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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Because I said so

Like a parent dealing with a petulant child, W is telling the nation to eat its broccoli (even if Dad hates it), make its bed and don't talk back. He knows what's best for us and gosh darn, we'd better listen.

In the space of one news conference, W told us he knows that his "domestic surveillance" is legal, no matter what the lawyers say; that he's keeping his pictures with Jack Abramoff private because they'd only be used for political purposes; and that what FEMA and the White House knew and when they knew it prior to Katrina ravaging New Orleans is nobody's business, especially not Congress.

The depth and breadth of his arrogance is truly astounding to behold. Dana Milbank of the Post labeled his attitude "l'etat, c'est moi," Louis XIV's breathtaking declaration that he was the state. Let's not forget that two Louis' later, Marie Antoinette's supposed utterance of "let the eat cake" contributed to an image that helped her to the guillotine.

And of course the highlight was the Harvard MBA declaring that, despite some very clear public concern over his domestic spying program, he was just going to keep on keeping on because he was convinced his efforts were legal. And of course, if you disagree, you are a traitor.

"But it's important for people to understand that this program is so sensitive and so important that if information gets out to how we run it or how we operate it, it'll help the enemy," he said. "Why tell the enemy what we're doing?"

And this is the man who ran on the promise of toning down the rhetoric? Oh yeah, it's one of his less harmful lies.

I'll be taking some time at an undisclosed location. I'll give Vice your regards.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

PR offensive

Say what you will about the Bush political operation but they are not willing to go to the well too often. And as for Democrats, they're just plain not willing.

The president and his minions continue to try to talk their way out of the highly questionable policy of domestic surveillance. First you had Karl Rove issue his regular blast at Democrats as soft on terrorism. (Let's see, it '50s speak, would that be terro-symp? Or Osama-symp?)

Follow that up with a general defending his agency against the brutish attacks against good patriotic Americans trying to do their jobs protecting us from evil-doers. Oh yeah, and throw in stuff about how this is not "domestic spying" but"terrorism surveillance."

Then, in comes W for the kill -- a personal appearance in a friendly environment to drop the ultimate red herring.
It's just such an honor to be able to tell these people that the work they do is vital and necessary, and I support them a hundred percent," Mr. Bush told reporters during a rare presidential trip to the (National Security) Agency at Fort Meade, Md., in the suburban sprawl between Baltimore and Washington.
Yep, we no good liberal scum don't respect the work they do. Memo to George: We sure do. We just wish you would make sure that what they do doesn't shred the Constitution in the process, particularly when there is a very legal way to do the same thing.

And memo to Democrats: will you please wake up and realize that a backbone will get you as much support as a position that might not be wildly popular (heck, half the country thinks Bush is wrong, isn't that enough to show some spine?)

As for me, I'm waiting for the Google Police. Can't wait to see what crazy name the Bushies come up with this piece of privacy invasion.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Your tax dollars at work

One of the crowning principles of the Bush administration is responsibility -- for someone else of course and not for them or their cronies.

Wonder where the trillions in tax dollars are going in Iraq? Me too. I'd like a file drawer packed with millions or to have Uncle Sam stake me to a small fortune in gambling. This of course, is the same administration that won't fess up to messing up Katrina or knowing Jack Abramoff.

That theme is also the conclusion from the other responsibility dodge offered by the Bush Boys. Did George Washington also condone torture, Mr. Attorney General?

Do as I say, not as I do. The GOP motto.

Was he wearing a black beret?

I'm sure they're not as dramatic as the pictures of Bill and Monica on a rope line, but doesn't this sentence strike you as a tad hypocritical?
"Trying to say there's more to it than the president taking a picture in a photo line is just absurd," White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters.
The mouthpiece-in-chief was referring, of course, to the rationalization of why the Bush administration withheld photographers of W and Jack Abramoff.

If only these guys ran a government as well as they run political damage control. Take that from someone who knows:
Jennifer Palmieri, a former Clinton communications aide, said, "If TV is showing a picture of George Bush and Jack Abramoff, it immediately brings the poster boy for abuse into the Oval Office."
And memo to Frank Abramoff, the grandfather defending his grandchild against the words of George Clooney: How do you think Chelsea Clinton felt? And can we assume your son was among the leaders in saying vicious things?

