of Friendswood.
DeLay already had won the Republican nomination for
re-election to his district when he resigned from the
U.S. House on June 9. Benkiser declared DeLay
ineligible because he had become a resident of
Virginia, and she started the process of replacing
DeLay on the ballot.
The Texas Democratic Party sued, claiming Benkiser had
no authority to declare DeLay ineligible.
The Democrats said DeLay's eligibility is determined
by the U.S. Constitution as to which state DeLay is an
inhabitant of on election day, Nov. 7. They said DeLay
also could not withdraw from the race because state
law does not allow a party's nominee to withdraw when
another political party also has a nominee.
Republicans argued that Benkiser could declare DeLay
ineligible because the Constitution allows the states
to control the manner and means of the election. They
said that by changing his official residence to
Virginia, DeLay had made himself ineligible for the
Texas office, even though he still maintained a home
in Sugar Land.
DeLay last year had to give up his position as House
majority leader after being indicted in Austin on
campaign-finance related charges. DeLay said that
investigation was politically motivated by Democratic
District Attorney Ronnie Earle.
DeLay became a focus of national news reports in the
wake of the Jack Abramoff influence peddling scandal.
DeLay has maintained his innocence, but two of his
former aides have pleaded guilty to federal charges.
UN small arms conference ends in "total meltdown"
By Irwin Arieff 1 hour, 54 minutes ago
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - A U.N. meeting meant to
expand a five-year-old crackdown on the illicit global
trade in small arms ended in chaos on Friday as
delegates ran out of time without reaching agreement
on a plan for future action.
"There was a total meltdown at the end. You don't know
if it was a conspiracy or just a screw-up," said one
delegate, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Other delegates said negotiations had simply proceeded
too slowly, leaving too much to accomplish on the last
But Rebecca Peters of the London-based International
Action Network on Small Arms accused governments of
letting a few states "hold them all hostage and to
derail any plans which might have brought any
improvements in this global crisis."
IANSA identified the main players blocking agreement
as Cuba, India,
Iran, Pakistan and Russia. Other gun control activists
named China, Egypt and Venezuela as well.
The meeting was dogged from the start by zealous
members of the U.S. National Rifle Association, who
United Nations with letters falsely accusing it of
secretly plotting to take away Americans' guns on July
4, a U.N. holiday marking U.S. Independence Day when
delegates did not meet.
The George W. Bush administration, an ally of the
rifle association, set the tone from the start when
UnderSecretary of State for Arms Control Robert Joseph
laid out a long list of proposals that Washington
would not accept.
Joseph, however, said Washington was willing to
endorse a set of global principles aimed at keeping
small arms out of the hands of groups intent on human
rights abuse, genocide or breaking U.N. arms
The idea of tightening controls on international arms
transfers turned out to be a popular one, winning
support from 115 governments, IANSA's Anthea Lawson
But plans for a formal appeal for tougher controls
died at the meeting's end, although it was expected to
resurface later in the year in the 192-nation U.N.
The conference was called to update a 2001 action plan
against illegal small arms, which as defined by the
United Nations range from pistols and rifles to
grenades, mortars and shoulder-fired anti-aircraft
But two weeks of negotiations and speeches came to
"In my estimation, an agreed final declaration was
within grasp," said conference president Prasad
Kariyawasam, Sri Lanka's U.N. ambassador. But he said
the meeting had still succeeded by focusing attention
on the small arms issue.
July 08, 2006
Political collapse leaves twins in control of Poland
By Roger Boyes
THE identical Kaczynski twins, Europe’s most unusual
political partnership, last night took over the reins
of power in Poland after the Government collapsed.
Jaroslaw Kaczynski will take over as Prime Minister
from Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz, it was announced, ending
weeks of often bitter in-fighting within the
conservative Law and Justice Party. Mr Kaczynski, 57,
is older by a few minutes than Lech Kaczynski, who is
the country’s President.
Most Poles cannot tell them apart. One of the few
distinguishing marks is the cat hairs on the trousers
of Jaroslaw, who lives alone with his pets.
The immediate reason for the political crisis appears
to be talks held between Mr Marcinkiewicz and Donald
Tusk, leader of the opposition Civic Platform. The
governing coalition parties suspected that the Prime
Minister was trying to sound out the terms of a
possible new coalition. All trust appears to have
broken down between Mr Marcinkiewicz and one of his
key allies, the volatile Andrzej Lepper.
Jaroslaw Kaczynski has always tried to avoid becoming
Prime Minister because of the apparent absurdity of
having two identical brothers running the country. But
the present crisis has left him no choice: without
him, the right-wing conservative alliance would have
It has already become one of the most controversial
governments in the region. Although the Law and
Justice-led government is committed to market reform,,
its strident nationalism and commitment to Catholic
values has given it the reputation of being the least
tolerant nation in Eastern Europe.
The twins are on the same political wavelength. Both
are sceptical of a more deeply integrated European
Union, and both are thin-skinned about what they see
as slighting behaviour by Poland’s big neighbours,
Germany and Russia.
The latest dispute this week saw President Kaczynski
refusing to turn up at a trilateral meeting in Weimar
with Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, and
President Chirac of France. He claimed to have a
stomach ailment. Most observers, however, believe he
was upset by a satirical attack on him carried by a
low-circulation left-wing German newspaper.
DeLay Suggests He Might Not Retire
Jul 7, 9:10 PM (ET)
SUGAR LAND, Texas (AP) - Former U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay
suggested Friday that he may not be ready for
retirement just yet, a day after a federal judge ruled
that his name must remain on the November ballot even
though he resigned from Congress.
DeLay, who came home to Sugar Land for a previously
scheduled event, also criticized U.S. District Judge
Sam Sparks' ruling that the former House majority
leader's name had to remain on the ballot.
"For this guy to say he can't tell where I'm going to
be on Election Day, and that I am forced to be on the
ballot, well, they may get exactly what they want,"
DeLay told supporters to raucous applause. Sparks is a
Democrat appointed by Republican former President
Later, reporters asked Delay if he now planned to run.
He didn't say no.
"We have to wait and see what the 5th Circuit does on
appeal," he said.
The Texas Republican Party appealed to the 5th Circuit
Court of Appeals in New Orleans immediately after
Sparks' ruling Thursday in Austin. Attorney Jim Bopp
said he hoped to have a decision from the higher court
this month, allowing the GOP to nominate a new
DeLay, who is awaiting trial on Texas charges of money
laundering and conspiracy in a campaign finance case,
won the Republican primary in March but resigned from
Congress on June 9 and said he has moved to Virginia.
He still owns - and his wife, Christine, still lives
in - his Sugar Land house, where DeLay also spends
time, the Democrats pointed out.
