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Archive for September 15th, 2006

Rep. Ney Agrees to Plead Guilty


Rep. Robert Ney (R-Ohio) agreed today to plead guilty to conspiring to commit multiple official acts for lobbyists in exchange for campaign contributions, meals and luxury travel, sports tickets and gambling chips. He became the first elected official to face charges in the ongoing influence-peddling investigation of former lobbying powerhouse Jack Abramoff.

After insisting for more than a year that he had broken no laws in his dealings with Abramoff, Ney signed a plea deal Wednesday that was entered into federal court today. Prosecutors are seeking a sentence of 27 months in prison.

Ney checked into an alcohol rehabilitation clinic Wednesday and apologized in a statement today for “serious mistakes” that have brought pain to his family and constituents.

Justice Department Criminal Division chief Alice Fisher announced today the department had accepted the plea agreement and filed a criminal information in court. Ney is expected to appear in court to enter a plea Oct. 13.

“Congressman Ney and his co-conspirators engaged in a long-term pattern to deprive the public of his honest, unbiased services as an elected official,” said Fisher at a press conference. “People must have faith and confidence in their elected officials” and she said that Ney had “acted in his own interests, not in the interests of his constituents.”

P.S. I wonder what he looks like without that hideous wig? LOL

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WASHINGTON – Facing a GOP revolt in the Senate, President Bush urged Congress on Friday to join in backing legislation to spell out strategies for interrogating and trying terror suspects, saying “the enemy wants to attack us again.”

“Time is running out,” Bush said in a Rose Garden news conference. “Congress needs to act wisely and promptly.”

Bush denied the U.S. might lose the moral high ground in the war on terror in the eyes of world opinion, as former Secretary of State Colin Powell suggested.

“It’s unacceptable to think there’s any kind of comparison between the behavior of the United States of America and the action of Islamic extremists who kill innocent women and children to achieve an objective,” said Bush, growing animated as he spoke.

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Sept. 15 (Bloomberg) — Republican voters are angry, not for the first time, at big-spending politicians in Washington. This year, their wrath is aimed at their own party.

The Republican-controlled Congress heads into the Nov. 7 elections having increased federal spending this year by 9 percent — the most since 1990 — to about $2.7 trillion, according to projections from the White House Office of Management and Budget. The agency estimates government spending will grow to 20.6 percent of gross domestic product in 2006 from 18.5 percent when President George W. Bush took office in 2001.

“We’ve strayed a long way from the principles the party was founded upon,” said Representative Jeff Flake, an Arizona Republican.

Republicans need a big turnout by their core supporters if they are to avoid losing their majorities in the House of Representatives and, possibly, the Senate. Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster, said those core supporters are the very voters who are most likely to be angered by the increased spending, and who may stay home in protest.


“It’s one of a handful of reasons why Republicans are discouraged,” Ayres said.


“I don’t know what you can say that will mollify the Republican base on this subject. You’re better off talking to them about other subjects.”

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The News That Didn’t Make The News

Top 25 Censored Stories


PROJECT CENSORED

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The Senate Armed Services Committee defied President Bush today by passing its own terrorism tribunal bill to protect the rights of terror detainees.

“Four of the 13 Republicans on the panel joined the 11 Democrats to pass their version of the measure, rejecting Bush’s proposal to bar defendants from seeing classified evidence prosecutors may want to use in court,” reports Bloomberg News.

The four Republicans acted against the White House today only a few hours after the president paid a rare visit to Capitol Hill in order to personally lobby House members to support his plan.

“President Bush visited Capitol Hill Thursday where he conferred behind closed doors with House Republicans on legislation to give the government more power to spy on, imprison and interrogate terrorism suspects,” reported the Associated Press earlier today.

Bush told reporters later at the White House that he would “resist any bill that does not enable this program to go forward with legal clarity.”

The bill passed by the Senate panel had been drafted by Republican Senators John McCain, Lindsey O. Graham, and Chairman John Warner. Senator Susan M. Collins was the fourth Republican to vote for the bill.

“Voting 15-9, the Senate Armed Services Committee approved the bill they said would provide suspects more legal rights than Bush wanted and resisted his attempt to more narrowly define the Geneva Conventions’ standards for humane treatment of prisoners,” reports Reuters.


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This morning, President Bush was questioned about Gen. Colin Powell’s letter criticizing White House legislation that would authorize torture. Bush tried to downplay Powell’s letter by pointing to another letter signed by the military’s top uniformed lawyers saying they supported Bush’s plan:

BUSH: There’s all kinds of letters coming out — and today, by the way, active duty personnel in the Pentagon, the JAG, supported the concept that I have just outlined to you.

But during today’s White House press conference, a reporter cited comments by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) — a former JAG and an opponent of the Bush’s detainee policies — claiming that the White House had placed extreme pressure on the military lawyers to sign a statement, and that the lawyers had refused to sign the initial statement crafted for them by the White House:

REPORTER: Sen. Graham is telling reporters on Capitol Hill that the White House had them in a meeting for five hours last night and tried to force them to sign a prepared statement and he said reading this JAG letter they ended up writing leaves total ambiguity on interpretation, this is Sen. Lindsey Graham. What’s your response to that?

Snow acknowledged “they were asked to write a letter” but said, “if you start going into who asked whom to write letters, I don’t know.” Watch it:

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