Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Shays Admits GOP lead Congress is useless

"The administration has been pushing the envelope, and Congress hasn't been doing proper oversight," Rep. Christopher Shays (R-Conn.) said yesterday. "I think some members are going to start to step up to the plate and do more . . . . The executive branch has lost a sense of balance and proportion, and they're just grabbing at everything. And if we were doing more oversight, we might have handled this in a different way."*

So, it must be an election year. And Shays must be feeling the heat, since for the past 2 years he's been enabling the Bush administration to systematically trump science, the constitution, laws and democracy in favor of political pandering to a neo-evangelical cabal powered by oil companies. But what is he really doing? Well let's roll back the video tape to May 16th where the New York Times raises the flag on the obstruction of the Republicans in Congress over files related to the Duke Cunningham investigation:

The United States attorney's office in San Diego has asked for copies of "tens of thousands" of documents from the House Appropriations and Intelligence Committees, the official said, as part of its inquiry into whether Mr. Cunningham illegally influenced the process the committees use to designate money for military projects.

But lawyers for the Republican-controlled House rebuffed the request as unreasonably broad, the official said, and asked the United States attorney's office for a shorter list.


Shays of course would prefer if the Justice Department didn't investigate the Republicans in congress since it might further reveal the corruption that this rubber stamp congress has been up to. According to CNN:

Former Abramoff partner testifies on ties to GOP lawmakers

'We were trying to rig the rules,' says ex-aide to Rep. Bob Ney
. . .
The aide, Neil Volz, who was a partner of Abramoff's at the time, also outlined how the Abramoff team received assistance from several Republican congressmen including, Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-West Virginia, Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, and Rep. Steven LaTourette, R-Ohio.


*The Washington Post, Raid Was Tipping Point For an Angry Congress
Simmering Frustration With Bush Erupts
, By Peter Baker and Zachary A. Goldfarb, Sunday, May 28, 2006

73 comments:

bluecoat said...

turrfffy says And Shays must be feeling the heat, since for the past 2 years he's been enabling the Bush administration to systematically trump science, the constitution, laws and democracy in favor of political pandering to a neo-evangelical cabal powered by oil companies., but Farrell lost her lead last time around when she tried to paint Shays as a Delay toady - not to mention a number of trurffy's assertinos - but not all - aren't borne out by the record..

BrassBoy said...

"...to systematically trump science, the constitution, laws and democracy in favor of political pandering to a neo-evangelical cabal powered by oil companies."

Pat Robertson and ExxonMobil won't allow me to vote anymore? I must've missed that memo...

turfgrrl said...

Science
"A group of more than 60 top U.S. scientists, including 20 Nobel laureates and several science advisors to past Republican presidents, on Wednesday accused the Bush administration of manipulating and censoring science for political purposes."

disgruntled_republican said...

That headline is BULL! Shays did not say that or even eldue to anything like that. Gimme a break...I was on your side last time but this over the top...you should be ashamed of yourself.

NEWS FLASH -

The congressman who's office was raided, Rep. William J. Jefferson is a DEMOCRAT!!! How

turfgrrl said...

Constitution/Laws
The Problem with Presidential Signing Statements: Their Use and Misuse by the Bush Administration By Cooper's count, George W. Bush issued 23 signing statements in 2001; 34 statements in 2002, raising 168 constitutional objections; 27 statements in 2003, raising 142 constitutional challenges, and 23 statements in 2004, raising 175 constitutional criticisms. In total, during his first term Bush raised a remarkable 505 constitutional challenges to various provisions of legislation that became law.

HealthcareNOW said...

Does anyone know if the DCCC is giving Diane Farrell any money this time around? I know that their mindset is that keep Shays around because he knocks Bush, but we came within FOUR points last time. I hope that they plug some money into the race this time around.

bluecoat said...

