Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Random Political Thoughts for a Wednesday Afternoon

I know all of you are jonesing for it... so here it is; this week's Random Political Thoughts. Enjoy.

The waiting game. Despite learning about the theft of electronic data on 26.5 million veterans shortly after it occurred on May 3, Veterans Affairs Department waited two weeks before telling law enforcement agencies and now officials are saying that the investigators in the Justice Department and F.B.I. are complaining that the delay might have cost them clues to the whereabouts of the data (ya think??) stored on computer disks that were stolen in a burglary on May 3 at the home of an agency employee in Maryland. (Okay... let's ignore the obvious question of why the hell the employee took this home, but why wait so long to report it? These are people's lives and they're playing with them like it was a fu***** toy. Speaking as one who has had their identity stolen, someone needs to get into a LOT of trouble for this screw-up... and it shouldn't matter how high-up the food chain they are. Nail the fu***** hides to the wall... and do it now!) (editors note: As a veteran myself, I am not at all happy about this situation. Firing this idiot isn't good enough, but it's a start.- Scott)

You’re approved. Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden won approval (12-3) to head the CIA from the Senate intelligence committee earlier this week, with legislative leaders saying they hope to have the full Senate confirm him by this Thursday. Four Dems voted for Hayden and three voted against, Evan Bayh (D-IN), Russell Feingold (D-WI) and Ron Wyden (D-OR). (That’s a shock isn’t it? I mean… who would have ever thought that he would have won the first stage of confirmation this easily?? It’s so hard to express sarcasm in the written word you know…

Here comes the pass. The Senate is expected to approve the most significant and wide-ranging immigration reform legislation in two decades this week. The bill would grant citizenship rights to an estimated 10 million illegal aliens currently in the country (and thus allowing them to collect Social Security benefits for any work they performed while illegally employed in the U.S), would grant amnesty to employers who have drawn the estimated 12 million aliens to the U.S. by illegally providing them with jobs and will allow an estimated 2 million new foreigners to be admitted to the country annually, which would more than double the current immigration flow. (editors note: Social Security eligibility should not begin until 'legally' employed. Anything else is a slap in the face to the citizens of this country- Scott)

How to kowtow. The FCC will not investigate whether a spy agency has access to millions of Americans' telephone records, citing the secrecy of the National Security Agency and due to the fact that the FCC “cannot obtain classified material". The decision has elicited calls for a congressional hearing from the Democratic congressman who had requested a probe, Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA). (Hmmmm, that’s convenient… isn’t it??)

The comeback. Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the Senate… it returns… Former Senate majority leader Senator Trent Lott has never stopped keeping tabs on his fellow senators, which could come in handy now since he is eying a return to a Republican leadership position after the November elections. Lott is considering running for whip, but he isn’t ruling out a bid for the top spot if Republicans lose so many seats in November that the caucus demands leadership changes and resists promoting McConnell.

Let’s talk about the weather. Homeland Security Secretary Michael “Don’t blame me, I didn’t do it” Chertoff is assertive in his announcement that the U.S. is “much more prepared as a nation than we have ever been to confront a major hurricane.” Despite those words of wisdom, many people have serious doubts about the program. “Hundreds of thousands of displaced victims from last year’s hurricanes [are] still living in more than 100,000 trailers,” efforts to effectively track supplies are “uncoordinated,” and “FEMA’s hurricane operations plan is unfinished.”

Now that’s irony. The ACLU (a group I am not all that fond of…) has been a longtime champion of free speech, which makes this bit of news all the more ironic and troubling. The group is weighing new standards that would prohibit a director from criticizing A.C.L.U. board or staff, but would allow “a director (to) publicly disagree with an A.C.L.U. policy position.” (Uh… okay… am I missing something here??)

Who’s on trial? The trial of David Safavian, the ex-top procurement official for the Bush administration, begins today. Safavian “is charged in a five-count indictment with making false statements to Senate and GSA investigators” that were looking into his relationship with uber-lobbyist Jack Abramoff. (It starts… this could be the beginning of a beautiful process… let’s hope.)

Deflection! Prominent conservative fundraiser Richard Viguerie wrote an article in last weekend’s Washington Post, that criticized “Bush’s base betrayal.” The White House’s response was not unique in Viguerie’s view as they responded by emailing around previous quotes of Viguerie’s criticisms of Ronald Reagan. Viguerie response was that this is, “standard operating procedure for this White House: Put the spotlight on the president’s critic, rather than respond to the critic’s arguments.” (in other words; deflection. Deflect the criticism back onto the the person doing the criticizing… it’s a brilliant strategum if it works but should be done cautiously by this White House as it seems that people are starting to wake up about this administration)

Gratuitous Op-Ed Plug of the Week. This article HERE from CNN’s Lou Dobbs is a must-read (did I just write that?) as he says that Bush & Congress are “telling working folk to go to hell.” Well said, Mr. Dobbs… very well said.

The label maker. Once again, the “President” has put a label on another political milestone in Iraq as the crucial “turning point.,” stating; “We can expect the violence to continue, but something fundamental changed this weekend” Well, thanks…that clears eveything up nicely and ties-up all loose ends…

Common sense. The Public Commission on the Oregon Legislature recommended that “Oregon legislators and staff members should not be drunk while performing their official duties.” (Kind of sad that that doesn’t go without saying… isn’t it?)

Take ‘em as you will…

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