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Thursday, February 09, 2006

Coleen Rowley in SD35

This evening, Coleen Rowley spoke to the SD35 DFL party. Since their news release said that this was open to the public, I trundled the Little Logician off to basketball practice and then I went to the Prior Lake Library to hear the candidate for myself. I took lots and lots of notes, so this will be the first of several posts on Ms. Rowley's visit to SD35.

Coleen was introduced by the SD35 Chair who spoke glowingly of her "law enforcement credentials" and how that would be such an asset to Congress - yeah like Congress really needs another lawyer! Coleen then opened with a "good news/bad news" joke - "the good news is President Bush is finally listening to us...the bad news is it is via the NSA surveillance program". This was not the last time she would bring up NSA.....

Coleen then went on to ask how many had watch the "excruciating" State of the Union address last week. Not many in the room had (surprise surprise) so Coleen went on to give her take on the speech. She talked about how one side of the room kept jumping up and down and how she was "certain" that Representative Kline was one the ones doing the jumping but that the camera did not pan to him (I believe that the congressman was out of DC at the time, but I am waiting for verification of that). She then went on to talk about how, in spite of the promises of increased funding for alternative energy and education, the administration announced "the very next day" massive budget cuts for both. She also mention that the only place to "win" in the budget was the Pentagon, conveniently forgetting that in the new Budget Social spending dwarfed Pentagon spending....why let the facts get in the way of a little stump speech I guess...

She did not mention her opponent (Congressman Kline) often, but when she did she called him a "cheerleader" for the administration (this after she had commented about how they needed to deal with facts instead of delving into name calling...) and that he had voted against veterans benefits 11 times (it has already been proven that she is incorrect in the by the Congressman).

Back to the NSA surveillance...Coleen said that intelligence gathering was like trying to find a needle in a haystack and that the NSA surveillance had "added more hay" to the haystack. A few minutes later she said that she didn't see the courts "upholding" the NSA program, but she was contradicted by the SD35 chair (and her own words). The SD35 chair said that he had heard that the FISA court had already upheld similar surveillance - a ruling that Coleen admitted had been made. Coleen also repeated the DNC call for "Congressional oversight" of the NSA program, saying we didn't need "full" congressional oversight - just have a "few trusted" congressmen overseeing classified intelligence information. Excuse me Ms. Rowley - we already have that. Select "trusted" members of both the House and Senate Intelligence Committees were aware of the NSA program. Unfortunately one of those "trusted members" went to Syria before the war and told the Syrian government all of our plans!

One of many laughs of the night came when Coleen asked is anyone in the group had heard the report that Scooter Libbey was "rolling over" on Vice President Cheney. That report cause one woman in the audience to shout "YES!!!! I KNEW IT!!!! I KNEW CHENEY WAS THE PRINCE OF DARKNESS....we just have to prove it." Yes ma'am you do have to prove it.

End part 1


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