DG: this is blatant campaign rhetoric out of turffgrrl on this. The Democrats are trying to run a national paint brush on Shays to get Farrell elected and turffy if not one of the farrell campaign has at least fallen in to her kool-aid. Farrell tried thie paint brush in the last weeks of her election last time around and she lost her lead. it won't work and it only goes to hurt her chances of getting elected down here - Fairfield County voters are reasonably smart except when it comes to sending to much money in the from of taxes to hartford to be spread around the rest of the state.

Don Pesci said...

Turfgrrl

You're backing into a porcupine here. The president has veto power; he would be neglecting the proper constitutional powers assigned to him if he simply rubber stamped legislation. What are the equivalent figures for, say, the Clinton or Carter administrations? And how’bout them Reid boxing tickets, not to mention Reid’s association with the unsavory Abramoff?

disgruntled_republican said...

bluecoat-

I know it is rhetoric...but it is an outright lie. People get fired for things like that...

bluecoat said...

it borders on a lie there DG but Pesci's spin is just as bad absent turffy's headline - the left and the right both have their wackos.

disgruntled_republican said...

Pesci isn't a contributor to the content of the posts as turfgrrl...there is a huge difference

Authentic Connecticut Republican said...

Turfgrrl puts up a link to website that's suprisingly similar to this one.
Which amazingly enough mirrors many of the opinions found on this one!

What do all three have in common?

No solutions and a lot of hate. (Loads and loads of it!)

When did hate ever solve anything and why would anyone be comfortable posting such a link (aside from illustrating what a hate site looks like) on this blog of all places?

-ACR

BRubenstein said...

All the article means to me is that Congress has been derelict in its oversight constitutional responsibilities...and the said dereliction has allowed some corruption of some congressional members,staff and lobbyists who seem to be more Republicans then Democrats.Given the Republican control of both houses there is nothing unusual here.Though in my party one points to Congressman Jefferson ( assumed innocent until found guilty... like republicans also)

How all this figures into Shay's is a mystery...his constitutients would have to feel that he is somehow involved in a " culture of coruption" and right now to me that is more sizzle then steak because he hasn't been charged with anything criminal or ethical.

Farrell will have better issues then that to bring him down i hope or he will win again.

BRubenstein said...

All the article means to me is that Congress has been derelict in its oversight constitutional responsibilities...and the said dereliction has allowed some corruption of some congressional members,staff and lobbyists who seem to be more Republicans then Democrats.Given the Republican control of both houses there is nothing unusual here.Though in my party one points to Congressman Jefferson ( assumed innocent until found guilty... like republicans also)

How all this figures into Shay's is a mystery...his constitutients would have to feel that he is somehow involved in a " culture of coruption" and right now to me that is more sizzle then steak because he hasn't been charged with anything criminal or ethical.

Farrell will have better issues then that to bring him down i hope or he will win again.

BPTCT said...

I love how you post a comment from Shays showing his independence and then put a bunch of "party line" crap in his mouth.

Shays is many things, but a party line Republican he most certainly is not.

bluecoat said...

turffy has turned out to be more partisan than Quinn,, Pesci just sings his right wing tune over on his own blog that few people participate in - you would think he'd catch on.

ACR, Bush brought hate to the debate BTW!!!!

Top-n-Center said...

Hmmm.... A query: If a blog acts like the media, will anyone still read it...

Turfy - I enjoy reading your additions here very much b/c they're usually based on factual insight, and interesting southern-CT perspective.

Today's tabloidian headline is not very becoming.

bluecoat said...

BR: Shays has openly said at his constituent meetings that the GOP may lose the Congress if it doesn't clean up its act with regard to doing its oversight duty.
However, the more the Farrell campaign tries to paint Shays as a bad guy instead of going after him on the issues where he is vulnerable the more the farrell campaign loses credibility. From what I can see Farrell is in with the wrong crowd at the house. I would rather see her push Shays on the issues where he is wrong since he has been known to move; e.g. he is in the wrong place on the immigration bill - even to the right of Bush and the Senate bill.