Democrats want to keep his name and his legal troubles
on the minds of voters as Democrat Nick Lampson tries
to capture DeLay's 22nd congressional district seat in
suburban Houston. The party sued to keep the GOP from
removing DeLay's name from the ballot.
Republicans want to name a replacement nominee, and
several prominent Houston area politicians are vying
for the spot.
The U.S. Constitution states a member of Congress on
Election Day must be an inhabitant of the state where
his district is located. Sparks said he was not
convinced that DeLay would not return to Texas.
Japan Considers Strike Against N. Korea
Jul 10, 8:58 AM (ET)
By MARI YAMAGUCHI
TOKYO (AP) - Japan said Monday it was considering
whether a pre-emptive strike on the North's missile
bases would violate its constitution, signaling a
hardening stance ahead of a possible U.N. Security
Council vote on Tokyo's proposal for sanctions against
Japan was badly rattled by North Korea's missile tests
last week and several government officials openly
discussed whether the country ought to take steps to
better defend itself, including setting up the legal
framework to allow Tokyo to launch a pre-emptive
strike against Northern missile sites.
"If we accept that there is no other option to prevent
an attack ... there is the view that attacking the
launch base of the guided missiles is within the
constitutional right of self-defense. We need to
deepen discussion," Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe
Japan's constitution currently bars the use of
military force in settling international disputes and
prohibits Japan from maintaining a military for
warfare. Tokyo has interpreted that to mean it can
have armed troops to protect itself, allowing the
existence of its 240,000-strong Self-Defense Forces.
A Defense Agency spokeswoman, however, said Japan has
no attacking weapons such as ballistic missiles that
could reach North Korea. Its forces only have
ground-to-air missiles and ground-to-vessel missiles,
she said on condition of anonymity due to official
Despite resistance from China and Russia, Japan has
pushed for a U.N. Security Council resolution that
would prohibit nations from procuring missiles or
missile-related "items, materials goods and
technology" from North Korea. A vote was possible in
New York later Monday, but Japan said it would not
insist on one.
"It's important for the international community to
express a strong will in response to the North Korean
missile launches," Abe said. "This resolution is an
effective way of expressing that."
China and Russia, both nations with veto power on the
council, have voiced opposition to the measure. Kyodo
News agency reported Monday, citing unnamed Chinese
diplomatic sources, that China may use its veto on the
Security Council to block the resolution.
The United States, Britain and France have expressed
support for the proposal, while Japanese Foreign
Minister Taro Aso has said there is a possibility that
Russia will abstain.
South Korea, not a council member, has not publicly
taken a position on the resolution, but on Sunday
Seoul rebuked Japan for its outspoken criticism of the
"There is no reason to fuss over this from the break
of dawn like Japan, but every reason to do the
opposite," a statement from President Roh Moo-hyun's
office said, suggesting that Tokyo was contributing to
tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
Abe said Monday it was "regrettable" that South Korea
had accused Japan of overreacting.
"There is no mistake that the missile launch ... is a
threat to Japan and the region. It is only natural for
Japan to take measures of risk management against such
a threat," Abe said.
Meanwhile, a Chinese delegation including the
country's top nuclear envoy - Vice Foreign Minister Wu
Dawei - arrived in North Korea on Monday, officially
to attend celebrations marking the 45th anniversary of
a friendship treaty between the North and China.
The U.S. is urging Beijing to push its communist ally
back into six-party nuclear disarmament talks, but the
Chinese government has not said whether Wu would bring
up the negotiations. A ministry spokeswoman said last
week that China was "making assiduous efforts" in
pushing for the talks to resume.
Talks have been deadlocked since November because of a
boycott by Pyongyang in protest of a crackdown by
Washington on the regime's alleged money-laundering
and other financial crimes.
Beijing has suggested an informal gathering of the six
nations, which could allow the North to technically
stand by its boycott, but at the same time meet with
the other five parties - South Korea, China, the U.S.,
Japan and Russia. The U.S. has backed the idea and
said Washington could meet with the North on the
sidelines of such a meeting.
Still, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher
Hill questioned just how influential Beijing was with
the enigmatic regime.
"I must say the issue of China's influence on DPRK is
one that concerns us," Hill told reporters in Tokyo.
"China said to the DPRK, 'Don't fire those missiles,'
but the DPRK fired them. So I think everybody,
especially the Chinese, are a little bit worried about
The DPRK refers to the North's official name, the
Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
Hill is touring the region to coordinate strategy on
North Korea. He has emphasized the need for countries
involved to present a united front.
"We want to make it very clear that we all speak in
one voice on this provocative action by the North
Koreans to launch missiles in all shapes and sizes,"
Hill said. "We want to make it clear to North Korea
that what it did was really unacceptable."
Associated Press writers Audra Ang in Beijing and
Chisaki Watanabe in Tokyo contributed to this report.
Does he have a choice?
Judge rules Capitol Hill raid was legal
House lawyers charged FBI search violated separation
Monday, July 10, 2006; Posted: 5:26 p.m. EDT (21:26
WASHINGTON (AP) -- An FBI raid on a Louisiana
congressman's Capitol Hill office was legal, a federal
judge ruled Monday.
Chief U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan said members
of Congress are not above the law. He rejected
requests from lawmakers and Democratic Rep. William
Jefferson to return material seized by the FBI in a
May 20-21 search of Jefferson's office.
In a 28-page opinion, Hogan dismissed arguments that
the first-ever raid on a congressman's office violated
the Constitution's protections against intimidation of
elected officials.(Opinionexternal link -- PDF)
Jefferson's theory of legislative privilege "would
have the effect of converting every congressional
office into a taxpayer-subsidized sanctuary for
crime," the judge said.
Hogan acknowledged the "unprecedented" nature of the
case but said "a Member of Congress is generally bound
to the operation of the criminal laws as are ordinary
Congress' effectiveness "is not threatened by
permitting congressional offices to be searched
pursuant to validly issued search warrants," said
Hogan, who had approved the FBI's request to conduct
the overnight search of Jefferson's office.
Jefferson had sought the return of several computer
hard drives, floppy disks and two boxes of paper
documents that FBI agents seized during an 18-hour
search of his Rayburn Building office.
At issue was a constitutional provision known as the
speech and debate clause, which protects elected
officials from being questioned by the president, a
prosecutor or a plaintiff in a lawsuit about their
"No one argues that the warrant executed upon
Congressman Jefferson's office was not properly
administered," Hogan wrote. "Therefore, there was no
impermissible intrusion on the Legislature. The fact
that some privileged material was incidentally
captured by the search does not constitute an unlawful
The raid on Jefferson's office angered members of
Congress, some of whom threatened to retaliate by
tinkering with the FBI and Justice Department budgets.
