Tuesday, December 26, 2006

War Critics See New Resistance by Bush - New York Times

In case you thought the pResident was actually changing his tune, read the story at the link below.

P.S.: I'm back! I can get to this blog again through my firewall. Yippee!

Link to War Critics See New Resistance by Bush - New York Times

Thursday, October 26, 2006

A Different Application Of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

Money Down the Drain in Iraq - New York Times:
The latest contracting revelations came in a report issued Tuesday by the office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction. The office reviewed records covering $1.3 billion out of the $18.4 billion that Congress voted for Iraq reconstruction two years ago. Reported overhead costs ran from a low of 11 percent for several contracts awarded to Lucent to a high of 55 percent for, you guessed it, the Halliburton subsidiary, KBR Inc.

On similar projects in the United States, overhead is typically just a few percent. Given the difficult security environment in Iraq, overhead was expected to run closer to 10 percent. But in many of the contracts examined, it ran much, much higher, in some cases consuming over half the allocated funds. And the report may have actually underestimated total overhead because the government agencies that were supposed to be supervising these reconstruction projects sometimes failed to systematically track overhead expenses. (emphasis mine)
Just give the money to our friends at Haliburton, et al, and you can be sure it will get into the right pockets do some good. After all, money is everything. Isn't it?

Clueless In Washington

Bush Focuses on Iraq as G.O.P. Tries to Change Subject - New York Times:
“We are on the verge of chaos, and the current approach is clearly not working,” said Jill Hazelbaker, spokeswoman for Thomas H. Kean Jr., the Republican candidate for the United States Senate in New Jersey. “We’ve seen an enormous amount of violence in Iraq, and Kean thinks it’s a responsibility of the U.S. to determine: are there other strategies we can pursue? So, in that sense, yes, we welcome tactical changes.”

But other Republicans were skeptical. Tony Fabrizio, a pollster working for several Republican candidates, said the president did his party more harm than good by highlighting a troublesome issue and seeming to change course so close to Election Day.

“It makes it look like they have a confused policy,” he said. “Now the question will be, every day, what are the parameters of flexibility?”

Senior Democrats in Congress said the president presented little more than an old policy in new garb.

Senator Carl Levin, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Mr. Bush gave little ground on Wednesday and was unlikely to reap any political benefit.

“I don’t see any reason to believe the president is any more realistic,” Mr. Levin said. “What he said was an effort to get himself past the election by telling the American people that he’s changing course while telling the Iraqis he’s not changing course.” (emphasis mine)
Don't call it "stay the course" or "more of the same" but rather "stall and hope for the best."

Yeah, that ought to do it.

Bigotry May Help Republicans In Close Races

NJ gay marriage decision boost to "values voters" - Yahoo! News:
"DALLAS (Reuters) - U.S. religious conservatives could be energized by a New Jersey Supreme Court decision granting gay couples the same rights as married heterosexuals and could tilt the balance for Republicans in close races in the November 7 congressional elections, analysts and activists say."

I hope they just stay home, but if the bigots want to make fools of themselves and doom the nation to more of the same old corruption and profiteering, that's their choice of course. Pray for them, for they know not what they do.

(Google) Bombing Campaign

Doing my part to help. The links below lead to the most negative story on the Republican candidate in each race. This will help Google find the truth about them whenever somebody asks. Join in by following the link above or below to get the HTML and paste it into your blog. Isn't this fun?!

--AZ-Sen: Jon Kyl

--AZ-01: Rick Renzi

--AZ-05: J.D. Hayworth

--CA-04: John Doolittle

--CA-11: Richard Pombo

--CA-50: Brian Bilbray

--CO-04: Marilyn Musgrave

--CO-05: Doug Lamborn

--CO-07: Rick O'Donnell

--CT-04: Christopher Shays

--FL-13: Vernon Buchanan

--FL-16: Joe Negron

--FL-22: Clay Shaw

--ID-01: Bill Sali

--IL-06: Peter Roskam

--IL-10: Mark Kirk

--IL-14: Dennis Hastert

--IN-02: Chris Chocola

--IN-08: John Hostettler

--IA-01: Mike Whalen

--KS-02: Jim Ryun

--KY-03: Anne Northup

--KY-04: Geoff Davis

--MD-Sen: Michael Steele

--MN-01: Gil Gutknecht

--MN-06: Michele Bachmann

--MO-Sen: Jim Talent

--MT-Sen: Conrad Burns

--NV-03: Jon Porter

--NH-02: Charlie Bass

--NJ-07: Mike Ferguson

--NM-01: Heather Wilson

--NY-03: Peter King

--NY-20: John Sweeney

--NY-26: Tom Reynolds

--NY-29: Randy Kuhl

--NC-08: Robin Hayes

--NC-11: Charles Taylor

--OH-01: Steve Chabot

--OH-02: Jean Schmidt

--OH-15: Deborah Pryce

--OH-18: Joy Padgett

--PA-04: Melissa Hart

--PA-07: Curt Weldon

--PA-08: Mike Fitzpatrick

--PA-10: Don Sherwood

--RI-Sen: Lincoln Chafee

--TN-Sen: Bob Corker

--VA-Sen: George Allen

--VA-10: Frank Wolf

--WA-Sen: Mike McGavick

--WA-08: Dave Reichert

Here's the link again: http://www.mydd.com/story/2006/10/24/121757/70

Still Getting Worse

My Way News - U.S. Death Toll in Iraq Worst in a Year

Finally! Some Good News From Jersey!

New Jersey Court Backs Full Rights for Gay Couples - New York Times

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Ethics? We Don't Need No Stinking Ethics!

My Way News - Hastert Testifies in Foley Probe:
The four ethics committee members serving as investigators are not tipping their hands on the timetable or whether they plan an interim report before the Nov. 7 elections. Polls have shown the scandal has hurt Republicans, who are trying to maintain their majority in both houses.

Republicans have asked the committee to interview Democrats, to see whether they had copies of Foley's messages and strategically released them near the election. Nothing to support the accusation has turned up publicly.
The only way the committee would "tip their hand" before the elections is if they found out that Hastert was telling the truth about finding out only last month that Foley was a sexual predator. This is not going to be the case, given how many others have come forward to say it isn't so.

And it's just wishful thinking to look for Dems who knew about it any earlier than the rest of us. I can't see a Dem holding on to this information just to create an October surprise. No, this would have come out sooner if the Dems knew of it then. That way the "ethics" committee (like they'd know an ethical act if it bit them in the ass!) would have had to do something with it before the election.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

OMG! How To Make Social Security Worse!

My Way News:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush on Monday put Social Security reform on his list of 'big items' to deal with in the final two years of his presidency, possibly including indexing benefits for wealthier Americans.

Interviewed on CNBC television, Bush said: 'I want to deal with the unfunded liabilities inherent in Social Security and Medicare.'

'I believe we can do that and at the same time assure those who are on Social Security they have nothing to worry about and those who are going to pay into Social Security that you don't pay into a bankrupt system,' he added.

Bush said 'my idea' is that Americans at lower income levels would see benefit payments continue on the current basis, but 'if you're a wealthier citizen, your benefits increase at the cost of living...so everybody's benefits go up but some go up faster than others.'
Excuse me, but shouldn't the rich get less from social security, not more? Especially since they didn't give more to the system in the first place?! What kind of bizzaro economics -- oh, never mind.

Hastert Should Be Ashamed

My Way News - House GOP Officials Likely to Be at Odds:
WASHINGTON (AP) - The House Republican campaign chairman and the speaker of the House are likely to be at odds this week as they testify about the handling of ex-Rep. Mark Foley's come-ons to male pages.

Rep. Tom Reynolds, R-N.Y., who entered the House ethics committee chambers Tuesday morning, has said he warned Speaker Dennis Hastert about Foley last spring.

Hastert, expected to be questioned sometime later this week, has said he doesn't remember that conversation.
Yeah, I wouldn't "remember" it either if I were he. Then again, I wouldn't have stood idle if I'd known about Foley. Hastert must go! He should be brought up on charges for aiding and abetting a child molester, for pity sakes!

Justice Grinds On -- Even Now

Bush prosecutors targeting GOP lawmakers - Politics - MSNBC.com:
Sex, bribery, corruption and more

Experts say the spike in reported corruption cases is likely caused by one-party control of both the House and Senate. Investigations by the Republican-controlled House Ethics Committee, for example, ground to a near-standstill for more than a year because of partisan squabbles over staff and rules for its inquiries.

'It's far worse than what we've seen for decades on Capitol Hill,' said Craig Holman of the watchdog group Public Citizen. 'We've got sex, we've got bribery, we've got lobbyist corruption, earmarking, money laundering. ... The people who are in power become very comfortable with their positions, and they don't think that they can get in trouble for stepping over the line.'
Therefore, the people in power have to be taken out of power. QED!