Who's lying now?

The right hand didn't know what the other right hand was doing. Or these people have raised lying to a new art form. That's the only set of conclusions that can be drawn from the revelation that W, Brownie and Michael Chertoff actually did know that Katrina would be destructive. The much-maligned FEMA team predicted the storm and aftermath with scary precision. Some key words to remember:
"I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees. They did anticipate a serious storm," Bush said in a Sept. 1 interview on ABC's "Good Morning America."
Heckuva job Bushie. Maybe that's why you're into coverup mode?

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Fear and smear

Well look who crawled out from under his rock? None other than Turd Blossom. Apparently he thinks special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald won't indict him in the Plamegate scandal so he's back spreading his gospel.

And that gospel is? Fear and smear of course. With a dose of tax cut pandering thrown in. All the while denying he has any such intentions. Let's go the speech.

Just one day after the Bushies decline to raise the terror level in response to another bottom of the rock slimeball, Karl Rove is back flogging the same old dead horse that Democrats are soft on defense and terrorism. Of course he masquerades his words a bit but that message is clear.
"At the core, we are dealing with two parties that have fundamentally different views on national security," Rove said. "Republicans have a post-9/11 worldview and many Democrats have a pre-9/11 worldview. That doesn't make them unpatriotic -- not at all. But it does make them wrong -- deeply and profoundly and consistently wrong."
Deeply and profoundly and consistently wrong? Just like the intelligence estimates, the shifting rationale for the war, the illegal spying? That doesn't make Republicans unpatriotic -- just liars. Next thing you know that threat to bring back Osama dead or alive will be declared inoperative. Oops, it was.

Hey, who can blame him: it works. With Darth Cheney glowering his glower the Bush team has managed to raise fear to an art form (a color-coded one at that.) But only when it serves their purposes.

And given the possibility that Scooter Libby will be on trial -- as will some of the friends of Jack Abramoff -- when the midterm elections roll around, the certainly is a time to raise fear.

He certainly has earned that nickname.

Desperate Homophobes?

The apparent decision by Walt Disney to cancel a reality TV series in which a gay couple moves into an Austin, Texas neighborhood once again gives lie to the concept of the liberal media.

The Disney folks practices self-censorship in the most blatant form by canceling "Welcome to the Neighborhood" before it ever aired -- ostensibly to be sure it didn't rile the Religious Right. That of course, would have prevented the lifting of the Right's boycott of Disney Land and Disney World, because, horror of horrors, the parks tolerate gays.

And more to the point, it would have put the kibosh on Disney's plans to rake in the bucks from the Christian Right favorite, "The Chronicles of Narnia."

The TV series surely would have outraged the Right all right. According to the Times, when all was said and done, the most outspoken homophobe in the neighborhood before the family moved in had changed his tune. Wouldn't want that lesson out there when the Hate Wing is gearing up for another assault on gay marriage in Massachusetts.

Well, I'm just one person, but I personally will boycott Disney for its quaking reaction to hateful intimidation and its decision to self censor.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Medi-doesn't-care

The Bush Administration is playing offense again on Medicare, touting the fact that two million people signed up in the last month. They need to fight back in the face of overwhelming evidence this giveaway program for big pharmaceutical companies is turning out to be a liability.

GOP congressmen are using the DeLay break to hit their districts and try to convince seniors the benefit is the greatest thing sliced doughnut holes, er, bread.

But perhaps they should read this Los Angeles Times piece to get a better sense about what they have perpetrated in the name of political gain. Yes, yes, I know it's an opinion piece, but there's some good first-hand reporting too.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

What was he smoking?

Let me get this straight: the Bush Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service impeded special prosecutor David Barrett's effort to nail Henry Cisneros on tax evasion charges?

That is the essence of the report ending a decade-long, $21 million look into Cisneros' foolish decision to pay off a mistress. The special prosecutor continued his investigation more than six years after Cisneros copped a plea to a misdemeanor.

The investigation also continued for five full years of the Bush Administration and a legal and tax hierarchy that would be presumed to be predisposed to investigating Clintonites (while ignoring the cesspool that is a Republican Congress.)