President Bush stepped in and ordered the solicitor
general to take custody of the seized materials so
Congress and the Justice Department could work out
procedures to deal with similar situations in the
The president's 45-day "cooling off period" ended
Sunday with no compromise worked out but with
assurances from the Justice Department that it would
not seek to regain custody of the materials until
Hogan ruled on Jefferson's request.
Because Hogan signed the search warrant authorizing
the search, Jefferson's legal team was not surprised
by his ruling upholding it.
"While a Congressman is not above the law, the
executive branch must also follow the law," said
Jefferson's lawyer, Robert Trout. "We appreciate the
consideration the judge accorded our motion for the
return of the seized property, but we respectfully
disagree with his conclusion, and we intend to appeal
Hogan said a search warrant seeking material is very
different than a subpoena seeking testimony.
"Jefferson may never be questioned regarding his
legitimate legislative activities, is immune from
civil or criminal liability for those activities, and
no privileged material may ever be used against him in
court," the judge wrote.
Jefferson has been under investigation since March
2005 for allegedly using his position to promote the
sale of telecommunications equipment and services
offered by iGate, a Louisville-based firm, that sought
contracts with Nigeria, Ghana and other African
In return for his help, Jefferson allegedly demanded
stock and cash payments. Jefferson has not been
charged and has denied wrongdoing.
An affidavit filed with Hogan to justify the May
search says the FBI videotaped Jefferson in August
2005 accepting $100,000 from a business executive, who
actually was a government informant. The FBI said it
subsequently recovered $90,000 from a freezer at
A bipartisan group of House leaders told Hogan in a
court filing that the Justice Department had
overstepped its authority by prohibiting Jefferson's
private lawyer, House counsel and the Capitol Police
from observing the search of Jefferson's office.
They also complained that agents showed up at the
Rayburn Office Building unannounced and demanded that
the Capitol Police chief let them into Jefferson's
office immediately or they would "pick the office door
Hogan said investigators don't have to seek approval
from elected officials or their lawyers to seize
possible proof of a crime.
"The power to determine the scope of one's own
privilege is not available to any other person,
including members of the co-equal branches of
government: federal judges ... or the President of the
United States," the judge said.
He also said judges have a legitimate role to play in
ensuring prosecutors don't overstep their authority in
"A federal judge is not a mere rubber stamp in the
warrant process, but rather an independent and neutral
official sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution,"
U.S. will give detainees Geneva rights
By ANNE PLUMMER FLAHERTY, Associated Press Writer 16
WASHINGTON - The Bush administration said Tuesday that
all detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and in all
other U.S. military custody around the world are
entitled to protections under the Geneva Conventions.
White House spokesman Tony Snow said the policy,
outlined in a new Defense Department memo, reflects
the recent 5-3 Supreme Court decision blocking
military tribunals set up by
The policy, described in a memo by Deputy Defense
Secretary Gordon England, appears to reverse the
administration's earlier insistence that the detainees
are not prisoners of war and thus subject to the
Word of the Bush administration's new stance came as
the Senate Judiciary Committee opened hearings Tuesday
on the Guantanamo issue — which is testing unity among
Republicans on Capitol Hill, with lawmakers trying to
decide in an election season how military detainees
should be tried and what their rights should be.
Snow insisted that all U.S. detainees have been
treated humanely. Still, he said, "We want to get it
"It's not really a reversal of policy," Snow asserted,
calling the Supreme Court decision "complex."
He said efforts to spell out more clearly the rights
of detainees does not change the president's
determination to work with Congress to enable the
administration to proceed with the military tribunals,
or commissions. The goal is "to find a way to properly
do this in a way consistent with national security,"
Snow said that the instruction manuals used by the
Department of Defense already comply with the
humane-treatment provisions of Article 3 of the Geneva
Conventions. They are currently being updated to
reflect legislation passed by Congress and sponsored
by Sen. John McCain (news, bio, voting record),
R-Ariz., to more expressly rule out torture.
"The administration intends to work with Congress,"
"We want to fulfill the mandates of justice, making
sure we find a way properly to try people who have
been plucked off the battlefields who are not
combatants in the traditional sense," he said.
"The Supreme Court pretty much said it's over to you
guys (the administration and Congress) to figure out
how to do this. And that is where this is headed. And
we look forward to working with Congress on this."
Our expectations have gotten so low that a $300 billion annual budget
deficit and obeying the Geneva Convention are might good news to us.
Lebanon says it doesn't control Hezbollah
By HAMZA HENDAWI, Associated Press Writer Thu Jul 13,
5:58 PM ET
BEIRUT, Lebanon - Israel has held Lebanese leaders
responsible for Hezbollah's capture of two soldiers,
but the government here says it has no real control
over the guerrillas — and taking action to rein them
in could tear the country apart.
Wracked by divisions over relations with Syria, the
Western-backed government of Prime Minister Fuad
Saniora has yet to muster the political will, or the
courage, to disarm the guerrillas of the Shiite
Hezbollah, allowing them to continue to operate with
almost total autonomy in southern Lebanon.
Successive Lebanese governments have maintained that
replacing the guerrillas by Lebanese army troops would
be tantamount to offering Israel a free service —
protecting its northern border from guerrilla attacks.
Many in Lebanon — particularly opponents of its ally
Syria — resent Hezbollah's free hand and feel that the
government should do more to assert its authority.
However, the dangers of taking on the group over its
arms and the state-within-state role it has assumed in
southern Lebanon carries serious risks.
"The 'state of Lebanon' held responsible by Israel for
yesterday's Hezbollah operation does not exist and may
never exist in the foreseeable future," wrote Sarkis
Naoum, political editor of the Beirut daily An-Nahar,
in a column Thursday.
"How can such a state exist when the war-and-peace
decision is not in its hands and its influence on the
Lebanese who have it, that's if indeed they have it,
is little or in fact nonexistent?"
Denouncing Hezbollah as a "group of terrorists,"
President Bush alluded to the weakness of the Lebanese
government in comments made in Germany on Thursday. He
said Israel had a right to defend itself, but also
expressed worries the Israeli assault could cause the
fall of Lebanon's anti-Syrian government.
"We're concerned about the fragile democracy in
Lebanon," he said.
The Syrian- and Iranian-backed Hezbollah is seen by
Lebanon's 1.2 million Shiite Muslims, the largest
single community among Lebanon's diverse 4 million
people, as the fruition of a long and painful journey
to empowerment, emerging from the fringes of a society
long dominated by Christians and Sunni Muslims to
become a power to be reckoned with in the last 30
With the name Hezbollah, or party of God, almost
synonymous now with Lebanese Shiites, any attempt to
disarm the organization or undermine its leverage in
the Shiite-dominated south and east of Lebanon could
firmly place Lebanon on the road to a second civil
war, with the Shiites sure to feel that others are
seeking to send them back to the political wilderness.