BRubenstein said...

bluecoat..you and i are in total agreement there....if she continues to attack him on issues like that..she will lose again.

Don Pesci said...

Hang on a second. We’re getting a little off point. Turrfgirl supplied a list of figures purporting to show that Bush was abusing signing statements, and she provided a link to source material.

The link takes us to an article written by John W. Dean, whose past experiences in the Nixon White House certainly has equipped him to speak authoritatively on matters of presidential ethics and law.

Now, when someone tells me that a president is abusing a power, I want to know a couple of things. Are the presidential actions in accord with his powers as president? Dean seems to think that Bush is safe on this score because the same signing statement powers were regularly used by other presidents. Dean mentions that Clinton’s use of signing statements also seemed excessive.

Here’s my problem: "excessive" is a relative term. We can’t know if Bush used his authority excessively unless we know how many times other presidents used the same authority in similar circumstances. And Dean does not supply this information in his article. He says that Bush is using signing statement, rather than vetoes, to "nullify laws past by congress."

But the branches of government would not be co-equal if the president were to jump of a bridge every time congress passed a law requiring him to do so, and if congress feels that the president is using signing statements to nullify its laws, congress can impeach him on those grounds.

Dean knows all this: He’s familiar with impeachments.

Gabe said...

Don Pesci -

On Reid, after legally accepting the boxing tickets, Reid voted against the legislation that the Nevada Boxing Commission was pushing. Further, it would have been illegal for him to reimburse them for the "tickets".

It was confusing to glean that from the AP article, especially after the AP changed the article.

On Reid and Abramoff, since Abramoff did not donate a dime to any of Reid's campaigns, I assume you are referring to the tribes that donated to Reid. Since the tribes were fighting against the opening of casinos, and Reid, like every other Senator from NV since the Flamingo opened, is vehemently against the opening of casinos outside of Nevada regardless of donations, what is the quid pro quo that you are alleging?

Here is a rundown on the effects of Abramoff's influence on the political donations of native american tribes.

BTW, you know whose name does show up on the list of recipients of Abramoff? Rob Simmons (second link, three times for total of $1250). Neither here nor there.

Authentic Connecticut Republican said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Authentic Connecticut Republican said...

Bluecoat said: "ACR, Bush brought hate to the debate BTW!!!!"

Nope.

That's you.
You hate Bush; don't assume that Bush supporters or Bush himself hate you back.

Hate's a one-way street and affects the hater not the hated.

Thus; it's your problem - you own it.

It affects how you think, what you say, what you post etc. and has no impact on others at all.

-ACR

disgruntled_republican said...

Gabe-

Since you are seemingly always avoiding fact, I will finsh that last statement for you...

Simmons either returned or donated every penny of money ever received from Abramoff and/or DeLay.

And he doesn't have a freezer with $90,000 in it anywhere in his district...

Gabe said...

Thats what you come up with from an aside to a comment about Harry Reid not receiving Abramoff donations?

And I avoid facts?

disgruntled_republican said...

My comments are directed to your comments about Simmons who has nothing to do with Reid as well...

And yes, you tend to make 1/2 statements in my opinion as is the case here...

Don Pesci said...

Gabe

Just want to get the terms straight. I am saying, not alleging, that Reid's association with Abramoff was unsavory; it is not illegal or unethical. The relationship is unsavory mostly because Abramoff is unsavory.

Reid's acceptance of the boxing tickets was, some ethical purists think, unethical. I think it’s just stupid. If you have rules designed to demonstrate to your constituents that you are St. Francis, it is stupid not to avoid the near occasions of sin -- especially when you are accusing the opposition of being black with sin.

You won't get away with this. There are just too many hypocrisy hounds around looking to crucify poor innocents like Reid.

Gabe said...