The idea that Bush appointees would spare a Clinton official is one of the most laughable ideas I have ever heard. And all it cost taxpayers was $21 million. Quite a bargain compared to the Starr report.

Have it your way

Mitt Romney is a lame duck pretending to be engaged with his job. Mitt Romney is an unannounced GOP presidential candidate. Mitt Romney tries to have it both ways. Which view is correct? All of the above.

One month after saying he's done everything he can and it's time to move on, Mitt unveils an ambitious agenda marked by the Republican trademark of more spending and less taxes. Mitt's looking for a win to carry him on the campaign trail and he doesn't care who he bankrupts to do it.

Don't get me wrong -- trying to get movement on a health care insurance proposal is a good thing. Ditto for increased local aid and education funding. But Mitt's into classic GOP avoidance. In this case he's avoiding the thorny question of "how are you going to pay for this?"

Certainly not with state income tax funds. Trying to set himself apart from Democratic wanna-be Tom Reilly Mitt has come up with a variation on the theme of a rollback: break it up over two years. In fact, that's a proposal the Legislature approved awhile back -- staggering a based on the ability to afford it.

The Romney speech suggests he's none to concerned about the ability to afford things and his FY07 budget that will reflect Bushonomics at its base level: more spending and fewer dollars. Because let's face it, that message plays with the right wing of the GOP that is active in the presidential primary process.

So Mitt's recipe is simple: run for president on the platform of insult the state and its people and leave it bankrupt. It worked for George Bush. Why shouldn't it work for Mitt?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Sham reform?

Congress is poised to act on the lobbying scandals by passing reforms aimed at cuting down the influence of money in passing legislation. Or is it?

The proposal to hatch from the maw of a GOP sweating out the songs of Jack Abramoff has just the proper level of cynicism to be palmed off as real GOP legislation. It puts the onus on lobbyists, not members, and leaves a loophole wide enough for a Hummer full of cash to plow through by excluding campaign contributions. Here's the meat of the proposal, according to the Post:

According to lobbyists and ethics experts, even if [Speaker Dennis] Hastert's proposal is enacted, members of Congress and their staffs could still travel the world on an interest group's expense and eat steak on a lobbyist's account at the priciest restaurants in Washington.

The only requirement would be that whenever a lobbyist pays the bill, he or she must also hand the lawmaker a campaign contribution. Then the transaction would be perfectly okay.

Only this Republican Congress would suggest the problem is that members are being offered money and if those nasty people only stopped dangling lunches in their faces all would be well.

Not to mention that only a GOP leadership that has seen three of its "leaders" chased from office by scandal in 11 years (don't forget Bob Livingston in addition to Newt and Termite Tommie) would limit monetary lubrication to the campaign process but not the legislative process.

Omitting the campaign process from the reforms -- makes the whole thing a sham. Here's the key, according to the Post:
Anything that members of Congress can now do in the pursuit of money for their reelections will still be permitted in the future -- including accepting lobbyist-paid travel and in-town meals -- unless campaign finance laws are altered.
Shame on us if we buy this turkey -- even it is does comes from one of the priciest joints in D.C.

Monday, January 16, 2006

The FEMA-ization of Medicare

George Bush is doing for Medicare what he did for disaster management.

When Congress created the Part D prescription benefit in 2003 everyone correctly assumed the time lag was so that the Republicans could take credit for a "victory" on a Democratic issue before the presidential election. It was also widely assumed that the delay would hide the fact that Part D would be run by private insurers and the federal government would be barred from negotiating discounts from the pharma companies, discounts that would reduce the cost of the benefit.

It was also assumed, incorrectly, that the extra time would allow the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services to work out the rules for a crazy program that has a significant deductible and a "doughnut hole" in coverage that impacts millions of seniors.

The first two weeks of the prescription drug benefit is quickly reminding people of what happened the last time Congress tried to add a benefit for seniors. The outcome may or not be the same: the catastrophic health benefit was repealed.

But the total chaos, despite two years of planning, is another glaring example of the total dysfunction that is the calling card of the Bush administration Even when it wants to help, it messes up. Katrina was the most glaring example but it seems that even with that "experience" under its belt, FEMA still can't handle things. The latest debacle: delays in assistance to Oklahoma wildfire victims.

