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You Get What You Pay for (Perjury, in This Case)

Having virtually all the money in the world often means you can buy silence, you can buy time, and you can buy lies. Chevron has demonstrated this time and again in its decades-long battle to evade accountability for deliberately dumping 18 billion gallons of toxic wastewater into the Ecuadorian Amazon.

The problem is that this time what Chevron has bought is a bag of lies in the form of false testimony from a thoroughly disreputable source, and they aren’t able to hide the price tag…

Read the rest on Eye on the Amazon »

Bush is Gone, But His Judges Are Here to Stay


Filibuster Wars Return

Following a brief detente over executive branch nominations over the past few months, Republicans yesterday went back to their same old obstructionist ways.

First, Republicans used the filibuster to block an up-or-down vote on Rep. Mel Watt, who has been nominated to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency, an important agency that oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. This is the first time since the Reconstruction Era that a sitting Member of Congress has been denied confirmation. Watt is also the first African-American FHFA nominee.

Republicans then filibustered the nomination of Patricia Millett for the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, despite her sterling credentials as one of the most well-respected members of the Supreme Court bar, previous experience in both Democratic and Republican administrations, and the support of conservative legal luminaries like Ken Starr and Ted Olson.

The D.C. Circuit is second only to the Supreme Court in importance. It hears cases involving key national security issues and federal regulations like environmental and labor rules. During the Bush administration, all 11 seats on the court were happily filled by Republicans. But now that three vacancies have opened up, they are refusing to allow votes on President Obama’s nominees.

It’s no secret why — conservatives currently have a stranglehold on this important court and Republicans want to keep it that way. Of the eight current judges, four were appointed by Republicans and four were appointed by Democrats; however, five of six semi-retired senior judges who still hear cases were appointed by Republicans.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) indicated that Obama’s nominees will be voted on again and not-so-subtly threatened to change the filibuster rules if Republicans continue their blockade.

Why Courts Matter

The last 24 hours have provided important reminders about why the courts — and federal appeals courts in particular — matter.

In Texas, a three-judge panel of conservative Bush-appointed judges overruled an earlier ruling and reinstated Texas’ draconian new restrictions on abortion. The restrictions forced about one-third of Texas abortion clinics to close. Today.

And then this morning, D.C. Circuit Judge Janice Rogers Brown, one of Bush’s most radical appointees, issued a ruling against the Obamacare mandate that requires insurers to offer no-cost birth control.

Both of these vital cases will likely head to the Supreme Court, which also continues to be controlled by Republican-appointed justices, where they will face an uncertain fate.

BOTTOM LINE: The courts matter and it’s important that President Obama be allowed to exercise his constitutional duty to fill vacancies on the D.C. Circuit, other federal appeals courts, and district courts. Unless more progressive judges make it on to the bench, radical judges appointed by Bush and other Republicans will continue to try and drag the country backward and undermine hard won progressive victories.

Had enough? Click HERE to tell your senators that enough is enough and it’s time to allow a vote on the president’s nominees.

Become a Charter Member

NMAAHC -- National Museum of African American History and Culture

Join NowThank you for spreading the word about the Smithsonian’s newest museum, the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). However, not a roof beam can be raised, a nail hammered, or a window set into place without the steadfast commitment from friends like you.
That is why I hope you’ll become a Charter Member of the Museum. Every dollar you can give brings us one step closer to the day we open the doors on what will truly be a great addition to the Smithsonian’s family of museums.
The NMAAHC will present the dark days of slavery and also celebrate individual heroism and collective resiliency that was the Civil Rights Movement to the triumph of the election of the first African American president and beyond. But this history is not solely for African Americans. This history is America’s history.
Our challenge now is to raise the money we need to build this exciting addition to the American cultural landscape. Of the $500 million needed, Congress has committed to provide half of the funds required to build the Museum. This means we need your help to raise the additional $250 million in private donations to open the doors of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in 2015.
We broke ground in February 2012, but to continue construction, your generous support of the Museum as a Charter Member is critical. In return, you’ll be eligible for many special benefits:

  • For your gift of $25, you will receive a 10% discount at all Smithsonian gift shops and online, special E-updates about Museum events, programs and exhibitions, and your name added to the Museum’s prestigious electronic Honor Roll of Charter Members to be displayed at the Museum.
  • For your gift of $40, you will also receive a beautiful 8.5″ x 11″ Certificate of Appreciation, perfect for framing and proudly displaying your support of the Museum.
  • For your gift of $100, you will also receive the double CD Every Tone a Testimony, a fascinating aural history of African Americans in words, music and poetry.
  • For your gift of $250, you will also receive the book Let Your Motto Be Resistance: African American Portraits, a beautiful collection of portraits and stories of prominent African Americans.

Please don’t delay in becoming a Charter Member. We need your help to build this great Museum. . With your help, we’ll build this important museum to honor the great legacy of the African American experience.

Lonnie Bunch
National Museu