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July 02, 2007
Politicalvideo.org - Search, Download and Remix The Shrub!

Jay Dedman was twittering about wanting people to spread the word about Political Video.org -- a cool new George W. mash-up site.

They have a raging, searchable archive of G.W. in action!

Go there and see...

Posted by Lisa at 07:39 PM
October 26, 2006
Bush Talks About Using "The Google"

Bush Talks about using "the google"

This is from CNBC.

Posted by Lisa at 10:47 PM
April 13, 2006
Joseph Wilson On 60 Minutes - How Valerie Plame Leak Threatens Our National Security

This is from the October 30, 2005 program of 60 minutes


I've been clearing off my TIVO since I've been home so much lately, and what do I run across but a 60 Minutes piece from October 30, 2005 about Valerie Plame. Not about the scandal per se, but about Valerie: who she was, what she did, and the lives potentially at risk and irrepairable damage that has been done to our National Security as a result of her identity being revealed.


Valerie was an undercover Agent gathering intelligence about numerous countries' Nuclear Weapons programs. She dedicated her life to protecting the National Security of the United States. She recommended her husband, Joseph Wilson, to go on another patriotic mission to Nigeria to verify whether or not Saddam Hussein had purchased uranium from there. Wilson went on this mission, almost as a favor, for the Vice President himself. When Wilson came back with the truth - that the documents saying Saddam had purchased uranium were forged, the Vice President wanted Wilson to keep quiet about it.

When he did not, and instead offered up to the press what he had uncovered, our Bush, Cheney and Rove conspired to reveal his wife's identity in retaliation.

Wow. You've really got to see this for yourself.


Video - 60 Minutes On The CIA Leak - All


Video - 60 Minutes On The CIA Leak - Part One


Video - 60 Minutes On The CIA Leak - Part Two


Audio - 60 Minutes On The CIA Leak - All


Audio - 60 Minutes On The CIA Leak - Part One


Audio - 60 Minutes On The CIA Leak - Part Two

Posted by Lisa at 05:38 PM
April 10, 2006
Keith Olbermann On Scooter Getting His Go Ahead To Leak The Identity of CIA Agent Valerie Plame Straight From Bush and Cheney

I'm late for lunch and swamped finishing my masters (three more days!)....

But I just finished uploading Keith Olbermann's report on this situation from last Thursday, April 6, 2006, so I wanted to at least make it available to you raw style until I can blog it properly later.

The file is available as "all three parts together" and in three parts here w/pics.


1- Olbermann's overview


2-Shuster's take on it


3- John Dean's take on it.



Posted by Lisa at 11:51 AM
The Washington Post Chimes In On the Bush - Plame Link

This is from Sunday, April 9, 2006:

A "Concerted Effort" to Discredit Bush Critic
Prosecutor describes Cheney, Libby as key voices pitching Iraq-Niger story.
By Barton Gellman and Dafna Linzer for The Washington Post


As he drew back the curtain this week on the evidence against Vice President Cheney's former top aide, Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald for the first time described a "concerted action" by "multiple people in the White House" - using classified information - to "discredit, punish or seek revenge against" a critic of President Bush's war in Iraq.

Bluntly and repeatedly, Fitzgerald placed Cheney at the center of that campaign. Citing grand jury testimony from the vice president's former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Fitzgerald fingered Cheney as the first to voice a line of attack that at least three White House officials would soon deploy against former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV.

Cheney, in a conversation with Libby in early July 2003, was said to describe Wilson's CIA-sponsored trip to Niger the previous year - in which the envoy found no support for charges that Iraq tried to buy uranium there - as "a junket set up by Mr. Wilson's wife," CIA case officer Valerie Plame.

Libby is charged with perjury and obstruction of justice for denying under oath that he disclosed Plame's CIA employment to journalists. There is no public evidence to suggest Libby made any such disclosure with Cheney's knowledge. But according to Libby's grand jury testimony, described for the first time in legal papers filed this week, Cheney "specifically directed" Libby in late June or early July 2003 to pass information to reporters from two classified CIA documents: an October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate and a March 2002 summary of Wilson's visit to Niger.

One striking feature of that decision – un-remarked until now, in part because Fitzgerald did not mention it - is that the evidence Cheney and Libby selected to share with reporters had been disproved months before.

United Nations inspectors had exposed the main evidence for the uranium charge as crude forgeries in March 2003, but the Bush administration and British Prime Minister Tony Blair maintained they had additional, secret evidence they could not disclose. In June, a British parliamentary inquiry concluded otherwise, delivering a scathing critique of Blair's role in promoting the story. With no ally left, the White House debated whether to abandon the uranium claim and became embroiled in bitter finger-pointing about whom to fault for the error. A legal brief filed for Libby last month said that "certain officials at the CIA, the White House, and the State Department each sought to avoid or assign blame for intelligence failures relating to Iraq's weapons of mass destruction."

It was at that moment that Libby, allegedly at Cheney's direction, sought out at least three reporters to bolster the discredited uranium allegation. Libby made careful selections of language from the 2002 estimate, quoting a passage that said Iraq was "vigorously trying to procure uranium" in Africa.

The first of those conversations, according to the evidence made known thus far, came when Libby met with Bob Woodward, an assistant managing editor of The Washington Post, on June 27, 2003. In sworn testimony for Fitzgerald, according to a statement Woodward released on Nov. 14, 2005, Woodward said Libby told him of the intelligence estimate's description of Iraqi efforts to obtain "yellowcake," a processed form of natural uranium ore, in Africa. In an interview Friday, Woodward said his notes showed that Libby described those efforts as "vigorous."

Libby's next known meeting with a reporter, according to Fitzgerald's legal filing, was with Judith Miller, then of the New York Times, on July 8, 2003. He spoke again to Miller, and to Time magazine's Matt Cooper, on July 12...

Fitzgerald wrote that Cheney and his aides saw Wilson as a threat to "the credibility of the Vice President (and the President) on a matter of signal importance: the rationale for the war in Iraq." They decided to respond by implying that Wilson got his CIA assignment by "nepotism."

They were not alone. Fitzgerald reported for the first time this week that "multiple officials in the White House" - not only Libby and White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove, who have previously been identified - discussed Plame's CIA employment with reporters before and after publication of her name on July 14, 2003, in a column by Robert D. Novak. Fitzgerald said the grand jury has collected so much testimony and so many documents that "it is hard to conceive of what evidence there could be that would disprove the existence of White House efforts to 'punish' Wilson."

Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/08/AR2006040800916.html

A "Concerted Effort" to Discredit Bush Critic
By Barton Gellman and Dafna Linzer
The Washington Post

Sunday 09 April 2006

Prosecutor describes Cheney, Libby as key voices pitching Iraq-Niger story.

As he drew back the curtain this week on the evidence against Vice President Cheney's former top aide, Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald for the first time described a "concerted action" by "multiple people in the White House" - using classified information - to "discredit, punish or seek revenge against" a critic of President Bush's war in Iraq.

Bluntly and repeatedly, Fitzgerald placed Cheney at the center of that campaign. Citing grand jury testimony from the vice president's former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Fitzgerald fingered Cheney as the first to voice a line of attack that at least three White House officials would soon deploy against former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV.

Cheney, in a conversation with Libby in early July 2003, was said to describe Wilson's CIA-sponsored trip to Niger the previous year - in which the envoy found no support for charges that Iraq tried to buy uranium there - as "a junket set up by Mr. Wilson's wife," CIA case officer Valerie Plame.

Libby is charged with perjury and obstruction of justice for denying under oath that he disclosed Plame's CIA employment to journalists. There is no public evidence to suggest Libby made any such disclosure with Cheney's knowledge. But according to Libby's grand jury testimony, described for the first time in legal papers filed this week, Cheney "specifically directed" Libby in late June or early July 2003 to pass information to reporters from two classified CIA documents: an October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate and a March 2002 summary of Wilson's visit to Niger.

One striking feature of that decision – un-remarked until now, in part because Fitzgerald did not mention it - is that the evidence Cheney and Libby selected to share with reporters had been disproved months before.

United Nations inspectors had exposed the main evidence for the uranium charge as crude forgeries in March 2003, but the Bush administration and British Prime Minister Tony Blair maintained they had additional, secret evidence they could not disclose. In June, a British parliamentary inquiry concluded otherwise, delivering a scathing critique of Blair's role in promoting the story. With no ally left, the White House debated whether to abandon the uranium claim and became embroiled in bitter finger-pointing about whom to fault for the error. A legal brief filed for Libby last month said that "certain officials at the CIA, the White House, and the State Department each sought to avoid or assign blame for intelligence failures relating to Iraq's weapons of mass destruction."

It was at that moment that Libby, allegedly at Cheney's direction, sought out at least three reporters to bolster the discredited uranium allegation. Libby made careful selections of language from the 2002 estimate, quoting a passage that said Iraq was "vigorously trying to procure uranium" in Africa.

The first of those conversations, according to the evidence made known thus far, came when Libby met with Bob Woodward, an assistant managing editor of The Washington Post, on June 27, 2003. In sworn testimony for Fitzgerald, according to a statement Woodward released on Nov. 14, 2005, Woodward said Libby told him of the intelligence estimate's description of Iraqi efforts to obtain "yellowcake," a processed form of natural uranium ore, in Africa. In an interview Friday, Woodward said his notes showed that Libby described those efforts as "vigorous."

Libby's next known meeting with a reporter, according to Fitzgerald's legal filing, was with Judith Miller, then of the New York Times, on July 8, 2003. He spoke again to Miller, and to Time magazine's Matt Cooper, on July 12.

At Cheney's instruction, Libby testified, he told Miller that the uranium story was a "key judgment" of the intelligence estimate, a term of art indicating there was consensus on a question of central importance.

In fact, the alleged effort to buy uranium was not among the estimate's key judgments, which were identified by a headline and bold type and set out in bullet form in the first five pages of the 96-page document.

Unknown to the reporters, the uranium claim lay deeper inside the estimate, where it said a fresh supply of uranium ore would "shorten the time Baghdad needs to produce nuclear weapons." But it also said US intelligence did not know the status of Iraq's procurement efforts, "cannot confirm" any success and had "inconclusive" evidence about Iraq's domestic uranium operations.

Iraq's alleged uranium shopping had been strongly disputed in the intelligence community from the start. In a closed Senate hearing in late September 2002, shortly before the October NIE was completed, then-director of central intelligence George J. Tenet and his top weapons analyst, Robert Walpole, expressed strong doubts about the uranium story, which had recently been unveiled publicly by the British government. The State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research, likewise, called the claim "highly dubious." For those reasons, the uranium story was relegated to a brief inside passage in the October estimate.

But the White House Iraq Group, formed in August 2002 to foster "public education" about Iraq's "grave and gathering danger" to the United States, repeatedly pitched the uranium story. The alleged procurement was a minor issue for most US analysts - the hard part for Iraq would be enriching uranium, not obtaining the ore, and Niger's controlled market made it an unlikely seller - but the Niger story proved irresistible to speechwriters. Most nuclear arguments were highly technical, but the public could easily grasp the link between uranium and a bomb.

Tenet interceded to keep the claim out of a speech Bush gave in Cincinnati on Oct. 7, 2002, but by Dec. 19 it reappeared in a State Department "fact sheet." After that, the Pentagon asked for an authoritative judgment from the National Intelligence Council, the senior coordinating body for the 15 agencies that then constituted the US intelligence community. Did Iraq and Niger discuss a uranium sale, or not? If they had, the Pentagon would need to reconsider its ties with Niger.

The council's reply, drafted in a January 2003 memo by the national intelligence officer for Africa, was unequivocal: The Niger story was baseless and should be laid to rest. Four US officials with firsthand knowledge said in interviews that the memo, which has not been reported before, arrived at the White House as Bush and his highest-ranking advisers made the uranium story a centerpiece of their case for the rapidly approaching war against Iraq.

Bush put his prestige behind the uranium story in his Jan. 28, 2003, State of the Union address. Less than two months later, the International Atomic Energy Agency exposed the principal US evidence as bogus. A Bush-appointed commission later concluded that the evidence, a set of contracts and correspondence sold by an Italian informant, was "transparently forged."

On the ground in Iraq, meanwhile, the hunt for weapons of mass destruction was producing no results, and as the bad news converged on the White House - weeks after a banner behind Bush declared "Mission Accomplished" on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln - Wilson emerged as a key critic. He focused his ire on Cheney, who had made the administration's earliest and strongest claims about Iraq's alleged nuclear program.

Fitzgerald wrote that Cheney and his aides saw Wilson as a threat to "the credibility of the Vice President (and the President) on a matter of signal importance: the rationale for the war in Iraq." They decided to respond by implying that Wilson got his CIA assignment by "nepotism."

They were not alone. Fitzgerald reported for the first time this week that "multiple officials in the White House" - not only Libby and White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove, who have previously been identified - discussed Plame's CIA employment with reporters before and after publication of her name on July 14, 2003, in a column by Robert D. Novak. Fitzgerald said the grand jury has collected so much testimony and so many documents that "it is hard to conceive of what evidence there could be that would disprove the existence of White House efforts to 'punish' Wilson."

At the same time, top officials such as then-deputy national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley were pressing the CIA to declassify more documents in hopes of defending the president's use of the uranium claim in his State of the Union speech. It was a losing battle. A "senior Bush administration official," speaking on the condition of anonymity as the president departed for Africa on July 7, 2003, told The Post that "the reference to Iraq's attempt to acquire uranium from Africa should not have been included in the State of the Union speech." The comment appeared on the front page of the July 8 paper, the same morning that Libby met Miller at the St. Regis hotel.

Libby was still defending the uranium claim as the administration's internal battle burst into the open. White House officials tried to blame Tenet for the debacle, but Tenet made public his intervention to keep uranium out of Bush's speech four months earlier. Hadley then acknowledged that he had known of Tenet's objections but forgot them as the State of the Union approached.

Hoping to lay the controversy to rest, Hadley claimed responsibility for the Niger remarks.

In a speech two days later, at the American Enterprise Institute, Cheney defended the war by saying that no responsible leader could ignore the evidence in the NIE. Before a roomful of conservative policymakers, Cheney listed four of the "key judgments" on Iraq's alleged weapons capabilities but made no mention of Niger or uranium.

On July 30, 2003, two senior intelligence officials said in an interview that Niger was never an important part of the CIA's analysis, and that the language of Iraq's vigorous pursuit of uranium came verbatim from a Defense Intelligence Agency report that had caught the vice president's attention. The same day, the CIA referred the Plame leak to the Justice Department for criminal prosecution, the fateful step that would eventually lead to Libby's indictment.

Posted by Lisa at 11:44 AM
Well you can't get any higher up the chain than that: Both Bush and Cheney We're Behind Leak

From the "Hey is anybody listening? The information we've been waiting for years to break has broken" department, Jason Leopold and like five other reporters are covering what has got to be the most exciting development in this dismal administration: not only did Cheney tell Libby to leak the information to the press about Joseph Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, being a CIA agent, but , according to Libby himself, Bush told Cheney to tell him to do it.

I have some nice clips from Keith Olbermann going up next, but this story published this morning in the Times sums it up nicely too.

Bush and Cheney Discussed Plame Prior to Leak

by Jason Leopold for t r u t h o u t.


In early June 2003, Vice President Dick Cheney met with President Bush and told him that CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson was the wife of Iraq war critic Joseph Wilson and that she was responsible for sending him on a fact-finding mission to Niger to check out reports about Iraq's attempt to purchase uranium from the African country, according to current and former White House officials and attorneys close to the investigation to determine who revealed Plame-Wilson's undercover status to the media.

Other White House officials who also attended the meeting with Cheney and President Bush included former White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, her former deputy Stephen Hadley, and Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove.

This information was provided to this reporter by attorneys and US officials who have remained close to the case. Investigators working with Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald compiled the information after interviewing 36 Bush administration officials over the past two and a half years.

The revelation puts a new wrinkle into Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's two-year-old criminal probe into the leak and suggests for the first time that President Bush knew from early on that the vice president and senior officials on his staff were involved in a coordinated effort to attack Wilson's credibility by leaking his wife's classified CIA status.

Now that President Bush's knowledge of the Plame Wilson affair has been exposed, there are thorny questions about whether the president has broken the law - specifically, whether he obstructed justice when he was interviewed about his knowledge of the Plame Wilson leak and the campaign to discredit her husband.

Details of President Bush's involvement in the Plame Wilson affair came in a 39-page court document filed by Fitzgerald late Wednesday evening in US District Court in Washington.

Fitzgerald's court filing was made in response to attorneys representing I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, who was indicted on five counts of perjury, obstruction of justice, and lying to investigators for not telling grand jury he spoke to reporters about Plame Wilson.

Libby's attorneys have in the past months have argued that the government has evidence that would prove Libby's innocence and that the special prosecutor refuses to turn it over to the defense. Fitzgerald said in court documents he has already turned over thousands of pages of evidence to Libby's attorneys and that further discovery requests have been overly broad.

Here is the full text of the entire article in case the link goes bad:

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/041006Z.shtml

Bush and Cheney Discussed Plame Prior to Leak
By Jason Leopold
t r u t h o u t | Report

Monday 10 April 2006

In early June 2003, Vice President Dick Cheney met with President Bush and told him that CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson was the wife of Iraq war critic Joseph Wilson and that she was responsible for sending him on a fact-finding mission to Niger to check out reports about Iraq's attempt to purchase uranium from the African country, according to current and former White House officials and attorneys close to the investigation to determine who revealed Plame-Wilson's undercover status to the media.

Other White House officials who also attended the meeting with Cheney and President Bush included former White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, her former deputy Stephen Hadley, and Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove.

This information was provided to this reporter by attorneys and US officials who have remained close to the case. Investigators working with Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald compiled the information after interviewing 36 Bush administration officials over the past two and a half years.

The revelation puts a new wrinkle into Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's two-year-old criminal probe into the leak and suggests for the first time that President Bush knew from early on that the vice president and senior officials on his staff were involved in a coordinated effort to attack Wilson's credibility by leaking his wife's classified CIA status.

Now that President Bush's knowledge of the Plame Wilson affair has been exposed, there are thorny questions about whether the president has broken the law - specifically, whether he obstructed justice when he was interviewed about his knowledge of the Plame Wilson leak and the campaign to discredit her husband.

Details of President Bush's involvement in the Plame Wilson affair came in a 39-page court document filed by Fitzgerald late Wednesday evening in US District Court in Washington.

Fitzgerald's court filing was made in response to attorneys representing I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, who was indicted on five counts of perjury, obstruction of justice, and lying to investigators for not telling grand jury he spoke to reporters about Plame Wilson.

Libby's attorneys have in the past months have argued that the government has evidence that would prove Libby's innocence and that the special prosecutor refuses to turn it over to the defense. Fitzgerald said in court documents he has already turned over thousands of pages of evidence to Libby's attorneys and that further discovery requests have been overly broad.

The attorneys and officials close to the case said over the weekend that the hastily arranged meeting was called by Cheney to "brief the president" on Wilson's increasing public criticism about the White House's use of the Niger intelligence and the negative impact it would eventually have on the administration's credibility if the public and Congress found out it was true, the sources said.

Bush said publicly in October 2003 that he had no idea who was responsible for unmasking Plame Wilson to columnist Robert Novak and other reporters. The president said that he welcomed a Justice Department investigation to find out who was responsible for it.

But neither Bush nor anyone in his inner circle let on that just four months earlier, they had agreed to launch a full-scale campaign to undercut Wilson's credibility by planting negative stories about his personal life with the media.

A more aggressive effort would come a week or so later when Cheney - who, sources said, was "consumed" with retaliating against Wilson because of his attacks on the administration's rationale for war - met with President Bush a second time and told the president that there was talk of "Wilson going public" and exposing the flawed Niger intelligence.

It was then that Cheney told Bush that a section of the classified National Intelligence Estimate that purported to show Iraq did seek uranium from Niger should be leaked to reporters as a way to counter anything report Wilson might seek to publish, these sources said.

Throughout the second half of June, Andrew Card, Karl Rove, and senior officials from Cheney's office kept Bush updated about the progress of the campaign to discredit Wilson via numerous emails and internal White House memos, these sources said, adding that some of these documents were only recently turned over to the special counsel.

One attorney close to the case said that Bush gave Cheney permission to declassify the NIE and that Cheney told Libby to leak it to Bob Woodward, the Washington Post's assistant managing editor, which Libby did on June 27, 2003.

But Woodward told Libby shortly after he received the information about the NIE that he would not be writing a story about it for the Post but that he would use the still classified information for the book he was writing at the time, Plan of Attack.

Woodward would not return calls for comment nor would Libby's attorneys Ted Wells and William Jeffress.

Libby told Cheney that he had a good relationship with New York Times reporter Judith Miller and that he intended to share the NIE with her. Libby met with Miller on July 8, 2003 and disclosed the portion of the NIE that dealt with Iraq and Niger to her.

According to four attorneys who last week read a transcript of President Bush's interview with investigators, Bush did not disclose to the special counsel that he was aware of any campaign to discredit Wilson. Bush also said he did not know who, if anyone, in the White House had retaliated against the former ambassador by leaking his wife's undercover identity to reporters.

Attorneys close to the case said that Fitzgerald does not appear to be overly concerned or interested in any alleged discrepancy in Bush's statements about the leak case to investigators.

But "if Mr. Libby continues to misrepresent the government's case against him ... President Bush and most certainly Vice President Cheney may be caught in an embarrassing position," one attorney close to the case said. "Mr. Fitzgerald will not hesitate to remind Mr. Libby of his testimony when he appeared before the grand jury."

Speaking to college students and faculty at California State University Northridge last week, Wilson said that after President Bush cited the uranium claims in his State of the Union address he tried unsuccessfully for five months to get the White House to correct the record.

"I had direct discussions with the State Department, Senate committees," Wilson said during a speech last Thursday. "I had numerous conversations to change what they were saying publicly. I had a civic duty to hold my government to account for what it had said and done."

Wilson said he was rebuffed at every instance and finally decided to write an op-ed in the New York Times and expose the administration for knowingly "twisting" the intelligence on the Iraqi nuclear threat to make a case for war. The op-ed appeared in the newspaper July 8, 2003. Wilson wrote that had he personally traveled to Niger to check out the Niger intelligence and had determined it was bogus.

"Nothing more, nothing less than challenging the government to come clean on this matter," Wilson said. "That's all I did."

In the interest of fairness, any person identified in this story who believes he has been portrayed unfairly or that the information about him is untrue will have the opportunity to respond in this space.

Jason Leopold spent two years covering California's electricity crisis as Los Angeles bureau chief of Dow Jones Newswires. Jason has spent the last year cultivating sources close to the CIA leak investigation, and is a regular contributor to t r u t h o u t.


Posted by Lisa at 10:22 AM
April 07, 2006
A Disenfranchised Heather Gold Speaks For A Lot Of Us
Heather Gold explains (in graphic detail) what Bush would have to do to actually be impeached.

But first, she accurately expresses the feeling of disenfranchisement that many Americans feel these days at being powerless to stop or do anything to hold the Shrub responsible for his illegal actions.

In this case, feeling helpless after finding out that the Shrub personally authorized Scooter Libby to conduct the treasonous act of leaking the identity CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity to the press, and realize no one's going to do a damn thing about it.

But Heather, take heart, Patrick Fitzgerald may be on the case!
Posted by Lisa at 10:58 PM
February 10, 2006
Shrub Caught In Another Lie: He Knew About Katrina The Night Before

Did the White House make a conscious decision to do nothing about getting Katrina rescue efforts to the people of New Orleans?

If not, how could Bush have been relieved on Tuesday morning when he mistakenly thought that New Orleans had "dodged the bullet?"

This article is from Friday, February 10, 2006.

Now we can't give the reorganization of the Department of Home Security all the credit for single handedly screwing up the rescue system that Clinton had taken 8 years to build. The Shrub gets some credit for cutting a lot of FEMA funding too, straight across the board.

So in many areas, it didn't matter who was in charge, there was no money for the program anyway. (Here's factcheck.org and washington monthly for some more good information on that.)


White House Knew of Levee's Failure on Night of Storm

By Eric Lipton for The New York Times.
via
t r u t h o u t


Washington - In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Bush administration officials said they had been caught by surprise when they were told on Tuesday, Aug. 30, that a levee had broken, allowing floodwaters to engulf New Orleans.

But Congressional investigators have now learned that an eyewitness account of the flooding from a federal emergency official reached the Homeland Security Department's headquarters starting at 9:27 p.m. the day before, and the White House itself at midnight.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency official, Marty Bahamonde, first heard of a major levee breach Monday morning. By late Monday afternoon, Mr. Bahamonde had hitched a ride on a Coast Guard helicopter over the breach at the 17th Street Canal to confirm the extensive flooding. He then telephoned his report to FEMA headquarters in Washington, which notified the Homeland Security Department.

"FYI from FEMA," said an e-mail message from the agency's public affairs staff describing the helicopter flight, sent Monday night at 9:27 to the chief of staff of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and recently unearthed by investigators. Conditions, the message said, "are far more serious than media reports are currently reflecting. Finding extensive flooding and more stranded people than they had thought - also a number of fires."

Michael D. Brown, who was the director of FEMA until he resigned under pressure on Sept. 12, said in a telephone interview Thursday that he personally notified the White House of this news that night, though he declined to identify the official he spoke to.

White House officials have confirmed to Congressional investigators that the report of the levee break arrived there at midnight, and Trent Duffy, the White House spokesman, acknowledged as much in an interview this week, though he said it was surrounded with conflicting reports.

But the alert did not seem to register. Even the next morning, President Bush, on vacation in Texas, was feeling relieved that New Orleans had "dodged the bullet," he later recalled. Mr. Chertoff, similarly confident, flew Tuesday to Atlanta for a briefing on avian flu. With power out from the high winds and movement limited, even news reporters in New Orleans remained unaware of the full extent of the levee breaches until Tuesday.

The federal government let out a sigh of relief when in fact it should have been sounding an "all hands on deck" alarm, the investigators have found.

This chain of events, along with dozens of other critical flashpoints in the Hurricane Katrina saga, has for the first time been laid out in detail following five months of work by two Congressional committees that have assembled nearly 800,000 pages of documents, testimony and interviews from more than 250 witnesses. Investigators now have the documentation to pinpoint some of the fundamental errors and oversights that combined to produce what is universally agreed to be a flawed government response to the worst natural disaster in modern American history.

On Friday, Mr. Brown, the former FEMA director, is scheduled to testify before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. He is expected to confirm that he notified the White House on that Monday, the day the hurricane hit, that the levee had given way, the city was flooding and his crews were overwhelmed...

"There is no question in my mind that at the highest levels of the White House they understood how grave the situation was," Mr. Brown said in the interview.

The problem, he said, was the handicapping of FEMA when it was turned into a division of the Homeland Security Department in 2003.

Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/10/politics/10katrina.html?hp&ex=1139634000&en=914abcf6c2b5fc5a&ei=5094&partner=homepage

also from truthout: http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/021006K.shtml

White House Knew of Levee's Failure on Night of Storm
By Eric Lipton
The New York Times

Friday 10 February 2006

Washington - In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Bush administration officials said they had been caught by surprise when they were told on Tuesday, Aug. 30, that a levee had broken, allowing floodwaters to engulf New Orleans.

But Congressional investigators have now learned that an eyewitness account of the flooding from a federal emergency official reached the Homeland Security Department's headquarters starting at 9:27 p.m. the day before, and the White House itself at midnight.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency official, Marty Bahamonde, first heard of a major levee breach Monday morning. By late Monday afternoon, Mr. Bahamonde had hitched a ride on a Coast Guard helicopter over the breach at the 17th Street Canal to confirm the extensive flooding. He then telephoned his report to FEMA headquarters in Washington, which notified the Homeland Security Department.

"FYI from FEMA," said an e-mail message from the agency's public affairs staff describing the helicopter flight, sent Monday night at 9:27 to the chief of staff of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and recently unearthed by investigators. Conditions, the message said, "are far more serious than media reports are currently reflecting. Finding extensive flooding and more stranded people than they had thought - also a number of fires."

Michael D. Brown, who was the director of FEMA until he resigned under pressure on Sept. 12, said in a telephone interview Thursday that he personally notified the White House of this news that night, though he declined to identify the official he spoke to.

White House officials have confirmed to Congressional investigators that the report of the levee break arrived there at midnight, and Trent Duffy, the White House spokesman, acknowledged as much in an interview this week, though he said it was surrounded with conflicting reports.

But the alert did not seem to register. Even the next morning, President Bush, on vacation in Texas, was feeling relieved that New Orleans had "dodged the bullet," he later recalled. Mr. Chertoff, similarly confident, flew Tuesday to Atlanta for a briefing on avian flu. With power out from the high winds and movement limited, even news reporters in New Orleans remained unaware of the full extent of the levee breaches until Tuesday.

The federal government let out a sigh of relief when in fact it should have been sounding an "all hands on deck" alarm, the investigators have found.

This chain of events, along with dozens of other critical flashpoints in the Hurricane Katrina saga, has for the first time been laid out in detail following five months of work by two Congressional committees that have assembled nearly 800,000 pages of documents, testimony and interviews from more than 250 witnesses. Investigators now have the documentation to pinpoint some of the fundamental errors and oversights that combined to produce what is universally agreed to be a flawed government response to the worst natural disaster in modern American history.

On Friday, Mr. Brown, the former FEMA director, is scheduled to testify before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. He is expected to confirm that he notified the White House on that Monday, the day the hurricane hit, that the levee had given way, the city was flooding and his crews were overwhelmed.

"There is no question in my mind that at the highest levels of the White House they understood how grave the situation was," Mr. Brown said in the interview.

The problem, he said, was the handicapping of FEMA when it was turned into a division of the Homeland Security Department in 2003.

"The real story is with this new structure," he said. "Why weren't more things done, or what prevented or delayed Mike Brown from being able to do what he would have done and did do in any other disaster?"

Although Mr. Bahamonde said in October that he had notified Mr. Brown that Monday, it was not known until recently what Mr. Brown or the Homeland Security Department did with that information, or when the White House was told.

Missteps at All Levels

It has been known since the earliest days of the storm that all levels of government - from the White House to the Department of Homeland Security to the Louisiana Capitol to New Orleans City Hall - were unprepared, uncommunicative and phlegmatic in protecting Gulf Coast residents from the floodwaters and their aftermath. But an examination of the latest evidence by The New York Times shines a new light on the key players involved in the important turning points: what they said, what they did and what they did not do, all of which will soon be written up in the committees' investigative reports.

Among the findings that emerge in the mass of documents and testimony were these:

Federal officials knew long before the storm showed up on the radar that 100,000 people in New Orleans had no way to escape a major hurricane on their own and that the city had finished only 10 percent of a plan for how to evacuate its largely poor, African-American population.

Mr. Chertoff failed to name a principal federal official to oversee the response before the hurricane arrived, an omission a top Pentagon official acknowledged to investigators complicated the coordination of the response. His department also did not plan enough to prevent a conflict over which agency should be in charge of law enforcement support. And Mr. Chertoff was either poorly informed about the levee break or did not recognize the significance of the initial report about it, investigators said.

The Louisiana transportation secretary, Johnny B. Bradberry, who had legal responsibility for the evacuation of thousands of people in nursing homes and hospitals, admitted bluntly to investigators, "We put no plans in place to do any of this."

Mayor C. Ray Nagin of New Orleans at first directed his staff to prepare a mandatory evacuation of his city on Saturday, two days before the storm hit, but he testified that he had not done so that day while he and other city officials struggled to decide if they should exempt hospitals and hotels from the order. The mandatory evacuation occurred on Sunday, and the delay exacerbated the difficulty in moving people away from the storm.

The New Orleans Police Department unit assigned to the rescue effort, despite many years' worth of flood warnings and requests for money, had just three small boats and no food, water or fuel to supply its emergency workers.

Investigators could find no evidence that food and water supplies were formally ordered for the Convention Center, where more than 10,000 evacuees had assembled, until days after the city had decided to open it as a backup emergency shelter. FEMA had planned to have 360,000 ready-to-eat meals delivered to the city and 15 trucks of water in advance of the storm. But only 40,000 meals and five trucks of water had arrived.

Representative Thomas M. Davis III, Republican of Virginia, chairman of the special House committee investigating the hurricane response, said the only government agency that performed well was the National Weather Service, which correctly predicted the force of the storm. But no one heeded the message, he said.

"The president is still at his ranch, the vice president is still fly-fishing in Wyoming, the president's chief of staff is in Maine," Mr. Davis said. "In retrospect, don't you think it would have been better to pull together? They should have had better leadership. It is disengagement."

One of the greatest mysteries for both the House and Senate committees has been why it took so long, even after Mr. Bahamonde filed his urgent report on the Monday the storm hit, for federal officials to appreciate that the levee had broken and that New Orleans was flooding.

Eyewitness to Devastation

As his helicopter approached the site, Mr. Bahamonde testified in October, there was no mistaking what had happened: large sections of the levee had fallen over, leaving the section of the city on the collapsed side entirely submerged, but the neighborhood on the other side relatively dry. He snapped a picture of the scene with a small camera.

"The situation is only going to get worse," he said he warned Mr. Brown, then the FEMA director, whom he called about 8 p.m. Monday Eastern time to report on his helicopter tour.

"Thank you," he said Mr. Brown replied. "I am now going to call the White House."

Citing restrictions placed on him by his lawyers, Mr. Brown declined to tell House investigators during testimony if he had actually made that call. White House aides have urged administration officials not to discuss any conversations with the president or his top advisors and declined to release e-mail messages sent among Mr. Bush's senior advisors.

But investigators have found the e-mail message referring to Mr. Bahamonde's helicopter survey that was sent to John F. Wood, chief of staff to Secretary Chertoff at 9:27 p.m. They have also found a summary of Mr. Bahamonde's observations that was issued at 10:30 p.m. and an 11:05 p.m. e-mail message to Michael Jackson, the deputy secretary of homeland security. Each message describes in detail the extensive flooding that was taking place in New Orleans after the levee collapse.

Given this chain of events, investigators have repeatedly questioned why Mr. Bush and Mr. Chertoff stated in the days after the storm that the levee break did not happen until Tuesday, as they made an effort to explain why they initially thought the storm had passed without the catastrophe that some had feared.

"The hurricane started to depart the area on Monday, and then Tuesday morning the levee broke and the water started to flood into New Orleans," Mr. Chertoff said on CBS's "Face the Nation" on Sunday, Sept. 4, the weekend after the hurricane hit.

Mr. Chertoff and White House officials have said that they were referring to official confirmation that the levee had broken, which they say they received Tuesday morning from the Army Corps of Engineers. They also say there were conflicting reports all day Monday about whether a breach had occurred and noted that they were not alone in failing to recognize the growing catastrophe.

Mr. Duffy, the White House spokesman, said it would not have made much difference even if the White House had realized the significance of the midnight report. "Like it or not, you cannot fix a levee overnight, or in an hour, or even six hours," he said.

But Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine and chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, said it was obvious to her in retrospect that Mr. Chertoff, perhaps in deference to Mr. Brown's authority, was not paying close enough attention to the events in New Orleans and that the federal response to the disaster may have been slowed as a result.

"Secretary Chertoff was too disengaged from the process," Ms. Collins said in an interview.

Compounding the problem, once Mr. Chertoff learned of the levee break on Tuesday, he could not reach Mr. Brown, his top emergency response official, for an entire day because Mr. Brown was on helicopter tours of the damage.

Senator Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut, the ranking Democrat on the homeland security committee, said the government confusion reminded him of the period surrounding the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

"Information was in different places, in that case prior to the attack," Mr. Lieberman said, "and it wasn't reaching the key decision makers in a coordinated way for them to take action."

Russ Knocke, a homeland security spokesman, said that although Mr. Chertoff had been "intensely involved in monitoring the storm" he had not actually been told about the report of the levee breach until Tuesday, after he arrived in Atlanta.

"No one is satisfied with the response in the early days," Mr. Knocke said.

But he rejected criticism by Senator Collins and others that Mr. Chertoff was disengaged.

"He was not informed of it," Mr. Knocke said. "It is certainly a breakdown. And through an after-action process, that is something we will address."

The day before the hurricane made landfall, the Homeland Security Department issued a report predicting that it could lead to a levee breach that could submerge New Orleans for months and leave 100,000 people stranded. Yet despite these warnings, state, federal and local officials acknowledged to investigators that there was no coordinated effort before the storm arrived to evacuate nursing homes and hospitals or others in the urban population without cars.

Focus on Highway Plan

Mr. Bradberry, the state transportation secretary, told an investigator that he had focused on improving the highway evacuation plan for the general public with cars and had not attended to his responsibility to remove people from hospitals and nursing homes. The state even turned down an offer for patient evacuation assistance from the federal government.

In fact, the city was desperately in need of help. And this failure would have deadly consequences. Only 21 of the 60 or so nursing homes were cleared of residents before the storm struck. Dozens of lives were lost in hospitals and nursing homes.

One reason the city was unable to help itself, investigators said, is that it never bought the basic equipment needed to respond to the long-predicted catastrophe. The Fire Department had asked for inflatable boats and generators, as well as an emergency food supply, but none were provided, a department official told investigators.

Timothy P. Bayard, a police narcotics commander assigned to lead a water rescue effort, said that with just three boats, not counting the two it commandeered and almost no working radios, his small team spent much of its time initially just trying to rescue detectives who themselves were trapped by rising water.

The investigators also determined that the federal Department of Transportation was not asked until Wednesday to provide buses to evacuate the Superdome and the convention center, meaning that evacuees sat there for perhaps two more days longer than necessary.

Mr. Brown acknowledged to investigators that he wished, in retrospect, that he had moved much earlier to turn over major aspects of the response effort to the Department of Defense. It was not until the middle of the week, he said, that he asked the military to take over the delivery and distribution of water, food and ice.

"In hindsight I should have done it right then," Mr. Brown told the House, referring to the Sunday before the storm hit.

Go to Original

Former FEMA Director to Testify about Katrina
By Spencer S. Hsu
The Washington Post

Friday 10 February 2006

Denied executive privilege, Brown plans to discuss communications with Bush.

Michael D. Brown, the former head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, was rebuffed in his request for a claim of executive privilege and plans to testify to a Senate panel today about his calls and e-mails to President Bush and top White House aides in the Hurricane Katrina crisis, Brown's lawyer said yesterday.

White House Counsel Harriet Miers declined to offer Brown a legal defense for declining to testify or respond to a Feb. 6 letter advising that without such protection Brown "intends to answer all questions fully, completely and accurately," said Brown's lawyer, Andrew W. Lester.

Lester wrote that Brown will testify if asked about communications with Bush, Vice President Cheney, Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr., Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove, Deputy Chief of Staff Joseph Hagin, domestic policy adviser Claude A. Allen and national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley.

As the federal official in charge of the disaster before he resigned, Brown is "between a rock and a hard place," his lawyer said. "On the one hand he desires to answer fully any and all questions the Committee may have," Lester wrote. "On the other hand the President's statements indicate concern that the President be able to 'get unvarnished advice from [his] advisors.'"

House and Senate investigative committees have battled the White House over its refusal to make available top aides and their correspondence from the response to the storm. Instead, the White House has provided 15,000 pages of records and briefings by a deputy White House homeland security adviser.

Bush spokesman Trent Duffy declined to comment on Brown's letter. But Duffy noted a Jan. 26 news conference in which Bush, while declining to cite Brown by name, defended "people who give me advice" from being forced to disclose such conversations, citing a "chilling effect on future advisers."

In testimony to a House committee in September, Brown did not discuss such conversations on the advice of counsel, although he estimated that he communicated with the White House "30 times" during the weekend before Katrina made landfall on Monday, Aug. 29. That included "several" calls to Bush to help speed evacuations by Louisiana and New Orleans leaders.

Yesterday, Lester said that Brown "is planning to testify by answering all questions."

Brown could shed light on the White House's lack of awareness of events on the day of Katrina's landfall. Documents released by the Senate show that although the Homeland Security Operations Center reported at 6 p.m. Aug. 29 that no New Orleans levees had been breached, authorities received no fewer than 16 reports to the contrary before then.

Beginning at 8:30 a.m. Aug. 29, levee breaks were reported by sources including New Orleans and Louisiana homeland security officials, the Transportation Security Administration, the National Weather Service, FEMA officials, White House Homeland Security Council and Homeland Security Department "spot reports," the Army Corps of Engineers, the Coast Guard, and the American Red Cross.


Posted by Lisa at 01:17 PM
January 20, 2006
Fillibuster Friday - Tell Your Senators It's Not OK To Rubberstamp Alito

Today's the day you can "do something" about what's starting to look like an easy rubber stamp for Alito.

Go to http://www.nocrony.com/ to look up your local senators and give them a call *and* send them an email urging them to Filllibuster his nomination.

Posted by Lisa at 08:33 AM
January 15, 2006
Watergate On Steriods - The Truth About Bush's Domestic Spying Program

The Watchers: Maria Hinojosa on NOW - The Truth About Bush's Domestic Spying Program

This is from the January 13, 2006 episode of NOW.

Link to NOW website on this story, which includes documents a plenty backing up all the facts mentioned below (and much more).

So really things are getting pretty interesting.

On the one hand we have the Vice President's right hand man Scooter Libby indicted by the Justice Department for leaking CIA Agent Valerie Plame's identity.

We have Republican House Leader Tom DeLay having to step down in the face of his indictments in Texas.

We have "Bush Pioneer" Jack Abramoff pleading guilty to various money laundering and fraud charges, and in the process revealing the names of 60 or more other corrupt Republicans that were in on the racket.

But now, it would appear we have something like "Watergate On Steroids."

This isn't some office break-in that the President "knew" about via smoke filled rooms. This is an executive order straight from Bush himself self-authorizing a no-warrants-necessary domestic spying program.

Perhaps you saw Condi Rice on Meet The Press a few weeks ago making absolutely no sense whatsoever. She cites FISA (the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) as the reason for the President's authority to issue no-warrant spying. In reality, of course, FISA is actually the reason we can conclude so easily that the President so clearly broke the law; If he had obtained FISA warrants for his Domestic Spying program, it would have been legal.

Programs such as Bush's are exactly the reason that FISA was created: to protect Americans from the kinds of governement abuses carried out by the Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon Administrations during the 60's and early 70's. It was passed in 1978 after it came out that the government was spying heavily on whoever they wanted -- on everyone from Jane Fonda to Martin Luther King.

The point was that "No," actually, being at War isn't an excuse to throw the Constitution out the window, in case you were wondering. That part the Founding Fathers wrote about "The right of the people to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures..." -- They meant that. And they meant it *especially* during times of war. Because then, like now, there was always some war going on with someone, somewhere. These rights have to be protected...but...hey, here's this other court -- one set up explicitly for granting these kinds of spying warrants, and quickly. So really, the government can still spy on you if it wants, but not as much as it wants to, willy nilly, and not without having to answer to anyone, ever. (So if you're doing something that *looks* reasonably suspicious, look out!)

And spy they did. Only 5 of the more than 19,000 spy warrants presented to FISA were ever refused. But Bush wanted to spy on even more people. And on people that maybe didn't have any connections to foreigners on the outside - what FISA was initially set up for.

Bush's supporters are also saying that Congress explicitly gave Bush permission to commit these acts under the Joint Resolution passed almost unanimously by Congress in the days immediately following 911, referring to the passage that authorizes the President "To use all necessary and appropriate force against those...planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks..." But we already know that the types of people being spied on in what came to be known as "The Program" went far beyond those directly connected to Al Quaeda or 911.

Here's NOW's take on this story. They let both sides tell there story.

But I think you will agree, after seeing the details for yourself, that it's pretty matter of fact.


I've split it up into 4 pieces. I'm learning to list them all individually now so video RSS readers, such as FireAnt will download the media.

Now The Watchers - Domestic Spying 1 of 4 (11 MB)
Now The Watchers - Domestic Spying 2 of 4 (11 MB)
Now The Watchers - Domestic Spying 3 of 4 (7.3 MB)
Now The Watchers - Domestic Spying 4 of 4 (8.6 MB)

MP3s
Now The Watchers - Domestic Spying 1 of 4 (MP3 6.8 MB)
Now The Watchers - Domestic Spying 2 of 4 (MP3 7.1 MB)
Now The Watchers - Domestic Spying 3 of 4 (MP3 5.2 MB)
Now The Watchers - Domestic Spying 4 of 4 (MP3 6.2 MB)



Posted by Lisa at 05:02 PM
December 18, 2005
Condi Rice: "I am not a lawyer, but..." - Condi Rice On Meet The Press

This is from the December 18, 2005 program of Meet the Press.


Here is a link to MTP Condi Rice video and mp3s Of Her Meet The Press Interview

it's still uploading as of 3:30pm on sunday the 18th. If it's close to then, it's still uploading...

I'm just watching this mornings Meet the Press with Condi Rice. Tim Russert is drilling her accordingly on why G.W. Bush isn't violating the same laws that Nixon violated when he authorized secret wire tapping.

She pauses, struggles with her answer for a moment (although she does get one out) and then she ends it with "I am not a lawyer."

She says it again later. ("Again, Tim, I am not a lawyer.")

Well hey. If you're not a lawyer, I guess there's no need for you to understand it completely.

Even if you are Secretary of State for the United States of America. You have people that handle that for you.

"I'm not going to talk about my role as National Security Advisor ...which of course is not a constitutionally confirmed role."

What does that even mean?

The bottom line is that Bush authorized some wire tapping (without getting a proper warrant) and she knew about it.

I'm way behind on this one guys. I just got here.

But I'll have her interview for ya in a few :-)

Oh wait. this is good:

Tim Russert: "Where in the Constitution does it say the President can eavesdrop, wiretap American citizens, without a court order?"

Condi Rice: "Tim. The President has authorities under FISA, which we are using and using actively. He also has constitutional authorities that derive from his role as Commander in Chief and his need to protect the country. He has acted within his Constitutional authority and within his statutory authority."

Posted by Lisa at 11:47 AM
November 02, 2005
Andy Rooney Gets Heavy - The Military Industrial Complex Has Taken Over The U.S. - Military-Industrial Complex Speech, Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1961

This is from the October 2, 2005 program of
60 Minutes
.

This contains the "Military-Industrial Complex Speech" by Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1961.

Andy Rooney's really a stand up guy! One of the few on television these days to have the courage to tell it like it is.


Video - Andy Rooney On The Military Industrial Complex Taking Over The U.S.
(6 MB)

Audio - Andy Rooney On The Military Industrial Complex Taking Over The U.S.
(MP3 4 MB)

Dwight D. Eisenhower:
"We must guard against the aquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disasterous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist."

Andy: "Well, Ike was right. That's just what's happened."




Complete Transcription:


I'm not really clear about how much a billion dollars is. But the United States, our United States, is spending five billion, six hundred million dollars a month ($5,600,000,000.00) fighting this war in Iraq that we never should have gotten into. We still have 139,000 soldiers in Iraq today. Almost 2,000 Americans have died there. For what?

Now, we have the hurricanes to pay for. One way that our government pays for a lot of things is by borrowing from countries like China. Another way the government is planning on paying for the war and the hurricane damage is by cutting spending for things like medicare perscriptions, highway construction, farm payments, Amtrak, national public radio, loans to graduate students. Do these sound like things you'd like to cut back on to pay for Iraq?

I'll tell you where we ought to start saving, on our bloated military establishment. We're paying for weapons we'll never use. No other country spends the kind of money we spend on our military. Last year, Japan spent $42 billion dollars, Italy spent $28 billion dollars, Russia spent only $19 billion. The United States spent $455 billion. We have 8,000 tanks, for example. One Abrams tank costs 150 times as much as a Ford stationwagon. We have more than 10,000 nuclear weapons. Enough to destroy all of mankind. We're spending $200 million dollars a year on bullets alone. That's a lot of target practice.

We have 1,155,000 enlisted men and women, and 225,000 officers. One officer to tell every five enlisted soldiers what to do. We have 40,000 Colen and 870 generals.

We had a great commander in WWII, Dwight Eisenhower. He became President, and on leaving the White House in 1961 he said this:

"We must guard against the aquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disasterous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist."

Well, Ike was right. That's just what's happened.


The U.S. Spends 455 billion dollars a year on the military.


Posted by Lisa at 10:52 AM
May 14, 2005
Daily Show Clips From May 9, 2005

These clips are from the May 9, 2005 program.

