Mercury Rising 鳯女

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Archive for the ‘hearings’ Category

Walking the walk

Posted by Charles II on May 8, 2009

One of my perennial complaints is that white collar professionals– college professors, lawyers, doctors, and politicians– are not willing to put themselves on the line for their convictions. A group of eight single payer advocates, including three doctors did just that before Max Baucus’s committee in the Senate and were arrested.

Welcome, Dr. Flowers. You must be exhausted after your ‘adventures’ on Capitol Hill Tuesday. Tell us how you and your colleagues came to be rounded up by the police.

It started last week. We, meaning some of the people who advocate for a national health system based on single payer financing, learned who the Senate Finance Committee had invited to the Roundtable on the Expansion of Health Insurance Coverage and it wasn’t very reassuring. Those invited represented either a conservative viewpoint or the interests of the private insurance industry and big business. None of them represented single payer – the most efficient way to expand coverage by expanding Medicare to everyone.

Several of the national groups organized call-ins to members of the committee by constituents in their states. Other groups organized having faxes sent. Despite thousands of phone calls and faxes, we learned on Monday that Sen. Baucus’s office had said that there would be no more invitations to speakers for the event.

The Roundtable was planned as a public event, but the public was not allowed to speak or to ask questions. In addition, it was the type of event that you must get to early and stand in line for hours just to get in. It sounded like it was going to be one more in the series of very scripted and controlled events that has characterized this “health care debate.”

We decided that we would try to attend and request that one of us, all knowledgeable about single payer, be allowed to have a seat at the table. We arrived around 7 am and waited in line. We were allowed into the Committee Room at around 9:45. We took seats in the audience.

As I sat there looking around the room, what I saw saddened me. We had decided to wear black to symbolize the death and suffering of thousands of Americans every year who can’t get needed health care. As I looked around and saw the Senators and staffers and guests of the Roundtable, I saw people who were well-off and who were smiling and laughing. Their demeanor did not match what I felt was supposed to be a serious discussion of our nation’s health crisis and how to address it.

Shortly before the meeting started, one of the people in our group, Russell Mokhiber, stood up and said something to the effect that there were no people representing single payer at the table and that there were doctors in the room who were willing to take a seat. He was arrested.

Following that, we rose, one by one, and spoke out for single payer. Each of the eight of us were arrested. We were handcuffed and held for around seven hours. We were charged with Unlawful Conduct and Disruption of Congress.

It is estimated that eighteen thousand people die every year from lack of health insurance. These doctors did something very honorable by getting themselves arrested trying to stop that mass murder. I am reminded of Henry David Thoreau, jailed for refusing to pay taxes to suppport the Mexican War. A friend, visiting him, asked him “What are you doing in there?” Thoreau answered him, “Rather, my friend, what are you doing out there?”

Posted in Good Things, health care, hearings, walking the walk | 5 Comments »

Vote for impeachment

Posted by Charles II on December 14, 2007

Three members of the Judiciary Committee have called for hearings on the impeachment of Richard Cheney. Our “liberal media” refuses to publish their OpEd (see below). You can vote for impeachment at


By Representatives and Members of the Judiciary Committee:
Robert Wexler (D-FL), Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)

On November 7, the House of Representatives voted to send a resolution of impeachment of Vice President Cheney to the Judiciary Committee. As Members of the House Judiciary Committee, we strongly believe these important hearings should begin.

The issues at hand are too serious to ignore, including credible allegations of abuse of power that if proven may well constitute high crimes and misdemeanors under our constitution. The charges against Vice President Cheney relate to his deceptive actions leading up to the Iraq war, the revelation of the identity of a covert agent for political retaliation, and the illegal wiretapping of American citizens.

