None Dare Call it Conservatism
Even we at Fox News manage to get some lefties on the air occasionally, and often let them finish their sentences before we club them to death and feed the scraps to Karl Rove and Bill O'Reilly.
Even we at Fox News manage to get some lefties on the air occasionally, and often let them finish their sentences before we club them to death and feed the scraps to Karl Rove and Bill O'Reilly.
Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war.
We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead who struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract.
The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.
It is for us the living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.
WASHINGTON, May 27 - One of John R. Bolton's leading Republican backers, Senator John McCain of Arizona, signaled his support on Friday for a compromise in which the White House might allow Senate leaders access to highly classified documents in return for a final vote early next month on Mr. Bolton's nomination as United Nations ambassador.Current head counts indicate 53 votes for Bolton and 45 votes against.
Senators calling on the administration to share the documents "have some substance to their argument," Mr. McCain said.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger traveled to a quiet San Jose neighborhood Thursday, and -- dogged by protesters -- filled a pothole dug by city crews just a few hours before, as part of an attempt to dramatize his efforts to increase money for transportation projects.
He [Greenspan] answered “I don’t think so” when asked whether our children and grandchildren will be able to afford to pay off the huge national debt they will be inheriting.
Repayment of interest on the national debt will be a major share of GDP for our children and grandchildren.
Bureau fraud investigators began to view the rare coins inside Mr. Noe’s vault at about 11 a.m. yesterday, said Jeremy Jackson, the bureau’s press secretary.While the state's investment had not been audited since it's inception in 1988, prosecuters say it looks like more than sloppy bookkeeping:
At 1:30 p.m., Mr. Noe was required to provide a complete inventory list so the inspection and audit of the rare coins could start, according to the order signed by a Franklin County Common Pleas Court judge.
But Mr. Jackson said the audit never began because Mr. Noe’s attorney, Bill Wilkinson, contacted the state to say that $10 million to $12 million of assets are “unaccounted for.”
“Any review ceased and the appropriate authorities were called in,” Mr. Jackson said.
Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien said yesterday that he has “reason to believe” Mr. Noe, a prominent Toledo-area Republican fund-raiser and rare-coin dealer, has misappropriated “more than $10 million” in state assets.
“I have reason to believe it is more than just missing assets or lost assets or otherwise,” said Mr. O’Brien, a Republican. “I have reason to believe there is actual misappropriation of state funds involved ... I’m talking about conversion for personal use.”
It is unclear whether Mr. Noe used some of the state’s money to make contributions to Republican candidates, including President Bush’s re-election campaign, Mr. O’Brien said.
The Bush-Cheney campaign lists Mr. Noe as a “Pioneer,” for raising from $100,000 to $250,000 for the President’s re-election campaign.
We're ready to vote the day we get back, the moment we get back..if the administration is more forthcoming in meeting us halfway.There's more to come. In the meanwhile, for all things Bolton stay tuned to Steve Clemons at The Washington Note.
In a sweeping review of the fiscal health of the country, the strength of the dollar and international trade, Rubin said that Social Security ranks third behind deficit reduction and Medicare reform as the most important economic policy issue facing the country.A central principle of Rubin's successful economic strategy was to signal the bond market that federal debt would decline, which in fact it did. Bush claims that his Social Security plan, which would require hundreds of billions in new federal borrowing, would somehow reduce the deficit 50 years out.
“Here’s a guy who was in a position of authority when we experienced this incredible amount of economic growth,” said Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.). “It’s important that we hear from them from time to time. His whole take was no more deficit spending and no to the president’s Social Security plan.”
Criticizing Bush’s plan for Social Security reform, Rubin said, “I haven’t ever heard a bond marketer talk about savings 50 years out,” according to a Democratic leadership aide.
Roberts blamed the State Department’s alleged procedural failings on Carl Ford, a former head of State Department intelligence. (Coincidentally or not, Ford was the only witness to give scathingly critical testimony against Bolton at his public confirmation hearing.)This story is not about Democratic opposition, but about Republican discontent with Bolton. A point that was consistently made by Senators Biden and Voinovich is that most of the criticism and damaging revelations about Bolton have come from Republican appointees.