Actually, the blogging clip might be from the 10th. (Sorry.)


Daily Show Clips From May 9, 2005


Mirror of these clips
(Please use it! :-) (thanks Guan!)

another mirror of these clips. (Thanks Matt!)

Metadata that goes with these clips (you can tell which is which from the filenames):

CNN's stupid blogging segments - where people actually just read from blogs verbatim, as if it's news.

A movie about Texas' freaked-out cheerleading censorship law.

Bush's visit to Russia - Putin on 60 minutes. (daily1.mov)

Samantha Bee covers the online gambling craze.

How Arnie's Screwing Over California Educators (and therefore California Education)

The Roadless Area conservation rule that Clinton signed into law before he left, and how the repubs are going about overturning it.

Posted by Lisa at 04:36 PM
April 22, 2005
Powell Gives UN Ambassador Nominee Bolton A Behind The Scenes Thumbs Down

This is the kind of thing that really frustrates me about Colin Powell. Just like his coming out with what's wrong with the Shrub War after the election, instead of during the election, when it could have really helped.

Now he's talking to senators in private about what a loose cannon John Bolton is.

Why can't he come out and say what he knows publicly? He could blow this guy out of the water with two sentances. He could save us from the horrible fate of letting this war monger lead the nation into
WW III.

Some of you will think I'm overreacting, but I truly believe that I am calmly stating one likely possibility. Granted, it's already a possibility, with this administration in power, but it's a far more likely possibility with Bolton as our UN Ambassador.

Powell Plays Behind the Scenes Role in Bolton Debate

By Jim VandeHei and Robin Wright for the Washington Post.
(via
t r u t h o u t
)


Former secretary of state Colin L. Powell is emerging as a behind the scenes player in the battle over John Bolton's nomination to the United Nations, privately telling at least two key Republican lawmakers that Bolton is smart, but a very problematic government official, according to Republican sources.

Powell spoke in recent days with Sens. Lincoln Chafee (R-R.I) and Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), two of three GOP members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who have raised concerns about Bolton's confirmation, the sources said. Powell did not advise the senators to oppose Bolton, but offered a frank assessment of the nominee as a man who was challenging to work with on personnel and policy matters, according to two people familiar with the conversation.

"General Powell has returned calls from senators who wanted to discuss specific questions that have been raised," said Margaret Cifrino, a Powell spokeswoman. "He has not reached out to senators" and considers the discussions private. A Chafee spokesman confirmed that at least two conversations took place. Bolton served under Powell as his undersecretary of state for arms control, and the two were known to have serious clashes.

Powell has stayed out of the confirmation fight in public, but influenced it in direct and indirect ways, according to several Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill. It is not Powell's style to weigh in strongly against a former colleague, but rather direct people to what he sees as flaws and potential problems, they say. Powell's views are highly influential with many Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill.

Those who know Powell best said two recent events provide insight into his thinking. Powell did not sign a letter from seven former US secretaries of state and defense supporting Bolton, and his former chief of staff Lawrence Wilkerson recently told the New York Times that Bolton would be an "abysmal ambassador."

Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A7420-2005Apr21.html

Powell Plays Behind the Scenes Role in Bolton Debate
By Jim VandeHei and Robin Wright
The Washington Post

Friday 22 April 2005

Former secretary of state Colin L. Powell is emerging as a behind the scenes player in the battle over John Bolton's nomination to the United Nations, privately telling at least two key Republican lawmakers that Bolton is smart, but a very problematic government official, according to Republican sources.

Powell spoke in recent days with Sens. Lincoln Chafee (R-R.I) and Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), two of three GOP members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who have raised concerns about Bolton's confirmation, the sources said. Powell did not advise the senators to oppose Bolton, but offered a frank assessment of the nominee as a man who was challenging to work with on personnel and policy matters, according to two people familiar with the conversation.

"General Powell has returned calls from senators who wanted to discuss specific questions that have been raised," said Margaret Cifrino, a Powell spokeswoman. "He has not reached out to senators" and considers the discussions private. A Chafee spokesman confirmed that at least two conversations took place. Bolton served under Powell as his undersecretary of state for arms control, and the two were known to have serious clashes.

Powell has stayed out of the confirmation fight in public, but influenced it in direct and indirect ways, according to several Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill. It is not Powell's style to weigh in strongly against a former colleague, but rather direct people to what he sees as flaws and potential problems, they say. Powell's views are highly influential with many Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill.

Those who know Powell best said two recent events provide insight into his thinking. Powell did not sign a letter from seven former US secretaries of state and defense supporting Bolton, and his former chief of staff Lawrence Wilkerson recently told the New York Times that Bolton would be an "abysmal ambassador."

"On two occasions he has let it be known that the Bolton nomination is a bad one, to put it mildly," said a Democratic congressional aide. "It would be great to have Powell on the record speaking for himself, but he's unlikely to do it.

With a final committee vote delayed until next month, Chafee is studying Bolton's record and withholding judgment, his spokesman said. Chafee told reporters Wednesday he is "much less likely" to support Bolton because of questions about his credibility.

President Bush yesterday accused Democrats of blocking Bolton's nomination to the United Nations for political reasons, as the White House intensified its campaign to confirm Bolton and discredit his critics.

"John's distinguished career and service to our nation demonstrates that he is the right man at the right time for this important assignment," Bush said in a speech to insurance agents. "I urge the Senate to put aside politics and confirm John Bolton to the United Nations."

Yet it was Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) who prevented a final vote in the Senate Foreign Relations committee this week and called for more time to study Bolton's past. "The senator's motives are to do what is best for the American people," said Marcie Ridgway, Voinovich's spokesman. Chafee and Hagel share Voinovich's concerns. Powell called Hagel asking the Nebraska Republican if he should return Chafee's call. Hagel said he should, according to the sources, and be frank.

"I think it's being held up because Democrats oppose John Bolton, oppose him with passion," said Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), when asked if politics were to blame for the delay.

Bush entered the increasingly tense showdown over Bolton's nomination, as both sides are digging in for a tough fight over the confirmation of the next ambassador to the United Nations. Democrats are charging Bolton is an out-of-control bully with a history of berating people he works with and seeking to remove those who disagree with him. The White House is accusing Democrats of using "trumped up" charges to prevent a highly qualified Republican from shaking up the U.N. The committee yesterday failed to agree on whether Bolton should be called before the committee again to answer more questions.

Bolton, who has a reputation as a smart, but gruff, Bush ally, has been accused of mistreating subordinates throughout his career, threatening a female government contractor and misleading members about the handling of classified materials. Initially, Democrats opposed Bolton because of his harsh comments about the UN in the past. But their attack now centers on Bolton's character and tempermant. "I do not believe that's a convincing case," said Lugar.

Former State Department official Carl Ford last week told the committee that in 2002 Bolton sought to remove two intelligence analysts who refused to endorse a speech he was preparing on Cuba's weapons capability.

Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.), the ranking minority member on the committee, last week also released a letter from Melody Townsel, a subcontractor for the US Agency for International Development in Kyrgyzstan, charging Bolton harassed her over work-related matters more than a decade ago. Since then, at least two people have denied Townsel's charges.

Democratic committee sources said Biden and others are opening new lines of inquiry, including looking into a report posted on yesterday's Newsweek website that Bolton twice clashed angrily with former US Ambassador to South Korea Thomas Hubbard. Hubbard, who appointed by Bush, has discussed his concerns about Bolton's credibility with committee members. In addition, Hubbard challenged Bolton's testimony to the committee that he had praised Bolton for a 2003 speech denouncing Kim Jong Il, the leader of North Korea, as a "tyrannical dictator."

Democrats are also trying to corroborate Townsel's testimony, and look into a report posted on the "Washington Note" blog that Bolton may have sought to force out members of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, on which he served, the sources said.

White House officials are moving quickly to address concerns among Republicans. Matt Kirk, the president's liaison to the Senate, grabbed Voinovich shortly after this week's hearing to tell him the White House stood ready to provide him any information he wanted, and the administration followed up with a call to Voinovich's legislative director, according to Republican sources. The White House also helped organize Republicans to speak out in favor of Bolton yesterday and get people who have worked with Bolton in the past to do the same.

Posted by Lisa at 08:18 AM
February 16, 2005
Roosevelt Endorses Shrub Social Security Overhaul From The Grave? -- Keith Olbermann On The Shrub's Revisionist History

The Repubs' latest fabrication is that Roosevelt himself personally endorsed private accounts, and presumably the cuts in benefits that go with them.

According to Roosevelt's grandson, James Roosevelt Jr., who is a former Associate Commissioner on Social Security, the quote was taken completely out of context. Keith Olbermann had him on the show to clear things up. The two of them go over the quote in question with a fine-toothed comb and provide the larger context in which it appears.

(see below for full quote within context)

Even a simple reading of the quote makes it clear that Roosevelt envisioned private accounts in addition to regular benefits, for those who could afford to invest in them, so they would have additional benefits later. (Not as a replacement for the current system.)

Video - Keith Olbermann and Roosevelt's Grandson Call Bush Roosevelt Claim A Fraud
(14 MB)

Audio - Keith Olbermann and Roosevelt's Grandson Call Bush Roosevelt Claim A Fraud
(MP3 - 9 MB)


Transcription:
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, father to the New Deal and, at minimum, mid-wife to the Social Security system, would have endorsed President Bush's plan to partially privatize it. Our third story of the countdown, that is the claim anyway of at least three conservative commentators and several Republican congressman, but it turns out, those guys pretty much just made it up...


At the risk of doing a little too much reading, just to put it on the historical record, let me read the entire quote from which those quotes were pulled (portion of quote misused by Brit Hume and others is in italics):

"In the important field of security for our old people, it seems necessary to adopt three principles. First, non-contributory old age pensions for those who are now too old to build up their own insurance. It is of course clear that perhaps 30 years to come funds will have to be provided by the States and the Federal Government to meet these pensions. Second, compulsory contributory annuities which in time will establish a self-supporting system for those now young and for future generations. Third, voluntary contributory annuities by which individual initiative can increase the annual amount received in old age. It is proposed that the Federal Government assume one-half of the cost of the old-age pension plan, which ought ultimately to be supplanted by self-supported annuity plans."

Posted by Lisa at 07:44 PM
February 06, 2005
Joe Klein On The Daily Show - The Shrub's Social Security Plan Explained


This is from the February 3, 2005 program.

In this clip, Time magazine's Joe Klein talks about the State of the Union address and the truth behind the Shrub's Social Security overhaul: it's all about benefit cuts, not increased payments due to shrewd investment of private accounts.

Joe Klein On The Daily Show (Small - 12 MB)

Audio of Joe Klein On The Daily Show
(MP3 - 8 MB)


Joe Klein:

Here's the cool thing about Social Security. Yesterday, before the speech, the White House explains it the "torters," the private investment accounts, and here's the way it works:

You put your money in your own private investment account. And then, when it's time for you to retire, you give a whole lot of it back to the government so that they can dribble out little benefits to you that are the equivalent of Social Security as it now stands.

Jon Stewart:

That's really what this plan is?

Joe Klein:

If you make more than a designated amount, you might get a little bit extra. Yes.

Jon Stewart:

That's it?

Joe Klein:

It's an annuity.

Jon Stewart:

But here's what I don't understand...

Joe Klein:

It's really remarkable.

Jon Stewart:

But how does that save Social Security? Because the government still has to dish out the same amount of money, no?

Joe Klein:

Well, they're going to lower our benefits it was they're gonna actually do, and the President said he would last night.

Posted by Lisa at 01:48 PM
Shrub Prepares To Cut Funding To Those That Need It Most


Bush to Propose Billions in Cuts

Farm subsidies and food stamps are among the targets in the 2006 budget plan, to be sent to Congress on Monday. Opposition is building.
By Joel Havemann and Mary Curtius For The LA Times.


President Bush will propose a 2006 budget Monday that, despite record spending of about $2.5 trillion, will call for billions of dollars in cuts that will touch people on food stamps and farmers on price supports, children under Medicaid and adults in public housing...

In addition to the cuts proposed in the 2006 budget, Bush is expected to ask Congress to approve in principle many billions of dollars in additional, unspecified cuts...

The lower-income Americans who benefit from food stamps and Medicaid do not typically provide the Republican Party with many votes or campaign contributions.

The proposed budget will give states less flexibility to include working poor families with children as beneficiaries, sources said.

Here is the full text of the entire article in case the link goes bad:

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-cuts6feb06,0,5530657.story?coll=la-home-headlines

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2005/020605Y.shtml

Bush to Propose Billions in Cuts
By Joel Havemann and Mary Curtius
The Los Angeles Times

Sunday 06 February 2005

WASHINGTON - President Bush will propose a 2006 budget Monday that, despite record spending of about $2.5 trillion, will call for billions of dollars in cuts that will touch people on food stamps and farmers on price supports, children under Medicaid and adults in public housing.

Even before the budget is officially sent to Congress on Monday, resistance to Bush's proposals was welling up Saturday from interest groups that benefit from federal aid and from the members of Congress who represent them.

Powerful agricultural interests were among the first to label Bush's proposed budget cuts as unfair and shortsighted. Farmers receive about $15 billion annually in federal farm program payments to help produce major commodities, including corn, cotton, rice and wheat.

California farmers could end up bearing a disproportionate share of the burden if the cuts in crop subsidies were enacted, said economist Daniel Sumner. "Rice and cotton are very important to this state," said Sumner, who is director of the Agricultural Issues Center at UC Davis.

The cuts are being proposed as the president is striving to keep a campaign promise to rein in government spending and halve the federal deficit in five years. The deficit has soared since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the subsequent war on terrorism - and as revenue has fallen as the economy has slowed and tax cuts have taken effect.

In addition to the cuts proposed in the 2006 budget, Bush is expected to ask Congress to approve in principle many billions of dollars in additional, unspecified cuts.

Bush has seemed to challenge congressional Republicans and Democrats to make the tough choices necessary to achieve the deficit reductions that members on both sides of the aisle have called for recently.

"I welcome the bipartisan calls to control the spending appetite of the federal government," he said Saturday in his weekly radio address. "On Monday, my administration will submit a budget that holds the growth of discretionary spending below inflation."

Deficit hawks outside the government welcomed Bush's tone but warned that members of Congress would fight to maintain spending for programs popular with their voters.

"It's going to be a tight budget," said Robert Bixby, executive director of the Concord Coalition, a budget watchdog group that lobbies for smaller deficits. "That doesn't mean it's going to be a realistic budget."

Bush's budget will cut "where the money is," Bixby said Saturday, "but it's also where the resistance is."

The lower-income Americans who benefit from food stamps and Medicaid do not typically provide the Republican Party with many votes or campaign contributions.

The proposed budget will give states less flexibility to include working poor families with children as beneficiaries, sources said.

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) said he was willing to trim farm subsidies if other programs suffered proportionately.

"But if they try to single out the farm bill," Chambliss told reporters on Capitol Hill last week, "then we are going to have one heck of a fight."

The administration will propose a 5% across-the-board cut in price supports for crops and a reduction from $360,000 to $250,000 in the annual cap on subsidies that farmers can receive.

Under the current system, some farmers evade the limit by dividing farms into several separate corporate entities, a practice that the budget also will seek to eliminate.

A Senate Agriculture Committee aide, saying evasion of the cap was extremely rare, argued that farmers needed the safety net of federal aid for the years when they could not sell their crops for the cost of producing them.

In a letter Thursday to Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns, a coalition of more than 100 organizations led by the American Farm Bureau Federation, said that Congress, in the 2002 bill that authorized farm subsidies for seven more years, had already cut subsidies by $4 billion a year by imposing the $360,000 cap.

"A budget that requires further cuts or structural weakening in these important programs will put at risk the promising environmental benefits of the bill and the nutritional health of some of the poorest populations in our country," the letter said.

In California, 1.5 metric tons of rice is grown a year, second only to Arkansas, said Tim Johnson, chief executive of the California Rice Commission, which has about 1,500 farmer members. Approximately 600,000 acres of farmland in the state were planted in rice in 2004.

"It's not just farmers that benefit - rice plays an important role in the economy of California," Johnson said. "We are an important export crop - about 40% of what's produced in the state is exported to Japan, Korea, Taiwan and other countries."

Daren Coppock, chief executive of the National Assn. of Wheat Growers, said the budget must not be balanced on the backs of farmers. Referring to the $360,000 maximum payment, he said: "If they change it now, that's not terribly helpful to those who made purchasing decisions over a seven-year planning period.

"The other thing to remember: The president always proposes, but Congress writes it and puts it into law," Coppock said. "There is a lot of work to be done and a lot of people to be heard from before this gets finished."

Rumors of the proposed farm subsidy cuts had been widely circulating in Washington for days before officials at the Department of Agriculture confirmed them in a background briefing to reporters. But the food stamp cut, expected to be about $1 billion in a $32-billion program, received less notice.

States must provide food stamps to people on cash welfare. But this is a much smaller population since Congress overhauled welfare in 1976.

A larger number of people now receive federal job-related aid, such as child care for working women with small children. The budget, sources said, gives states less flexibility to provide food stamps to these working poor people.

The nation's governors can be expected to lead the opposition to this proposal, just as they fought a 2003 proposal to cut their federal Medicaid support in return for greater flexibility in administering the program.

Administration officials made public Friday their proposal for increasing access to health insurance, and critics said they expected the budget itself to make another try at giving more flexibility and fewer dollars.

As announced Friday, the administration said it could save $60 billion in Medicaid over 10 years without service cuts. About $40 billion would come from changes in the way Washington pays the states for Medicaid services. The administration says states are gaming the Medicaid program by unfairly inflating costs.

Amid the welter of spending cuts, a few domestic programs were singled out for increases. Among them: community health clinics and aid to schools in low-income neighborhoods - although those schools are slated for a smaller increase than Bush proposed last year.

The budget also will seek $3 billion for the Millennium Challenge Account, the president's signature effort to help poor countries boost their economic growth. That is $500 million more than was sought for 2005 - but $2 billion less than was promised last year for 2006.

And the budget would expand Pell grants, which help the lowest-income students attend college, at the expense of the Perkins loan program for low- and middle-income college students. The $6-billion loan program would be eliminated.

Eighteen housing and community development programs would be consolidated and cut by about 40% to a total of $3.7 billion.

The budget also proposes eliminating federal subsidies for Amtrak, the national passenger rail carrier. Subsidies totaled $1.2 billion this year.

Posted by Lisa at 01:03 PM
January 21, 2005
Daily Show Covers The Inauguration

This is from the January 20, 2005 program.

These guys are starting to cover real news in a timely manner.

Jon calls out the fact that, in his acceptance speech, the shrub uses the word "freedom" 27 times and "liberty" 15 times.


Daily Show On The Shrub's Inauguration Speech

(Small - 9 MB)


Daily Show On The Shrub's Inauguration Speech

(MP3 - 6 MB)

Posted by Lisa at 06:48 PM
November 14, 2004
Newsday Editorial On The Shrub's Judicial Strategy To Overturn Roe v. Wade


ROE V. WADE AT CROSSROADS: Abortion foes are just one Supreme Court justice away from victory

In Newsweek.


Anyone who thinks abortion rights aren't in serious jeopardy should consider the plight of Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania.

Specter has been a Republican for 40 years. He's in line to become chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee in January. He has voted to confirm every single one of President George W. Bush's judicial nominees. Despite that record, angry conservatives are determined to block his rise to chairman. Why?

Because Specter supports abortion rights. And because he had the temerity to state the obvious: That Bush would have trouble winning Senate confirmation of any Supreme Court nominee who is notoriously anti-abortion rights. That's a simple mathematical fact.

It takes only 51 of 100 Senate votes to confirm a judicial nominee. But it takes 60 votes to cut off debate and move to a confirmation vote. Come January, there will be 55 Republicans in the Senate. Do the math. That's not enough to derail a determined Democratic filibuster. Specter said he was alluding to that numerical reality when he made the remark that has haunted him all week.

But conservative foes of abortion rights have been emboldened by the perception that they provided Bush's margin of victory Nov. 2. They aren't of a mind to tolerate even the barest hint of resistance to their agenda, which is reversal of Roe v. Wade. That would be a tragedy. It would strip women of the right to control their bodies and turn the clock back to the grisly days of back-alley abortions.

Bush has a choice to make. Option 1: He could opt for polarizing political warfare by nominating anti-abortion absolutists for the top court. He could push for a change in Senate filibuster rules to deprive Democrats of that time-honored tactic and rely on raw political power to beat back all opposition. Option 2: Do what he promised during the campaign - impose no abortion litmus test for judicial candidates, while nominating people who will strictly interpret the Constitution rather than legislating from the bench. That's the better course...

Replacing Rehnquist, a solid vote against abortion rights, isn't likely to alter the court balance. But that balance could tip decisively should any one of the abortion-rights supporters leave the bench. That includes Justices John Paul Stevens, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, as well as swing voters David Souter, Sandra Day O'Connor and Anthony Kennedy, whose positions on abortion are less black and white.

The nation may be approaching a legal sea change that could end or sharply curtail a woman's right to abortion. But change that profound should be approached through reasoned debate, not a political beat-down.

Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:

http://www.newsday.com/news/opinion/ny-vproe134040507nov13,0,6398338.story?coll=ny-editorials-headlines

Abortion foes are just one Supreme Court justice away from victory

Email this story
Printer friendly format

November 13, 2004

Anyone who thinks abortion rights aren't in serious jeopardy should consider the plight of Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania.

Specter has been a Republican for 40 years. He's in line to become chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee in January. He has voted to confirm every single one of President George W. Bush's judicial nominees. Despite that record, angry conservatives are determined to block his rise to chairman. Why?

Because Specter supports abortion rights. And because he had the temerity to state the obvious: That Bush would have trouble winning Senate confirmation of any Supreme Court nominee who is notoriously anti-abortion rights. That's a simple mathematical fact.

It takes only 51 of 100 Senate votes to confirm a judicial nominee. But it takes 60 votes to cut off debate and move to a confirmation vote. Come January, there will be 55 Republicans in the Senate. Do the math. That's not enough to derail a determined Democratic filibuster. Specter said he was alluding to that numerical reality when he made the remark that has haunted him all week.

But conservative foes of abortion rights have been emboldened by the perception that they provided Bush's margin of victory Nov. 2. They aren't of a mind to tolerate even the barest hint of resistance to their agenda, which is reversal of Roe v. Wade. That would be a tragedy. It would strip women of the right to control their bodies and turn the clock back to the grisly days of back-alley abortions.

Bush has a choice to make. Option 1: He could opt for polarizing political warfare by nominating anti-abortion absolutists for the top court. He could push for a change in Senate filibuster rules to deprive Democrats of that time-honored tactic and rely on raw political power to beat back all opposition. Option 2: Do what he promised during the campaign - impose no abortion litmus test for judicial candidates, while nominating people who will strictly interpret the Constitution rather than legislating from the bench. That's the better course.

Partisan warfare over the abortion positions of Supreme Court nominees would inflame the country's political division and undermine public confidence in the independence of the judicial system.

Bush has the right to nominate people who share his political views. But he should engage Democrats in the process in search of nominees acceptable to both sides. Democrats have blocked 10 of his lower court picks, employing the filibuster as their weapon of choice. But Bush is in the driver's seat. The Senate confirmed more than 200 of his judicial nominees, many of whom share his anti-abortion convictions.

Anti-abortion forces won't like a less confrontational approach because they're just one justice away from achieving their objective. Roe v. Wade, which established a constitutional right to abortion, commanded a 7 to 2 majority in 1973. More recent abortion decisions have seen that majority slip to 5 to 4. There are no immediate Supreme Court vacancies. There haven't been any for a decade. But the court is aging and Chief Justice William Rehnquist was recently diagnosed with thyroid cancer. There will probably be one or more spots to fill in the next four years.

Replacing Rehnquist, a solid vote against abortion rights, isn't likely to alter the court balance. But that balance could tip decisively should any one of the abortion-rights supporters leave the bench. That includes Justices John Paul Stevens, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, as well as swing voters David Souter, Sandra Day O'Connor and Anthony Kennedy, whose positions on abortion are less black and white.

The nation may be approaching a legal sea change that could end or sharply curtail a woman's right to abortion. But change that profound should be approached through reasoned debate, not a political beat-down.

Posted by Lisa at 05:30 PM
November 11, 2004
Karl Rove On Meet The Press

This is from the November 7, 2004 program.

Karl Rove On Meet The Press (Parts 1-3)
(19 MB, 18 MB, 9 MB)

Posted by Lisa at 01:50 PM
November 08, 2004
Shrub On The Next Four Years Of Bloodshed Abroad And Economic Hardship/Loss Of Loved Ones Here At Home: "Gosh, We're Going To Have A Lot Of Fun"

I found the "Political Capital" Shrub speech I and others were looking for (Thanks Hetty).

There are Windows and Real clips available, but nothing you can download.

I'd still prefer a copy from one of you so keep looking everybody, ok?

There's also a transcription available ("More" below).

It's even more frightening to read it in print.

Apparently, he's enjoying himself madly. (Emphasis on madly.)

How can he laugh and crack jokes when he's going Roman on Fallujah, killing thousands of innocents, and sending 10,000 of our troops to their death in the process?

He's also decided that our "Free Press" only needs to have one question answered at a time now.

He also hasn't bothered to figure out how much the war will cost, or how many troops it's going to take to do the job.

Incredible that he hasn't felt the need to do President work while campaigning while we're casually at War on the other side of the globe. The War's like a back drop to him. Like "Made In America."

He's also lying about when he says that he hasn't heard from anyone in the army that they need more troops. They've been saying that since before we made our first attack. The estimates were 200-300,000 soldiers would be needed to do the jjob. (It's all in the Rumsfeld's War program on PBS's Frontline.


Q Would you like it? Now that the political volatility is off the issue because the election is over, I'd like to ask you about troop levels in Iraq in the next couple of months leading up to elections. The Pentagon already has a plan to extend tours of duty for some 6,500 U.S. troops. How many more will be needed to provide security in Iraq for elections, seeing as how the Iraqi troops that you're trying to train up are pretty slow coming on line?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, first of all, the -- we are making good progress in training the Iraqi troops. There will be 125,000 of them trained by election time. Secondly, I have yet to -- I have not sat down with our Secretary of Defense talking about troop levels. I read some reports during the course of the campaign where some were speculating in the press corps about the number of troops needed to protect elections. That has not been brought to my attention yet.

And so I would caution you that what you have either read about or reported was pure speculation thus far. These elections are important, and we will respond, John, to requests of our commanders on the ground. And I have yet to hear from our commanders on the ground that they need more troops...

Q Do you feel more free, sir?

THE PRESIDENT: Oh, in terms of feeling free, well, I don't think you'll let me be too free. There's accountability and there are constraints on the presidency, as there should be in any system. I feel -- I feel it is necessary to move an agenda that I told the American people I would move. Something refreshing about coming off an election, even more refreshing since we all got some sleep last night, but there's -- you go out and you make your case, and you tell the people this is what I intend to do. And after hundreds of speeches and three debates and interviews and the whole process, where you keep basically saying the same thing over and over again, that when you win, there is a feeling that the people have spoken and embraced your point of view, and that's what I intend to tell the Congress, that I made it clear what I intend to do as the President, now let's work to -- and the people made it clear what they wanted, now let's work together.

And it's one of the wonderful -- it's like earning capital. You asked, do I feel free. Let me put it to you this way: I earned capital in the campaign, political capital, and now I intend to spend it. It is my style. That's what happened in the -- after the 2000 election, I earned some capital. I've earned capital in this election -- and I'm going to spend it for what I told the people I'd spend it on, which is -- you've heard the agenda: Social Security and tax reform, moving this economy forward, education, fighting and winning the war on terror...

Listen, thank you all. I look forward to working with you. I've got a question for you. How many of you are going to be here for a second term? Please raise your hand. (Laughter.)

Good. Gosh, we're going to have a lot of fun, then. Thank you all.

Here is the full text of the webpage in case the administration decides to alter it in the future:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/11/20041104-5.html

President Holds Press Conference

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President's Remarks
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President George W. Bush holds a press conference in the Dwight D. Eisenhower Executive Office Building Thursday, Nov. 4, 2004. White House photo by Tina Hager. 11:17 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all. Please be seated. Yesterday I pledged to reach out to the whole nation, and today I'm proving that I'm willing to reach out to everybody by including the White House press corps.

This week the voters of America set the direction of our nation for the next four years. I'm honored by the support of my fellow citizens, and I'm ready for the job.

We are fighting a continuing war on terror, and every American has a stake in the outcome of this war. Republicans, Democrats and independents all love our country, and together we'll protect the American people. We will preserve -- we will persevere until the enemy is defeated. We will stay strong and resolute. We have a duty, a solemn duty to protect the American people, and we will.

Every civilized country also has a stake in the outcome of this war. Whatever our past disagreements, we share a common enemy. And we have common duties: to protect our peoples, to confront disease and hunger and poverty in troubled regions of the world. I'll continue to reach out to our friends and allies, our partners in the EU and NATO, to promote development and progress, to defeat the terrorists and to encourage freedom and democracy as alternatives to tyranny and terror.

I also look forward to working with the present Congress and the new Congress that will arrive in January. I congratulate the men and women who have just been elected to the House and the Senate. I will join with old friends and new friends to make progress for all Americans.

Congress will return later this month to finish this current session. I urge members to pass the appropriations bill that remain, showing spending discipline while focusing on our nation's priorities. Our government also needs the very best intelligence, especially in a time of war. So I urge the Congress to pass an effective intelligence reform bill that I can sign into law.

The new Congress that begins its work next year will have serious responsibilities and historic opportunities. To accelerate the momentum of this economy and to keep creating jobs, we must take practical measures to help our job creators, the entrepreneurs and the small business owners. We must confront the frivolous lawsuits that are driving up the cost of health care and hurting doctors and patients. We must continue the work of education reform, to bring high standards and accountability not just to our elementary and secondary schools, but to our high schools, as well.

We must reform our complicated and outdated tax code. We need to get rid of the needless paperwork that makes our economy -- that is a drag on our economy, to make sure our economy is the most competitive in the world.

We must show our leadership by strengthening Social Security for our children and our grandchildren. This is more than a problem to be solved; it is an opportunity to help millions of our fellow citizens find security and independence that comes from owning something, from ownership.

In the election of 2004, large issues were set before our country. They were discussed every day on the campaign. With the campaign over, Americans are expecting a bipartisan effort and results. I'll reach out to everyone who shares our goals. And I'm eager to start the work ahead. I'm looking forward to serving this country for four more years.

I want to thank you all for your hard work in the campaign. I told you that the other day, and you probably thought I was just seeking votes. (Laughter.) But now that you voted, I really meant it. I appreciate the hard work of the press corps. We all put in long hours, and you're away from your families for a long period of time. But the country is better off when we have a vigorous and free press covering our elections. And thanks for your work. Without over-pandering, I'll answer a few questions. (Laughter.)

Hunt.

Q Mr. President -- thank you. As you look at your second term, how much is the war in Iraq going to cost? Do you intend to send more troops, or bring troops home? And in the Middle East, more broadly, do you agree with Tony Blair that revitalizing the Middle East peace process is the single most pressing political issue facing the world?

THE PRESIDENT: Now that I've got the will of the people at my back, I'm going to start enforcing the one-question rule. That was three questions. (Laughter.)

I'll start with Tony Blair's comments. I agree with him that the Middle East peace is a very important part of a peaceful world. I have been working on Middle Eastern peace ever since I've been the President. I've laid down some -- a very hopeful strategy on -- in June of 2002, and my hope is that we will make good progress. I think it's very important for our friends, the Israelis, to have a peaceful Palestinian state living on their border. And it's very important for the Palestinian people to have a peaceful, hopeful future. That's why I articulated a two-state vision in that Rose Garden speech. I meant it when I said it and I mean it now.

What was the other part of your question?

Q Iraq.

THE PRESIDENT: Oh, Iraq, yes. Listen, we will work with the Allawi government to achieve our objective, which is elections, on the path to stability, and we'll continue to train the troops. Our commanders will have that which they need to complete their missions.

And in terms of the cost, I -- we'll work with OMB and the Defense Department to bring forth to Congress a realistic assessment of what the cost will be.

Q Thank you, Mr. President. How will you go about bringing people together? Will you seek a consensus candidate for the Supreme Court if there's an opening? Will you bring some Democrats into your Cabinet?

THE PRESIDENT: Again, he violated the one-question rule right off the bat. Obviously, you didn't listen to the will of the people. But, first of all, there's no vacancy for the Supreme Court, and I will deal with a vacancy when there is one. And I told the people on the campaign trail that I'll pick somebody who knows the difference between personal opinion and the strict interpretation of the law. You might have heard that several times. I meant what I said. And if people are interested in knowing the kind of judges I'll pick, look at the record. I've sent up a lot of judges, well-qualified people who know the law, who represent a judicial temperament that I agree with and who are qualified to hold the bench.

The second part of your two-part question?

Q Any Democrats to your Cabinet, by any chance?

THE PRESIDENT: I haven't made any decisions on the Cabinet, yet.

Q How else will you bring people together?

THE PRESIDENT: We'll put out an agenda that everybody understands and work with people to achieve the agenda. Democrats want a free and peaceful world, and we'll -- and right away, right after September the 11th we worked very closely together to secure our country. There is a common ground to be had when it comes to a foreign policy that says the most important objective is to protect the American people and spread freedom and democracy. It's common ground when it comes to making sure the intelligence services are able to provide good, actionable intelligence to protect our people. It's not a Republican issue, it's a Republican and Democrat issue. So I'm -- plenty of places for us to work together.

All right, Gregory.

Q Thank you, Mr. President. On foreign policy, more broadly, do you believe that America has an image problem in the world right now, because of your efforts and response to the 9/11 attacks? And, as you talked down the stretch about building alliances, talk about what you'll do to build on those alliances and to deal with these image problems, particularly in the Islamic world.

THE PRESIDENT: I appreciate that. Listen, I've made some very hard decisions: decisions to protect ourselves, decisions to spread peace and freedom. And I understand in certain capitals and certain countries, those decisions were not popular.

You know, you said -- you asked me to put that in the context of the response on September the 11th. The first response, of course, was chasing down the terror networks, which we will continue to do. And we've got great response around the world in order to do that. There's over 90 nations involved with sharing information, finding terrorists and bringing them to justice. That is a broad coalition, and we'll continue to strengthen it.

I laid out a doctrine, David, that said if you harbor terrorists, you're equally as guilty as the terrorists, and that doctrine was ignored by the Taliban, and we removed the Taliban. And I fully understand some people didn't agree with that decision. But I believe that when the American President speaks, he'd better mean what he says in order to keep the world peaceful. And I believe we have a solemn duty, whether or not people agree with it or not, to protect the American people. And the Taliban and their harboring of al Qaeda represented a direct threat to the American people.

And, of course, then the Iraq issue is one that people disagreed with. And there's no need to rehash my case, but I did so, I made the decision I made, in order to protect our country, first and foremost. I will continue to do that as the President. But as I do so, I will reach out to others and explain why I make the decisions I make.

There is a certain attitude in the world, by some, that says that it's a waste of time to try to promote free societies in parts of the world. I've heard that criticism. Remember, I went to London to talk about our vision of spreading freedom throughout the greater Middle East. And I fully understand that that might rankle some, and be viewed by some as folly. I just strongly disagree with those who do not see the wisdom of trying to promote free societies around the world.

If we are interested in protecting our country for the long-term, the best way to do so is to promote freedom and democracy. And I -- I simply do not agree with those who either say overtly or believe that certain societies cannot be free. It's just not a part of my thinking. And that's why during the course of the campaign, I was -- I believe I was able to connect, at least with those who were there, in explaining my policy, when I talked about the free election in Afghanistan.

There were -- there was doubt about whether or not those elections would go forward. I'm not suggesting any of you here expressed skepticism. But there was. There was deep skepticism, and -- because there is a attitude among some that certain people may never be free -- they just don't long to be free or incapable of running an election. And I disagree with that. And the Afghan people, by going to the polls in the millions, proved -- proved that this administration's faith in freedom to change peoples' habits is worthy. And that will be a central part of my foreign policy. And I've got work to do to explain to people about why that is a central part of our foreign policy. I've been doing that for four years.

But if you do not believe people can be free and can self-govern, then all of a sudden the two-state solution in the Middle East becomes a moot point, invalid. If you're willing to condemn a group of people to a system of government that hasn't worked, then you'll never be able to achieve the peace. You cannot lead this world and our country to a better tomorrow unless you see a better -- if you have a vision of a better tomorrow. And I've got one, based upon a great faith that people do want to be free and live in democracy.

John, and then I'll get to Terry. No follow-ups today, Gregory.

Q Thank you, sir.

THE PRESIDENT: I can see one -- yes.

Q Would you like it? Now that the political volatility is off the issue because the election is over, I'd like to ask you about troop levels in Iraq in the next couple of months leading up to elections. The Pentagon already has a plan to extend tours of duty for some 6,500 U.S. troops. How many more will be needed to provide security in Iraq for elections, seeing as how the Iraqi troops that you're trying to train up are pretty slow coming on line?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, first of all, the -- we are making good progress in training the Iraqi troops. There will be 125,000 of them trained by election time. Secondly, I have yet to -- I have not sat down with our Secretary of Defense talking about troop levels. I read some reports during the course of the campaign where some were speculating in the press corps about the number of troops needed to protect elections. That has not been brought to my attention yet.

And so I would caution you that what you have either read about or reported was pure speculation thus far. These elections are important, and we will respond, John, to requests of our commanders on the ground. And I have yet to hear from our commanders on the ground that they need more troops.

Terry.

Q Mr. President, your victory at the polls came about in part because of strong support from people of faith, in particular, Christian evangelicals and Pentecostals and others. And Senator Kerry drew some of his strongest support from those who do not attend religious services. What do you make of this religious divide, it seems, becoming a political divide in this country? And what do you say to those who are concerned about the role of a faith they do not share in public life and in your policies?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, my answer to people is, I will be your President regardless of your faith, and I don't expect you to agree with me necessarily on religion. As a matter of fact, no President should ever try to impose religion on our society.

A great -- the great tradition of America is one where people can worship the way they want to worship. And if they choose not to worship, they're just as patriotic as your neighbor. That is an essential part of why we are a great nation. And I am glad people of faith voted in this election. I'm glad -- I appreciate all people who voted. I don't think you ought to read anything into the politics, the moment, about whether or not this nation will become a divided nation over religion. I think the great thing that unites is the fact you can worship freely if you choose, and if you -- you don't have to worship. And if you're a Jew or a Christian or a Muslim, you're equally American. That is -- that is such a wonderful aspect of our society; and it is strong today and it will be strong tomorrow.

Jim.

Q Thank you, sir. Mr. President, you talked once again this morning about private accounts in Social Security. During the campaign you were accused of planning to privatize the entire system. It has been something you've discussed for some time. You've lost some of the key Democratic proponents, such as Pat Moynihan and Bob Kerrey in the Congress. How will you proceed now with one of the key problems, which is the transition cost -- which some say is as much as $2 trillion -- how will you proceed on that? And how soon?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, first, I made Social Security an issue -- for those of you who had to suffer through my speeches on a daily basis; for those of you who actually listened to my speeches on a daily basis -- you might remember, every speech I talked about the duty of an American President to lead. And we have -- we must lead on Social Security because the system is not going to be whole for our children and our grandchildren.

And so the answer to your second question is, we'll start on Social Security now. We'll start bringing together those in Congress who agree with my assessment that we need to work together. We've got a good blueprint, a good go-by. You mentioned Senator Moynihan. I had asked him prior to his -- to his passing, to chair a committee of notable Americans to come up with some ideas on Social Security. And they did so. And it's a good place for members of Congress to start.

The President must have the will to take on the issue -- not only in the campaign, but now that I'm elected. And this will -- reforming Social Security will be a priority of my administration. Obviously, if it were easy it would have already been done. And this is going to be hard work to bring people together and to make -- to convince the Congress to move forward. And there are going to be costs. But the cost of doing nothing is insignificant to -- is much greater than the cost of reforming the system today. That was the case I made on the campaign trail, and I was earnest about getting something done. And as a matter of fact, I talked to members of my staff today, as we're beginning to plan to -- the strategy to move agendas forward about how to do this and do it effectively.

Q If I could, Mr. President --

THE PRESIDENT: Yes -- no, no, you're violating the follow-up rule. It would hurt Gregory's feelings. King.

It's a new --

Q Mr. President, thank you.

Q That's always one of my concerns.

THE PRESIDENT: Hurting Gregory's feelings? He is a sensitive guy. Well centered, though. (Laughter.)

Q I'm not going there. Mr. President, you were disappointed, even angry 12 years ago when the voters denied your father a second term. I'm interested in your thoughts and the conversation with him yesterday as you were walking to the Oval Office, and also whether you feel more free to do any one thing in a second term that perhaps you were politically constrained from doing in a first.

THE PRESIDENT: At 3:30 a.m. in the morning on, I guess, it was the day after the election, he was sitting upstairs, and I finally said, go to bed. He was awaiting the outcome and was hopeful that we would go over and be able to talk to our supporters, and it just didn't happen that way.

So I asked him the next morning when he got up, I said, come by the Oval Office and visit. And he came by and we had a good talk. He was heading down to Houston. And it was -- there was some uncertainty about that morning as to when the election would actually end. And it wasn't clear at that point in time, so I never got to see him face-to-face to watch his, I guess, pride in his tired eyes as his son got a second term.

I did talk to him and he was relieved. I told him to get a nap. I was worried about him staying up too late.

But -- so I haven't had a chance to really visit and embrace. And you're right, '92 was a disappointment. But he taught me a really good lesson, that life moves on. And it's very important for those of us in the political arena, win or lose, to recognize that life is bigger than just politics, and that's one of the really good lessons he taught me.

Q Do you feel more free, sir?

THE PRESIDENT: Oh, in terms of feeling free, well, I don't think you'll let me be too free. There's accountability and there are constraints on the presidency, as there should be in any system. I feel -- I feel it is necessary to move an agenda that I told the American people I would move. Something refreshing about coming off an election, even more refreshing since we all got some sleep last night, but there's -- you go out and you make your case, and you tell the people this is what I intend to do. And after hundreds of speeches and three debates and interviews and the whole process, where you keep basically saying the same thing over and over again, that when you win, there is a feeling that the people have spoken and embraced your point of view, and that's what I intend to tell the Congress, that I made it clear what I intend to do as the President, now let's work to -- and the people made it clear what they wanted, now let's work together.

And it's one of the wonderful -- it's like earning capital. You asked, do I feel free. Let me put it to you this way: I earned capital in the campaign, political capital, and now I intend to spend it. It is my style. That's what happened in the -- after the 2000 election, I earned some capital. I've earned capital in this election -- and I'm going to spend it for what I told the people I'd spend it on, which is -- you've heard the agenda: Social Security and tax reform, moving this economy forward, education, fighting and winning the war on terror.

We have an obligation in this country to continue to work with nations to help alleve poverty and disease. We will continue to press forward on the HIV/AIDS initiative, the Millennium Challenge Account. We will continue to do our duty to help feed the hungry. And I'm looking forward to it, I really am.

It's been a -- it's been a fantastic experience campaigning the country. You've seen it from one -- perspective, I've seen it from another. I saw you standing there at the last, final rally in Texas, to my right over there. I was observing you observe, and you saw the energy. And there was just something uplifting about people showing up at 11:00 p.m. at night, expressing their support and their prayers and their friendship. It's a marvelous experience to campaign across the country.

Mike.

Q Mr. President -- thank you, Mr. President. Do you plan to reshape your Cabinet for the second term, or will any changes come at the instigation of individuals? And as part of the same question, may I ask you what you've learned about Cabinet government, what works, what doesn't work? And do you mind also addressing the same question about the White House staff? (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: The post-election euphoria did not last very long here at the press conference. (Laughter.)

Let me talk about the people that have worked with me. I had a Cabinet meeting today and I thanked them for their service to the country and reminded them we've got a job to do and I expected them to do the job.

I have made no decisions on my Cabinet and/or White House staff. I am mindful that working in the White House is really -- is exhausting work. The people who you try to get to leak to you spend hours away from their families, and it is -- the word "burnout" is oftentimes used in the -- in Washington, and it's used for a reason, because people do burn out.

And so obviously, in terms of those who are -- who want to stay on and who I want to stay on, I've got to make sure that it's right for their families and that they're comfortable, because when they come to work here in the White House, I expect them to work as hard as they possibly can on behalf of the American people.

In the Cabinet, there will be some changes. I don't know who they will be. It's inevitable there will be changes. It happens in every administration. To a person, I am proud of the work they have done. And I fully understand we're about to head into the period of intense speculation as to who's going to stay and who's not going to stay, and I assured them that -- today I warned them of the speculative period. I said, it's a great Washington sport to be talking about who's going to leave and who their replacements may be, and handicapping, you know, my way of thinking.

I'll just give you -- but let me just help you out with the speculation right now. I haven't thought about it. I'm going to start thinking about it. I'm going to Camp David this afternoon with Laura, and I'll begin the process of thinking about the Cabinet and the White House staff. And we'll let you know at the appropriate time when decisions have been made. And so, nice try, Mike.

Yes, Ed, and then --

Q What you learned --

THE PRESIDENT: Learned and not learned about the Cabinet?

Q What works, what doesn't.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, well, first I've learned that I put together a really good Cabinet. I'm very proud of the people that have served this government, and they -- to a man and a woman, worked their hearts out for the American people. And I've learned that you've got to continue to surround yourself with good people. This is a job that requires crisp decision-making, and therefore, in order for me to make decisions, I've got to have people who bring their point of view into the Oval Office and are willing to say it.

I always jest to people, the Oval Office is the kind of place where people stand outside, they're getting ready to come in and tell me what for, and they walk in and get overwhelmed in the atmosphere, and they say, man, you're looking pretty. And therefore, you need people to walk in on those days when you're not looking so good and saying, you're not looking so good, Mr. President. And I've got -- those are the kind of people that served our country.

We've had vigorous debates, which you all, during the last four years, took great delight in reporting, differences of opinion. But that's what you want if you're the Commander-in-Chief and a decision-maker. You want people to walk in and say, I don't agree with this, or I do agree with that, and here's what my recommendation is. But the President also has to learn to decide. You take, you know -- there's ample time for the debate to take place, and then decide and make up your mind and lead. That's what the job's all about.

And so I have learned how important it is to be -- to have a really fine group of people that think through issues, and that are not intimidated by the process, and who walk in and tell me what's on their mind.

Ed, and then Stevens.

Q Good morning. Sir, does it bother you that there's a perception out there that your administration has been one that favors big business and the wealthy individuals? And what can you do to overcome that, sir?

THE PRESIDENT: Ed, 70 percent of the new jobs in America are created by small businesses. I understand that. And I have promoted during the course of the last four years one of the most aggressive, pro-entrepreneur, small business policies. Tax relief -- you might remember -- I don't know if you know this or not, but 90 percent of the businesses are sole proprietorships or subchapter-S corporations. (Laughter.)

Q We've heard it.

THE PRESIDENT: Tax relief helped them. This is an administration that fully understands that the job creators are the entrepreneurs. And so in a new term, we will make sure the tax relief continues to be robust for our small businesses. We'll push legal reform and regulatory reform because I understand the engine of growth is through the small business sector.

Stevenson.

Q Sir, given your commitment to reaching out across party lines and to all Americans, I wonder if you could expand on your definition of bipartisanship, and whether it means simply picking off a few Democrats on a case-by-case basis to pass the bills you want to pass, or whether you would commit to working regularly with the Democratic leadership on solutions that can win broad support across party lines?

THE PRESIDENT: Do you remember the No Child Left Behind Act? I think there the model I'd look at if I were you. It is a -- I laid out an agenda for reforming our public schools. I worked with both Republicans and Democrats to get that bill passed. In a new term, we'll continue to make sure we do not weaken the accountability standards that are making a huge difference in people's lives, in these kids' lives.

But that's the model I'd look at, if I were you. And we'll -- there's a certain practicality to life here in Washington. And that is, when you get a bill moving it is important to get the votes, and if politics starts to get in the way of getting good legislation through, you know, that's just part of life here. But I'm also focused on results. I think of the Medicare bill -- you might remember that old, stale debate. We finally got a bill moving. I was hoping that we'd get strong bipartisan support -- unfortunately, it was an election year. But we got the votes necessary to get the bill passed. And so we will -- I will -- my goal is to work on the ideal and to reach out and to continue to work and find common ground on issues.

