Veto Vito (Fossella)

Democrats outnumber Republicans on Staten Island. Democrats outnumber Republicans in Brooklyn. A Republican holds the Staten Island - Brooklyn 13th Congressional District seat in Congress. We want it. Time to veto Vito.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Vito is Outraged!

This was such a stupid stunt I wouldn't have bothered to even note it, but since it was our own thorn-in-the-side Congressman Vito Fossella that did it, you're humble servants at the Veto Vito project are duty-bound to say something.

Apparently Vito got all exercised about Hillary Clinton comparing the Republican Congress to a "plantation" -- in front of an african american audience -- with their apparent approval. So, as Kos has already done the work for me, Vito is officially outraged by the following venerables who used the terrible "p-word" to refer to Democrats:
The National Review
The Wall Street Journal
Rush Limbaugh Show
The Washington Times
Bob Novak

More on Roberts

From Blue Oregon, via myDD:

A look back to August 10, 2005:

Supreme Court nominee John Roberts declared that, in cases dealing with end-of-life care, he would "start with the supposition that one has the right to be left alone," Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said after the two met for an hour Tuesday. ...

Roberts told Wyden that he would look closely at the legislative history of federal laws and would be careful not to strip states of powers they traditionally have held -- such as regulating the practice of medicine, Wyden said. "You don't get the impression from how he answered that he'd let somebody stretch a sweeping statute like the Controlled Substances Act," Wyden said. ...

Roberts said the basic genius of the federal system is that it affords states the ability to approach problems in a way that is best suited to their different needs; imposing uniformity across the nation would stifle the intent of the founding fathers, Wyden said.

Roberts didn't just mislead about his activist intentions, he mislead about the particulars of this issue. An honest person would say, "I think the constitution and laws require all persons to live out their lives, regardless of the pain or circumstances they find themselves in, and I will rule accordingly." But honesty is not good currency in the Republican Congress.

Activist Judges

This is what gets me just absolutely bat-sh-t crazy about Republicans and so-called conservatives. They don't mean a damned thing they say. They cry up and down that they don't want "activist judges" imposing their view instead of just interpreting the law, but they really mean they don't want judicial outcomes they don't like.

They didn't like it when states were forced to treat blacks as equal citizens, they didn't like it when states were forbidden to restrict women's reproductive choices, but they were too ashamed to say it out loud, so they found a convenient excuse of "state's rights" and "strictly interpreting the laws."

Now I have long since written off Justices Scalia and Thomas. But, stupid me, I actually had some hope that Chief Justice Roberts would adhere to his promises to be a neutral umpire and not inject his own views into his opinions. It didn't take long to expose that lie.

Roberts joined Scalia and Thomas in dissent from today's decision upholding Oregon's Death with Dignity Act. Justice Kennedy upheld the act on the ground that:

the federal law regulated medical practice only to bar doctors from using
their prescription-writing powers as a way to engage in illicit drug dealing and trafficking

In other words, unless doctors are engaging in drug trafficking, the federal drug laws don't apply to them. And whether you agree with the policy or not, it is impossible to argue that the federal drug laws were ever intended to regulate assisted suicide, one way or the other. Yet, here's what Scalia, with the new Chief on board, says:

If the term 'legitimate medical purpose' has any meaning, it surely excludes the
prescription of drugs to produce death

Nice sound bite. Bad legal reasoning. The dissenters have arrogated unto themselves the power to graft a whole new meaning of "legitimate medical purpose," beyond Congress's intent to stop the illegal drug trade. I don't fault them for believing that "legitimate medical purposes" does not include allowing terminally ill patients a painless passing if certain rigorous safeguards are met. That's fine. It's their opinion. But they are not legislators! The people of the State of Oregon have decided that under those circumstances, lethal medication is indeed a legitimate medical purpose. But the dissenters are unwilling to live with that and instead would impose their own judgment upon a statute that was never intended to address the topic of assisted suicide. THAT'S JUDICIAL ACTIVISM!

Such hypocrites. Seeing how shallow Justice Roberts' commitment to strict construction is, I have no doubt that Judge Alito will be worse. We need to stop these people from getting on the bench. I don't know how we will stop Alito, but I know that taking the Congress from the Republilcans in '06 is how we will do it in the future.

Friday, January 13, 2006

The DeLay Rule

Just to follow up. "Me" of NY13 -- not me, but "Me" -- points out a good site for researching members' votes. The vote on letting Tom DeLay keep his post even after indicted, however, was secret. There were reports in the press at the time of a "handful" of members who voted against it. (Chris Shays is the only name that comes to mind.) There is no official list, and one could bet that a majority of Republicans will now claim to have voted against this rule that a wide majority voted FOR at the time. So, while I'm not sure we can depend on a straightforward and non-misleading answer from Vito's office, at least we can get him on record. That's why the suggestion for the call.

More corporate-driven legislation

I've been meaning to post on this for a while, but I haven't had the chance to do any research on Vito's connections with the mentioned outfit. Well, I still haven't but there's a point to be made anyway.


Members of the National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association (NBFAA) wereon Capitol Hill visiting Congressional offices recently when the "College Life Safety and Fire Protection Act,” H.R.4460, supported by the NBFAA, was introduced by Rep. Vito Fossella, R-N.Y.