Most Americans Agree

Poll: Most Americans say no one winning in Iraq - CNN.com:
(CNN) -- One in five Americans believes the United States is winning the war in Iraq, according to a poll. The number has dropped by half since December.

About the same number -- 18 percent -- believe insurgents are winning. But the majority, 60 percent, say no one is winning in Iraq.

The poll of 1,013 adult Americans interviewed by telephone found two-thirds -- 64 percent -- of those polled oppose the war in Iraq.
And that's why Bush doesn't get it. He can't side with the majority, because he's never been in it.

He Can Spin It All He Wants...

Trying to Contain the Iraq Disaster - New York Times:
No matter what President Bush says, the question is not whether America can win in Iraq. The only question is whether the United States can extricate itself without leaving behind an unending civil war that will spread more chaos and suffering throughout the Middle East, while spawning terrorism across the globe.

The prospect of what happens after an American pullout haunts the debate on Iraq. The administration, for all its hints about new strategies and timetables, is obviously hoping to slog along for two more years and dump the problem on Mr. Bush’s successor. This fall’s election debates have educated very few voters because neither side is prepared to be honest about the terrible consequences of military withdrawal and the very long odds against success if American troops remain.
Not using the "stay the course" phrase isn't going to make any difference for BushCo. They can't win. They can't figure out how to leave or stay, for that matter. They're screwed, and the only way out for us is to get rid of BushCo ASAP!

Go, Baby, Go!!!

Polls: Democrats closer to taking Senate control - Politics - MSNBC.com

As I've already written, it's going to be a real fine election day next month. Oh, yes.

Independents For Democrats

My Way News:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Independent voters overwhelmingly favor Democrats to take over the U.S. House of Representatives in the November 7 election and back them on major issues, a new Washington Post-ABC News poll said on Monday.

The independents surveyed said they plan to support Democratic congressional candidates over Republicans by a roughly 2-to-1 margin -- 59 percent to 31 percent -- the largest gap in the poll this year, The Washington Post said.
In other words, the swing voters are swinging to the left this time. Yeehaa!

Friday, October 20, 2006


GOP Aims to Scare Up Big Voter Turnout - washingtonpost.com:
A number of GOP operatives said privately yesterday that they now see minimum losses of perhaps 18 seats, with 25 to 30 a more likely outcome. Democrats need 15 to take control of the House.

Republicans are slightly more optimistic about the Senate but nonetheless are worried about prospects for maintaining control. At this point, they see four seats likely to tip to the Democrats: Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Montana and Ohio. Democrats need six seats to take control. That means the battle could come down to Republican-held seats in Missouri, Tennessee and Virginia, all of which are considered too close to call now. Republicans see New Jersey as their best chance to gain a seat.
Like I said before; I just love it when a plan comes together.

Bush's Last Stand

Bush Faces a Battery of Ugly Choices on War - New York Times:
One official providing advice to the president noted on Thursday that while Mr. Bush still insists his goal is an Iraq that “can govern itself, sustain itself and defend itself,” he has already dropped most references to creating a flourishing democracy in the heart of the Middle East.

Or, he could take the advice of Senator John McCain, the Arizona Republican who is expected to run to replace him in two years, who argues in favor of pouring more troops into Iraq, an option one senior administration official said recently might make sense but could “cause the bottom to fall out” of public support.

But whatever choices he makes — probably not until after the Nov. 7 election, and perhaps not until the bipartisan group issues its report — they will be forced by a series of events, in Iraq and at home, that now seems largely out of Mr. Bush’s control, in Iraq and at home.
So, let's see. No WMD. No bin Laden. No democracy. Hmmm. Why are we there again? I can't seem to remember....

Why Turning It Over Doesn't Work, Either

NPR : Shiite Militia Takes Over Iraqi City:
"The events in Amarah -- involving a dispute between the Mahdi Army and local security forces believed controlled by the rival Badr Brigade militia -- highlight the threat of wider violence between rival Shiite factions, who have entrenched themselves among the majority Shiite population and are blamed for killings of rival Sunnis."

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Just Sad

My Way News - Gay Congressman's Spouse Denied Benefits:
BOSTON (AP) - Former Rep. Gerry Studds, the first openly gay member of Congress, was married to another man in Massachusetts at the time of his death, but the federal government will not pay death benefits to his spouse.

Studds married Dean Hara in 2004 after gay marriage was legalized in Massachusetts. But Hara will not be eligible to receive any portion of Studds' estimated $114,337 annual pension because the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act bars the federal government from recognizing Studds' marriage.

Peter Graves, a spokesman for the Office of Personnel Management, which administers the congressional pension program, said same-sex partners are not recognized as spouses for any marriage benefits. He said Studds' case was the first of its kind known to the agency.

Under federal law, pensions can be denied only to lawmakers' same-sex partners and people convicted of espionage or treason, Graves said.
And of course denying benefits is what it's all about. This is the price of bigotry, our own self-respect. Civil rights should apply to all or they apply to none. This is digusting and the law can't be changed fast enough.

Come November, quickly!

Not Gonna' Tell Ya'

My Way News - Burns: Bush Has Plan to Win War in Iraq:
HELENA, Mont. (AP) - Sen. Conrad Burns says he believes President Bush has a plan to win the war in Iraq but is keeping it quiet, a statement Democrats pounced on Wednesday as reminiscent of comments made during another divisive war.

Burns, at a debate Tuesday night with Democratic challenger Jon Tester, said he believes Bush has a plan to win - but added: 'we're not going to tell you what our plan is.'
How silly is this? Reminds me of kids in the playground pretending to whisper secrets in each others ears to make other kids feel jealous or isolated. Pathetic!

Snakes And Scum!

My Way News - AG: Voter Warning Linked to GOP Campaign:
SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) - State investigators have linked a Republican campaign to letters sent to thousands of Orange County Hispanics warning them they could go to jail or be deported if they vote next month, a spokesman for the attorney general said.

'We have identified where we believe the mailing list was obtained,' said Nathan Barankin, spokesman for Attorney General Bill Lockyer.

He declined to identify the specific Republican campaign Wednesday, citing the ongoing investigation. The Los Angeles Times and The Orange County Register both reported Thursday that the investigation appeared to be focused on the campaign of Tan D. Nguyen, a Republican challenger to Democratic U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez.
Prison would be too good for the perpetrators, but then we know that. Someday, they're gonna' pay. Soon, please!

Sweeney Connected To Abramoff

My Way News - Rep. Sweeney Trip Raises Ethics Question:
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Rep. John Sweeney asked the House Ethics Committee for guidance Wednesday after a published report said he did not properly report a 2001 trip with a lobbyist now cooperating in a federal investigation of congressional corruption.

Sweeney, R-Clifton Park, insisted he did not knowingly violate any rules, and said he wants to know if he should submit new paperwork about his reimbursed travel five years ago.

'I don't believe that I'm not in compliance,' said Sweeney.

The Times Union of Albany reported Wednesday that the Northern Marianas government denied paying for the congressman's travel. Instead, the executive director of the Saipan Chamber of Commerce said her group financed the trip, the newspaper reported.

Convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff was lobbying at the time on behalf of the Northern Marianas government, which opposed labor reforms proposed for the U.S. commonwealth.
Gee. What a surprise.

Why It's Never Over 'Til It's Over

Iraq Is Big Issue for Voters Seeing the Upside of War - New York Times:
“As much as people hate to say it, when the country is at war, it makes our area more productive and creates jobs,” said Bob Wagner, 52, an engineer for a military contractor who also serves on the City Council.

This year alone, new or expanding companies have brought 3,000 jobs and $175 million in investment to the area. A 3,800-acre research park abutting the Redstone Arsenal Army base is the second largest in the country.
Not that these people are the real war profiteers. That dubious distinction goes to the contractors and CEO's of Haliburton, Bechtel, and the weapons producing companies, but this points out the problems inherent in wartime economics. That these folks don't see what they're doing as wrong or as contributing to the problem, well, that's another conversation.

Yeah!!! Now That's What I Want To Hear!

My Way News:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - With congressional elections less than three weeks away, the Republican party's approval ratings are at an all-time low, with approval of the Republican-led Congress at its lowest point in 14 years, according to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released on Wednesday.

Forty-seven percent of respondents said they were less in favor of keeping Republicans in control of Congress, compared to 14 percent who were more in favor of maintaining the current congressional makeup, according to the poll.

Only 16 percent of respondents approve of the job Congress is doing, the lowest level since 1992, NBC said.

In October 1994, when Democrats held congressional majorities, Congress had a 24 percent job approval, NBC said. Democrats lost 52 House and 8 Senate seats in the 1994 midterm elections.

NBC said the poll indicates people have been paying attention to the issues they are hearing about -- from Iraq and Bob Woodward's new book on the Bush administration's handling of the war to the unfolding scandal over former Florida Rep. Mark Foley's e-mail messages to teenage congressional aides.