On the other hand, I've been wizened to the ways of Washington. I watched what can happen during certain parts of the cycle, where politics gets in the way of good policy. And at that point in time, I'll continue to -- you know, I'll try to get this done, I'll try to get our bills passed in a way, because results really do matter, as far as I'm concerned. I really didn't come here to hold the office just to say, gosh, it was fun to serve. I came here to get some things done, and we are doing it.

Yes, Big Stretch.

Q Thank you, Mr. President. I know you haven't had a chance to learn this, but it appears that Yasser Arafat has passed away.

THE PRESIDENT: Really?

Q And I was just wondering if I could get your initial reaction? And also your thoughts on, perhaps, working with a new generation of Palestinian leadership?

THE PRESIDENT: I appreciate that. My first reaction is, God bless his soul. And my second reaction is, is that we will continue to work for a free Palestinian state that's at peace with Israel.

Yes.

Q Mr. President, as you look at your second term domestic priorities, I wonder if you could talk a little bit about how you see the sequence of action on issues beyond Social Security -- tax reform, education. And if you could expand a little bit for us on the principles that you want to underpin your tax reform proposal -- do you want it to be revenue neutral? What kinds of things do you want to accomplish through that process?

THE PRESIDENT: I appreciate that. I was anticipating this question; that, what is the first thing you're going to do? When it comes it legislation, it just doesn't work that way, particularly when you've laid out a comprehensive agenda. And part of that comprehensive agenda is tax simplification.

The -- first of all, a principle would be revenue neutral. If I'm going to -- if there was a need to raise taxes, I'd say, let's have a tax bill that raises taxes, as opposed to let's simply the tax code and sneak a tax increase on the people. It's just not my style. I don't believe we need to raise taxes. I've said that to the American people. And so the simplification would be the goal.

Now, secondly, that obviously, that it rewards risk and doesn't -- it doesn't have unnecessary penalties in it. But the main thing is that it would be viewed as fair, that it would be a fair system, that it wouldn't be complicated, that there's a -- kind of that loopholes wouldn't be there for special interests, that the code itself be viewed and deemed as a very fair way to encourage people to invest and save and achieve certain fiscal objectives in our country, as well.

One of the interesting debates will be, of course, in the course of simplification, will there be incentives in the code: charitable giving, of course, and mortgage deductions are very important. As governor of Texas, when I -- some time I think I was asked about simplification, I always noted how important it was for certain incentives to be built into the tax code, and that will be an interesting part of the debate.

Certain issues come quicker than others in the course of a legislative session, and that depends upon whether or not those issues have been

debated. I think of, for example, the legal issue -- the legal reform issues, they have been -- medical liability reform had been debated and got thwarted a couple of times in one body in particular on Capitol Hill. And so the groundwork has been laid for some legislation that I've been talking about. On an issue like tax reform it's going to -- tax simplification, it's going to take a lot of legwork to get something ready for a legislative package. I fully understand that. And Social Security reform will require some additional legwork, although the Moynihan Commission has laid the groundwork for what I think is a very good place to start the debate.

The education issue is one that could move pretty quickly because there has been a lot of discussion about education. It's an issue that the members are used to debating and discussing. And so I think -- all issues are important. And the timing of issues as they reach it through committee and floor really depend upon whether or not some work has already been on those issues.

A couple more questions. Bob.

Q Mr. President, American forces are gearing up for what appears to be a major offensive in Fallujah over the next several days. I'm wondering if you could tell us what the objective is, what the stakes are there for the United States, for the Iraqi people, and the Iraqi elections coming up in January?

THE PRESIDENT: In order for Iraq to be a free country those who are trying to stop the elections and stop a free society from emerging must be defeated.

And so Prime Minister Allawi and his government, which fully understands that, are working with our generals on the ground to do just that. We will work closely with the government. It's their government, it's their country. We're there at their invitation. And -- but I think there's a recognition that some of these people have to -- must be defeated, and so that's what they're thinking about. That's what you're -- that's why you're hearing discussions about potential action in Fallujah.

Heidi.

Q Thank you, sir. Many within your own party are unhappy over the deficit, and they say keeping down discretional spending alone won't help you reach the goal of halving the deficit in five years. What else do you plan to do to cut costs?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I -- I would suggest they look at our budget that we've submitted to Congress, which does, in fact, get the deficit down -- cut in half in five years, and is a specific line-by-line budget that we are required to submit and have done so.

The key to making sure that the deficit is reduced is for there to be, on the one hand, spending discipline, and I -- as you noticed in my opening remarks, I talked about these appropriations bills that are beginning to move, and I thought I was pretty clear about the need for those bills to be -- to be fiscally responsible, and I meant it. And I look forward to talking to the leadership about making sure that the budget agreements we had are still the budget agreements, that just because we had an election, that they shouldn't feel comfortable changing our agreement. And I think they understand that.

And secondly, the other way to make sure that the deficit is -- decreases, is to grow the economy. As the economy grows, there will be more revenues coming into the Treasury. That's what you have seen recently. If you notice, there's been some write-downs of the budget deficit. In other words, the deficit is less than we thought because the revenues is exceeding projections. And the reason why the revenues -- the revenues are exceeding projections -- sometimes I mangle the English language. I get that. (Laughter.)

Q Inside joke.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, very inside. (Laughter.)

The revenues are exceeding projections. And as a result, the projected deficit is less. But my point there is, is that with good economic policy that encourages economic growth, the revenue streams begin to increase. And as the revenue streams increase, coupled with fiscal discipline, you'll see the deficit shrinking. And we're focused on that.

I do believe there ought to be budgetary reform in Washington, on the Hill, Capitol Hill. I think it's very important. I would like to see the President have a line-item veto again, one that passed constitutional muster. I think it would help the executive branch work with the legislative branch, to make sure that we're able to maintain budget discipline. I've talked to a lot of members of Congress who are wondering whether or not we'll have the will to confront entitlements, to make sure that there is entitlement reform that helps us maintain fiscal discipline. And the answer is, yes; that's why I took on the Social Security issue. I believe we have a duty to do so. I want to make sure that the Medicare reforms that we've put in place remain robust, to help us make sure Medicare is available for generations to come.

And so there is a -- I've got quite an active agenda to help work with Congress to bring not only fiscal discipline, but to make sure that our pro-growth policies are still in place.

Herman. I'm probably going to regret this. (Laughter.)

Q I don't know if you had a chance to check, but I can report you did eke out a victory in Texas the other day.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, sir.

Q Congratulations. I'm interested in getting back to Steven -- Stevenson's question about unity. Clearly, you believe you have reached out and will continue to reach out. Do you believe the Democrats have made a sincere and sufficient effort to meet you somewhere halfway, and do you think now there's more reason for them the do that in light of the election results?

THE PRESIDENT: I think that Democrats agree that we have an obligation to serve our country. I believe there will be goodwill, now that this election is over, to work together. I found that to be the case when I first arrived here in Washington, and working with the Democrats and fellow Republicans, we got a lot done. And it is with that spirit that I go into this coming session, and I will meet with both Republican and Democrat leaders, and I am -- they'll see I'm genuine about working toward some of these important issues.

It's going to be -- it's not easy. These -- I readily concede I've laid out some very difficult issues for people to deal with. Reforming the Social Security system for generations to come is a difficult issue; otherwise, it would have already been done. But it is necessary to confront it. And I would hope to be able to work with Democrats to get this done. I'm not sure we can get it done without Democrat participation, because it is a big issue, and I will explain to them and I will show them Senator Moynihan's thinking as a way to begin the process. And I will remind everybody here that we have a duty to leave behind a better America, and when we see a problem, to deal with it. And I think the -- I think Democrats agree with that.

And so I'm optimistic. You covered me when I was the governor of Texas. I told you that I was going to do that as a governor. There was probably skepticism in your beady eyes there. (Laughter.) But you might remember -- you might remember, we did -- we were able to accomplish a lot by -- and Washington is different from Austin, no question about it. Washington -- one of the disappointments of being here in Washington is how bitter this town can become and how divisive. I'm not blaming one party or the other. It's just the reality of Washington, D.C., sometimes exacerbated by you, because it's great sport. It's really -- it's entertaining for some. It also makes is difficult to govern at times.

But nevertheless, my commitment is there. I fully -- now more seasoned to Washington, I've cut my political eye-teeth, at least the ones I've recently grown here in Washington. And so I'm aware of what can happen in this town. But nevertheless, having said that, I am fully prepared to work with both Republican and Democrat leadership to advance an agenda that I think makes a big difference for the country.

Listen, thank you all. I look forward to working with you. I've got a question for you. How many of you are going to be here for a second term? Please raise your hand. (Laughter.)

Good. Gosh, we're going to have a lot of fun, then. Thank you all.

END 11:57 A.M. EST

Posted by Lisa at 08:45 AM
November 06, 2004
Did Anyone Get Video Of The Shrub's "Political Capital" A.K.A. I'm The King And I'm Gonna REALLY Start Acting Like One Speech?

Update 11/08/04 - Turns out
it's on the White House site
. There's also a transcription. But, of course, who knows if either one is accurate. I'd feel better if one of you had a copy. (Transcription included in "More" section.)

I didn't get it and many are asking for it.

I'll be happy to host it.

thanks,

lisa

Here is the full text in case the link goes bad or gets altered in the future when it suits the administration (or whatever):

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/11/20041104-5.html

President Holds Press Conference

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multimedia

President's Remarks
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audio image listen

President George W. Bush holds a press conference in the Dwight D. Eisenhower Executive Office Building Thursday, Nov. 4, 2004. White House photo by Tina Hager. 11:17 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all. Please be seated. Yesterday I pledged to reach out to the whole nation, and today I'm proving that I'm willing to reach out to everybody by including the White House press corps.

This week the voters of America set the direction of our nation for the next four years. I'm honored by the support of my fellow citizens, and I'm ready for the job.

We are fighting a continuing war on terror, and every American has a stake in the outcome of this war. Republicans, Democrats and independents all love our country, and together we'll protect the American people. We will preserve -- we will persevere until the enemy is defeated. We will stay strong and resolute. We have a duty, a solemn duty to protect the American people, and we will.

Every civilized country also has a stake in the outcome of this war. Whatever our past disagreements, we share a common enemy. And we have common duties: to protect our peoples, to confront disease and hunger and poverty in troubled regions of the world. I'll continue to reach out to our friends and allies, our partners in the EU and NATO, to promote development and progress, to defeat the terrorists and to encourage freedom and democracy as alternatives to tyranny and terror.

I also look forward to working with the present Congress and the new Congress that will arrive in January. I congratulate the men and women who have just been elected to the House and the Senate. I will join with old friends and new friends to make progress for all Americans.

Congress will return later this month to finish this current session. I urge members to pass the appropriations bill that remain, showing spending discipline while focusing on our nation's priorities. Our government also needs the very best intelligence, especially in a time of war. So I urge the Congress to pass an effective intelligence reform bill that I can sign into law.

The new Congress that begins its work next year will have serious responsibilities and historic opportunities. To accelerate the momentum of this economy and to keep creating jobs, we must take practical measures to help our job creators, the entrepreneurs and the small business owners. We must confront the frivolous lawsuits that are driving up the cost of health care and hurting doctors and patients. We must continue the work of education reform, to bring high standards and accountability not just to our elementary and secondary schools, but to our high schools, as well.

We must reform our complicated and outdated tax code. We need to get rid of the needless paperwork that makes our economy -- that is a drag on our economy, to make sure our economy is the most competitive in the world.

We must show our leadership by strengthening Social Security for our children and our grandchildren. This is more than a problem to be solved; it is an opportunity to help millions of our fellow citizens find security and independence that comes from owning something, from ownership.

In the election of 2004, large issues were set before our country. They were discussed every day on the campaign. With the campaign over, Americans are expecting a bipartisan effort and results. I'll reach out to everyone who shares our goals. And I'm eager to start the work ahead. I'm looking forward to serving this country for four more years.

I want to thank you all for your hard work in the campaign. I told you that the other day, and you probably thought I was just seeking votes. (Laughter.) But now that you voted, I really meant it. I appreciate the hard work of the press corps. We all put in long hours, and you're away from your families for a long period of time. But the country is better off when we have a vigorous and free press covering our elections. And thanks for your work. Without over-pandering, I'll answer a few questions. (Laughter.)

Hunt.

Q Mr. President -- thank you. As you look at your second term, how much is the war in Iraq going to cost? Do you intend to send more troops, or bring troops home? And in the Middle East, more broadly, do you agree with Tony Blair that revitalizing the Middle East peace process is the single most pressing political issue facing the world?

THE PRESIDENT: Now that I've got the will of the people at my back, I'm going to start enforcing the one-question rule. That was three questions. (Laughter.)

I'll start with Tony Blair's comments. I agree with him that the Middle East peace is a very important part of a peaceful world. I have been working on Middle Eastern peace ever since I've been the President. I've laid down some -- a very hopeful strategy on -- in June of 2002, and my hope is that we will make good progress. I think it's very important for our friends, the Israelis, to have a peaceful Palestinian state living on their border. And it's very important for the Palestinian people to have a peaceful, hopeful future. That's why I articulated a two-state vision in that Rose Garden speech. I meant it when I said it and I mean it now.

What was the other part of your question?

Q Iraq.

THE PRESIDENT: Oh, Iraq, yes. Listen, we will work with the Allawi government to achieve our objective, which is elections, on the path to stability, and we'll continue to train the troops. Our commanders will have that which they need to complete their missions.

And in terms of the cost, I -- we'll work with OMB and the Defense Department to bring forth to Congress a realistic assessment of what the cost will be.

Q Thank you, Mr. President. How will you go about bringing people together? Will you seek a consensus candidate for the Supreme Court if there's an opening? Will you bring some Democrats into your Cabinet?

THE PRESIDENT: Again, he violated the one-question rule right off the bat. Obviously, you didn't listen to the will of the people. But, first of all, there's no vacancy for the Supreme Court, and I will deal with a vacancy when there is one. And I told the people on the campaign trail that I'll pick somebody who knows the difference between personal opinion and the strict interpretation of the law. You might have heard that several times. I meant what I said. And if people are interested in knowing the kind of judges I'll pick, look at the record. I've sent up a lot of judges, well-qualified people who know the law, who represent a judicial temperament that I agree with and who are qualified to hold the bench.

The second part of your two-part question?

Q Any Democrats to your Cabinet, by any chance?

THE PRESIDENT: I haven't made any decisions on the Cabinet, yet.

Q How else will you bring people together?

THE PRESIDENT: We'll put out an agenda that everybody understands and work with people to achieve the agenda. Democrats want a free and peaceful world, and we'll -- and right away, right after September the 11th we worked very closely together to secure our country. There is a common ground to be had when it comes to a foreign policy that says the most important objective is to protect the American people and spread freedom and democracy. It's common ground when it comes to making sure the intelligence services are able to provide good, actionable intelligence to protect our people. It's not a Republican issue, it's a Republican and Democrat issue. So I'm -- plenty of places for us to work together.

All right, Gregory.

Q Thank you, Mr. President. On foreign policy, more broadly, do you believe that America has an image problem in the world right now, because of your efforts and response to the 9/11 attacks? And, as you talked down the stretch about building alliances, talk about what you'll do to build on those alliances and to deal with these image problems, particularly in the Islamic world.

THE PRESIDENT: I appreciate that. Listen, I've made some very hard decisions: decisions to protect ourselves, decisions to spread peace and freedom. And I understand in certain capitals and certain countries, those decisions were not popular.

You know, you said -- you asked me to put that in the context of the response on September the 11th. The first response, of course, was chasing down the terror networks, which we will continue to do. And we've got great response around the world in order to do that. There's over 90 nations involved with sharing information, finding terrorists and bringing them to justice. That is a broad coalition, and we'll continue to strengthen it.

I laid out a doctrine, David, that said if you harbor terrorists, you're equally as guilty as the terrorists, and that doctrine was ignored by the Taliban, and we removed the Taliban. And I fully understand some people didn't agree with that decision. But I believe that when the American President speaks, he'd better mean what he says in order to keep the world peaceful. And I believe we have a solemn duty, whether or not people agree with it or not, to protect the American people. And the Taliban and their harboring of al Qaeda represented a direct threat to the American people.

And, of course, then the Iraq issue is one that people disagreed with. And there's no need to rehash my case, but I did so, I made the decision I made, in order to protect our country, first and foremost. I will continue to do that as the President. But as I do so, I will reach out to others and explain why I make the decisions I make.

There is a certain attitude in the world, by some, that says that it's a waste of time to try to promote free societies in parts of the world. I've heard that criticism. Remember, I went to London to talk about our vision of spreading freedom throughout the greater Middle East. And I fully understand that that might rankle some, and be viewed by some as folly. I just strongly disagree with those who do not see the wisdom of trying to promote free societies around the world.

If we are interested in protecting our country for the long-term, the best way to do so is to promote freedom and democracy. And I -- I simply do not agree with those who either say overtly or believe that certain societies cannot be free. It's just not a part of my thinking. And that's why during the course of the campaign, I was -- I believe I was able to connect, at least with those who were there, in explaining my policy, when I talked about the free election in Afghanistan.

There were -- there was doubt about whether or not those elections would go forward. I'm not suggesting any of you here expressed skepticism. But there was. There was deep skepticism, and -- because there is a attitude among some that certain people may never be free -- they just don't long to be free or incapable of running an election. And I disagree with that. And the Afghan people, by going to the polls in the millions, proved -- proved that this administration's faith in freedom to change peoples' habits is worthy. And that will be a central part of my foreign policy. And I've got work to do to explain to people about why that is a central part of our foreign policy. I've been doing that for four years.

But if you do not believe people can be free and can self-govern, then all of a sudden the two-state solution in the Middle East becomes a moot point, invalid. If you're willing to condemn a group of people to a system of government that hasn't worked, then you'll never be able to achieve the peace. You cannot lead this world and our country to a better tomorrow unless you see a better -- if you have a vision of a better tomorrow. And I've got one, based upon a great faith that people do want to be free and live in democracy.

John, and then I'll get to Terry. No follow-ups today, Gregory.

Q Thank you, sir.

THE PRESIDENT: I can see one -- yes.

Q Would you like it? Now that the political volatility is off the issue because the election is over, I'd like to ask you about troop levels in Iraq in the next couple of months leading up to elections. The Pentagon already has a plan to extend tours of duty for some 6,500 U.S. troops. How many more will be needed to provide security in Iraq for elections, seeing as how the Iraqi troops that you're trying to train up are pretty slow coming on line?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, first of all, the -- we are making good progress in training the Iraqi troops. There will be 125,000 of them trained by election time. Secondly, I have yet to -- I have not sat down with our Secretary of Defense talking about troop levels. I read some reports during the course of the campaign where some were speculating in the press corps about the number of troops needed to protect elections. That has not been brought to my attention yet.

And so I would caution you that what you have either read about or reported was pure speculation thus far. These elections are important, and we will respond, John, to requests of our commanders on the ground. And I have yet to hear from our commanders on the ground that they need more troops.

Terry.

Q Mr. President, your victory at the polls came about in part because of strong support from people of faith, in particular, Christian evangelicals and Pentecostals and others. And Senator Kerry drew some of his strongest support from those who do not attend religious services. What do you make of this religious divide, it seems, becoming a political divide in this country? And what do you say to those who are concerned about the role of a faith they do not share in public life and in your policies?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, my answer to people is, I will be your President regardless of your faith, and I don't expect you to agree with me necessarily on religion. As a matter of fact, no President should ever try to impose religion on our society.

A great -- the great tradition of America is one where people can worship the way they want to worship. And if they choose not to worship, they're just as patriotic as your neighbor. That is an essential part of why we are a great nation. And I am glad people of faith voted in this election. I'm glad -- I appreciate all people who voted. I don't think you ought to read anything into the politics, the moment, about whether or not this nation will become a divided nation over religion. I think the great thing that unites is the fact you can worship freely if you choose, and if you -- you don't have to worship. And if you're a Jew or a Christian or a Muslim, you're equally American. That is -- that is such a wonderful aspect of our society; and it is strong today and it will be strong tomorrow.

Jim.

Q Thank you, sir. Mr. President, you talked once again this morning about private accounts in Social Security. During the campaign you were accused of planning to privatize the entire system. It has been something you've discussed for some time. You've lost some of the key Democratic proponents, such as Pat Moynihan and Bob Kerrey in the Congress. How will you proceed now with one of the key problems, which is the transition cost -- which some say is as much as $2 trillion -- how will you proceed on that? And how soon?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, first, I made Social Security an issue -- for those of you who had to suffer through my speeches on a daily basis; for those of you who actually listened to my speeches on a daily basis -- you might remember, every speech I talked about the duty of an American President to lead. And we have -- we must lead on Social Security because the system is not going to be whole for our children and our grandchildren.

And so the answer to your second question is, we'll start on Social Security now. We'll start bringing together those in Congress who agree with my assessment that we need to work together. We've got a good blueprint, a good go-by. You mentioned Senator Moynihan. I had asked him prior to his -- to his passing, to chair a committee of notable Americans to come up with some ideas on Social Security. And they did so. And it's a good place for members of Congress to start.

The President must have the will to take on the issue -- not only in the campaign, but now that I'm elected. And this will -- reforming Social Security will be a priority of my administration. Obviously, if it were easy it would have already been done. And this is going to be hard work to bring people together and to make -- to convince the Congress to move forward. And there are going to be costs. But the cost of doing nothing is insignificant to -- is much greater than the cost of reforming the system today. That was the case I made on the campaign trail, and I was earnest about getting something done. And as a matter of fact, I talked to members of my staff today, as we're beginning to plan to -- the strategy to move agendas forward about how to do this and do it effectively.

Q If I could, Mr. President --

THE PRESIDENT: Yes -- no, no, you're violating the follow-up rule. It would hurt Gregory's feelings. King.

It's a new --

Q Mr. President, thank you.

Q That's always one of my concerns.

THE PRESIDENT: Hurting Gregory's feelings? He is a sensitive guy. Well centered, though. (Laughter.)

Q I'm not going there. Mr. President, you were disappointed, even angry 12 years ago when the voters denied your father a second term. I'm interested in your thoughts and the conversation with him yesterday as you were walking to the Oval Office, and also whether you feel more free to do any one thing in a second term that perhaps you were politically constrained from doing in a first.

THE PRESIDENT: At 3:30 a.m. in the morning on, I guess, it was the day after the election, he was sitting upstairs, and I finally said, go to bed. He was awaiting the outcome and was hopeful that we would go over and be able to talk to our supporters, and it just didn't happen that way.

So I asked him the next morning when he got up, I said, come by the Oval Office and visit. And he came by and we had a good talk. He was heading down to Houston. And it was -- there was some uncertainty about that morning as to when the election would actually end. And it wasn't clear at that point in time, so I never got to see him face-to-face to watch his, I guess, pride in his tired eyes as his son got a second term.

I did talk to him and he was relieved. I told him to get a nap. I was worried about him staying up too late.

But -- so I haven't had a chance to really visit and embrace. And you're right, '92 was a disappointment. But he taught me a really good lesson, that life moves on. And it's very important for those of us in the political arena, win or lose, to recognize that life is bigger than just politics, and that's one of the really good lessons he taught me.

Q Do you feel more free, sir?

THE PRESIDENT: Oh, in terms of feeling free, well, I don't think you'll let me be too free. There's accountability and there are constraints on the presidency, as there should be in any system. I feel -- I feel it is necessary to move an agenda that I told the American people I would move. Something refreshing about coming off an election, even more refreshing since we all got some sleep last night, but there's -- you go out and you make your case, and you tell the people this is what I intend to do. And after hundreds of speeches and three debates and interviews and the whole process, where you keep basically saying the same thing over and over again, that when you win, there is a feeling that the people have spoken and embraced your point of view, and that's what I intend to tell the Congress, that I made it clear what I intend to do as the President, now let's work to -- and the people made it clear what they wanted, now let's work together.

And it's one of the wonderful -- it's like earning capital. You asked, do I feel free. Let me put it to you this way: I earned capital in the campaign, political capital, and now I intend to spend it. It is my style. That's what happened in the -- after the 2000 election, I earned some capital. I've earned capital in this election -- and I'm going to spend it for what I told the people I'd spend it on, which is -- you've heard the agenda: Social Security and tax reform, moving this economy forward, education, fighting and winning the war on terror.

We have an obligation in this country to continue to work with nations to help alleve poverty and disease. We will continue to press forward on the HIV/AIDS initiative, the Millennium Challenge Account. We will continue to do our duty to help feed the hungry. And I'm looking forward to it, I really am.

It's been a -- it's been a fantastic experience campaigning the country. You've seen it from one -- perspective, I've seen it from another. I saw you standing there at the last, final rally in Texas, to my right over there. I was observing you observe, and you saw the energy. And there was just something uplifting about people showing up at 11:00 p.m. at night, expressing their support and their prayers and their friendship. It's a marvelous experience to campaign across the country.

Mike.

Q Mr. President -- thank you, Mr. President. Do you plan to reshape your Cabinet for the second term, or will any changes come at the instigation of individuals? And as part of the same question, may I ask you what you've learned about Cabinet government, what works, what doesn't work? And do you mind also addressing the same question about the White House staff? (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: The post-election euphoria did not last very long here at the press conference. (Laughter.)

Let me talk about the people that have worked with me. I had a Cabinet meeting today and I thanked them for their service to the country and reminded them we've got a job to do and I expected them to do the job.

I have made no decisions on my Cabinet and/or White House staff. I am mindful that working in the White House is really -- is exhausting work. The people who you try to get to leak to you spend hours away from their families, and it is -- the word "burnout" is oftentimes used in the -- in Washington, and it's used for a reason, because people do burn out.

And so obviously, in terms of those who are -- who want to stay on and who I want to stay on, I've got to make sure that it's right for their families and that they're comfortable, because when they come to work here in the White House, I expect them to work as hard as they possibly can on behalf of the American people.

In the Cabinet, there will be some changes. I don't know who they will be. It's inevitable there will be changes. It happens in every administration. To a person, I am proud of the work they have done. And I fully understand we're about to head into the period of intense speculation as to who's going to stay and who's not going to stay, and I assured them that -- today I warned them of the speculative period. I said, it's a great Washington sport to be talking about who's going to leave and who their replacements may be, and handicapping, you know, my way of thinking.

I'll just give you -- but let me just help you out with the speculation right now. I haven't thought about it. I'm going to start thinking about it. I'm going to Camp David this afternoon with Laura, and I'll begin the process of thinking about the Cabinet and the White House staff. And we'll let you know at the appropriate time when decisions have been made. And so, nice try, Mike.

Yes, Ed, and then --

Q What you learned --

THE PRESIDENT: Learned and not learned about the Cabinet?

Q What works, what doesn't.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, well, first I've learned that I put together a really good Cabinet. I'm very proud of the people that have served this government, and they -- to a man and a woman, worked their hearts out for the American people. And I've learned that you've got to continue to surround yourself with good people. This is a job that requires crisp decision-making, and therefore, in order for me to make decisions, I've got to have people who bring their point of view into the Oval Office and are willing to say it.

I always jest to people, the Oval Office is the kind of place where people stand outside, they're getting ready to come in and tell me what for, and they walk in and get overwhelmed in the atmosphere, and they say, man, you're looking pretty. And therefore, you need people to walk in on those days when you're not looking so good and saying, you're not looking so good, Mr. President. And I've got -- those are the kind of people that served our country.

We've had vigorous debates, which you all, during the last four years, took great delight in reporting, differences of opinion. But that's what you want if you're the Commander-in-Chief and a decision-maker. You want people to walk in and say, I don't agree with this, or I do agree with that, and here's what my recommendation is. But the President also has to learn to decide. You take, you know -- there's ample time for the debate to take place, and then decide and make up your mind and lead. That's what the job's all about.

And so I have learned how important it is to be -- to have a really fine group of people that think through issues, and that are not intimidated by the process, and who walk in and tell me what's on their mind.

Ed, and then Stevens.

Q Good morning. Sir, does it bother you that there's a perception out there that your administration has been one that favors big business and the wealthy individuals? And what can you do to overcome that, sir?

THE PRESIDENT: Ed, 70 percent of the new jobs in America are created by small businesses. I understand that. And I have promoted during the course of the last four years one of the most aggressive, pro-entrepreneur, small business policies. Tax relief -- you might remember -- I don't know if you know this or not, but 90 percent of the businesses are sole proprietorships or subchapter-S corporations. (Laughter.)

Q We've heard it.

THE PRESIDENT: Tax relief helped them. This is an administration that fully understands that the job creators are the entrepreneurs. And so in a new term, we will make sure the tax relief continues to be robust for our small businesses. We'll push legal reform and regulatory reform because I understand the engine of growth is through the small business sector.

Stevenson.

Q Sir, given your commitment to reaching out across party lines and to all Americans, I wonder if you could expand on your definition of bipartisanship, and whether it means simply picking off a few Democrats on a case-by-case basis to pass the bills you want to pass, or whether you would commit to working regularly with the Democratic leadership on solutions that can win broad support across party lines?

THE PRESIDENT: Do you remember the No Child Left Behind Act? I think there the model I'd look at if I were you. It is a -- I laid out an agenda for reforming our public schools. I worked with both Republicans and Democrats to get that bill passed. In a new term, we'll continue to make sure we do not weaken the accountability standards that are making a huge difference in people's lives, in these kids' lives.

But that's the model I'd look at, if I were you. And we'll -- there's a certain practicality to life here in Washington. And that is, when you get a bill moving it is important to get the votes, and if politics starts to get in the way of getting good legislation through, you know, that's just part of life here. But I'm also focused on results. I think of the Medicare bill -- you might remember that old, stale debate. We finally got a bill moving. I was hoping that we'd get strong bipartisan support -- unfortunately, it was an election year. But we got the votes necessary to get the bill passed. And so we will -- I will -- my goal is to work on the ideal and to reach out and to continue to work and find common ground on issues.

On the other hand, I've been wizened to the ways of Washington. I watched what can happen during certain parts of the cycle, where politics gets in the way of good policy. And at that point in time, I'll continue to -- you know, I'll try to get this done, I'll try to get our bills passed in a way, because results really do matter, as far as I'm concerned. I really didn't come here to hold the office just to say, gosh, it was fun to serve. I came here to get some things done, and we are doing it.

Yes, Big Stretch.

Q Thank you, Mr. President. I know you haven't had a chance to learn this, but it appears that Yasser Arafat has passed away.

THE PRESIDENT: Really?

Q And I was just wondering if I could get your initial reaction? And also your thoughts on, perhaps, working with a new generation of Palestinian leadership?

THE PRESIDENT: I appreciate that. My first reaction is, God bless his soul. And my second reaction is, is that we will continue to work for a free Palestinian state that's at peace with Israel.

Yes.

Q Mr. President, as you look at your second term domestic priorities, I wonder if you could talk a little bit about how you see the sequence of action on issues beyond Social Security -- tax reform, education. And if you could expand a little bit for us on the principles that you want to underpin your tax reform proposal -- do you want it to be revenue neutral? What kinds of things do you want to accomplish through that process?

THE PRESIDENT: I appreciate that. I was anticipating this question; that, what is the first thing you're going to do? When it comes it legislation, it just doesn't work that way, particularly when you've laid out a comprehensive agenda. And part of that comprehensive agenda is tax simplification.

The -- first of all, a principle would be revenue neutral. If I'm going to -- if there was a need to raise taxes, I'd say, let's have a tax bill that raises taxes, as opposed to let's simply the tax code and sneak a tax increase on the people. It's just not my style. I don't believe we need to raise taxes. I've said that to the American people. And so the simplification would be the goal.

Now, secondly, that obviously, that it rewards risk and doesn't -- it doesn't have unnecessary penalties in it. But the main thing is that it would be viewed as fair, that it would be a fair system, that it wouldn't be complicated, that there's a -- kind of that loopholes wouldn't be there for special interests, that the code itself be viewed and deemed as a very fair way to encourage people to invest and save and achieve certain fiscal objectives in our country, as well.

One of the interesting debates will be, of course, in the course of simplification, will there be incentives in the code: charitable giving, of course, and mortgage deductions are very important. As governor of Texas, when I -- some time I think I was asked about simplification, I always noted how important it was for certain incentives to be built into the tax code, and that will be an interesting part of the debate.

Certain issues come quicker than others in the course of a legislative session, and that depends upon whether or not those issues have been

debated. I think of, for example, the legal issue -- the legal reform issues, they have been -- medical liability reform had been debated and got thwarted a couple of times in one body in particular on Capitol Hill. And so the groundwork has been laid for some legislation that I've been talking about. On an issue like tax reform it's going to -- tax simplification, it's going to take a lot of legwork to get something ready for a legislative package. I fully understand that. And Social Security reform will require some additional legwork, although the Moynihan Commission has laid the groundwork for what I think is a very good place to start the debate.

The education issue is one that could move pretty quickly because there has been a lot of discussion about education. It's an issue that the members are used to debating and discussing. And so I think -- all issues are important. And the timing of issues as they reach it through committee and floor really depend upon whether or not some work has already been on those issues.

A couple more questions. Bob.

Q Mr. President, American forces are gearing up for what appears to be a major offensive in Fallujah over the next several days. I'm wondering if you could tell us what the objective is, what the stakes are there for the United States, for the Iraqi people, and the Iraqi elections coming up in January?

THE PRESIDENT: In order for Iraq to be a free country those who are trying to stop the elections and stop a free society from emerging must be defeated.

And so Prime Minister Allawi and his government, which fully understands that, are working with our generals on the ground to do just that. We will work closely with the government. It's their government, it's their country. We're there at their invitation. And -- but I think there's a recognition that some of these people have to -- must be defeated, and so that's what they're thinking about. That's what you're -- that's why you're hearing discussions about potential action in Fallujah.

Heidi.

Q Thank you, sir. Many within your own party are unhappy over the deficit, and they say keeping down discretional spending alone won't help you reach the goal of halving the deficit in five years. What else do you plan to do to cut costs?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I -- I would suggest they look at our budget that we've submitted to Congress, which does, in fact, get the deficit down -- cut in half in five years, and is a specific line-by-line budget that we are required to submit and have done so.

The key to making sure that the deficit is reduced is for there to be, on the one hand, spending discipline, and I -- as you noticed in my opening remarks, I talked about these appropriations bills that are beginning to move, and I thought I was pretty clear about the need for those bills to be -- to be fiscally responsible, and I meant it. And I look forward to talking to the leadership about making sure that the budget agreements we had are still the budget agreements, that just because we had an election, that they shouldn't feel comfortable changing our agreement. And I think they understand that.

And secondly, the other way to make sure that the deficit is -- decreases, is to grow the economy. As the economy grows, there will be more revenues coming into the Treasury. That's what you have seen recently. If you notice, there's been some write-downs of the budget deficit. In other words, the deficit is less than we thought because the revenues is exceeding projections. And the reason why the revenues -- the revenues are exceeding projections -- sometimes I mangle the English language. I get that. (Laughter.)

Q Inside joke.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, very inside. (Laughter.)

The revenues are exceeding projections. And as a result, the projected deficit is less. But my point there is, is that with good economic policy that encourages economic growth, the revenue streams begin to increase. And as the revenue streams increase, coupled with fiscal discipline, you'll see the deficit shrinking. And we're focused on that.

I do believe there ought to be budgetary reform in Washington, on the Hill, Capitol Hill. I think it's very important. I would like to see the President have a line-item veto again, one that passed constitutional muster. I think it would help the executive branch work with the legislative branch, to make sure that we're able to maintain budget discipline. I've talked to a lot of members of Congress who are wondering whether or not we'll have the will to confront entitlements, to make sure that there is entitlement reform that helps us maintain fiscal discipline. And the answer is, yes; that's why I took on the Social Security issue. I believe we have a duty to do so. I want to make sure that the Medicare reforms that we've put in place remain robust, to help us make sure Medicare is available for generations to come.

And so there is a -- I've got quite an active agenda to help work with Congress to bring not only fiscal discipline, but to make sure that our pro-growth policies are still in place.

Herman. I'm probably going to regret this. (Laughter.)

Q I don't know if you had a chance to check, but I can report you did eke out a victory in Texas the other day.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, sir.

Q Congratulations. I'm interested in getting back to Steven -- Stevenson's question about unity. Clearly, you believe you have reached out and will continue to reach out. Do you believe the Democrats have made a sincere and sufficient effort to meet you somewhere halfway, and do you think now there's more reason for them the do that in light of the election results?

THE PRESIDENT: I think that Democrats agree that we have an obligation to serve our country. I believe there will be goodwill, now that this election is over, to work together. I found that to be the case when I first arrived here in Washington, and working with the Democrats and fellow Republicans, we got a lot done. And it is with that spirit that I go into this coming session, and I will meet with both Republican and Democrat leaders, and I am -- they'll see I'm genuine about working toward some of these important issues.

It's going to be -- it's not easy. These -- I readily concede I've laid out some very difficult issues for people to deal with. Reforming the Social Security system for generations to come is a difficult issue; otherwise, it would have already been done. But it is necessary to confront it. And I would hope to be able to work with Democrats to get this done. I'm not sure we can get it done without Democrat participation, because it is a big issue, and I will explain to them and I will show them Senator Moynihan's thinking as a way to begin the process. And I will remind everybody here that we have a duty to leave behind a better America, and when we see a problem, to deal with it. And I think the -- I think Democrats agree with that.

And so I'm optimistic. You covered me when I was the governor of Texas. I told you that I was going to do that as a governor. There was probably skepticism in your beady eyes there. (Laughter.) But you might remember -- you might remember, we did -- we were able to accomplish a lot by -- and Washington is different from Austin, no question about it. Washington -- one of the disappointments of being here in Washington is how bitter this town can become and how divisive. I'm not blaming one party or the other. It's just the reality of Washington, D.C., sometimes exacerbated by you, because it's great sport. It's really -- it's entertaining for some. It also makes is difficult to govern at times.

But nevertheless, my commitment is there. I fully -- now more seasoned to Washington, I've cut my political eye-teeth, at least the ones I've recently grown here in Washington. And so I'm aware of what can happen in this town. But nevertheless, having said that, I am fully prepared to work with both Republican and Democrat leadership to advance an agenda that I think makes a big difference for the country.

Listen, thank you all. I look forward to working with you. I've got a question for you. How many of you are going to be here for a second term? Please raise your hand. (Laughter.)

Good. Gosh, we're going to have a lot of fun, then. Thank you all.

END 11:57 A.M. EST

Posted by Lisa at 01:47 PM
October 30, 2004
Daily Show Comedy Clips From October 19, 2004

This is from the October 19, 2004 program.

Daily Show Comedy Clips From October 19, 2004


Mirror of these clips

(Thanks to Internet Veterans For Truth)

Included in these (2) clips:

Lewis Black on how the Shrub Administration continually wastes our tax dollars on extravagant purchases in the name of Homeland Security and $500,000 parties for the TSA.

The opening bit from 10-19-04
Messopotamia
Iraqi tourism board
Soldiers who refused to go on "suicide mission"
Bush saying that we will "not have an all volunteer army" and then being corrected by someone in the crowd.



The Daily Show
(The best news on television.)

Posted by Lisa at 08:31 PM
September 18, 2004
Ben Barnes On 60 Minutes

This is from September 8, 2004 show of 60 minutes.

Ben Barnes claims he pulled strings to get the Shrub out of Vietnam.

Wish I had time for more details, but I'm just trying to get some posts up today before I finish moving and take off to europe again for a few weeks...


Ben Barnes on 60 Minutes

Posted by Lisa at 04:37 PM
August 15, 2004
Daily Show Debunks The Shrub's Attempt At Debunking Kerry's Purple Hearts

This is from the August 9, 2004 program.

Jon Stewart and his crew provide their usual excellent job of researching the facts before going to press. (Too bad the "real" press isn't as good at doing this.)

It turns out that not even one of the people in the anti-Kerry ad denouncing his purple hearts actually served with Kerry in Vietnam. They were in Vietnam at the time, but never knew Kerry. The doctor who appears in the ad also never actually treated Kerry -- or at least his name wasn't found on any of Kerry's medical records from Vietnam.

Nice try guys -- but you're no match for
The Daily Show
(The best news on television.)


Debunking the Debunking of Kerry's Purple Hearts
7 MB
(mirror)

(Thanks to
Sean Bonner
for mirroring this clip!)

Posted by Lisa at 05:04 PM
July 18, 2004
Daily Show On Shrub Admin's Plan To Disrupt Our Elections

This is from the July 13, 2004 program.


2 Clips From The Daily Show You Really Need To Watch


The Daily Show
(The best news on television.)

Posted by Lisa at 11:18 PM
July 11, 2004
Right On Schedule: Shrub Seeking Authority To Postpone Elections

I didn't think they'd try this until September, at least. But I guess it takes a while to set the wheels in motion.

Let this post serve as a red flag that they are preparing to set the wheels in motion.

Looks like we're going to have to fight for our right to even have an election.


U.S. Mulling How to Delay Nov. Vote in Case of Attack
(Reuters)


Exclusive: Election Day Worries

By Michael Isikoff for Newsweek.

Here's the
Freaked Out "Briefing"
the Shrub folks are distributing. (Hey look, it's an xml file :-)

From the Newsweek story:


...sources tell NEWSWEEK, Ridge's department last week asked the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel to analyze what legal steps would be needed to permit the postponement of the election were an attack to take place. Justice was specifically asked to review a recent letter to Ridge from DeForest B. Soaries Jr., chairman of the newly created U.S. Election Assistance Commission. Soaries noted that, while a primary election in New York on September 11, 2001, was quickly suspended by that state's Board of Elections after the attacks that morning, "the federal government has no agency that has the statutory authority to cancel and reschedule a federal election." Soaries, a Bush appointee who two years ago was an unsuccessful GOP candidate for Congress, wants Ridge to seek emergency legislation from Congress empowering his agency to make such a call. Homeland officials say that as drastic as such proposals sound, they are taking them seriously - along with other possible contingency plans in the event of an election-eve or Election Day attack. "We are reviewing the issue to determine what steps need to be taken to secure the election," says Brian Roehrkasse, a Homeland spokesman.

Here is the full text of the articles in case the links go bad:


http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=topNews&storyID=5637434

and

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5411741/site/newsweek/


U.S. Mulling How to Delay Nov. Vote in Case of Attack
Reuters

Sunday 11 July 2004

Washington - A senior House Democratic lawmaker was skeptical on Sunday of a Bush administration idea to obtain the authority to delay the November presidential election in case of an attack by al Qaeda,

U.S. counterterrorism officials are looking at an emergency proposal on the legal steps needed to postpone the presidential election in case of such an attack, Newsweek reported on Sunday.

"I think it's excessive based on what we know," said Rep. Jane Harman of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, in a interview on CNN's "Late Edition."

Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge warned last week that Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network want to attack within the United States to try to disrupt the election.

Harman said Ridge's threat warning "was a bust" because it was based on old information.

Newsweek cited unnamed sources who told it that the Department of Homeland Security asked the Justice Department last week to review what legal steps would be needed to delay the vote if an attack occurred on the day before or on election day.

The department was asked to review a letter from DeForest Soaries, chairman of the new U.S. Election Assistance Commission, in which he asked Ridge to ask Congress for the power to put off the election in the event of an attack, Newsweek reported in its issue out on Monday.

The commission was created in 2002 to provide funds to states to replace punch card voting systems and provide other assistance in conducting federal elections.

In his letter, Soaries wrote that while New York's Board of Elections suspended primary elections in New York on the day of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, "the federal government has no agency that has the statutory authority to cancel and reschedule a federal election."

Homeland Security Department spokesman Brian Rochrkasse told the magazine the agency is reviewing the matter "to determine what steps need to be taken to secure the election."

Republican Rep. Christopher Cox of California, who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, told CNN that the idea of legislation allowing the election to be postponed was similar to what had already been looked at in terms of how to respond to an attack on Congress.

"These are doomsday scenarios. Nobody expects that they're going to happen," he said. "But we're preparing for all these contingencies now."

*****

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5411741/site/newsweek/

Exclusive: Election Day Worries
By Michael Isikoff
Newsweek

July 19 issue

American counterterrorism officials, citing what they call "alarming" intelligence about a possible Qaeda strike inside the United States this fall, are reviewing a proposal that could allow for the postponement of the November presidential election in the event of such an attack, NEWSWEEK has learned.

The prospect that Al Qaeda might seek to disrupt the U.S. election was a major factor behind last week's terror warning by Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge. Ridge and other counterterrorism officials concede they have no intel about any specific plots. But the success of March's Madrid railway bombings in influencing the Spanish elections - as well as intercepted "chatter" among Qaeda operatives - has led analysts to conclude "they want to interfere with the elections," says one official.

As a result, sources tell NEWSWEEK, Ridge's department last week asked the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel to analyze what legal steps would be needed to permit the postponement of the election were an attack to take place. Justice was specifically asked to review a recent letter to Ridge from DeForest B. Soaries Jr., chairman of the newly created U.S. Election Assistance Commission. Soaries noted that, while a primary election in New York on September 11, 2001, was quickly suspended by that state's Board of Elections after the attacks that morning, "the federal government has no agency that has the statutory authority to cancel and reschedule a federal election." Soaries, a Bush appointee who two years ago was an unsuccessful GOP candidate for Congress, wants Ridge to seek emergency legislation from Congress empowering his agency to make such a call. Homeland officials say that as drastic as such proposals sound, they are taking them seriously - along with other possible contingency plans in the event of an election-eve or Election Day attack. "We are reviewing the issue to determine what steps need to be taken to secure the election," says Brian Roehrkasse, a Homeland spokesman.


*****

http://www.dhs.gov/dhspublic/interapp/press_release/press_release_0458.xml

Background Briefing by Senior Intelligence Officials
For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact 202-282-8010
Washington, D.C.

Thursday 08 July 2004

Senior Intelligence Official: If I could say a few words first. First of all, to address the question regarding TTIC Online, TTIC Online is a website, at the Top Secret, and now also at the Secret level. It is an information system to make available to different types of recipients information at different levels of classification. What the Department of Homeland Security is doing, with what you referred to as the JRIES -

(Gap)

As Secretary Ridge mentioned, we know, from a broad base of (inaudible) intelligence that al-Qaeda remains committed to carrying out a full-on attack, series of attacks, in the homeland. And recent and credible information indicates that al-Qaeda is determined to carry out these attacks to disrupt our democratic processes.

Al-Qaeda has not been reluctant to, in fact, articulate that intent and that threat. Osama bin Laden and Ayman Zawahiri have issued several public statements last fall, threatening to carry out those attacks. And numerous al-Qaeda spokespersons have, in fact, said that these plans are underway and are near completion.

We are very concerned that al-Qaeda, even though it has been a degraded organization as a result of counterterrorism successes and efforts over the past several years, remains a dangerous organization, because it is flexible and adaptable, as many international terrorist organizations are.

There are strong indications that al-Qaeda will continue to try to revisit past targets, those that they were able to attack, as well as those that they were unable to attack.

In addition, there is intelligence that indicates that they are looking at various transportations systems, as the Secretary alluded to, and Madrid, the attacks against the subway systems there that resulted in hundreds of deaths and injuries.

And looking at the current terrorist threat reporting and information that we have, we continue to look at past plots to gain a better understanding of the strategy and tactics that al-Qaeda may, in fact, try to employ here in the states. In particular, looking at some past al-Qaeda plans, as well as their capabilities and their attacks overseas, we're concerned about Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Devices -- VBIEDs, truck bombs - and similar types of vehicle borne explosives, given al-Qaeda's long history of successful attacks overseas. These types of means of attack can be used to go against different types of infrastructure targets, such as tunnels, bridges, other types of targets that would lend themselves to that type of targeting.

In addition, we know that al-Qaeda has carried out successful attacks overseas in various locations, in Asia and in Europe recently.

Also, al-Qaeda has remained very interested in aviation attacks. We know that it is a consistent focus of their efforts, as we saw in 9/11. But since 9/11, and despite the numerous security enhancements that have been made, al-Qaeda continues to pursue capabilities that can use aircraft, either as a weapon or to target.

