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November 09, 2006

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Jane

This is the deal she has made with the black caucus in consideration for their support for her as speaker. Unless she has figured out how to finesse it, she goes down if Hastings doesn't get the chairmanship.

Enlightened

The MSM is really showing it's true colors. SFGate is literally falling over itself in admiration of the "Turnaround of GWB". Try that 2 weeks ago.

And the election illustrated clearly that the minions lap this tripe up with nary a thought as to the veracity of the report.

I have this gnawing feeling that the MSM powerbrokers are just laughing their asses off as they play with the marionettes behind the curtain.

champagnekissesandcaviardreams

With Biden on Foreign Affairs it's not like there will be much media oxygen left for Hastings or Harman or, well, anyone else.

Jon Black

I think this week will help to improve W's "standing" with a large chunk of the democratic party. To my mind, the biggest issue that the dems had with Bush is that he never lost. No matter how stupid they claimed him to be, he kept pummeling them on election day. Now that they finally got over on him, I think a lot of the BDS falls away.

The Unbeliever

Bush already improved his political standing with Rumsfeld's resignation. The only substantial plan the Dems had for Iraq was to scream for Rumsfeld's head; now that Bush has robbed them of a months-long, public, camera-chasing struggle to please their base... what are the Democrats going to do about Iraq?

lurker

Shows how smart Bush is. Read Ron Kessler's article about Bush over at Newsmax.

Bush Policies Will Not Change

r flanagan

Oh come on. Who doesn't know about Alcie
Hasting's past ? Should the Times have carried a daily box reminding people ? What other daily boxes should they have carried?
A reminder of Henry Hyde's affair with his best friend's wife? Or Barney Frank's gay lover?It can't be expected to repeat every day every one of the many misdeeds of the many politicians.

lurker

All of a sudden it's new "news" to this newspaper.

Sara (Squiggler)

Did you all know that the only District in the entire huge state of California that DID NOT PASS THE JESSICA'S LAW PROPOSITION is Pelosi's home district. The next time she says she cares about kids, remember it. Hers is also the District that thinks we should do away with a military all together. Why would anyone trust a dem? And now we are going to have Levin at Armed Services. Gawd help the military. Leahy at Judiciary. Gawd help the the legal system. And that's just the Senate. The House is not so bad because most of the members tossed out were one issue wonders who refused to compromise rather than pout and trash the President. In their place are a whole host of moderate/conservative Democrats who have no more in common with Pelosi and the far left than they have with the far right. Hopefull those of us who advocate for the middle and taking the best from both sides for the good of the country can find a voice in their somewhere.

George Bush has shown what a class act he really is.

Sara (Squiggler)

Clarice, interesting article you have today at AT about the feelings of the VIPs. This is what I meant in my comment the other day about Gates knowing where all the "leaker" bodies are buried at the CIA.

I remember Gates' CIA Director confirmation hearings and I knew as soon as I heard the President nominate him that there were going to be a lot of people, like Larry Johnson, going into overtime.

Here is some rank speculation for everyone to chew on. Gates, like I said, knows from the inside out, and we have all these rumors about the intense investigations on the leaks of the last couple of years coming out of both Defense and the CIA. Not being one who believes in coincidence, it does seem extraordinary that Bush would turn to Gates, the one man around who has headed that agency and come up thru the ranks of that agency and let him loose in Defense. Gates is tough, so amazingly smart it is almost scary and he is beholden to no one. Is this coincidence? Inquiring minds want to know.

Also, I do not think it is any accident that Baker is coming back on the scene in a more active role. He is another one who knows where the bodies are buried at State.

Many around the blogosphere are mocking Bush for turning to Daddy and his cronies, but I don't see it that way. I see it more as GWB knowing his resources and having no qualms about tapping the right ones when he needs them, whether that be elder statesmen or new young up and comers.

When you think Gates, think more in line with an Ollie North philosophy, not a Brent Scowcroft philosophy.

Sue

Should the Times have carried a daily box reminding people ? What other daily boxes should they have carried?

I can't tell if you are using sarcasm or being serious.

richard mcenroe

Just curious, how is Alcie Hastings going to get a security clearance?

Pat A

My impression of Harman over the years was that she was a straight shooter and told it like it was. My respect for her took a steep downhill slide over the last few months when it became obvious she was toeing the party line and making crap up. Her ethics turn out to be no better than any other career politician. A shame.

lurker

Good question, Richard McEnroe.

Perhaps Nancy Pelosi will make sure Alcee Hasting will get it.