Disarming Hezbollah, listed as a terrorist
organization by the United States, was called for in a
U.N. Security Council resolution adopted in 2004, but
Lebanese authorities, perhaps with an eye on the
consequences of any unilateral action, have not
implemented it, trying instead to reach national
consensus on the issue.
Hezbollah's charismatic leader, Sheik Hassan
Nasrallah, has presented Lebanese leaders with a
blueprint for a strategic defense strategy. The
document, of which very little is known, remains on
the agenda of national reconciliation talks that have
made little progress since they started in March.
Still, the government has sought to distance itself
from Hezbollah's latest action, saying it did not know
in advance of the cross-border raid and doesn't
Anticipating the government's stance, Nasrallah served
it a warning Wednesday. "No one at home should act in
a way that encourages the enemy to escalate against
Lebanon," he told a news conference, adding that
Hezbollah had no intention to drag Lebanon or the
entire region to war.
Nasrallah, a cleric, has in the past used strong
language when touching on the question of disarmament,
recently warning that anyone who attempts to
unilaterally take away his guerrillas' arms would have
his arm cut off and eyes gauged.
Founded in 1982 with Iranian help, Hezbollah has
evolved from a secretive group linked to a series of
suicide bombings targeting U.S. installations in
Lebanon and the kidnapping of some 50 Westerners in
the 1980s. It later became a national resistance
movement, waging a war of attrition against Israeli
forces occupying a southern Lebanon border strip.
Faced with rising casualties, Israel withdrew its army
in 2000, ending a 22-year military presence there.
The withdrawal crowned Hezbollah as a heroic
organization seen by many Lebanese as a liberator that
won back territory without negotiations or
concessions. The group has since focused on charity
work in the south and the eastern Bekaa Valley,
operating schools, hospitals, dental clinics and
rebuilding roads and houses destroyed in fighting in
It continues to fight for a small, disputed border
area, the Chebaa Farms, through sporadic attacks in
the area. But its association with Syria, widely
blamed in Lebanon for the assassination last year of
former prime minister Rafik Harairi, has hurt its standing.
Jul 14, 12:18 PM EDT
State, LULAC submit ideas for new Texas congressional
By APRIL CASTRO
Associated Press Writer
AUSTIN (AP) -- Texas Republicans proposed Friday a
congressional map that puts Laredo back into the same
district, creating a new, vast West Texas district.
If U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Democrat from Laredo,
chooses to run in his home county, he would take over
the district now represented by Republican Henry
The Supreme Court ruled that district unconstitutional
because it split Laredo in two, diluting the voting
strength of the city that is 94 percent Hispanic.
The state's plan is one of several being submitted to
a three-judge federal panel by Friday's deadline. The
panel must determine what congressional voting lines
will be used in November's election.
Cuellar, would be placed in a district that stretches
from the eastern edge of El Paso through West Texas,
curves around San Antonio's southern edge and heads
south to Laredo.
The state's plan would create a new 23rd District from
Blanco, Kendall and Kerr County, allowing Bonilla to
run in a district centered in the conservative Hill
Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz said the state's plan
"would correct the Supreme Court's legal concerns
regarding district 23, and otherwise fully respect the
legislative preferences of the already enacted
Cruz noted that 28 congressional districts were left
unaltered, tinkering only with the 23rd District and
three adjoining ones.
The federal panel has scheduled oral arguments for
Aug. 3 in Austin.
The League of United Latin American Citizens proposed
to make seven of the state's 32 congressional
districts majority Hispanic, including the
unconstitutional West Texas district.
Both LULAC proposals would put the city of Laredo back
into one congressional district: One proposal puts it
in the 23rd, represented now by Bonilla; the other
would put it in the 28th Congressional District, now
Putting all of Laredo back into the 23rd district
could pit Bonilla against Cuellar, who is from Laredo.
The state, the Mexican American Legal Defense and
Educational Fund and other Democratic and minority
right's activists were expected to submit their maps
A MALDEF attorney said its proposed map did not tackle
politics, though the redistricting process is
traditionally one of the most politically charged
issues lawmakers take up.
"Our map was aimed at meeting the mandate of the
Supreme Court, thereby protecting the rights of
Latinos, not protecting any political party or any
political calculations," said MALDEF attorney Luis
Figueroa. "We were focused on ... protecting those
Latinos whose rights were infringed by the previous
The high court did not set a deadline for a new map,
but changes would have to be made soon to be effective
in the November general election.
The GOP-controlled Legislature redrew the map in 2003
to put more Republicans in office.
Democrats and minority groups sued the state, accusing
Republicans of an unconstitutional power grab in
drawing boundaries that booted four Democrats from
office. The district boundaries were effective for the
2004 congressional elections.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, whose office
defended the state before the court, argued that the
redrawn boundaries reflect the preferences of Texas
voters. Abbott spokeswoman Angela Hale said the office
would submit a proposed substitute on Friday, but
would not comment on it.
On the Web:
After Challenges, House Approves Renewal of Voting Act
By RAYMOND HERNANDEZ
Published: July 14, 2006
WASHINGTON, July 13 — The House voted overwhelmingly
on Thursday to renew expiring provisions of the Voting
Rights Act after supporters of it defeated challenges
mounted by conservative opponents.
The 390-to-33 vote on the landmark civil rights act
capped a day of impassioned debate that heightened the
politically charged atmosphere surrounding race and
ethnicity, already aggravated by the recent fight in
Congress over immigration.
In urging adoption of the act, Representative John
Lewis, Democrat of Georgia, recalled marching on
Bloody Sunday, a turning point in the movement for
black voting rights in 1965, when the police in Selma,
Ala., beat 600 civil rights demonstrators.
“I gave blood,” Mr. Lewis said, his voice rising, as
he stood alongside photographs of the clash. “Some of
my colleagues gave their very lives.”
“Yes, we’ve made some progress; we have come a
distance,” he added. “The sad truth is, discrimination
still exists. That’s why we still need the Voting
Rights Act, and we must not go back to the dark past.”
For weeks, the outcome of the battle to extend the act
had been in doubt. Republican leaders had planned a
vote in June. But they abruptly canceled it after
conservative lawmakers objected to several provisions
of the act, including one that requires the Justice
Department to review any proposed changes to voting
procedures in states covered by the law, most of them
in the South. They said the provisions were
The rebellion was an embarrassment for the Republican
leadership. In early May, House and Senate leaders of
both parties assembled on the steps of the Capitol to
pledge their support for the act and celebrate what
they described as its imminent approval. President
Bush had also thrown his support behind it.