What we know about this most recent information that is being directed from the senior-most levels of the al-Qaeda organization, which includes Osama bin Laden, Ayman Zawahiri and others, and we know that this leadership continues to operate along the border area between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

And we'll take your questions.

Question: Are you saying then, that bin Laden and Zawahiri are now actively directing their followers?

Senior Intelligence Official: When I mentioned the senior al-Qaeda leadership, and there's senior al-Qaeda leadership, which include Osama bin Laden and Ayman Zawahiri, also includes other senior operatives. So this type of plotting, this type of operational activity, is being done with the direction and authorization of that senior leadership.

Question: This intelligence that you have, are they specifically mentioning their intent to thwart the democratic process, the election? And if so, in what context?

Senior Intelligence Official: Al-Qaeda, for many years, has, in fact, tried to carry out attacks here or to design attacks that would create political, economic and psychological damage on the United States. Our various institutions, including the electoral process, democratic processes here, are part of those institutions that al-Qaeda is determined to try to disrupt.

So what we're doing is we're looking at this intelligence information recently in the context of what is it that is happening, for example, this year; and we know, with the election process here, this is one of the reasons why I think everybody has to be - remain vigilant.

Question: So this is actually carrying on from the Madrid. I mean, again, I just want to kind of follow-on on this question. Is it that you're looking at it and there's a gut reaction, that you're assuming that he must mean the political process, or you see information that's specifically talking about the successes of Madrid and wanting to replicate that here?

Senior Intelligence Official: We are seeing, in a number of areas, to include various websites that are used, as far as extremists organizations are concerned, different types of reporting, that they are focusing on what they perceive to have been successful attacks in Madrid, as far as the impact on the electoral process there and the outcome of that election.

And so the reporting and other things that we're seeing now is with the same type of expectation and anticipation that similar types of attacks could have, as I think the Secretary said, the mistaken belief that it would have an impact here on the electoral process. But the reporting that we are seeing, the information that we have, is tied to the different types of democratic processes here.

Question: Sir, in any of this intelligence, is there specific, credible intelligence about what they want to do, in terms of how they would carry this out, or is this basically intent only?

Senior Intelligence Official: It's an intent and preparation to carry out major attacks that would inflict major casualties, as well as to create economic damage, political damage, psychological damage to the United States. So it's the intent as well as the preparation and plans that are underway to, in fact, effect those attacks.

Question: When you're talking about political conventions, right, you're talking about physical sites that can be defended, protected. But how do you protect polling in thousands of places across the country? I'd like to hear your thoughts on that. And also, where do you think the threat is going to be highest? At the convention stage of our process, or as we get closer to the actual decision by the people?

Senior Intelligence Official: I'll just take the second part, and then I'll turn it over to [senior intelligence official] for the first part. As far as the - where the threat may be highest, al-Qaeda traditionally has tried to target venues, buildings, whatever, based on very meticulous and careful casing and surveillance, and a lot of pre-operational activity. They are a meticulous and patient organization that tries to optimize the chances for success. And therefore, I believe that their target selection here, as well as when they will carry out the attack, will be based on that type of careful preparation, the thoroughness that, in fact, has been a hallmark of al-Qaeda preparations.

So looking out over the next - the rest of the year, and even beyond, I think what we're doing, responsibly, collectively, is to look at the threat information, look at the reporting, look at those types of events, look at those types of venues and targets that might, in fact, lend themselves to that type of -

Question: So are you saying when we get closer to the actual voting? Or at the stage of the nominating conventions? What worries you the most?

Senior Intelligence Official: I think we're here today to say that we are concerned at this point, from this point on, and looking out over the next many months. The al-Qaeda threat is a real one, it's a continuing one, and I think we have to be vigilant from this point forward.

Question: Could you take the other part of my question, please? How do you protect the polling stations?

Senior Intelligence Official: Yes, I understand the question. And I think the answer now has to be that this issue has not escaped us. It's a very complex one, as you noted in your question.

We have begun a thought process and discussions about this issue. We have to form an approach to it that makes sense here in the United States, and that's what we'll be doing over the course of the next days and weeks.

It would be inappropriate for us to discuss the details of our planning or our effort to secure the election, but you can rest assured that we'll certainly do our best to do that.

Question: Would you postpone voting?

Senior Intelligence Official: That's a speculative question that I'm not prepared to answer, frankly. There are all kinds of issues here we have to deal with. It's premature for anyone here at the Department to give information on this topic.

And by the way, when you're talking about securing an event that occurs on one day, very inappropriate for us to talk about the detail of that.

Question: Is this the result of a break in the case or is it a result of ongoing collection of a large gestalt of information that you've pieced together from many sources?

Senior Intelligence Official: It's based on a very strong body of intelligence acquired by intelligence and law enforcement over the last two and a half years, and on top of that strategic intelligence about al-Qaeda's plans and intentions, additional information that has come in, not in terms of, you know, breaks in cases or whatever, but just because of the continued determined efforts as far as intelligence collection, law enforcement activities and others to acquire the information. And as I think the Secretary said, very credible sources of information are providing this.

Question: But is any of this intelligence different than it was last month when we heard this exact same warning? Is anything different in the past several weeks? Is there new intelligence? Is there a new threat? Or is this exactly what we heard last month?

Senior Intelligence Official: I think I was mentioning that there has been a growing body of intelligence over the past several years, and I think over the past several months I would say we continue to gain knowledge and understanding about what al-Qaeda is planning to do. So every day there are nuggets that come in to the broader intelligence community that we take a look at and start trying to connect those pieces. So it's a dynamic process that allows us to have a better understanding of exactly what we are facing as far as the al-Qaeda threat.

Question: You talked about wanting to revisit targets, both successful and unsuccessful. That would be Los Angeles Airport, New York City landmarks, bridges and tunnels. Is that what you're talking about? You're saying New York City remains a prime target?

Senior Intelligence Official: I said that al-Qaeda has this penchant to return to those targets; for example, the World Trade Center, you know, the bombings in the mid-'90s and then coming back to it. I think what we need to do from an intelligence/law enforcement/homeland security perspective is continue to look at all those previous targets. You mentioned, you know, LAX, Los Angeles Airport, New York City, different places there. So we are not taking any of those targets sort of off of our areas of concern. So there is just a broad array of potential targets that al-Qaeda could threaten.

Question: In the aftermath of Madrid there was a statement that al-Qaeda had lost a lot of control and command and that these were al-Qaeda inspired groups and that one of the biggest problems facing the intelligence community was that there was no solid structure of command. And the way you're talking here is I'm wondering if what you're implying is that this new information you have leads you to the conclusion that there is a solid structure of command and that the guys in the Pakistan-Afghan border are back in control again.

Senior Intelligence Official: I don't think I - I certainly didn't mean to imply that solid structure. I don't think I used that term at all. What I said is that there are senior levels of the al-Qaeda leadership that continue to oversee and direct many of the operations as far as pointing at the different types of targets and encouraging this type of activity to take place and directing it and sponsoring it.

But what you're referring to now is that there is an international constellation of different types of Islamic extremist networks. Some of them are very closely tied to what we refer to as the al-Qaeda organization. Others are loosely affiliated with it. So what we need to do from an intelligence perspective is to understand exactly whether cells that exist within Southeast Asia or within Africa or Europe or other places are, in fact, part of this central al-Qaeda organization or are they offshoots of it.

What we see is because of tremendous successes against the terrorist target that the command and control structure of al-Qaeda has broken down, it's very difficult in terms of communication or whatever. So there may be some greater autonomy being given to some of these operatives who are responsible for certain areas and certain sort of theaters or responsibility.

Question: (Inaudible) that there are sleeper cells in the United States, sleeper cells in the United States, that people are scouting locations for, you know, explosions and so forth, or border crossings to effect the same end?

Senior Intelligence Official: I think we have seen from reporting that al-Qaeda, as I mentioned, does this very careful, meticulous planning ahead of time to carry out attacks. A lot of this type of preparation and pre-operational surveillance and casing is carried out by what you may be referring to as sleeper cells: those individuals that may have been deployed to a target area in order to carry out the type of casing and surveillance that's necessary in order to do the facilitation, maybe to identify a logistics network or other types of things.

So I think, again, from an intelligence perspective, what we're looking at is what does al-Qaeda have in place, what are they doing, in order to be able to realize their terrorist objectives.

Question: One question I have deals with Ridge said that in Italy, Jordan and Great Britain that they had not only the people but the means to carry out the attacks. Has some of the intelligence that you've picked up in the last few months suggested that there are, in fact, people already in place in the U.S.?

Senior Intelligence Official: There is intelligence that al-Qaeda has individuals dispersed worldwide, and worldwide would include the United States, that are - they are using in order to facilitate the operational planning necessary to carry out attacks successfully. So one of the things that we have learned, and I think the reference to different types of networks that have been wrapped up that the Secretary's mentioning, plans in the United Kingdom to carry out attacks with VBIEDs as far as individuals, the materials, we know that that was done as a result not just of plans and directions but also those individuals who helped facilitate that type of operation who may be in place for many years and then become facilitators and then may also go into an operational mode. So I think that we have to think about what we see overseas and then apply that to our understanding here in the States.

Thank you.

Question: Can we hear something from the FBI? Can we hear just a comment from the FBI? There's been no voice from the Bureau at all.

Senior Intelligence Official: Yes, I think one thing that's really important is in regards to Homeland Security one of the things that's happening in the federal government is we're all coming together working to address issues that arise in the country, specifically with JTTF, the Joint Terrorism Task Forces. We've got representatives from most, if not all, federal law enforcement agencies, state agencies, local agencies, and we're working together.

I think what's really important and what I see from my position at headquarters is that when we get into these modes of having to operate, a lot of times you see the badges go off as far as the agency or department that the people are working for. I think that's what's really important. And I think what we have now is law enforcement sees a real mission in that we've got to safeguard the country and we're really working together to do it. And I think one of the keys is that it has been alluded to by Secretary Ridge and [senior intelligence official], is that we're working together as far as intelligence. There's a lot of intelligence sharing. There are constant meetings back here in D.C. as well as in cities and states around the country, and we're working together collectively and that's what really important. And we really think that's the way we're going to succeed and we do have a huge mission ahead of us.

Senior Intelligence Official: Thank you very much. Thank you.

Posted by Lisa at 09:26 PM
June 17, 2004
Daily Show On Shrub Administration's Bogus Terror Report

This is from the June 14, 2004 program.

Colin Powell was on Meet the Press apologizing for this last weekend -- the Shrub Administration released a War On Terror update report that had 8 pages of errors and retractions and lots of other questionable material throughout.

(Colin said he wasn't a "happy camper" having to apologize for it.)


The Shrub's Bogus Terror Report
(Small - 9 MB)



The Daily Show
(The best news on television.)

Posted by Lisa at 12:06 AM
June 06, 2004
Video: The Fall Of Bushville

Here's footage of the June 3rd eviction of "Bushville," an encampment of 30 homeless families on the outskirts of Jersey City, NJ, who wished to make a statement about the Shrub's policies and how they are slowly killing American families with the lack of affordable housing in this country. They feel that he is wasting billions of dollars on this senseless war in Iraq while millions of families across the country are wasting away.


The Fall Of Bushville
(Quicktime - Small - 29 MB)

"The poor in this country are dying under the policies of George W. Bush, and frankly we can't afford to be invisible. Our lives are at stake here as poor and homeless families across this country and George W. is responsible for that and we can't allow it to continue because our very lives are at stake."

Also mirrored here in my own archive. (For safekeeping)
(Note: this won't be up for a few minutes)


The Fall Of Bushville
(Newsbrief)

Posted by Lisa at 09:16 PM
June 02, 2004
Clinton vs. The Shrubs

Update 6/5/04 - No, nobody got a clip, and, seemingly, nobody cares.
I also heard Clinton say a couple days ago during some publicity for his book that he "liked" daddy Shrub. So it could have all been in fun anyway.

Hey did anybody grab the clip of Clinton getting pushed by daddy shrub at the WWII Memorial last weekend? This is all I heard about it.

Thanks!!

lisa

Bush I pushes Clinton by kos Sat May 29th, 2004 at 16:22:31 EDT

Hmmm, I wasn't watching the WWII Memorial ceremony, but apparently there was a bit of jostling around. Reef the Dog reports in the Open Thread comments:
It was on CNN. Bush 41, 43, and Clinton were talking at the end of the ceremony. Clinton wagged his finger in Bush 43's face. Dunno what they were talking about but it seemed at least superficially cordial. Then Poppy suddenly shoved Clinton in the chest with both hands, enough to throw Clinton off balance. I don't know why, but it was completely inappropriate and almost seemed to me like 41 was trying to prove his manhood or something. I'm not even sure what happened after that, the camera quickly went somewhere else.
I wonder what happened...

Here is the complete thread of:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2004/5/29/162231/064

Bush I pushes Clinton
by kos
Sat May 29th, 2004 at 16:22:31 EDT

Hmmm, I wasn't watching the WWII Memorial ceremony, but apparently there was a bit of jostling around. Reef the Dog reports in the Open Thread comments:
It was on CNN. Bush 41, 43, and Clinton were talking at the end of the ceremony. Clinton wagged his finger in Bush 43's face. Dunno what they were talking about but it seemed at least superficially cordial. Then Poppy suddenly shoved Clinton in the chest with both hands, enough to throw Clinton off balance. I don't know why, but it was completely inappropriate and almost seemed to me like 41 was trying to prove his manhood or something. I'm not even sure what happened after that, the camera quickly went somewhere else.
I wonder what happened...

Misc ::


Display:
Bush I pushes Clinton | 190 comments (190 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
That was crazy (none / 1)

I saw that as well. I wonder what that was all about.

by BryanRI on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 16:26:42 EDT

description (none / 1)

Can someone who saw it describe it in more detail? Did Bush I look angry? What was Clinton's expression when he wagged his finger? I hope someone tells us what he was saying. Maybe the mic was on.

Don't understand NY politics? Try The Nor'Easter
by jd in nyc on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 16:45:09 EDT
[ Parent ]

I saw it (none / 0)

before it happened I was gawking at Clinton there chatting with W, didn't notice Bush I at first because his back was toward the camera a bit. Then they were laughing a bit about something, and Bush I shoved Clinton like you might shove a brother making a good natured joke about you. However, the little group broke up at that moment with W walking off in that "opportunity" sort of way one dodges out of a conversation at a party.

- pyrrho
by pyrrho on Sun May 30th, 2004 at 01:05:08 EDT
[ Parent ]

I think we're reaching a bit here (3.50 / 2)

I saw it also. I thought it looked like good natured banter between members of the Club of Presidents. Bush I has always appeared a bit awkward. I think he probably made a playful physical guy contact, but with a bit more force than he intended. End of story.

by rusrivman on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 16:45:12 EDT
[ Parent ]

If Clinton wagged (none / 0)

his fucking finger in my face, I'd shove him, too. Both are very belligerant body language. But I wonder what Jr said to provoke Billy's finger wagging.

George's classmates on his performance at Harvard, "...completely out of his depth." (and two decades of drug and alcohol abuse haven't helped any.)
by NorCalJim on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 17:46:59 EDT
[ Parent ]

If I were standing face to face (4.00 / 2)

with Dubya, I'd wag more than my finger in his face. Good for Clinton! I hope he was threatening Dubya, something along the lines of, "I've got more CIA pull than you do as president, and when I'm through making phone calls you won't even have time to clean up the empty beer cans before you leave the WH!" After which, Poppy said, "yeah, we'll see who's got more CIA pull, asshole," and he pushed Clinton.

"And Orwell's hell, a terror era coming through. But this little brother's watching you too" -Zack de la Rocha, Voice Of The Voiceless
by Subterranean on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 22:55:35 EDT
[ Parent ]

I'll put my money... (3.50 / 2)

on the Clenis. Can we get the Bush twins to hold the "Round x" signs?

by Roastbeef on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 16:27:37 EDT

Hmmm (3.50 / 2)

Maybe you have the players wrong. Knowing Bill, he might have "gone a round" with the Bush twins, and Grandpappy found out. ;)

by ElitistJohn on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 18:00:26 EDT
[ Parent ]

ROFL! (none / 0)

Were there any threesomes?

by davybaby3 on Sun May 30th, 2004 at 01:38:15 EDT
[ Parent ]

I wonder if we'll ever know ... (none / 1)

or if we'll ever see the picture shown again on the news ...

If we do, I bet Olberman will be the one to show it ...

The world is on its elbows and knees, It's forgotten the message and worships the creeds. Armageddon days are here again Matt Johnson
by Madman in the marketplace on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 16:27:53 EDT

or... (none / 1)

or Jon Stewart

by runchadrun on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 16:28:58 EDT
[ Parent ]

well (none / 0)

I was thinking 'news' ... but since Stewart tells it like it is better than the 'not-fake' news programs ...

The world is on its elbows and knees, It's forgotten the message and worships the creeds. Armageddon days are here again Matt Johnson
by Madman in the marketplace on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 16:31:11 EDT
[ Parent ]

Daily Show (none / 0)

Anyone know when they're coming back? This is a HORRIBLE time to be in reruns.

Maryscott O'Connor -- Rage, rage, against the lying of the Right.
by Maryscott OConnor on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 18:09:49 EDT
[ Parent ]

Probably Monday or Tuesday (none / 0)

I can't remember them ever being gone for more than two weeks, except maybe after September 11, and that's how long it's been. Memorial Day may push it to Tuesday, but I doubt it'll be much longer.

It better not, anyway. I'm going through withdrawal pains over here.

It's not that I disagree with Bush's economic policy or his foreign policy, it's that I believed he was a child of Satan sent to destroy the planet Earth. -BH
by Ben Grimm on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 18:34:38 EDT
[ Parent ]

This is normal... (none / 0)

...they took a break this long at the same time last year. Look for them to be back Tuesday.

Do not adjust your mind, it's reality that is malfunctioning.
by Alumbrados on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 20:34:43 EDT
[ Parent ]

Faithful Tivo says... (none / 0)

June 1. Just started watching the reruns again and nearly fell off my couch when McCain came out and started looking under the cushions for that chart that Rummy forgot.

by sujal on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 22:15:37 EDT
[ Parent ]

Ot, but most relevant (3.00 / 4)

In honor of this holiday I share with you Sir Karl Popper :

A few reasons why Karl Popper is obscure and unknown while the totalitarian philosophers he debunked (Karl Marx, Hegel, Plato, Aristotle, etc) are still widely known with easily available literature is that the people who would use us, much like hitler used the masses. is because we want to trust our leaders, however time and time again we are disillusioned.

"Most of all, those early Americans understood that liberty is fragile. To give any distant body of elites the power to tax and spend to stay in power promises corruption and a Leviathan government more interested in concentrating power for itself than in protecting the rights of its citizens."

Plato asks: "who should rule?"
Popper asks: "how can we minimize the damage a ruler can do?"

"Bertrand Russell described this study, with its companion volume on Plato, as ' a work of first-class importance which ought to be widely read for its masterly criticism of the enemies of democracy, ancient and modern. His (Popper's) attack on Plato, while unorthodox, is in my opinion thoroughly justified. His analysis of Hegel is deadly. Marx is dissected with equal acumen, and given his due share of responsibility for modern misfortunes. The book is a vigorous and profound defence of democracy, timely, very interesting, and very well written."

"The vital question is not 'Who should rule?' but 'How can we minimize misrule?"
-Sir Karl Popper "The Open Society and Its Enemies"

Revolution is not an AOL Keyword*
by thor on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 16:31:35 EDT

Popper (none / 0)

He surely should be added to the wiki.

by filchyboy on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 16:36:58 EDT
[ Parent ]

Popper Debunked Aristotle? (none / 0)

Where does Popper debunk Aristotle? I don't remember him doing this anywhere. If it's in "The Open Society" -- and I do not recall any attack on Aristotle in that work -- I'm not sure any attack on the perfectly sane political views of Aristotle could amount to a debunking.

by lysias on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 17:02:45 EDT
[ Parent ]

I think Popper's allergy... (none / 0)

...to historicism (as he uses the term) caused him to bristle at the mechanistic cycle from monarchy through aristocracy and democracy back to monarchy that can be got out of the Politics.

The necessity and inevitabilty of it would strike him as dangerous, and an entry point for totalitarianism.

He does go upside Plato's head, big time.

And as for what he did to Hegel -- when Sir Karl was done, you coulda sent what was left of the old Prussian fraud home in a manila envelope.

Patria est ubicumque bene. "Their 'Homeland' is wherever they can turn a buck." Cicero, Tusculan Disputations.
by Otis Noman on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 17:31:34 EDT
[ Parent ]

aristotle (none / 0)

NFNB aristotle definitely errs on the side of the programmatic in his Poetics, too. Worthy of critique, though perhaps not in this forum.

...the bowsprit got mixed with the rudder sometimes.
by it was a boojum on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 23:30:35 EDT
[ Parent ]

Soros is a big admirer of Popper (4.00 / 2)

In his book, Open Society: Reforming Global Capitalism, Soros has quite a bit to say about Popper and his ideas. Apparently Popper is for him the pre-eminent 20th century philosopher.

Simuilarly, an obscure right-wing pholospher named Leo Strauss apparently inspired the neocons. See this month's Harpers. Both sides have their "modern" philosophers for intellectual propping-up.

Popper is as sound as Strauss is suspect. For a philospher, Popper is remarkably humble and pragmatic. He doesn't get taken in by messianic ideas, and his intentions are simple and noble. He is also very readable. Strauss, like so many ideologues whose thinking is really quite reprehensible once you understand it, goes to great lengths in his writing to obfuscate what he's actually saying so only his true disciples will be able to figure it out.

I think that's a basic distinction between liberal vs. reactionary behavior -- the willingness, or lack thereof, to come clean and say what you mean, openly -- and be judged by it. Do your ideas, clearly and brashly stated, stink? It should be a test every news pundit has to pass.


"The universe is a sphere whose center is wherever there is intelligence." -Thoreau
by samizdat on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 17:16:35 EDT
[ Parent ]

as much as like Soros (none / 1)

I'd much rather Deleuze be the philosophical base of the next left. We'll I suppose their is room for more then 2...


American Dynamics || from the land of the free, politics by design
by Abe on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 18:04:46 EDT
[ Parent ]

wicked! (none / 1)

The terrorists are already deterritorialized, so we had better step up.

The emperor has no brains.
by daria g on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 23:28:49 EDT
[ Parent ]

Frightening stuff (none / 0)

20 years ago I read a critique of liberal arts departments by John Sawhill. His thesis was that in 1953 liberal arts departments and colleges (the source of rigorous and creative thinking)began the gutting of their first rate minds in an rush for corporate money in applied science departments.

Last night I was doing a survey of Straussian teachers throughout academia and found that much of the vacuum in those departments has been filled (I suspect, intentionally) by the Staussian movement. Those of us who are concerned about the education of our best young liberal minds need to attend to this and start to push for a new strain of genuinely rigorous intellectual persuit. On their brilliance and rigor, no one can question the merits of the Straussians. The direction of their thinking and teaching is another matter entirely, and something to be very concerned about.

by tikkun on Sun May 30th, 2004 at 11:13:10 EDT
[ Parent ]

Come again? (none / 0)

On their brilliance and rigor, no one can question the merits of the Straussians.

Actually, the merits of the Straussians can most certainly be questioned, and it frequently is criticized, at least in some (and hopefully most) quarters of the humanities.

"You can't talk to the ignorant about lies, since they have no criteria." --Ezra Pound
by machopicasso on Sun May 30th, 2004 at 11:56:29 EDT
[ Parent ]

cf, "Wittgenstein's Poker" (none / 0)

Popper sets up two-dimensional "straw" philosophers throughout the history of philosophy, and knocks them over with a one-dimensional argument. He shuddah stuck with falsification theory and science.

by Mekiah on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 17:30:56 EDT
[ Parent ]

Popper's Not The Best (none / 1)

Popper's an interesting case, but far from the best that modern philosophy can offer. He & his students did a real hatchet job on Thomas Kuhn, after The Structure of Scientific Revolutions came out, and they pretty pretty much knocked the wind out of his sails. So, while the idea of a paradigm shift went on to become one of the major memes of our time, the hard work of making his insight rigorous and useful has never really been done.

What makes Popper really culpable here is that he claimed to be a defender of science, and a severe critic of the Platonic idealist strain in philosophy. But when Kuhn came along with a scientific approach to understanding how science works (history of science as an empirical study), Popper and his circle lambasted him, saying that science couldn't possibly work that way--arguing from how they thought it had to work. They really took a fundamentalist-style approach to defending science, rather than using science self-critically to understand science.

What really ticked them off, for example, was the idea that not just history, but sociology (horror of horrors) might have something significant to say about how science works. How dare a still-underdeveloped "soft" science presume to tell us something about how a crowning "hard" science like physics is or should be done? Better by far to simply rely on their armchair speculations.

In short, Popper's much better within the narrow bounds of Big-P philosophy than he is in integrating it into the rest of the world.

A far better approach (to politics as well as philosophy of science), IMHO, derives from William James, whose work in psychology and philosophy influenced each other profoundly. He is much more consistent than Popper in opposing totalitarian tendencies. This includes being much less cartoon-like in characterizing those he disagrees with.

Let's put the information back in the information age.
by Paul Rosenberg on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 22:15:53 EDT
[ Parent ]

Kuhn is not a scientist (none / 1)

He is a historian of science and a sociologist. And much of his Structure of Scientific Revolutions just passed Sir Karl Popper by, which is unfortunate because I believe Popper is, after Wittgenstein, the most important of 20th century philosophers.

Kuhn was describing science as it happens at the average graduate school or industrial lab. For the most part in those places you are not acting in the classical inductive model - gathering evidence and then drawing conclusions. Instead you are working through an assigned problem governed by the conventional assumptions of your field. In Kuhn's terms, now sadly debased, you are working within a paradigm, solving problems in that paradigm's own terms. Results that don't fit are generally dismissed as failures of technique, it is not your job to push back at the frontiers of science, it is your job to find a more efficient catalyst to do something or other.

In Popper's world every scientist is Einstein. In reality there have been tens of thousands of MS theses that were the result of some Professor assigning some hapless Grad Student to study the effects of adding C to B as compared to the old method of adding A to B. Most science is cookbook science, and only rarely, and by rare people, does the recipe book get torn up and re-written. Resulting in the consequent Paradigm Shift.

There are reference books that actually track how many references to a particular book or article are made in peer reviewed journals. Back when I was running the BAKER Document Delivery Service at UC Berkeley (about 87-90) Kuhn was the number one cited source in the SSCI (Social Sciences Citation Index), but I suspected then and I suspect now that most of those people actually never read the book but instead lifted the incredibly cool term "paradigm shift" and cited Kuhn as cover.

But enough rambling. Read Karl Popper's "The Open Society and its Enemies" (and note it does not attack Aristotle openly) and Thomas Kuhn's "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions". They are among the most important books of the 20th century.

by Bruce Webb on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 23:53:21 EDT
[ Parent ]

FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT (3.00 / 2)

Now that's what I'm talking about! That's an image I want to see. Daddy physically protecting Junior! Prove's whose the man. I'd bet GW was praying for God to smite Clenis just after that.

Link Anyone?

$7 Trillion in Debt, 2.6 Million out of work, and they're worried about a few thousand gay marriage Licenses?
by Steven R on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 16:35:03 EDT

Staged? (none / 1)

Is this some attempt by Poppy and Poopy to cause some kind of mini-Wellstone memorial to make the Democrats look bad?

by JamesB3 on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 16:37:00 EDT

Who looks bad? (none / 0)

How come you think Clinton looks bad when Bush 41 loses his temper and pushes him?

Maybe daddy was taking credit for building the memorial that Clinton approved?

"I don't do quagmires, and my boss doesn't do nuance."
by SteinL on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 16:41:46 EDT
[ Parent ]

Media will make Bushies look good. (none / 0)

by JamesB3 on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 16:47:07 EDT
[ Parent ]

No f'n way they can, (none / 0)

a single-handed shove is jesting. Two-handed is a challenge, and a threat. This is Poppy losing it.

"Never mind the trick, what the hell's the point?" Joseph Heller, Catch-22
by wozzle on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 17:07:53 EDT
[ Parent ]

Ummm (none / 0)

The "liberal" media will find a way.

by jfern on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 17:22:16 EDT
[ Parent ]

Wouldn't surprise me if... (3.66 / 6)

Clinton said something like "you're gonna get beat worse than your Daddy did" to George WPE.

How do you define security?
by PSoTD on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 16:42:33 EDT

We've got to get a copy of this! (none / 1)

Someone must have a recording of this thing on TIVO or something. I'm dying to see it!

Stop the Musgrave hate machine and the federal marriage amendment! Support Bob Faust for Congress
by Doppy on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 16:43:25 EDT

C-SPAN will re-air (none / 0)

the dedication ceremony circa 8 o'clock p.m. Eastern time, according to its schedule.


-- Bush is such an Adam Clymer!
by rhubarb on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 16:48:19 EDT
[ Parent ]

Republican? (none / 0)

Again with that sig! You do know there's a Democrat running against Musgrave, don't you? Or is this some subtle form of trolling I'm not familiar with?

http://www.stan2004.com/

¡Viva Democracy for America!
by ubikkibu on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 16:52:33 EDT
[ Parent ]

So what there's a democrat? (3.50 / 2)

OK, so there's a democrat running. Big deal.

Faust is more progressive than Matsunaka, and, because of the low turnout in the primaries, could potentially have a better shot at unseating Musgrave than Matsunaka. The GOP is not going to give that seat up without a huge fight.

I'm not a partisan; I'm looking to see the best person in office, regardless of what party they're in.

Stop the Musgrave hate machine and the federal marriage amendment! Support Bob Faust for Congress
by Doppy on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 17:12:37 EDT
[ Parent ]

I don't consider myself a partisan per se (none / 0)

BUT, there is an urgent need to get dem majority in congress (doable but challenging). If for nothing else than to have a damage control contingency in the inprobable event that bush somehow gets (re)elected.

by DawnG on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 17:27:44 EDT
[ Parent ]

I agree with that in general ... (3.50 / 2)

... but why are y'all bothering to take shots at this guy for his sig line? Leave the poor guy alone - he supports a moderate republican. So what? It wasn't even the content of any his posts.

by AdamW on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 17:31:05 EDT
[ Parent ]

I understand... (none / 0)

what you're getting at, and I'm hoping for the Dems to take control of the Senate. That's possible.

The dems are not going to get control of the House this year; I don't think there's any possibility of it.

Furthermore, what's the worst case here? Faust loses, but beats up on Musgrave, while ignoring Matsunaka. OK, well that's good for the Dems, isn't it, because now Matsunaka has a better chance at winning.

Or, Faust beats Musgrave. Well that's good too, isn't it? (1) Faust is a progressive (2) Matsunaka probably has better chances against Faust, a novice, than he does against Musgrave, who's got the entire GOP party establishment all the way up to Bush behind her.

This is a win-win for progressives.

Stop the Musgrave hate machine and the federal marriage amendment! Support Bob Faust for Congress
by Doppy on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 17:35:22 EDT
[ Parent ]

I will agree with you on that (none / 0)

if faust beats musgrave in primary than the race is a far site better for it. so why not support BOTH of them? And I'm not beatin you up or anything but it'd be sweet victory to reclaim the district from a rabid conservative.

by DawnG on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 17:44:08 EDT
[ Parent ]

limited resources (none / 0)

I've got limited resources.

If Faust loses, I'll support Matsunaka. In the meantime, I'm not letting Musgrave take even her primary for granted.

Most of the politically active people in CO that I've talked to (or got info from indirectly), even some high profile Dems, think that booting her in the primary is the best bet. No one turns out to vote in these things, you don't have to motivate very many people to vote for you to win.

Furthermore, if we get rid of Musgrave in the primary, we can concentrate on getting rid of worse people like Tancredo.

Stop the Musgrave hate machine and the federal marriage amendment! Support Bob Faust for Congress
by Doppy on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 17:50:46 EDT
[ Parent ]

House Taken by Democrats? (none / 0)

It's too soon to say whether the Democrats can take the House. But even Republicans are seriously concerned in the under-the-radar shift accompanying Bushit's screwups and his public lying against the mounting evidence that he's serail war criminal.

Roublicans in Congress do have to worry about an electorate is looking also at those who helped Bushit lie the US into Iraq.

It's also those huge tax cuts and the threats to social programs (other than corporate welfare) and jobs.

Too soon to unequivocally assert that the Democarts can't take the House this year. Sorta along the lines that the Democarts would retain control as result of the 1994 mid-terms.


A lie is halfway around the world before the truth can get its shoes on. -- Mark Twain
by jnagarya on Sun May 30th, 2004 at 06:25:35 EDT
[ Parent ]

You beat me to it. (none / 0)

At first I thought maybe another dem was running against musgrave but nay. Unless he wants musgrave outted in primary? Or maybe he's one of those DispairDems that think no Dem will ever win in CO CD4 so better to support a non-rabid Republican.

by DawnG on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 17:13:58 EDT
[ Parent ]

or maybe ... (none / 0)

... he's not a democrat, and just is choosing the person he sees best fit for the job. I know it's really hard to believe there may be independents who come to DailyKos, but try to imagine it.

by AdamW on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 17:29:30 EDT
[ Parent ]

you've got a point (none / 0)

yes he might not be a Dem and that's okay. But I do feel there is a group within the democratic party I like to call DispairDems and I haven't had a chance to use that term in a sentence and couldn't pass it up. :)


by DawnG on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 17:45:47 EDT
[ Parent ]

Or maybe... (4.00 / 5)

... I want Musgrave out and the best person in.

Being a democrat doesn't automatically make you the best candidate.

I also give Faust credit for having some balls. The Dems had to beg and plead with a dozen different people for six months before they could find someone who was willing to run. All of the people they approached before Matsunaka were afraid of Musgrave.

Faust was willing to go out on a limb on his own. That's admirable.

All of this lame Demo-partisanship is no better than the lame GOP-partisanship. Party partisans are the downfall of this country. Start voting for the right people, not people who have the "right" party name. (rolling eyes)

Or, maybe you can explain why I should be a Democrat-partisan in this race. Because so far all you guys have said is "there's a democrat running..." as if that means anything. Zell Miller is a democrat too.

Stop the Musgrave hate machine and the federal marriage amendment! Support Bob Faust for Congress
by Doppy on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 17:31:54 EDT
[ Parent ]

Look at Faust's website-- (none / 0)

From Bob Faust's website, he supports re-introducing an Equal Rights Amendment which includes sexual orientation. And he supports a national universal healthcare program. On these positions, Faust appears to be to the left of Kerry. In the unlikely event Faust gets elected, he appears likely to vote with the Democrats on many issues. Maybe it's about time some Republicans emerge to challenge their party's extreme social conservatism.

by bernalman on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 21:31:09 EDT
[ Parent ]

A vote for ANY Repub is a vote for Tom Delay (none / 0)

Thats why any Dem is better than any Repub.

Its because our system is NOT one of proportional representation. ALL of the power in the House goes to whichever party has the majority and elects the Speaker. Moderate republican? Only when their vote doesnt really count. If it comes down to a party line vote they will go with their leader every time and that guy happens to be Tom Delay.

SO, sure, in a best of all possible worlds I might agree that some Repubs are better than some Dems. But that isnt the system we are faced with here and to pretend otherwise is to give one more vote to Tom Delay.

Steven Kyle
by sck5 on Sun May 30th, 2004 at 04:30:56 EDT
[ Parent ]

Then get rid of Delay (none / 0)

Then work on getting rid of Tom Delay, don't become a blind partisan.

If you don't care about the issues or voting for the best person, then why bother to follow politics at all? Just put your blinders on and tick the box next to every democrat's name on election day, then go back to watching your sitcoms on TV.

Stop the Musgrave hate machine and the federal marriage amendment! Support Bob Faust for Congress
by Doppy on Sun May 30th, 2004 at 15:17:18 EDT
[ Parent ]

How patronizing (none / 0)

So if someone disagrees with you on tactics then they watch sitcoms? Puhleez.

And I AM working to get rid of Delay - That is exactly my point. I just think that there are more ways to do that than just one.

It is because I DO care about the issues that I would do anything, absolutely anything, to get rid of him. And if this year that means going into the booth and blindly voting the straight Democratic line, then sign me up. No apologies for that from me. Three and a half years of Bush have made me reconsider the idea of voting against Dems because I dont quite like everything they say.

Steven Kyle
by sck5 on Mon May 31st, 2004 at 04:30:52 EDT
[ Parent ]

But clearly... (none / 0)

you are not concerned about the issues if you are ignoring the candidates and just concentrating on party lines.

Zell Miller for President!

Stop the Musgrave hate machine and the federal marriage amendment! Support Bob Faust for Congress
by Doppy on Tue Jun 1st, 2004 at 11:30:17 EDT
[ Parent ]

What makes us better than repubs (none / 0)

.... if we vote strictly on party lines.
I would vote for an Arlen Specter type in heartbeat, over a Zell Miller type.
And as much as it would be great to control the Senate / H of Rep. I would much rather prefer a number of moderates (irrespective of their party)
than a bunch of blind partisans. Look at the repubs now that they control everything,
they have turned into yes men for this administration and the repub leaders. They only care about the R or D attached to someone's name.
They vote for the party, no matter if they really agree with the policy.
And lets be honest, there are plenty of Democrats who have crossed party lines.
Just being a Democrat is not enough. What we need is to have a majority of moderates in the House / Senate.
This way no matter who the controlling party is, we have level headed people who care about the public good ABOVE towing the party line

by avagias on Tue Jun 1st, 2004 at 12:35:25 EDT
[ Parent ]

Thank you (none / 0)

This is exactly what I'm getting at. We need to elect people who share our values, not simply worry about what letter is after a politician's name.

I still don't understand why I get shouted down for supporting someone who shares my values, is electable (and in a better position than the Democrat), is going against one of the worst people in Congress, BUT has an "R" after his name...??

Stop the Musgrave hate machine and the federal marriage amendment! Support Bob Faust for Congress
by Doppy on Tue Jun 1st, 2004 at 12:39:40 EDT
[ Parent ]

Pictures: (4.00 / 5)

Is this it? They look pretty playful, though Clenis' finger is a bit intimate in the second one :)

http://us.news2.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/ap/20040529/capt.jwe12505292029.world_war_ii_memorial_jwe125. jpg

http://us.news2.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/ap/20040529/capt.jwe12605292028.bush_world_war_ii_memorial_jw e126.jpg

Santa Kerry: http://us.news2.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/ap/20040529/lthumb.dcn10305291915.kerry_dcn103.jpg


$7 Trillion in Debt, 2.6 Million out of work, and they're worried about a few thousand gay marriage Licenses?
by Steven R on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 16:46:55 EDT

During's Bush 43's speech ... (none / 0)

Bush 41 leaned over the Clinton and said something but Clinton didn't look to amused and didn't reply.

Maybe Clinton was joking with Bush 41 about their "Jennifer's" ...

by politizine on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 16:50:40 EDT
[ Parent ]

Is Clinton (none / 0)

giving him the finger?

George's classmates on his performance at Harvard, "...completely out of his depth." (and two decades of drug and alcohol abuse haven't helped any.)
by NorCalJim on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 17:52:15 EDT
[ Parent ]

I looks like Sr. had Cataract surgery (none / 0)

From the pictures, those thick, black shades indicates Sr. had recent Cataract surgery. not uncommon at his at - now 80 yrs old.

When recovering, people have depth perception problems, as the one eye (they do it one at a time) is going through an adjustment period.

I've seen people do funny things with that problem.

by Al Rodgers on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 17:57:32 EDT
[ Parent ]

41 auditioning for the Matrix?? (none / 1)

Those shades!! Hang a trenchcoat on him and he'd be trying to spin through the air to kick Bill!

Visualize Whirled Peas
by Hoya90 on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 19:03:09 EDT
[ Parent ]

Clearly (none / 0)

The second photo is obviously taken when Clinton told HW to pull his finger. It's a timeless gag.

CONSERVATIVE, n. A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others.--Ambrose Bierce
by Manix on Sun May 30th, 2004 at 04:20:22 EDT
[ Parent ]

WTF is there to laugh about? (none / 0)

The photos of all them laughing together gave me the creeps and reminded me of something I read in an authentic conservative's column (Charley Reese) just yesterday:

"And I'm perfectly willing to concede that virtually all heads of state are evil, differing only in degree. It's so tempting for heads of state to play the great game as if the human beings far below them were merely chess pieces on a board."

http://reese.king-online.com/Reese_20040524/index.php

by rodean on Sun May 30th, 2004 at 08:34:09 EDT
[ Parent ]

It could have been worse (3.88 / 17)

Daddy could have thrown up in Bill's lap ....

The world is on its elbows and knees, It's forgotten the message and worships the creeds. Armageddon days are here again Matt Johnson
by Madman in the marketplace on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 16:47:44 EDT

my guess (none / 1)

W probably said something to Clinton about not being a veteran, Clinton probably said at least I, having not served, was never AWOL from the Air National Guard. Pure speculation it makes sense given the nature of the event.

by abe ferlman on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 16:48:44 EDT

The "Wimp" Factor (none / 0)

Anyone got a scan of the Newsweek cover from the late 80s featuring Bush Sr?

Here's MoDo from 2002:

"When Newsweek published its 'Fighting the "Wimp Factor"' cover about Bush senior when he was running for president in 1987, he was so angry he refused to talk to the magazine again until he had a meeting with the editors and the publisher, Katharine Graham. Mr. Bush even knew the precise number of times the word 'wimp' appeared in the article.

"In his memoir, Bush Junior wrote: 'My blood pressure still goes up when I remember the cover.'"

The emperor has no brains.
by daria g on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 16:49:33 EDT

Well (none / 0)

He kinda had a right to do it. Its what cost Dukakis the presidency. And dislike Sr as much as you want he really was a legit war hero. And a fighter pilot at that (quickest way to die in that era with hte possible exception of bomber crewman).

My other Drunken ravings| Friends dont let idiots run countries
by cdreid on Sun May 30th, 2004 at 04:39:13 EDT
[ Parent ]

Bush Sr abandoned his crew to their deaths (none / 1)

And dislike Sr as much as you want he really was a legit war hero.

No. He really wasn't.

http://www.usvetdsp.com/story46.htm

[...] there were two men who knew Bush very well and could have spoken about his loyalty to the men and women in uniform.

Unfortunately, very few people have ever heard of them and neither Radioman 2nd Class John Delaney or Gunner Lt. Junior Grade William White are able to speak. They are on the bottom of the Pacific off the coast of a tiny island where their pilot, Navy Lt. George Bush, sent them when he made his first parachute jump.

http://www.rense.com/general47/hero.htm

What really happened? It was the pilot's job to hold the plane level and slow it down so the crew could get out. Most certainly, the radioman was helping the gunner with his chute when Bush panicked and left the plane. Then the plane rolled into a dive giving the crew no chance. This story went through the fleet and all the Avenger pilots I knew were shocked at what they heard. I heard speculation of a Courts-Martial.

Bush was very young. By his own admission, he reacted under stress. It is terrifying to have the cockpit fill with smoke. Possibly, he can be excused for reacting to fear and accepting it as another war time tragedy - but he has been glorified on the History channel, a book is being published, and worst of all, an aircraft carrier is to be named for him. This is unbelievable!! Bush performed badly and was certainly no hero.

At least no-one was killed by Bush Jr's skipping drills for a year.

by Raven on Sun May 30th, 2004 at 05:49:53 EDT
[ Parent ]

I'm a pretty partisan democrat (none / 1)

And actually get a little gleeful at attacking repub hypocrasy. But those two links contradict themselves and each other repeatedly. You have to have one standard for everybody and its wrong to lower the standards because you 'want' the other guy to look bad. This strikes of freeper "clinton/mena/drug dealin/vince foster" trash frankly.

My other Drunken ravings| Friends dont let idiots run countries
by cdreid on Sun May 30th, 2004 at 07:03:57 EDT
[ Parent ]

Not Quite True (none / 0)

At least no-one was killed by Bush Jr's skipping drills for a year.

Except maybe a few young men without congressional daddy's who were sent to war in his place.

"If you aren't completely appalled, then you haven't been paying attention."
by Savage on Sun May 30th, 2004 at 10:26:49 EDT
[ Parent ]

Lets get some basic facts straight (none / 0)

Bush was not a fighter pilot, he was flying an Avenger, a torpedo bomber TBF/TBM Avenger: Grumman Torpedo Bomber

From that site, a basic history of the Avenger, we get this:

"George Bush
Undoubtedly, the most famous man to fly an Avenger was George H.W. Bush, later the 41st President of the United States. He joined the Navy in 1942, and became the youngest naval aviator ever in June, 1943. He flew Avengers with VT-51, from USS San Jacinto. On September 2, 1944 he was shot down over Chichi Jima. While Bush parachuted safely and was rescued, neither of his crewmen survived. Bush earned a DFC for delivering his bombload after his TBF had been hit. "

There are some unanswered questions about the crew not making it out of the plane. But a DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross) is a big deal. On the other hand there is a great deal of difference between flying fighters and flying torpedo bombers.

by Bruce Webb on Sun May 30th, 2004 at 11:52:53 EDT
[ Parent ]

well, the Bush's... (none / 0)

...are pretty well known for staging "candid moments" when they know there's alot of press around. Pushing President Clinton has to be good for shoring up a few points among the didiots, and I honestly cannot believe that Bush I would be that physcial with a near-stranger unless provoked or instructed to do it.

by zoweee on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 16:55:01 EDT

"Near Stranger?" (none / 0)

Meeting at three Presidential debates, in the transition briefings, and probably several more times? Clinton beat Bush I, and that isn't something the old man would forget.

by teenagedallasdeaniac on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 17:00:30 EDT
[ Parent ]

bit of an over-reaction there (none / 0)

but yeah: "near stranger." It's not like they go hit the pizza buffet at Friendly's together or anything. There are people I've met any number of times for business and yet don't know a thing about. Merely discussing non-personal matters at length really doesnt convey any sense of fraternity... and I certainly cant think of a valid reason to slug any of those business associates at a veterans memorial service in front of TV cameras.

by zoweee on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 17:07:27 EDT
[ Parent ]

Transcript of event... (3.95 / 20)

Just copied from a secret source...

[BUSH 41, BUSH 43 and CLINTON standing in a cricle]

BUSH 43: (to Clinton) Well, look who's here. Hey, I'm still trying to get the stains out of the carpeting in the Oval Office.

CLINTON: (wagging finger, playfuly, in 43's face) Now, now, lil' Georgie, don't go gettin' all mouthy without your puppeteer present.

BUSH 41: (upset) I'm not his puppeteer!

CLINTON: (laughing) You? Of course you're not his puppeteer! You're invisible! Has 43 even said hello to you today?

BUSH 41: (shoving Clinton in anger) Why you...

BUSH 43: Has anyone seen Dick Cheney? I haven't seen him in more than a week and, frankly, all of this is making me nervous...

CLINTON: (regaining footing, laughing) Was that a gust of wind?

BUSH 41: You just wait until Babs gets ahold of you...

BARBARA: (walking up) Georgie, have you seen your father?

BUSH 43: No, mom, I haven't. Have you seen Cheney? I'm nervous.

BUSH 41: Babs, I'm right here!

BARBARA: No, I haven't seen Dick. If you see your father please tell him I want to go. Being around all of these old people in wheelchairs pollutes my beautiful mind.

BUSH 43: Will do, mom.

BARBARA: (turning to Clinton) And if you make one more derogatory comment about my boy, I'll whup your ass.

CLINTON: (laughing) You can try, but remember, I'm married to Hillary.

BARBARA: (laughing) Good point. Bye-bye, Georgie. (walking away) Now where did your father go?

BUSH 41: (shrinking until he only eight inches tall, in a aqueaky voice) I'm right here!

[END TRANSCRIPT]

by Bob Johnson on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 16:56:52 EDT

gave ya a 4... (none / 0)

Pretty funny. Poppy calls her "Bar," though, not "Babs."

by snookybeh on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 18:25:03 EDT
[ Parent ]

When Did Poppy Have a Stroke? (none / 0)

Marching Towards A Landslide
by BrooklynBoy on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 16:57:24 EDT

My guess is he has (3.75 / 4)

had a few small ones. The forgetfulness, lost in the instant at hand tho it deals with issues absolutely central to his core reality... Bar had to remind him a few months ago in interview iwth Zahn what years he ran (as the candidate) for pretzeldent.
My take was, when she delivered the years '88 and '92 (ever the governess), he still was a tad clueless, but fakes well after a lifetime of, what else? faking it. That was a big clue.