Continues here

Posted in Dick Cheney, hearings, impeachment | Comments Off on Vote for impeachment

Compare And Contrast

Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 10, 2007

Just Us

Something to ponder when watching today’s House Judiciary Committee hearings featuring Alberto “the Geneva Conventions are so quaint” Gonzales:

On the House Judiciary Committee

Artur Davis (D-AL) was an Assistant USA in Alabama.
Marty Meehan (D-MA) was the First Assistant District Attorney for Middlesex County (Boston).
Bill Delahunt (D-MA) was the District Attorney for Norfolk County in Massachusetts for over 20 years.

None of the Republicans on the HJC has ever so much as served in a US Attorney’s office, much less been an AUSA or USA.

And if you’re wondering why the Republicans aren’t asking former GOP Congresscritter and former USA Bob Barr to speak out on their behalf, just go here.

Posted in abuse of power, Alberto Gonzales, Democrats, Democrats with spines, hearings, US attorney firings, US Attorney scandal | Comments Off on Compare And Contrast

Not An April Fool’s Joke

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 1, 2007

Last Monday, Henry Waxman, in his capacity as chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, wrote to the RNC and the Bush-Cheney ’04 campaign and directed them to preserve all e-mails by and for White House officials because they “may be relevant to multiple congressional investigations.”  Waxman  also requested that they meet with the committee for an airing of the huge legal (not to mention ethical) quagmire that is implicit in conducting official government business using partisan e-mail accounts.

How did the Bush Junta members respond?   In the stupidest way possible.

According to U.S. News and World Report, some Bush aides “have subsequently bought their own private E-mail system through a cellular phone or Blackberry server. When asked how he communicated, one aide pulled out a new personal cellphone and said, ‘texting.'”

Hoo boy.  As anyone who stayed awake through their company’s information-security training lecture knows, cellphones are the least secure information-transmittal system out there.  There are problems galore with using the things for sensitive information — in fact, most security experts will tell you never to send anything over a cellphone that wouldn’t mind seeing on network TV.

So even as the Bushies send their cutesy little texts to each other — “Wow that Waxman is teh suxxorz!  But he cant tuch uz now cuz we be textin LOL!” — the Soviets are probably upgrading their own Wi-Fi receivers to pick up these unscrambled, wide-open transmissions.  (Hell, they probably won’t even need to use AirSnort.)

Posted in abuse of power, BushCo malfeasance, government malfeasance, hearings, Henry Waxman, obstruction of justice, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, rightwing moral cripples, Silly Republicans, wrong way to go about it, WTF? | 5 Comments »

Why Are Republicans Defending Lurita Doan?

Posted by MEC on March 31, 2007

Knight in Shining Armor

GSA chief Lurita Doan was called before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on Wednesday to answer questions about, among other things, a January 26 meeting that appears to be a violation of the Hatch Act and a no-bid contract awarded to Ms. Doan’s personal friend

Two Republican House members in particular rode to Ms. Doan’s defense. Tom Davis (R-VA) fell all over himself proclaiming Ms. Doan’s uprightness and innocence, going so far as to read an email that accused the Democrats of projection. John Mica (R-FL) went beyond dismissing all allegations that Ms. Doan behaved improperly, accusing the Democrats of being a pack of racists for “targeting” Ms. Doan. (Mica also threw a full-metal temper tantrum at being cut off by Commitee chair Henry Waxman when Mica spoke out of turn, so maybe he’s just naturally intemperate.)

I would expect a kneejerk defense of any of Bush’s appointees, since no loyal Republican would question a decision by their Dear Leader. But Davis’ and Mica’s outrage seems to go beyond kneejerk partisan reaction. So … are these Honorable men taking it personally?

Does anybody know of a connection between Lurita Doan and Tom Davis or John Mica? (Minds out of the gutter, people, I’m thinking of Deep Throat’s advice to “follow the money”.) Kos diarist achamblee mentions a possible reason: Tom Davis is on the list of at-risk politicians for whom White House operative Scott Jennings was soliciting GSA staffers’ help.

