Ex-Bush aid David Safavian Gets 18 Months in prison

The Washington Post reports that David Safavian, a former Bush Administration official, former chief of staff of the General Services Administration (GSA), and ex-White House budget office appointee, was sentenced to 18 months in prison Friday. He was “convicted of lying and obstructing justice in connection with the Jack Abramoff influence-peddling scandal that has ensared Republicans.” The paper reports:

Besides the Iraq war, ethics breaches have dominated many Senate and House of Representatives campaigns, allowing Democrats to accuse Republicans of fostering a “culture of corruption” in Washington.

Safavian was described as tearful as he addressed U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman.

The post continues, “In another Abramoff case, Ohio Republican Rep. Bob Ney pleaded guilty on October 13 to illegally accepting trips, meals and other items worth tens of thousands of dollars in return for doing favors for Abramoff and his clients.”

I wonder if President Bush will admit to knowing either Safavian or Ney?

I’d love to know what the international community thinks of our president.

Michael J. Fox and Republican Panic

Business Wire reports the results of a new national study revealing that American voters support for stem cell research increased after they viewed an ad featuring Michael J. Fox in which he expresses his support for candidates who are in favor of stem cell research.

The study was conducted among 955 Americans by HCD Research and Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion (MCIPO) during October 24-25, to obtain Americans’ views on the stem cell research before and after they watched the ad.

Among the study findings:

  • Among all respondents, support for stem cell research increased from 78% prior to viewing the ad, to 83% after viewing the ad. Support among Democrats increased from 89% to 93%, support among Republicans increased from 66% to 68% and support among Independents increased from 80% to 87% after viewing the ad.
  • The level of concern regarding a candidate’s view on stem cell research increased among all respondents from 57% prior to viewing the ad to 70% after viewing the ad. Among Democrats, the level of concern increased from 66% to 83% and Republicans’ level of concern increased from 50% to 60%. Independents’ level of concern increased from 58% to 69%.
  • The perception that the November election is relevant to the U.S. policy on stem cell research increased across all voter segments, with an increase of 9% among all respondents pre- and post-viewing from 62% to 71%. The Democrats’ perception increased from 75% to 83%, Republicans’ perception increased from 55% to 62% and Independents’ perception increased from 60% to 68% pre- and post-viewing.
  • The advertisement elicited similar emotional responses from all responders with all voter segments indicating that they were “not bored and attentive” followed by “sorrowful, thankful, afraid and regretful.”
  • The vast majority of responders indicated that the advertisement was believable with 76% of all responders reporting that it was “extremely believable” or “believable.” Among party affiliation, 93% of Democrats 57% of Republicans and 78% of Independents indicated it “extremely believable”or “believable.”

We might wonder why Republicans were in such a huff after Mr. Fox made these commercials? Why did Rush Limbaugh, certainly no stranger to prescription medications, attack Mr. Fox and accuse him of going off his medication when he made the commercials?

Republicans are afraid. And rightly so. The study also found:

Republicans who indicated that they were voting for a Republican candidate decreased by 10% after viewing the ad (77% to 67%). Independents planning to vote for Democrats increased by 10%, from 39% to 49%.

The study was conducted among 955 Americans by HCD Research and Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion (MCIPO) during October 24-25, to obtain Americans’ views on the stem cell research before and after they watched the ad.

The tide has turned. Republicans are in a panic. Democrats are poised to win Congress in November.

Amazing that This Man Is President

Bush at YouTube

With all of the hype about Barack Obama possibly running in 2008, it pays to spend some time considering the current POTUS. I’m amazed that this man actually was elected President of the United States, Governor of Texas, or once owned a major league baseball team. Watch these brief excerpts and laugh, and weep, and then laugh again.? Where have we gone wrong as a nation? How much thought does the electorate put into voting? Contrast President Bush with Obama at the Democratic National Convention in 2004. Weep for the present. Hope for the future.

Barack Obama at the DNC 2004 convention

Creationism and the Religious Weird

News from Great Falls, Montana. A Republican state lawmaker is calling Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer “incredibly bigoted” for remarks he made about individuals who believe the earth is less than 6,000 years old. The Democratic governor was speaking to a crowd of students, parents, and teachers Friday about global warming. In the course of his presentation, Schweitzer asked the crowd how many thought the earth was hundreds of millions of years old. Virtually everyone in attendance raised their hands.

He then asked how many believed the earth was less than a million years old. Two people, including Rep. Roger Koopman, R-Bozeman, raised their hands.

