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Old 06-10-2005, 03:25 PM   #1
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House Judiciary CHairman breaks law on camera

Dictatorship? - One party control?

Press Release

Democracy thwarted at Judiciary Committee Hearing on the Patriot Act
Chairman silences Democrats at a hearing on the Patriot Act by cutting the microphones

WATCH THE VIDEO HERE (Adjourns illegally at 1:50:00)

June 10, 2005
(Washington, DC) --

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, in her new role as a member of the Judiciary Committee today, witnessed first hand the disrespectful conduct of the Republican majority at a Committee hearing today, requested by the Democratic minority, to hear testimony on civil rights and civil liberties abuses resulting from the USA Patriot Act.

The majority acted shamefully today, attempting to silence Democrats at the Judiciary Committee hearing this morning on the impact of the Patriot Act. Throughout the hearing, run by Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, witnesses and members were cut-off in mid sentence, the Chairman refused to yield to Democratic members points of order, or points of personal privilege. Finally, the hearing was adjourned by the Chairman, in violation of the Rules of the House and cutting off the microphones of Democratic members while they attempted to speak.

Sixteen provisions of the USA Patriot Act automatically sunset (expire) at the end of the year unless reauthorized by Congress. As such, the Judiciary Committee is holding hearings on the reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act.

The hearing this morning was the first time in roughly ten years that the minority on the Judiciary Committee has been forced to invoke its right to continue hearings in order to have its own witnesses.

Earlier this week, the Chairman, scheduled a series of hearings on the reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act, however, many of the hearings were on non-controversial parts of the Act. The hearings did not address some really obvious and important issues like section 215, which authorizes FBI access to library records and racial profiling. In an amazing slight, the only witness the Chairman would allow was the Deputy Attorney General of the United States who, of course, supports the permanent enactment of the Act. THE MINORITY DID NOT GET TO CALL A SINGLE WITNESS.

In response, the Judiciary Committee Democrats invoked Rule11 of the House rules allowing us to request our own hearing, which the Chairman held this morning, on a Friday, even though the House adjourned on Thursday and most members had returned to their districts.

Particularly shameful acts of the majority Republican during this morning’s Judiciary Committee Hearing:

1. The most egregious abuse was that the Chairman clearly violated the Rules of the House by adjourning the hearing based solely on his own authority. In order to end a hearing, the Chair must make a Unanimous Consent request or a motion to adjourn. Mr. Sensenbrenner did neither. Additionally, he adjourned the hearing based solely on his own authority while Mr. Nadler was attempting to raise a point of order (arguably to highlight this fact), which constitutes a clear abuse of House Rules. Subject to our discretion, this could constitute a privilege to be raised on the House floor. It can also be argued that this violation was particularly egregious given that this was the Minority’s day of hearings. (begins at 1:51:00 on video)

2. After the Chairman illegally adjourned the hearing, the Majority then attempted to cut the microphone of Mr. Nadler who was attempting to raise a point of order about the adjournment. (begins at 1:52:25 on video)

3. The Chairman refused on numerous occasions to recognize Members attempting to raise Points of Order or Points of Personal Privilege. For example, he refused to recognize both Ms. Jackson-Lee Ms. Wasserman-Schultz at the beginning of the hearing. (begins at 17:45 on video or 19:15)

4. During the hearing, the Chairman clearly referred to comments that had just been made by Ms. Jackson-Lee, calling them “irresponsible.” (begins at 1:49:57 on video)

5. The Chair gave one of the witnesses an order for information he wanted submitted to the Committee and gave a deadline of one week even though other witnesses in previous hearings have not been given such deadlines. (begins at 1:50:45 on video)

6. The Chairman at the beginning of the hearing read a list of Members – calling them by name – who signed the letter requesting an additional day of hearings but were not present at that moment at the hearing. The Rules of the House clearly state that Members cannot be disparaged on the record by name. Additionally, a number of the Members so disparaged were present at that moment and some had been present from before the hearing even began. (begins 5:30 on video)

7. The Chairman instituted a policy of cutting off witnesses responding to questions by Members in mid-sentence. Additionally, he would not let witnesses answer questions that were posed to them by Members before the Member’s five minutes ended (begins at 1:32:30 on video). While not a violation of the Rules, these actions clearly violated the Traditions and Practices of the House Judiciary Committee. Chairman Sessenbrenner usually allows witnesses to finish their sentences – and usually their broader point – before moving to the next Member. In addition, the usual practice is to allow witnesses to briefly respond to questions posed to them, even if the five minutes of the Member expired before they began to answer (begins at 1:47:00 on video).

