Former Secretary of State Colin Powell took sharp issue Sunday with what he called "cheap shots" at him and other officials in the Bush administration by Dick Cheney in the former Vice President's memoir, In My Time, scheduled to be released this week. In an interview on CBS's Face the Nation.

Powell told host Bob Schieffer that if certain "White House operatives" and members of the Vice President's staff had been more forthcoming, the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate who leaked the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame would not have been necessary and the investigation would have been shortened by more than two years. Powell made that comment while responding to Cheney's statement in his book that Powell preferred to express his doubts and differences with administration policy to others, rather than directly to the President.

 "It was as though he thought the proper way to express his views was by criticizing administration policy to people outside the government," Cheney wrote about the former head of the State Department.

The implications in the New York Times’ article about Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) were clear even in the title: “A Businessman in Congress Helps His District and Himself” — Issa was using his position as chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform committee to enrich himself.

In the article, Eric Lichtblau implied that even the close proximity of his congressional office and his business office “on the third floor of a gleaming office building overlooking a golf course” in San Diego, signaled a highly suspect intermeshing of corporate and political interests. Lichtblau said that as Issa’s personal fortune has grown during his years in Congress (he was first elected in 2001), “so too has the overlap between his private and business lives, with at least some of the congressman’s government actions helping to make a rich man even richer and raising the potential for conflicts.”

An Illinois judge has ruled that the state can end its relationship with Catholic adoption groups because of their refusal to place children with homosexual couples. Reuters News reported that charities connected with the Catholic dioceses of Springfield, Peoria, and Joliet had filed a lawsuit in June 2011 “to prevent Illinois from canceling their contracts to provide child services shortly after a state law took effect legalizing same-sex civil unions and after the Attorney General opened a probe into the groups’ policies.”

Reuters reported that over the past several decades, the Catholic adoption and foster care groups “have been part of a network of private child welfare agencies paid by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services [DCFS] to help find foster and adoptive homes for children in the state in need of temporary or permanent care.”

An open letter:

Dear Michael Medved: On August 25, you had Jeffrey Lord on your nationally syndicated talk show. Lord had written an essay for The American Spectator in which he articulated several criticisms of Texas Congressman and Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul. Anyone who has ever listened to your show for any given length of time knows full well that you had no intention of taking Lord to task for his comments. Quite the contrary, as expected, your interview with this former Reagan staffer proved to be but one more opportunity to feed your apparent obsession with ruining Paul’s reputation among the ever growing number of voters who are gravitating toward him.

It is interesting, though, that for however misinformed and, thus, uncharitable, Lord’s criticisms of Paul were, they weren’t unqualified. In addition to conceding Ron Paul’s soundness of character, he acknowledged as well the single-handedness with which he has altered the national dialogue by reshaping the dialogue within the GOP: in 2008, Paul was well ahead of the curve when it came to the Federal Reserve and spending generally. For Paul’s contributions to altering the character of the GOP, Lord confesses to being grateful.

The owners of a bed and breakfast in Vermont are being sued by a lesbian couple and the ACLU for refusing to host the couple’s “wedding” reception at their facility. As reported by CNSNews.com, the lesbian couple, Kate Baker and Ming Linsley, plan to “marry” this autumn in Vermont, one of the handful of states that have legalized same-sex marriage. Nearly a year ago Ming’s mother, Channie Peters, contacted the Wildflower Inn about scheduling the couple’s reception there. But according to the ACLU, when she explained that the couple would consist of “two brides,” she received a subsequent e-mail from a planner at the inn, explaining: “After our conversation, I checked in with my innkeepers and unfortunately due to their personal feelings, they do not host gay receptions at our facility.” In July the ACLU took the case to the Vermont Superior Court, arguing that the inn’s policy excluding homosexuals violates the state’s human rights law which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Declared the ACLU: “This case is about discrimination, pure and simple. When a business that is open to the public refuses to serve two people and their guests solely because the two people are a same sex couple, it is no different than restaurants not serving individuals because they were black, or other businesses keeping out women or Jews. It is discrimination and it is illegal.”

Speaking to reporters at a breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka made it clear that his union is backing off from supporting President Obama and the Democrats in the 2012 elections and is instead going to funnel union funds into attempts to influence state outcomes.