The poll numbers and President George W. Bush's own job approval ratings, which have been mired in the 30 percent range, are an ominous sign for a party trying to maintain control of Congress, NBC said.
I just love it when a plan comes together.

A Dangerous New Order - New York Times

A Dangerous New Order - New York Times:
Once President Bush signed the new law on military tribunals, administration officials and Republican leaders in Congress wasted no time giving Americans a taste of the new order created by this unconstitutional act.

Within hours, Justice Department lawyers notified the federal courts that they no longer had the authority to hear pending lawsuits filed by attorneys on behalf of inmates of the penal camp at Guantánamo Bay. They cited passages in the bill that suspend the fundamental principle of habeas corpus, making Mr. Bush the first president since the Civil War to take that undemocratic step.

Not satisfied with having won the vote, Dennis Hastert, the speaker of the House, quickly issued a statement accusing Democrats who opposed the Military Commissions Act of 2006 of putting “their liberal agenda ahead of the security of America.” He said the Democrats “would gingerly pamper the terrorists who plan to destroy innocent Americans’ lives” and create “new rights for terrorists.”

This nonsense is part of the Republicans’ scare-America-first strategy for the elections. No Democrat advocated pampering terrorists — gingerly or otherwise — or giving them new rights. Democratic amendments to the bill sought to protect everyone’s right to a fair trial while providing a legal way to convict terrorists.

Americans will hear more of this ahead of the election. They also will hear Mr. Bush say that he finally has the power to bring to justice a handful of men behind the 9/11 attacks. The truth is that Mr. Bush could have done that long ago, but chose to detain them illegally at hidden C.I.A. camps to extract information. He sent them to Guantánamo only to stampede Congress into passing the new law.

The 60 or so men at Guantánamo who are now facing tribunals — out of about 450 inmates — also could have been tried years ago if Mr. Bush had not rebuffed efforts by Congress to create suitable courts. He imposed a system of kangaroo courts that was more about expanding his power than about combating terrorism.

While the Republicans pretend that this bill will make America safer, let’s be clear about its real dangers. It sets up a separate system of justice for any foreigner whom Mr. Bush chooses to designate as an “illegal enemy combatant.” It raises insurmountable obstacles for prisoners to challenge their detentions. It does not require the government to release prisoners who are not being charged, or a prisoner who is exonerated by the tribunals.

The law does not apply to American citizens, but it does apply to other legal United States residents. And it chips away at the foundations of the judicial system in ways that all Americans should find threatening. It further damages the nation’s reputation and, by repudiating key protections of the Geneva Conventions, it needlessly increases the danger to any American soldier captured in battle.

In the short run, voters should see through the fog created by the Republican campaign machine. It will be up to the courts to repair the harm this law has done to the Constitution.
I don't usually quote an entire piece or even most of one, but this one hit me hard, and I think it's important enough to bear repeating here, in case somebody missed it in the source.

And Lest Ye' Think It Might Get Better Over There

WP: Iraq militias splintering - washingtonpost.com Highlights - MSNBC.com:
Iraq militias splintering into radicalized cells

New groups appear more ruthless in use of violence

And Lest Ye' Think It Might Get Better Over There

WP: Iraq militias splintering - washingtonpost.com Highlights - MSNBC.com:
Iraq militias splintering into radicalized cells

New groups appear more ruthless in use of violence

Well, D-uh!

General Urges New Strategy for Baghdad - New York Times:
Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV, the senior spokesman for the American military in Iraq, said that the strategy of concentrating on a limited number of highly troubled neighborhoods had not slowed sectarian violence in the city as a whole.

Attacks in the Baghdad area went up 22 percent during the first three weeks of Ramadan in comparison with the three weeks before, an increase General Caldwell called “disheartening.”
Seems like no matter how many generals they "retire", the ones in charge keep coming to the same conclusion: we're losing in Iraq and Afghanistan and something has to change. Just wait until next year, boys. It's coming!


Tables Turned for the G.O.P. Over Iraq Issue - New York Times:
With three weeks until Election Day, Republican candidates are barely mentioning Iraq on the campaign trail and in their television advertisements.

Even President Bush, continuing to attack Democrats for opposing the war, has largely dropped his call of “stay the course” and replaced it with a more nuanced promise of flexibility.

It is the Democrats who have seized on Iraq as a central issue. In debates and in speeches, candidates are pummeling Republicans with accusations of a failed war.
And it's only getting worse. Now that the media is actually covering the news, I see a tsunami coming in November, and it's not for the Reps!

Bushie Actually Gets It!

My Way News:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush says he sees a possible parallel in the increase in violence in Iraq and the 1968 Tet offensive that prompted Americans to lose support for the Vietnam War.

Asked in an ABC News interview on Wednesday whether he agreed with an opinion by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman that the current violence in Iraq was 'the jihadist equivalent of the Tet offensive,' Bush said: 'He could be right.'

'There's certainly a stepped-up level of violence, and we're heading into an election,' Bush said.


"They believe that if they can create enough chaos, the American people will grow sick and tired of the Iraqi effort and will cause government to withdraw," he said.
Unfortunately, he sees all this as a reason to stay the course rather than change strategy or plan redeployment. That's the part he doesn't get, that it's not working and something (the administration) needs to change. Oh well. He'll get it eventually.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

FYI, Voters!

My Way News - Army: Troops to Stay in Iraq Until 2010:
"WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. Army has plans to keep the current level of soldiers in Iraq through 2010, the top Army officer said Wednesday, a later date than any Bush administration or Pentagon officials have mentioned thus far."

In case you were wondering about a "time table" for troop withdrawal, there only appears to be one for keeping the troops IN Iraq, not pulling them out. I guess they figure it will take the next president a minimum of two years to accomplish any pullout. Sounds about right.

'Throw The Bums Out'

My Way News:
The polls, all taken after the sex scandal surfaced, show Democratic candidates with huge leads over Republicans amid broad public unhappiness about the Iraq war, Bush's leadership and the Republican-led Congress.

'These polls seem to suggest the public has decided to just 'throw the bums out,'' said Karlyn Bowman, a public opinion analyst at the conservative American

Oh, Great.

Bush Says No Plans to Attack North Korea - New York Times:
"President Bush said that he has “no intention” of attacking North Korea, but that the United States is stepping up defense cooperation with the North’s Asian neighbors, after the regime in Pyongyang warned that it will regard increased American pressure from the United States as a “declaration of war” that will be met with “physical measures.”"

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Afghanistan On Brink Of Being Lost To Taliban

My Way News - NATO Commander Asks Pakistan for Help:
Afghanistan is suffering some of its deadliest violence since a U.S. military campaign ousted the Taliban from power in Afghanistan in late 2001 for harboring al-Qaida.

On Sunday, (NATO's commander in Afghanistan, British Gen. David) Richards told The Associated Press that Afghanistan was at a 'tipping point' and warned that if there were no visible improvements in people's lives in the next six months people would likely switch their allegiances to the Taliban.

That's Better

WP: Dems in strong position, poll shows - washingtonpost.com Highlights - MSNBC.com:
"Democrats have regained a commanding position going into the final weeks of the midterm-election campaigns, with support eroding for Republicans on Iraq, ethics and presidential leadership, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll."

Friday, October 06, 2006

Nancy Makes Plans For The Future

My Way News - Pelosi Says She Would Drain GOP 'Swamp':
WASHINGTON (AP) - Franklin Roosevelt had his first hundred days. House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi is thinking 100 hours. Time enough, she says, to begin to 'drain the swamp' after more than a decade of Republican rule.

As in the first 100 hours the House meets after Democrats - in her fondest wish - win control in the Nov. 7 midterm elections and Pelosi takes the gavel as the first Madam Speaker in history.

Day One: Put new rules in place to 'break the link between lobbyists and legislation.'

Day Two: Enact all the recommendations made by the commission that investigated the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Time remaining until 100 hours: Raise the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour, maybe in one step. Cut the interest rate on student loans in half. Allow the government to negotiate directly with the pharmaceutical companies for lower drug prices for Medicare patients.

Broaden the types of stem cell research allowed with federal funds - 'I hope with a veto-proof majority,' she added in an Associated Press interview Thursday.

All the days after that: 'Pay as you go,' meaning no increasing the deficit, whether the issue is middle class tax relief, health care or some other priority.
You go, grrrrl!


My Way News - Bush Says He Can Edit Security Reports:
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush, again defying Congress, says he has the power to edit the Homeland Security Department's reports about whether it obeys privacy rules while handling background checks, ID cards and watchlists.

In the law Bush signed Wednesday, Congress stated no one but the privacy officer could alter, delay or prohibit the mandatory annual report on Homeland Security department activities that affect privacy, including complaints.

But Bush, in a signing statement attached to the agency's 2007 spending bill, said he will interpret that section 'in a manner consistent with the President's constitutional authority to supervise the unitary executive branch.'
So, in other words, if he doesn't like what he sees in the reports, he's free to change what they say?! This goes beyond the beyond, if you know what I mean. Any such report will therefore be unreliable and inadmissible as evidence in court. What gall!