To mollify those conservatives, House leaders agreed
to allow them to offer four amendments on Thursday,
including one that would have required the Justice
Department to demonstrate why the voting procedures in
certain states should still be under federal
Representative Phil Gingrey, Republican of Georgia,
argued that his state, for one, had made great strides
in voting rights for minorities. “A lot has changed in
40-plus years,” Mr. Gingrey said. “We should have a
law that fits the world in 2006.”
But in the end, Republicans joined with Democrats to
defeat the amendments, allowing both parties to cast
themselves as champions of minority voters.
“This legislation proves our unbending commitment to
voting rights,” said Representative F. James
Sensenbrenner Jr., Republican of Wisconsin and
chairman of the Judiciary Committee.
The focus now shifts to the Senate, where the
Judiciary Committee is expected to take up the Voting
Rights Act next week.
Senate Democrats urged quick passage.
“For two months, we have wasted precious time as the
Republican leadership played to its conservative
base,” said Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the
Democratic leader. “There are only 21 legislative days
left in this Congress, and the time to act is now.”‘
President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights
Act into law in August 1965 after a string of violence
in Southern states surrounding efforts to ensure that
blacks were afforded full rights to vote.
The law instituted a nationwide prohibition against
voting discrimination based on race, eliminated poll
taxes and literacy tests and put added safeguards in
regions where discrimination had been especially
Those included the requirement for the Justice
Department to review any proposed changes to voting
procedures to determine whether they would be
discriminatory. That “preclearance” requirement would
be retained for the nine states entirely covered by
the law, most of them in the South, and parts of seven
While critics of that requirement say it is now
outdated, supporters of the act said the history of
discrimination in those particular states justified
their status. Beyond that, they argued that leaders
who believed their states or localities should be
exempt from the requirements could apply to “bail out”
through a federal review.
On the floor Thursday, many Democrats, as well as
Republicans, denounced the amendments offered by
conservatives as an effort to derail renewal of the
act. Democrats had warned from the start that they
would vote against the act if any of the amendments
were tacked on to it.
“Their goal has been one thing and one thing only: to
kill the Voting Rights Act,” said Representative David
Scott, Democrat of Georgia.
Another provision of the act that drew fire from
conservatives requires bilingual ballots in political
jurisdictions with a high number of citizens who have
difficulty with English. Representative Steve King,
Republican of Iowa, offered an amendment that would
have eliminated it.
Mr. King and his supporters argued that naturalized
citizens should have had to prove English proficiency
as part of their citizenship test. In the end the
amendment, which would have allowed local voting
officials to provide language assistance at the polls,
was defeated 238 to 185.
“This is multiculturalism at its worst,”
Representative Dana Rohrabacher, Republican of
California, said, referring to bilingual ballots.
“When we come from various ethnic groups and races,
what unites us? It’s our language, the English
language. We’re hurting America by making it easier
for people not to learn English.”
> "Long ago, there was a noble word, liberal, which derives from the
> word free. Now a strange thing happened to that word. A man named
> Hitler made it a term of abuse, a matter of suspicion, because those
> who were not with him were against him, and liberals had no use for
> Hitler. And then another man named McCarthy cast the same opprobrium
> on the word. Indeed, there was a time - a short but dismaying time -
> when many Americans began to distrust the word which derived from
> free." - Eleanor Roosevelt, Tomorrow Is Now
Some 40 years later, a new generation of Hitlers and McCarthies are
still demonizing the word "liberal" when love and peace and tolerance
are needed more than ever in our world. How much does it take for
people to wake up?
The following is an excerpt from a John Dean interview
by Keith Olbermann on last Monday's "Countdown."
John Dean warns us that we are much closer to fascism
than this nation has ever been before... fascinating
stuff from the former Nixon staffer:
Olbermann: "It's interesting there was so much
personal in that letter from Mr. Hoekstra to Mr. Bush,
that it seemed that there was as much offense taken
that he personally, Mr. Hoekstra did not know what Mr.
Bush's people were doing as any violation of law
there. Does this sort of segue us into the topic of
the book, that there's way too much personal going on
here rather than politically professional?"
John Dean: "Well, I think, you know, the question is
really what had happened at the presidential or the
vice-presidential level. A lot of these efforts to
withhold information from the Congress are really
coming out Cheney's office. It may well be his office
giving instructions, and the President might have
given Hoekstra an assurance, 'Hey, I'm going to give
you everything I've got when I got it,' and he might
have been offended by that. So it's hard to tell. We
don't have enough facts yet, but to say again to the
end of the book there certainly are a number of
conservatives up there who will march in lockstep when
they get the word from the authority they are expected
Olbermann: "That would be the thesis of the book, and
we'll go into that at length, but I wanted to start at
the very beginning. You dedicated this book to Barry
Goldwater. What would he, in your opinion, having
known him and having dealt with him on these political
issues, have thought of the current conservative
movement as it has become? And what would the
conservative movement have thought of him at this
point? What do they think of him now?"
Dean: "Well, that's a, I think right now we can say --
in fact, I discuss this in the book -- that Goldwater
Republicanism is really RIP. It's been put to rest by
most of the people who are now active in moving the
movement further to the right than it's ever been. I
think the Senator before he departed was very
distressed with conservatism. In fact, it was our
conversations back in 1994 that started this book.
It's really where I began. We wanted to find answers
to the questions as to why Republicans were acting as
they were, why conservatives had taken over the party
and were being followed, you know, as easily as they
were in taking the party where he didn't think it
Olbermann: "What did you find? In less than 200 pages
that the book goes to?"
Dean: "I ran into a massive study that had really been
going on for 50 years now, by academics, they've never
really shared this with the general public. It's
remarkable analysis of the authoritarian personality,
both those who are inclined to follow leaders and
those who jump in front and want to be the leaders. It
was not the opinion of social scientists. It was
information they drew by questioning large numbers of
people, hundreds of thousands of people, in anonymous
testing where they conceded, you know, their innermost
feelings and reactions to things. And it turned out
that these people were, most of these that came out in
the testing were people who had been prequalified to
be conservatives, and then they found that this indeed
fit with the authoritarian personality."
Olbermann: "Does it really, do the studies indicate
that it really has anything to do with the political
point-of-view? Is it, would it be easier to
essentially superimpose authoritarianism over the
right than it would the left? Is it theoretically
possible that they could have gone in either direction
and it's just a question of people who like to follow
Dean: "They have found really maybe a small, one
percent of the left who follow authoritarianism,
probably the far left. But as far as widespread
testing, it is just overwhelmingly conservative
Olbermann: "There is an extraordinary amount of
academic work that you quote in the book. A lot of it
is very unsettling. It deals with psychological
principles that are frightening and that may have
faced other nations at other times in Germany and
Italy in the 30s coming to mind in particular. How
does it apply now? And to what degree should it scare
us? And to what degree is it something that might
still be forestalled?"