The weepiness he has evidenced... I'm guessing he also is losing the suppression ability. Little stress factors cause bigger responses. They will keep him closer to home between now and election, evoked often as pretzelfather, trading on his service (of course there are three stories as to the WW2 incident with his plane and all come from him) etc., I remain convinced not all people even knew which Bush they voted for in '00 and others jsut voted for the name.

What else, oh, FOX a little while a go called the incident: "playful shoving".

I guess we have Gen. Boykin Rules of Engagement: our god is bigger.
by Marisacat on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 17:19:57 EDT
[ Parent ]

They were probably just kidding each other... (4.00 / 3)

...on the square!

by Charles V on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 17:14:46 EDT

Are you really . . . (none / 0)

on the level about that?

Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth. - Albert Einstein
by Leslie in CA on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 17:24:32 EDT
[ Parent ]

I'm ... (none / 0)

plumb sure he is.

by MonkeyBoy on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 17:27:22 EDT
[ Parent ]

C'mon... (none / 0)

...be straight with us now!

by monkey knife fight on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 17:34:48 EDT
[ Parent ]

Isn't there . . . (none / 0)

a rule about this?

Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth. - Albert Einstein
by Leslie in CA on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 17:44:53 EDT
[ Parent ]

Precisely the (none / 0)

right angle to take.

"Never mind the trick, what the hell's the point?" Joseph Heller, Catch-22
by wozzle on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 17:53:46 EDT
[ Parent ]

Whoah! Whoah! (none / 0)

No need to be so obtuse about this!

by monkey knife fight on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 17:56:19 EDT
[ Parent ]

Now there's (none / 0)

an acute observation!

Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth. - Albert Einstein
by Leslie in CA on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 18:37:19 EDT
[ Parent ]

Let's be (none / 0)

a little complementary.

Rolfyboy6
by Rolfyboy6 on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 19:16:47 EDT
[ Parent ]

Well, it's (none / 0)

the plane truth.

Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth. - Albert Einstein
by Leslie in CA on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 20:45:10 EDT
[ Parent ]

Good point (none / 0)

but we have to draw the line somewhere. Otherwise things get two dimensional.

Rolfyboy6
by Rolfyboy6 on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 21:03:14 EDT
[ Parent ]

Now... (none / 0)

...you've broken my sphere of thought.

by monkey knife fight on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 22:41:32 EDT
[ Parent ]

There's a parallel argument here.. (none / 0)

The emperor has no brains.
by daria g on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 23:43:09 EDT
[ Parent ]

unit values (none / 0)

if only there were a measured response from the GOP.

...the bowsprit got mixed with the rudder sometimes.
by it was a boojum on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 23:48:09 EDT
[ Parent ]

unit values (none / 0)

if only there were a measured response from the GOP.

...the bowsprit got mixed with the rudder sometimes.
by it was a boojum on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 23:48:23 EDT
[ Parent ]

the very fact (none / 0)

that you're having this conversation shows that you've all lost your moral compass.

Doesn't everyone have a blog now?
by cyclopatra on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 19:18:32 EDT
[ Parent ]

Does this have to (none / 0)

be so protracted?


-- Bush is such an Adam Clymer!
by rhubarb on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 19:41:40 EDT
[ Parent ]

No but I've decided (none / 0)

to let it slide. Rules can be so restrictive.

Doesn't everyone have a blog now?
by cyclopatra on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 19:45:06 EDT
[ Parent ]

aoeu (none / 0)

You're going off on a tangent now.

Freedom from discrimination based on sexual orientation is...a fundamental human right in any great democracy, as much as freedom from racial...discrimination.
by TealVeal on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 19:57:15 EDT
[ Parent ]

yes (none / 0)

I saw the sines a while ago.

Doesn't everyone have a blog now?
by cyclopatra on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 20:12:56 EDT
[ Parent ]

Oh no ... (none / 0)

... It's axiomatic that we must have this discussion.

by MikeB on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 19:49:55 EDT
[ Parent ]

theoretically, yes (none / 0)

but let's not all run like lemmas off the cliff, now.

Doesn't everyone have a blog now?
by cyclopatra on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 20:13:29 EDT
[ Parent ]

When talking to people (none / 0)

Who have had strokes or cataracts, you have to watch for the sines

Try a better browser www.mozilla.org
by doug r on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 20:16:46 EDT
[ Parent ]

I'm wracking my brain ... (none / 0)

... to field a rejoinder for the group to appreciate. It's not ringing true though.


by MikeB on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 20:33:07 EDT
[ Parent ]

YOU LOOSE! (none / 0)

the topic is secret Masonic keywords.

by MonkeyBoy on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 20:18:20 EDT
[ Parent ]

no, you lose (none / 0)

how're we supposed to keep them secret if you go shouting about it, huh?

Doesn't everyone have a blog now?
by cyclopatra on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 20:23:30 EDT
[ Parent ]

I beg your pardon (none / 0)

I am most certainly not loose . . .

Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth. - Albert Einstein
by Leslie in CA on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 20:33:19 EDT
[ Parent ]

was there (none / 0)

a point to that?

Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth. - Albert Einstein
by Leslie in CA on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 20:39:04 EDT
[ Parent ]

don't question (none / 0)

just get in line.

Doesn't everyone have a blog now?
by cyclopatra on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 20:48:23 EDT
[ Parent ]

This has gone (none / 0)

flat.

Rolfyboy6
by Rolfyboy6 on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 21:09:34 EDT
[ Parent ]

when... (none / 0)

you're in this yard, stick to the subject

by snookybeh on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 18:02:04 EDT
[ Parent ]

sorry ;-) (none / 0)

n/t

by snookybeh on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 18:02:41 EDT
[ Parent ]

The long and the (none / 0)

short of it............;-)

I guess we have Gen. Boykin Rules of Engagement: our god is bigger.
by Marisacat on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 18:18:39 EDT
[ Parent ]

I just saw it on FOX News... (none / 0)

Gotta hand it to FOX, 24 hours a day they are doing real news (I don't want to get into an argument about their slant, whenever a story is breaking, I go to FOX News). The announcer described it as a "playful shove," but the image didn't look very playful. He shoved Clinton pretty damn hard.

by teenagedallasdeaniac on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 17:15:47 EDT

Isn't it the truth.... (none / 0)

wrt FOX News. They ahve covered the Saudi siege and hostage taking fully today. I jsut strip out the demogoguery and take in the bones of the news.
Works for me.


I guess we have Gen. Boykin Rules of Engagement: our god is bigger.
by Marisacat on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 17:25:33 EDT
[ Parent ]

wow, me too (none / 0)

I was just thinking today how pathetic CNN and MSNBC are on weekends with their People in the News and Headliners and Legends crap. Since when have Tom Hanks or Billy Graham been in the news, anyway?

Then today, sure enough, there's this Saudi incident, and only Fox is on with the story.

Do any US satellite providers offer BBC news channels (not BBC america)? I'm sick of U.S. networks and Time Warner cable.

by dirtgirl on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 17:33:09 EDT
[ Parent ]

I spoke too soon (none / 0)

I should have known not to post compliments of Fox News... they're now doing a story about some missing college girl.

by dirtgirl on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 17:37:24 EDT
[ Parent ]

Weekend before Iowa Caucus (none / 0)

cnn and msGOP were dark, on one of the biggest news events, that only comes every 4 years.

On sunday afternoon, I was looking for viedo of HoHo and Carter in Plains, so I broke down and turned on Fascist News, and all they were doing was attacking Judy, in the sickest ways.

by Al Rodgers on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 17:50:19 EDT
[ Parent ]

Some PBS (none / 0)

Channel 54 in San Jose.

If you're going in the wrong direction and you stay the course, where, exactly, do you wind up?
by Mimikatz on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 18:42:01 EDT
[ Parent ]

Holy shit (none / 0)

That's the first I heard of that today. Haven't had the TV on, and from your mention finally went to msnbc.com.

Every time I turn around things just get worse over in the middle east.

Nice guy or not, if we're at war and I get to choose the guy in the foxhole next to me, I'll pick Kerry. At least I know he's gonna watch my back.
by Steve4Clark on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 17:44:46 EDT
[ Parent ]

Losing money + Money Laundering (none / 0)

I saw a clown for the Watimes on C-span and he confessed how they still are subsidies by the Moonies, and that in 20 yrs of operation, they've never turned a profit.

If was reported in the diaries, within the last 10 days, how Fox's ad rate is still lower then cnn, due to demos, and how overall, cnn still has a bigger bottom line.

cnn goes, largely dark on the weekends, as does msGOP, because the data shows it's a money loser.

But murdoch is willing spends his money, takes the lose, in order to get his wingnut message out.

That's why I laugh when apologists say corporations are amoral and they would do liberal radio or libeal tv if it was profitable, that corps aren't griding an axe, they're only motivation is profit.

But It is kinda weird. I love the Simpson, X-Files and various shows over the years (Ally, 70s Show, party of five) on Fox and that money now goes to financing Murdoch's and O'Lielly's Terrorits Organization.

by Al Rodgers on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 17:45:35 EDT
[ Parent ]

Agreed.... (none / 0)

I generally call CNNs public comments line once or twice a week to complain about their repetitive weekend programming.

And it would be another thing if the programming was good...

Then I call another time to complain about the complete unimportance of the majority of Larry King's guests, and how he is unable to conduct a meaningful interview any more. And the fact that they should just go to CNN International overnight, instead of all the replays.

Tim

Don't waive your rights with your flags.
by ttagaris on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 18:41:17 EDT
[ Parent ]

Seriously... (none / 0)

Why don't they just go to CNN International? Why just replay canned news? CNN sucks.

In Britain they admit to having royalty. In the United States we pretend we don't have any, and then we elect them president.
by Asak on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 20:43:27 EDT
[ Parent ]

alt.news (none / 0)

When are we going to get The Economist Channel?

...the bowsprit got mixed with the rudder sometimes.
by it was a boojum on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 23:50:58 EDT
[ Parent ]

C-SPAN ? (none / 0)

This sounds like the sort of thing C-SPAN would have taped, as well. Any chance they'll be reairing the event later tonight? Their schedule page isn't opening right now.

If anyone hears or reads when/if C-SPAN is replaying the event, please post a message here. Unless this clip becomes something the news starts showing over and over again, of course. Cool?

I'm &y and I approved this message.
by abw on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 17:15:52 EDT

Sir Karl... (none / 1)

Strauss, like so many ideologues whose thinking is really quite reprehensible once you understand it, goes to great lengths in his writing to obfuscate what he's actually saying so only his true disciples will be able to figure it out.

Correct, and much like Samual P.Huntington of "Clash Of civilizations" fame from which the pnac crowd (and we know who they are) are pushing their Bushco agenda on the sly. Circle of elites w/in elites. Closed society of wealthy power freaks, whom want more power, and will use* America to get it.

use of the term use* here is in the neg sense as in using someone for your selfish gain.

Revolution is not an AOL Keyword*
by thor on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 17:35:23 EDT

John L Lewis story (none / 0)

These kinds of things can have a deadly serious political effect. Reminds me of one of the signal events at the formation of the CIO, originally a committee inside the AFL. At the 1935 AFL Convention (I think it was) John L Lewis punched out "Big Bill" Hutchinson, President of the Carpenters and avowed foe of industrial unionism. When upbraided by AFL official, Lewis said "He called me a foul name." It sent a signal that Lewis and the CIO were serious and electrified workers throughout the land. I know it's not his way perhaps inadvisable with an older guy, but it would've been bracing to see Clinton punch his lights out.


by MikeB on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 17:44:33 EDT

would the secret service (4.00 / 2)

break it up, or let them go at it ??

you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him think.
by sunzoo on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 17:46:24 EDT
[ Parent ]

Reservoir Dogs (none / 0)

41, 43, and Harlem Bill each have their own Secret Service. 41 is taken out by Bill's Secret Service. Then 43's Secret Service takes out Bill and his Secret Service. A dying 41 grabs a gun from a fallen agent and empties it into 43.

by Maynard G Krebs on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 18:08:44 EDT
[ Parent ]

43 = Mr. Pink (none / 0)

n/t

by snookybeh on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 18:16:13 EDT
[ Parent ]

No! (none / 0)

Mr. Pink is the only one that lives!!

I've got no patience now. So sick of complacence now. Time has come to pass. Know your enemy! -Rage Against the Machine
by Aventinus on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 18:52:53 EDT
[ Parent ]

besides ... (none / 0)

given the slow political death the last few months have given us, wouldn't Mr Orange be more apropos?

"Do not offend the Chair Leg of Truth! It is wise and terrible."
by section29 on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 19:20:04 EDT
[ Parent ]

No way! (none / 0)

Steve Buscemi is very cool. 43 is, well, not very cool.

Mr. Pink is smart. 43 is, you get the idea...

Also one of the best things about Reservoir Dogs is that you find yourself rooting for Mr. Pink to a large degree. At least I did. Maybe I am psycho.

by destiny6 on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 22:16:41 EDT
[ Parent ]

That would leave Cheney in nominal control as (none / 1)

well as actual control. Halliburton would be the first corporation with a cabinet post: Secretary of Looting the Treasury

by PrometheusSpeaks on Sat May 29th, 2004 at 20:40:38 EDT
[ Parent ]

SECRET SERVICE (none / 1)

The SS would have grabbed 41 by the scruff of the neck and placed him out of harms way.

Then the SS would have beat the crap out of dubya while back-slapp

Posted by Lisa at 04:29 PM
May 22, 2004
Government Memo Proves Bush Administration Ignored Geneva Convention Provisions As A Matter Of Policy

This post goes with this footage from Bill Moyers Now


Double Standards?

A Justice Department memo proposes that the United States hold others accountable for international laws on detainees—but that Washington did not have to follow them itself
By
Michael Isikoff
for Newsweek.


In a crucial memo written four months after the September 11, 2001, terror attacks, Justice Department lawyers advised that President George W. Bush and the U.S. military did not have to comply with any international laws in the handling of detainees in the war on terrorism. It was that conclusion, say some critics, that laid the groundwork for aggressive interrogation techniques that led to the abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

The draft memo, which drew sharp protest from the State Department, argued that the Geneva Conventions on the treatment of prisoners of war did not apply to any Taliban or Al Qaeda fighters being flown to the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, because Afghanistan was a “failed state” whose militia did not have any status under international treaties.

But the Jan. 9, 2002 memo, written by Justice lawyers John Yoo and Robert J. Delahunty, went far beyond that conclusion, explicitly arguing that no international laws—including the normally observed laws of war—applied to the United States at all because they did not have any status under federal law.


Here is the complete article in case the link goes bad:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5032094/site/newsweek/


WEB EXCLUSIVE
By Michael Isikoff
Investigative Correspondent
Newsweek
Updated: 1:42 p.m. ET May 22, 2004

May 21 - In a crucial memo written four months after the September 11, 2001, terror attacks, Justice Department lawyers advised that President George W. Bush and the U.S. military did not have to comply with any international laws in the handling of detainees in the war on terrorism. It was that conclusion, say some critics, that laid the groundwork for aggressive interrogation techniques that led to the abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.


The draft memo, which drew sharp protest from the State Department, argued that the Geneva Conventions on the treatment of prisoners of war did not apply to any Taliban or Al Qaeda fighters being flown to the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, because Afghanistan was a “failed state” whose militia did not have any status under international treaties.

But the Jan. 9, 2002 memo, written by Justice lawyers John Yoo and Robert J. Delahunty, went far beyond that conclusion, explicitly arguing that no international laws—including the normally observed laws of war—applied to the United States at all because they did not have any status under federal law.

“As a result, any customary international law of armed conflict in no way binds, as a legal matter, the President or the U.S. Armed Forces concerning the detention or trial of members of Al Qaeda and the Taliban,” according to a copy of the memo obtained by NEWSWEEK. A copy of the memo is being posted today on NEWSWEEK’s Web site.

More War Crimes Memos
• Read the complete Yoo-Delahunty memo:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
• Read the memo on habeas jurisdiction
At the same time, and even more striking, according to critics, the memo explicitly proposed a de facto double standard in the war on terror in which the United States would hold others accountable for international laws it said it was not itself obligated to follow.

After concluding that the laws of war did not apply to the conduct of the U.S. military, the memo argued that President Bush could still put Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters on trial as war criminals for violating those same laws. While acknowledging that this may seem “at first glance, counter-intuitive,” the memo states this is a product of the president’s constitutional authority “to prosecute the war effectively.”

The two lawyers who drafted the memo, entitled “Application of Treaties and Laws to Al Qaeda and Taliban Detainees,” were key members of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, a unit that provides legal advice to the White House and other executive-branch agencies. The lead author, John Yoo, a conservative law professor and expert on international law who was at the time deputy assistant attorney general in the office, also crafted a series of related memos—including one putting a highly restrictive interpretation on an international torture convention—that became the legal framework for many of the Bush administration’s post-9/11 policies. Yoo also coauthored another OLC memo entitled “Possible Habeas Jurisdiction Over Aliens Held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba,” that concluded that U.S. courts could not review the treatment of prisoners at the base.

Critics say the memos’ disregard for the United States’ treaty obligations and international law paved the way for the Pentagon to use increasingly aggressive interrogation techniques at Guantanamo Bay—including sleep deprivation, use of forced stress positions and environmental manipulation—that eventually were applied to detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. The customary laws of war, as articulated in multiple international treaties and conventions dating back centuries, also prohibit a wide range of conduct such as attacks on civilians or the murder of captured prisoners.

Kenneth Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch, who has examined the memo, described it as a “maliciously ideological or deceptive” document that simply ignored U.S. obligations under multiple international agreements. “You can’t pick or choose what laws you’re going to follow,” said Roth. “These political lawyers set the nation on a course that permitted the abusive interrogation techniques” that have been recently disclosed.

When you read the memo, “the first thing that comes to mind is that this is not a lofty statement of policy on behalf of the United States,” said Scott Horton, president of the International League for Human Rights, in an interview scheduled to be aired tonight on PBS’s “Now with Bill Moyers” show. “You get the impression very quickly that it is some very clever criminal defense lawyers trying to figure out how to weave and bob around the law and avoid its applications.”

More From Michael Isikoff
• Memos Reveal War Crimes Warnings
• Prison Scandal: Brooklyn's Version of Abu Ghraib?
At the time it was written, the memo also prompted a strong rebuttal from the State Department’s Legal Advisor’s office headed by William Howard Taft IV. In its own Jan. 11, 2002, response to the Justice draft, Taft’s office warned that any presidential actions that violated international law would “constitute a breach of an international legal obligation of the United States” and “subject the United States to adverse international consequences in political and legal fora and potentially in the domestic courts of foreign countries.”

“The United States has long accepted that customary international law imposes binding obligations as a matter of international law,” reads the State Department memo, which was also obtained by NEWSWEEK. “In domestic as well as international fora, we often invoke customary international law in articulating the rights and obligations of States, including the United States. We frequently appeal to customary international law.” The memo then cites numerous examples, ranging from the U.S. Army Field Manual on the Law of Land Warfare (“The unwritten or customary law of war is binding upon all nations,” it reads) to U.S. positions in international issues such as the Law of the Sea.

But the memo also singled out the potential problems the Justice Department position would have for the military tribunals that President Bush had recently authorized to try Al Qaeda members and suspected terrorists. Noting that White House counsel Alberto Gonzales had publicly declared that the persons tried in such commissions would be charged with “offenses against the international laws of war,” the State Department argued that the Justice position would undercut the basis for the trials.

“We are concerned that arguments by the United States to the effect that customary international law is not binding will be used by defendants before military commissions (or in proceedings in federal court) to argue that the commissions cannot properly try them for crimes under international law,” the State memo reads. “Although we can imagine distinctions that might be offered, our attempts to gain convictions before military commissions may be undermined by arguments which call into question the very corpus of law under which offenses are prosecuted.”

The Yoo-Delahunty memo was addressed to William J. Hanes, then general counsel to the Defense Department. But administration officials say it was the primary basis for a Jan. 25, 2002, memo by White House counsel Gonzales—which has also been posted on NEWSWEEK’s Web site—that urged the president to stick to his decision not to apply prisoner-of-war status under the Geneva Conventions to captured Al Qaeda or Taliban fighters. The president’s decision not to apply such status to the detainees was announced the following month, but the White House never publicly referred to the Justice conclusion that no international laws—including the usual laws of war—applied to the conflict.

FREE VIDEO
Launch
• Inside Abu Ghraib Prison
This video, provided by The Washington Post, shows U.S. soldiers with Abu Ghraib prisoners. The undated footage was said to have been shot last fall.

NEWSWEEK
One international legal scholar, Peter Spiro of Hofstra University, said that the conclusions in the memo related to international law “may be defensible” because most international laws are not binding in U.S. courts. But Spiro said that “technical” and “legalistic” argument does not change the effect that the United States still has obligations in international courts and under international treaties. “The United States is still bound by customary international law,” he said.

One former official involved in formulating Bush administration policy on the detainees acknowledged that there was a double standard built into the Justice Department position, which the official said was embraced, if not publicly endorsed, by the White House counsel’s office. The essence of the argument was, the official said, “it applies to them, but it doesn’t apply to us.”

But the official said this was an eminently defensible position because there were many categories of international law, some of which clearly could not be interpreted to be binding on the president. In any case, the general administration position of not applying any international standards to the treatment of detainees was driven by the paramount needs of preventing another terrorist attack. “The Department of Justice, the Department of Defense and the CIA were all in alignment that we had to have the flexibility to handle the detainees—and yes, interrogate them—in ways that would be effective,” the official said.

Posted by Lisa at 03:20 PM
May 02, 2004
Bob Woodward and Prince Bandar On Meet The Press

This is from the April 25, 2004 program of
Meet the Press
.


Bob Woodward and Prince Bandar On Meet The Press
.

Each interview is available in two parts. (About 35 MB each)

This ties in with the Bob Woodward On 60 Minutes footage from a few weeks ago.

Check out Bob Woodward's new book,
Plan of Attack
.

Posted by Lisa at 06:19 PM
May 01, 2004
New Searchable Database Charts Bush/Cheney Lies

This just in from a friend of mine:


As the September 11th Commission grills President Bush and Vice President Cheney about their contradictory statements today, we wanted to alert you to a powerful new tool to help journalists, activists and the public compare the Bush administration's claims against well-documented facts.

The Center for American Progress today launched a comprehensive

Claim vs. Fact database
that documents statements from conservatives like President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Members of Congress and Fox News personalities, and compares those statements to the facts.

Each fact is sourced, and in many cases includes a web link directly to that source.


Posted by Lisa at 07:47 PM
April 12, 2004
Daily Show On The Shrub's Iraq Transition Plan (Or Lack Thereof)

This is from the April 6, 2004 program.

Jon brings up the brilliant point that the Shrub hasn't seemed to figure out yet who the country will be handed over to. But "the date remains firm" that it's being handed over to somebody.


Daily Show On The Shrub's Iraq Transition Strategy
(Small - 13 MB)






















The Daily Show
(The best news on television.)

Posted by Lisa at 01:46 PM
March 28, 2004
Bill Moyers Goes Off On The Shrub

...very politely, of course.

This is from the March 25, 2004 program of Bill Moyers NOW.

Wish I had more time to comment, but I think this one speaks for itself. (Like most stuff from Bill.)

Bill Moyers:


Mr. Bush clearly believes what he said: The War On Terror is an in escapable calling of the generation now in charge. Like many of you, I want to support him in that work. I want to do my part. But the President makes it hard. He confused us by going after Sadaam Hussein when villian behind the mass murder of 911 was Osama Bin Ladin. He seems not to realize how his credibility has been shredded by all the false and misleading reasons to put forth to justify invading Iraq.

Lyndon Johnson never recovered from using the dubious events at the Gulf of Tonkin as an excuse to go to war in Vietnam, and even if Mr. Bush wins reelection this November, he too will eventually be dragged down by the powerful undertow that inevitably accompanies public deception.

The public will grow intolerant of partisan predators and cronie capitalists indulging in a frenzy of feeding at the troughs in Baghdad and Washington, and there will come a time when the President will have no one to rely on except his most rabid allies in the right wing media. He will discover too late that you cannot win the hearts and minds of the public at large in a nation polarized and pulvarized by endless propaganda in defiance of reality.

Bill Moyers: What Now? (Small - 11 MB)

Posted by Lisa at 03:06 PM
Richard Clarke On 60 Minutes

This is from the March 21, 2004 program of 60 Minutes.

Richard Clarke, former top advisor on Counterterrorism for the Shrub, Clinton Terrorism Czar, and an appointed expert for both Daddy Shrub and Reagan, has written a book Against All Enemies that exposes a number of different things going on over at the old White House during the days after 911.

I've made the files available in one and four parts.


911 Before and After

(Richard Clarke on 60 Minutes - March 21, 2004)

Posted by Lisa at 01:02 PM
Paul O'Neill On 60 Minutes

This is from the January 11, 2003 program of 60 Minutes.

Former Shrub Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill was the major source for the book The Price Of Loyalty.

I've made the files available as a single download or in three smaller parts.


Inside The Bush White House


Leslie Stahl
does it again. Go Leslie Go!

Posted by Lisa at 09:00 AM
March 06, 2004
Great Animation Explaining The Shrub Administration's Misguided Priorities


True Majority
(Requires Flash)

Posted by Lisa at 07:28 AM
February 25, 2004
Bill Moyers On The Shrub Administration's Unprecedented Veil Of Secrecy

This is from the December 12, 2003 program of NOW With Bill Moyers.

Bill Moyers:


Everywhere you look today, or try to look, our right to know is under assault. In the name of fighting terrorists, the government is pulling a veil of secrecy around itself. Information that used to be readily accessible is now kept out of sight.

To cover this story, NOW is collaborating with U.S. News and World Report. Their five month investigation finds that, although the government regularly cites 911 as the basis for secrecy, the true reasons, in many cases, have nothing to do with the War On Terror.


INVESTIGATIVE REPORT: The untold story of the Bush administration's penchant for secrecy

How the public's business gets done out of the public eye

Here's the t r u t h o u t archive of the complete U.S. News and World Report article: Keeping Secrets, written by Christopher H. Schmitt and Edward T. Pound.

This segment was produced by David Brancaccio and Peter Meryash.

Veil of Secrecy - Complete (Small - 40 MB)

Veil of Secrecy - Part 1 of 3 (Small - 11 MB)
Veil of Secrecy - Part 2 of 3 (Small - 16 MB)
Veil of Secrecy - Part 3 of 3 (Small - 13 MB)

Here's some technical information about getting quicktime going to watch these movies.


Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:
(link and text of other article is directly below it)

http://www.usnews.com/usnews/usinfo/press/secrecy.htm

Breaking News 12/12/03
INVESTIGATIVE REPORT: The untold story of the Bush administration's penchant for secrecy
How the public's business gets done out of the public eye

Friday, Dec. 12, the PBS television program NOW with Bill Moyers will air a report on Bush administration secrecy produced in collaboration with U.S. News. Please visit pbs.org for stations and airtimes in your area. The U.S. News article, "Keeping Secrets," will be publshed in Monday's edition. Full text will be available on USNews.com Saturday, Dec. 13, at 6 p.m.

The Bush administration has removed from the public domain millions of pages of information on health, safety, and environmental matters, lowering a shroud of secrecy over many critical operations of the federal government.

The administration's efforts to shield the actions of, and the information held by, the executive branch are far more extensive than has been previously documented. And they reach well beyond security issues.

A five-month investigation by U.S. News details a series of initiatives by administration officials to effectively place large amounts of information out of the reach of ordinary citizens, including data on such issues as drinking-water quality and automotive tire safety. The magazine's inquiry is based on a detailed review of government reports and regulations, of federal agency Web sites, and of legislation pressed by the White House.

U.S. News also analyzed information from public interest groups and others that monitor the administration's activities, and interviewed more than 100 people, including many familiar with the new secrecy initiatives. That information was supplemented by a review of materials provided in response to more than 200 Freedom of Information Act requests filed by the magazine seeking details of federal agencies' practices in providing public access to government information.

Among the findings of the investigation:

Important business and consumer information is increasingly being withheld from the public. The Bush administration is denying access to auto and tire safety information, for instance, that manufacturers are required to provide under a new "early-warning system" created following the Ford-Firestone tire scandal four years ago. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, meanwhile, is more frequently withholding information that would allow the public to scrutinize its product safety findings and product recall actions.

New administrative initiatives have effectively placed off limits critical health and safety information potentially affecting millions of Americans. The information includes data on quality and vulnerability of drinking-water supplies, potential chemical hazards in communities, and safety of airline travel and others forms of transportation.

Beyond the well-publicized cases involving terrorism suspects, the administration is aggressively pursuing secrecy claims in the federal courts in ways little understood--even by some in the legal system. The administration is increasingly invoking a "state secrets" privilege that allows government lawyers to request that civil and criminal cases be effectively closed by asserting that national security would be compromised if they proceed.

New administration policies have thwarted the ability of Congress to exercise its constitutional authority to monitor the executive branch and, in some cases, even to obtain basic information about its actions.

There are no precise statistics on how much government information is rendered secret. One measure, though, can be seen in a tally of how many times officials classify records. In the first two years of Bush's term, his administration classified records some 44.5 million times, or about the same number as in President Clinton's last four years, according to the Information Security Oversight Office, an arm of the National Archives and Records Administration.

MEDIA CONTACT: Rchard Folkers, Director of Media Relations(rfolkers@usnews.com or 202-955-2219)


Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:

http://www.truthout.org/docs_03/121403A.shtml

Keeping Secrets
By Christopher H. Schmitt and Edward T. Pound
U.S. News & World Report

Friday 12 December 2003

The Bush administration is doing the public's business out of the public eye. Here's how--and why

"Democracies die behind closed doors."
--U.S. Appeals Court Judge Damon J. Keith

At 12:01 p.m. on Jan. 20, 2001, as a bone-chilling rain fell on Washington, George W. Bush took the oath of office as the nation's 43rd president. Later that afternoon, the business of governance officially began. Like other chief executives before him, Bush moved to unravel the efforts of his predecessor. Bush's chief of staff, Andrew Card, directed federal agencies to freeze more than 300 pending regulations issued by the administration of President Bill Clinton. The regulations affected areas ranging from health and safety to the environment and industry. The delay, Card said, would "ensure that the president's appointees have the opportunity to review any new or pending regulations." The process, as it turned out, expressly precluded input from average citizens. Inviting such comments, agency officials concluded, would be "contrary to the public interest."

Ten months later, a former U.S. Army Ranger named Joseph McCormick found out just how hard it was to get information from the new administration. A resident of Floyd County, Va., in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, McCormick discovered that two big energy companies planned to run a high-volume natural gas pipeline through the center of his community. He wanted to help organize citizens by identifying residents through whose property the 30-inch pipeline would run. McCormick turned to Washington, seeking a project map from federal regulators. The answer? A pointed "no." Although such information was "previously public," officials of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission told McCormick, disclosing the route of the new pipeline could provide a road map for terrorists. McCormick was nonplused. Once construction began, he says, the pipeline's location would be obvious to anyone. "I understand about security," the rangy, soft-spoken former business executive says. "But there certainly is a balance--it's about people's right to use the information of an open society to protect their rights."

For the past three years, the Bush administration has quietly but efficiently dropped a shroud of secrecy across many critical operations of the federal government--cloaking its own affairs from scrutiny and removing from the public domain important information on health, safety, and environmental matters. The result has been a reversal of a decades-long trend of openness in government while making increasing amounts of information unavailable to the taxpayers who pay for its collection and analysis. Bush administration officials often cite the September 11 attacks as the reason for the enhanced secrecy. But as the Inauguration Day directive from Card indicates, the initiative to wall off records and information previously in the public domain began from Day 1. Steven Garfinkel, a retired government lawyer and expert on classified information, puts it this way: "I think they have an overreliance on the utility of secrecy. They don't seem to realize secrecy is a two-edge sword that cuts you as well as protects you." Even supporters of the administration, many of whom agree that security needed to be bolstered after the attacks, say Bush and his inner circle have been unusually assertive in their commitment to increased government secrecy. "Tightly controlling information, from the White House on down, has been the hallmark of this administration," says Roger Pilon, vice president of legal affairs for the Cato Institute.

Air and water
Some of the Bush administration's initiatives have been well chronicled. Its secret deportation of immigrants suspected as terrorists, its refusal to name detainees at the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and the new surveillance powers granted under the post-9/11 U.S.A. Patriot Act have all been debated at length by the administration and its critics. The clandestine workings of an energy task force headed by Vice President Dick Cheney have also been the subject of litigation, now before the Supreme Court.

But the administration's efforts to shield the actions of, and the information obtained by, the executive branch are far more extensive than has been previously documented. A five-month investigation by U.S. News detailed a series of initiatives by administration officials to effectively place large amounts of information out of the reach of ordinary citizens. The magazine's inquiry is based on a detailed review of government reports and regulations, federal agency Web sites, and legislation pressed by the White House. U.S. News also analyzed information from public interest groups and others that monitor the administration's activities, and interviewed more than 100 people, including many familiar with the new secrecy initiatives. That information was supplemented by a review of materials provided in response to more than 200 Freedom of Information Act requests filed by the magazine seeking details of federal agencies' practices in providing public access to government information.

The principal findings:
Important business and consumer information is increasingly being withheld from the public. The Bush administration is denying access to auto and tire safety information, for instance, that manufacturers are required to provide under a new "early-warning" system created following the Ford-Firestone tire scandal four years ago. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, meanwhile, is more frequently withholding information that would allow the public to scrutinize its product safety findings and product recall actions.

New administration initiatives have effectively placed off limits critical health and safety information potentially affecting millions of Americans. The information includes data on quality and vulnerability of drinking-water supplies, potential chemical hazards in communities, and safety of airline travel and other forms of transportation. In Aberdeen, Md., families who live near an Army weapons base are suing the Army for details of toxic pollution fouling the town's drinking-water supplies. Citing security, the Army has refused to provide information that could help residents locate and track the pollution.

Beyond the well-publicized cases involving terrorism suspects, the administration is aggressively pursuing secrecy claims in the federal courts in ways little understood--even by some in the legal system. The administration is increasingly invoking a "state secrets" privilege (box, Page 24) that allows government lawyers to request that civil and criminal cases be effectively closed by asserting that national security would be compromised if they proceed. It is impossible to say how often government lawyers have invoked the privilege. But William Weaver, a professor at the University of Texas-El Paso, who recently completed a study of the historical use of the privilege, says the Bush administration is asserting it "with offhanded abandon." In one case, Weaver says, the government invoked the privilege 245 times. In another, involving allegations of racial discrimination, the Central Intelligence Agency demanded, and won, return of information it had provided to a former employee's attorneys--only to later disclose the very information that it claimed would jeopardize national security.

New administration policies have thwarted the ability of Congress to exercise its constitutional authority to monitor the executive branch and, in some cases, even to obtain basic information about its actions. One Republican lawmaker, Rep. Dan Burton of Indiana, became so frustrated with the White House's refusal to cooperate in an investigation that he exclaimed, during a hearing: "This is not a monarchy!" Some see a fundamental transformation in the past three years. "What has stunned us so much," says Gary Bass, executive director of OMB Watch, a public interest group in Washington that monitors government activities, "is how rapidly we've moved from a principle of `right to know' to one edging up to `need to know.' "

The White House declined repeated requests by U.S. News to discuss the new secrecy initiatives with the administration's top policy and legal officials. Two Bush officials who did comment defended the administration and rejected criticism of what many call its "penchant for secrecy." Dan Bartlett, the White House communications director, says that besides the extraordinary steps the president has taken to protect the nation, Bush and other senior officials must keep private advice given in areas such as intelligence and policymaking, if that advice is to remain candid. Overall, Bartlett says, "the administration is open, and the process in which this administration conducts its business is as transparent as possible." There is, he says, "great respect for the law, and great respect for the American people knowing how their government is operating."

Bartlett says that some administration critics "such as environmentalists . . . want to use [secrecy] as a bogeyman." He adds: "For every series of examples you could find where you could make the claim of a `penchant for secrecy,' I could probably come up with several that demonstrate the transparency of our process." Asked for examples, the communications director offered none.

There are no precise statistics on how much government information is rendered secret. One measure, though, can be seen in a tally of how many times officials classify records. In the first two years of Bush's term, his administration classified records some 44.5 million times, or about the same number as in President Clinton's last four years, according to the Information Security Oversight Office, an arm of the National Archives and Records Administration. But the picture is more complicated than that. In an executive order issued last March, Bush made it easier to reclassify information that had previously been declassified--allowing executive-branch agencies to drop a cloak of secrecy over reams of information, some of which had been made available to the public.

Bait and switch
In addition, under three other little-noticed executive orders, Bush increased the number of officials who can classify records to include the secretary of agriculture, the secretary of health and human services, and the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Now, all three can label information at the "secret" level, rendering it unavailable for public review. Traditionally, classification authority has resided in federal agencies engaged in national security work. "We don't know yet how frequently the authority is being exercised," says Steven Aftergood, who publishes an authoritative newsletter in Washington on government secrecy. "But it is a sign of the times that these purely domestic agencies have been given national security classification authority. It is another indication of how our government is being transformed under pressure of the perceived terrorist threat." J. William Leonard, director of the information oversight office, estimates that up to half of what the government now classifies needn't be. "You can't have an effective secrecy process," he cautions, "unless you're discerning in how you use it."

From the start, the Bush White House has resisted efforts to disclose information about executive-branch activities and decision making. The energy task force headed by Cheney is just one example. In May 2001, the task force produced a report calling for increased oil and gas drilling, including on public land. The Sierra Club and another activist group, Judicial Watch, sued to get access to task-force records, saying that energy lobbyists unduly influenced the group. Citing the Constitution's separation of powers clause, the administration is arguing that the courts can't compel Cheney to disclose information about his advice to the president. A federal judge ordered the administration to produce the records, prompting an appeal to the Supreme Court.

Energy interests aren't alone in winning a friendly hearing from the Bush administration. Auto and tire manufacturers prevailed in persuading the administration to limit disclosure requirements stemming from one of the highest-profile corporate scandals of recent years. Four years ago, after news broke that failing Firestone tires on Ford SUVs had caused hundreds of deaths and many more accidents, Congress enacted a new auto and tire safety law. A cornerstone was a requirement that manufacturers submit safety data to a government early-warning system, which would provide clues to help prevent another scandal. Lawmakers backing the system wanted the data made available to the public. After the legislation passed, officials at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said they didn't expect to create any new categories of secrecy for the information; they indicated that key data would automatically be made public. That sparked protests from automakers, tire manufacturers, and others. After months of pressure, transportation officials decided to make vital information such as warranty claims, field reports from dealers, and consumer complaints--all potentially valuable sources of safety information--secret. "It was more or less a bait and switch," says Laura MacCleery, auto-safety counsel for Public Citizen, a nonprofit consumer group. "You're talking about information that will empower consumers. The manufacturers are not going to give that up easily."

Get out of jail free
Government officials, unsurprisingly, don't see it that way. Lloyd Guerci, a Transportation Department attorney involved in writing the new regulations, declined to comment. But Ray Tyson, a spokesman for the traffic safety administration, denies the agency caved to industry pressure: "We've listened to all who have opinions and reached a compromise that probably isn't satisfactory to anybody."

Some of the strongest opposition to making the warning-system data public came from the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. The organization, whose membership comprises U.S. and international carmakers, argued that releasing the information would harm them competitively. The Bush administration has close ties to the carmakers. Bush Chief of Staff Card has been General Motors' top lobbyist and head of a trade group of major domestic automakers. Jacqueline Glassman, NHTSA's chief counsel, is a former top lawyer for DaimlerChrysler Corp. In the months before the new regulations were released, industry officials met several times with officials from the White House's Office of Management and Budget.

The administration's commitment to increased secrecy measures extends to the area of "critical infrastructure information," or CII. In layman's terms, this refers to transportation, communications, energy, and other systems that make modern society run. The Homeland Security Act allows companies to make voluntary submissions of information about critical infrastructure to the Department of Homeland Security. The idea is to encourage firms to share information crucial to running and protecting those facilities. But under the terms of the law, when a company does this, the information is exempted from public disclosure and cannot be used without the submitting party's permission in any civil proceeding, even a government enforcement action. Some critics see this as a get-out-of-jail-free card, allowing companies worried about potential litigation or regulatory actions to place troublesome information in a convenient "homeland security" vault. "The sweep of it is amazing," says Beryl Howell, former general counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee. "Savvy businesses will be able to mark every document handed over [to] government officials as `CII' to ensure their confidentiality." Companies "wanted liability exemption long before 9/11," adds Patrice McDermott, a lobbyist for the American Library Association, which has a tradition of advocacy on right-to-know issues. "Now, they've got it."

Under the administration's plan to implement the Homeland Security Act, some businesses may get even more protection. When Congress passed the law, it said the antidisclosure provision would apply only to information submitted to the Department of Homeland Security. The department recently proposed extending the provision to cover information submitted to any federal agency. A department spokesman did not respond to requests for comment. Business objections were also pivotal when the Environmental Protection Agency recently backed off a plan that would have required some companies to disclose more about chemical stockpiles in communities.

If the administration's secrecy policies have helped business, they have done little for individuals worried about health and safety issues. The residents of the small town of Aberdeen, Md., can attest to that. On a chilly fall evening, some 100 people gathered at the Aberdeen firehouse to hear the latest about a toxic substance called perchlorate. An ingredient in rocket fuel, perchlorate has entered the aquifer that feeds the town's drinking-water wells. The culprit is the nearby U.S. Army's Aberdeen Proving Ground, where since World War I, all manner of weapons have been tested.

Trigger finger
After word of the perchlorate contamination broke, a coalition of citizens began working with the Army to try to attack the unseen plume of pollution moving through the ground. But earlier this year, the Army delivered Aberdeen residents a sharp blow. It began censoring maps to eliminate features like street names and building locations--information critical to understanding and tracking where contamination might have occurred or where environmental testing was being done.

The reason? The information, the Army says, could provide clues helpful to terrorists. Arlen Crabb, the head of a citizens' group, doesn't buy it. "It's an abuse of power," says Crabb, a 20-year Army veteran, whose well lies just a mile and a half from the base. His coalition is suing the Army, citing health and safety concerns. "We're not a bunch of radicals. We've got to have the proof. The government has to be transparent."

Aberdeen is but one example of the way enhanced security measures increasingly conflict with the health and safety concerns of ordinary Americans. Two basics--drinking water and airline travel--help illustrate the trend. A public health and bioterrorism law enacted last year requires, among other things, that operators of local water systems study vulnerabilities to attack or other disruptions and draw up plans to address any weaknesses. Republicans and Democrats praised the measure, pushed by the Bush administration, as a prudent response to potential terrorist attacks. But there's a catch. Residents are precluded from obtaining most information about any vulnerabilities.

This wasn't always the case. In 1996, Congress passed several amendments to the Clean Water Act calling for "source water assessments" to be made of water supply systems. The idea was that the assessments, covering such things as sources of contamination, would arm the public with information necessary to push for improvements. Today, the water assessments are still being done, but some citizens' groups say that because of Bush administration policy, the release of information has been so restricted that there is too little specific information to act upon. They blame the Environmental Protection Agency for urging states to limit information provided to the public from the assessments. As a result, the program has been fundamentally reshaped from one that has made information widely available to one that now forces citizens to essentially operate on a need-to-know basis, says Stephen Gasteyer, a Washington specialist on water-quality issues. "People [are] being overly zealous in their enforcement of safety and security, and perhaps a little paranoid," he says. "So you're getting releases of information so ambiguous that it's not terribly useful." Cynthia Dougherty, director of EPA's groundwater and drinking-water office, described her agency's policy as laying out "minimal standards," so that states that had been intending to more fully disclose information "had the opportunity to decide to make a change."

The Federal Aviation Administration has its own security concerns, and supporters say it has addressed them vigorously. In doing so, however, the agency has also made it harder for Americans to obtain the kind of safety information once considered routine. The FAA has eliminated online access to records on enforcement actions taken against airlines, pilots, mechanics, and others. That came shortly after the 9/11 attacks, when it was discovered that information was available on things like breaches of airport security, says Rebecca Trexler, an FAA spokeswoman. Balancing such concerns isn't easy. But rather than cut off access to just that information, the agency pulled back all enforcement records. The FAA has also backed away from providing access to safety information voluntarily submitted by airlines.

As worrisome as the specter of terrorism is for many Americans, many still grumble about being kept in the dark unnecessarily. Under rules the Transportation Security Administration adopted last year--with no public notice or comment--the traveling public no longer has access to key government information on the safety and security of all modes of transportation. The sweeping restrictions go beyond protecting details about security or screening systems to include information on enforcement actions or effectiveness of security measures. The new TSA rules also establish a new, looser standard for denying access to information: Material can be withheld from the public, the rules say, simply if it's "impractical" to release it. The agency did not respond to requests for comment.

This same pattern can be seen in one federal agency after another. As Joseph McCormick, the former Army Ranger trying to learn more about the pipeline planned for Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, learned, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission now restricts even the most basic information about such projects. The agency says its approach is "balanced," adding that security concerns amply justify the changes.

The Bush administration is pressing the courts to impose more secrecy, too. Jeffrey Sterling, 36, a former CIA operations officer, can testify to that. Sterling, who is black, is suing the CIA for discrimination. In September, with his attorneys in the midst of preparing important filings, a CIA security officer paid them a visit, demanding return of documents the agency had previously provided. A mistake had been made, the officer explained, and the records contained information that if disclosed would gravely damage national security. The officer warned that failure to comply could lead to prison or loss of a security clearance, according to the lawyers. Although vital to Sterling's case, the lawyers reluctantly gave up the records.

What was so important? In a federal courtroom in Alexandria, Va., a Justice Department attorney recently explained that the records included a pseudonym given to Sterling for an internal CIA proceeding on his discrimination complaint. In fact, the pseudonym, which Sterling never used in an operation, had already been disclosed through a clerical error. Mark Zaid, one of Sterling's attorneys, says the pseudonym is just a misdirection play by the CIA. The real reason the agency demanded the files back, he says, is that they included information supporting Sterling's discrimination complaint. Zaid says he has never encountered such heavy-handed treatment from the CIA. "When they have an administration that is willing to cater [to secrecy], they go for it," he says, "because they know they can get away with it." A CIA spokesman declined comment.

In this case, which is still pending, the administration is invoking the "state secrets" privilege, in which it asserts that a case can't proceed normally without disclosing information harmful to national security. The Justice Department says it can't provide statistics on how often it invokes the privilege. But Jonathan Turley, a George Washington University law professor active in national security matters, says: "In the past, it was an unusual thing. The Bush administration is faster on the trigger."

Surveillance
At the same time, the government is opening up a related front. Last spring, the TSA effectively shut down the case of Mohammed Ali Ahmed, an Indian Muslim and naturalized citizen. In September 2001, Ahmed and three of his children were removed from an American Airlines flight. Last year, Ahmed filed a civil rights suit against the airline. But TSA head James Loy intervened, saying that giving Ahmed information about his family's removal would compromise airline security. The government, in other words, was asserting a claim to withhold the very information Ahmed needed to pursue his case, says his attorney, Wayne Krause, of the Texas Civil Rights Project. "You're looking at an almost unprecedented vehicle to suppress information that is vital to the public and the people who want to vindicate their rights," Krause says.

Secret evidence of a different kind comes into play through a little-noticed effect of the U.S.A. Patriot Act. A key provision allows information from surveillance approved for intelligence gathering to be used to convict a defendant in criminal court. But the government's application--which states the case for the snooping--isn't available for defendants to see, as in traditional law enforcement surveillance cases. With government agencies now hoarding all manner of secret information, the growing stockpile represents an opportunity for abusive leaks, critics say. The new law takes note of that, by allowing suits against the federal government. But there's an important catch--in order to seek redress, one must forfeit the right to a jury trial. Instead, the action must be held before a judge; judges, typically, are much more conservative in awarding damages than are juries.

Most Americans appreciate the need for increased security. But with conflicts between safety and civil rights increasing, the need for an arbiter is acute--which is perhaps the key reason why the vast new security powers of many executive-branch agencies are so alarming to citizens' groups and others. A diminished role of congressional oversight is just one area of fallout, but there are others. Some examples:

It took the threat of a subpoena from the independent commission investigating the 9/11 attacks to force the White House to turn over intelligence reports. Even at that, family members of victims complain, there were too many restrictions on release of the information. In Congress, the administration has rebuffed members on a range of issues often unrelated to security concerns.