The record presented by the Foreign Relations Committee is clear:Not included in Biden's prepared remarks was his comment that if the Senate held a secret ballot, Bolton wouldn't get more that 40 votes. Voinovich echoed hiis assessment, saying that Bolton wouldn't be confirmed in a secret ballot.
§ the documents we have uncovered;
§ the interviews with those who had to pick up the pieces in INR, in CIA, in the office of the Secretary of State, and in South Korea;
§ the testimony of former Assistant Secretary Carl Ford, a conservative Republican if ever there was one.
All of this record has given us clear warning that Mr. Bolton is the wrong man for the job.
Mr. Bolton’s appointment is not in the national interest.
Throughout my time in the Senate, I have been hesitant to push my views on my colleagues. However, I feel compelled to share my deep concerns with the nomination of John Bolton to be Ambassador to the United Nations. I strongly feel that the importance of this nomination to our foreign policy requires us to set aside our partisan agenda and let our consciences and our shared commitment to our nation's best interests guide us.
We are grateful to Majority Leader Frist for courageously fighting to defend the vital principle of basic fairness. That principle has now gone down to defeat. We share the disappointment, outrage and sense of abandonment felt by millions of conservative Americans who helped put Republicans in power last November. I am certain that these voters will remember both Democrats and Republicans who betrayed their trust.Gary Bauer is similarly unhappy with the deal:
The Republicans who lent their names to this travesty have undercut their President as well as millions of their most loyal voters. Shame on them all.Here's a PDF of the deal via Senator Byrd.
The White House is going to get more involved and listen to us more.Similarly, Senator Reid voiced his hope that President Bush will consult Senate leaders on both sides before sending up a Supreme Court nomination.
Every morning last week, Reid stopped by Frist's office or at least called the GOP leader, just to check in. Aides say the Nevada Democrat deals regularly with two other Republicans: Whip Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), the chief Republican negotiator in the compromise talks.
Reid also has named key Democrats as emissaries to the three Republicans that both sides consider the swing voters. Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (Vt.), the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, is working on Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), chairman of the panel and a co-sponsor with Leahy of a complicated asbestos bill working its way through the Senate. Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.) is assigned to Sen. John W. Warner (R-Va.), and Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.) has been teamed with Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine). Warner chairs the Armed Services Committee, and Collins chairs the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee; Levin and Lieberman are the ranking Democrats on those panels.
Mr. Noe and his wife, Bernadette, have contributed more than $23,000 to the campaigns of the recused justices, Thomas J. Moyer, Evelyn Stratton, Maureen O’Connor, Terrence O’Donnell, and Judith Ann Lanzinger.Mr. Noe, a prominent Republican, was campaign chair for Ms. Lanzinger's last campaign for a seat on the state Supreme Court.
To get there, Republicans will have to evade a requirement that they have a two-thirds vote -- 67 of 100 senators -- to change the chamber's rules.Neither side has a firm count on how that vote would go:
Three Republicans have stated that they will oppose the change: Sens. John McCain (Ariz.), Lincoln D. Chafee (R.I.) and Olympia J. Snowe (Maine). Democrats, led by Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.), have expressed confidence this week that they will be able to attract three other GOP senators, with most of the focus on Sens. John W. Warner (Va.), Susan Collins (Maine) and Arlen Specter (Pa.).Senators on both sides of the aisle are seeking a deal to prevent use of the nuclear option according to the NYT:
The Republicans plan one cloture vote, with the ostensible purpose of trying to shut off debate but the real intention of demonstrating that the nominee has majority support. Sometime after that, Frist is expected to seek a point of order designed to call the debate to a halt, with the presiding officer, probably Cheney, ruling in Frist's favor. Democrats would then appeal the ruling, and Republicans would counter with a motion to table the appeal. Whoever has a majority will prevail.
Aside from Mr. McCain, the Republicans seeking a deal include Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, Olympia J. Snowe of Maine, John W. Warner of Virginia and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Among the Democrats, aside from Mr. Lieberman, are Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Mark Pryor of Arkansas.All of this could take a week or more, which is why the White House wants the Senate to confirm John Bolton before the showdown on judicial nominations according to The Hill:
Broadly speaking, the talks revolve around a potential deal in which a handful of Democrats would agree not to cooperate with their party's filibusters of some of the nominees, and a handful of Republicans would agree to vote against the rules change, at least for now.