One of the lines of demarcation for true conservatives is that government has a public safety role, so FEMA's foul-ups violate those standards, But since many true conservatives object to Part D as a wasteful government intrusion into private lives, one must wonder whether there was anything here other than a cheap election year trick. We'll find out soon enough in this election year.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Let the campaign begin

While Mitt Romney has his eyes on a different prize, he has officially launched the 2006 gubernatorial campaign season with a bouquet for Kerry Healey. It will be interesting how the GOP manages to balance two very conflicting campaign goals.

A 17 percent local aid increase is a VERY good thing. Cities and towns have been starved for the last few years -- even more so than some other parts of government. Just check out the reports by the "liberal" Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center or the "non-partisan" or business-financed Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation to see issues facing state and local governments because of the slow recovery to the recession and the lack of cash.

Cities and towns have responded in two ways to the pinch they face: cutting basic services like police, fire and education and raising property taxes. They are the living embodiment of the fallacy of the anti-tax message that you can get something for nothing.

And that's where things will get interesting. We already know both Healey and Tom Reilly support rolling back the income tax to 5 percent. Deval Patrick wisely notes that previous income tax cuts have helped to put cities and towns in the soup.

The pledge of more local aid (and the modicum of property tax relief that will come with it) cannot survive the pledge to rollback the income tax and still meet needs in education, health care and public safety.

How those contradictions will play out are certainly among the most interesting tests facing the candidates as they start to hit the trail in earnest.

There they go again

The Hard Right is like the consummate bully -- trying to force someone into submission with bluster, name-calling and lies. The problem has been the refusal or the inability of those on the Left to face the bully down.

Two more classic cases of the bully mentality: a new "Swift Boat" attack and an attack on "liberal media" that centers on the fact the Right, like all bullies, doesn't like being called on the truth.

Jack Murtha is the target of the latest "Swift Boat" attack -- a reminder of how the Chicken Hawks on the Right lied about John Kerry's war record in an effort to obscure the lack of service of Dick Cheney or the questionable service of George W. Bush.

The attack on Murtha appears to be one where the Right takes words out of context and turns them into a smear. Here's the apparent reason for the attack, a conversation with a former House colleague, Don Bailey, who Murtha defeated in a redistricting battle.

In a conversation on the House floor in the early 1980s, said Bailey, who won a Silver Star and three Bronze Stars in Vietnam, Murtha told him he did not deserve his Purple Hearts. He recalled Murtha saying: "Hey, I didn't do anything like you did. I got a little scratch on the cheek."
Context is everything and 20 years is a long time but what could have been a friendly conversation then has taken on a whole new meaning after the passage of time. And that's indeed the key to the Swifties, taking things out of context and twisting.

Even more important, though, is the fact that Swift attacks are a key to the Hard Right's modus operandi: demean, impugn and question the values of your opposition. Overkill, particularly if you don't have a solid ground to stand on (sounds like Dick Cheney, right?)

Then there's the liberal media canard. The shallowness of the argument is exposed in the response to a Knight-Ridder examination of Samuel Alito's record. In the words of Col. Jessep in A Few Good Men: "you can't handle the truth."

The piece by Knight-Ridder editor Clark Hoyt speaks for itself. What to most non-bullies sounds like "fair and balanced" reporting -- including an opinion piece written by a Democrat who used to clerk for Alito backing the soon-to-be justice -- must obviously be bias to the Right. Why? Because they don't like the results. Bully tactics.

As the lies of Bush and Cheney and the crimes of the GOP-controlled Congress continue to mount, expect to see the bullies out in force. Especially if no one has the guts to fight back and call 'em what they are.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Bubble boy

"New Orleans is a heck of a place to bring your family," W opined as his motorcade sped past neighborhoods devastated by the one-two punch of Hurricane Katrina and FEMA incompetence.

If that were ever true, it's certainly less so now, no matter the efforts by the self-appointed director of marketing and tourism for the ravaged city. And it is yet another example of how out of touch our president is. He doesn't even read the press releases his own people put out.