DP - Obviously the two issues are seperate and I agree that accepting the boxing credentials was dumb (interestingly, McCain, who also accepted the credentials, tried to reimburse the promoter for them by sending a check for $1500. Because the credentials have no face value, it would have been illegal for Bob Arum to accept the money, but McCain wouldn't take it back. Arum ended up donating the $ to the Catholic Charities).

That said, exactly what was Reid's relationship with Abramoff? It seems that Abramoff took over several lobbying accounts of tribes that had previously donated to Reid and they continued to donate to Reid. Am I missing something fundemental?

Gabe said...

D_R - My comments about Simmons were an aside; I had a main point that you found it convenient to ignore.

turfgrrl said...

If Congress is not providing "proper" oversight of the executive branch, then Congress is in fact useless.

When Denny Hastert denounces the FBI search of a congress critter's office one week, while obstructing the search of another congress critter's files a few weeks before, it is news. And when Shays waits till 5 months before an election to chide his fellow rubber-stampers into "doing more oversight" then it is totally a legitimate question as to his motivation.

Shays voting record, in support of the GOP agenda, is an issue. I applaud his defense of the NEA, but he has supported federal budget deficits under Bush that approach 9 trillion. Forty percent of the income tax we all pay is towards paying the interest on that deficit.

Shays has voted to permanently repeal the Estate Tax benefiting the heirs to multi-million dollar estates, and voted to cut funds spent on Medicaid, Medicare, agriculture, employee pensions, conservation, and student loans, while he voted on a transportation bill, that included the $18,750,000 per fiscal year for the construction of a bridge joining the Island of Gravina to the community of Ketchikan in Alaska.

disgruntled_republican said...

I did choose to ignore it, it has no relevence on my comment what-so-ever. I would be more than happy to chime if you would like, just say the word.

You made a comment about Simmons that was half true...I simply corrected you. I am sorry you don't like it but if you are going to be a lawyer, get used to it...judges do it to lawyers all the time...

disgruntled_republican said...

Turfgrrl-

All you just said may be true but your headline is a disgusting outright lie...show me where the quote is...you can't...you are as bad as a repoter in any edition of the National Inquirer

Chris MC said...

Hey, the headline worked. This thread is piling up the posts, substantive and otherwise.

Gabe said...

D_R - my comment was a response to Don Pesci; I have no idea what you thought I was replying to. That said, my statement was complete, 4 years ago Simmons received a campaign contribution from Abramoff. It is largely irrelevant that 3-4 years later, he returned the contribution - everyone returned their direct Abramoff contributions! I was pointing out that Reid, who DP pointed out had an Abramoff problem, never received a direct contribution.

I can understand why one day a judge will feel the right to be so condescending; why do you?

disgruntled_republican said...

Gabe-

I will admit that the comparison DP made wasn't fair but neither is the one you made...that's my point and why I feel you made a 1/2 statement. I still disagree that it is irrelevant but I shall agree to disagree...

I apologize if I sound condescending as I don't mean to but I am passionate in my beliefs. Looking back I have whooped on ya a bit today...my apologies.

TSCowperthwait said...

Turfgrrl,

I've read the NY Times article and I am having trouble understanding what is the alleged "obstruction" that has taken place. "Obstruction" is not a term that should be used so loosely. My question for you, turfgrrl, is have you seen the actual request for documents? If not, then how can you say that the Congressional attorneys are obstructing the Justice Department's investigation?

bluecoat said...

ACR has a problem. Bush brought hate to the debate for sure by his dvisive rhetoric. And ACR can't find a single place where I said that I hate anybody but I do hate many of Bush's actions - not immigration though where I agree with Bush and ACR should be able to infer that from one of my comments on this post.

bluecoat said...

TSC: turffy has joined Quinn in practiing law without a license.

turfgrrl said...

disgruntled_republican,

Of course it's a matter of opinion on whether Congress is truly useless or not, but if on balance you believe that Congress is a check and balance to the executive branch, as I do, then you can see how the headline works.

disgruntled_republican said...