The new legislation, introduced at the request of the NBFAA on Dec. 7, 2005, is designed to establish a demonstration incentive program within the U.S. Department of Education to promote the professional installation of fire alarm detection systems, or other fire prevention technologies in qualified student housing, dormitories, and other university buildings.

Now I'm not saying this is the worst idea in the world. But it's definitely coming from the wrong direction. If you represent the people, you should be looking at whether there is a big problem with fires in student housing and university buildings and coming up with some legislation that will reduce the incidence of fires. Indeed, a few cases in New Jersey in recent years would justify at least looking into it.

But the Fossella approach gets it completely backwards. Vito's style is to welcome those who would profit from selling fire alarms to universities, and craft a bill that meet those financial interests.

Like I said, I haven't done the research to see who from the "National Burglar and Fire Alarm
Association" has given money to Vito, but it's a fair bet that there is a strong connection. But even without it, he's got the wrong people's interest in mind. And that's something that we should not accept in a representative of the people.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Where was Vito on DeLay?

Josh Marshall has a good project. He notes:

Rep. David Dreier (R-CA) is now the House Republican point man on ethics and 'lobbying reform'. A year ago, he was a big supporter of the DeLay Rule. I wonder what he's saying now. Does he remember how he voted?
If you ring up your member of Congress and ask them point blank how they voted on the 'DeLay Rule', they may not remember what you're talking about. Technically, this is the change to the rules of the House Republican Conference, passed in November 2004, which allowed then-Majority Leader DeLay to remain as Majority Leader even if he was indicted. So if you call just be courteous and clear and explain that you feel you're entitled to an answer.

Anyone care to call Vito's office and ask? (202) 225-3371.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Vito plays for pay

You may recall a previous post on how Vito Fossella is trying to hamstring the SEC's efforts to enforce investor protection laws. And maybe you wondered, why? Why would a representative of the people of Staten Island and Brooklyn, who are far more likely to be the small investors in need of protection than the big investment firms who will benefit from lax regulation, write legislation that would be so against his constituents' interests? Today we discuss why.

First, to recap, a piece in today's Investment leaves little room for doubt about what a crappy piece of legislation this is:

Reps. Michael Castle, R-Del., and Vito Fossella, R-N.Y., introduced the
Compliance, Examinations and Inspections Restructuring Act of 2005 last month,
but it immediately drew fire from former SEC Chairman Arthur S. Levitt, who
established the office in 1995, as well as from the Consumer Federation of
America in Washington. . . .

"The legislation is atrocious. I don't think it's Congress' job to
micromanage the SEC," said Mr. Levitt, who headed the commission from 1993 to

Indeed, one official who represents brokerage firms, who asked not to be
identified, noted that while brokerage firms think there are problems with Ms.
Richards' office, "the way to deal with that is for the SEC to deal with it

"It's a terrible idea. Ideally, inspectors have an independent mind-set,"
said Barbara Roper, Boulder, Colo.-based director of investor protection for the
Consumer Federation of America in Washington. "The divisions are headed by
people [from the industry] who go back to the industry; they're classic
revolving-door departments where they really have a strong tendency to see
issues from the industry's point of view. You don't want your enforcement
functions to be co-opted by that viewpoint," she said.

So then, in the words of Cindy Lou Who, why? Why are you taking our Christmas tree, why? Maybe it's this:

The chief industry backer of the bill is The Financial Services Roundtable, a
Washington umbrella group that represents banks, securities firms and insurance

Ah, hah! So just for fun I compared the Financial Services Roundtable's Member Companies with Vito Fossella's donor list. I saw Bank of America, ka-ching, Capital One (what's in Vito's wallet), Citigroup, ka-ching, CSFB, more ching, until I ran straight into FINANCIAL SERVICES ROUNDTABLE PAC!!!!! He wasn't even clever about it. He just took the money straight from the lobby and went to the floor to do their bidding.

As our friends at NY13 blog have pointed out, Vito is chest-deep in the Republican culture of corruption. And it stinks.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

There's tons of us!

Thanks for the post from

I was going to make the same point about the story of Mike Cusick's decision not to run.
It is wrong in so many ways to wait for a better time to challenge the Republicans for this seat. The time is now, because what Vito Fossella and the rest of the Republican party are ruining the country. The time is now because even if we weren't going to win, it is our duty to stand up for the rule of law, for middle class, working class Americans, for service members in the line of fire, for a planet we hope to be habitable in a hundred years. The time is now because if we just all get off our collective back sides and bring just one friend to the polls, WE WIN!

Let's do this.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

We're not alone!

The movement to stop Vito grows!

I say the more the merrier.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

It's a whole new year

And nothing's changed:

Federal budget cuts approved this month by the Republican-dominated
Congress will drain programs for the city school system's youngest and oldest
students. A bill already passed and signed into law reduces the pre-kindergarten Head Start budget by 1 percent, and college-student aid is also hanging in the balance.

Funding for college loans could be reduced by nearly $13 billion over five years if legislators do not revisit a bill passed by the House and Senate, which was subsequently sent back to the House by angry Senate Democrats for potential modifications.

Rep. Vito Fossella (R-Staten Island/Brooklyn) voted in favor of the bills cutting aid for Head Start and college students. He could not be reached for comment.