In a huge military spending bill last year, Congress directed President Bush to give it 30 days' notice before initiating certain sensitive defense programs. Bush signed the bill into law but rejected the restraint and said he would ignore the provision if he deemed it necessary.

Initial contracts to rebuild Iraq, worth billions of dollars, were awarded in secret. Bids were limited to companies invited to participate, and many had close ties to the White House. Members of Congress later pressed for an open bidding process.

Many public interest groups report that government agencies are more readily denying Freedom of Information Act requests--while also increasing fees, something small-budget groups say they can ill afford. The Sierra Club, for example, has been thwarted in getting information on problems at huge "factory farms" that pollute rivers and groundwater. Says David Bookbinder, senior attorney for the group: "What's different about this administration is their willingness to say, `We're going to keep everything secret until we're forced to disclose it--no matter what it is.' "

The administration is undeterred by such complaints. "I think what you've seen is a White House that has valued openness," says Daniel Bryant, assistant attorney general for legal policy, and "that knows that openness with the public facilitates confidence in government."

That's not the way Jim Kerrigan sees it. He operates a small market-research firm in Sterling, Va., outside Washington. For more than a decade, he has forecast federal spending on information technology. Three months after Bush took office, the Office of Management and Budget issued a memo telling government officials to no longer make available such information so as to "preserve the confidentiality of the deliberations that led to the president's budget decisions."

As a result, Kerrigan says, information began to dry up. Requests were ignored. And the data he did get came with so much information censored out that they were barely usable. The fees Kerrigan paid for a request, which once topped out at $300, jumped to as much as $6,500. "I can't afford that," he says. "This administration's policy is to withhold information as much as possible."

Key Dates: Secrecy and the Bush Administration:

Inauguration Day (1/20/01) Administration freezes Clinton-era regulations, without allowing for public comment.
10/12/01 Attorney General John Ashcroft, reversing Clinton policy, encourages agencies to deny Freedom of Information Act requests if a "sound legal basis" exists.
10/26/01 President Bush signs U.S.A. Patriot Act, expanding law enforcement powers and government surveillance.
2/22/02 Congress's General Accounting Office sues Vice President Dick Cheney for refusing to disclose records of his energy task force; the GAO eventually loses its case. A separate private case is pending.
3/19/02 White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card directs federal agencies to protect sensitive security information.
11/25/02 Bush signs Homeland Security Act. Its provisions restrict public access to information filed by companies about "critical infrastructure," among other matters.
01/3/03 Administration asks, in papers filed before the Supreme Court, for significant narrowing of the Freedom of Information Act.
3/25/03 Bush issues standards on classified material, favoring secrecy and reversing provisions on openness.

Posted by Lisa at 12:00 PM
Freaky Pentagon Report Calls Climate Change An Immediate National Security Concern

The Shrub's own experts are telling us we're all hosed. (Over the next 3-20 years).

What do you think guys? Is this for real? Or are they just trying to freak us out?


Now the Pentagon tells Bush: climate change will destroy us

By Mark Townsend and Paul Harris for the Observer.

and


Leaked Pentagon report warns climate change may bring famine, war: report

By AFP.

Here's a clip from the AFP story:


The report, quoted in the paper, concluded: "Disruption and conflict will be endemic features of life.... Once again, warfare would define human life."

Its authors -- Peter Schwartz, a CIA (news - web sites) consultant and former head of planning at Royal Dutch/Shell Group, and Doug Randall of Global Business Network based in California -- said climate change should be considered "immediately" as a top political and military issue.

It "should be elevated beyond a scientific debate to a US national security concern", they were quoted as saying.

Some examples given of probable scenarios in the dramatic report include:

-- Britain will have winters similar to those in current-day Siberia as European temperatures drop off radically by 2020.

-- by 2007 violent storms will make large parts of the Netherlands uninhabitable and lead to a breach in the acqueduct system in California that supplies all water to densely populated southern California

-- Europe and the United States become "virtual fortresses" trying to keep out millions of migrants whose homelands have been wiped out by rising sea levels or made unfarmable by drought.

-- "catastrophic" shortages of potable water and energy will lead to widespread war by 2020.

Randall, one of the authors, called his findings "depressing stuff" and warned that it might even be too late to prevent future disasters.

"We don't know exactly where we are in the process. It could start tomorrow and we would not know for another five years," he told the paper.

Experts familiar with the report told the newspaper that the threat to global stability "vastly eclipses that of terrorism".

Taking environmental pollution and climate change into account in political and military strategy is a new, complicated and necessary challenge for leaders, Randall said.

"It is a national security threat that is unique because there is no enemy to point your guns at and we have no control over the threat," he said.


Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad (other article follows):

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,1153513,00.html

Now the Pentagon tells Bush: climate change will destroy us

· Secret report warns of rioting and nuclear war
· Britain will be 'Siberian' in less than 20 years
· Threat to the world is greater than terrorism

Mark Townsend and Paul Harris in New York
Sunday February 22, 2004
The Observer

Climate change over the next 20 years could result in a global catastrophe costing millions of lives in wars and natural disasters..

A secret report, suppressed by US defence chiefs and obtained by The Observer, warns that major European cities will be sunk beneath rising seas as Britain is plunged into a 'Siberian' climate by 2020. Nuclear conflict, mega-droughts, famine and widespread rioting will erupt across the world.

The document predicts that abrupt climate change could bring the planet to the edge of anarchy as countries develop a nuclear threat to defend and secure dwindling food, water and energy supplies. The threat to global stability vastly eclipses that of terrorism, say the few experts privy to its contents.

'Disruption and conflict will be endemic features of life,' concludes the Pentagon analysis. 'Once again, warfare would define human life.'

The findings will prove humiliating to the Bush administration, which has repeatedly denied that climate change even exists. Experts said that they will also make unsettling reading for a President who has insisted national defence is a priority.

The report was commissioned by influential Pentagon defence adviser Andrew Marshall, who has held considerable sway on US military thinking over the past three decades. He was the man behind a sweeping recent review aimed at transforming the American military under Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Climate change 'should be elevated beyond a scientific debate to a US national security concern', say the authors, Peter Schwartz, CIA consultant and former head of planning at Royal Dutch/Shell Group, and Doug Randall of the California-based Global Business Network.

An imminent scenario of catastrophic climate change is 'plausible and would challenge United States national security in ways that should be considered immediately', they conclude. As early as next year widespread flooding by a rise in sea levels will create major upheaval for millions.

Last week the Bush administration came under heavy fire from a large body of respected scientists who claimed that it cherry-picked science to suit its policy agenda and suppressed studies that it did not like. Jeremy Symons, a former whistleblower at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), said that suppression of the report for four months was a further example of the White House trying to bury the threat of climate change.

Senior climatologists, however, believe that their verdicts could prove the catalyst in forcing Bush to accept climate change as a real and happening phenomenon. They also hope it will convince the United States to sign up to global treaties to reduce the rate of climatic change.

A group of eminent UK scientists recently visited the White House to voice their fears over global warming, part of an intensifying drive to get the US to treat the issue seriously. Sources have told The Observer that American officials appeared extremely sensitive about the issue when faced with complaints that America's public stance appeared increasingly out of touch.

One even alleged that the White House had written to complain about some of the comments attributed to Professor Sir David King, Tony Blair's chief scientific adviser, after he branded the President's position on the issue as indefensible.

Among those scientists present at the White House talks were Professor John Schellnhuber, former chief environmental adviser to the German government and head of the UK's leading group of climate scientists at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. He said that the Pentagon's internal fears should prove the 'tipping point' in persuading Bush to accept climatic change.

Sir John Houghton, former chief executive of the Meteorological Office - and the first senior figure to liken the threat of climate change to that of terrorism - said: 'If the Pentagon is sending out that sort of message, then this is an important document indeed.'

Bob Watson, chief scientist for the World Bank and former chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, added that the Pentagon's dire warnings could no longer be ignored.

'Can Bush ignore the Pentagon? It's going be hard to blow off this sort of document. Its hugely embarrassing. After all, Bush's single highest priority is national defence. The Pentagon is no wacko, liberal group, generally speaking it is conservative. If climate change is a threat to national security and the economy, then he has to act. There are two groups the Bush Administration tend to listen to, the oil lobby and the Pentagon,' added Watson.

'You've got a President who says global warming is a hoax, and across the Potomac river you've got a Pentagon preparing for climate wars. It's pretty scary when Bush starts to ignore his own government on this issue,' said Rob Gueterbock of Greenpeace.

Already, according to Randall and Schwartz, the planet is carrying a higher population than it can sustain. By 2020 'catastrophic' shortages of water and energy supply will become increasingly harder to overcome, plunging the planet into war. They warn that 8,200 years ago climatic conditions brought widespread crop failure, famine, disease and mass migration of populations that could soon be repeated.

Randall told The Observer that the potential ramifications of rapid climate change would create global chaos. 'This is depressing stuff,' he said. 'It is a national security threat that is unique because there is no enemy to point your guns at and we have no control over the threat.'

Randall added that it was already possibly too late to prevent a disaster happening. 'We don't know exactly where we are in the process. It could start tomorrow and we would not know for another five years,' he said.

'The consequences for some nations of the climate change are unbelievable. It seems obvious that cutting the use of fossil fuels would be worthwhile.'

So dramatic are the report's scenarios, Watson said, that they may prove vital in the US elections. Democratic frontrunner John Kerry is known to accept climate change as a real problem. Scientists disillusioned with Bush's stance are threatening to make sure Kerry uses the Pentagon report in his campaign.

The fact that Marshall is behind its scathing findings will aid Kerry's cause. Marshall, 82, is a Pentagon legend who heads a secretive think-tank dedicated to weighing risks to national security called the Office of Net Assessment. Dubbed 'Yoda' by Pentagon insiders who respect his vast experience, he is credited with being behind the Department of Defence's push on ballistic-missile defence.

Symons, who left the EPA in protest at political interference, said that the suppression of the report was a further instance of the White House trying to bury evidence of climate change. 'It is yet another example of why this government should stop burying its head in the sand on this issue.'

Symons said the Bush administration's close links to high-powered energy and oil companies was vital in understanding why climate change was received sceptically in the Oval Office. 'This administration is ignoring the evidence in order to placate a handful of large energy and oil companies,' he added.

***

Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=1521&e=2&u=/afp/britain_us_environment

Leaked Pentagon report warns climate change may bring famine, war: report

Sun Feb 22, 5:17 PM ET

Add Politics - AFP to My Yahoo!

LONDON (AFP) - A secret report prepared by the Pentagon (news - web sites) warns that climate change may lead to global catastrophe costing millions of lives and is a far greater threat than terrorism.


Pentagon Photo


The report was ordered by an influential US Pentagon advisor but was covered up by "US defense chiefs" for four months, until it was "obtained" by the British weekly The Observer.

The leak promises to draw angry attention to US environmental and military policies, following Washington's rejection of the Kyoto Protocol (news - web sites) on climate change and President George W. Bush (news - web sites)'s skepticism about global warning -- a stance that has stunned scientists worldwide.

The Pentagon report, commissioned by Andrew Marshall, predicts that "abrupt climate change could bring the planet to the edge of anarchy as countries develop a nuclear threat to defend and secure dwindling food, water and energy supplies," The Observer reported.

The report, quoted in the paper, concluded: "Disruption and conflict will be endemic features of life.... Once again, warfare would define human life."

Its authors -- Peter Schwartz, a CIA (news - web sites) consultant and former head of planning at Royal Dutch/Shell Group, and Doug Randall of Global Business Network based in California -- said climate change should be considered "immediately" as a top political and military issue.

It "should be elevated beyond a scientific debate to a US national security concern", they were quoted as saying.

Some examples given of probable scenarios in the dramatic report include:

-- Britain will have winters similar to those in current-day Siberia as European temperatures drop off radically by 2020.

-- by 2007 violent storms will make large parts of the Netherlands uninhabitable and lead to a breach in the acqueduct system in California that supplies all water to densely populated southern California

-- Europe and the United States become "virtual fortresses" trying to keep out millions of migrants whose homelands have been wiped out by rising sea levels or made unfarmable by drought.

-- "catastrophic" shortages of potable water and energy will lead to widespread war by 2020.

Randall, one of the authors, called his findings "depressing stuff" and warned that it might even be too late to prevent future disasters.

"We don't know exactly where we are in the process. It could start tomorrow and we would not know for another five years," he told the paper.

Experts familiar with the report told the newspaper that the threat to global stability "vastly eclipses that of terrorism".

Taking environmental pollution and climate change into account in political and military strategy is a new, complicated and necessary challenge for leaders, Randall said.

"It is a national security threat that is unique because there is no enemy to point your guns at and we have no control over the threat," he said.

Coming from the Pentagon, normally a bastion of conservative politics, the report is expected to bring environmental issues to the fore in the US presidential race.

Last week the Union of Concerned Scientists, an influential and non-partisan group that includes 20 Nobel laureates, accused the Bush administration of having deliberately distorted scientific fact to serve its policy agenda and having "misled the public".

Its 38-page report, which it said took over a year to prepare and was not time to coincide with the campaign season, details how Washington "systematically" skewed government scientific studies, suppressed others, stacked panels with political and unqualified appointees and often refused to seek independent expertise on issues.

Critics of the report quoted by the New York Times denied there was deliberate misrepresentation and called it politically motivated.

The person behind the leaked Pentagon report, Andrew Marsall, cannot be accused of the same partisan politicking.

Marsall, 82, has been an advisor for the defense department for decades, and was described by The Observer as the author of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's plans for a major transformation of the US military.

Posted by Lisa at 08:20 AM
February 17, 2004
George W. "The Shrub" Bush On Meet The Press

This is from the February 8, 2004 program of
Meet the Press
.

Okay, I've got this split up into two parts and 4 parts -- in quicktime movies and MP3s.

The Parts 1 and 2s go together (The movies and audio). The 4 parters are split up more at random.

Okay this stuff should be uploaded now. Sorry for being a bonehead last night ;-)

Quicktimes In Two Parts:


Shrub On Meet The Press - Part 1 of 2
(Small - 69 MB)

Shrub On Meet The Press - Part 2 of 2
(Small - 35 MB)

MP3s in Two Parts:


Shrub On Meet The Press - Part 1 of 2
(MP3 - 44 MB)


Shrub On Meet The Press - Part 2 of 2
(MP3 - 23 MB)


Quicktimes In Four Parts:


Shrub On Meet The Press - Part 1 of 4
(Small - 25 MB)

Shrub On Meet The Press - Part 2 of 4
(Small - 32 MB)

Shrub On Meet The Press - Part 3 of 4
(Small - 25 MB)

Shrub On Meet The Press - Part 4 of 4
(Small - 24 MB)


MP3s in Four Parts:



Shrub On Meet The Press - Part 1 of 4
(MP3 - 20 MB)


Shrub On Meet The Press - Part 2 of 4
(MP3 - 32 MB)


Shrub On Meet The Press - Part 3 of 4
(MP3 - 25 MB)


Shrub On Meet The Press - Part 4 of 4
(MP3 - 17 MB)

















Posted by Lisa at 08:09 PM
February 13, 2004
Daily Show On The Press Corps' Waking Up To Shrub Vietnam AWOL Situation

This is from the February 10, 2004 program.

So the press are finally waking up to the fact that there are facts to support that the Shrub never reported for duty, and seemed to have gotten an honorable discharge anyway, but there are no facts to support otherwise.

These guys are finally asking questions like: "Why isn't there one person who can say he served with George W. Bush?"

Says Jon to the Press:
"What I want to know is: Where the f**k have you guys been?"


Daily Show On Shrub's Meet The Press Appearance
(Small - 4 MB)

Daily Show On Shrub's Meet The Press Appearance
(Med - 7 MB)

















The Daily Show
(The best news on television.)

Posted by Lisa at 12:01 PM
Daily Show On The Shrub's Meet The Press Interview

This is from the February 9, 2004 program. (Commenting on the February 8, 2004 Meet the Press.)

The Shrub was on message, as usual. Jon created a drinking game: a shot of tequila every time the Shrub says "Terror," "Danger," or "Madman."

Here's complete
video of the Shrub's February 8, 2004 Meet The Press Interview
.

Daily Show On Shrub's Meet The Press Appearance
(Small - 10 MB)
Daily Show On Shrub's Meet The Press Appearance
(Med - 18 MB)








The Daily Show
(The best news on television.)

Posted by Lisa at 11:26 AM
December 25, 2003
Appeals Court Postpones New Crummy EPA Rules From Taking Effect


Weaker Clean Air Rules Blocked

By the Associate Press for Wired.


A federal appeals court on Wednesday blocked new Bush administration changes to the Clean Air Act from going into effect, in a challenge from state attorneys general and cities that argued the changes would harm the environment and public health.

The Environmental Protection Agency rule would have made it easier for utilities, refineries and other industrial facilities to make repairs in the name of routine maintenance without installing additional pollution controls.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued an order that blocks the rules from going into effect until the legal challenge from the states and cities is heard, a process likely to last months.

The court's decision stops, at least temporarily, one of the Bush administration's major environmental decisions. The court's justices said the challengers "demonstrated the irreparable harm and likelihood of success" of their case, which are required to stop the rule from taking effect.

The EPA proposed the rule a year ago December, the then-acting administrator signed it in August, and it was made final in October. It was due to have gone into effect this week.

Bringing suit were attorneys general for 12 states -- Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Wisconsin -- and legal officers for New York City, Washington, San Francisco, New Haven and a host of other cities in Connecticut.

Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:

http://www.wired.com/news/politics/0,1283,61744,00.html?tw=newsletter_topstories_html


Associated Press Page 1 of 1

11:48 AM Dec. 24, 2003 PT

WASHINGTON -- A federal appeals court on Wednesday blocked new Bush administration changes to the Clean Air Act from going into effect, in a challenge from state attorneys general and cities that argued the changes would harm the environment and public health.

The Environmental Protection Agency rule would have made it easier for utilities, refineries and other industrial facilities to make repairs in the name of routine maintenance without installing additional pollution controls.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued an order that blocks the rules from going into effect until the legal challenge from the states and cities is heard, a process likely to last months.

The court's decision stops, at least temporarily, one of the Bush administration's major environmental decisions. The court's justices said the challengers "demonstrated the irreparable harm and likelihood of success" of their case, which are required to stop the rule from taking effect.

The EPA proposed the rule a year ago December, the then-acting administrator signed it in August, and it was made final in October. It was due to have gone into effect this week.

Bringing suit were attorneys general for 12 states -- Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Wisconsin -- and legal officers for New York City, Washington, San Francisco, New Haven and a host of other cities in Connecticut.

Cynthia Bergman, a spokeswoman for the EPA, declined to provide any initial comment, saying the agency had not yet had a chance to review the ruling.

The EPA has maintained that it does not believe the rule will result in significant changes in emissions, and that it will preserve the public health protections required under law.

Scott Segal, director of the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council, a group of power companies, called the ruling "a setback for energy efficiency and environmental protection," but expressed confidence the rule would eventually be upheld.

"The rule was based upon a substantial agency record with analysis, public hearings and thousands of rule-making comments," he said. "We expect the rule will soon be back on course."

Environmental and health groups, including the Natural Resources Defense Council and the American Lung Association, also challenged the rule in the appeals court.

They argued the EPA's maintenance rule violates the Clean Air Act by letting power plants and other industries increase pollution significantly without adopting control measures, and public harm would result.

"This is a great gift to the American people and a lump of coal to the Bush administration and its polluter friends," John Walke, NRDC's clean air director. "The court agreed this rule would cause great harm to the public that could not be undone, and it's likely the rule will be struck down for running afoul of the Clean Air Act."

Tom Reilly, the Massachusetts attorney general, also spoke in terms of holiday gifts, saying the court had "forced EPA to take back its early Christmas present to the coal-fired power plants in the Midwest."

Eliot Spitzer, New York's attorney general, called it "a major decision."

"When it comes to environmental policy, this court decision is as big a success as we've had in stopping the Bush administration from undercutting the Clean Air Act," he said.

But the judges also said they found no reason to revisit an earlier decision not to block other of the EPA's changes to the Clean Air Act that were made final in December 2002.

Those new rules had already begun to go into effect in some states earlier this year, giving coal-fired power plants and other industrial facilities more flexibility in calculating their pollution levels.

Posted by Lisa at 07:41 PM
More On The Shrub's Attempt To Cover Up His Ever-changing Story About The Cost Of The War By Removing Web-based Evidence Of His Administration's Lies

The Shrub is trying to cover his tracks by deleting hundreds of damning documents from the Internet. Nice try shrubby, but the built-in redundancy of the Web will hopefully save the day on this one.


White House Covers Tracks by Removing Information


In a high-tech cover-up, the Washington Post this morning reports the White House is actively scrubbing government websites clean of any of its own previous statements that have now proven to be untrue.1 Specifically, on April 23, 2003, the president sent his top international aid official on national television to reassure the public that the cost of war and reconstruction in Iraq would be modest. USAID Director Andrew Natsios, echoing other Administration officials, told Nightline that, "In terms of the American taxpayers contribution, [$1.7 billion] is it for the US. The American part of this will be $1.7 billion. We have no plans for any further-on funding for this."

The president has requested more than $166 billion in funding for the war and reconstruction efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan this year. But instead of admitting that he misled the nation about the cost of war, the president has allowed the State Department "to purge the comments by Natsios from the State Department's Web site. The transcript, and links to it, have vanished." (The link where the transcript existed until it caused embarrassment was http://www.usaid.gov/iraq/nightline_042403_t.html).


Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:

http://www.misleader.org/daily_mislead/Read.asp?fn=df12182003.html

December 18, 2003 | Print Now

White House Covers Tracks by Removing Information

In a high-tech cover-up, the Washington Post this morning reports the White House is actively scrubbing government websites clean of any of its own previous statements that have now proven to be untrue.1 Specifically, on April 23, 2003, the president sent his top international aid official on national television to reassure the public that the cost of war and reconstruction in Iraq would be modest. USAID Director Andrew Natsios, echoing other Administration officials, told Nightline that, "In terms of the American taxpayers contribution, [$1.7 billion] is it for the US. The American part of this will be $1.7 billion. We have no plans for any further-on funding for this."

The president has requested more than $166 billion in funding for the war and reconstruction efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan this year. But instead of admitting that he misled the nation about the cost of war, the president has allowed the State Department "to purge the comments by Natsios from the State Department's Web site. The transcript, and links to it, have vanished." (The link where the transcript existed until it caused embarrassment was http://www.usaid.gov/iraq/nightline_042403_t.html).

When confronted with the dishonest whitewash, the administration decided to lie. A Bush spokesman said the administration was forced to remove the statements because, "there was going to be a cost" charged by ABC for keeping the transcript on the government's site. But as the Post notes, "other government Web sites, including the State and Defense departments, routinely post interview transcripts, even from 'Nightline,'" and according to ABC News, "there is no cost."

This story is not the first time the President has tried to hide critical information from the American public. For instance, the president opposed the creation of the independent 9/11 investigative commission2, and has refused to provide the commission with critical information4, even under threat of subpoena5. Similarly, after making substantial budget cuts, the president ordered the government to stop publishing its regular report detailing those cuts to states6. And when confronted with a continuing unemployment crisis, the president ordered the Department of Labor to stop publishing its regular mass layoff report.

It is also not the first time the administration has sought to revise history and public records when those records become incriminating. As the Post reports "After the insurrection in Iraq proved more stubborn than expected, the White House edited the original headline on its Web site of President Bush's May 1 speech, "President Bush Announces Combat Operations in Iraq Have Ended," to insert the word 'Major' before combat." And the "Justice Department recently redacted criticism of the department in a consultant's report that had been posted on its Web site."

Sources:

1. "
White House Web Scrubbing
", Washington Post, 12/18/2003
(http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A9821-2003Dec17.html).
2. "
Rice opposes public panel to probe 9/11
", CNN, 05/22/2002
(http://www.cnn.com/2002/ALLPOLITICS/05/19/911probe.rice/).
3. "
9/11 Families Criticize Slow Response to Commission Requests
", FindLaw, 10/14/2003
(http://news.findlaw.com/prnewswire/20031014/14oct2003125830.html).
4. "
9/11 Commission Could Subpoena Oval Office Files
", New York Times, 10/26/2003
(http://www.commondreams.org/headlines03/1026-02.htm).
5. "Seek and Ye Shall Not Find", Washington Post, 03/11/2003.
6. "
Shooting the messenger: Report on layoffs killed
", Freedom of Information Center,
01/03/2003 (http://foi.missouri.edu/bushinfopolicies/lazarusatlg.html).

Posted by Lisa at 02:21 PM
Shrub Attempts To Alter History By Removing Web Documents


White House Web Scrubbing

Offending Comments on Iraq Disappear From Site
By Dana Milbank for the Washington Post.


White House officials were steamed when Andrew S. Natsios, the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, said earlier this year that U.S. taxpayers would not have to pay more than $1.7 billion to reconstruct Iraq -- which turned out to be a gross understatement of the tens of billions of dollars the government now expects to spend.

Recently, however, the government has purged the offending comments by Natsios from the agency's Web site. The transcript, and links to it, have vanished.

This is not the first time the administration has done some creative editing of government Web sites. After the insurrection in Iraq proved more stubborn than expected, the White House edited the original headline on its Web site of President Bush's May 1 speech, "President Bush Announces Combat Operations in Iraq Have Ended," to insert the word "Major" before combat.

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, administration Web sites have been scrubbed for anything vaguely sensitive, and passwords are now required to access even much unclassified information. Though it is not clear whether the White House is directing the changes, several agencies have been following a similar pattern. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and USAID have removed or revised fact sheets on condoms, excising information about their effectiveness in disease prevention, and promoting abstinence instead. The National Cancer Institute, meanwhile, scrapped claims on its Web site that there was no association between abortion and breast cancer. And the Justice Department recently redacted criticism of the department in a consultant's report that had been posted on its Web site.

Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A9821-2003Dec17.html

White House Web Scrubbing
Offending Comments on Iraq Disappear From Site

By Dana Milbank
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, December 18, 2003; Page A05

It's not quite Soviet-style airbrushing, but the Bush administration has been using cyberspace to make some of its own cosmetic touch-ups to history.

White House officials were steamed when Andrew S. Natsios, the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, said earlier this year that U.S. taxpayers would not have to pay more than $1.7 billion to reconstruct Iraq -- which turned out to be a gross understatement of the tens of billions of dollars the government now expects to spend.

Recently, however, the government has purged the offending comments by Natsios from the agency's Web site. The transcript, and links to it, have vanished.

This is not the first time the administration has done some creative editing of government Web sites. After the insurrection in Iraq proved more stubborn than expected, the White House edited the original headline on its Web site of President Bush's May 1 speech, "President Bush Announces Combat Operations in Iraq Have Ended," to insert the word "Major" before combat.

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, administration Web sites have been scrubbed for anything vaguely sensitive, and passwords are now required to access even much unclassified information. Though it is not clear whether the White House is directing the changes, several agencies have been following a similar pattern. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and USAID have removed or revised fact sheets on condoms, excising information about their effectiveness in disease prevention, and promoting abstinence instead. The National Cancer Institute, meanwhile, scrapped claims on its Web site that there was no association between abortion and breast cancer. And the Justice Department recently redacted criticism of the department in a consultant's report that had been posted on its Web site.

Steven Aftergood, who directs the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists, said the Natsios case is particularly pernicious. "This smells like an attempt to revise the record, not just to withhold information but to alter the historical record in a self-interested way, and that is sleazier than usual," he said. "If they simply said, 'We made an error; we underestimated,' people could understand it and deal with it."

For months after the April 23 Natsios interview on ABC's "Nightline," USAID.gov displayed the transcript. "You're not suggesting that the rebuilding of Iraq is going to be done for $1.7 billion?" an incredulous Ted Koppel asked Natsios.

"Well, in terms of the American taxpayers contribution, I do," Natsios said. "This is it for the U.S. The rest of the rebuilding of Iraq will be done by other countries who have already made pledges, Britain, Germany, Norway, Japan, Canada and Iraqi oil revenues. . . . But the American part of this will be $1.7 billion. We have no plans for any further-on funding for this."

A White House spokesman, asked later about these remarks, responded vaguely that he had not seen the statement in question. Then, sometime this fall, USAID made it easier for the administration to maintain its veil of ignorance on the subject by taking the transcript off its Web site.

For a while, the agency left telltale evidence by keeping the link to the transcript on its "What's New" page -- but yesterday the liberal Center for American Progress discovered that this link had disappeared, too, as well as the Google "cached" copies of the original page.

USAID spokeswoman Lejaune Hall, asked about this curious situation, searched the Web site herself for the missing document. "That is strange," she said. After a brief investigation, she reported back: "They were taken down off the Web site. There was going to be a cost. That's why they're not there."

But other government Web sites, including the State and Defense departments, routinely post interview transcripts, even from "Nightline." And, it turns out, there is no cost. "We would not charge for that," said ABC News spokesman Jeffrey Schneider. "We would have no trouble with a government agency linking to one of our interviews, and we are unaware of anybody from [ABC] making any request that anything be removed."

Posted by Lisa at 02:14 PM
December 23, 2003
Lovely Comprehensive Page On The Saddam Capture Cover-up Links

Knitwitology has just posted a great page with all the information on it I was just about to take the time to create links for:


Of Spiderholes and Spiderwebs

Thanks, Morgan for letting me off the hook!

Remember to not let any of this stuff get you down people! Things just keep getting stranger and stranger. But we're all in this together, and we're gonna get out of it together!

Happy Holidays and Remember to Be Careful About Driving Tired, Wasted or in Bad Weather. When in doubt - chill out and wait till later.

Peace and Love Ya'll!

(I'm probably out for the next few days...connectivity uncertain.)

Posted by Lisa at 12:32 PM
December 22, 2003
More On The Real Story Behind Saddam's Capture


Saddam 'captured weeks ago'


An intelligence website has reported that former Iraqi president, Saddam Hussein, might have been a prisoner at the time of his arrest.

According to Debkafiles there is a possibility that Saddam was held for up to three weeks in the underground pit by a Kurdish splinter group while they negotiated a handover to the Americans in return for the US$25m reward.

The website, edited by former Israeli intelligence agents reports that this is the only answer to questions on why Saddam looked dishevelled and disorientated when captured.

The website reported that it was clear Saddam had not shaved for weeks nor had he washed his hair. He was also starved and looked neglected.

The opening of the underground pit was camouflaged with rocks and mud and it was accessible for above ground only. As a result it was impossible for Saddam to leave his underground cell.

No information has been released on the two men captured at the site except for the fact that they tried to escape during the American operation.

The other question asked is where did the US$750 000 found at the scene come from. It is possible that the new notes were a down payment of a ransom.

The possibility that Saddam was drugged has also emerged. This could have been why he appeared so disorientated, read the report. This would also explain why Saddam did not use the firearm found in the pit.


Kurds claim Saddam capture


SADDAM Hussein was found by US troops only after he had been taken prisoner by Kurdish forces, drugged and abandoned ready for American soldiers to recover him, a British newspaper reported yesterday.

Saddam came into the hands of the Kurdish Patriotic Front after being betrayed to the group by a member of the al-Jabour tribe, whose daughter had been raped by Saddam's son Uday, leading to a blood feud, reported the Sunday Express, which quoted an unnamed senior British military intelligence officer.

The newspaper said the full story of events leading up to the ousted Iraqi president's capture on December 13 near his hometown of Tikrit in northern Iraq, "exposes the version peddled by American spin doctors as incomplete".

A former Iraqi intelligence officer, whom the Express did not name, told the paper that Saddam was held prisoner by a leader of the Kurdish Patriotic Front, which fought alongside US forces during the Iraq war, until the leader negotiated a deal.

The deal apparently involved the group gaining political advantage in the region.

An unnamed Western intelligence source in the Middle East told the Express: "Saddam was not captured as a result of any American or British intelligence".

Here is the full text of the entire article in case the link goes bad:
http://www.news24.com/News24/World/Iraq/0,,2-10-1460_1460345,00.html

Saddam 'captured weeks ago'
17/12/2003 07:19 - (SA)
Erika Gibson

Pretoria - An intelligence website has reported that former Iraqi president, Saddam Hussein, might have been a prisoner at the time of his arrest.

According to Debkafiles there is a possibility that Saddam was held for up to three weeks in the underground pit by a Kurdish splinter group while they negotiated a handover to the Americans in return for the US$25m reward.

The website, edited by former Israeli intelligence agents reports that this is the only answer to questions on why Saddam looked dishevelled and disorientated when captured.

The website reported that it was clear Saddam had not shaved for weeks nor had he washed his hair. He was also starved and looked neglected.

The opening of the underground pit was camouflaged with rocks and mud and it was accessible for above ground only. As a result it was impossible for Saddam to leave his underground cell.

No information has been released on the two men captured at the site except for the fact that they tried to escape during the American operation.

The other question asked is where did the US$750 000 found at the scene come from. It is possible that the new notes were a down payment of a ransom.

The possibility that Saddam was drugged has also emerged. This could have been why he appeared so disorientated, read the report. This would also explain why Saddam did not use the firearm found in the pit.


Here is the full text of the entire story in case the link goes bad:

http://www.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,4057,8233746%255E2,00.html

Kurds claim Saddam capture
December 22, 2003

SADDAM Hussein was found by US troops only after he had been taken prisoner by Kurdish forces, drugged and abandoned ready for American soldiers to recover him, a British newspaper reported yesterday.

Saddam came into the hands of the Kurdish Patriotic Front after being betrayed to the group by a member of the al-Jabour tribe, whose daughter had been raped by Saddam's son Uday, leading to a blood feud, reported the Sunday Express, which quoted an unnamed senior British military intelligence officer.

The newspaper said the full story of events leading up to the ousted Iraqi president's capture on December 13 near his hometown of Tikrit in northern Iraq, "exposes the version peddled by American spin doctors as incomplete".

A former Iraqi intelligence officer, whom the Express did not name, told the paper that Saddam was held prisoner by a leader of the Kurdish Patriotic Front, which fought alongside US forces during the Iraq war, until the leader negotiated a deal.

The deal apparently involved the group gaining political advantage in the region.

An unnamed Western intelligence source in the Middle East told the Express: "Saddam was not captured as a result of any American or British intelligence".

"We knew that someone would eventually take their revenge, it was just a matter of time."

However US military intelligence said in Baghdad yesterday the man who led US troops to Saddam was one of his top aides.

"He was someone I would call his right arm," said Major Stan Murphy, head of intelligence for the 4th Infantry Division's First Brigade in Tikrit.

Meanwhile, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar yesterday paid an unannounced visit to Iraq.

Aznar flew by helicopter from Kuwait and spent about five hours at a base in Diwaniya, south of the capital, where he had lunch with the mostly Spanish troops stationed there.

"The visit had to be a surprise for security reasons. Very few people knew about it," said Major Carlos Herradon, spokesman for the Spanish troops based in Iraq.

Mr Aznar said he wanted to support the Spanish soldiers and their allies in "their struggle for a just cause, one of liberty, democracy and respect for international law".

Later, a senior US officer said four Iraqis died and an unspecified number of US troops were wounded during a Baghdad demonstration in support of Saddam five days ago. Three more Iraqi policemen were gunned down by mistake by American soldiers about 90km south of Kirkuk in northern Iraq, local police said, adding that they were mistaken for rebels.

The Courier-Mail

Posted by Lisa at 08:06 AM
Saddam Actually Captured By The Kurds

Can't the Shrub Administration tell the truth about anything?

Would it have really been so bad to just tell the truth on this one? We still have him in custody and all. The Kurds could have gotten their proper credit -- we could have bonded with a persecuted people, and then we all could have held hands and hated Saddam together. (These are the Kurds, remember? The ones that were gassed ten years ago that the Administration likes to bring up all the time as justification for the Shrub War's unfound WMD!)

But no.

Instead we have to find out a week later that we were lied to yet again.

I hope this is getting as old for you as it is for me. I want a President that can tell the truth at least part of the time. How about once. I'd like to go a day or two, or maybe a week even, without hearing a lie from my President. I don't think it's too much to ask.

Well, at least now we know what the new terror alert level is all about. It's all about diversion: "Pay no attention to the information coming in from the rest of the world. Just be afraid and keep watching the box for further instructions."


Saddam was held by Kurdish forces, drugged and left for US troops


Saddam Hussein (news - web sites) was captured by US troops only after he had been taken prisoner by Kurdish forces, drugged and abandoned ready for American soldiers to recover him, a British Sunday newspaper said.

Saddam came into the hands of the Kurdish Patriotic Front after being betrayed to the group by a member of the al-Jabour tribe, whose daughter had been raped by Saddam's son Uday, leading to a blood feud, reported the Sunday Express, which quoted an unnamed senior British military intelligence officer.

The newspaper said the full story of events leading up to the ousted Iraqi president's capture on December 13 near his hometown of Tikrit in northern Iraq (news - web sites), "exposes the version peddled by American spin doctors as incomplete".

A former Iraqi intelligence officer, whom the Express did not name, told the paper that Saddam was held prisoner by a leader of the Kurdish Patriotic Front, which fought alongside US forces during the Iraq war, until he negotiated a deal.

The deal apparently involved the group gaining political advantage in the region.

An unnamed Western intelligence source in the Middle East told the Express: "Saddam was not captured as a result of any American or British intelligence. We knew that someone would eventually take their revenge, it was just a matter of time."

Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/afp/20031221/wl_mideast_afp/iraq_saddam_britain&cid=1514&ncid=1480


Saddam was held by Kurdish forces, drugged and left for US troops

Sat Dec 20,11:00 PM ET


LONDON, (AFP) - Saddam Hussein (news - web sites) was captured by US troops only after he had been taken prisoner by Kurdish forces, drugged and abandoned ready for American soldiers to recover him, a British Sunday newspaper said.

Saddam came into the hands of the Kurdish Patriotic Front after being betrayed to the group by a member of the al-Jabour tribe, whose daughter had been raped by Saddam's son Uday, leading to a blood feud, reported the Sunday Express, which quoted an unnamed senior British military intelligence officer.

The newspaper said the full story of events leading up to the ousted Iraqi president's capture on December 13 near his hometown of Tikrit in northern Iraq (news - web sites), "exposes the version peddled by American spin doctors as incomplete".

A former Iraqi intelligence officer, whom the Express did not name, told the paper that Saddam was held prisoner by a leader of the Kurdish Patriotic Front, which fought alongside US forces during the Iraq war, until he negotiated a deal.

The deal apparently involved the group gaining political advantage in the region.

An unnamed Western intelligence source in the Middle East told the Express: "Saddam was not captured as a result of any American or British intelligence. We knew that someone would eventually take their revenge, it was just a matter of time."

Posted by Lisa at 06:31 AM
December 21, 2003
Terror Alert Level High: Happy Holidays Everyone

So they won't say exactly why, and they won't say exactly what they're doing as a result of it, but the terror alert level has been raised to "high."

Tom Ridge, chief Dept of Homeland Security dude, was on the tube saying absolutely nothing, over and over again.

It was all very surreal. Like a chapter in a book... (called 1984).'

Peace everybody!

Posted by Lisa at 02:52 PM
December 04, 2003
Bush Sucks Movie From SFSU Students

Here's a 30 second movie submitted to the Bush in 30 seconds contest.


Bush Sucks And We Can Prove It

(Thanks, Peter!)

Posted by Lisa at 07:29 AM
November 25, 2003
Tommy Franks Predicts Martial Law In The U.S. -- Doubts The World Will Ever Have Peace

Why is this "Shrub Watch?" Because Tommy Franks works for the Shrub and embodies many Shrub Administration ideals. With that in mind, the contents of his interview for Cigar Aficionado are quite disturbing indeed.

Hey predicts that, after a WMD attack on us or one of our allies, our Constitution will be discarded.

Ha! As if our Constitution has even survived 911 to begin with...


Gen. Franks Doubts Constitution Will Survive WMD Attack

By John O. Edwards for NewsMax.com.


Gen. Tommy Franks says that if the United States is hit with a weapon of mass destruction that inflicts large casualties, the Constitution will likely be discarded in favor of a military form of government.

Franks, who successfully led the U.S. military operation to liberate Iraq, expressed his worries in an extensive interview he gave to the men’s lifestyle magazine Cigar Aficionado.

In the magazine’s December edition, the former commander of the military’s Central Command warned that if terrorists succeeded in using a weapon of mass destruction (WMD) against the U.S. or one of our allies, it would likely have catastrophic consequences for our cherished republican form of government.

Discussing the hypothetical dangers posed to the U.S. in the wake of Sept. 11, Franks said that “the worst thing that could happen” is if terrorists acquire and then use a biological, chemical or nuclear weapon that inflicts heavy casualties.

If that happens, Franks said, “... the Western world, the free world, loses what it cherishes most, and that is freedom and liberty we’ve seen for a couple of hundred years in this grand experiment that we call democracy.”

Franks then offered “in a practical sense” what he thinks would happen in the aftermath of such an attack.

“It means the potential of a weapon of mass destruction and a terrorist, massive, casualty-producing event somewhere in the Western world – it may be in the United States of America – that causes our population to question our own Constitution and to begin to militarize our country in order to avoid a repeat of another mass, casualty-producing event. Which in fact, then begins to unravel the fabric of our Constitution. Two steps, very, very important.”

Franks didn’t speculate about how soon such an event might take place.

Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:

http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2003/11/20/185048.shtml

Gen. Franks Doubts Constitution Will Survive WMD Attack

John O. Edwards, NewsMax.com
Friday, Nov. 21, 2003

Gen. Tommy Franks says that if the United States is hit with a weapon of mass destruction that inflicts large casualties, the Constitution will likely be discarded in favor of a military form of government.

Franks, who successfully led the U.S. military operation to liberate Iraq, expressed his worries in an extensive interview he gave to the men’s lifestyle magazine Cigar Aficionado.

In the magazine’s December edition, the former commander of the military’s Central Command warned that if terrorists succeeded in using a weapon of mass destruction (WMD) against the U.S. or one of our allies, it would likely have catastrophic consequences for our cherished republican form of government.

Discussing the hypothetical dangers posed to the U.S. in the wake of Sept. 11, Franks said that “the worst thing that could happen” is if terrorists acquire and then use a biological, chemical or nuclear weapon that inflicts heavy casualties.

If that happens, Franks said, “... the Western world, the free world, loses what it cherishes most, and that is freedom and liberty we’ve seen for a couple of hundred years in this grand experiment that we call democracy.”

Franks then offered “in a practical sense” what he thinks would happen in the aftermath of such an attack.

“It means the potential of a weapon of mass destruction and a terrorist, massive, casualty-producing event somewhere in the Western world – it may be in the United States of America – that causes our population to question our own Constitution and to begin to militarize our country in order to avoid a repeat of another mass, casualty-producing event. Which in fact, then begins to unravel the fabric of our Constitution. Two steps, very, very important.”

Franks didn’t speculate about how soon such an event might take place.

Already, critics of the U.S. Patriot Act, rushed through Congress in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, have argued that the law aims to curtail civil liberties and sets a dangerous precedent.

But Franks’ scenario goes much further. He is the first high-ranking official to openly speculate that the Constitution could be scrapped in favor of a military form of government.

The usually camera-shy Franks retired from U.S. Central Command, known in Pentagon lingo as CentCom, in August 2003, after serving nearly four decades in the Army.

Franks earned three Purple Hearts for combat wounds and three Bronze Stars for valor. Known as a “soldier’s general,” Franks made his mark as a top commander during the U.S.’s successful Operation Desert Storm, which liberated Kuwait in 1991. He was in charge of CentCom when Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda attacked the United States on Sept. 11.

Franks said that within hours of the attacks, he was given orders to prepare to root out the Taliban in Afghanistan and to capture bin Laden.

Franks offered his assessment on a number of topics to Cigar Aficionado, including:

President Bush: “As I look at President Bush, I think he will ultimately be judged as a man of extremely high character. A very thoughtful man, not having been appraised properly by those who would say he’s not very smart. I find the contrary. I think he’s very, very bright. And I suspect that he’ll be judged as a man who led this country through a crease in history effectively. Probably we’ll think of him in years to come as an American hero.”

On the motivation for the Iraq war: Contrary to claims that top Pentagon brass opposed the invasion of Iraq, Franks said he wholeheartedly agreed with the president’s decision to invade Iraq and oust Saddam Hussein.

“I, for one, begin with intent. ... There is no question that Saddam Hussein had intent to do harm to the Western alliance and to the United States of America. That intent is confirmed in a great many of his speeches, his commentary, the words that have come out of the Iraqi regime over the last dozen or so years. So we have intent.

“If we know for sure ... that a regime has intent to do harm to this country, and if we have something beyond a reasonable doubt that this particular regime may have the wherewithal with which to execute the intent, what are our actions and orders as leaders in this country?”

The Pentagon’s deck of cards: Asked how the Pentagon decided to put its most-wanted Iraqis on a set of playing cards, Franks explained its genesis. He recalled that when his staff identified the most notorious Iraqis the U.S. wanted to capture, “it just turned out that the number happened to be about the same as a deck of cards. And so somebody said, ‘Aha, this will be the ace of spades.’”

Capturing Saddam: Franks said he was not surprised that Saddam has not been captured or killed. But he says he will eventually be found, perhaps sooner than Osama bin laden.

“The capture or killing of Saddam Hussein will be a near term thing. And I won’t say that’ll be within 19 or 43 days. ... I believe it is inevitable.”

Franks ended his interview with a less-than-optimistic note. “It’s not in the history of civilization for peace ever to reign. Never has in the history of man. ... I doubt that we’ll ever have a time when the world will actually be at peace.”

Posted by Lisa at 04:17 PM
Vice Chairman Of The U.S. Joint Chiefs Of Staff Says That Osama Bin Laden Is No Longer Target Of War On Terror

From the "what the hell are you talking about?" file, this news is just in from the Shrub Administration: Bin Laden's No Longer Enemy #1.

That means that this "War On Terror" now officially has nothing to do with 911 (as if it ever was).

All you have to do is "take yourself out of the picture," and our Army will stop chasing you!
What a great deal!


U.S. General Says Bin Laden 'Out of the Picture'
By Yousuf Azimy for Reuters.


A senior U.S. general said on Friday that al Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden (news - web sites) had "taken himself out of the picture" and that his capture was not essential to winning the "war on terror."

General Peter Pace, vice chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at U.S. military headquarters just north of Kabul that the 11,500-strong U.S.-led force hunting al Qaeda and Taliban militants was not focusing on individuals.

"He (bin Laden) has taken himself out of the picture," Pace told reporters after visiting U.S. troops serving in Afghanistan (news - web sites).

"It is not an individual that is as important as is the ongoing campaign of the coalition against terrorists," he said.

America's new ambassador to Kabul Zalmay Khalilzad said earlier this week that the U.S. military would "redouble" its efforts to find bin Laden and other al Qaeda and Taliban leaders.

While appearing to contradict this, Pace, added: "That is not to say that we would not be glad to capture Osama bin Laden today or tomorrow."


Here is the full text of the entire article in case the link goes bad:

http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story2&cid=564&u=/nm/20031121/ts_nm/afghan_laden_dc_1&printer=1

U.S. General Says Bin Laden 'Out of the Picture'

By Yousuf Azimy

BAGRAM, Afghanistan (Reuters) - A senior U.S. general said on Friday that al Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden (news - web sites) had "taken himself out of the picture" and that his capture was not essential to winning the "war on terror."

General Peter Pace, vice chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at U.S. military headquarters just north of Kabul that the 11,500-strong U.S.-led force hunting al Qaeda and Taliban militants was not focusing on individuals.

"He (bin Laden) has taken himself out of the picture," Pace told reporters after visiting U.S. troops serving in Afghanistan (news - web sites).

"It is not an individual that is as important as is the ongoing campaign of the coalition against terrorists," he said.

America's new ambassador to Kabul Zalmay Khalilzad said earlier this week that the U.S. military would "redouble" its efforts to find bin Laden and other al Qaeda and Taliban leaders.

While appearing to contradict this, Pace, added: "That is not to say that we would not be glad to capture Osama bin Laden today or tomorrow."