And that's not all:
Bush's signing statement Wednesday challenges several other provisions in the Homeland Security spending bill.

Bush, for example, said he'd disregard a requirement that the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency must have at least five years experience and "demonstrated ability in and knowledge of emergency management and homeland security."

His rationale was that it "rules out a large portion of those persons best qualified by experience and knowledge to fill the office."
He just wants to make sure people like Brown can be appointed again. Why limit the post to people who have been in the field for more than five years, right?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Another Nail In Hastert's Coffin?

Early Warning on Foley Cited by Former Aide - New York Times:
"WASHINGTON, Oct. 4 — A former Congressional aide said Wednesday that Speaker J. Dennis Hastert’s office knew about reports of “inappropriate behavior” by Representative Mark Foley far earlier than Mr. Hastert’s office has acknowledged."

Ah! Now That's More Like It!

My Way News - Voters Say Scandals Will Affect Votes:
With midterm elections less than five weeks away, the latest Associated Press-Ipsos poll found that about half of likely voters say recent disclosures of corruption and scandal in Congress will be very or extremely important when they cast their vote next month.

The poll of 1,501 adults, including 741 likely voters, occurred Monday through Wednesday as House Republican leaders came under increasing pressure to explain what they knew of sexually explicit messages from former Rep. Mark Foley of Florida to teenage pages.

More troubling for Republicans, the poll found that by a margin of nearly 2-to-1 likely voters says Democrats would be better at combatting political corruption than Republicans.
We can take back the House and Senate next month. It can happen. I just hope people stay awake long enough to make it happen.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Beyond The Pale!

Tennessee Guerilla Women: Fox News Portrays Foley as A Democrat:
Last night Fox News labeled Republican pedophile Mark Foley (R-FL) as a Democrat. Fox News told this lie on three separate occasions. You won't be surprised to learn that this deceitful tactic occurred on the fictional O'Reilly Factor.

Instead of 'Mark Foley (R-FL),' the disgraced child predator was pictured with 'Mark Foley (D-FL)' under his name.
Wow! So, in order to get rid of a real problem for the Repugs, they try to make people think the perpetrator is a Dem?! Fox News has taken double-think to a new high, er, low!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Quick! Put This Guy In Jail!

My Way News - Judge May Have Stymied Abramoff Probe:
WASHINGTON (AP) - The bribery investigation involving influence-peddler Jack Abramoff may have been stymied by a federal judge in Florida just as prosecutors began asking questions about the lobbyist's ties to the White House.

U.S. District Judge Paul Huck refused to delay Abramoff's prison sentence for fraud charges Thursday, rejecting a plea by the Justice Department's top corruption prosecutor, who said Abramoff was providing information about officials whose names hadn't yet surfaced in the case.

In the past month, the FBI has been pursuing leads about Abramoff's access to the White House and whether he was able to help lawmakers get Bush administration backing for their bills, according to someone familiar with the direction of the investigation who spoke on condition of anonymity because of its secrecy.
The temperature in the White House must have been getting too high for Karl and friends. When was the last time a Federal judge refused to cooperate with the FBI? Hmmmmm.

Looking Better All The Time

Polls: Dems could take Senate - Politics - MSNBC.com:
NEW YORK - Five weeks out from the midterm elections, MSNBC/McClatchy polls, conducted by Mason-Dixon in eight states, show Democrats are in striking distance of taking control of the Senate. The Democrats are very likely to gain several Senate seats with some races still rated as toss-ups.

In the Senate, Democrats need to gain six seats to regain control of the chamber. Our polls show that this is certainly possible as five races are toss-ups, one now narrowly shows a gain for Democrats -- Pennsylvania -- and the party maintains control of Sen. Maria Cantwell’s Senate seat in Washington. In addition, other Mason-Dixon polls released Sunday indicate trouble for Republicans in three other GOP-held seats.
I'm beginning to feel that, like the situation in Iraq, the situation here for the Republicans is actually much worse than we are being led to believe. If that's so, this November will be a real turning point for the country. I sure hope so!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Rummy Hindered, Rice Blew Off Hunt For Bin Laden Pre-9/11

Book Says Bush Ignored Urgent Warning on Iraq - New York Times:
The 537-page book describes tensions among senior officials from the very beginning of the administration. Mr. Woodward writes that in the weeks before the Sept. 11 attacks, Mr. Tenet believed that Mr. Rumsfeld was impeding the effort to develop a coherent strategy to capture or kill Osama bin Laden. Mr. Rumsfeld questioned the electronic signals from terrorism suspects that the National Security Agency had been intercepting, wondering whether they might be part of an elaborate deception plan by Al Qaeda.

On July 10, 2001, the book says, Mr. Tenet and his counterterrorism chief, J. Cofer Black, met with Ms. Rice at the White House to impress upon her the seriousness of the intelligence the agency was collecting about an impending attack. But both men came away from the meeting feeling that Ms. Rice had not taken the warnings seriously.
What? They lied to us? Shock and awe!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Hate You Both, Now Go Away!

My Way News - Poll: Iraqis Back Attacks on U.S. Troops:
WASHINGTON (AP) - About six in 10 Iraqis say they approve of attacks on U.S.-led forces, and slightly more than that want their government to ask U.S. troops to leave within a year, according to a poll in that country.

The Iraqis also have negative views of Osama bin Laden, according to the early September poll of 1,150.
Yep, we really know how to please, don't we? Guess the Iraqis still aren't ready to show their appreciation, even after Georgie-porgie threw a hissy fit at the ingrates. Well!

Worse Than We're Told

Terror Watch: How Bush Spun Terror Intel - Newsweek Terror Watch - MSNBC.com

Not really surprised, are you? The Bushies are fighting for their lives and futures, so what's a little double-speak when the whole chimichanga is in the frier?

Not only are things worse in Iraq and elsewhere than the administration wants us to think, they are getting worse by the day! The number of terrorists worldwide is increasing, not decreasing, and our invasion of Iraq has stoked the fires. It's the worst Catch-22 we've ever been involved with, and it's not going to go away.

And on top of all this, people think that because gas prices are falling (funny how they always do before elections), that the Bushies might not be so bad? If the Republicans keep control of even one of the houses of Congress, this fucking country of idiots will only be getting what it deserves and those of us who vote for the Dems should head for Canada before it's too late!

Worse Than We're Told

Terror Watch: How Bush Spun Terror Intel - Newsweek Terror Watch - MSNBC.com

Not really surprised, are you? The Bushies are fighting for their lives and futures, so what's a little double-speak when the whole chimichanga is in the frier?

Not only are things worse in Iraq and elsewhere than the administration wants us to think, they are getting worse by the day! The number of terrorists worldwide is increasing, not decreasing, and our invasion of Iraq has stoked the fires. It's the worst Catch-22 we've ever been involved with, and it's not going to go away.

And on top of all this, people think that because gas prices are falling (funny how they always do before elections), that the Bushies might not be so bad? If the Republicans keep control of even one of the houses of Congress, this fucking country of idiots will only be getting what it deserves and those of us who vote for the Dems should head for Canada before it's too late!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Propaganda R Us

My Way News - Firm That Paid Iraq Papers Gets New Deal:
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - A public relations company that participated in a controversial U.S. military program that paid Iraqi newspapers for stories favorable to coalition forces has been awarded another multimillion-dollar media contract with American forces in Iraq.

Washington-based Lincoln Group won a two-year contract to monitor a number of English and Arabic media outlets and produce public relations-type products like talking points or speeches for U.S. forces in Iraq, officials said Tuesday.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

And He Blew Off The Orals, Too

My Way News - Professor Says Senator Used Racial Slur:
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A noted political scientist joined one of Sen. George Allen's former college football teammates in claiming the senator used a racial slur to refer to blacks in the early 1970s, a claim Allen dismisses as 'ludicrously false.'

Larry J. Sabato, one of Virginia's most-quoted political science professors and a classmate of Allen's in the early 1970s, said in a televised interview Monday that Allen used the epithet.

Shouldn't Rummy Be Fired By Now?

My Way News - Retired Officers Criticize Rumsfeld:
But Batiste, Eaton and retired Col. Thomas X. Hammes were unsparing in remarks that suggested deep anger at the way the military had been treated. All three served in Iraq, and Batiste also was senior military assistant to then-Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz.

Batiste, who commanded the Army's 1st Infantry Division in Iraq, also blamed Congress for failing to ask 'the tough questions.'

He said Rumsfeld at one point threatened to fire the next person who mentioned the need for a postwar plan in Iraq.
If not in jail.

Oh, Really?