In an interview later with local media, Schweitzer made note of Koopman’s response. He said that there are people who believe that the earth is only 4,000 to 6,000 years old, despite geological evidence to the contrary.

The Great Falls Tribune reports on the governor’s comments and Koopman’s response:

Koopman called the comments insulting.

”He insulted many Christian people and other people of faith that arrived at that position other than the way I arrived at it,” he said.

Koopman claimed that his belief is not based on his faith, but on scientific investigations. He had planned to introduce legislation in 2005 to allow teaching of “intelligent design,” but never pursued the measure and says he has no plans to introduce a similar bill if he wins re-election.

Koopman is up for re-election in November.

GOP Accuses Judicial Candidate of Being Atheist

Democratic nominee for a seat on the 6th Court of Appeals E. Ben Franks has been accused of being an atheist by the Austin-based Republican Party, Law.com reports. In an online newsletter, the GOP says Franks, “is reported to be a professed atheist” and apparently believes the Bible is a “collection of myths.'”

The religion card surfaces once again. Franks says he has never professed to be an atheist, and, indeed, no one from the Republical Party has ever asked him whether he was an atheist. The Republicans are pushing the issue of religion, saying:

“Should Franks be elected in November, one would have to conclude that he will hold true to his out of touch ‘atheist’ belief system and ignore the laws and Constitution of Texas.”

The entire allegation seems to stem from an article published in the June 22, 2002 El Paso Times. The article reports that Democrats were debating whether to drop the word “God” from a sentence on the first page of the committee’s platform. The sentence read: “We want a Texas where all people can fulfill their dreams and achieve their God-given potential.” The article quotes Franks, a member of the platform committee, as saying, “I’m an atheist, [and] this does not bother me. I’m a pragmatist.”

Actually, Franks says he was offering a hypothetical, and that he was misquoted by the article. He was actually arguing to leave the word “God” in the platform. What he actually said was, “Let’s say I’m an atheist. I still have no problem with this platform, because I’m a pragmatist.”

But the GOP is playing the religion card anyhow.

Cost of Iraq War – More Than Money

The National Priorities Project current reports show the cost of the war in Iraq is at $333,085,725,999, or $333.08 BILLION, and climbing constantly. zFacts.com puts the cost so far at $330,905,485,295, or $330.90 BILLION.? The U.S. Treasury Department shows our national debt at an all-time record high: $8,545,048,487,560.99, or $8.54 TRILLION. Other sources show the national debt much higher. The U.S. National Debt Clock reports $8,553,405,931,810.83 as of 3:11:52 PM GMT.

Any other costs to the war in Iraq? Antiwar.com reports 2,743 American deaths in Iraq since the war began. An official count shows 20,468 injuries, with estimates much higher (20,000-48,100). And Iraq Body Count reports that somewhere between 43,850 and 48,693 Iraqi civilians have been killed by military intervention in Iraq.

The cost of this war is staggering.

Lawmakers Saw Foley Messages in 2000

The Washington Post reports today that Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz.) knew of inappropriate Internet exchanges between former Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) as far back as 2000 and confronted Foley personally about them. The Post reports:

A spokeswoman for Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz.) confirmed yesterday that a former page showed the congressman Internet messages that had made the youth feel uncomfortable with the direction Foley (R-Fla.) was taking their e-mail relationship. Last week, when the Foley matter erupted, a Kolbe staff member suggested to the former page that he take the matter to the clerk of the House, Karen Haas, said Kolbe’s press secretary, Korenna Cline.

So the timeline goes back 5 more years than House Republicans first claimed they had knowledge of Foley’s inappropriate conduct. Dennis Hastert had asserted that lawmakers only became aware of Foley’s behavior last fall. Apparently many more were in the know.

What else are they hiding?

Time Magazine: Republican Revolution Is Over!

Time Magazine cover, October 16, 2006

Time Magazine’s October 16, 2006 issues declares the Republican Revolution over with a telling headline: “What a Mess.” Time reports Dennis Hastert said, in an appearance on Laura Ingraham’s conservative talk show, “If I fold up my tent and leave, then where does that leave us? If the Democrats sweep, then we’d have no ability to fight back and get our message out.” Time’s conclusion should sober any member of the G.O.P. hoping to party in November:

That quiet admission may have been the most damning one yet in the unfolding scandal surrounding Florida Congressman Mark Foley: holding on to power has become not just the means but also the end for the onetime reformers who in 1994 unseated a calcified and corrupted Democratic majority. Washington scandals, it seems, have been following a Moore’s law of their own, coming at a faster clip every time there is a shift in control. It took 40 years for the House Democrats to exhaust their goodwill. It may take only 12 years for the Republicans to get there.