A split has opened between the White House and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) over the timing of the “nuclear option.”
The Bush administration would prefer the Senate to deal with the nomination of John Bolton to be U.N. ambassador before it gets down to the issue of filibustered judicial nominations.
It's a cosmic shift when the chief executive of General Electric asks for a government energy policy that includes carbon emissions controls.
With a showdown over judicial nominees looming, Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas could be one of several pivotal Republicans to oppose stripping the Senate of its traditional power to filibuster.Republican senators who vote against the rule changes would be left feeling politically exposed. A compromise would have to provide political cover for senators on both sides.
Roberts expressed doubt about the “nuclear option,” which would end a long-running Democratic threat — to filibuster seven of President Bush's nominees for the federal bench — by changing long-standing Senate rules.
“What goes around comes around,” Roberts said in an interview last week, worried that the rule change could someday come back to haunt his party.
The mayors, from cities as liberal as Los Angeles and as conservative as Hurst, Tex., represent nearly 29 million citizens in 35 states, according to Mayor Nickels's office. They are pledging to have their cities meet what would have been a binding requirement for the nation had the Bush administration not rejected the Kyoto Protocol: a reduction in heat-trapping gas emissions to levels 7 percent below those of 1990, by 2012.Meanwhile, The Economist (subscription needed) reports that U.S. CEOs -- including energy executives -- are taking environmental issues seriously. Why would Jim Rogers, CEO of Cinergy (which is being acquired by Duke Energy), attend an environmental conference that featured Al Gore as keynote speaker?
Mr. Rogers adds a key motivation: both he and Paul Anderson, Duke's boss, believe that government policies “will inevitably lead to a carbon-constrained world.” Cinergy has many old and dirty coal plants, which emit vast amounts of carbon. The deal will help him retire many of them sooner, in favour of Duke's clean natural-gas plants.
Mr. Rogers was not the only unlikely corporate figure to tackle carbon this week: so did Jeff Immelt, boss of GE. In a speech in Washington, D.C., on May 9th, he committed GE to a set of green goals going far beyond any current government regulations. He vowed that by 2012 GE would boost its energy efficiency by 30%, and cut its greenhouse-gas emissions from over 40% above today's level if nothing is done, to 1% below. By 2010, he said, GE would double its annual investment in clean technology to $1.5 billion.
Mr. Immelt denounced America's “do-nothing” policy on climate change: “We are living in a carbon-constrained world where the amount of CO2 must be reduced.” The Bush administration has challenged whether CO2 can even be regulated as a pollutant, and opposes mandatory carbon caps. Bemoaning the resulting uncertainty for investors, Mr Immelt concluded: “America is the leading consumer of energy. However, we are not the technical leader. Europe today is the major force for environmental innovation.”
“John was absent without leave” when it came to implementing the agenda that the president laid out in his February 2004 speech, a former senior Bush official declares flatly. Another former government official with experience in nonproliferation agrees. “Everyone knew the conference was coming and that it would be contentious. But Bolton stopped all diplomacy on this six months ago,” this official said. “The White House and the National Security Council started worrying, wondering what was going on. So a few months ago the NSC had to step in and get things going themselves.”Senator Voinovich had it right when he said, "John Bolton would have been fired if he worked for a major corporation." Instead, he's given a promotion.
Virtually all mainstream economists agree that, over time, sustained deficits crowd out private investment, increase interest rates, and reduce productivity and economic growth. But, far more dangerously, if markets here and abroad begin to fear long-term fiscal disarray and our related trade imbalances, those markets could then demand sharply higher interest rates for providing long-term debt capital and could put abrupt and sharp downward pressure on the dollar.Of course, reducing budget deficits is boring grownup stuff compared to shifting the government as drastically to the right as possible. Which is perhaps why Dick Cheney said, "Deficits don't matter."
When discussing all these concerns with Secretary Rice, John Bolton's propensity to get off message, his lack of interpersonal skills, his tendency to abuse others who disagree with him, I was informed by the secretary of state that she understood all these things and in spite of them still feels that John Bolton is the best choice and that she would be in frequent communication with him and he would be closely supervised. My private thought at the time, and I should have expressed it to her, is: Why in the world would you want to send somebody up to the U.N. that has to be supervised?