Dean: "Well, to me it was something of an epiphany to
run into this information. First, I'd never read about
it before, I'd sort of worked my way into it until I
found it. It's not generally known out there what's
going on. And I think from best we can tell, these
people, the followers, a few of them will change their
ways when they realize what they're doing. They're not
even aware of their behavior. The leaders, those who
were inclined to dominate, are not going to change a
second. They're going to be what they are. So, by and
large, the reason I write about this is I think we
need to understand it and realize when you take a
certain step and vote a certain way and head in a
certain direction where this can end up. So it's sort
of a cautionary note. It's a warning as to where this
can go because other countries have gone there."
Olbermann: "And the idea of leaders and followers
going down this path and perhaps taking a country with
them requires, this whole edifice requires an enemy --
communism, al-Qaeda, Democrats, me, whoever -- for the
two minutes hate. I mean, there is, we overuse, I
overuse the Orwellian analogies to nauseating
proportions, but it really was, in reading what you
wrote about, and especially what the academics talked
about there was that two minutes hate thing. There has
to be an opponent, an enemy to coalesce around or the
whole thing falls apart. So is that the gist of it?"
Dean: "It is one of the things that, believe it or
not, still holds conservatism together because there
are many factions in conservatism, and their dislike
or hatred of those they portray as liberal, who will
be anybody who basically disagrees with them, is one
of the cohesive factors. There are a few others, but
that's certainly one of the basics. There's no
question that the, particularly the followers, they're
terribly very aggressive in their effort to pursue and
help their authority figure out, or there authority
beliefs out. They will do whatever needs to be done in
many regards. They will blindly follow. They stay
loyal too long. And this is the frightening part of
Olbermann: "Let me read something from the book. Let
me read this one quote, then I have a question about
it. 'Many people believe that neoconservatives and
many Republicans appreciate that they are more likely
to maintain influence and control of the presidency if
the nation remains under ever-increasing threats of
terrorism, so they have no hesitation in pursuing
policies that can provoke potential terrorists
throughout the world.' That's ominous not just in the
sense that authoritarians involved in conservatism and
now Republicanism would politicize counterterror here,
which we've already argued that point on many
occasions. But are you actually saying here they would
set up, encourage terrorism from other countries to
set them up as a bogeyman to have again that group to
hate here, that group to more importantly afraid of
Dean: "What I'm saying is that there has been fear
mongering the likes of which we have not seen in a
long time in this country. It happened early in the
Cold War. We got accustomed to it, we learned to live
with it, we learned to understand what it was about
and get it in proportion. We haven't done that yet
with terrorism. And this administration is really
capitalizing on it and using it for its political
advantage. No question, the academic testing shows,
the empirical evidence shows that when people are
frightened, they tend to go to these authority
figures, they tend to become more conservative. So
it's paid off for them politically to do this."
Olbermann: "This all seems to require not merely
venality or immorality, but a kind of amorality where
morals don't enter into it at all. We're right, so
anything we do to preserve our process, our power,
even if it by itself is wrong, it's right in the
greater sense. It's that wonderful rationalization
that everybody uses in small doses throughout their
lives. But is this idea, this sort of psychological
review of the whole thing, does it apply to Dick
Cheney? Does it apply to George Bush? Does it apply to
Bill Frist? Who are the names on these authoritarian
Dean: "You just named three that I discuss in some
length in the book. I focused in the book not on the
Bush administration and Cheney and the President, but
I, because they really, I've been there, done that.
But I wanted to understand is what they have done is
they've made it legitimate to have authoritarianism.
It was already operating on Capitol Hill. After the
'94 control by the Republicans of the Congress, it
recreated the mood, it restructured the Congress
itself in a very authoritarian style, in the House in
particular. The Senate hasn't gone there yet, but it's
going there because more House members are moving
over. This atmosphere is what Bush and Cheney walked
into. They are authoritarian personalities, Cheney
much more so than Bush."
Dean: "And they have made it legitimate and they have
taken it way past where anybody's ever taken it in the
Olbermann: "Our society's best defense against that is
what? Do we have to hope that, as you suggested, the
people who follow wise up and break away from this
sort of lockstep salute that, well of course they're
right, of course there's WMD, of course there are
terrorists, of course there's al-Qaeda, of course
everything is the way the President says it, or do we
rely on the hope that these are fanatics and fanatics
always screw up because they would rather believe in
their own cause than double-check their own math?"
Dean: "The lead researcher in this field told me, he
said I look at the numbers in the United States and I
see about 23 percent of the population who are pure
right-wing authoritarian followers. They're not going
to change. They're going to march over the cliff. The
best thing to deal with them, and they're growing, and
they have a tremendous influence on Republican
politics. The best thing, the best defense is
understanding them, to realize what they're doing, how
they're doing it, and how they operate. Then it can be
kept in perspective. Then they can be seen for what
Olbermann: "Did any of this ring familiar to you from
the Nixon administration? Or is this a different
Dean: "No, I must say that about everything that went
wrong with Watergate, you could really count to
authoritarianism, as well."
Olbermann: "Give me an example. In other words, not
getting away with it was a result of it, too?"
Dean: "Take Gordon Liddy and his following whatever
Nixon wants, even a hint of anything he wants. Salute,
yes sir, let's do it."
Olbermann: "And the story that he has told about you
and you've told about him about him saying I have all
of this knowledge in my brain that could bring the
President of the United States down, tell me to go and
stand in a corner and what was the rest of it?"
Dean: "Tell me where you want me shot. He said I don't
want you shooting me in my house because I've got
children. But shoot me on the street corner. That's a
loyal right-wing authoritarian follower in action at
Olbermann: "You've been an historian, you've been a
part of history. You've been at one of the central
moments of history in the 20th century. What kind of
danger, are we facing a legitimate threat to the
concept of democracy in this country?"
Dean: "I don't think we're in a fascist road right
now. We are so close to it though, Keith. That's why I
wrote the book. Because I want people to understand
exactly what is going on and why it's going on."
Olbermann: "It is an extraordinary document. All the
best with it. John Dean, former counsel, White House
counsel to Richard Nixon, author of the new book,
Conservatives without Conscience. As always, sir,
great thanks for coming in."
--- Ram Lau <ramlau@...> wrote:
> > "Long ago, there was a noble word, liberal, which
> derives from the
> > word free. Now a strange thing happened to that
> word. A man named
> > Hitler made it a term of abuse, a matter of
> suspicion, because those
> > who were not with him were against him, and
> liberals had no use for
> > Hitler. And then another man named McCarthy cast
> the same opprobrium
> > on the word. Indeed, there was a time - a short
> but dismaying time -
> > when many Americans began to distrust the word
> which derived from
> > free." - Eleanor Roosevelt, Tomorrow Is Now
> Some 40 years later, a new generation of Hitlers and
> McCarthies are
> still demonizing the word "liberal" when love and
> peace and tolerance
> are needed more than ever in our world. How much
> does it take for
> people to wake up?
