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Bush's sworn adversary in the Senate

The filibuster waters were first explored by wily old Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia, the longest-serving United States senator. Senator Byrd is probably the only old-time fiddler in the Congress. He would likely rather be back home in West Virginia fiddling on his front porch -- but he's known as a fighter, it's in his blood. It is frequently reported that, especially since the 2003 attack on Iraq, Byrd has nothing but contempt for Bush and the Bush administration.

Remember his speech on the senate floor on the eve of the Iraq invasion? Probably not, because it was ignored by corporate media and, in consequence, isn't a part of the collective memory of America. That's the speech that castigates the doctrine of pre-emptive war and that accurately anticipated the disaster that Iraq was to become.

To read the speech, go to --

 http://www.commondreams.org/views03/0212-07.htm
One by one, other Democratic (plus the lone Independent) senators have joined Byrd. On Friday, the minority (Democratic) leader in the Senate, Harry Reid (D-Nevada), threw down the gauntlet.

Excerpts from recent statement by Senator Reid --

<< Republicans angered that Senate Democrats have rejected 10 of the President's 214 judicial nominees and desiring absolute power want to end a 200 year-old Senate right to engage in unlimited debate.

<< They want to go "nuclear" and turn the Senate into a rubber stamp for President Bush. They want to silence Senate Democrats - the one remaining check on President Bush's power. If they can do away with debate in the Senate, they can get whatever they want - right-wing Supreme Court Justices, Social Security privatization and tax breaks for the wealthy that will plunge us deeper in debt.

<< But Senate Democrats are going to fight them every step of the way. And this fight will be different than any other fight in the history of the Senate - because it will include you. Senate Democrats need your help, and that is why I will use your names and comments as part of our debate on the floor of the United State Senate. Imagine all of us standing together in the Senate Chamber during this debate. YOU can make it happen.

<< The nuclear option is a shocking power grab in its own right. More stunning is that President Bush has asked Republican Senators to stake their reputations on and break the rules for such shockingly unqualified judges.

<< For example, Janice Rogers Brown was twice rated not qualified by the California Judicial Nominations Evaluation (JNE) Commission, The Commission's report indicated that "nothing in [Brown's] legal experience [distinguished] her from other average practitioners," and some of Brown's opinions contained "gratuitous" personal opinions. In addition her opinions on race discrimination and on the rights of the disabled are nothing short of draconian.

<< The Republicans are arrogant with power. If they don't like the rules, they break them. If they don't like someone standing in their way, they attack them. We have some Republicans in the Senate considering throwing out 200 years of Senate history in order to pack the courts with right wing judges. And we have a Republican Leader in the House of Representatives who attacks judges who don't agree with him and corrupts our government by running roughshod over the ethics committee.

<< It's a complete abuse of power by the Republicans and if they can get away with this on judges, they will get away with this on legislation like Social Security too.

<< This is about more than a few unqualified judges, this is about protecting the rights of disabled Americans to work, the rights of minorities to vote, the rights of every American to have clean air, safe drinking water and be heard in Washington.

<< Thank you,

<< Harry Reid >>
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If you want more information about how the system works in the Senate with judicial nominees and filibusters --

 http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4575047
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Also, check out --
"The Rise of the Religious Right in the Republican Party" (a public information project from TheocracyWatch.org)

 http://www.theocracywatch.org/filibuster.htm

AND

"A Stalin like theocracy? They want to impeach a Reagan Appointee"

 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2005/04/315191.shtml
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DON'T LET A BLINDSPOT STOP YOU . . .

. . . from making your views known to the U.S. Senate about anti-environment judges ! ! !

"EarthJustice ALERT - stop appointment of anti-environment judges!"

 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2005/04/315068.shtml
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From the EarthJustice ACTION ALERT --

Oppose Judicial Nominee Myers and the Nuclear Option

The Senate will soon vote on the re-nomination of former Interior Solicitor William Myers to a lifetime seat on the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which decides the fate of environmental safeguards for nine western states. The Senate's Republican leadership is so determined to become a rubber stamp for the White House, they are planning to violate long-standing Senate rules to push through previously blocked, extreme anti-environmental nominees like Myers. This tactic has been dubbed the "nuclear option" by its proponents because it would effectively shut down the Senate.

FOR MORE INFO ON MYERS AND OTHER BACKGROUND, check out --

 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2005/04/315068.shtml
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To tell your senators to oppose William Myers's lifetime nomination go to the EarthJusice link -

 http://ga0.org/campaign/william_myers_renomination

AND don't forget to sign the on-line petition of the League of Conservation Voters --

 http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/712370032?ltl=1112927692

IT'S NOW OR NEVER -- the vote on Myers hasn't been scheduled yet, but it could be as early as next Tuesday!
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ALSO check out "Please call your senators to save the courts" --

 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2005/04/315158.shtml
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You can also write your own letter, using information gathered by Friends of the Earth to assist you in that --

 http://ga1.org/friendsaction/alert-description.tcl?alert_id=874110

According to Friends of the Earth:

On Tuesday, the Senate will vote on the nomination of William Myers to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, a critically important federal court that oversees nearly 500 million acres of western public lands. Myers is a career anti-environmental advocate: he recently served as the top lawyer at the Interior Department, aggressively weakening the same environmental laws that he formerly fought as a lobbyist for the grazing and mining industries. Rather than serving as an impartial judge, Myers will continue acting as a one-sided advocate for special interests if he receives a lifetime judicial appointment.
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Maybe better yet -- download an excellent pdf pamphlet made available by the NAACP. (Myers isn't just anti-environment, he's anti-human.) Check out the NAACP's pdf pamphlet on how to oppose the packing of the courts --

 http://www.naacp.org/inc/pdf/washington_aa-2005-03-09.pdf

(If you don't have a pdf reader such as Adobe, you can check out the pamphlet as HTML by googling on it -- GOOGLE makes HTML versions available on-line for many pdf files.)

NAACP details many actions in addition to on-line, such as phoning to your senator's office.
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It wouldn't hurt to let the Democrats in the Senate hear about your opposition to the packing of the courts AND ESPECIALLY YOUR OPPOSITION TO MYERS --

 http://democrats.senate.gov/filibuster-form.cfm
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The current Bush nominees are not only pro-corporatist and anti-environmental -- they are generally not even well-qualified on any standards!

Check it out --  http://www.democrats.org/scotus/bushrecord.html