Posted in abuse of power, BushCo malfeasance, Congressional hearings, GOP bullying, government malfeasance, GSA scandal, hearings, Lurita Doan, Republicans acting badly, Tom Davis | 14 Comments »

Pow! Biff! Zap! Bam!

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 26, 2007

Nananananananana Nananananananana WAX MAN!

Nananananananana Nananananananana WAX MAN!:

Monday, March 26, 2007

Administration Oversight Committee Directs RNC to Preserve White House Emails

Citing evidence that senior White House officials are using RNC and other political email accounts to avoid leaving a record of official communications, Chairman Waxman directs the Republican National Committee and the Bush-Cheney ’04 Campaign to preserve the emails of White House officials and to meet with Committee staff to explain how the accounts are managed and what steps are being taken to protect the emails from destruction and tampering.

Wake up and smell the accountability, Republicans!

Nananananananana Nananananananana WAX MAN!

Posted in BushCo malfeasance, corruption, Democrats with spines, dope slaps for Dubya, government malfeasance, hearings, Henry Waxman, Karl Rove, madness of King George, Real Americans, Superheroes, tutu-less Democrats | 6 Comments »

Information-Free Reporting

Posted by MEC on March 17, 2007

Julie Hirschfeld Davis of the Associated Press provides a lesson on how to report on a big story without including any significant detail whatever:

Valerie Plame put a glamorous face and a personal story to Democrats’ criticism of the Bush administration Friday…

Mmm yeah. The important thing about a woman who helped to manage and run one of the CIA’s most important worldwide programs is that she’s a looker. Uh huh. Happy Women’s History Month.

Plame, the operative at the center of the leak scandal that resulted in last week’s criminal conviction of a former top White House official, created more of a stir by her presence on Capitol Hill than by her testimony.


She revealed little new information about the case….

Oh, so it’s not significant that she settled the question of whether she was, in fact, a covert agent and therefore White House officials committed a serious breach of national security by outing her.

Still, Plame’s appearance before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee was a moment of political theater that dramatized Democrats’ drive to use their control of Congress to expose what they see as White House efforts to intimidate dissenters.

See? It’s all just about partison politics, not about Congress’ duty to provide oversight, especially when there’s misconduct in the other branches of government.

News cameras whirred and spectators craned their necks to catch a glimpse of Plame as the blond former operative took her place alone at the witness table for her 90 minutes of testimony.

The rest of the report is just as empty — except where Davis is actively undermining Valerie Plame Wilson’s testimony by repeating disinformation. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in anti-truth, beat the press, Congressional hearings, distractions, GOP/Media Complex, hearings, mediawhores, The smear industry, Valerie Plame | 2 Comments »

Congress to Bush: You Are Not the Decider

Posted by MEC on January 31, 2007

Constitutional and legal experts have told a Senate hearing that the Congressional authority to declare war and control the budget also confers the authority to withdraw from a war.

“I think the constitutional scheme does give Congress broad authority to terminate a war,” said Bradford Berenson, a Washington lawyer who was a White House associate counsel under Bush from 2001 to 2003.

“It is ultimately Congress that decides the size, scope and duration of the use of military force,” said Walter Dellinger, former acting solicitor general — the government’s chief advocate before the Supreme Court — in 1996-97, and an assistant attorney general three years before that.


Republican Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania argued that under the Constitution, the president shared his powers with Congress.

“I would respectfully suggest to the president that he is not the sole ‘decider,'” said Specter, the head of the Judiciary Committee until Democrats won control from Republicans in November. “The decider is a shared and joint responsibility.”The Senate may do more to reclaim its Constitutional authority than pass a nonbinding resolution objecting to Bush’s “surge”. Senator Feingold is planning to introduce a bill to prohibit the use of funds for the war six months after enactment.

What a difference an election makes: from rollover to oversight.

Posted in Bush, Feingold, hearings, Iraq war, Senate | Comments Off on Congress to Bush: You Are Not the Decider

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