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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-22-2006, 06:36 AM Thread Starter
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Pelosi: Parte Deux

The incoming House Speaker already made a questionable move backing the losing candidate in the race for Majority Leader. Will she stumble again by choosing a member with a checkered past to lead the House Intelligence Committee?
By TIMOTHY J. BURGER/WASHINGTON
SUBSCRIBE TO TIMEPRINTE-MAILMORE BY AUTHOR

* Politics: Did Pelosi Get the Message?
* Exclusive: Feds Probe Harman's Relationship With AIPAC

Posted Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2006
Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi, who stumbled badly last week when she publicly backed the failed candidacy of Rep. John Murtha for majority leader, could be headed for another political tumble if she presses ahead with long-standing plans to elevate Rep. Alcee Hastings, a senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, to the panel's chairmanship.

A Democratic aide says Pelosi has not decided who she will name as chairman of the intelligence panel, but that she was leaning against the current top Democrat, Rep. Jane Harman. Her preferred nominee has long been Hastings, but like Murtha he has his own ethically challenged history. And while the broad outlines of that past are well known, the grimy specifics are only now emerging.

Hastings was elected to Congress in 1992, but his first big moment on Capitol Hill came three years before that. Appointed as a federal judge in Florida in 1979, Hastings had been acquitted in a 1983 criminal trial on charges of soliciting a $150,000 bribe two years earlier in a deal to provide favorable treatment for defendants in a racketeering case before him. Despite his being legally cleared, Congress determined that the evidence against Hastings was still powerful enough to remove him from the bench, which the Senate voted to do in 1989 — even though Senators Arlen Specter and Jeff Bingaman, the top Republican and Democrat who supervised the proceedings, voted against expelling Hastings from office. The impeachment proceedings were later invalidated by an appeals court judge in 1993, although that ruling was itself later vitiated by the Supreme Court. Reports on those impeachment proceedings were posted Monday evening on the blog of the left-of-center ethics watchdog, Committee for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, fleshing out the details of an episode that Hastings, and surely Pelosi, would much rather forget.

How important is a case dating back to the 1980s and Hastings' prior, ill-fated career as a judge? Well, at least Hastings seems to realize that it won't be so easily dismissed as ancient history. He recently sent Pelosi a five-page open letter explaining his side of the story — and appended the statements of Senators Specter and Bingaman.

At the time of the impeachment proceedings, Rep. John Conyers, on track to become the House Judiciary Committee chairman, said that he didn't like what that panel's investigation showed about Hastings. "In my mind, the facts that we have educed,(sic) the witnesses that we have heard, the voluminous records that we have read and re-examined, convince me that Judge Hastings has regrettably engaged in conduct constituting high crimes and misdemeanors and that therefore we should vote this resolution of impeachment," Conyers said in the proceeding almost 20 years ago. Befitting the political and legal complexities of the case, Conyers has since tempered his remarks, thanks in part to a subsequent scandal involving the FBI lab which handled some of the Hastings evidence. Still, an aide declined to explain to TIME Conyers' current position.

Pelosi has for quite some time put out signals that she will replace Harman as the top Democrat on the panel in order to maintain a traditional rotation in the spot. But Democratic insiders say her motivation is far more personal — as was Pelosi's support of Murtha against her nemesis of several years, incoming Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. Harman defenders say Pelosi's complaints either stem from an unworthy catfight among leading California congresswomen; Harman's close relationship with Hoyer; or Harman's efforts to seem bipartisan on controversial issues such as the administration's controversial domestic warrantless wiretapping — when Pelosi wanted a Democratic pit bull in the party's top intelligence post.

Moreover, as was first reported on TIME.com a month ago, Harman has been under investigation by the Justice Department over her links to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and whether they made a deal, in part, to have AIPAC supporters lobby Pelosi to keep Harman on as the Democrats' top member of the committee. Both Harman and AIPAC have vehemently denied they did anything wrong and U.S. officials have said they do not necessarily expect that charges will be brought.

The dusty congressional report on Hastings dates back 18 years and the furtive actions outlined in it are some 25 years old. But details of the seedy tale, as presented in the report, may capture Washington's attention more now than they did the first time around: an intermediary seeking an alleged $150,000 payoff for Hastings, a tipoff to Hastings that an associate had been arrested, followed by a frantic cab ride from Washington to the Baltimore airport — instead of nearby National Airport, allegedly to throw off any possible pursuers.

In the wake of the downfall of intelligence committee Republican Randy "Duke" Cunningham — who is in prison after being convicted for his role in a very different scandal, involving alleged seven-figure payoffs by defense contractors — the way Congress handles the Hastings saga should shine still more light on problems with how the two parties appoint and re-appoint rank-and-file members of such a sensitive committee. If Democrats found Hastings fit to serve as a member of the intelligence committee at all, many would argue, they should be able to consider him for the chairmanship. As a panel member, Hastings has been deeply immersed in classified information for years, traveling to dozens of the CIA's secret overseas stations and bases, all with no allegation of misconduct in that role (though, to be sure, there have occasionally been Republican whispers that they didn't fully trust him).