I believe that John Bolton would have been fired if he'd worked for a major corporation. This is not the behavior of a true leader who upholds the kind of democracy that President Bush is seeking to promote globally. This is not the behavior that should be endorsed as the face of the United States to the world community and the United Nations. Rather, Mr. Chairman, it is my opinion that John Bolton is the poster child of what someone in the diplomatic corps should not be.
The world needs an American ambassador to the U.N. who will show that the United States has respect for other countries and intermediary organizations, that we are team players and consensus builders and promoters of symbiotic relationships. And moving forward with the international community, we should remember the words of the great Scot poet who said, "Oh, that some great power would give me the wisdom to see myself as other people see me."
The federal prosecutor in the trial of Hillary Clinton's campaign finance director took pains yesterday to exonerate the New York senator.
Finance chief David Rosen kept from the feds the true cost of his over-the-top spending on a lavish Hollywood fund-raiser in August 2000 because he didn't want Clinton to find out about it, the prosecutor said.
"There's no evidence that Hillary Clinton was involved in this in any way, shape or form," U.S. Attorney Peter Zeidenberg told the 12-member Los Angeles jury in his opening statement."
In fact, it was just the opposite."
Mr. Voinovich, who had indicated concerns about Mr. Bolton in a hearing last month, did so today. "I like Mr. Bolton," the senator said. "I think he's a decent man."This is far from over, but Steve Clemons of The Washington Note deserves a medal for his outstanding work on Bolton.
But the senator said Mr. Bolton had "serious deficiencies" that would make him the wrong man for the United Nations post, and that his difficult personality would have got him "fired - fired - if he worked for a major corporation."
Mr. Bolton's supporters, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, have defended his conduct as appropriate, saying he was right to ask tough questions.The Secretary has it backwards: The point is not that Bolton "asks tough questions," but that he doesn't allow others the same privilege and cannot tolerate anyone disagreeing with him.
Sen. George V. Voinovich (R-Ohio), who three weeks ago forced a delay in a vote because he had concerns about Bolton's "interpersonal skills," noted that he slowed the approval of Richard C. Holbrooke, President Bill Clinton's nominee for the same post, because he heard Holbrooke was a "kind of nasty guy, arrogant and so forth."The party line seems to be he's a nasty guy, but he's our nasty guy.
Pete went over to the dark side long ago.Did he mean that Pete now strolls around in black armor sounding like James Earl Jones through a bad phone connection?
As it turned out, administration policy that Bolton was articulating, reluctantly as he did not support it, is that the administration was communicating to Europe that while it suspected and predicted that the negotiation process between the EU and Iran would fail, the U.S. would not object to what was underway.This is behavior one might expect inside the Soviet Politburo rather than the U.S. State Department. Accountability is essential to our system of government; those who serve need to be trusted to carry out the policies adopted by the executive authorities who run the government and the legislative authorities who oversee the executive.
The wording of the once-read statement of policy by Bolton was carefully crafted so as to give the Europeans license, from the American point of view, to proceed with Iran -- without formally attaching a positive expectation from the U.S. about the process.
Bolton didn't like the policy, so he wouldn't hand out copies of it. And he would only read the statement once. . .fast.
"The United States Senate is a minority rights institution unique in the world," Hagel said. "And I don't think either side wants to give that up. Now, the other part of this, which I also believe strongly, is that presidents deserve votes on their nominees."
Yet he noted that Republicans prevented votes on many of President Clinton's choices for the federal bench.
"The Republicans' hands aren't clean on this either. What we did with Bill Clinton's nominees -- about 62 of them -- we just didn't give them votes in committee or we didn't bring them up," Hagel said.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will not get the much-wanted National Security Agency intercepts in which John Bolton expressed so much interest during his tenure as Under Secretary of State for International Security and Arms Control. Under Secretaries with questionable intentions can get the transcripts -- but Senators with Constitutional oversight responsibilities seemingly cannot.In short, John Bolton was able to access this highly sensitive material for who knows what purpose--undermining the Secretary of State or spying on colleagues. But United States Senators cannot view the same material for the purpose of performing their oversight duties.