Enlightened

Just curious, why is it that today, after the election, the MSM decides to give us the Iraq Body Count that have been killed by "insurgents"???

Ya know, everything has just become so rosy I can hardly stand the glow of the halo's.

Actual

I have the same thought as the poster above. How can a felony conviction be overlooked when one is being considered for this position ?

I mean, what can you say? The other guy did it?

lurker

Another possibility is that Nancy Pelosi will remove the Security Clearance requirement for Aclee.

Saw that 150,000 killed by the insurgents.

Wonder how much more data the Liberal MSM has and plan to release in order to paint a bigger picture in favor of the Democrats?

Sara (Squiggler)

Anyone else in here actually remember the Hastings impeachment trial? I watched it on CSPAN. I barely remember it, but I do remember that when all was said and done, I thought the charges against him were bogus. One vivid memory was watching the FBI stumble thru their testimony. No notes, take our word for it. No transcripts of wire taps, just their word for it that what they say was on those taps was actually on them. It was the first time in my life that I began to question the competence and trustworthiness of the FBI.

I don't know anything about Hastings politics, but I wouldn't trash him over the impeachment. Apparently the constituents of his district feel the same way.

He would already have a clearance now. Why would he need another one?

Bruce Hayden

My understanding is that Hastings was not convicted in his criminal trial, due to the refusal of a key witness to testify against him (and who later apparently was pardoned by Bill Clinton). But there was enough evidence against him that the votes in the two houses of Congress were close to unanimous.

JM Hanes

Enlightened:

Ace has thread up full of hysterically funny comments on the miraculous improvement in post-election conditions.

lurker

Frankly, based on what I've been reading at various forums...

this polarization is going to get worse...not better.

lurker

Hastings was still impeached, wasn't he? That's the latest going around of late.

lurker

I still wouldn't trust Alcee Hastings to lead the Intelligence Committee.

lurker

Hastings was still impeached, wasn't he? That's the latest going around of late.

lurker

30 foreign fighters a day as opposed to 200 previously!

How is that for a failed policy of the Iraqi war??

Sara (Squiggler)

Bruce, at the time of the Hastings Impeachment, I was totally apolitical. I watched the hearings for the rarity of such an event from an historical perspective. All I know is that my feeling when all was said and done was that it was a total railroad and a bogus underlying charge against him. I had no political dog in the hunt. And these are just my take on something I watched as an interested history buff. You had to take the FBI at their word 100% to convict. Unfortunately, in that day and age, the FBI had not gone thru its exposures of falsifying evidence and scandalous tactics and they were considered more like Gods. I was like that myself, but never again after those hearings.

I'm not advocating for Hastings, I don't know anything else about him. But, I wouldn't be against him because of the impeachment and underlying charges.

I believe he is already on the committee so I think the point about a clearance would be moot.

clarice

Sara, should I ever find myself representing someone truly guilty--like Hastings or OJ--I want you on that jury. OTOH if my client is innocent--lioke the Duke defendants--get outa there.

You certainly have singular notions of the law and evidence.

OTOH, I'm feeling good about Gates. I think the Rumsfeld jujitsu thru the braying hounds off their scent. Rummy will be in that spot for several more months, enough to accomplish what remains undone on his agenda. The longer and stupider the Gates confirmation hearings go on, the better. I hope McGovern and Johnson do their magic--In fact, I'm thinking of telling them to go under oath--bring Cannistraro with them and Joe Wilson, too. It's their moment in the sun--stretch it out to June if they want.

clarice

***thre, not thru**

clarice

***sigh**one more time:THREW, not THRU

SunnyDay

OH that ACE contest is a side splitter!!

MayBee

Pelosi promised the most ethical Congress in the history of the world. Allowing Hastings to be chair of Intelligence would put an obvious lie to her vow. It would open the Dems up to charges that they aren't responsible leaders and would indicate a general lack of seriousness.
The NYTs worked hard to get Dems elected, and they aren't about to watch Pelosi screw it up so early.

lurker

Honestly, I never watched the Hastings hearings so I lack the historical background on him but Clarice, you say that Hastings is guilty in spite of Sara saying that the whole thing was a total railroad and a bogus underlying charge against him as well as the lack of sufficient FBI evidence beyond reasonable doubt.

So in spite of the FBI evidence, Hastings was still guilty? Why? And of what?

Do you have enough trust in Hastings having access to the intelligence data?

lurker

Heh...

Pelosi and the likes do not recognize right from wrong.