I'm sure he will soon be touting the benefits of a week in Baghdad. Environmentally friendly, you know. They have a Green Zone.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The life of Reilly

Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly's strongest attribute to be the next Democratic governor of Massachusetts was that he wasn't one of the boys. Tom Reilly is squeaky clean, a prosecutor's prosecutor, pure as the driven snow.

Reilly now looks more like a snow pile that's hung around for a month. Dark, crusty and unappetizing. And he only has himself to blame for ignoring or forgetting a couple of basic rules of politics.

After about a week of manufactured "debate" -- manufactured by GOP hopeful Kerry Healey's overblown rhetoric -- Reilly slipped on an ice slick of his own making, After insisting politics did not play a role in his intervention into the probe of the alcohol-related deaths of the daughters of a campaign contributor, Reilly was forced to admit, in effect, never mind.

First off, the rhetoric of Healey and the otherwise disappearing governor is ludicrously overblown. Healey claimed Reilly ''managed to stifle and probably obstruct a criminal investigation" into whether the state's ''social host" law was broken. Romney suggested that Reilly was trying to ''hush up" the investigation.

Memo to Kerry: people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. And Mitt, this issue won't play in Peoria. Or Manchester. Certainly not South Carolina.

But Reilly's reputation as a dull and boring straight arrow is in tatters today. He now admits to talking about the case with a contributor after first denying it. He's pitting his word against a chief of police, a dicey thing for any politician to do, no matter what the truth is.

And first and foremost, he has given the GOP just the ammunition for TV spots that say Tommy is just one of the boys, a member of the gang on Beacon Hill.

Frankly, I don't think he did anything wrong in this case, from a legal perspective. But the political mistakes are major and the damage is now significant. And it's all the more shocking coming from a campaign that understands that you need to get out in front of the bad news.

The fact Tom Reilly was busted as a young adult was no big deal. He was more honest than certain elected officials who passed off drinking (and driving) as simply "when I was young and irresponsible, I was young and irresponsible."

Because Reilly and his campaign failed to go full disclosure when this initially hit, they have turned a tempest in a teapot into a winter storm, the severity of which is not yet fully clear,

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Alito on trial

Samuel Alito made a telling point in his opening statement -- a judge should be judged on his decisions from the bench and not on the positions he took as an advocate. On that basis, he should be rejected by the Senate.

A look at his 15-year record as an appeals court judge shows someone with a deference to authority and presidential power -- and someone out of the mainstream on basic, everyday issues. Frankly, if a liberal had approved of the notion of allowing unfettered access to machine guns or the strip searching of 10-year-old the moral and compassionate right would have that judge's scalp for abusing the rights of common, decent folks.

But it is Alito's deference to presidential authority that is most frightening -- even more terrifying than his less than forthright answers on a woman's right to choose (and the attached right to privacy that most conservatives reject as overreaching by the court).

And that's why it is encouraging that Arlen Specter (yeah, he still gives me the creeps from his Anita Hill performance) chose to focus on the issue of presidential power as well as privacy in his opening remarks.

With a rogue administration that refuses to acknowledge any bounds for its actions -- from lying to spying -- it is imperative that the checks and balances envisioned by the founders actually work (isn't that a strict interpretation of the Constitution?) Since Congress has abdicated that role in the pursuit of lucre, the job must fall to the last redoubt - the courts.

That is truly why the right has been on a crusade against a "liberal" judiciary.

That is also why the Jackson concurrence cited by Specter and likely to be mentioned countless times in the days ahead is crucial. It sets out clear tests on the extent of presidential authority -- and it is noteworthy that Justice Jackson had been FDR's attorney general and seen that awesome power first hand.

Whether the president fudging the truth is Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton or George W. Bush, there is a need for limits on presidential power. Samuel Alito's writings indicate he doesn't believe in that. Whether that opinion came as an advocate or a judge is irrelevant, because it shows a profound lack of respect for checks and balances -- and a flawed reading of the Constitution.

We are already suffering from someone who used the argument that "when I was young and irresponsible, I was young and irresponsible." We don't need someone else whose "youthful indiscretions" toward the law could send us further down the slippery slope of unchecked executive power.