He said U.S.-led forces were winning their war against "terrorists" in Afghanistan, despite nearly 400 people being killed in just over three months in the bloodiest period since the Taliban's ouster two years ago.

"The fact that the enemy is not pooling up in waves that can be attacked in large numbers to me means that in fact the coalition is being effective," Pace said.

There have been very few major clashes between U.S. forces and Islamic militants in the past two years.

In the most recent case, hundreds of Taliban were hunted down by U.S. forces and Afghan troops in the troubled provinces of Uruzgan and Zabul in August and early September, leading to the death of over a hundred rebels.

But generally U.S. operations, including the latest launched in the northeast earlier this month, kill few militants due to their apparent ability to blend into local populations or flee into the hills, often crossing into neighboring Pakistan.

"We will continue to pursue them to make sure that they don't re-establish any kind of a stronghold," said Pace.

He added that civilian-military teams already in some cities were the ideal way for the international community to contribute to Afghan stability, and that Pakistan and Afghanistan should work together to fight militants active on their common frontier.

Afghanistan suspects Pakistan is turning a blind eye to Taliban and al Qaeda remnants, but Islamabad says it is doing all it can to support the U.S. "war on terror."

Also believed to be at large in Afghanistan or Pakistan are Taliban supreme leader Mullah Mohammad Omar and bin Laden's deputy Ayman al-Zawahri.

Posted by Lisa at 03:56 PM
November 18, 2003
What The Shrub Can Learn From The Gropinator -- Oops, I Mean Governator

This one's a little late getting up, but better late than never.


Recall Lessons for the President

By Howard Fineman for Newsweek.


It would be nice to think that the ending of Election Day here will bring peace to the politics of California, and to the country. It would be nice, but wrong. Don't expect an end to partisan rancor, voter anger and alienation, here or elsewhere. This state's political warfare will resume long before Governor-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger actually takes office. And the same forces that are shaking Sacramento could materialize on the doorstep of the house at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave...

But in an odd but important way, the Arnold victory could be an ominous message for President Bush. There is a straight line of voter protest running from Ross Perot through John McCain and on to the Internet-based campaigns of Wesley Clark and even Howard Dean. To some extent, all were or are powered by a sense of voter alienation from the centers of authority in government politics-whether those center are in Sacramento or Washington, D.C. The bigger and more remote the government, the more ignored and misunderstood the voters feel.


Here is the text of the full article in case the link goes bad:

http://www.msnbc.com/news/977064.asp


Recall Lessons for the President
By Howard Fineman Newsweek

Tuesday 07 October 2003

Voter alienation will not stop at voting booths in California

It would be nice to think that the ending of Election Day here will bring peace to the politics of California, and to the country. It would be nice, but wrong. Don't expect an end to partisan rancor, voter anger and alienation, here or elsewhere. This state's political warfare will resume long before Governor-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger actually takes office. And the same forces that are shaking Sacramento could materialize on the doorstep of the house at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

There are a lot of reasons. Starting with the winning candidate, here are some:

Arnold Schwarzenegger's "Grope-a-Dope" strategy-the modern version of what they used to call in the Nixon days a "modified limited hangout"-will cause him nothing but problems. Swamped by allegations of sexual misconduct, his fateful answer was to promise a full accounting after Election Day. Now that he's won, his first task won't be to put together his administration but to spell out of the rest of his story. I assumed that he was winging it when he told Tom Brokaw on NBC that he would do that. Turns out, this was a deliberate and considered response. His team, its leaders say, simply did not have the time and resources to go into the details during the campaign. He'll have to do so in Sacramento. This at the same time he will have to put together a new administration with none of the usual "transition" time.

The Budget California's economy is a mess, and the state's budget is, on an annual basis, at least $10 billion in the red. No matter who takes charge in Sacramento, the same gridlock will remain: The Republicans in the legislature are dead-set against raising taxes; the Democrats, who control the place, won't vote for any. If Arnold won, I was told before the vote, the Democrats would gladly accept Schwarzenegger's likely offer to enter into sweeping negotiations. Why? Because they hope to lure Gov. Terminator into agreeing to a tax hike - thus busting up the highly fragile GOP coalition that got him elected.

Recalls Forever Once having started down the recall road, this state can't turn back. The Democratic recall campaign against Schwarzenegger could begin immediately. Choose your excuse. If he fails to give the full accounting he promised of his sexual conduct, that could be one reason. If he fails to craft a budget deal, or he advocates massive cuts in social programs (which he would have to do if there is no tax increase) would be another. "The rules of politics and government here have changed, probably forever," Democratic strategist Bill Carrick told me. "This is the way it's going to be."'

California GOP Division One of Schwarzenegger's toughest tasks will be to make peace with is own party. Social conservatives, in California and elsewhere, were disgusted by the litany of stories about Schwarzenegger's personal behavior. If he moves his lips on taxes, they will be his mortal enemy.

Democratic Second-Guessing The anger of Democrats at Davis is real. They are furious with him for having underestimated voter dismay at the state of the local economy; at the severity of the energy crisis; at the potency of the recall movement. Schwarzenegger's win means the bloodletting will be ugly. "If we lose, there will be three reasons," one prominent Democratic contributor told me here before the vote. "Davis, Davis and Davis." Beyond that, Democrats were expressing their anger at Davis and his allies (notably Sen. Dianne Feinstein and San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown). In their view, they should have engineered another, stronger, Democratic alternative on the ballot to Davis and Bustamante. Their view (and it may be wishful thinking) is that someone like Feinstein could have saved the day.

National Republican Division The big parlor game here before Election Day was arguing about whether George Bush's GOP would welcome a victorious Schwarzenegger into the heart of the party. The quick-response answer is yes: The Republicans haven't controlled (if that's the word) the governorship of the largest state since 1998. But depending on what Arnold has to say- in detail-about his past, the Bible Belt conservatives who form the heart of the modern GOP might balk at embracing the Terminator at the New York convention.

Protest Politics The Schwarzenegger win would seem to be a blessing to the GOP, and to Bush. If nothing else, it would spread the Democratic defense in the Electoral College, forcing them next year to spend time and money defending a state-California-that they have come to take for granted in recent presidential elections.

But in an odd but important way, the Arnold victory could be an ominous message for President Bush. There is a straight line of voter protest running from Ross Perot through John McCain and on to the Internet-based campaigns of Wesley Clark and even Howard Dean. To some extent, all were or are powered by a sense of voter alienation from the centers of authority in government politics-whether those center are in Sacramento or Washington, D.C. The bigger and more remote the government, the more ignored and misunderstood the voters feel.

Davis was under assault because he seemed oblivious to the concerns of Californians. Given his poll ratings on the economy and, now Iraq, Bush runs the increasing risk of being viewed by the American people as just another deaf politico. Until recently, the president's greatest asset was the sense that he was a decent guy, with good values, who wanted to do the right thing. But the questions that have been raised about the rationale for going to war in Iraq have had a corrosive effect on the sense of trust he evoked in most voters.

I know Bush (and Davis). Bush is no Davis. He is as personable as Davis is colorless. But the same rule applies: If voters think you aren't listening to them, they have a way of getting your attention at the next available election.

Posted by Lisa at 01:58 PM
Re: CIA Leak Investigation -- Shrubsters Will "Organize" Notes Before Handing Them Over To Justice Dept.


Bush Aides Will Review Leak Notes
By David Jackson for the The Dallas Morning News.


White House lawyers will review phone logs and other records supplied by presidential aides before turning the documents over to the Justice Department officials conducting the investigation into who leaked a CIA undercover operative's identity, officials said Monday.

The disclosure inspired new Democratic calls for an independent inquiry.

"To allow the White House counsel to review records before the prosecutors would see them is just about unheard of in the way cases are always prosecuted," said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., speaking on NBC's Today show. "And the possibility of mischief, or worse than mischief, is very, very large."

Here is the complete text of the article in case the link goes bad:

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dallas/washington/topstory/stories/100703dnnatcialeak.11b0f.html

Bush Aides Will Review Leak Notes
By David Jackson The Dallas Morning News

Tuesday 07 October 2003

White House's decision to give first look to its lawyers riles Democrats

White House lawyers will review phone logs and other records supplied by presidential aides before turning the documents over to the Justice Department officials conducting the investigation into who leaked a CIA undercover operative's identity, officials said Monday.

The disclosure inspired new Democratic calls for an independent inquiry.

"To allow the White House counsel to review records before the prosecutors would see them is just about unheard of in the way cases are always prosecuted," said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., speaking on NBC's Today show. "And the possibility of mischief, or worse than mischief, is very, very large."

Administration officials said the White House counsel's office may need up to two weeks to organize documents that some 2,000 employees are required to submit by 5 p.m. Tuesday.

The documents must also be reviewed for national security or executive privilege concerns and to ensure the filings are responsive to Justice Department requests for information, White House aides said. The department is investigating whether Bush administration officials exposed a CIA operative's identity to reporters and a columnist, Robert Novak.

Bush: 'Criminal action' President Bush underscored his concern about the leak Monday, telling reporters: "We're talking about a criminal action."

The president said information would be submitted to the Justice Department "on a timely basis," calling the investigation "a very serious matter, and our administration takes it seriously."

"I'd like to know who leaked," Mr. Bush added. "And if anybody has got any information, inside our government or outside our government, who leaked, they ought to take it to the Justice Department so we can find out the leaker."

White House officials are required to turn in any documents they may have related to the principals in the matter, including former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, his wife, Valerie Plame, and any reporters who were contacted about the couple.

White House spokeswoman Ashley Snee said she could not put a timeline on when the documents might be turned over to the Justice Department but said the review would be expeditious.

"It's going to be done with the intent of getting to the bottom of this," Ms. Snee said. "This is almost 2,000 people."

Mr. Schumer and other Democrats have called for an outside special counsel, questioning whether Attorney General John Ashcroft can fairly investigate his patrons at the White House.

Mr. Bush defended his Justice Department, saying, "These are ... professional prosecutors who are leading this investigation."

Mark Rozell, a Catholic University politics professor who specializes in executive privilege, said it was reasonable for White House lawyers to take time to review the materials before sharing them with investigators. The length, he said, is up to the White House and its opponents.

"There can be an argument over whether two weeks is the appropriate amount of time," he said.

Charges of revenge Investigators want to find out who told reporters about Ms. Plame's identity. Mr. Wilson, who disputed the White House assertion that Iraq sought enriched uranium from Niger, says administration officials sought revenge by exposing his wife.

Mr. Bush cited the uranium allegation during his 2003 State of the Union address, using it to argue that Saddam Hussein was trying to restart a nuclear program.

Mr. Wilson, who believed his report from a 2002 trip to Niger had been ignored, went public with his skepticism in a July 6 op-ed piece for The New York Times. The next day, the White House retracted the uranium claim, saying Mr. Bush should not have used it in his speech.

A week later, Mr. Novak wrote a column questioning why Mr. Wilson drew the assignment to check out the Niger allegations that began with intelligence officials in Italy.

"Wilson never worked for the CIA," Mr. Novak wrote, "but his wife, Valerie Plame, is an agency operative on weapons of mass destruction. Two senior administration officials told me Wilson's wife suggested sending him to Niger to investigate the Italian report. The CIA says its counter-proliferation officials selected Wilson and asked his wife to contact him."

Mr. Wilson, who previously was posted in Niger, denied his wife played a role in his assignment to check out the uranium claim. Publication of her name has ruined her career as an undercover operative, he said. Exposure of a company she was associated with, Brewster-Jennings & Associates, also may have jeopardized a CIA front.

Appearing Sunday on NBC's Meet the Press, Mr. Wilson said: "I believe it was done to discourage others from coming forward."

Mr. Wilson has specifically accused White House political adviser Karl Rove of some involvement, though aides to Mr. Rove said he had nothing to do with the exposure of Ms. Plame.

The Justice Department opened the leak investigation at the behest of the CIA. White House Counsel Al Gonzales responded with memos to some 2,000 administration officials, ordering them to retain any Wilson-related records from Feb. 1, 2002, through Sept. 30, 2003. Those include computer files, telephone records, notes and memoranda.

Posted by Lisa at 01:09 PM
November 17, 2003
Bill Moyers On The Insider Business Deals Between Shrub Administration Officials And Iraqi Reconstruction Companies

Specifically, between Douglas Feith, the Undersecretary of Defense and several companies (many related to his "former" business associate Marc Zell), including: Zell, Goldberg and Company, Diligence, New Bridge Strategies, Barber, Griffith and Rogers, SAIC (courtesy of current Shrub Administration Official and former SAIC Senior Vice President Ryan Henry), and The Iraqi International Law Group.




This story aired on NOW With Bill Moyers on November 14, 2003.

This story, "Cash and Carry," was Produced by Katie Pitra, features correspondent Roberta Baskin, and was Edited by Alison Amron.

This incredible segment documents the direct connections between the Shrub Administration and the main two or three companies that are profiting directly from the Iraqi reconstruction.

Join them as they connect the dots and talk to several of these people first hand. (Many would not return their phone calls, but others were very up front and matter-of-fact about it.)

I've taken screen grabs of many of the diagrams and things and transcribed information straight from the program for your convenience.

Here's some technical information about getting quicktime going to watch these movies.

Bill Moyers - Cash and Carry - Complete (Small - 36 MB)
Bill Moyers - Cash and Carry - Part 1 of 3 (Small - 12 MB)
Bill Moyers - Cash and Carry - Part 2 of 3 (Small - 14 MB)
Bill Moyers - Cash and Carry - Part 3 of 3 (Small - 11 MB)

Below: Roberta Baskin

Here's Bill Moyers' Introduction:


"Welcome to NOW. The news from Iraq just keeps coming. A secret CIA report this week warns that 'more and more Iraqis believe the U.S. could actually lose the war.' American troops have started using Vietnam-like tactics, hitting back at suspected enclaves without proof that they're harboring insurgents. And American authorities are now limiting press access to both troops and independent contractors in Iraq...

As you know, there's a big debate over those billion dollar contracts being handed out to rebuild Iraq. Some Democratic Presidential candidates say the government is playing favorites. Defenders of the process, however, say "nonsense."...

..it's not easy to sort out the facts because the whole process in shrouded in buracracy and secrecy. One thing is certain, a lot of people in Washington and Baghdad look upon what's happening as a modern equivalent of a gold rush. They're not shy about promoting their political connections to get to the front of the line."

Here's Roberta Baskin's opening:


"Here beneath Iraq's landscape lies a vast ocean of oil. The second largest oil reserve in the world with over 100 billion barrels of crude ready to be tapped. When America invaded Iraq last March, troops raced first to secure the rich fields of Kier Cook (sp). So with vast reserves just waiting, why is the U.S. Government paying the Halliburton Corporation $2.65 per gallon to ship gasoline into Iraq from Kuwait, when one investigation discovered it could be done for less than a dollar a gallon.

The price difference alone is costing tax payers as much as a 100 million dollars. When we asked Halliburton about this discrepancy, they wouldn't tell us. And even a United States Congressman (Henry Waxman D-CA) can't find out why.

'Why are we paying $1.65 a gallon more? Is it because Halliburton is gouging the public? Is it because the Kuwaitis are overcharging Halliburton? Is it because there's a culture where they don't care what they pay because the tax payers are going to pay the bill so there's no reason for them to want to hold down the costs?' (Waxman) ...

'If the evidence of what Halliburton has been charging for gasoline to be brought into Iraq is emblematic of anything, it's emblematic of no oversight, no transparency, and fleecing of the tax payers.' (Waxman)...

Just as the war started, Halliburton was awarded a no bid 7 billion dollar contract to repair Iraq's oil industry...Halliburton proved itself after the first Gulf war, putting out the fires in the oil fields. The Pentagon has said it didn't want to waste time finding someone new if Saddam burned the oil fields again, but Waxman says it's a prime example of what's wrong with the secrecy surrounding the government's contracts, because in the initial 87 billion dollar Iraq aid package there was another 2 billion dollars for Halliburton. And when Waxman started asking, he says neither the goverment nor the company seemed to know whay the 2 billion dollars was there or what it was for.

'We've got billions here, billions there. As one senator once said "A billion here, a billion there, it starts adding up into real money." ' (Waxman)...




Who is Mark Zell?

Mark Zell is the principal of "Zell, Goldberg and Company," which assists American companies in connection with Iraqi reconstruction projects.

From Roberta Baskin:


"And just who at the firm can connect you to the American Government? None other than Marc Zell. A former law partner of Douglas Feith. Who's Douglas Feith? Undersecretary of Defense. One of the handful of advisors who, long before September 11, championed the campaign to get rid of Saddam Hussein. Now Douglas Feith is the man in charge of the Pentagon's reconstruction of Iraq.

To sum up, Marc Zell is one well connected middleman standing right between the people to give the contracts and the people who want them. We asked to interview him about all this, but our calls were not returned."






More from Roberta Baskin:


"But even at the war's front lines, middlemen are busy making their deals. Marc Zell also works with a different firm called "The Iraqi International Law Group," which very much wants to be "your professional gateway to the new Iraq." Who's in charge of that gateway? A man named Salem Chalabi.

He has a famous uncle, Ahmed Chalabi. You see him there in Iraq, but before the war, this exile was hand picked by the planners in the Pentagon to shape the new government. When the war started, they air lifted Chalabi into the country with his own 700 man militia. At the center of all that planning, Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith. Whose old law partner, Marc Zell, now works with Ahmed Chalabi's nephew, providing that gateway to the new Iraq."






More from Roberta Baskin:


"And Chalabi isn't the only member of the Iraqi leadership with close relatives lining up for those rebuilding contracts. The son of one Chalabi aid runs a phone company that is part of the group that won the contract to provide cell service to southern Iraq. Chalabi's aid told the Los Angeles Times that he doesn't understand what all the fuss over his son's inside connections. Comparing his son to the Americans, he said "It didn't stop Cheney from becoming the Vice President."


More from Roberta Baskin:


"But these aren't the only friends of government promoting their inside influence in what's being called The Iraq Gold Rush. One firm was established just for that purpose: New Bridge Strategies...If you can't find your way around Baghdad, Mike Baker will lend you a hand. He's a former CIA officer and part of the management team [its CEO] for New Bridge Strategies Strategies and its sister company Diligence, a security firm. Both are staffed by old Washington hands and both are headquartered in the offices of Barber, Griffith and Rogers. The "Barber" in that title is Haley Barber, a former chairman of the Republican party and one of the highest paid lobbyists in Washington. He's now the Governer-elect of Missippi."

'Newbridge Strategies is staffed by people that have a great deal of experience in Washington. Everyone from Joe Albot to Ed Rogers. They understand how the administration thinks.' (Mark Baker)

"They should understand how the administration thinks. They used to be in it. Joe Albot ran George W. Bush's campaign for President, and was then put in charge of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Mike Baker's other collegue is this man, Ed Rogers. He served as a deputy assistant to the first President Bush. Here he is in Iraq with Mike Baker, posing in front of a tank outfitted in flak jackets and sporting a semi-automatic rifle."






The Center For The Public Integrity has been trying to find out information about the nature of the work specified in some of these contracts, and is getting a lot of resistance.

More from Roberta Baskin:


"No one has tried harder to get at those details [of the deals] than the watchdog group the Center For The Public Integrity. In a six month investigation, the Center found that cozy insider relationships have become an accepted way of doing business in the fight against terrorism."...

But skeptics might be more easily persuaded if the government didn't shroud all this in so much secrecy. That secrecy makes it practically impossible to find out if those close to the administration are profiting off their inside information. And it makes it equally hard to find out if tax payers are getting their money's worth...

For example, in the name of secrecy, the Pentagon redacted almost every page of this contract. They have made it impossible to answer questions about fees being charged, or the work being done, or even the total cost of the job. Just look at the blacked out sections of this deal with the defense contractor SAIC...

All we know for certain about the contractor SAIC is that the top people of this privately held Fortune 500 company are wired into the Pentagon. On the board are a retired general and a former Assistant Secretary of Defense. And then there's Ryan Henry, he was SAIC's Senior Vice President. Until, that is, he went through that revolving door into the Pentagon. Into the very office that now supervises his former company's contract."








Below: The blacked out numbers of the SAIC contract.


Below: Some Members Of Congress Are Trying To Get To The Bottom Of This




Below: Some Iraqi Native Businessmen Are Complaining They Can't Compete With American Companies

Posted by Lisa at 08:03 AM
Bill Moyers NOW On The Mistreatment Of Shrub War Veterans: Case Study - The Stiffler Family

This story aired on NOW With Bill Moyers on November 7, 2003.

This clip is exerpted from the complete feature, "Coming Home," which was Produced by Dan Klein, features correspondent David Brancaccio, and was Edited by Amanda Zindman.


Jason Stiffler was manning a watch tower in Afghanistan when it fell out from under him. It's still unclear whether it was an engineering failure, an attack, or friendly fire. Whatever the cause, he fell 25 feet and suffered seizures at the scene and eventually went into a coma. He suffered serious spinal cord injuries and other injuries. He was quadraplegic for some time after the accident, eventually regained limited use of his legs after months of physical therapy, although it still causes him great pain to move.

A year ago October, he was released from the hospital and placed on the Army's temporary duty list, which meant he was now eligible for medical care and payments from the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Stifflers say they waited for promised phone call from the VA that never came. With his physical and mental condition deteriorating, Jason visited the regional VA hospital in Ft. Wayne, which had no record of him and was only able to offer limited assistance and care.

As David Brancaccio puts it: "Jason Stiffler, badly wounded veteran of America's War On Terror, was on his own."

Background on the complete video of the segment:
This story focuses on several families whose fathers put their lives on the line to go fight in Iraq, and were injured in combat. Upon returning home, they were given little or no medical or financial support whatsoever, and were told to seek handouts to get by.

Excerpt from David Brancaccio's introduction:


..another young vet from the 101st airborne came home to a different kind of reception, one that was to leave him and his family nearly destitute.

Jason Stiffler followed a boyhood dream into the army at the age of 18. He was eager to defend his country. In return, he assumed it would take care of him.

"It was part of the agreement that we made on March 23, 01, when I signed up. I specifically remember that day because it was the first thing I asked. 'If anything happens to me, will I be taken care of?' Oh yeah, yeah, just sign right here."...

"There was a timeframe when I wasn't getting paid nothing." (Stiffler)

"How did you make ends meet during that time?" (Brancaccio)

"You know what they told us? 'Churches,' 'family,' 'friends,' 'welfare.'" (Stiffler)

Here's some technical information about getting quicktime going to watch these movies.

The Story Of The Stiffler Family (Small - 10 MB)




Posted by Lisa at 07:00 AM
Bill Moyers NOW On The Mistreatment Of Shrub War Veterans

This story aired on NOW With Bill Moyers on November 7, 2003.

This story, "Coming Home," was Produced by Dan Klein and features correspondent David Brancaccio. It was Edited by Amanda Zindman.

This story focuses on several families whose fathers put their lives on the line to go fight in Iraq, and were injured in combat. Upon returning home, they were given little or no medical or financial support whatsoever, and were told to seek handouts to get by.

This is available in one big 38 MB clip and in three smaller clips for easier downloading off small connections. I've also transcribed portions and am including some info with the pictures.

I've also put up some clips of one of the families, the Stifflers, that was featured in this segment.

Here's some technical information about getting quicktime going to watch these movies.

Bill Moyers On Mistreated Vets - Complete (Small - 38 MB)
Bill Moyers On Mistreated Vets - Part 1 of 3 (Small - 12 MB)
Bill Moyers On Mistreated Vets - Part 2 of 3 (Small - 16 MB)
Bill Moyers On Mistreated Vets - Part 3 of 3 (Small - 11 MB)

Excerpt from Bill Moyers' introduction:


"In Iraq, for every soldier killed, 7 are wounded. 1,300 since May 1st. That's twice as many as were wounded during the war itself. The New Republic reports that nearly every night, under the cover of darkness, ambulences meet C-17 and C-141 transport planes flying into Andrews airforce base to ferry the wounded to military facilities. The government hasn't wanted us to see them, but that's beginning to change as the numbers mount and as journalists keep insisting on knowing who are these wounded and what's happening to them."















Posted by Lisa at 06:50 AM
November 12, 2003
Constitutionality of Secret 911 Cases Headed For The Supreme Court


Secret 9/11 Case Before High Court

By Warren Richey for The Christian Science Monitor.


It's the case that doesn't exist. Even though two different federal courts have conducted hearings and issued rulings, there has been no public record of any action. No documents are available. No files. No lawyer is allowed to speak about it. Period.

Yet this seemingly phantom case does exist - and is now headed to the US Supreme Court in what could produce a significant test of a question as old as the Star Chamber, abolished in 17th-century England: How far should a policy of total secrecy extend into a system of justice?

Secrecy has been a key Bush administration weapon in the war on terrorism. Attorney General John Ashcroft warns that mere tidbits of information that seem innocuous about the massive Sept. 11 investigation could help Al Qaeda carry out new attacks.

Yet this highly unusual petition to the high court arising from a Miami case brings into sharp focus the tension between America's long tradition of open courts and the need for security in times of national peril. At issue is whether certain cases may be conducted entirely behind closed doors under a secret arrangement among prosecutors, judges, and docket clerks.

While secret trial tactics have reportedly been used by federal prosecutors to shield cooperating drug dealers, it's unclear whether the high court has ever directly confronted the issue. But that may change if they take up MKB v. Warden (No. 03-6747).

This is among the first of the post-Sept. 11 terrorism cases to wend its way to the nation's highest tribunal. There was no public record of its existence, however, until the appeal was filed with the clerk of the US Supreme Court.

A federal judge and a three-judge federal appeals-court panel have conducted hearings and issued rulings. Yet lawyers and court personnel have been ordered to remain silent.

"The entire dockets for this case and appeal, every entry on them, are maintained privately, under seal, unavailable to the public," says a partially censored 27-page petition asking the high court to hear the case. "In the court of appeals, not just the filed documents and docket sheet are sealed from public view, but also hidden is the essential fact that a legal proceeding exists."...

The case is significant because it could force a close examination of secret tactics that are apparently becoming increasingly common under Attorney General Ashcroft. In September 2001, he ordered that all deportation hearings with links to the Sept. 11 investigation be conducted secretly. In addition, the Justice Department has acknowledged that at least nine criminal cases related to the Sept. 11 investigation were being cloaked in total secrecy.

MKB v. Warden is the first indication that the Justice Department is extending its total secrecy policy to proceedings in federal courts dealing with habeas corpus - that is, an individual's right to force the government to justify his or her detention.

The case offers the Supreme Court an opportunity for the first time to spell out whether such secret judicial proceedings violate constitutional protections. It may also offer the first insight into how much deference a majority of justices is willing to grant the government in areas where the war on terrorism may tread upon fundamental American freedoms...

Federal judges have the authority to order sensitive documents or even entire hearings sealed from public view when disclosure might harm national security. Such rulings are usually issued after the judge has explained the need for secrecy in a decision available to the public.

In addition, judges can order that an individual be identified in public court filings only by a pseudonym or by initials, as happened when the MKB case arrived at the US Supreme Court.

What is highly unusual in MKB v. Warden is that lower court judges ordered the entire case sealed from the start - preventing any mention of it to the public.

In her petition to the court, Miami federal public defender Kathleen Williams says the judges' actions authorizing the secrecy without any public notice, public hearings, or public findings amount to "an abuse of discretion" that requires corrective action by the justices.

"This habeas corpus case has been heard, appealed, and decided in complete secrecy," Ms. Williams says in her petition.

A government response to the petition is due Nov. 5. It will mark the first time the Justice Department has publicly acknowledged the existence of the habeas corpus action. The justices are set to consider the case during their Nov. 7 conference.

Justice Department officials have defended the blanket secrecy policy, saying that public hearings and public dockets would undermine efforts to recruit detainees as undercover operatives to infiltrate Al Qaeda cells in the US. According to press reports, similar secret trial tactics have been used by federal prosecutors to shield cooperating drug dealers from mention in public court documents that might blow their cover and end their use as operatives in ongoing undercover narcotics sting operations.

Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:

http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/1030/p01s02-usju.html

Secret 9/11 Case Before High Court
By Warren Richey
The Christian Science Monitor

Thursday 30 October 2003

MIAMI - It's the case that doesn't exist. Even though two different federal courts have conducted hearings and issued rulings, there has been no public record of any action. No documents are available. No files. No lawyer is allowed to speak about it. Period.

Yet this seemingly phantom case does exist - and is now headed to the US Supreme Court in what could produce a significant test of a question as old as the Star Chamber, abolished in 17th-century England: How far should a policy of total secrecy extend into a system of justice?

Secrecy has been a key Bush administration weapon in the war on terrorism. Attorney General John Ashcroft warns that mere tidbits of information that seem innocuous about the massive Sept. 11 investigation could help Al Qaeda carry out new attacks.

Yet this highly unusual petition to the high court arising from a Miami case brings into sharp focus the tension between America's long tradition of open courts and the need for security in times of national peril. At issue is whether certain cases may be conducted entirely behind closed doors under a secret arrangement among prosecutors, judges, and docket clerks.

While secret trial tactics have reportedly been used by federal prosecutors to shield cooperating drug dealers, it's unclear whether the high court has ever directly confronted the issue. But that may change if they take up MKB v. Warden (No. 03-6747).

What's known about the case

This is among the first of the post-Sept. 11 terrorism cases to wend its way to the nation's highest tribunal. There was no public record of its existence, however, until the appeal was filed with the clerk of the US Supreme Court.

A federal judge and a three-judge federal appeals-court panel have conducted hearings and issued rulings. Yet lawyers and court personnel have been ordered to remain silent.

"The entire dockets for this case and appeal, every entry on them, are maintained privately, under seal, unavailable to the public," says a partially censored 27-page petition asking the high court to hear the case. "In the court of appeals, not just the filed documents and docket sheet are sealed from public view, but also hidden is the essential fact that a legal proceeding exists."

Despite the heavy secrecy, a brief docketing error led to a newspaper report identifying MKB by name in March. The report said MKB is an Algerian waiter in south Florida who was detained by immigration authorities and questioned by the FBI.

MKB's legal status remains unclear, but it appears unlikely from court documents that he is connected in any way to terrorism. He has been free since March 2002 on a $10,000 bond.

The case is significant because it could force a close examination of secret tactics that are apparently becoming increasingly common under Attorney General Ashcroft. In September 2001, he ordered that all deportation hearings with links to the Sept. 11 investigation be conducted secretly. In addition, the Justice Department has acknowledged that at least nine criminal cases related to the Sept. 11 investigation were being cloaked in total secrecy.

MKB v. Warden is the first indication that the Justice Department is extending its total secrecy policy to proceedings in federal courts dealing with habeas corpus - that is, an individual's right to force the government to justify his or her detention.

The case offers the Supreme Court an opportunity for the first time to spell out whether such secret judicial proceedings violate constitutional protections. It may also offer the first insight into how much deference a majority of justices is willing to grant the government in areas where the war on terrorism may tread upon fundamental American freedoms.

From the perspective of news reporters and government watchdogs, the case marks a potential turning point away from a long-held presumption that judicial proceedings in the US are open to public scrutiny.

The case is one of several currently on petition to the high court dealing with some aspect of the war on terror. Two cases relate to detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and one challenges Yasser Hamdi's open-ended detention as an enemy combatant. A fourth case seeks to force the Justice Department to disclose the names of detainees caught up in antiterror investigations - an issue closely related to the Miami habeas case.

Federal judges have the authority to order sensitive documents or even entire hearings sealed from public view when disclosure might harm national security. Such rulings are usually issued after the judge has explained the need for secrecy in a decision available to the public.

In addition, judges can order that an individual be identified in public court filings only by a pseudonym or by initials, as happened when the MKB case arrived at the US Supreme Court.

What is highly unusual in MKB v. Warden is that lower court judges ordered the entire case sealed from the start - preventing any mention of it to the public.

'Abuse of discretion'?

In her petition to the court, Miami federal public defender Kathleen Williams says the judges' actions authorizing the secrecy without any public notice, public hearings, or public findings amount to "an abuse of discretion" that requires corrective action by the justices.

"This habeas corpus case has been heard, appealed, and decided in complete secrecy," Ms. Williams says in her petition.

A government response to the petition is due Nov. 5. It will mark the first time the Justice Department has publicly acknowledged the existence of the habeas corpus action. The justices are set to consider the case during their Nov. 7 conference.

Justice Department officials have defended the blanket secrecy policy, saying that public hearings and public dockets would undermine efforts to recruit detainees as undercover operatives to infiltrate Al Qaeda cells in the US. According to press reports, similar secret trial tactics have been used by federal prosecutors to shield cooperating drug dealers from mention in public court documents that might blow their cover and end their use as operatives in ongoing undercover narcotics sting operations.

Posted by Lisa at 01:46 PM
November 06, 2003
Judge Blocks Abortion Ban Less Than An Hour After Shrub Signs Into Law

A nice accomplishment indeed, courtesy of the Center for Reproductive Rights.


Federal judge blocks late-term abortion ban

By the Associated Press.


A federal judge blocked implementation of a federal ban on certain late-term abortions Wednesday, less than an hour after President Bush signed the measure into law.

"Congress and the president ignored the Supreme Court and women's health in enacting this law," said Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, which filed the lawsuit to block the law.

"The Nebraska court's order will protect doctors from facing prison for providing their patients with the best medical care."

U.S. District Judge Richard Kopf issued a temporary restraining order, citing concerns that the law did not contain an exception to the ban for preserving the health of a woman seeking the abortion.

"While ... Congress found that a health exception is not needed, it is, at the very least, problematic whether I should defer to such a conclusion when the Supreme Court has found otherwise," Kopf said.

The judge stopped short of prohibiting the new law from being enforced nationwide...

Kopf did not immediately schedule the next hearing in the case, at which time he could decide whether to issue a preliminary injunction against implementation of the law.

The judge's ruling followed a three-hour hearing in a lawsuit brought by abortion supporters trying to block the ban. The four doctors sought to block the ban of the procedure opponents call partial-birth abortion.

In making his ruling, Kopf referred to a legal challenge from Carhart that led to the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Nebraska's partial-birth abortion ban in 2000. The high court said the Nebraska law and others like it were an "undue burden" on women's rights.

"The Supreme Court, citing factual findings of eight different trial judges, appointed by four different presidents, and the considered opinion of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, has found a very similar law unconstitutional because it banned `partial-birth abortions' with the requisite exception from the preservation of the health of the woman," Kopf said...

Judge Kopf voiced his concerns at the start of the hearing. "It seems to me the law is highly suspect, if not a per se violation of the Constitution," he said...

Kopf said he could find no record of a doctor who performs abortions in the second and third trimesters testifying before Congress on late-term abortions. "Isn't that important if Congress was really interested in knowing about this procedure?" Kopf said.

The law also appears to have a "serious vagueness problem," Kopf said.

Priscilla Smith, an attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights, said that if the law is allowed to take effect "physicians across the country will risk imprisonment for providing abortion care in accordance with their best medical judgment."


Here is the full text of the article, in case the link goes bad:

http://www.siouxcityjournal.com/articles/2003/11/06/news/national_world/e73bbeca8c05196f86256dd6001965f6.txt

Thursday, November 06, 2003
Sioux City, Iowa

Federal judge blocks late-term abortion ban

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- A federal judge blocked implementation of a federal ban on certain late-term abortions Wednesday, less than an hour after President Bush signed the measure into law.

"Congress and the president ignored the Supreme Court and women's health in enacting this law," said Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, which filed the lawsuit to block the law.

"The Nebraska court's order will protect doctors from facing prison for providing their patients with the best medical care."

U.S. District Judge Richard Kopf issued a temporary restraining order, citing concerns that the law did not contain an exception to the ban for preserving the health of a woman seeking the abortion.

"While ... Congress found that a health exception is not needed, it is, at the very least, problematic whether I should defer to such a conclusion when the Supreme Court has found otherwise," Kopf said.

The judge stopped short of prohibiting the new law from being enforced nationwide.

He said his order would apply only to the four doctors who filed the lawsuit in Nebraska and their "colleagues, employees and entities ... with whom plaintiffs work, teach, supervise or refer" patients.

The four are: Dr. LeRoy Carhart, who practices in Bellevue, Neb. and is also licensed in Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Wisconsin; Dr. William Fitzhugh, who is licensed to practice in Virginia; Dr. William Knorr, medical director and co-owner of the Savannah Women's Medical Clinic in Savannah, Ga., and also licensed in Alabama, South Carolina and New York; and Dr. Jill Vibhakar, who practices medicine at Emma Goldman Clinic for Women and at the University of Iowa College of Medicine Hospital in Iowa City, Iowa.

"This will prevent the (U.S.) Attorney General and his staff from using this act against me, my patients, all physicians that I refer to and all physicians that refer to me," Carhart said.

Kopf did not immediately schedule the next hearing in the case, at which time he could decide whether to issue a preliminary injunction against implementation of the law.

The judge's ruling followed a three-hour hearing in a lawsuit brought by abortion supporters trying to block the ban. The four doctors sought to block the ban of the procedure opponents call partial-birth abortion.

In making his ruling, Kopf referred to a legal challenge from Carhart that led to the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Nebraska's partial-birth abortion ban in 2000. The high court said the Nebraska law and others like it were an "undue burden" on women's rights.

"The Supreme Court, citing factual findings of eight different trial judges, appointed by four different presidents, and the considered opinion of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, has found a very similar law unconstitutional because it banned `partial-birth abortions' with the requisite exception from the preservation of the health of the woman," Kopf said.

Meanwhile, federal judges in New York and San Francisco are scheduled to soon hear arguments in similar challenges to the ban by Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union.

At the White House, Bush spokesman Scott McClellan said the president believes the new law will be upheld.

"We believe it is constitutional and you could expect that we would vigorously defend this law in the courts," McClellan said.

Judge Kopf voiced his concerns at the start of the hearing. "It seems to me the law is highly suspect, if not a per se violation of the Constitution," he said.

U.S. Justice Department attorney Anthony Coppolino told Kopf that he should show deference to Congress' findings that the abortion procedure has not been studied enough to prove it's necessary.

"We ask that you give consideration to the deep concerns that were expressed by Congress," Coppolino said. "It is an abhorrent and useless procedure."

Kopf said he could find no record of a doctor who performs abortions in the second and third trimesters testifying before Congress on late-term abortions. "Isn't that important if Congress was really interested in knowing about this procedure?" Kopf said.

The law also appears to have a "serious vagueness problem," Kopf said.

Priscilla Smith, an attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights, said that if the law is allowed to take effect "physicians across the country will risk imprisonment for providing abortion care in accordance with their best medical judgment."

The ban defines so-called partial-birth abortion as delivery of a fetus "until, in the case of a headfirst presentation, the entire fetal head is outside the body of the mother, or, in the case of the breech presentation, any part of the fetal trunk past the navel is outside the body of the mother for the purpose of performing an overt act that the person knows will kill the partially delivered living fetus."

Carhart said the method is one of the safest abortion procedures because it reduces the risk of leaving parts of the fetus inside the woman.

The procedure is used most often in cases where the woman has developed heart disease, diabetes or other life-threatening ailments.


Here is the full text of the announcement, in case the link goes bad:

http://www.crlp.org/pr_03_1105pba.html

Federal Abortion Ban Blocked by Nebraska Judge Minutes After President Bush Signs it into Law

Judge Issue Restraining Order Protecting Plaintiffs in Nebraska

November 5, 2003 |Lincoln, NE | Learn More

Today, a Nebraska federal judge issued a temporary restraining order preventing the first-ever federal abortion ban from being enforced against the plaintiffs in the Nebraska lawsuit challenging the ban. Judge Richard G. Kopf’s order allows the plaintiffs and the people with whom they "work, teach, supervise, or refer" to continue to perform safe abortion procedures without fear of prosecution. The order was issued minutes after President Bush signed the ban into law.

"Congress and the President ignored the Supreme Court and women’s health in enacting this law. The Nebraska court’s order will protect doctors from facing prison for providing their patients with the best medical care," said Nancy Northup, President of the Center for Reproductive Rights.

The Center for Reproductive Rights filed the case in Nebraska federal court last Friday in order to prevent the law from taking effect. The challenge was filed on behalf of Dr. LeRoy Carhart, the lead plaintiff in the Supreme Court case striking down Nebraska’s ban, and three other doctors in Iowa, New York and Virginia. The ban, which contains no health exception and outlaws the safest abortion procedures used as early as 12 weeks, is almost identical to a Nebraska ban struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court just three years ago in Stenberg v. Carhart – a case argued by the Center for Reproductive Rights.

The Center for Reproductive Rights filed its case in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska. Lawyers on the case include Priscilla J. Smith of the Center for Reproductive Rights and Nebraska attorneys Jerry M. Hug and Alan G. Stoler.

Posted by Lisa at 05:28 PM
Daily Show - More On The Shrub's Trip To Asia and Australia

This includes footage of Australian Green Party member Bob Brown heckling the Shrub during his speech to the Australian senate (to which the Shrub replied "I love free speech") and the First Lady waiting obediently for her Manchurian Candidate trigger word.

This is from the October 23, 2003 program.


Daily Show - More On The Shrub's Trip To Asia
(Small - 11 MB)
(Below) A lovely parade float of the Australian Prime Minister nosing up to the Shrub.









The Daily Show
(The best news on television.)

Posted by Lisa at 05:00 PM
October 31, 2003
Jon Stewart On The Shrub's Blaming The Navy For "The Sign"

This clip from the October 29, 2003 show has the Shrub answering questions at his latest press conference (Oct 28-29, 2003 or so), where he talks rather vaguely about "terrorists" who are responsible for the latest round of suicide bombings in Iraq.

(This clip goes with this clip.)

What the Shrub says, and what his press secretary clarifies later, is that it's the Navy's fault for misrepresenting that the war was over with the "Mission Accomplished" sign. (Despite the fact that all the Navy did was put up the sign that the White House printed up and brought to the event.)

Jon Stewart:


"The White House is basically saying they can't be held responsible for what the Navy does with a sign that they made and brought to the ship."

Here's the little clip about "the sign":
The Shrub Blaming the Navy for "The Sign" (Small - 4 MB)

Here's the complete clip of this bit:

Jon Stewart On The President's Latest Press Conference
(Small - 11 MB)







The Daily Show
(The best news on television.)

Posted by Lisa at 08:02 AM
October 30, 2003
Hullaballo Over "Mission Accomplished" Banner - Shrub Says It Wasn't His Idea, Sorry For The Miscommunication -- White House Press Release Suggests Otherwise

As if the "Mission Accomplished" banner was the only thing that implied "Mission Accomplished," during the Shrub's memorable flight suit May 1 extravaganza.

Oh you thought I meant the mission was accomplished. I just meant a mission was accomplished: The mission of the USS Abraham Lincoln, of course... Sorry to give the wrong impression.

Gee, you don't think anyone got that wrong impression because the White House sent out a press release that said President Bush Announces Combat Operations in Iraq Have Ended or anything, do you?


Bush Disavows 'Mission Accomplished' Link

In The Guardian UK.


When it was brought up again Tuesday at a news conference, Bush said, "The 'Mission Accomplished' sign, of course, was put up by the members of the USS Abraham Lincoln, saying that their mission was accomplished."

"I know it was attributed somehow to some ingenious advance man from my staff - they weren't that ingenious, by the way."

That explanation hadn't surfaced during months of questions to White House officials about proclaiming the mission in Iraq successful while violence continued.

After the news conference, a White House spokeswoman said the Lincoln's crew asked the White House to have the sign made. The White House asked a private vendor to produce the sign, and the crew put it up, said the spokeswoman. She said she did not know who paid for the sign.

Later, a Pentagon spokesman called The Associated Press to reiterate that the banner was the crew's idea.

Full text of press release below.

Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uslatest/story/0,1282,-3321684,00.html

Bush Disavows 'Mission Accomplished' Link
The Guardian UK

Wednesday 29 October 2003

WASHINGTON (AP) - Six months after he spoke on an aircraft carrier deck under a banner proclaiming "Mission Accomplished," President Bush disavowed any connection with the war message. Later, the White House changed its story and said there was a link.

The "Mission Accomplished" boast has been mocked many times since Bush's carrier speech as criticism has mounted over the failed search for weapons of mass destruction and the continuing violence in Iraq.

When it was brought up again Tuesday at a news conference, Bush said, "The 'Mission Accomplished' sign, of course, was put up by the members of the USS Abraham Lincoln, saying that their mission was accomplished."

"I know it was attributed somehow to some ingenious advance man from my staff - they weren't that ingenious, by the way."

That explanation hadn't surfaced during months of questions to White House officials about proclaiming the mission in Iraq successful while violence continued.

After the news conference, a White House spokeswoman said the Lincoln's crew asked the White House to have the sign made. The White House asked a private vendor to produce the sign, and the crew put it up, said the spokeswoman. She said she did not know who paid for the sign.

Later, a Pentagon spokesman called The Associated Press to reiterate that the banner was the crew's idea.

"It truly did signify a mission accomplished for the crew," Navy Cmdr. Conrad Chun said, adding the president's visit marked the end of the ship's 10-month international deployment.

The president's appearance on the Abraham Lincoln, which was returning home after service in the Persian Gulf, included his dramatic and much-publicized landing on the ship's deck.

Bush's disavowal Tuesday brought new criticism from at least three of the Democrats seeking their party's nomination to run against the president - John Kerry, Wesley Clark and Joe Lieberman.

"Today was another banner day in George Bushs quest to bring honor and integrity to the White House," Lieberman said. "If he wanted to prove he has trouble leveling with the American people, mission accomplished."

Here is the full text of the press release in case the link goes bad:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/05/20030501-6.html

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
May 1, 2003

President Bush Announces Combat Operations in Iraq Have Ended
Event Backgrounder
The President Visits the USS Abraham Lincoln

BACKGROUND

USS Abraham Lincoln set the record for the longest naval deployment by a nuclear powered aircraft carrier in history, deploying for almost 10 months, and steaming over 100,000 miles. For a Carrier Strike Group, this is the longest deployment in the last 30 years. The USS Lincoln Strike Group was involved in combat in support of three major operations: Operation Southern Watch, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Click here for a USS Abraham Lincoln photo essay.
The Air Wing will depart the USS Lincoln while off the coast of San Diego on May 1. The ship will then pull into Naval Air Station North Island (San Diego) on May 2 to off load the rest of the Air Wing equipment. The Lincoln will return to her homeport of Everett, Washington on May 6.

The Lincoln supported one of the largest media embed operations on any ship in naval history by embarking 31 media organizations that included CNN, MSNBC, the BBC, Los Angeles Times, and the New York Times.


Posted by Lisa at 04:05 PM
States Rebel Against Shrub Anti-Environment Policies - Sue To Block Changes In Clean Air Act


States Rebel Against Bush over Pollution Measures

By David Usborne for the Independent UK.


A group of 12 American states has rebelled against President George Bush and his environmental policies by suing to block changes in the Clean Air Act that will make it easier for industrial plants to upgrade their equipment without paying for anti-pollution devices.

The coalition of states, most in the east of the country, downwind of generating plants and refineries in the Midwest, filed the lawsuit in a Washington DC court this week. They were joined by several large cities, including New York, Washington DC and San Francisco. A separate suit was filed by the state of Illinois, and a collection of environmental pressure groups, including the Sierra Club, was expected to file its own legal challenge yesterday.

At issue is a relaxation in regulations put forward by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in December and published on Monday. The plaintiffs claim that the amendments will lead to an increase in harmful emissions. "It amounts to a get-out-of-jail-free card for some of the nation's biggest polluters," said Frank O'Donnell of the Clean Air Trust.

Critics insist that the changes are the most significant made to the 33-year-old Clean Air Act since it was strengthened by Congress in 1990. At the core of the Act were emission ceilings for all big industrial plants. But a "grandfather" clause gave exemptions to facilities built before the Act was introduced. However, even those older plants were to be fitted with scrubbers and other controls if they were modernised or expanded.

It is this stipulation that the EPA wants to relax. During the 1990s, under President Bill Clinton, the EPA strictly enforced the rules. But there was a change of thinking with the arrival of President Bush in Washington. Vice-President Dick Cheney pressed for an easing of the rules to save costs for the energy industry, with which he is closely linked.

The move by Mr Cheney was resisted by the former environment secretary, Christie Whitman. In a memo, which has recently been circulated by environmental lobby groups, she warned that the administration would "pay a terrible political price" if it undercut the rules.