MayBee

In fact, I'm thinking of telling them to go under oath--bring Cannistraro with them and Joe Wilson, too. It's their moment in the sun--stretch it out to June if they want.

Oh, Brilliant! Come out of the basement, dear VIPS. Perhaps Conyers can throw the witness list together.

lurker

Clarice, hopefully, these hearings will be aired on C-Span.

Or they will do what they did with the SSCI Part 2 book.

mariposa

I don't have a clue whether or not Hastings was actually guilty. But the fact that the question looms at all should eliminate him from chairing the Intelligence Cmte. As lurker says, it's an issue of trust.

SunnyDay

Please, these comments about Alcee are so partisan. We need to work together.

Sara (Squiggler)

I don't know why the slam Clarice. I was giving my impression. The testimony from the FBI was without any notes or transcripts, it was all based on a couple of agents who stumbled through with vague answers that boiled down to trust me. I, like millions of others, thought the FBI was some super duper place and I was shocked to watch this performance. In the end, as I recall, my attitude was that a Federally appointed judge probably shouldn't be on the bench even if he was innocent just because of the appearance that the Impeachment painted. I didn't think he could go back to the bench and be effective.

As to OJ, I watched every minute of the trial from gavel to gavel and all extra hearings and downloaded tons and tons of the evidence as it was posted. I made my decision on what I saw and heard and it was identical to 175 of the 177 on our cyber jury. Perhaps when you actually watch something rather than rely on media reports you get a different impression, as all but 2 of us did. An advantage of watching is being able to see body language and hear inflections that you don't get from the written word or someone else's summary report.

As to Duke. I don't know how many times I've said that if the prosecutor can't prove his case, I'll accept the verdict of not guilty. If you think I have any love for prosecutors, you don't know me, so believe me I'll be looking for the reasonable doubt. But, I don't make decisions on press releases of the defense any more than I convict someone on pre-trial releases by the police or prosecutor. Do I have a builtin bias on this one particular case? Yes and I made an early disclaimer and I've stayed out of the discussions. I'm getting a little tired of being mocked for having an opinion about fraternity age boys who have consumed a lot of alcohol and have a history of problems at that house just because my opinion is less than favorable.

Bruce Hayden

Sara,

Agreed, Hastings does have access to a lot of classified information already, but if he becomes Chair, he will have access to more. For example, the details of the NSA TSP were apparently disclosed to just the top person from each of the two parties of the two intelligence committees, and not to the rest of the members of the two committees. My understanding is that there are other places where that is also true. Harmon, being Ranking Member, has had that more extensive access without any indication of abuse (as compared to Sen. Rockefeller who apparenlty left the Senate Intelligence Committee because he apparently disclosed classified information).

clarice

Sara, the committee had the evidence..It was a Democratic House and Senate and they impeached him.

clarice

They impeached him almost unanimously, I should add.


As to what to do if he's appointed chair of the intel committee. I'd deny him a security clearance and refuse to give him a shred of classified material. Period.

Sara (Squiggler)

Bruce, that's true. Really, my only point was that I know nothing about his politics and since he has been elected by the people in his District, I would rather not use the Impeachment as a reason not to want him in that position. I am not all that enamored of Harman and without knowing Hastings politics, I have no idea if he would be better or worse as chairman. The fact that he is Pelosi's choice is more of strike against him in my mind than having been impeached.

MayBee

I think the better argument is that he shouldn't be on the intelligence committee at all.
His constituents may be foolish enough to support him, but the Dem leadership doesn't need to allow him such a plum assignment.

Sara (Squiggler)

Clarice, I guess as far as your concerned I can't have an impression of befuddled FBI agents. I don't care one way or the other whether he was or was not really guilty. My impression was that everyone was going thru the motions on something that had already been agreed on in the smoke-filled back room. I wasn't at all impressed with the whole fiasco anymore than I was with the failed Clinton impeachment or that Judge in Nevada who was impeached. Show trials just aren't all that impressive, even if the person is guilty. The government always comes away looking inept and stupid.

But like I just told Bruce, it is Hastings politics that count here. I don't know if he might not be a better choice than Harman, although as Pelosi's choice that is unlikely. I just don't know enough yet.

Sara (Squiggler)

Maybee, that would be the better option and solve the problem. I don't think it really matters anyway as long as Rockefeller has access in the Senate.

clarice

You certainly are entitled to your own impressions, Sara, but when after a Congressional Committee investigated the charges and instituted impeachment proceedings a virtually unanimous Dem majority Senate impeached him, and I regard that as more definitive a judgment.

