Tags: Insider | Report: | Democrats | Launch | Attack | Fred | Thompson

Insider Report: Democrats Launch Attack on Fred Thompson

Friday, 29 June 2007 12:00 AM

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):

Former Sen. Fred Thompson hasn't yet announced if he will seek the GOP nomination for president in 2008, but the Democrats have already gone on the attack in anticipation of a Thompson run.

A fundraising e-mail sent out by the Democratic National Committee focuses on the general perception of Thompson as a Washington outsider, calling him the "inside-outsider."

The e-mail reads in part: "Remember the Republican culture of corruption? The revolving door of Republican politicians moving in and out of top political offices and Washington, D.C., lobbying firms? That's Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson.

"For years, acting wasn't the 'Law & Order' star's profession — it was a hobby. In the real world, Thompson has made a fortune in a decades-long career as a Washington lobbyist . . .

"As he runs for president, he'll try his hardest to hide the truth from the American people. And we need to stop him."

Seeking to cast Thompson's Senate career as lackluster, the DNC has also released a "research document" headlined "Major Legislative Accomplishments of Sen. Fred Dalton Thompson (1994-2002)." The page is then blank until the line, "Paid for by the Democratic National Committee," politico.com reports.

Another DNC paper outlines several approaches to an attack on Thompson, including "defender of George Bush," "already has a flip-flop problem," "controversial legal clients may cause problems," and "lobbying career full of land mines."

Thompson has not set a date for an announcement of a presidential run, but advisers told politico.com that the need to prepare for the likely attacks will probably push the date back from the first week in July to later in the month.

A recent CNN poll found that Thompson now trails only Rudy Giuliani among candidates for the Republican nomination.

2. CIA Cell Phones Led to Agents' Arrests

The 25 CIA operatives accused of kidnapping a terror suspect in Italy were undone by their careless use of cell phones.

The agents have been charged with kidnapping terror suspect Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, off a street in Milan in February 2003, taking him to an Air Force base in Aviano, and flying him to Egypt, where he says he was tortured.

Abu Omar, an Egyptian cleric who had been granted political asylum in Italy, was released by Egyptian authorities this past February.

The operatives were reportedly fingered thanks to cell phone data obtained by Italian authorities. The team that snatched the terror suspect used unsecured mobile handsets to communicate during the operation. When an Italian prosecutor pulled the records of phones in the area at the time of the alleged kidnapping, he was able to identify the agents and where they had stayed, Wired magazine reports.

He also obtained evidence that one agent had used his cell phone to call the CIA station chief in Milan, and that CIA cell phones called northern Virginia — where CIA headquarters are located — and the Aviano base before and immediately after the suspect was snatched.

Wired noted: "As many criminals know, [cell phone] tower location is recorded with the billing data. The spooks apparently didn't realize this and left a trail of cellular footprints at the crime scene."

The Italian government has asked the Constitutional Court to throw out the indictments against the Americans. The CIA has refused to cooperate with Italian authorities, and the agents would be tried in absentia.

3. Professor Reinstated After George Washington E-mail Flap

College officials in Arizona have reached an agreement with a tenured professor who had been threatened with termination after he sent out an e-mail to colleagues containing George Washington's "Thanksgiving Day Proclamation of 1789."

On Nov. 22, 2006, the day before Thanksgiving, Walter Kehowski — a professor in mathematics in the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) — sent the e-mail containing Washington's message to all MCCCD employees, using a district-wide service designated for "announcements."

Within weeks, five MCCCD employees filed harassment charges against Kehowski, claiming his message was "hostile" and "derogatory." The complaining employees also cited the fact that the e-mail contained a link to conservative commentator Pat Buchanan's Web site, where Kehowski had found Washington's proclamation. Buchanan had also posted to his Web site criticisms of immigration policies.

On Jan. 3, 2007, MCCCD found that Kehowski was guilty of violating policies limiting e-mail usage to messages that "support education, research, scholarly communication, administration, and other MCCCD business."

As NewsMax.com reported, MCCCD Chancellor Rufus Glasper placed Kehowski on administrative leave on March 9 and recommended to the MCCCD governing board that he be dismissed.

Kehowski appealed that decision and contacted the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), an organization that seeks to protect civil liberties on U.S. campuses.

"It boggles the mind that a professor could find himself facing termination simply for e-mailing the Thanksgiving address of our first president," said FIRE President Greg Lukianoff at the time.