Rice Disputes Clinton Claims

First she says Clinton didn't leave a "comprehensive strategy" for fighting Al Qaeda, then she says there were "big pieces" missing. Missing from what? The comprehensive strategy for fighting Al Qaeda? Hmmmm. And didn't she say to a Congressional panel that BushCo had no clue about a threat from Al Qaeda on U.S. soil, but she did know the title of the document "Al Qaeda Determined To Strike In U.S.?" Hmmmmm.

More Proof We're Re-Losing Afghanistan

Gunmen Kill Afghan Official Who Backed Women’s Rights - New York Times:
"KANDAHAR, Afghanistan, Sept. 25 — A senior Afghan official specializing in women’s rights was gunned down here on her way to work on Monday morning by suspected Taliban gunmen. It was the highest-level assassination of a woman in Afghanistan in the five years since the Taliban were ousted from power."

Monday, September 25, 2006

Spy Agencies Say Iraq War Worsens Terrorism Threat - New York Times

Spy Agencies Say Iraq War Worsens Terrorism Threat - New York Times:
The intelligence estimate, completed in April, is the first formal appraisal of global terrorism by United States intelligence agencies since the Iraq war began, and represents a consensus view of the 16 disparate spy services inside government. Titled “Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States,’’ it asserts that Islamic radicalism, rather than being in retreat, has metastasized and spread across the globe.

An opening section of the report, “Indicators of the Spread of the Global Jihadist Movement,” cites the Iraq war as a reason for the diffusion of jihad ideology.

The report “says that the Iraq war has made the overall terrorism problem worse,” said one American intelligence official.
There's really nothing more to add to this. We are NOT safer, as BushCo would have us believe. In fact, BushCo is responsible for making us less secure by pushing for a worse-than-useless war in Iraq!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Firedoglake Nails It Again

Firedoglake - Firedoglake weblog:
According to GOP-pushed media logic, someone who steals three of your hubcaps, strips your car down of all the valuable parts, take the license plate and steals your registration should not be charged for all of those crimes because someone else took the first hubcap a little earlier in the day.

Um…yeah. Try again. You lie repeatedly to a federal investigator, you pay the penalty, and no amount of after-the-fact ass-covering obfuscation gets around the fact that Libby lied, repeatedly. If he didn’t need to do so because he and those around him did nothing wrong, then why did he lie on multiple occasions? And why did a federal grand jury find it troubling enough to indict him on five felony counts for doing so?

It seems to me that someone is pushing awfully hard to keep Dick Cheney and Judy Miller and all the rest of Scooter’s peeps from having to testify publicly under oath.

Torture in Iraq worse now than before? - Conflict in Iraq - MSNBC.com

Torture in Iraq worse now than before? - Conflict in Iraq - MSNBC.com:
"Reports from Iraq indicate that torture “is totally out of hand,” he said. “The situation is so bad many people say it is worse than it has been in the times of Saddam Hussein.”"

Way to go, BushCo! Now go away, please!

And Now For The Good News...

My Way News:
MONROE CITY, Indiana (Reuters) - In a dozen districts across the U.S. heartland, voter unhappiness has imperiled Republicans, setting the stage for what could be the biggest anti-incumbent midterm election since 1994.

Pat Wilkerson says U.S. troops and veterans are her first priority, believes family values are important and voted Republican in 2004. But in November she'll switch parties -- though not because Democrats have won her over.

'When I vote now, it's not who I'm voting for, it's who I'm voting against,' said the 59-year-old administrator, adding she is fed up with the war in Iraq and wants troops home.

'I think a lot of Republicans who are in office are at risk,' Wilkerson said as she watched sweating politicians work the crowd at a town festival in Monroe City in southwest Indiana.

Polls show U.S. voters are overwhelmingly unhappy with the direction of the country.
That's more like it. Keep thinking, people!


Claim 9/11 Terrorists Were Identified Is Rejected - New York Times

Thursday, September 21, 2006

No Kidding? Chapter 4

U.N. Finds Baghdad Toll Far Higher Than Cited - New York Times:
"BAGHDAD, Sept. 20 — A United Nations report released Wednesday says that 5,106 people in Baghdad died violent deaths during July and August, a number far higher than reports that have relied on figures from the city’s morgue."

I'm shocked, shocked to find that we're being lied to about the state of conditions in Iraq!

No Kidding? Chapter 3

Keep Away the Vote - New York Times:
"One of the cornerstones of the Republican Party’s strategy for winning elections these days is voter suppression, intentionally putting up barriers between eligible voters and the ballot box. The House of Representatives took a shameful step in this direction yesterday, voting largely along party lines for onerous new voter ID requirements. Laws of this kind are unconstitutional, as an array of courts have already held, and profoundly undemocratic. The Senate should not go along with this cynical, un-American electoral strategy."

No Kidding? Chapter 2

British Science Group Says Exxon Misrepresents Climate Issues - New York Times:
"LONDON, Sept. 20 — A British scientific group, the Royal Society, contends that Exxon Mobil is spreading “inaccurate and misleading” information about climate change and is financing groups that misinform the public on the issue."

No Kidding? Chapter 1

My Way News:
GENEVA (Reuters) - United Nations human rights investigators said on Thursday that legislation proposed by U.S. President George W. Bush for tough interrogations of foreign terrorism suspects would breach the Geneva Conventions.

In a joint statement to the U.N. Human Rights Council, meeting in Geneva, the five independent envoys also said that Washington's recent admission of secret detention centres abroad pointed to 'very serious human rights violations in relation to the hunt for alleged terrorists.'
This shouldn't be news. This should have been obvious. Why is Bush still in the White House?!

Who Ya' Gonna' Believe?

My Way News:
Former members of the data-mining unit code-named Able Danger and their Republican champion in Congress, Rep. Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania, have maintained for over a year that Able Danger uncovered intelligence on September 11 mastermind Mohamed Atta and others in 2000 that should have been a tip-off of the attacks.

The September 11, 2001 attacks killed nearly 3,000 people in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania and prompted the Bush administration's war on terrorism.

A spokesman for Weldon's office acknowledged that a final draft of the report was 'imminent' but said he could not discuss the contents of the document.

Officials from Gimble's office were expected to brief Weldon about their findings on Thursday and then release the report on the Defense Department web site www.defenselink.mil, officials said.

Two officials familiar with the contents of the report said it substantially undermines claims put forward by Weldon and former Able Danger members.

Weldon and former unit members including former Defense Intelligence Agency liaison officer Lt. Col Anthony Shaffer maintain that Able Danger identified Atta and three other hijackers as al Qaeda members in early 2000. But he said Pentagon lawyers prevented the team from warning the FBI.

Officials said the inspector general specifically investigated charges that the Defense Intelligence Agency retaliated against Shaffer for his public remarks about the Able Danger findings.

The inspector general began reviewing the case of Able Danger after Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld received a written request on October 20, 2005, from Rep. Duncan Hunter of California, the Republican chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Armed Services.

Others associated with Able Danger, including the team's former leader, Navy Capt. Scott Phillpott, have made statements similar to Shaffer's.

But an earlier exhaustive Pentagon search of tens of thousands of documents and electronic files related to the operation failed to corroborate the claims.

Officials with House and Senate intelligence oversight committees have also said there is little substantiating evidence.
Let's see now: the people who were there, who were working on the project, who have nothing to gain at this point by saying so; or the people who stand to lose the most if the reports of prior knowledge are true? Gee! Let me think about it...hmmmmmm.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

We May Have Dodged The Bullet This Year, But...

Dozens killed in South Asia storms - Weather - MSNBC.com:
HYDERABAD, India - Storms caused by a weather depression in the Bay of Bengal have killed more than 60 people in eastern India and Bangladesh and left hundreds of fishermen missing at sea, officials said on Wednesday.

Thousands of people have been left homeless.
South Asia is getting the brunt of the bad weather this season for this year. The excess energy being generated by global warming has to work itself out somehow, somewhere. We've been lucky (so far) this year.

Whew! At Least That's One Less Worry...

Good news! Black hole won't destroy Earth - Space.com - MSNBC.com

Actually, they don't know this for sure. The article is referring to the nano-blackholes that the new accelerator at CERN will (may?) produce when it comes on-line next year. Still, it's nice to know somebody did the math on this before turning on the switch.

Double Uh-Oh!

Study: Greenland ice sheet melting faster - World Environment - MSNBC.com:
Greenland’s massive ice sheet is melting much more quickly than scientists had estimated as recently as last year, according to research published on Wednesday.

An analysis of satellite observations shows the rate of ice loss increased by 2.5 times between the periods April 2002 to April 2004 and May 2004 to April 2006, most of it in southern Greenland.

The researchers calculated that Greenland lost roughly 164 cubic miles of ice from April 2004 to April 2006 — more than the volume of water in Lake Erie.
Looks like the wife and I will be moving to the seashore a little earlier than expected -- without leaving our current home!