Sara (Squiggler)

Clarice, I made no judgment on his guilt, I gave an impression of the proceedings and how they appeared to someone who knew nothing about the procedure. I understand much better now, many years later that these are political trials not necessarily criminal trials. I hold his politics to be more important in the context of the discussion, but only because his constituents have elected him and they are the better judge of the man than I am. If you had some personal involvement, I meant no offense.

Look at it this way, if the FBI testimony during the Libby trial is anything like the Hastings testimony, Libby will be in great shape.

MayBee

only because his constituents have elected him and they are the better judge of the man than I am.

They are horrible judges of character. Period.

Sara (Squiggler)

Isn't it the impression around these parts that the FBI and the Prosecutor jumped to conclusions and have been working from a false premise leading to some wrong conclusions? We've been talking about it for months. And that was my impression during Hastings, although back then I couldn't have put a name to it. It just didn't seem right and/or convincing.

Sara (Squiggler)

Maybee that may be true, his Palm Beach area district is 54% black and he may be a shoe in candidate. They don't have a reputation for being real Swift down there in the Palm Beach area. And in looking at his web page, he is ultra-liberal, which doesn't endear him to me or make him all that trustworthy, despite his past as a judge. So I don't quite know what the argument is here.

clarice

I am unable to access the papers in that case. Nevertheless, he was impeached almost unanimously--even Pelosi voted for his impeachment. That being the case, Pelosi would be out of her mind to put him in this position. It shows contempt for the notion that the head of the intel committee must be a person of impeccable integrity.

Sara (Squiggler)

Fine Clarice, you made your point, he was guilty as sin and I'm a total dolt who can't recognize inept and incompetent testimony from 2 of many witnesses who were supposed to be professionals at their craft. I'm bad. I get it.

clarice

I don't know how you get to there from my last post.I'm arguing that the impeachment occurred. It cannot and has not been undone, and therefore, given the significance of the post--even if you were right about the strength of the evidence against him--it would be a terrible appointment.

It's like saying that a person with a felony conviction for theft, should be named comptroller of a corporation because the evidence against him wasn't really strong enough. No insurance company would cover you if for theft if you hired him.

MayBee

We've been talking about it for months. And that was my impression during Hastings, although back then I couldn't have put a name to it. It just didn't seem right and/or convincing.

I understand that you weren't convinced.
However, he was impeached, he was impeached by a Democratic House and Senate, and he was removed from his position according to the constitution of the US. That's a strong condemnation against his trustworthiness.

If Libby is convicted, even if I think it's hinky, I wouldn't ever again want him in a position with access to national security secrets.
Look how many people chuckled at that silly Sandy Berger. I don't want him around national security secrets again, even if some find his charges specious.

Mike Daley

Jeez,
The guy is an impeached and convicted by Congress Federal Judge and he's being defended here.
Oh, yeah,he's a member of the CBC!
Idiots!

Sara (Squiggler)

Where do you get any idea I'm defending Hastings? That's absolutely nuts. I never said anything like that at all. I was making an observation about a process that he happened to be part of. Geez!

Here is my position:

He is already on the committee and has whatever clearance is required to serve on that committee so the question of clearance appeared to be moot. This argument has been countered by the fact that as chairman he would have access to more info than the committee at large. I'll take the word of those who know that this would require a different clearance. I don't really know. It makes sense.

But, anyway, the context was the clearance which I was thinking was a moot point and so I made the additional observation that rather than concentrate on the impeachment and whether that disqualifies him from a clearance I thought he already held, I would be more interested in his political position, which at the time I made that comment I also knew nothing about.

I have now done a little research on his politics and they are very liberal and focused on issues that do not endear him to me in any way, shape or form.

Now, how that gets you from there to thinking I'm somehow defending Hastings seems just downright nutz to me, especially when you also consider that I agreed with Maybee that kicking him off the committee altogether would be the best thing that could happen.

Sara (Squiggler)

And just for the record:

In 1989, Hastings was impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives for bribery and perjury. The Democratic-controlled Senate convicted Judge Hastings of accepting a $150,000 bribe in 1981 in exchange for a lenient sentence and of perjury in his testimony about the case. He became only the sixth Judge in the history of impeachment in the United States to be removed from office by the United States Senate.