Excerpt of the peech given by Howard Zinn in Rome, 6/23/2005
In the United States, every year at the end of May, we celebrate
Memorial Day, which is dedicated to the memory of all those who have
died in the nations' wars.
It is a day when bugles blow, and flags are unfurled, and you hear
politicians and editorial writers say, again and again: "They gave
their lives for their country."
There is a double lie in that short sentence. First, those who died in
war did not give their lives – their lives were taken from them by the
politicians who sent them to war, politicians who now bow their heads
on Memorial Day.
Second, they did not give their lives for "their country" but for the
government – in the present instance for Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld
and the corporate executives of Halliburton and Bechtel – all of whom
are profiting, either financially or politically, from the military
action that has killed over 1700 Americans and countless Iraqis. No,
they did not die for their country. The ordinary people who make up
the country get no benefits from the blood shed in Iraq.
UN Council votes to impose sanctions on N. Korea
41 minutes ago
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The U.N. Security Council
voted unanimously on Saturday to impose
weapons-related sanctions on North Korea in response
to its flurry of missile tests that provoked an
The resolution demands that North Korea "suspend all
activities related to its ballistic missile program."
It requires all U.N. members to prevent imports to or
exports from North Korea of missiles and
missile-related items as well as materials and funds
that could be used in weapons of mass destruction
To avert a veto from China, the resolution does not
mention Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, a provision
used to make council documents legally binding. But
Security Council members said the resolution was
nonetheless mandatory because of the way it was
Assad pledges Syrian help for Lebanon
1 hour, 34 minutes ago
DAMASCUS (Reuters) - Syria will put its resources at
the disposal of Lebanon to help cope with Israeli
attacks devastating the country, Syrian President
Bashar al-Assad told Lebanese President Emile Lahoud
by phone on Saturday.
The official news agency SANA said Assad expressed
solidarity with Lebanon, where Israeli bombing has
killed around 100 civilians since Hizbollah captured
two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border operation on
It was the first comment by Assad since the
confrontation began between Israel and Hizbollah,
which is backed by Syria and Iran.
SANA did not say whether Assad discussed Hizbollah
during the telephone call with Lahoud and gave no
details on what kind of help he was offering.
The ruling Baath Party said in a communique on Friday
that Syria fully supports Hizbollah, although
Washington has said Damascus must pressure Hizbollah
to release the Israeli soldiers and stop its
Syria's border crossings have become Lebanon's only
outlet to the world after Israel blockaded the country
and attacked its airport and seaports.
Bush's first veto will be the most cruel
Posted by Bob Geiger at 6:16 AM on July 18, 2006.
How devoted is George W. Bush to his patrons in the Religious Right?
No U.S. president since Thomas Jefferson, who left office in 1809, has
gone this far into a presidency without exercising veto power. But
Bush is about to use it on stem cell legislation that is bipartisan to
the almost ludicrous point of the president being out of step with
conservative, anti-choice stalwarts like Senate Majority Leader Bill
Frist (R-TN), Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Trent Lott (R-MS), who all
support the bill.
The Senate began debate yesterday on H.R. 810, the Stem Cell Research
Enhancement Act, which will expand federal funding for embryonic stem
cell research and open the door to enhanced treatment or cures for a
wide array of maladies including cancer, spinal cord injuries,
Parkinson's disease, diabetes and Alzheimer's.
The legislation would mitigate the limits on federal funding of stem
cell research that Bush imposed in 2001.
But a policy statement issued by the White House said that passage of
the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act would compel "all American
taxpayers to pay for research that relies on the intentional
destruction of human embryos for the derivation of stem cells. Should
the legislation be presented to the president, he would veto the bill."
White House Press Secretary Tony Snow confirmed that on Monday saying
"the administration has released a statement of administration policy
expressing a veto threat about H.R. 810, the stem cell bill, that has
been cleared and published… We've got a formal veto threat out for it
in the form of a statement of administration policy."
"It's tragic. For six years, President Bush has refused to veto a
single bill. But now he's threatening to issue his first -- ever -- on
stem cell research," said Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) in
a speech Monday to the 97th annual NAACP convention. "He didn't veto
Republican budgets that cut from the neediest among us and plunged our
country hundreds of billions of dollars into debt. He didn't veto tax
breaks for Enron and Exxon, while hardworking families paid more for
gas just to get to work or pick up their kids from school. But now,
he's going to veto a bill that offers hope to millions of Americans
suffering from cancer, or chronic and other debilitating conditions,
such as diabetes, Lou Gehrig's, or sickle cell anemia."
A vote on H.R. 810 could happen as early as today and it is expected
to pass with broad bipartisan support. It's possible it will hit
Bush's desk for the expected veto as early as Wednesday and it is
highly likely that Congress will fail to override it. While it's very
possible that the 67 votes needed to override Bush's veto could be
mustered in the Senate, the House is unlikely to rebuke Bush. The bill
passed the House in 2005 by a vote of 238-194 and 290 votes would be
needed to override Bush's veto.
What is astounding is that in a 109th Congress marked by a bitter
partisan divide, Bush will be vetoing a bill that has brought even the
most ideologically-split foes together.
"Science has progressed over the last five years," said Frist in
support of H.R. 810 on Monday. "Fewer than the anticipated number of
cell lines have proved suitable for research, and I feel that the
limit on cell lines available for federally funded research is too
Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) made an unusually personal speech in the
Senate chamber on Monday when he broached the subject of his own
battle with Hodgkin's disease and mentioned a 1970 call by President
Richard Nixon to strengthen and expand cancer research.
"Without unduly dwelling on my own situation with Hodgkin's -- a year
of chemotherapy -- I think had that research been fulfilled, I would
have been spared that malady," said Specter, who also commented on the
untold number of people who have died of diseases "which could be
cured with stem cell research."
Ted Kennedy (D-MA) even invoked the Bible in his plea to Bush to
support the life-saving research when it reaches his desk.
"Hope is what stem cell research brings to millions of Americans who
seek better treatments and better drugs for cancer, diabetes, spinal
injury, and many other serious conditions," said Kennedy. "Hope cannot
be extinguished or destroyed, but it can be delayed. In the Bible, the
Book of Proverbs tells us, 'Hope deferred makes the heart sick.' And
today hearts are sick almost to the breaking point, because for the
past five the Bush Administration has shut down the stem cell research
program begun at National Institute of Health, and imposed arbitrary
restrictions on this life-saving research."