Monday, January 09, 2006

No on Alito

With the hearings about to begin on a Supreme Court nominee likely to change the face of the court and the country for a long time, it's time to be counted. And given the fact the National Security Agency is probably counting this blog -- and would be allowed to legally do so by an Alito Court -- that vote should be No.

The crux of this decision should not be a woman's right to choose -- as important as that right is. Focusing on Alito' s Roe v. Wade position is likely to be fruitless because his murder board practices should have armed him with perfect obfuscations where answers should. We know where he stands, as Louise Day Hicks said about her position on busing.

What is of equal concern is Alito's apparent penchant to give the executive unfettered power, eliminating an important check and balance and turning the government into two branches.

Think about it. If Samuel Alito had been on the Supreme Court the Pentagon Papers would not have been published and Daniel Ellsberg would still be rotting in jail; Watergate would have been a blip on the screen, the doctrine of executive privilege to hide executive lawbreaking solid as a rock. The president could lock up whoever he wants wherever he wants for however he wants and ignore any law Congress passes (oops, he's doing that already).

Alito represents the transition of our government from representative government to monarchy (or worse). He should not be allowed to take a seat on the Court.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

DeLay tactics

Hey, hey, ho, ho, Termite Tommie's got to go. And he did.

But the suggestion that eliminating this walking unethical minefield clears the way for the GOP to breeze to victory in fall congressional election is, how shall we say this nicely, a bunch of hooey.

The former majority leader, who portrayed himself as the moral avenger of Democratic excess leaves such a stench that there's no amount of disinfectant to remove it. Three personal rebukes from a toothless ethics committee that he stacked and the pending trial in Texas related to his heavy-handed gerrymandering of the Texas congressional delegation; the guilty plea of former aide Michael Scanlon; the continued focus on crony Edwin Buckham; and of course the Abramoff connection -- from Tommie's own golfing trips to Scanlon to former Bush procurement chief David Safavian.

The stench has worked its way through the House: Duke Cunningham is gone and Bob Ney is Representative #1 in the eyes of prosecutors. They're also looking at John Doolittle (a good name for someone in this Congress, dontcha think?)

Yes, there are Democrats who took money from Jack and his minions, but this is a partisan scandal through and through. After all, let's look at Jack's good buddies: Grover Norquist and Ralph Reed. Democrat fans? I think not.

The one thing that stands in the way at this moment to a Democratic return to leadership in the House (other than their own natural inclination against leading, of course) is the way Termite Tommie stacked the deck to pick up five seats in Texas that look pretty good right now.

The facts are simple: the "compassionate conservatives" who took office in the wake of the Clinton "scandals" they largely manufactured have not brought moral purity. Rather, they have presided over the largest wave of corruption to hit Washington in a generation. This makes the House banking scandal small time.

And of course this morally reprehensible behavior doesn't even begin to get into the lies of the Bush administration. Just who are the moral leaders anyway?

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Some things never change

Take a couple of weeks off and you can rest assured some things will never change: the GOP's latest favorite is Jack, We Hardly Knew Ye; Termite Tommie remains unrepentant, even in the face of damning, if vengeful criticism; and Vice and the Evidence continue to conflict.

Watching the rats scurry away from Jack Abramoff is hardly shocking. Nobody is more radioactive in Washington than someone in trouble with the media, prosecutors or both. And not just those scorned by the Hasidic Hustler. The Post's Howie Kurtz has a fine rundown of those defenders of morality on the right (at least when it came to Bill Clinton) who have turned mute. Ditto for Jack Shafer in Slate, who can't help but notice the silence at the Wall Street Journal editorial page.

Meanwhile, as the noose continues to tighten around the neck of Abramoff's chum the Evangelical Avenger, who will maintain his innocence to the day the jail door slams shut behind him, a few Republicans appear to be developing a backbone.

There's no shortage of irony that the spark for this mini-profile in a sort of courage is none other than the man who started it all, Newt Gingrich. Of course it does appear a bit unsettling to hear the Newtster appear so pious while forgetting his own run-ins with the ethics police.

And of course there's Vice, firm to the end that those nasty Dems would allow Osama to blow us all up if it weren't for the courage of W. in standing up to those punks who think the we shouldn't sacrifices our beliefs in the pursuit of maintaining them. And what do those congressional wimps know anyway? Maybe something?