His impeachment was remanded back to the Senate by Judge Stanley Sporkin after Hastings filed suit claiming that his impeachment trial was invalid because he was tried by a Senate committee, not in front of the full Senate, and that he had been acquitted in a criminal trial. But the Supreme Court ruled in a similar case, regarding Judge Walter Nixon, who had also been impeached and removed, that the courts had no jurisdiction to review Senate impeachment procedures. A lower court found crucial distinctions between the two cases, since Nixon had been convicted in a criminal trial, and a certified record of his conviction was available to submit to the full Senate as probative evidence of his conduct. Hastings, on the other hand, had been found not guilty in a criminal trial, so Sporkin ruled he had a right to trial by the full Senate and not just by a committee. Sporkin stayed his ruling pending Supreme Court review. The jurisdictional issue prevailed on appeal, and Hastings' impeachment and removal were reinstated.

The Senate had the option to forbid Hastings from ever seeking federal office again when it removed him, but did not do so.

And from his bio:

Congressman Hastings was first elected in 1992 and most recently reelected in 2002, capturing 77% of the vote. Born in Altamonte Springs, he attended Florida's public schools, and graduated from Fisk University in 1958. He earned his law degree from Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida.

Known to many as "Judge," Congressman Hastings has distinguished himself as an attorney, civil rights activist, judge, and now Member of Congress. Appointed by President Jimmy Carter in 1979, he became the first African-American Federal Judge in the state of Florida, and served in that position for ten years. Since his election to Congress as the first African-American from Florida since the Civil War period, Congressman Hastings has been an outspoken advocate for making our country safer and more secure; ensuring that our election systems are easier and more fair; creating tax incentives for small businesses; expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit; providing job training and reeducation for displaced workers; banning assault weapons; funding Head Start and education programs; making Social Security an independent agency; and providing family and medical leave to all workers. Known throughout the world as an expert in foreign policy, Hastings has introduced legislation advocating diplomacy before military action to settle disputes with established and emerging nations. Throughout his lifetime, Congressman Hastings has championed the rights of minorities, women, the elderly, children and immigrants.

Congressman Hastings is a member of the powerful House Rules Committee and is a senior Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI). On the HPSCI, Hastings is the Ranking Democratic Member of the Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security. The Terrorism Subcommittee is the primary committee in Congress which has direct oversight of the programs and activities of the intelligence community that relate to U.S. homeland security and to counterterrorism, including capabilities, resources, policies and procedures.

As a Senior Democratic Whip, Hastings is an influential member of the Democratic Leadership. The Congressman also serves as one of only four House Democrats on the U.S. Helsinki Commission. Working closely with his Florida colleagues, Hastings is Vice Chair of the Florida Delegation. Having distinguished himself in international affairs, Congressman Hastings was chosen to represent the U.S. Congress in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's (OSCE) Parliamentary Assembly, where he serves as Vice President. More recently, Hastings served as Vice Chairman of the Democratic Select Committee on Election Reform.

Pofarmer

Sara

I don't care. He was impeached. I've noticed that no criminals ever did it. If he was indicted and found innocent, that would be a different story. But that's not the story. If he wants to try to go back and have it overturned or something? I suppose that would be fine. It doesn't change the fact that he was impeached though.

Mike K

The Hastings impeachment should have included a ban on holding federal office, a usual provision, but for some reason it didn't. The briber went to prison and kept his mouth shut. Clinton pardoned him, completing the circle. I suspect the information provided to a chairman Hastings will be edited unless the Democrats elect a president in 2008.

Woody Mena

"If he was indicted and found innocent, that would be a different story."

That is exactly what happened. His case went to trial and he was acquitted. So are you going to change your position now?

Still, it would certainly look bad to put him in charge of Intelligence since he was impeached.

John Thacker

That is exactly what happened. His case went to trial and he was acquitted. So are you going to change your position now?

Convicted in his impeachment trial. Found innocent in the criminal trial because the lawyer who actually did the bribing kept his mouth shut (and was later pardoned.) There's incredibly strong circumstantial evidence (for example, that he did give an extraordinary light sentence to the pair and behaved exactly as predicted as if he had been in on the deal), but with the accomplice falling on his sword, no way to convict in a criminal trial.

Patton

Come on people the elections over.

Bush should invite old Alcee up to the White House and have a nice press conference announcing that if Pelosi wants a bribed, impeached scum bag as head of our nations intelligence in Congress, well then that's what the voters wanted when they put her in charge.

I am sure that now that Peolosi has been warned that Alcee can be bought, she will keep a close eye on him unlike the Republicans did with Foley.