All of this will undoubtedly fall on deaf ears when dealing with a man
like Bush, who presided over so many executions while Governor of
Texas and yet takes a firm stance on life when it deals with clumps of
cells invisible to the naked eye and used less than a week after
And there is no shortage of viable cells, with more than 400,000 ready
for research at fertility clinics across the country.
Which makes one of the other three bills to be considered this week,
Rick Santorum's (R-PA) Fetus Farming Prohibition Act -- which he
authored along with his Opus Dei buddy, Sam Brownback (R-KS) -- even
more bizarre. The bill would make it a crime to use stem cells (or any
other tissue) if the material comes from a pregnancy initiated and
terminated specifically to produce tissue.
Brownback quoted Christian writer C.S. Lewis in arguing that the
procedure is an affront to human dignity: "If man chooses to treat
himself as raw material, raw material he will be."
Of course, with 400,000 frozen embryos waiting in the wings, this
isn't a realistic issue to even be addressing and, like Bush's
promised veto, it is only being proposed to appease their far-right
That bill and Specter's Alternative Pluripotent Stem Cell Therapies
Enhancement Act -- which simply encourages scientists to search for
ways to derive all-purpose stem cells from sources other than embryos
-- are also expected to pass the Senate if for no other reason than
that they are not very controversial. In addition, not one of the 55
Senate Republicans would dare vote against them.
But the stem-cell news this week will be ruled by Bush and, given that
he has been promising this veto for five years, there's very little
chance that his pen won't be used to squash the hopes of many people
who have waited for this moment.
"There are so many people who will be watching, who will be hoping,
who will be praying that he signs this legislation," said Dianne
Said Ted Kennedy in his arguments on the Senate floor Monday: "We must
cast a vote of conscience and of courage. We must reaffirm that our
common value of bringing hope to those who need it outweighs any
single ideology, we must approve the Stem Cell Research Enhancement
Act, and we must call upon the President of the United States not to
Ralph Reed Loses Georgia Primary Race
By SHAILA DEWAN
ATLANTA, Wednesday, July 19 — Ralph Reed, the former director of the
Christian Coalition and a former Republican lobbyist involved in the
Jack Abramoff scandal, suffered an embarrassing defeat in his effort
to win the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor on Tuesday.
Mr. Reed conceded defeat before 10 p.m., with his opponent leading by
more than 10 percentage points.
Early Wednesday, with more than 92 percent of precincts reporting, Mr.
Reed's opponent, State Senator Casey Cagle, led with 56 percent of the
Mr. Reed's candidacy was viewed as a test of the effects of the
Washington lobbying scandal on core Republican voters.
Mr. Reed, the former leader of the Georgia Republican Party, was a
close associate of Jack Abramoff, the lobbyist who pleaded guilty to
charges of fraud, tax evasion and bribery and who arranged for Mr.
Reed to be paid by Indian tribes that ran casinos to coordinate
anti-gambling campaigns against competing casinos.
"It's clear that politicians that put money before their morals should
be very worried by these results," said David Donnelly, the director
of Campaign Money Watch, which spent $100,000 to campaign against Mr.
But some Democrats actually rooted for Mr. Reed, believing that he
would be prove to be a liability for the incumbent Republic governor,
Sonny Perdue, and that he would have been easier to defeat.
"It may mean that Democrats lose the lieutenant governor's race," said
William Boone, a political science professor at Clark-Atlanta
University. "It certainly takes away the issue of corruption that the
Democrats nationally have been using."
Mr. Perdue will be challenged by Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor, who defeated
Cathy Cox, the secretary of state, in the Democratic primary.
Most Republican office-holders in Georgia endorsed Senator Cagle, who
spent most of the race lagging behind Mr. Reed in the polls. Some even
asked Mr. Reed to drop out of the race.
But Mr. Reed persevered, promising the most effective get-out-the-vote
operation in Georgia history. In Cobb County, a key Republican area
where he had boasted of winning a straw poll by more than 12 points,
Mr. Reed lost with 11,600 votes to Mr. Cagle's 14,800.
Throughout his campaign, Mr. Reed maintained that he did not know that
the money he received through Mr. Abramoff came from gambling proceeds
and said he was proud of helping to shut down casinos.
"Tonight my candidacy for lieutenant governor comes to an end, but the
ideas for which I stood, the values for which you have fought, and the
governing philosophy that we believe in will go on, and it will go on
to victory," he said in his concession speech.
A Wallace Loses Alabama Race
MONTGOMERY, Ala., July 18 (AP) — George C. Wallace Jr., the son of the
former governor of Alabama, lost a Republican primary runoff for
lieutenant governor on Tuesday.
With 99 percent of the precincts reporting statewide, the unofficial
count showed Mr. Wallace with 45 percent of the vote, while his
opponent, Luther Strange, had 55 percent.
Mr. Strange advances to the general election Nov. 7 against the
Democratic nominee, James Folsom Jr., a former governor trying to
restart his political career.
Bush casts first veto to block stem cell bill
1 hour, 39 minutes ago
President George W. Bush said on Wednesday he used his first veto to
block legislation expanding embryonic stem cell research, putting him
at odds with top scientists, most Americans and some in his own
"It crosses a moral boundary," Bush said.
Bush acted after the U.S. Senate on Tuesday approved the legislation,
which has also been passed by the House of Representatives. But
neither chamber expects to have the two-thirds majority needed to
override the veto.
In 2001, Bush allowed scientists to use 78 stem-cell lines then in
existence, most of which proved unsuitable for research. But he
opposes expanded federally-funded research because it entails
destruction of human embryos.
Bush uses first-ever veto to kill popular stem cell
Jul 19 2:34 PM US/Eastern
US President George W. Bush used his legislative veto
for the first time to block a bill that would have
expanded federal funding for embryonic stem cell
"It crosses a moral boundary that our decent society
needs to respect, so I vetoed it," Bush said at the
The Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, passed by the
US Senate on Tuesday, would lift rules Bush set in
2001 that make federal funds available only for
research on a small number of embryonic stem cell
lines which existed at that time.
Supporters have said the research offers major hope to
cure many life-threatening illnesses including
Parkinsons disease and Alzheimers' disease.
But the president had repeatedly threatened to veto
the bill on moral grounds.
"We must also remember that embryonic stem cells come
from human embryos that are destroyed for their cells.
Each of these human embryos is a unique human life
with inherent dignity and matchless value," Bush said
in his comments to specially invited families at the
"Some people argue that finding new cures for disease
requires the destruction of human embryos," Bush said,
before adding: "I disagree.
"I believe that with the right techniques and the
right policies we can achieve scientific progress
while living up to our ethical responsibilities."
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