8. The Chairman also suggested that he might strike from the record any testimony that was not directly related to the 16 expiring provisions of the PATRIOT Act. At no time has it ever been suggested or threatened that a witnesses testimony (or a Member’s statements) would be stricken from the record. Additionally, in previous hearings, the Majority’s witnesses, as well the Majority Members have made statements that were technically outside the bounds of the hearing topic.

WATCH THE VIDEO HERE (Adjourns illegally at 1:50:00)

http://www.house.gov/apps/list/press...velledoff.html
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Old 06-10-2005, 03:35 PM   #2
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This pisses me off.
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Old 06-10-2005, 03:52 PM   #3
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Seriously this a huge abuse of power. I expect more from our elected officials.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Pelosi: Republicans Once Again Abuse Power, Attempt to Silence Democrats in Hearing on the Patriot Act

Washington, D.C. - House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today on Republicans' shameful attempt today to silence Democrats at hearing this morning on the impact of the Patriot Act, when Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin inappropriately adjourned the hearing. See video here:http://www.dembloggers.com/story/2005/6/10/54149/5115

"The Republicans' abuse of power reached a new low this morning when they tried to silence Democrats at a hearing on the Patriot Act by cutting the microphones.

"Chairman Sensenbrenner proved again today that he is afraid of ideas, and that Republicans will stop at nothing to silence Democrats. It is quite ironic that at a hearing on the impact of the Patriot Act on civil liberties, the Republicans attempted to suppress free speech.

"This is part of Republican abuses of power: to silence Democrats and the voice of the minority, to deny millions of Americans a voice in Congress. Republican leaders dictate the party line and ram bills through committees, and permit few if any amendments on the floor. Republicans are unwilling and unable to compete in the marketplace of ideas, so they have chosen to arbitrarily and capriciously abuse their power simply because they can.

"Democrats will not be silenced when we uphold our oath of office to protect and defend our Constitution and civil liberties as we protect and defend the American people. I commend Judiciary Committee Democrats for continuing to question witnesses after the Republicans' shameful behavior, and for standing up for the institution of the House.

"This incident is the latest in a series of disgraceful conduct by Mr. Sensenbrenner. Last month, he misused an official committee report to mischaracterize in a derogatory manner amendments offered by three Democratic Members. As a result, the House was required to authorize the filing of a supplemental report, which contained significant changes, to correct the record.

"As House Democratic Leader, I expect all Members to be treated by the majority with dignity and respect. I will ask Speaker Hastert to order Mr. Sensenbrenner to apologize for his behavior to the witnesses at the hearing today, and to promise that this will never again happen."
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Old 06-10-2005, 07:39 PM   #4
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Hmmmm, welcome to the Brave New World.


And the link isn't working. I wonder why.
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Old 06-10-2005, 08:15 PM   #5
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meanwhile a campaign to impeach Bush gathers pace:-

http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/
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Old 06-10-2005, 08:35 PM   #6
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I am speechless.

I am angry.

I am disgusted.

But I'm not surprised....
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Old 06-10-2005, 09:13 PM   #7
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I've been very vocal about my feelings for this administration, but I've tried to be very careful on how I speak about the Republican party. I've tried to avoid dismissing the party in general because I know there are some really good politicians in the party that want the best for this country. It's been hard in the last few years to not just completely bash the party, but this is exactly why I'm starting to detest the party in whole. They've become the bully's of the playground. They've taken their undisputed power(and yes that's partly the fault of the Democrats) and abused it left and right.

Now I'm not talking about Republican voters but the politicians they elect. There's a huge difference. Although I do think Republican voters need to take a step back and take a look at the big picture and see who they are really voting for, same goes for Democrats.