She might even want to check his pockets when he leaves for the day.

maryrose

Dems elect and re-elect criminals. Jefferson with 90,000 dollars in a freezer gets the predictable 30% black vote in Louisiana. They also re-elected that goofball Nagin as mayor after he neglected to use 200 busses which could have saved more people and evacuated them. mollohan through some shady deal is a millionaire and got re-elected. Dems don't care if their reps are crooks. Reid has a dicey land deal and hangs up on reporters and the msm sweeps it under the rug. Clinton is guilty in White Water deal and pays Webb Hubbell to take the fall for other nefarious deal. Susan McDougal takes the fall for Clintons in the Madison Guaranty deal and promptly gets pardoned. It's the way they do business.

Mark

Precious point: Pelosi actual voted for the impeachment of Judge Hastings, back when.

Now she's going to put him in charge of Intelligence oversight.

topsecretk9

See...it was a deal more than a vote for her leadership, it was a promise to get William Jefferson out of the limelight pre-election

...Ms Pelosi has said the absence of seniority on the intelligence committee means anyone can be appointed, and she was thought to favour the appointment of African-American representative and former judge Alcee Hastings of Florida, a move that could help relations with black Democrats.

The black caucus was angered by Ms Pelosi's decision this year to expel congressman William Jefferson from the committee after he was accused of accepting bribes.

But as a judge in 1988, Mr Hastings faced Senate impeachment on bribery charges. Now, after an election in which candidates linked to corruption were rejected, he may no longer be viable.

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,20736286-2703,00.html

cathyf

Hastings security clearance can be looked at in two ways:

1) Clout overrules the rules. There are different rules for congress-critters than for us mere mortals, and so if he had just been some anonymous guy applying for a job with a security clearance, he would have never gotten it.

2) There are separation of powers issues that cause the executive to have a tradition of being extremely deferential when making executive-branch administrative decisions about members of the other two branches.

Notice that those are really the same argument, and that what is happening here is that the executive is exercising self-restraint. Well, it seems to me that the executive has a duty to exercise a little less restraint over the executive even if it means a little more de facto (but not de jure) restraint over congress.

I think that the president should stand up and announce that we live in dangerous times, and from now on, members of congress, democrat and republican, will be held to the same security clearance rules as everybody else. And that the congress better take into account whether individual members are clearance-able before installing them into committee assignments that require security clearances.

When we riff-raff apply for security clearances, "well, never convicted" is not good enough. People get denied clearances for flunking polygraphs, because the shrink after 20 minutes of chatting got a "bad feeling", for being alcoholics, because their neighbors, relatives, and friends tell investigators that they are unreliable, all sorts of things are not even illegal, let alone a conviction for a crime. Sure, this is a democracy, and Hastings was duly elected, but the people who live in one congressional district don't have absolute veto over the nation's security policies. (And holding some elected offices -- First Ward alderman in Chicago, for example -- ought to be absolute grounds for denial of a security clearance anyway.) Denying one or another individual congressperson (or staff person) a security clearance is not overturning an election -- Hasting's constituents merely elected him to congress, and so limiting his congressional duties to those not requiring a security clearance is not overturning his election.

And the separation of powers issues can be (and ought to be) neatly side-stepped. After all, when the executive branch decides that some congressman is not allowed to have a security clearance, the executive branch is not exercising direct control over a congressman, but really only exercising direct control over executive-branch employees. The executive is saying to the executive branch employees, "You will lose your job if you give classified material to anyone (including congressmen) not authorized to receive it." And then it is the legislative branch which is interfering in the internal executive-branch operations when they demand that executive-branch employees defy their executive-branch superiors by handing over classified stuff to people (including congresspeople and their staffs) that the executive branch has decided, through the security-clearance process, are not authorized to receive classified stuff.

And, of course, from a political point of view, the president can win this one. "We're congressmen; rules are only for the little people" is not a winning argument. The only reason that congress has gotten away with this is that the president has chosen not to call them on it.

clarice

Generally, I agree. But the practice is less deferential than you think. Anyone on these committees--including staff--who fails to pass or take a polygraph examining their trustworthiness is denied access to classified material. (Of course, they can just wait to read it in the NYT.)

yellojkt

The Alcee Hastings impeachment was overturned on double jeopardy grounds since he had been found not guilty in court.

He does have one of the most gerrymandered districts in the country as I explain here. He ran unopposed this year.