Satellite views show big gaps in Arctic ice - World Environment - MSNBC.com:
"PARIS - A warm summer and late storms in the past few months briefly opened a channel in the Arctic ice big enough to allow a ship to sail to the North Pole, the European Space Agency said Wednesday."

Monday, September 18, 2006

Reasons We're Losing # 654

My Way News - U.S. War Prisons Legal Vacuum for 14,000:
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - In the few short years since the first shackled Afghan shuffled off to Guantanamo, the U.S. military has created a global network of overseas prisons, its islands of high security keeping 14,000 detainees beyond the reach of established law.

Disclosures of torture and long-term arbitrary detentions have won rebuke from leading voices including the U.N. secretary-general and the U.S. Supreme Court. But the bitterest words come from inside the system, the size of several major U.S. penitentiaries.

'It was hard to believe I'd get out,' Baghdad shopkeeper Amjad Qassim al-Aliyawi told The Associated Press after his release - without charge - last month. 'I lived with the Americans for one year and eight months as if I was living in hell.'
And we're supposed to be "spreading democracy?" Showing other countries how to act and live? Yeah, right.

Way To Go, Pope

My Way News - Iraq al-Qaida Says Pope, West Are Doomed

Reactors Not Exactly Panacea

Reactors Prone to Long Closings, Study Finds - New York Times:
The heart of the problem, Mr. Lochbaum said, is that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is not good at assessing the ability of a reactor staff to keep the plant in good physical condition and maintain training and other requirements. As a result, he said, plants operate until serious problems accumulate and force a shutdown.

“This is the wrong way to do business, from a safety standpoint and an economic standpoint,” he said in a telephone interview.

Mr. Fertell, of the industry trade group, agreed.

The only reactor currently in an extended shutdown is the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Browns Ferry Unit 1, in Alabama. It last ran in 1985. The shutdown of more than a year that ended most recently was at Davis-Besse, near Toledo, Ohio, where workers found that an acid used in the plant, boron, had corroded a 70-pound chunk of steel in the reactor’s vessel head, leaving only a half-inch stainless steel liner.

Early in the era of commercial nuclear power, analysts theorized that shutdowns were what was known in the industry as “teething problems” and that with experience, reactors would run more smoothly. But most of the shutdowns came after the reactors were 10 years old. The Davis-Besse plant was more than 23 years old when it was closed in 2002. It was closed for more than two years. Besides the hole in the reactor head, engineers later found that crucial pumps that used water for lubrication were prone to break down because of debris in the water. Discovery of decades-old design problems is common during lengthy shutdowns.
It comes down to priorities, and this "govoration" doesn't have them in the proper order to achieve the efficiency and effectiveness we need. Down with the plutocracy!

Virginia Senate Race Heats Up

A Democrat Rises in Virginia - New York Times

Webb can win it!

Why BushCo And The Current System In Washington Can't Make Us Safer

Bid to Stockpile Bioterror Drugs Stymied by Setbacks - New York Times:
“The inept implementation of the program has led the best brains and the best scientists to give up, to look elsewhere or devote their resources to medical initiatives that are not focused on biodefense,” said Michael Greenberger, director of the Center for Health and Homeland Security at the University of Maryland.

Even some former department officials who helped create BioShield are dismayed.

“I find this all rather repugnant,” said D. A. Henderson, a former top bioterrorism official. “You have people here who, in the face of a problem of serious import, are using every tactic they can to line their own pockets.”
Unless the cycle of lobby/legislate/litigate is broken, Big Government and Big Business will continue to take the money and run, at the expense of everything America needs and pretends to be. The current system only works for the rich and greedy and does nothing to improve the general welfare and safety. It's broke, and nobody is fixing it!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Well This Sucks

My Way News - GOP Gains Ground in Battle for Congress:
The AP-Ipsos poll asked Americans if the election for the House were held today, would they vote for the Democratic or Republican candidate in their district.

Democrats had a 14-point edge among likely voters, 53 percent to 39 percent. That's narrower than last month but still a wide gap. Since August, the GOP has attracted more married men, young people and those who live in the Northeast.

Republicans also have drawn even on the question of who would best protect the country, with 43 percent of likely voters siding with Democrats and 41 percent choosing Republicans, numbers within the poll's margin of error.

Sentiment tilted more toward Democrats in August but Republicans attracted more men, young people, minorities, and people from the Northeast and Midwest.
It ain't over 'til it's over, of course, and there's still time for the Dems to regain momentum. Granted, it's an uphill battle for them since they don't have the general media backing them up or most of big business funding them, but it's the Dems' to lose. Let's hope they can come back swinging through next month (or that the wingnuts fuck up again, probably a more likely scenario).

And Another 10,000 Jobs Dissolve

My Way News - Ford Slashes 10,000 More Jobs, 2 Plants

This is in addition to the 60,000 all ready scheduled to be cut! And again, we're talking well-paying jobs. Ford isn't Walmart!

NYT Agrees With Coz -- Again

Stampeding Congress - New York Times:
The idea that the nation’s chief executive is pressing so hard to undermine basic standards of justice is shocking. And any argument that these extreme methods would be used only against the most dangerous of international terrorists has been destroyed by the handling of hundreds of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, many of whom appear to have been scooped up in Afghanistan years ago with little attempt to verify any connection to terrorism, and now are in danger of lingering behind bars forever without a day in court.

To lend his lobbying an utterly false sense of urgency, President Bush announced last week that he had taken 14 dangerous terrorists from the secret Central Intelligence Agency prisons where he had been holding them for years and sent them to Guantánamo to stand trial. But none of the prisoners is going anywhere, and the current high-pressure timetable is related only to the election calendar.

Ney Pleads Guilty!

Ohio Congressman Is Said to Agree to Plead Guilty - New York Times:
"WASHINGTON, Sept. 14 — Representative Bob Ney, Republican of Ohio, has agreed to plead guilty to federal criminal charges related to his dealings with the corrupt lobbyist Jack Abramoff, lawyers and others with knowledge of the investigation said Thursday."

Who's next?

Pataki Stacks The Deck With "Midnight" Appointments

Appointments by Pataki Leave a Lasting Stamp - New York Times

Don't You Love It?

An Unexpected Collision Over Detainees - New York Times:
"Instead of drawing contrasts with Democrats, the president’s call for creating military tribunals to try terror suspects — a key substantive and political component of his fall agenda — has erupted into a remarkably intense clash pitting some of the best-known warriors in the Republican Party against Mr. Bush and the Congressional leadership."

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Same Old Same Old

U.N. Inspectors Dispute Iran Report By House Panel - washingtonpost.com:
"U.N. inspectors investigating Iran's nuclear program angrily complained to the Bush administration and to a Republican congressman yesterday about a recent House committee report on Iran's capabilities, calling parts of the document 'outrageous and dishonest' and offering evidence to refute its central claims."

First, BushCo warns Intelligence that they're not being aggressive enough in their reporting on Iran. Then this alarmist report comes out of Congress, halving the time to Iran's first nuke. Now the U.N. pipes up that it's all a crock of horse manure. It's 2001 all over again!

Positively Negative

On Another Grim Day, Bodies Lie Everywhere in Baghdad - New York Times:
"BAGHDAD, Sept. 13 — Nearly 90 Iraqis were killed or found dead here on Tuesday and Wednesday, an Interior Ministry official said, making for a particularly grim day even amid the intense sectarian violence."

It's just not getting better, is it? GET OUT!

It Ain't Over Yet

Novak Accuses Plame Source Of Distortion - washingtonpost.com:
Columnist Robert D. Novak, who first revealed Valerie Plame's employment by the CIA and touched off a lengthy federal leak investigation, is accusing his primary source of misrepresenting their conversation to make the source's role in the disclosure seem more casual than it was.

In an unusual column that appears today, Novak says his initial source, former deputy secretary of state Richard L. Armitage, was more sure of Plame's ties to the CIA than the source has indicated. Novak adds that Armitage linked her directly to her husband's CIA-sponsored trip to Niger and suggested the disclosure would be a good item for Novak's column.
Okay, Fitz. Let's see the magic....

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Keith Olbermann Hits A Homerun

YouTube - Keith Olbermann's Special Comment on Bush 9/11/06

Now if only someone like Keith would run for president...!

Oh! Please!

Bush says U.S. seeing religious reawakening | Top News | Reuters.comActually, he may have something here. I could see some similarities with Spain during the inquisition.... Probably not what he was going for.

Quick! Make It Legal Before They Arrest Us!

Senate panel approves Bush-backed spying bill | Top News | Reuters.com:
"On a party-line vote of 10-8, the panel approved the bill and sent it to the full Senate for an uncertain fate in advance of the hotly contested November 7 congressional elections."

This bill only underlines the fact that the administration and its allies in Congress have been breaking the law and should be brought to justice. Kill this bill and the one in the house so the lawbreakers can be punished and justice be done for the American people!