Time also reports in this issue on the results of a TIME poll that shows that two-thirds of Americans believe Republican leaders tried to cover up the scandal. 54% of registered voters in November said they would likely vote for Democratic candidates in November. 65% said they disapprove of the way President Bush has handled the war in Iraq.

With less than a month before the election, the tide has turned decidedly in the Democrats’ favor. Much can happen in that time. Karl Rove has apparently been promising Republican insiders that an October surprise is in the works. Perhaps Osama bin Laden is on ice somewhere, about to be revealed? Will that be enough to deter a waking electorate?

Jeb Bush In The Closet

Gov. Bush coming out of the closetFlorida Governor Jeb Bush visited Pittsburgh, PA, Friday for a fund-raiser for Sen. Rick Santorum. Bush was making his way to the Duquesne Club, a posh, private club in Downtown Pittsburgh. Membership is by “invitation only.” If you have to ask how much membership costs, well, you probably won’t be asked to join.

The closest I ever came seeing anything like it was watching 1983’s Trading Places, with Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy.

At any rate, as Bush approached the club, he had a close encounter with a group of anti-Republican protesters. The protesters were on their way to join other protesters already gathered in front of the club.

Protesters say Gov. Bush “blew them a kiss,” which was enough to thrill the group of about 30 protesters that was made up of United Steelworkers, and members of a group called Uprise Counter Recruitment, whose website says they are, “…a tour of mid-west and mid-Atlantic states aimed at advancing regional counter-recruitment efforts and linking the issues of war and military recruitment to corporate globalization and environmental sustainability. The Tour consists of a dozen activists traveling via a bio-diesel bus to cities both large and small.” They have teamed up with Iraq Veterans Against the War and Alive In Baghdad. Alive in Baghdad “shows the occupation through the voices of Iraqis.”

It was this distinguished group, then, that Gov. Bush blew a kiss to on a street in Pittsburgh.

The group drew nearer, shouting, “Jeb, go home.”

The governor made a retreat to a nearby T-station, an entry to Pittsburgh’s subway. The protesters followed Bush into the station, so Mr. Bush descended the escalators to the mezzanine level. At this point, Mr. Bush found himself surounded by signs that read, “Pittsburgh is a Santorum Free Zone,” and, “Honk if you’re sick of Rick.” “We don’t want you here,” protesters chanted.

Some days it just doesn’t pay to be born with a silver spoon in your mouth.

The situation apparently became very tense. Approximately 75 protesters had gathered on the street. They were asked to disperse, and did not. Two protesters were tased by two officers from a Port Authority canine unit.

As a precaution, the governor was ushered into a T-station supply closet. He reportedly remained there until the crowd dispersed.

Pittsburgh police, monitoring the front of the Duquesne Club, said the protesters were peaceful, and did not respond, and apparently were not asked to respond to the incident at the T-station.

The entire incident lasted approximately 5 minutes, after which Gov. Bush came out of the closet.

Republican Duck and Cover

Mark Foley labelled as a Democrat on O'Reilly Factor

When the old Soviet Union began nuclear testing in the early 1950s, the Civil Defense branch of the United States government released a film called Duck and Cover. The basic premise was that Americans should take heart. If we ever did come under nuclear attack (note the “l” appears before the letter “e”), the film advises children to “duck and cover.” Basically, in the face of a nuclear blast, one would apparently be safer squatting down with hands over one’s head than one would be standing up. And this was supposed to calm people’s fears. If you see the flash of an atomic bomb, “duck and cover” to remain safe and survive.

The Republican party has learned this lesson well. House Speaker Dennis Hastert’s chief of staff, Scott Palmer, is denying the account of former aide, Kirk Fordham, who said in an interview that he had told Palmer of Foley’s inappropriate emails before 2004. The party of “family values” protected and enabled a sexaul predator.

The bomb has gone off. The flash is still in the sky, and the best that the Republicans can do is “duck and cover,” hoping that they will survive the blast.

Amazingly, Fox new’s The O’Reilly Factor labelled Foley a Democrat on October 3. Just change history if you don’t like it, I guess. The screenshot above is from Sweet Jesus, I Hate Bill O’Reilly, International.

Maybe the blast will go away and we’ll all be safe. Foley can blame his past, and we’ll convince the world he really was a Democrat.

Duck and cover.