Pelosi may has few good options in the current dilemma. If she decides to replace Harman with someone other than Hastings, she could easily offend the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), which has insisted that Hastings' seniority entitles him to the position. But some aides have also rumored that there might be another solution: installing a former panel member, Georgia Rep. Sanford Bishop, who is also African-American, in place of either Harman or Hastings. Whatever happens, one thing is clear; after her Murtha debacle, Pelosi — and the Democrats for that matter — cannot afford another misstep so early in her tenure.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-22-2006, 07:49 AM
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What the hell is Pelosi doing?!?!? F'in stupid. And what the hell is Rangel doing with this draft crap. We give the Dems a chance to impress us and they end up showing us what idiots they are. At least they are leaving the bill of rights/civil liberties alone and that's what I voted for.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-22-2006, 07:51 AM
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I was listening to Hannety yesterday, and he asked a couple of Democrat congressmen if they thought it was an ethical move to push for Hastings for the position. Not one of them could give a straight answer. Seems a shame that they claim to want an ethical congress, but can't give a yes or no answer to a simple question and then state why Hastings is a good man for both the job and their party.

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-22-2006, 08:03 AM
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I think you guys are justed conditioned to Nazi-style Republican leadership, where Der Fueher posts his will and all the little Block Captains fall in line. That is somehow considered "good".

What is going on in the House is called "democracy", where people are free to float different ideas. Then something called a "vote" is taken and the "majority" wins. I personally find it refreshing. The discussion on the draft is more than necessary, as it brings into focus the total bullshit lies we have been fed for years on how we are in a "war" and how 'everything changed' and how we all must 'support the troops'. The truth is, the Iraq War has never been more than some drunk rich ass punk's hobby who managed to frighten us all into putting him in the White House with his "war", a war that is somehow supposed to be a "war of civilizations". Rangel is right to point up the need for a discussion on why if this war requires torture, arrest without habeaus corpus, spying on citizens, why does it not require a draft? Or rationing of gasoline? Or war taxes? Some fucking war. It is a war for suckers, a political war waged by Republican Fascists against the People of The United States. We've had enough.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-22-2006, 08:06 AM
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Is this the best you can do?
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-22-2006, 08:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Bruce R.
I was listening to Hannety yesterday, and he asked a couple of Democrat congressmen if they thought it was an ethical move to push for Hastings for the position. Not one of them could give a straight answer. Seems a shame that they claim to want an ethical congress, but can't give a yes or no answer to a simple question and then state why Hastings is a good man for both the job and their party.
Again, you are so conditioned to Nazi propaganda, you think the fact Hastings is in the running for the position means he is going to win, because all the leadership posts in the Nazi Party were preordained by Bush and you think the same thing should be happening in the well-named Democratic Party. Hastings will lose, just like Murtha did, and has as much right to be in the running for it as the other 435 members of Congress do. It's called "democracy".

Myself, I refuse to be conditioned into being a "good little German" like you guys have been, and see all of this as the workings of a healthy democracy, where things are discussed and voted on in a way where The People can see what is going on. You are too conditioned to The Party to understand all this. Hannity, the strawman propagandist (BTW, I listened to the same show, and there was only one congressman, not a number of them as you claim, and he was a member of the Black Caucus, the group pushing Hastings. Why do you lie?) is telling all you cadres this is "bad" because he doesn't want you to get the idea that the GOP should be doing the same thing and that you should continue to be happy to have bigots, child molesters and fascists shoved down your throat.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address

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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-22-2006, 08:10 AM Thread Starter
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Sure wouldn't toe the party-line, would we?
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-22-2006, 08:15 AM
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You sure wouldn't be trying to portray the Democratic process as something we should all be upset about, would you, Herr Botnst?

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-22-2006, 08:19 AM
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What about the freedoms and rights of those who choose not to serve.
Dem's get in power and try to take the freedom of choice from our youth.
post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-22-2006, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by FeelTheLove
Again, you are so conditioned to Nazi propaganda, you think the fact Hastings is in the running for the position means he is going to win, because all the leadership posts in the Nazi Party were preordained by Bush and you think the same thing should be happening in the well-named Democratic Party. Hastings will lose, just like Murtha did, and has as much right to be in the running for it as the other 435 members of Congress do. It's called "democracy".

Myself, I refuse to be conditioned into being a "good little German" like you guys have been, and see all of this as the workings of a healthy democracy, where things are discussed and voted on in a way where The People can see what is going on. You are too conditioned to The Party to understand all this. Hannity, the strawman propagandist (BTW, I listened to the same show, and there was only one congressman, not a number of them as you claim, and he was a member of the Black Caucus, the group pushing Hastings. Why do you lie?) is telling all you cadres this is "bad" because he doesn't want you to get the idea that the GOP should be doing the same thing and that you should continue to be happy to have bigots, child molesters and fascists shoved down your throat.
As usual you only get half the story and fill in the rest with your socialistic nonsense. There were TWO congressmen, that would be a couple as I recall. (They may have been a couple as well seeing as how they were Democrats, but that's a different thread.)
The point was, and still is, why couldn't they state why this impeached ex-judge, who is next in line for the position, was good or not for the party or the position. Just like you they danced around the question, and WOULD NOT ANSWER IT.

"Negotiating with Obama is like playing chess with a pigeon, the pigeon knocks over all the pieces, on the board and then struts around like it won the game."
Vladimir Putin

"They have gun control in Cuba. They have universal health care in Cuba. So why do they want to come here?"
Paul Harvey 8/31/94


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