Getting Better All The Time

ABC News: New Flares for GOP in 2006 Election Views:
Aug. 7, 2006 — There are new warning flares for Republicans in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll: Fifty-three percent of Americans call themselves 'anti-incumbent,' and the fewest since 1994 approve of their own representative's performance in Washington.

Anti-incumbency is as high now as it was in the summer of 1994, before the last election in which control of Congress changed hands. And it peaks not just among Democrats and liberals but among traditional swing voters as well. Sixty-one percent of Independents, for example, say they're anti-incumbent this year.

The danger for Republicans is underscored by their deficit in voter preference. Fifty-two percent of registered voters say if the election were held today they'd support the Democrat in their congressional district, 39 percent the Republican — a number that has held steady for nine months running. Among anti-incumbent voters, nearly two-thirds support Democrats for the House.
When you factor in the bias toward the right and big business that has lately infected the general media, especially the mouse, this is fantastic news!


President Bush’s Reality - New York Times:
Iraq had nothing to do with the war on terror until the Bush administration decided to invade it. The president now admits that Saddam Hussein was not responsible for 9/11 (although he claimed last night that the invasion was necessary because Iraq posed a “risk”). But he has failed to offer the country a new, realistic reason for being there.

Establishing democracy at the heart of the Middle East no longer qualifies, desirable as that would be. Where Mr. Bush sees an infant secular Iraqi government, most of the world sees a collection of ethnic and religious factional leaders, armed with private militias, presiding over growing strife between Shiites and Sunnis. Warning that American withdrawal would “embolden” the enemy is far from an argument as long as there is constant evidence that American presence is creating a fearful backlash throughout the Muslim world that empowers the fanatics far more than it frightens them.

Fending off the chaos that would almost certainly come with civil war would be a reason to stay the course, although it does not inspire the full-throated rhetoric about freedom that Mr. Bush offered last night. But the nation needs to hear a workable plan to stabilize a fractured, disintegrating country and end the violence. If such a strategy exists, it seems unlikely that Mr. Bush could see it through the filter of his fantasies.
Fantasy is too gentle a term. Delusion would be more appropriate. But let's stay focused on the 400 pound gorilla: the price of oil (though going down prior to the elections, as usual) has risen dramatically since the invasion of Iraq. BushCo really has accomplished its mission. It's just not what most of us thought it was.

Well, Well

In Unpredictable District, Some Say Bush Is Politicizing Terrorism - New York Times:
“I do have a bit of mistrust,” said Mr. McBride, who said that he twice voted for Mr. Bush but that he is now disappointed — a sentiment he said is shared by many in his Bible study group. “The whole thing about W.M.D. and that Iraq is somehow tied to 9/11, I just don’t believe it.”

Things are looking up, even in the Bible Belt. They are finally waking up to the emperor's new clothes being a might breezy. Could Rover's latest strategy be backfiring? Stay tuned.

Strange Bedfellows?

Iraqi Leader Asks Iran for Help With Security - New York Times:
BAGHDAD, Iraq, Sept. 12 — In his first state visit to Iran, Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki today discussed the security situation in Iraq with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran and asked for Mr. Ahmadinejad’s support in quelling the violence that threatens to fracture this country.

“We had a good discussion with Mr. Ahmadinejad,” Mr. Maliki said at a news conference in Tehran, the Iranian capital, after the two met. “Even in security issues, there is no barrier in the way of cooperation.”

Mr. Ahmadinejad said that “Iran will give its assistance to establish complete security in Iraq because Iraq’s security is Iran’s security.”
Wonder if they asked BushCo for permission first. Naaahhhh!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Teatering Ever Closer To The Brink Of Chaos

In Iraq, Tension Over Charter - New York Times:
"BAGHDAD, Sept. 10 — An agreement struck 11 months ago by Shiite and Kurdish leaders to win Sunni Arab support for a new constitution is fraying, causing concern among some political leaders that it could jeopardize Iraq’s fragile governing coalition."I'm not surprised the Sunni's don't like what the Shiites want to do (breaking up into "independent" states that control their own destiny. The Sunni territories in the center of Iraq don't have vast reserves of oil beneath them like the rest of the country.

In Case You Missed It

My Way News - Senate Finds No al-Qaida-Saddam Link:
"WASHINGTON (AP) - Saddam Hussein rejected overtures from al-Qaida and believed Islamic extremists were a threat to his regime, a reverse portrait of an Iraq allied with Osama bin Laden painted by the Bush White House, a Senate panel has found."

He lied. People died. He should be tried.

Can't Pick Up The Trail?

WP: Bin Laden trail goes ‘stone cold’ - washingtonpost.com Highlights - MSNBC.com:
It has been so long since there has been anything like a real close call that some operatives have given bin Laden a nickname: 'Elvis,' for all the wishful-thinking sightings that have substituted for anything real.

After playing down bin Laden's importance and barely mentioning him for several years, Bush last week repeatedly invoked his name and quoted from his writings and speeches to underscore what Bush said is the continuing threat of terrorism.
Here's a tip: somewhere near the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan, probably on the Pakistan side.


Worried CIA Officers Buy Legal Insurance:
CIA counterterrorism officers have signed up in growing numbers for a government-reimbursed, private insurance plan that would pay their civil judgments and legal expenses if they are sued or charged with criminal wrongdoing, according to current and former intelligence officials and others with knowledge of the program.

The new enrollments reflect heightened anxiety at the CIA that officers may be vulnerable to accusations they were involved in abuse, torture, human rights violations and other misconduct, including wrongdoing related to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. They worry that they will not have Justice Department representation in court or congressional inquiries, the officials said.
BushCo tried to push through the bills that would get them off the hook, but they got derailed, so now the taxpayers will end up paying for both sides of their trials? That sucks!

Wil The Arrest Come Before The Election?

State: Feds interview Harris' ex-campaign manager:
The Justice and Defense departments are examining Harris' dealings with Mitchell Wade, who made illegal campaign contributions to Harris and later asked her to help secure $10-million in federal money for a company project.

They have subpoenaed records from Harris' campaign office and have interviewed at least three former staffers: senior campaign consultant Ed Rollins, congressional chief of staff Fred Asbell and Mona Tate Yost, a congressional aide who later went to work for Wade.
Probably not, but we can hope. This woman deserves a special circle of hell to be named for her and anyone else who warps the fabric of democracy for personal or political gain. I hope she gets what she deserves. Soon!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

TPM Points Out The Problem In Afghanistan

Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall September 7, 2006 03:19 PM:
Asia Times: 'With a truce between the Pakistani Taliban and Islamabad now in place, the Pakistani government is in effect reverting to its pre-September 11, 2001, position in which it closed its eyes to militant groups allied with al-Qaeda and clearly sided with the Taliban in Afghanistan. While the truce has generated much attention, a more significant development is an underhand deal between pro-al-Qaeda elements and Pakistan in which key al-Qaeda figures will either not be arrested or those already in custody will be set free.'

Fighting them in Iraq because we're afraid to fight them in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Basically, we're losing this war because we "moved on" too soon. Now our "friends" are stabbing us in the back and returning to old behaviors. They figure we're too distracted with the quagmire in Iraq to do much about it. They may be right.


My Way News - NATO Wants Reinforcements in Afghanistan:
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - NATO's top commander on Thursday urged allied nations to send reinforcements to southern Afghanistan, where resurgent Taliban militants are inflicting heavy casualties on foreign forces and have captured a remote town for the second time in two months.

Gen. James L. Jones said after a trip to Afghanistan that the coming weeks could be decisive for thousands of troops fighting in the south of the country amid the worst upsurge in violence since the hard-line Taliban regime's ouster in late 2001.
So that "agreement" between Islamabad and the Taliban didn't exactly end the violence in Afghanistan, eh?

Even The Generals Protest

Bush terror proposal met with backlash - U.S. Security - MSNBC.com:
"WASHINGTON - The Pentagon’s top uniformed lawyers took issue Thursday with a key part of a White House plan to prosecute terrorism detainees, telling Congress that limiting the suspects’ access to evidence could violate treaty obligations."

Is it just me, or is BushCo's entire world crashing down?

Biden Trash Talks The pRez

Biden Assails Bush's Security Strategy - Politics - MSNBC.com:
"WASHINGTON - Democratic Sen. Joe Biden, a White House hopeful, criticized the Bush administration's foreign policy and national security strategy Thursday as 'a dangerous combination of ideology and some incompetence.'"

And Now For Some Good News

Southern women turning from GOP - Politics - MSNBC.com:
MACON, Ga. - President Bush's once-solid relationship with Southern women is on the rocks.

'I think history will show him to be the worst president since Ulysses S. Grant,' said Barbara Knight, a self-described Republican since birth and the mother of three. 'He's been an embarrassment.'
God bless 'em!

But The Saudis Are Our Friends

My Way News - Saudis Consider Banning Women From Mecca:
"JIDDAH, Saudi Arabia (AP) - Officials are considering an unprecedented proposal to ban women from performing the five Muslim prayers in the immediate vicinity of Islam's most sacred shrine in Mecca. Some say women are already being kept away."