JM Hanes

Hey Sara:

Looks like we weren't the only ones pulling for Michael Steele on election night. Over at Hot Air, rumors about possible positions at Republican HQ or in the Administration are flying. I'd love to see him at the RNC myself -- but only if it wouldn't interfere with running for elective office again.

matt

As a moderate dem, I'd be very dissappointed to see Hastings even return to the committee. I think Pelosi is no fool, though. I think she's signalling that there will be more than one new face on the committee; that way, it doesn't look like she's targeting just one person. It is possible to, say, promote Hastings off the committee at the same time that Harman also gets kicked off. And she's got some new faces (e.g., Sestak) who might make reasonable choices.

section9

Pelosi has to appoint Hastings. She doesn't, and the CBC revolts.

This will be fun if Hastings' staff starts leaking classified information and the WH has to publicly humiliate Pelosi by shutting him down.

clarice

JMH I read that Steele has accepted the positon as head of the RNC.

maryrose

I am glad Steele has accepted this post because he deserves this honor after running such a great campaign. The voters in Maryland are brainwashed democratic idiots for not electing him their Senator. I am convinced both he and Harold Ford Jr. have bright political futures ahead of them.

Sara (Squiggler)

I don't want Hastings on the committee simply because Pelosi does, but let's keep in mind that he was acquited in a court of law of the charges he was impeached over. His impeachment was actually only by a handful of Senators on the committee and they never allowed it to go to the full Senate for a vote in the fear that the impeachment would go down to defeat. I see a double standard as the same people defending the Hastings impeachment as valid would be screaming bloody murder about the Committee refusing to allow a vote by the full Senate. Can you say judges or how 'bout Bolton? You think denying a full Senate vote is wrong for them but valid for Hastings? A bit hypocritical, no?

I had forgotten that part of the story when I wrote the earlier comments, but my memory is more refreshed and now I remember why the FBI testimony seemed so false and phony and why I had the impression Hastings was being railroaded.

JM Hanes

Great news then, Clarice!

maryrose:

Ditto. I was rooting for Ford when he challenged Pelosi for minority leader in the House, and I'm sorry he won't be holding office there. He may end up in a better position for a future run, though, if the next two years are as disappointing on the Democratic front as they could easily turn out to be.

We continue to be a very narrowly divided country, and the balance is, in fact, not as hard to shift back and forth as it might once have been. That's something Republicans should be keeping in mind as they ruminate about the future direction of the party. Steele ran a new kind of campaign and almost succeeded in achieving what was initial considered an impossible win. Who better to teach the lessons learned?

Sara (Squiggler)

Steele is on with John Gibson and there has been no decision by the RNC/WH yet for the position. He says he is flattered, but no actual appt. or acceptance. Just talk.

highcotton

maryrose and JMH -- Usually I stick to reading instead of writing on this site because my head was in the sand prior to 9/11. Since I don't have the vast experience and knowledge that many of y'all do when it comes to political and governmental and legal matters, I've tried to shut up, listen and learn. You two are among the commenters whose opinions I have come to value and with whom I almost always agree. However, on the subject of Harold Ford, Jr., I would respectfully submit that I know more than all the rest of you put together -- and your assessment is seriously flawed.

He is neither who you think he is, nor what you want him to be. I don't fault you for wishing that strong, sensible, trustworthy black leaders emerge to replace the Jesse Jacksons and the Al Sharptons. Who doesn't want that? But wishing too hard can make you vulnerable (and blind). The difference between Michael Steele and Junior is the difference between substantive and slick.

One example (of dozens I could offer) .... Steve Cohen won the Democratic primary for Jr.'s old seat in Congress. Steve has been a state senator forever. He's way left, but he's an honorable man. Untouched by scandal after decades in political office. Jake Ford (Jr.'s l'il bro) ran against him and got raked. Despite the 3 arrest records for Jake, not to mention that he's an idiot with nothing to offer, Harold, Sr., supported him and Harold, Jr., refused to endorse Cohen.

The Ford dynasty is to Memphis what the Daley machine is to Chicago. And, in the end, neither Richard Junior nor Harold Junior can reject the corruption, because it's family, don't you see?

He's young and attractive and well-spoken. But there have already been moral lapses. It's not so much about Harold, Jr. as it's about Jake........

I know I haven't earned any cred on Tom Maguire's 'street', but I hope you will believe that I'm telling you the truth.

highcotton

Sara (Squiggler)

Jack Palance dead at age 87. May he rest in peace.

JM Hanes

highcotton:

I thank you for the compliment and would encourage you to speak up more often. In my own experience, I've often found that having to articulate a position, or an argument, or sometimes even a question, is often a clarifying process in itself. Ditto for the responses, of course!

I would hate to count Ford out entirely on the basis of his family alone, because I've never thought he was anything less than absolutely remarkable since he first appeared on the national scene. Regardless of his background, his voice seems a valuable one to me, but I'll certainly reserve judgment, per your suggestion, and appreciate your input.

highcotton

JMH, thank you for your encouragement!