If that was what you wetre tring to accomplish you should have made it a question. You made a statement of opinion now but a statement of fact in the title. It is not fact, there is no quote. BAD JOURNALISM!

A Different Anonymous (No! Really!) said...

Bad grammar, too ... should be Republican-led if you're going to insist on keeping it

bluecoat said...

The headline doesn't work at all, turrfy, unless you buy in to Rovian manipualation.

And I just checked the link on the Authentic CT Republican's latest post - I don't get his point but he is a member of the GOP State Central and maybe he's trying to suggest I am mentally unstable the same way Bush did to McCain in 2000 - if so I am flattered.

turfgrrl said...

TSCowperthwait,

I wasn't using the legal term obstruction, as in obstruction of justice, but the literal term and could have easily used hindering, impeding or another synonym.

Funny how the semantics of my post(s) generate more discussion than the content.

TSCowperthwait said...

Turfgrrl,

I'm patiently awaiting your explanation as to how Congress is obstructing DOJ's investigation...

bluecoat said...

TSC, the House attorneys weren't moving fast enough (obstructing? I don't know about that) to suit the Justice Dept so they went for the court order and got one.

disgruntled_republican said...

Make the title match the content then...

TSCowperthwait said...

What you have described is not obstruction. You can't talk about the legal aspects in one sense and then switch to laymen terms. It just gets too confusing to have to read minds.

TSCowperthwait said...

That last comment was directed at turfgrrl.

turfgrrl said...

A Different Anonymous (No! Really!),

Yup bad grammer, too much reliance on the spell check and not on the brain check, but I dare not change it now otherwise 10 posts will cover the changing of the headline ...


dr,

Um, how do you read the headline as a direct quote? Were that true, it would have been written Shays admits, "GOP lead(sic) Congress is useless".

Chris MC said...

Wow, it sure is great to see all the Republicans so riled up. Turfgrrl's a walking disaster, huh fellas? [grin]

bluecoat said...

turrffy lost her objectivity when she decided to campaign for specific DLC candidiates on this blog. I should have picked it up during the Lieberman Lamont debate a few posts back.

TSCowperthwait said...

Bluecoat,

Thanks for the info. I honestly did not know if there was a subpoena issued for the documents or not. In any event, it is more than likely that the request was overly broad and needed to be condensed. Congress didn't say that the US Attorney's office couldn't see any documents, only that the USAO needed to refine their request to make it less burdensome. That's pretty common...

disgruntled_republican said...

I never said it was a quote, I said there was no quote. I said you stated it as if it were fact which it certainly is not...

chris mc -

whip the grin off your face...j/k

A Different Anonymous (No! Really!) said...

Turfgrrl:

Hey, it happens. Not saying I agree with your contention, but ...

And I like Turfgrrl. Though I do wish Bluecoat could settle on a spelling for Turrffy/Turffy/Turrfy/Turfy/Turrffyy etc. ;-)

turfgrrl said...

TSCowperthwait,

Where did I use obstruction as a legal term? I wrote, "the New York Times raises the flag on the obstruction of the Republicans in Congress over files related to the Duke Cunningham investigation"

bluecoat said...

The stuff that Justice took from Jefferson's office was pursuant to a court order - for sure!!! and they went for the order when they weren't happy with the way the House attorneys wanted to focus the request.

I type phonetically sometimes there DA!!! Sorry, best i can do.

Gabe said...

ACR -

I'm not sure I even dare ask but, TG linked to NYT, WaPo, and CNN...

Which one are you saying is the hate group?

And is CPUSA properly called a hate group? Misguided followers of a largely defunct political philosophy I could see, but a hate group?

Chris MC said...