Now we have to be careful, Financeguy mentioned Brave New World, now of course we all know it's not that extreme, but we're at the fringes. We're truly at a very shaky era here in America.
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Old 06-10-2005, 09:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by financeguy
meanwhile a campaign to impeach Bush gathers pace:-

http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/
I'd be interested on what they'd impeach Bush on. He'd have to break a law. Unfortunately, blatant lying is generally not illegal, unless its in the context of judicial perjury.

Besides, as we all should know by now, the process of "impeachment" is mostly a political maneuver, and it's generally dictated by the party in power. If voted strictly on party lines--which it would--Bush will never even reach impeachment proceedings. That's the way it works, folks.

Melon
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Old 06-11-2005, 06:02 AM   #9
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I'm interested to see if CSPAN replays the commitee meeting. They usually replay them all over the weekend or again on weekends.

You can see the video I believe at www.randirhodesshow.com (yes it's a left wing site) or it was up on the CSPAN 2 site.

Melon - of course they will not be able to impeach him with the house in control, but they may be able to force an independent investigation.

I think the Republicans are going to see a backlash at the polls, IMO they are over reaching.

I agree with BVS I think our democracy is in real danger and I'm not a kook. This should have been the lead story on the nightly news last night but of course nothing.
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Old 06-11-2005, 06:10 AM   #10
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This is on the American people. The vast majority either think this is acceptable behavior or do not care enough to do anything about it.
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Old 06-11-2005, 08:15 AM   #11
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I can't say im surprised. Thanks for sharing this info.
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Old 06-11-2005, 11:57 AM   #12
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I'm surprised by the lack of discussion on this.

Well maybe I'm not surprised but sickened.
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Old 06-11-2005, 12:28 PM   #13
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and somewhat related to show how corruption breeds thoughout the GOP and this administration

Editor of Climate Reports Resigns
By ANDREW C. REVKIN

Philip A. Cooney, the chief of staff to President Bush’s Council on Environmental Quality, resigned yesterday, White House officials said.

Mr. Cooney’s resignation came two days after documents revealed that he had repeatedly edited government climate reports in ways that cast doubt on the link between building greenhouse-gas emissions and rising temperatures.

Mr. Cooney has no scientific training. Dana Perino, a deputy White House press secretary, said Mr. Cooney “had long been considering his options following four years of service in the administration.” Ms. Perino said the decision was unrelated to revelations about the documents. Mr. Cooney did not return e-mails messages or phone messages left at his home.

Ms. Perino noted that the documents in question dated from 2003.

“He had accumulated many weeks of leave and had decided to resign and take the summer off to spend the time with his family,” Ms. Perino said.

Before moving to the White House in 2001, Mr. Cooney, 45, was a lawyer for the American Petroleum Institute, the main lobby for the oil industry, and held the position of “climate team leader,” in which he fought restrictions on greenhouse gases.

The documents, first described on Wednesday in The New York Times , stirred reactions ranging from defenses of Mr. Cooney by oil lobbyists to strident criticism by environmental groups and satire from Jon Stewart on his comedy-news program “The Daily Show.”

Most scientists and scientific groups, including the National Academy of Sciences in a letter released this week, have said the relationship between greenhouse-gas emissions and warming is clear enough to justify prompt actions by countries to curb emissions.

Philip Clapp, the president of the National Environmental Trust, an environmental group in Washington, said the problem with White House treatment of the climate issue was broader than just one person.

“His resignation is less surprising than the fact that the lead oil industry lobbyist on global warming should have been given this kind of power over climate science and scientists,” Mr. Clapp said.

Myron Ebell, who for years has fought restrictions on greenhouse gases on behalf of groups with industry ties, said Mr. Cooney’s actions were part of the normal adjustments to language in government documents to mesh them with policy goals.

“The idea that only scientists are able to deal with that is ridiculous,” said Mr. Ebell, who currently directs climate policy for the libertarian Competitive Enterprise Institute. “Citizens have to be able to deal with these things and decipher them, too.”

He added, “This is a news story because the White House is so secretive, not because he did anything wrong.”
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Old 06-12-2005, 12:54 PM   #14
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The hearing is now on CSPAN 1
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Old 06-13-2005, 08:49 AM   #15
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What crime was committed (as suggested by the title)?
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