But about seeing Jr. as 'remarkable' ...... OMIGOSH, have you completely lost it??

He attended the U of Mich law school. It's one of the best in the world. But he only got n because of political 'pull' and affirmative action. He failed the bar exam big time.

For most people, that would have been a downer. Not for Junior! He immediately ran for the house seat his daddy was retiring from. At 26, he reaped his 'inheritance'.

His Uncle John was a state senator. FBI arrested him for bribery. His daddy's sister tried to take over the district. Dozens of dead people voted. And do you have any idea how we have suffered with his other uncle on the City Council?

May I suggest that you're in denial???

JM Hanes

highcotton:

Well, I can't exactly stop you from suggesting it! :)

If academic excellence were an indicator of political smarts, the Ivory Tower crowd wouldn't be overwhelmingly Democratic, don't you think? Other than that, you've pointed at everyone else in the family except Harold Jr.

Now I really meant it when I said I'd reserve judgment -- perhaps I didn't make it clear that that actually represents some backing up on my part. What impressed me early on, knowing nothing about Ford's background at all, was his apparent grasp of the big picture, his thoughtful sometimes surprising take on the issues, along with the ability to address sensitive/controversial issues frankly, without the usual rhetoric, and his pragmatic approach to solving problems.

He's certainly not the first politician to have been born with a political spoon in his mouth, and I can only say he has continued to strike me as better than most. I suspect that oppo research is ongoing, but until someone can tag him with corruption personally, I admit I just hate not to give him the benefit of the doubt. In other words, yeah, it's entirely possible that I'm in denial. You can rest easy, for the moment, however, because I'm not in any position to vote for him!

Dr. J. Alva Scruggs

AMERICANS WANT ACTION AND CHANGE FROM THE NEW LEGISLATORS!!

The 2006 election is finally over. There is an intense feeling and high expectation that change for the better will rake place in our government "of, by and for the people!!" Therefore, as a good citizen it is imperative that we remind the new Legislators what is expected by our voting you in to make these changes.

First, it is obvious that Americans want generally that our government is taken back from the cooperations and their Governmental collaborators. This means that the excesses of tax preferences must be cleaned up. The ability for big business and or corporations to make and implement public foreign policy must be stopped. This will slow or stop the rest of the world from looking at America as "The Ugly Americans!!" In addition, this will stop America from going to war getting our sons and daughters killed to protect and enhance the profits of the cooperate interest located or based on our nation.

The voting American public who supported your candidacy are looking forward to you changing the present ineffective administration and enforce the constitutional laws prohibiting ethnical, moral, and criminal violations of law. This includes the violation of laws by The sitting President, G. W. Bush as laid out in the Impeachment papers produced by The Conyers Hearings. (Joseph L. Galloway, A Time For Accounting,
November 10, 2006) In addition. the collection of income from private companies by Vice President Cheney must be investigated to determine if and what violations have occurred both ethnical and criminal. (Erica Werner, Waxman Set to Probe Areas of Bush Administration, The Associated Press, 10 November 2006)

The price fixing of the oil industry which resulted in the profiteering in the amount of Billions of dollars t to the company and its executives. All sole source contracts associated with the so called war of Terrorism must be reviewed and hearing held on the violators of law and ethics.

This is to only mention a few expectations of this new group of legislators. Americans DO NOT want these new legislators to just move into the payola and cooperate lobbying money taking substituting for the out going Congressional criminals.

American are not very encouraged by the affirmations of the new Leadership of the House saying that there will be no Impeachment proceedings. Is this the start of forgiving all these criminals presently imbedded in this out going power block??

Finally, it is most alarming to see that one of the most unfortunate rumors is that Democrats are intending to change to rules by which legislators are appointed to important committee chairmanships to avoid getting too many members of the Black Caucus serving!!! This is a classic disaster when you see that the most loyal Democrats are the Black voters. By the way, Alcee Hasting should be appointed for his conviction was overturned!!


Dr. J. Alva Scruggs, BS. Chemistry, MS. Chemistry,
MA. Urban Planning, Doctorate, Education Administration
Look Forward to Your Comments
E-MAIL JSCRU5750 (at) AOL.COM
Website ; http://franklyspeaking.info/
CNN Frank Blogg; http://journals.aol.com/jscru5750/FRANKLYSPEAKING/;jsessionid=8BBB6DC6462296F103D66F32833172A1

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