As under-secretary of state for arms control, Mr Bolton made 10 requests to the NSA to obtain the names of US officials blanked out in intelligence reports.Earlier this week Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar wrote a letter to Secretary of State Condeleeza Rice that omits several items that Democrats consider important to the investigation. (The Washington Note has more on this.) Yesterday, ranking member Joe Biden wrote Rice a letter that spells out the importance of all of the requested documents:
John Negroponte, director of national intelligence, is currently deciding whether to release the information.
“The office of the DNI is in discussions with the chairman of the intelligence committee to determine the best way to meet the committee's needs,” said a government official, who declined to say whether the intelligence committee would allow the foreign relations committee access.
The Chairman and I disagree about the extent, but not the fact, of their relevance. If more time is needed to produce these documents, please let me know.
I also wanted to make sure that you know the basis upon which I committed to move forward with a Committee meeting and vote on this nomination on May 12. As I wrote to the Chairman April 22, that commitment "is predicated on my expectation, as I stated on Tuesday [April 19, at the first Committee business meeting on the nomination] that the Executive Branch will cooperate in providing access to witnesses and documents.
Assuming such cooperation, I will not seek to delay consideration of the nomination in the Committee beyond May 12, and I will urge my colleagues strongly to do the same."
My Democratic colleagues and I would consider the failure to produce the requested documents in a timely manner a lack of cooperation.
When the 30-year bond was abandoned on Oct. 31, 2001, the country had a budget surplus, although it was shrinking, and both slower economic growth and the cost of the fight against terrorism indicated to many that deficits would return very soon. At the time, the Bush administration argued that the 30-year bond raised the cost of borrowing too much to be cost-effective.In 2001, selling 30-year bonds was not "cost-effective," but in 2005, selling them is "more cost-effective." (No wonder the Treasury officials spoke on background.) What changed? The federal government needs to borrow more money, even though it costs more to issue 30-year bonds.
Now, managing the borrowing for the budget deficits in the years ahead, the demand for more longer-term securities from pension funds and other buyers and calls from Wall Street have overridden concerns about the possible additional cost.
Treasury officials said yesterday that the decision had nothing to do with the budget deficits.
Speaking on background as senior Treasury officials, they said a new 30-year bond would give them more flexibility in their borrowing strategies in a way that would make the government's debt sales more cost-effective.
The state of America's political discourse is such that the president has felt it necessary to declare that unbelievers can be good Americans. In last week's prime-time news conference, he said: "If you choose not to worship, you're equally as patriotic as somebody who does worship."So even George Bush (or perhaps it's Karl Rove) recognizes that they need to occassionally tone down the Republican drumbeat on behalf of the religious right.
So Mark Twain, Oliver Wendell Holmes and a long, luminous list of other skeptics can be spared the posthumous ignominy of being stricken from the rolls of exemplary Americans.
Some Christians should practice the magnanimity of the strong rather than cultivate the grievances of the weak. But many Christians are joining today's scramble for the status of victims. There is much lamentation about various "assaults" on "people of faith." . . . But their persecution complex is unbecoming because it is unrealistic.
"Over 100 years, I think the gradual erosion of the consensus that's held our country together is probably more serious than a few bearded terrorists who fly into buildings," Robertson said on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos."
"I think we have controlled Al Qaeda," the 700 Club host said, but warned of "erosion at home" and said judges were creating a "tyranny of oligarchy."
Confronted by Stephanopoulos on his claims that an out-of-control liberal judiciary is the worst threat America has faced in 400 years - worse than Nazi Germany, Japan and the Civil War - Robertson didn't back down.
"Yes, I really believe that," he said. "I think they are destroying the fabric that holds our nation together."
Seemingly untroubled by self doubt, Mr. Bolton, whom former Senator Jesse Helms once called "the kind of man with whom I would want to stand at Armageddon," has never shied from a dispute nor hesitated to shatter a consensus. In his office he displays a grenade designating him as "Truest Reaganaut," a telling gift from former colleagues at the United States Agency for International Development.Here's a telling quote reported by Sonni Efron in the LA Times:
"For a conservative, the State Department is enemy territory," said Danielle Pletka, vice president of foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, the conservative think tank that is Bolton's alma mater.Keep in mind that these are testimonials from Bolton's friends.