I watched a bit of the Republican-run Congressional hearing on the subject rebroadcast last night. It was late, but if memory serves, the problem wasn't that it was done without a court order. The problem was that it was done without due respect to the separation of powers. Note that the Republicans who were testifying, including nearly-Speaker Bob Walker of PA, were emphatic about the abrogation of tradition and the constitution.

In effect, by seizing the hard drives, the FBI swept up every document in the guy's office, and according to these witnesses, that clearly violates the spirit and letter.

I don't pretend to have a handle on this, but it doesn't look like there is much to disagree with on substance - Congress has let the Administration run amok for too long, and now the chickens have come home to roost.

TSCowperthwait said...

Turfgrrl wants content, so I'll give her some broad content.

(1) Representative Shays IS playing election year politics. It doesn't take a genius to figure that one out. (But the title to the post is misleading.)

(2) The USAO investigation into former Representative Cunningham has nothing to do with the purpose of the post -- again, that Congress is "useless."

(3) Dems shouldn't throw stones in glasses when it comes to corruption allegations. There are quite few members of the Senate and House from both sides who initially took money from Abramoff and other lobbyists. Both sides should be keeping their heads low...

bluecoat said...

Gonzalez and several of his underlings have threatened to resign if the searchas done is not upheld. They aren't even happy about Bush's freeze - maybe they hate him!!!

Chris MC said...

TSC -

on your point three:
Nah, let's not keep our heads down.
Let's let the sh*t hit the fan and the, er, chips, fall where they may.

The Republicans run the show after all...

bluecoat said...

turrffy actually did a sloppy job with this post if GC's past practices are to be the rule - she has several embedded links in the post but only one "source" at the bottom!!!

TSCowperthwait said...

Turfgrrl, you used the term obstruction in referring to the legal investigation of former Representative Cunningham = it can be inferred that you were using it in the legal sense. If you didn't intend to I understand, but the fact remains that you used the term in discussing a DOJ investigation and then linked to an article that discusses the legal aspects of the investigation = it reads like you used the term in its legal sense.

Gabe said...

Just to clarify TSC above:

Point 3 - I feel comfortable speculating that every member of congress has taken a direct contribution from some lobbyist or another at some time, but Abramoff directly contributed exclusively to Republicans. See my comment on Reid upthread for a link to a review of Abramoff's clients' donating habits.

Gabe said...

Also, I'm with CMC on this - Heads up, lets throw all the crooks out regardless of party identification, and I think (and hope) that more of their side will be perp walked out by the time this is over.

bluecoat said...

Newt Gingrich has been talking lately about limiting out of district contributions with in district contributions being unlimited.

Chris MC said...

TSC read the article one way, ergo, Turfgrrl has betrayed her journalistic ethics and shall be verbally chastised until she recants her heresy and does what we want her to do. [chuckling]

TSCowperthwait said...

Just so it's clear, I wasn't saying that we should let the politicians keep their heads down low, only that members of both parties shouldn't really be saying one side is corrupt and the other is not. Political corruption strikes at the heart of any governing system and should be exposed. I have no problems with that...I do have a problem with broadly-worded requests for documents...

bluecoat said...

TSC: I was at a community meeting recently where Shays - the headliner here - said Delay was to the right while Pelosi was to the left but Delay was corrupt while Pelosi was honest.

TSCowperthwait said...

Bluecoat, I don't even know what to say to that...

bluecoat said...

Neither did anyone in the audience...it had nothing to do with what we were there for...but it was a statement no one could disagree with...he's a shrewd politician even if he is honest!!!

turfgrrl said...

Newt Gingrich had the right idea about corruption in Congress in 1994 and he has the right take on the 2006 version of a corrupt Congress. Let the chips fall where they fall, the current leadership is not policing its own.

TSCowperthwait said...

For anyone interested in reading a case concerning the Speech and Debate Clause's application, I recommend In re: Grand Jury Proceedings Subpoenas Duces Tecum "A", "B', "C", "D" and "E", 563 F.2d 577 (3d Cir. 1977).