And Pat Buchanan told NewsMax he was "astonished" that the professor could lose his job for circulating the Washington speech. "This is '1984,'" Buchanan said. "This is Orwellian. Academia has become an island of totalitarianism in a sea of freedom."

FIRE wrote to Glasper on April 25 to protest the actions against Kehowski, asserting that e-mailing a proclamation from George Washington or including a link to Pat Buchanan's Web site did not constitute punishable harassment.

FIRE reminded Glasper that the U.S. Supreme Court has held that for workplace expression to be considered "harassment," it must be "severe or pervasive enough to create an objectively hostile or abusive work environment."

When Glasper failed to address these concerns, FIRE issued a press release to publicize MCCCD's actions against the professor, eliciting outrage from concerned citizens across the country.

On June 22, MCCCD and Kehowski reached a settlement that will allow him to return to teaching classes this fall. A confidentiality agreement prohibits either side from discussing details of the settlement, according to a statement from FIRE.

"This settlement is a crucial victory for freedom of expression and fundamental fairness," Lukianoff said.

"FIRE is pleased that MCCCD's unjust treatment of Kehowski has finally ceased and that he will now be able to resume his life and his teaching."

4. Moore's 'Sicko' Unhealthy for Democrats

Michael Moore's latest documentary "Sicko," an indictment of the healthcare industry, has created a dilemma for top Democrats, who are wary of embracing its message — or rejecting it.

In "Sicko," the filmmaker urges the abolishment of the health insurance industry, tight controls on pharmaceutical companies, and a Canadian-style government-run healthcare system.

Democratic presidential candidates fear rejecting Moore's proposals could turn off liberal activists calling for massive reform of the healthcare system, whose support could be crucial in gaining the party's nomination.

But expressing support for his prescription might alienate the larger pool of voters in the general election, the Los Angeles Times noted.

Democratic presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards have all taken positions on the issue that differ significantly from Moore's vision.

As a result, the leading Democratic candidates have sought to "sidestep direct comment on Moore's proposals," the Times reported.

Moore has already said he hopes the documentary will play an important role in the presidential campaign.

But Ron Pollack of the advocacy group Families USA doubts it will have Moore's desired effect.

"To presume that the private sector is going to sit idly by to see the destruction of private coverage I think is a misreading of reality," he told the Times.

"I think the presidential candidates understand that if health care reform is going to have a chance of success, it will require bipartisanship and a balance of public and private coverage."

As for the film, "it's quite effective," said Robert Reischauer, a leading health policy expert and president of The Urban Institute, who supports universal coverage.

However, "it's not a documentary," he added, but rather "policy propaganda."

5. MoveOn: Rep. Dingell Is a Dinosaur

The liberal group MoveOn.org is running radio ads depicting House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell as a dinosaur whose views on climate change are behind the times.

In the ads, a father is discussing dinosaurs with his son. He identifies one specimen as a "Dingellsaurus. Someone who has been around so long he forgets about the people who sent him there."

Rep. Dingell, a Michigan Democrat, first entered the House in 1955, and is the longest-serving member of that body. He represents a Detroit-area district.

The father in the ads, which are running in Michigan, identifies Dingell-as-Dingellsaurus as a creature "standing in the way of the first energy bill ever that would really combat global warming," The Hill newspaper reports.

MoveOn's political action campaign director, Ilyse Hogue, disclosed that the ad was inspired by the energy bill Dingell helped write, which "doesn't even have a bare minimum of what we need to see to confront climate change," he said.

"It's a dinosaur policy."

The bill would not require cars and trucks to get better gas mileage, a provision that is in a recently passed Senate bill.

6. We Heard . . .

THAT Talk Radio Network's nationally syndicated talk-show host

Humphries said he was especially surprised by the extremist views of Muslims living in London, some of whom received videos directly from Osama bin Laden.

THAT an internationally known expert on forecasting methods is willing to bet $10,000 that

Scott Armstrong, a marketing professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton business school, challenged Gore's prediction of global warming temperature increases, in the belief that most climate change forecasts use bad methodology, Fox News reports.

His wager is that temperatures will basically stay the same.

The $10,000 bet would go to charity. But Armstrong said he hadn't gotten a response from Gore.


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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories): Former Sen. Fred Thompson hasn't yet announced if he will seek the GOP nomination for president in 2008, but the Democrats have already gone on the attack in anticipation of a Thompson run. A fundraising e-mail...
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Friday, 29 June 2007 12:00 AM
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