He said,

We’re going to use a lot of our money to build structures that work for working people. You’re going to see us give less money to build structures for others, and more of our money will be used to build our own structure….

Let’s assume we spent $100 in the last election. The day after Election Day, we were no stronger than we were the day before. If we had spent that [$100] on creating a structure for working people that would be there year round, then we would be stronger.

As noted here recently ("Lame and Lamer: Media excuses for ignoring a surging Ron Paul"), Rep. Ron Paul has undeniably eclipsed many of the GOP presidential candidates formerly accorded "top tier" status by the major "lamestream" media, according to an August 24 Gallup Poll.

The new survey of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents shows Paul with 13 percent support, barely trailing former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (17 percent), with Texas Governor Rick Perry, who only recently announced his candidacy, strongly in first place, with 29 percent.

This puts Ron Paul three points ahead of Rep. Michele Bachmann (10 percent), who narrowly beat Paul (by less than 1 percent) in the Ames, Iowa Straw Poll on August 13. The other contestants,  some of whom have been touted as "top tier" in the past, fade into the distance in the new Gallup Poll: Herman Cain, 4 percent; Newt Gingrich, 4 percent; Rick Santorum, 3 percent; Jon Huntsman, 1 percent; Tim Pawlenty, zero percent (he dropped out).

As reported here yesterday ("Lame & Lamer: Media Excuses for Ignoring a Surging Ron Paul") the "lamestream" media appear to be making efforts to salvage a modicum of credibility by giving some coverage to Rep. Ron Paul's presidential race, after a severe media shellacking by Comedy Central's Jon Stewart went viral last week. Stewart's satirical rant effectively used clips of various media takes on the Ames, Iowa Straw Poll to expose the uniform policy of the major media to treat Ron Paul with unique contempt by simply pretending he doesn't exist.

The blatant media blackout of Ron Paul is eerily similar to the Stalinist technique of obliterating all mention of those who have been declared to be non-persons, as chillingly documented by David King in The Commissar Vanishes: The Falsification of Photographs and Art in Stalin's Russia. King's 1997 book demonstrates the power of Soviet censorship under Stalin, showing example after example of famous Communist leaders who had once been considered heroes of the revolution but then, sometimes virtually overnight, disappeared. Not only were they arrested, tortured, and killed, but even their images were removed from all photographs and their names expunged from all documents, news stories, and history books.

A recent article in the Washington Post posited that the obstruction by the Congress of presidential recess appointments is unconstitutional.  This debate emerged in light of the fact that currently, there is a backlog of presidential appointments. There are two explanations for this. First, President Obama has yet to nominate people to fill various executive and judicial branch openings. For example, a new chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers has yet to be named and there are two empty seats on the Federal Reserve board. The second reason behind the logjam is the Senate’s reluctance to confirm those nominees already submitted by the President for that body’s approval.

There is, however, a third less obvious factor slowing the appointment process. Using a potent parliamentary tactic, the House of Representatives has acted to keep both houses of the legislative branch in “pro forma” session throughout the August break in order to prevent President Obama from bypassing the advice and consent of the Senate by making what is known as recess appointments.

It is hard not to be amazed by the blackout of media coverage of Ron Paul’s presidential campaign. Had Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, Rick Santorum, Jon Huntsman, or any second-tier candidate been performing remotely as well as Paul has, he would no longer be regarded as a “second-tier” candidate. To the credit of such left-leaning outlets as Jon Stewarts' The Daily Show and The Huffington Post, this phenomenon has not gone unnoticed by everyone.

Let’s think about this.

In spite of the extent to which Paul has been ignored by the establishment media in both of its leftist and rightist varieties, he unfailingly elicits explosive applause in every GOP presidential primary debate in which he has participated. A Fox News poll, of all places, shows that the overwhelming majority of its respondents hold that Ron Paul achieved a decisive victory over all of the other candidates in the most recent debate in Iowa. Of 7,991 “active” cities nationwide that participated in the poll, and 43,293 total votes, 27,459 people thought that Paul won the debate. Newt Gingrich came in second place — with 5, 906 votes.

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