Maybe they didn't get the memo. Our friends are supposed to support civil rights and human freedoms, not limit them. Oops.

Things Are Not Getting Better In Iraq

My Way News - Iraq Deaths Multiply in New August Count:
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Updated figures from Iraq's Health Ministry show there was no significant decline in violent deaths in Baghdad last month, but the U.S. military insisted Thursday the murder rate in the capital had fallen by 52 percent.

Baghdad recorded more than 1,500 violent deaths in August, according to final figures released this week by the Health Ministry. The final count was roughly the same as the figure the ministry released for July, before the U.S.-led security crackdown began in the Baghdad area.

The final figure also was nearly three times the preliminary count released by the same ministry last week.

If accurate, the final figures cast doubt on U.S. and Iraqi claims of a significant reduction in the level of violence here since the crackdown was launched Aug. 7.

No Honor Among Thieves

My Way News - Pollster Pleads Guilty to Fraud:
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) - The owner of DataUSA Inc., a company that conducted political polls for the campaigns of President Bush, Sen. Joe Lieberman and other candidates, pleaded guilty to fraud for making up survey and poll results.


Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward Chang said on several occasions when the company was running up against a deadline to complete a job, results were falsified. Sometimes, the respondent's gender or political affiliation were changed to meet a quota, other times all survey answers were fabricated.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

And If The Bird Flu Doesn't Get You...

Drug-Resistant TB in South Africa Draws Attention From U.N. - New York Times

This Is Progress?

My Way News:
"BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq's leaders have just months to mend their differences or see their country collapse, the speaker of parliament told wrangling deputies on Wednesday after a car bomb caused dozens of casualties in the morning rush hour."Months, of course, means after the November elections here. Then the shit can hit the fan since the Reps won't be around to pick up the pieces. Poor Iraqis. At least they knew what hit them.


My Way News:
MIAMI (Reuters) - Katherine Harris cinched the Republican party's U.S. Senate nomination in Florida on Tuesday, despite the best efforts of party heavyweights who begged the former election official not to run.

The U.S. congresswoman won about 50 percent of the vote in Tuesday's primary election and will face a tough battle against incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in the November general election.

She trails Nelson by more than 30 points in voter opinion polls, lags far behind him in fund-raising and came under scrutiny after receiving illegal campaign contributions from a defense contractor who admitted bribing another congressional representative.
I just love it when a plan comes together.

Oops! There Goes Another 10,500 Well-paying Jobs

Intel to Cut Work Force by 10,500 - New York Times

Screwed Much?

Leaders of Pakistan and Afghanistan Hold Talks - New York Times:
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- Key U.S. allies Afghanistan and Pakistan must join forces to fight the ''common enemy'' of terrorism and extremism being fanned by al-Qaida and Taliban militants, Pakistan's president said Wednesday.

But visiting President Gen. Pervez Musharraf also said Pakistan would never allow U.S.-led coalition forces -- currently hunting al-Qaida and Taliban fighters on the Afghan side of the border -- into tribal areas on its side.
So here we get more of the details about the "deal" the Pakistan government made with the tribal leaders and Taliban in the North Waziristan region. Looks more like they agreed to protect the militants from outside invasion (i.e., from U.S. and allied forces Afghanistan) in exchange for a promise (crossed fingers!) from them not to wreak havoc in Afghanistan. I think Karzai and friends just got the screw.

Any Your Little Dog, Too!

7 British Officials Resign in Revolt Over Blair - New York Times:
"LONDON, Sept. 6 — Prime Minister Tony Blair sought to face down a revolt within his Labor party today as seven junior aides resigned to protest his refusal to set a date to leave office."

Meanwhile, In That Other Travesty Of Inhumanity...

WP: Attacks increase in Darfur - washingtonpost.com Highlights - MSNBC.com

Will the U.S. and developed nations ever deal responsibly with Africa? Shame! Shame!

Hey, But I Thought...!!

My Way News:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush acknowledged on Wednesday the CIA has run a secret detention program for terrorism suspects overseas and said 14 of those held have been transferred to the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay.
Remember when Condi said we didn't do torture or have secret prisons overseas? Maybe her bosses kept her out of the loop.
Bush said his bill would insist that terrorism suspects cannot use Geneva Convention protections to file lawsuits against U.S. personnel in U.S. courts.

Bush said passing the legislation "ought to be the top priority" of Congress's abbreviated election-year schedule in coming weeks.
"Otherwise," he went on to say, "we'll all get our asses sued off or even wind up in jail!"

Hey! But I Thought...!

My Way News - Army Bans Some Interrogation Techniques:
"WASHINGTON (AP) - A new Army manual bans torture and degrading treatment of prisoners, for the first time specifically mentioning forced nakedness, hooding and other procedures that have become infamous during the five-year-old war on terror."

Remember when Condi said, "The United States does not do torture?" Maybe her bosses forgot to tell her.

I Had A Feeling

Talibanistan: The Establishment of the Islamic Emirate of Waziristan (The Fourth Rail):
"Pakistan's 'truce with the Taliban is an abject surrender, and al-Qaeda has an untouchable base of operations in Western Pakistan which will only expand if not checked"It seems the Pakistanis have a lot to learn about control of information, as well. I'd recommend a chat with Bush and Cheney, et al, but they're having some problems of their own keeping the news of their horrendous failures out of the public's attention.

Pakistan Also Losing War

Pakistan Lets Tribal Chiefs Keep Control Along Border - New York Times:
The agreement, reached a day before a visit by President Pervez Musharraf to Afghanistan, will be presented by the government as proof of Pakistan’s effort to deal with militancy and terrorism. Relations with President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan have been strained this year as the insurgency in southern and eastern Afghanistan has swelled.

The military moved into the tribal areas three years ago in an effort to curb militants who were using the territory as a base for attacks on Afghanistan, but it has faced fierce resistance, losing some 500 soldiers in the fighting.
So, let me get this straight. They couldn't stop the Talibani from invading Afghanistan, so they made a deal with them to stop the raids if they withdrew? I have a feeling the central government in Pakistan needs some lessons in military history and terminology. Can you say, "surrender?"

Just Not Going Well For Them, Is It?

Republican Rift Over Wiretapping Widens:
"Deepening Republican divisions over the future of President Bush's warrantless wiretapping program may jeopardize GOP leaders' hopes of making terrorism surveillance legislation a centerpiece of their final legislative push this month."

They want to make sure "future administrations...don't get out of line." In other words, the next guy will be a Democrat, and we don't want him to be listening in on us. Bwaahaaahhhhh!

More Proof Lieberman Really A Republican

"The White House funneled millions of dollars through major Republican Party contributors to Sen. Joseph Lieberman’s primary campaign in a failed effort to ensure the support of the former Democrat for the Bush administration."

I like that part about "former Democrat." You betcha!

Strategery Even A Repuglican Can't Stomach

GOP Senators Differ With President on Military Trials

Mickey Mouse Helps Spin History

9/11 Miniseries Is Criticized as Inaccurate and Biased - New York Times:
"SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 5 — Days before its scheduled debut, the first major television miniseries about the Sept. 11 attacks was being criticized on Tuesday as biased and inaccurate by bloggers, terrorism experts and a member of the Sept. 11 commission, whose report makes up much of the film’s source material."

ABC -- America Broadcasting Conservatism.

And Reps Embrace The pRez -- NOT!

My Way News - Republican Ads Show Distance From Bush

Meanwhile The pRez Showcases New Strategery

Looking to Elections, Bush and Democrats Spar on National Security - New York Times:
The speech employed some of Mr. Bush’s sharpest rhetoric to date. He compared Osama bin Laden to Lenin and Hitler, saying, “Bin Laden and his terrorist allies have made their intentions as clear as Lenin and Hitler before them.”

The president also quoted liberally from Mr. bin Laden, warning that the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks is still pursuing his vision of “a unified totalitarian Islamic state that can confront and eventually destroy the free world.”

The speech used a classic strategy of Karl Rove, Mr. Bush’s chief political adviser, who specializes in turning a candidate’s weakness into a strength. In this case, Mr. Bush’s weakness is that Mr. bin Laden has not been captured — a point that was quickly picked up by Democrats. Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts said that if Mr. Bush had “unleashed the American military to do the job at Tora Bora four years ago and killed Osama bin Laden, he wouldn’t have to quote this barbarian’s words today.”

That did not stop Mr. Bush from mentioning Mr. bin Laden 17 times in the 44-minute speech, a tactic that seemed intended to emphasize the Republican argument that the nation can trust the president and his party more than Democrats to protect it from attacks.
Which is, uh, to stay the course? Well, yeah, but with emphasis on how screwed up everything is and how the Dems couldn't do it any better? Hmmmm. Maybe they ought to take another look at that.


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