There are more than 500 plants across the US that benefited from the pre-1970 exemptions. Most are power plants, generating about 51 per cent of national electricity.

"We are not going to sit by quietly and allow the energy interests in this country to receive special treatment while so many of our children and elderly are needlessly suffering from respiratory problems," said Tom Reilly, the Massa-chusetts attorney general.

Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/story.jsp?story=458271

States Rebel Against Bush over Pollution Measures
By David Usborne
Independent UK

Wednesday 29 October 2003

A group of 12 American states has rebelled against President George Bush and his environmental policies by suing to block changes in the Clean Air Act that will make it easier for industrial plants to upgrade their equipment without paying for anti-pollution devices.

The coalition of states, most in the east of the country, downwind of generating plants and refineries in the Midwest, filed the lawsuit in a Washington DC court this week. They were joined by several large cities, including New York, Washington DC and San Francisco. A separate suit was filed by the state of Illinois, and a collection of environmental pressure groups, including the Sierra Club, was expected to file its own legal challenge yesterday.

At issue is a relaxation in regulations put forward by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in December and published on Monday. The plaintiffs claim that the amendments will lead to an increase in harmful emissions. "It amounts to a get-out-of-jail-free card for some of the nation's biggest polluters," said Frank O'Donnell of the Clean Air Trust.

Critics insist that the changes are the most significant made to the 33-year-old Clean Air Act since it was strengthened by Congress in 1990. At the core of the Act were emission ceilings for all big industrial plants. But a "grandfather" clause gave exemptions to facilities built before the Act was introduced. However, even those older plants were to be fitted with scrubbers and other controls if they were modernised or expanded.

It is this stipulation that the EPA wants to relax. During the 1990s, under President Bill Clinton, the EPA strictly enforced the rules. But there was a change of thinking with the arrival of President Bush in Washington. Vice-President Dick Cheney pressed for an easing of the rules to save costs for the energy industry, with which he is closely linked.

The move by Mr Cheney was resisted by the former environment secretary, Christie Whitman. In a memo, which has recently been circulated by environmental lobby groups, she warned that the administration would "pay a terrible political price" if it undercut the rules.

There are more than 500 plants across the US that benefited from the pre-1970 exemptions. Most are power plants, generating about 51 per cent of national electricity.

"We are not going to sit by quietly and allow the energy interests in this country to receive special treatment while so many of our children and elderly are needlessly suffering from respiratory problems," said Tom Reilly, the Massa-chusetts attorney general.

The industry has welcomed the new exemptions. Scott Segal, a spokesman for the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council, an industry group, said the amendments would make it more cost-efficient for owners to modernise plants to make them more efficient and reduce emissions.

The 12 states involved in the suitare Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Vermont and Wisconsin.

Posted by Lisa at 04:01 PM
October 28, 2003
Shrub Administration Officials May Need To Be Subpoenaed In Order To Cooperate With 911 Investigation

I'm not saying it has anything specific to hide, other than the intelligence incompetence that has already been exposed. But what else is the public supposed to think when it hears about this Administration witholding information?


Administration Faces Subpoenas From 9/11 Panel

By Philip Shenon for the New York Times.


The chairman of the federal commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks said that the White House was continuing to withhold several highly classified intelligence documents from the panel and that he was prepared to subpoena the documents if they were not turned over within weeks.

The chairman, Thomas H. Kean, the former Republican governor of New Jersey, also said in an interview that he believed the bipartisan 10-member commission would soon be forced to issue subpoenas to other executive branch agencies because of continuing delays by the Bush administration in providing documents and other evidence needed by the panel.

"Any document that has to do with this investigation cannot be beyond our reach," Mr. Kean said on Friday in his first explicit public warning to the White House that it risked a subpoena and a politically damaging courtroom showdown with the commission over access to the documents, including Oval Office intelligence reports that reached President Bush's desk in the weeks before the Sept. 11 attacks.

"I will not stand for it," Mr. Kean said in the interview in his offices here at Drew University, where he has been president since 1990.

"That means that we will use every tool at our command to get hold of every document."...

Last year, the White House confirmed news reports that President Bush received a written intelligence report in August 2001, the month before the attacks, that Al Qaeda might try to hijack American passenger planes.

Ms. Snee, the White House spokeswoman, said, "The president has stated a clear policy of support for the commission's work and, at the direction of the president, the executive branch has dedicated tremendous resources to support the commission, including providing over two million pages of documents."

After months of stating that it believed subpoenas to the executive branch would not be necessary, the commission voted unanimously this month to issue its first subpoena to the Federal Aviation Administration after determining that the F.A.A. had withheld dozens of boxes of documents involving the Sept. 11 attacks.

The subpoena appeared to be a turning point for the commission and for Mr. Kean, a moderate Republican known for his independence. In a statement on Oct. 15, the commission said it was re-examining "its general policy of relying on document requests rather than subpoenas" as a result of the issues with the F.A.A...

Mr. Kean's comments on Friday came as another member of the commission, Max Cleland, the former Democratic senator from Georgia, became the first panel member to say publicly that the commission could not complete its work by its May 2004 deadline and the first to accuse the White House of withholding classified information from the panel for purely political reasons.

"It's obvious that the White House wants to run out the clock here," he said in an interview in Washington. "It's Halloween, and we're still in negotiations with some assistant White House counsel about getting these documents — it's disgusting."

He said that the White House and President Bush's re-election campaign had reason to fear what the commission was uncovering in its investigation of intelligence and law enforcement failures before Sept. 11. "As each day goes by, we learn that this government knew a whole lot more about these terrorists before Sept. 11 than it has ever admitted."...


Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/10/26/national/26KEAN.html?hp

Administration Faces Subpoenas From 9/11 Panel
By Philip Shenon, New York Times

Saturday 25 October 2003

MADISON, N.J., Oct. 25 — The chairman of the federal commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks said that the White House was continuing to withhold several highly classified intelligence documents from the panel and that he was prepared to subpoena the documents if they were not turned over within weeks.

The chairman, Thomas H. Kean, the former Republican governor of New Jersey, also said in an interview that he believed the bipartisan 10-member commission would soon be forced to issue subpoenas to other executive branch agencies because of continuing delays by the Bush administration in providing documents and other evidence needed by the panel.

"Any document that has to do with this investigation cannot be beyond our reach," Mr. Kean said on Friday in his first explicit public warning to the White House that it risked a subpoena and a politically damaging courtroom showdown with the commission over access to the documents, including Oval Office intelligence reports that reached President Bush's desk in the weeks before the Sept. 11 attacks.

"I will not stand for it," Mr. Kean said in the interview in his offices here at Drew University, where he has been president since 1990.

"That means that we will use every tool at our command to get hold of every document."

He said that while he had not directly threatened a subpoena in his recent conversations with the White House legal counsel, Alberto R. Gonzales, "it's always on the table, because they know that Congress in their wisdom gave us the power to subpoena, to use it if necessary."

A White House spokeswoman, Ashley Snee, said that the White House believed it was being fully cooperative with the commission, which is known formally as the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. She said that it hoped to meet all of the panel's demands for documents.

Mr. Kean suggested that he understood the concerns of the White House about the sensitivity of the documents at issue, saying that they were the sort of Oval Office intelligence reports that were so sensitive and highly classified that they had never been provided to Congress or to other outside investigators.

"These are documents that only two or three people would normally have access to," he said. "To make those available to an outside group is something that no other president has done in our history.

"But I've argued very strongly with the White House that we are unique, that we are not the Congress, that these arguments about presidential privilege do not apply in the case of our commission," he said.

"Anything that has to do with 9/11, we have to see it — anything. There are a lot of theories about 9/11, and as long as there is any document out there that bears on any of those theories, we're going to leave questions unanswered. And we cannot leave questions unanswered."

While Mr. Kean said he was barred by an agreement with the White House from describing the Oval Office documents at issue in any detail — he said the White House was "quite nervous" about any public hint at their contents — other commission officials said they included the detailed daily intelligence reports that were provided to Mr. Bush in the weeks leading up to Sept. 11. The reports are known within the White House as the Presidential Daily Briefing.

Despite the threat of a subpoena and his warning of the possibility of a court battle over the documents, Mr. Kean said he maintained a good relationship with Mr. Gonzales and others at the White House, and that he was still hopeful that the White House would produce all of the classified material demanded by the panel without a subpoena.

"We've been very successful in getting a lot of materials that I don't think anybody has ever seen before," he said of his earlier dealings with the White House. "Within the legal constraints that they seem to have, they've been fully cooperative. But we're not going to be satisfied until we get every document that we need."

Last year, the White House confirmed news reports that President Bush received a written intelligence report in August 2001, the month before the attacks, that Al Qaeda might try to hijack American passenger planes.

Ms. Snee, the White House spokeswoman, said, "The president has stated a clear policy of support for the commission's work and, at the direction of the president, the executive branch has dedicated tremendous resources to support the commission, including providing over two million pages of documents."

After months of stating that it believed subpoenas to the executive branch would not be necessary, the commission voted unanimously this month to issue its first subpoena to the Federal Aviation Administration after determining that the F.A.A. had withheld dozens of boxes of documents involving the Sept. 11 attacks.

The subpoena appeared to be a turning point for the commission and for Mr. Kean, a moderate Republican known for his independence. In a statement on Oct. 15, the commission said it was re-examining "its general policy of relying on document requests rather than subpoenas" as a result of the issues with the F.A.A.

The commission, which has a membership that is equally divided among Republicans and Democrats, was created by Congress last year over the initial opposition of the White House. The law creating the panel requires that it complete its work by next May, a deadline that commission members say may be impossible to meet because of the Bush administration's delays in turning over many documents.

Mr. Kean's comments on Friday came as another member of the commission, Max Cleland, the former Democratic senator from Georgia, became the first panel member to say publicly that the commission could not complete its work by its May 2004 deadline and the first to accuse the White House of withholding classified information from the panel for purely political reasons.

"It's obvious that the White House wants to run out the clock here," he said in an interview in Washington. "It's Halloween, and we're still in negotiations with some assistant White House counsel about getting these documents — it's disgusting."

He said that the White House and President Bush's re-election campaign had reason to fear what the commission was uncovering in its investigation of intelligence and law enforcement failures before Sept. 11. "As each day goes by, we learn that this government knew a whole lot more about these terrorists before Sept. 11 than it has ever admitted."

Interviews with several other members of the commission show that Mr. Kean's concerns are widely shared on the panel, and that the concern is bipartisan.

Slade Gorton, a Republican member of the panel who served in the Senate from Washington from 1982 to 2000, said that he was startled by the "indifference" of some executive branch agencies in making material available to the commission. "This lack of cooperation, if it extends anywhere else, is going to make it very difficult" for the commission to finish its work by next May, he said.

Timothy J. Roemer, president of the Center for National Policy in Washington and a former Democratic member of the House from Indiana, said that "our May deadline may, in fact, be jeopardized — many of us are frustrated that we're still dealing with questions about document access when we should be sinking our teeth into hearings and to making recommendations for the future."

Congress would need to approve an extension if the panel requested one, a potentially difficult proposition given the reluctance of the White House and many senior Republican lawmakers to see the commission created in the first place.

"If the families of the victims weighed in — and heavily, as they did before — then we'd have a chance of succeeding," said Senator John McCain, the Arizona Republican who was an important sponsor of the legislation creating the commission. He said that, given the "obfuscation" of the administration in meeting document requests, he was ready to pursue an extension "if the commission feels it can't get its work done."

Posted by Lisa at 12:34 PM
Daily Show On The Shrub's Trip To Asia

Highlights include: the Shrub in traditional Thailand attire, the First Lady waiting to hear her Manchurian Candidate trigger word, and Colin Powell informing us all that plutonium is not edible. (Damn. The Manchurian Candidate thing is in a later clip.)

This is from the October 21, 2003 program.


The Shrub's Trip To Asia
(Small - 8 MB)













The Daily Show
(The best news on television.)

Posted by Lisa at 10:49 AM
October 24, 2003
Daily Show On Meeting Between Arnie and The Shrub

This is incredible. The Shrub didn't tell Arnie anything important because, heck, Arnie didn't ask :-)

Only in Californi-ay. Only in the U.S. of A.

This is from the October 20, 2003 program.


Arnie and The Shrub: Twins
(Small - 8 MB)














The Daily Show
(The best news on television.)

Posted by Lisa at 10:32 AM
October 17, 2003
FBI Special Agent Coleen Rowley Explains How The Shrub Administration's Intimidation Tactics Erode Our First Amendment Liberties

Right On Coleen! Thanks for having the guts to publish this article. It means a lot coming from you.

There are a lot of good people working for the government right now that are working for change, but it's really hard because their hands are tied. Most of them are in Damage Control mode and just trying to make it through their day-to-day activities without having to participate in anything too horrible until this administration can be replaced.

Coleen Rowley: The wrong side of 'us vs. them'

By Coleen Rowley for the Star Tribune.


I didn't attend Attorney General John Ashcroft's speech last month in Minneapolis, but newspapers have quoted him as saying that Americans are "freer today than at any time in the history of human freedom."

Well, this American disagrees! And I would venture to say that many others feel the same way -- those who have been put on the "them" side of the "us vs. them" equation in the context of the administration's "you're either with us or against us" mentality.

It didn't matter whether you were a career FBI agent, a decorated war veteran, a duly elected congressman or senator, a military general or even a former president, you were labeled a traitor for voicing any criticism of administration policies. You were accused of giving aid and comfort to the enemy, called a friend of Osama bin Laden and thrown to the wolves (or more accurately, the FOXes).

The intimidation in this country that's been whipped up by this official fear and warmongering has been far more effective than any Patriot Act in whittling away our civil liberties...

It's also no secret that this administration has used its considerable power to fight giving any real legal protection to government whistle-blowers and even attempted to water down the Sarbanes-Oxley Act's protections recently enacted for corporate whistle-blowers.

Of course, no "whistle-blower protection" exists for public disclosures or articles such as this one. But even without it, the First Amendment should suffice and is what I rely on. However, the official warnings along these lines that I've repeatedly received in the course of my attempts to speak on issues of public importance seem little more than veiled threats; or are they perhaps a warning that the First Amendment is not as robust as it used to be?

There's another large segment of our citizenry who have found themselves cast as "thems" by this "war" mentality. Complaints of discrimination against Muslim workers and reports of hate crimes against people believed to be of Middle Eastern descent have at least doubled...

Although it must be recognized that the origin of this problem was in the horror of the violent attacks themselves and that certain government leaders, such as FBI Director Robert Mueller, have undertaken efforts to reach out to affected Arab groups, the social scientists point to other government actions following 9/11 (including the government's roundup and detention of illegal immigrants, the special registration requirements that single out students and visitors from Muslim nations, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq) as sending "social signals" that are worsening these biases.

A specialist in the issues of prejudice and stereotyping has noted that people who perceive themselves under threat naturally tend to think of "who's with me" and "who's against me." In any event, I doubt that many in the Arab-American segment of the populace feel "freer today," as Ashcroft's generality suggests.

Here is the text of the entire article in case the link goes bad:

http://www.startribune.com/stories/562/4147904.html

Coleen Rowley: The wrong side of 'us vs. them'
Coleen Rowley

Published October 12, 2003

ROWLEY1012

I didn't attend Attorney General John Ashcroft's speech last month in Minneapolis, but newspapers have quoted him as saying that Americans are "freer today than at any time in the history of human freedom."

Well, this American disagrees! And I would venture to say that many others feel the same way -- those who have been put on the "them" side of the "us vs. them" equation in the context of the administration's "you're either with us or against us" mentality.

It didn't matter whether you were a career FBI agent, a decorated war veteran, a duly elected congressman or senator, a military general or even a former president, you were labeled a traitor for voicing any criticism of administration policies. You were accused of giving aid and comfort to the enemy, called a friend of Osama bin Laden and thrown to the wolves (or more accurately, the FOXes).

The intimidation in this country that's been whipped up by this official fear and warmongering has been far more effective than any Patriot Act in whittling away our civil liberties.

Interestingly enough, Ashcroft himself is not above using this technique to lump those who disagree with him in with the terrorists to thereby discourage debate. Recall his statement, three months after Sept. 11: "To those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty, my message is this: Your tactics only aid terrorists -- for they erode our national unity and diminish our resolve. They give ammunition to America's enemies."

It's also no secret that this administration has used its considerable power to fight giving any real legal protection to government whistle-blowers and even attempted to water down the Sarbanes-Oxley Act's protections recently enacted for corporate whistle-blowers.

Of course, no "whistle-blower protection" exists for public disclosures or articles such as this one. But even without it, the First Amendment should suffice and is what I rely on. However, the official warnings along these lines that I've repeatedly received in the course of my attempts to speak on issues of public importance seem little more than veiled threats; or are they perhaps a warning that the First Amendment is not as robust as it used to be?

There's another large segment of our citizenry who have found themselves cast as "thems" by this "war" mentality. Complaints of discrimination against Muslim workers and reports of hate crimes against people believed to be of Middle Eastern descent have at least doubled.

Social psychologists say that the attacks of Sept. 11 and their aftermath have created a real-world experiment which unfortunately indicates that the more positively one feels about the United States, the more likely one is to be anti-Arab.

Although it must be recognized that the origin of this problem was in the horror of the violent attacks themselves and that certain government leaders, such as FBI Director Robert Mueller, have undertaken efforts to reach out to affected Arab groups, the social scientists point to other government actions following 9/11 (including the government's roundup and detention of illegal immigrants, the special registration requirements that single out students and visitors from Muslim nations, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq) as sending "social signals" that are worsening these biases.

A specialist in the issues of prejudice and stereotyping has noted that people who perceive themselves under threat naturally tend to think of "who's with me" and "who's against me." In any event, I doubt that many in the Arab-American segment of the populace feel "freer today," as Ashcroft's generality suggests.

I could go on in a more general, abstract way about how "free" any of us truly is living with the ongoing terrorist threat to our safety that will be with us for a long time. For, distilled to their essences, security and liberty are very intertwined, if not the same thing. In that sense, how many people in yellow/orange-alert America feel "freer" today than they did prior to 9/11?

Ashcroft may be correct on other matters, including that the letter of the law contained in the Patriot Act is, for the most part, not the problem, but he is certainly either in denial, out of touch or painting far too rosy a picture by saying that Americans are "freer today than at any time in the history of human freedom." For our civil liberties can be and are in jeopardy in other ways.

For starters, we must do more to break down the "us vs. them" mind-set and the accompanying intimidation that ultimately threaten us all. We must recognize that we are all in this together.

Coleen Rowley works for the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a special agent with the Minneapolis office. (The views expressed are her own and are not to be construed as the official views of the FBI.)

Posted by Lisa at 05:41 PM
October 07, 2003
Walter Cronkite On Ashcroft's New Inquisition


Cronkite: The new Inquisition

By Walter Cronkite for the Denver Post.


In his 2 1/2 years in office, Attorney General John Ashcroft has earned himself a remarkable distinction as the Torquemada of American law. Tomas de Torquemada was the 15th century Dominican friar who became the grand inquisitor of the Spanish Inquisition. He was largely responsible for its methods, including torture and the burning of heretics - Muslims in particular.

Now, of course, I am not accusing the attorney general of pulling out anyone's fingernails or burning people at the stake (at least I don't know of any such cases). But one does get the sense these days that the old Spaniard's spirit is comfortably at home in Ashcroft's Department of Justice.

The Patriot Act is much in the news, as Ashcroft and his minions seek both to justify its excesses and strengthen them, thus intensifying its dangerous infringements on the Bill of Rights.

There was something almost medieval in the treatment of Muslim suspects in the aftermath of Sept. 11. Many were held incommunicado, without effective counsel and without ever being charged, not for days or weeks, but for months or longer, some under harsh conditions designed for the most dangerous criminals.

It was in the spirit of the Inquisition that the Justice Department announced recently that it would begin gathering data on judges who give sentences lighter than called for by legislative guidelines.

Nothing so clearly evokes Torquemada's spirit as Ashcroft's penchant for overruling U.S. attorneys who have sought lesser penalties in capital cases. The attorney general has done this at least 30 times since he took office, according to the Federal Death Penalty Resource Counsel. In several cases, Ashcroft actually has overturned plea bargains negotiated by those government prosecutors.

The New York Times editorialized that the attorney general seems to want the death penalty used more often.

Ashcroft is not alone in this. His boss, while governor of Texas, seemed never to have met a death sentence he didn't like. The two of them represent a subdivision of the Republican Party known as the "social conservatives," who often have favored the use of government power to police moral issues they view as modern heresies, such as abortion, homosexuality and obscenity. They contrast with those Republicans who tend to resist such uses of federal power and can generally be counted on to defend individual rights.

What makes this administration's legal bloodthirstiness particularly alarming is the almost religious zeal that seems to drive it. So, what we are seeing now is a confluence of two streams of American thought. One of those streams represents those who believe security must have priority over civil rights. The other stream represents those who believe that civil rights must be preserved even as we prosecute to the hilt the war on terrorism.

Our liberty could drown in the resultant turbulence of these colliding currents.

Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:

http://www.denverpost.com/Stories/0,1413,36~29003~1640999,00.html

walter cronkite
Cronkite: The new Inquisition
By Walter Cronkite

President Bush's televised answer to the growing concerns of many - including some Republicans - about the powers granted to him in the USA Patriot Act was to ask for even stronger measures, particularly the expanded use of "nonjudicial subpoenas." That means a federal agency such as the FBI can write its own subpoenas to conduct a search - no judges needed.

Unfortunately, security and liberty form a zero-sum equation. The inevitable trade-off: To increase security is to decrease liberty and vice versa. In the past, such trade-offs have been temporary - for the duration of the crisis of the moment. But today, we cannot see an end to the War on Terrorism, and that forces us to decide how secure we have to be and how free we want to be.

By delivering the speech last week himself, Bush added presidential heft to the issue and took some of the heat off of his attorney general, who is seen by many as the heedless champion of security at any price.

In his 2 1/2 years in office, Attorney General John Ashcroft has earned himself a remarkable distinction as the Torquemada of American law. Tomas de Torquemada was the 15th century Dominican friar who became the grand inquisitor of the Spanish Inquisition. He was largely responsible for its methods, including torture and the burning of heretics - Muslims in particular.

Now, of course, I am not accusing the attorney general of pulling out anyone's fingernails or burning people at the stake (at least I don't know of any such cases). But one does get the sense these days that the old Spaniard's spirit is comfortably at home in Ashcroft's Department of Justice.

The Patriot Act is much in the news, as Ashcroft and his minions seek both to justify its excesses and strengthen them, thus intensifying its dangerous infringements on the Bill of Rights.

There was something almost medieval in the treatment of Muslim suspects in the aftermath of Sept. 11. Many were held incommunicado, without effective counsel and without ever being charged, not for days or weeks, but for months or longer, some under harsh conditions designed for the most dangerous criminals.

It was in the spirit of the Inquisition that the Justice Department announced recently that it would begin gathering data on judges who give sentences lighter than called for by legislative guidelines.

Nothing so clearly evokes Torquemada's spirit as Ashcroft's penchant for overruling U.S. attorneys who have sought lesser penalties in capital cases. The attorney general has done this at least 30 times since he took office, according to the Federal Death Penalty Resource Counsel. In several cases, Ashcroft actually has overturned plea bargains negotiated by those government prosecutors.

The New York Times editorialized that the attorney general seems to want the death penalty used more often.

Ashcroft is not alone in this. His boss, while governor of Texas, seemed never to have met a death sentence he didn't like. The two of them represent a subdivision of the Republican Party known as the "social conservatives," who often have favored the use of government power to police moral issues they view as modern heresies, such as abortion, homosexuality and obscenity. They contrast with those Republicans who tend to resist such uses of federal power and can generally be counted on to defend individual rights.

What makes this administration's legal bloodthirstiness particularly alarming is the almost religious zeal that seems to drive it. So, what we are seeing now is a confluence of two streams of American thought. One of those streams represents those who believe security must have priority over civil rights. The other stream represents those who believe that civil rights must be preserved even as we prosecute to the hilt the war on terrorism.

Our liberty could drown in the resultant turbulence of these colliding currents.

Walter Cronkite has been a journalist for more than 60 years, including 19 as anchor of the CBS Evening News.


Posted by Lisa at 12:06 PM
October 02, 2003
State Of Illinois Challenges Shrub Environmental Policy


State to Challenge Bush Pollution Rules

By the Associated Press.

Here's the whole article. It's a little one.


State to Challenge Bush Pollution Rules

Sep 22, 2003 1:38 pm US/Central
SPRINGFIELD (AP) Illinois officials are planning a legal challenge to President Bush's change in anti-pollution rules.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and the state attorney general said today they will file a petition to block the rule change.

State EPA Director Renee Cipriano says the new rules would threaten air quality.

A spokeswoman for Attorney General Lisa Madigan calls the rules "an all-out assault on public health."

The Bush administration last month announced it was making it easier for power plants and factories to make large upgrades without having to install anti-pollution technology.

The new rules would allow improvements worth up to 20-percent of a plant's total value before pollution-fighting devices are required.

Posted by Lisa at 05:29 PM
September 28, 2003
Condoleeza Rice On Meet The Press

I'm too tired to blog this proper till the AM. But for those of you who might need this information NOW, I thought I'd let you know that it's available and uploaded here:


Condoleeza Rice On Meet The Press

It's available as one big 55 MB download or three smaller 18 MB downloads.

I'll have smaller clips of highlights up in the AM.

Here's a link to the usual, largely incomplete transcript. (Full text of this below.)

Enjoy!




























Here's the text of the incomplete transcript in case the link goes bad:

http://www.msnbc.com/news/973028.asp


Transcript for Sept. 28
GUESTS: Dr. Condoleezza Rice, national security adviser
Rep. Dick Gephardt, (D-Mo.), Democratic presidential candidate
Tim Russert, moderator
This is a rush transcript provided for the information and convenience of the press. Accuracy is not guaranteed.

MR. TIM RUSSERT: Our issues this Sunday, Iraq: Still no weapons of mass destruction; little likelihood of more international troops, meaning more Reserve units being called up; and growing concern on Capitol Hill.
(Videotape):
REP. DAVID OBEY: If you don’t, you don’t have a plan, you don’t have a clue. If you can’t give us an answer, you’re stiffing us.
MR. DAVID BREMER: Well, Congressman, I resent that.
(End videotape)
MR. RUSSERT: Where do we go from here? With us, President Bush’s national security adviser, Dr. Condoleezza Rice. Then the 10 Democratic candidates debate and this man goes after Democratic presidential front-runner Howard Dean.
(Videotape):
REP. RICHARD GEPHARDT: Howard, you are agreeing with the very plan that Newt Gingrich wanted to pass, which was a $270 billion cut in Medicare.
DR. HOWARD DEAN: I’ve done more for health insurance, in this country, Dick Gephardt, frankly, than you ever have.
(End videotape)
MR. RUSSERT: And what does the entry of General Wesley Clark mean for the race? With us, Democratic candidate for president, Congressman Dick Gephardt.
But first, the president’s national security adviser Dr. Condoleezza Rice. Welcome.
DR. CONDOLEEZZA RICE: Morning. Thank you.
MR. RUSSERT: These are the headlines that greeted Americans this week: “Draft Reports Said To Cite No Success In Iraq Arms Hunt. An early draft of an interim report by the American leading the hunt for banned weapons in Iraq says his team has not found any of the unconventional weapons cited by the Bush administration as a principal reason for going to war, federal officials with knowledge of the findings said.” The rationale for the war, the risk, the threat of biological, chemical, perhaps even nuclear weapons, they have not been found, why?
DR. RICE: There was no doubt going into the was that successive administrations, the United Nations, intelligence services around the world, knew that Saddam Hussein had used weapons of mass destruction, that he had them, that he continued to pursue them. David Kay is now in a very careful process of determining the status of those weapons and precisely what became of them. But I would warn off jumping in to any conclusions about what David Kay’s report says. For instance, I’ve not seen David Kay’s report, and it is a progress report on the very careful work that he is doing. He’s interviewing hundreds of people. He is going through miles and miles of documentation. He’s collecting physical evidence and he will put together a coherent story and then we’ll know the truth, but it’s far too early to talk about the conclusions of David Kay’s report.
MR. RUSSERT: If we go back and examine what administration officials had said prior to the war, Colin Powell said this back in February of 2001: ”[Saddam Hussein] has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction.”
And five days after September 11th, the vice president saying: “Saddam Hussein’s bottled up at this point.”
And now, front page of The Washington Post, “House Probers Conclude Iraq War Data Was Weak.”
This is Porter Goss, former CIA agent, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, a Republican, suggesting that perhaps because the CIA couldn’t determine that the weapons of mass destruction had been destroyed, that they therefore existed. Was the premise of the war based on faulty or hyped intelligence?
DR. RICE: The premise of the war was that Saddam Hussein was a threat, that he had used weapons of mass destruction, that he was continuing to try to get them and that was everyone’s premise, the United Nations intelligence services, other governments, that was the logic that led the Clinton administration to air strikes in 1998. And one would have had to believe that somehow, after Saddam Hussein made it impossible for the inspectors to do their work in 1998, that things got better, that he suddenly destroyed the weapons of mass destruction and then carried on this elaborate deception to keep the world from knowing that he destroyed the weapons of mass destruction. It’s just not logical.
You have to put into context the period between 1998 and 2003 when indeed the information was being enriched from new information that was coming in, but it was not that alone. It had to be in the context of 12 years of deception, 12 years of finding out unpleasant surprises about his biological weapons program in 1994 and 1995, reports from the United Nations in 1999 that he had not accounted for large stockpiles of weapons. No, this was the threat that the president of the United States could no longer allow to remain there. We tried containment. We learned that he had increased his capacity to spend resources on weapons of mass destruction from $500 million in illegal oil revenues to $3 billion. No, all of the dots added up to a program and to weapons and a weapons program that was dangerous and getting more so.
MR. RUSSERT: What if the intelligence was just plain wrong? The CIA had said way back when that the Soviet Union was going to have a robust economy, surpass the United States. That proved to be wrong. What if the intelligence committees were just wrong here, and we went to war when there really wasn’t a threat of weapons of mass destruction?
DR. RICE: Well, clearly, this is somebody who had used weapons of mass destruction. So had he have been allowed to be unchecked, he might have used them again. Clearly, this is someone who, in 1991, the inspectors found was much closer to a nuclear weapon that had been believed. So I think it’s unlikely that the essence of a case that this was somebody who had weapons of mass destruction and was still pursuing them was wrong. But let’s remember, Saddam Hussein is now gone and it is a great achievement of the United States and the coalition. Nobody wants to say that we would be better off had we left him in power.
We now have opportunities before us to have a democratic and prosperous Iraq that can be linchpin of a different kind of Middle East, a region that is volatile in the extreme, and is the region from which the September 11 threat came. And so, after September 11, and I note that some quotes by Colin Powell, for instance, before September 11—after September 11, you do look at threats differently. You do look at dealing with threats before they fully materialize. That was the case the president made to the American people. With Saddam Hussein gone, the world is safer and Iraq will be stable and prosperous, and it will be a historic change in the circumstances of the Middle East.
MR. RUSSERT: The administration’s credibility is on the line, here in the country and around the world. And we still specifically cite the president’s State of the Union message in January. Now, let me go back and play that and then talk about your role.
(Videotape, January 28, 2003):
PRES. GEORGE W. BUSH: The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.
(End videotape)
MR. RUSSERT: That was in January. And in June—June 8—you were on MEET THE PRESS; I asked you about that, and this was your response.
(Videotape, June 8, 2003):
DR. RICE: The president quoted a British paper. We did not know at the time, no one knew at the time in our circles—maybe someone knew down in the bowels of the agency, but no one in our circles knew—that there were doubts and suspicions that this might be a forgery. Of course, it was information that was mistaken.
(End videotape)
MR. RUSSERT: “No one in our circles.” That has proven to be wrong.
DR. RICE: No, Tim, that has not proven to be wrong. No one did know that they were forgeries. The notion of the forgeries came in February or in March when this was—when this came to the CIA. It is true that we learned, subsequent to my comments to you, that Director Tenet did not want to stand by that statement. And I would never want to see anything in a presidential statement—speech—that the director of Central Intelligence did not want to have there.
And I’m the national security adviser. When something like this happens, I feel personally responsible for it happening because it obscured the fact that the president of the United States did not go to war over whether Saddam Hussein tried to acquire yellow cake in Africa. He went to war over a threat from a bloody tyrant in the most volatile region of the world who had used weapons of mass destruction before, and was continuing to try to acquire them. And so, of course, this should not have happened.
MR. RUSSERT: But when you say that no one in our circles, and it was maybe down in the bowels of the Intelligence Agency, a month after that appearance, you said this, “The CIA cleared the speech in its entirety.”
And then your top deputy, Stephen Hadley, on July 23, said this.
“Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley told reporters that he received two memos from the CIA in October that cast doubt on intelligence reports that Iraq had sough to buy uranium from Niger to use in developing nuclear weapons. Both memos were also sent to chief speechwriter Michael Gerson and one was sent to national security adviser, Dr. Condoleezza Rice, Hadley said.”
And George Tenet called Mr. Hadley directly and put—issued a warning on that information. Were you aware of any concerns by the CIA about this incident?
DR. RICE: First of all, the CIA did clear the speech in its entirety and George Tenet has said that. He’s also said that he believes that it should not have been cleared. And we apparently, with the—in October for the Cincinnati speech, not for the State of the Union, but the Cincinnati speech, George Tenet asked that this be taken out of the Cincinnati speech, the reference to yellow cake. It was taken out of the Cincinnati speech because whenever the director of Central Intelligence wants something out, it’s gone.
MR. RUSSERT: How’d it get back in?
DR. RICE: It’s not a matter of getting back in. It’s a matter, Tim, that three-plus months later, people didn’t remember that George Tenet had asked that it be taken out of the Cincinnati speech and then it was cleared by the agency. I didn’t remember. Steve Hadley didn’t remember. We are trying to put now in place methods so you don’t have to be dependent on people’s memories for something like that.
MR. RUSSERT: Did you ever read the memo that I referenced?
DR. RICE: I don’t remember the memo. It came after it had been taken out of the speech, and so it’s quite possible that I didn’t. But let me be very clear: This shouldn’t happen to the president of the United States, and we will do everything that we can to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.
MR. RUSSERT: The Washington Post framed the issue this way: “The remarks by Rice and her associates raise two uncomfortable possibilities for the national security adviser. Either she missed or overlooked numerous warnings from intelligence agencies seeking to put caveats on claims about Iraq’s nuclear weapons program, or she made public claims that she knew to be false.”
DR. RICE: Well, neither happens to be true. First of all, we had a national intelligence estimate on which we relied to talk about Iraq’s pursuit of nuclear weapons. I would never make claims that I know not to be true. Why would I do that to the president of the United States? The president of the United States has to be credible with the American people. I have to be credible with the American people. This was a mistake. The memories of people three months before did not trigger when they saw the language in the State of the Union. When I read the line in the State of the Union, I thought it was perfectly fine. And I can assure you nobody was trying to somehow slip something into the State of the Union that the director of Central Intelligence didn’t have confidence in. The State of the Union address was about the broad threat that Saddam Hussein posed. That remained the case when we went to war. That remains the case today. And it was a strong case for removing him from power.
MR. RUSSERT: A hundred and eighty members of Congress cited the potential nuclear threat when they voted for the war. If that threat did not exist, if Saddam was not as far along as had been expected or had been reported by intelligence agencies, do you believe Congress would have voted to go to go war with Saddam absent the notion that he had weapons of mass destruction?
DR. RICE: Well, weapons of mass destruction, of course, come in two other types, chemical and biological. And on chemical and biological, the national intelligence estimate was unequivocal, that he had biological and chemical weapons. He’s, of course, used chemical weapons. His biological weapons program was, of course, discovered in ’94, ’95.
MR. RUSSERT: What happened to them? Where are they?
DR. RICE: Well, David Kay will determine what happened to these programs. But on the nuclear side, this was always a matter of uncertainty, about his nuclear weapons program. In ’91, he was closer than the International Atomic Energy Agency had thought. They were about to give him a clean bill of health, only to find that he had the designs, he had the scie ntists, he had all of the means. He was only lacking the fissile material. And the estimate, the national intelligence estimate gave the following judgment: That left unchecked, Saddam Hussein would have a nuclear weapon by the end of the decade. That’s something to which the president had to react, but by no means was this case made on a nuclear case alone. It was made on the weapons of mass destruction as a whole, his ability to deliver them in the past and the dangers of having those weapons, particularly biological and chemical weapons, which he was known to have had, in the hands of this bloody tyrant.
MR. RUSSERT: There was dissent of that analysis, however, but the administration emphasized the threat?
DR. RICE: Well, the dissent—not on biological and chemical weapons. There was widespread agreement that the biological—but...
MR. RUSSERT: On nuclear. On nuclear there was the dissent.
DR. RICE: On nuclear there was dissent on the extent of the program and how far along the program might be. How much had he gone to reconstitute? But the judgment of the intelligence community was that he had kept in place his infrastructure, that he was trying to procure items. For instance, there’s been a lot of talk about the aluminum tubes but they were prohibited on the list of the nuclear suppliers group for a reason. So the case was very strong, that this was somebody who had weapons of mass destruction, had used them in the past. The Clinton administration had launched air strikes for that reason in 1998, citing the fact that if he were allowed to keep his weapons of mass destruction, he would be a grave threat, and there was no reason to believe that this got better after 1998, after he made it impossible for inspectors to work there.
MR. RUSSERT: Ambassador Joe Wilson was sent over to Niger by the CIA to look into this whole matter of selling uranium to Iraq. He came back with a report which was given to the administration. Then there was an article by columnist Robert Novak which cited two administration sources and identified Ambassador Wilson’s wife by name. She was an undercover agent at the CIA. There is now an investigation. The CIA has requested the Justice Department to look into this. It’s a crime to identify an undercover agent. And in this article in today’s Washington Post, a senior administration official said that White House officials called six reporters to identify, to out, if you will, Joe Wilson’s wife. What can you tell us about that?
DR. RICE: Tim, I know nothing about any such calls, and I do know that the president of the United States would not expect his White House to behave in that way. It’s my understanding that when a question like this is raised before the agency, that they refer it as a matter of course, a matter of routine to the Justice Department. The Justice Department will now take appropriate action, whatever that is, and that will be up to the Justice Department to determine what that action is.
MR. RUSSERT: What will the president do? Will he bring people in and ask them what they did?
DR. RICE: I think it’s best since it’s in the hands of the Justice Department to let it remain there.
MR. RUSSERT: Will the president go to the CIA and other intelligence agencies and say, “What happened? Why did you give me these analysis, these estimates and it hasn’t yet borne out?”
DR. RICE: The president is waiting to see what the story really is on the ground. David Kay is a very well-respected former weapons inspector. He now has a lot of people, teams of people, working on the considerable documentation that we’ve been able to find. For instance, we now have access to the archives of the Iraqi Intelligence Service. That’s an important source, as any of us know who’ve studied authoritarian systems. Programs like this were likely to be under the Iraqi Intelligence Service. And so now we have access to that documentation. Wouldn’t have had it before the war.
We are now able to interview people, although there are a lot of people who are still frightened by threats of retribution, and it’s one important reason that we have to protect the people who help us. He is gathering physical evidence, and he will put together a complete picture of the status of Saddam Hussein’s weapons programs, of how he intended to use them. He will put together a picture of what became of the substantial unaccounted-for weapons stockpiles and media. He’ll do all of that. And then we can see what we found on the ground after the war and how that compares to what we knew going in. But going in, this president relied on the same basis of intelligence that three administrations relied on, that was gathered from intelligence services around the world and that the U.N. itself relied on in keeping Saddam
Hussein under sanctions for 12 years.
MR. RUSSERT: But what if it was wrong? If the president determines that the intelligence he was given was faulty or that members of his staff or administration outed a CIA agent, will heads roll?
DR. RICE: Tim, let’s wait and see what the facts are. I think in the case of the weapons of mass destruction, David Kaye is going to make a progress report but it is only a progress report. Saddam Hussein spent 12 years trying to deceive the international community. It’s not surprising that it’s going to take a little time to unravel this program.
MR. RUSSERT: George Will, the conservative columnist, wrote this. “Some say the war justified even if WMD”—weapons of mass destruction—”are not found nor their destruction explained, because the world is ‘better off’”—with Saddam Hussein. Of course is better off. “But unless one is prepared to postulate a U.S. right, perhaps even a duty, to militarily dismantle any tyranny ... it is unacceptable to argue that Hussein’s mass graves and torture chambers suffice as retrospective justifications for preemptive war.
Americans seem sanguine about the failure—so far—to validate the war’s premise about the threat posed by Hussein’s”—weapons of mass destruction—”but a long-term failure would unravel much of this president’s policy and rhetoric.”
DR. RICE: Torture chambers and mass graves are definitely very good things to have gotten rid of, so is to have gained the opportunity of having a stable and democratizing Iraq in the Middle East...
MR. RUSSERT: But that’s not a basis for a pre-emptive war.
DR. RICE: ...but let’s remember that the intelligence going into the war—it’s quite separable from what David Kaye now finds, but the intelligence going into the war was intelligence that led the United States to strike in 1998 against Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction, that led the Congress to support that action and to actually pass a law called the Iraqi Liberation Act, because Saddam Hussein was thought to be a threat to this country, that the United Nations itself had kept Saddam Hussein under sanctions for 12 years because of his weapons of mass destruction program. So the premise on which the president launched this war was one that was shared by a number of people, including former administrations.
MR. RUSSERT: But Mr. Will’s point is if the president came to the United States today and said, “We have a problem with Iran. They have an advanced nuclear capability, we have to launch a pre-emptive strike,” or “We have to launch a pre-emptive strike against North Korea,” would the country, would the world, say, “By all means, Mr. President, we know your intelligence is sound, go forward”?
DR. RICE: The important thing is that the president has always said that the use of military force is, of course, an option that has to remain, but that’s a rare option. The president in Iran and in North Korea is pursuing other courses, and Iraq was in many ways a very special case. This was an international outlaw for 12 years. We forget that he fought a war in 1991, lost the war, signed on to a series of obligations that were supposed to keep him boxed up, because people knew he was dangerous in 1991. But when the decision was made not to overthrow him and indeed to stop the war, he signed on to an entire group of resolutions, of obligations that were supposed to keep him contained. He then systematically, over 12 years, started to wiggle out of them, ignored them, defied them. He was an international outlaw.
I think you have to look hard to see whether even this was a war of pre-emption. We were in a state of low-level conflict with Saddam Hussein from 1991 until 2003. He was shooting at our airplanes with regularity. We were trying to patrol his forces through no-fly zones in the north and the south. This was a unique case.
MR. RUSSERT: The costs of the war, administration’s top budget official, Mitch Daniels, the former director of the OMB, estimated that the “cost of a war” would be “$50 billion to $60 billion...he said...estimates of $100 billion to $200 billion” by Lawrence Lindsey, the president’s former chief economic adviser, “were too high.”
We’ve already spent, when the additional $87 billion is allocated by Congress, some $150 billion to $160 billion. Why did the administration so dramatically underestimate the cost of this war?
DR. RICE: We did not have perfect foresight into what we were going to find in Iraq. The fact of the matter is that this deteriorated infrastructure, one that was completely covered and covered over by the gleaming pictures of Baghdad that made it look like a first-world city, what we’re learning now is that, for instance, the entire country had maybe 55 percent of the electrical generating power that it needed, but what Saddam Hussein did was force all of that generating power into the Sunni areas and to simply starve the rest of the country. The country was probably 80 percent low on the ability to provide sanitation to the country.
Now, I’m reminded that East Germany, which was, of course, sitting right next door to West Germany and well known to the West Germans, when they unified East and West Germany, West Germans were appalled and shocked by what they found as the deteriorated state of the East German infrastructure. So it’s not surprising that one might underestimate that.
But the key here is you cannot put a price tag on security. Iraq was a threat. Saddam Hussein was a threat to the region, he was a threat to America, to American interests, he was a haven and a supporter of terrorism around the world and he had launched wars, used weapons of mass destruction. He was a threat. He is now gone. The goal now is to put in his place, in the place of that horrible regime, a stable, prosperous, and democratizing Iraq. That will pay off many, many, many times over in security for the American people. What happened to us on September 11th should remind us that we have to fight the war on terror on the offense. We can’t fight from preventive defense. It’s fine to try and defend the country, but the president believes that we have to fight this war on the offense and Iraq is part of fighting that war.
MR. RUSSERT: But Iraq was not part of September 11th.
DR. RICE: No. Saddam Hussein—no one has said that there is evidence that Saddam Hussein directed or controlled 9/11, but let’s be very clear, he had ties to al-Qaeda, he had al-Qaeda operatives who had operated out of Baghdad. The key, though, is that this is—our security is indivisible, and having a change in this region, in the center of the Middle East, is going to make a tremendous difference to our long-term security.
MR. RUSSERT: Congress will approve the $87 billion?
DR. RICE: I am certainly hopeful that they will because the American forces deserve the support, and everything in the supplemental that is there for reconstruction is for one of three purposes. It is to provide, so that the Iraqis can provide security to themselves, police forces, the army, and acceleration of bringing Iraqis into their own security. It is to provide infrastructure so that—and basic living services so that it doesn’t become a breeding ground for terrorism, the kind of poverty that is there. And third, it is to put in place infrastructure for foreign investments, so that Iraq can emerge as a functioning member of the international economy.
MR. RUSSERT: Here’s the cover of Time magazine coming out tomorrow: “Mission Not Accomplished: How Bush Misjudged the Task of Fixing Iraq.” We all remember on May 1, the president landed on the USS Lincoln, where he was greeted by a banner “Mission Accomplished.” The image, the message that sent to the country was, “Iraq, mission accomplished.” Was that premature?
DR. RICE: Well, the mission of those forces that he went to greet had been accomplished. They were involved in the major military operations. I can remember getting briefings on the carriers of the bombing missions that they flew in those horrible sandstorms. So their mission had been accomplished. And the president wanted to congratulate them on that. But he said in that same speech, the dangerous times were still ahead, and that we still had work to do in Iraq. And we are, indeed, still doing that work in Iraq.
The advantage is that we have forces there that are now being reconfigured to deal with the tasks that are not major combat tasks, and we’re making good progress. It’s a hard job. And reconstructing or participating in the reconstructing of a country like Iraq is a hard job. But it’s very much worth it. Much as the reconstruction of Europe was worth it to our long-term security. The reconstruction of Iraq is worth it to our long-term security. And we’re going to stay the course.
MR. RUSSERT: And it is nation-building?
DR. RICE: It is helping the Iraqis to build their nation. And they are more and more involved every day. I’ve met, just in this past week, with ministers, minister of electricity, minister of public works, I’ve met with members of the Governing Council. They are now very involved in their future. And Iraq is going to emerge better for it. The Middle East is going to emerge better for it and, therefore, American security is going to emerge better for it.
MR. RUSSERT: How long is that going to take?
DR. RICE: I don’t want to put a time frame on it.
MR. RUSSERT: Years?
DR. RICE: The work of the Iraqis in building their own future certainly is going to take years, and we’ll try to help them and assist them. But we expect that by accelerating in this next period of time, over this—the next frame of time, which is why the supplemental is so important, in accelerating the most important task toward reconstruction, that we will hasten the day when Iraqis are able to control their own future and when American forces can come home.
MR. RUSSERT: Dr. Condoleezza Rice, we thank you for your views.
DR. RICE: Thank you very much, Tim.
MR. RUSSERT: Coming next, can Dick Gephardt stop the insurgent challenges of Governor Howard Dean and General Wesley Clark? Dick Gephardt, Democratic candidate for president. He’s next on MEET THE PRESS.
(Announcements)
MR. RUSSERT: Our interview with Democratic presidential candidate Dick Gephardt after this brief station break.
(Announcements)
MR. RUSSERT: And we are back. Congressman Gephardt, welcome back to MEET THE PRESS.
REP. DICK GEPHARDT, (D-MO): Good to be here.
MR. RUSSERT: Let’s go back to October 2, 2002. You were the leader of the Democrats in the House. You supported the president on the war, voted for a resolution to give him the authority, appeared with him in the Rose Garden and said this to the American people. Let’s watch:
(Videotape, October 2, 2002):
REP. GEPHARDT: In our view, Iraq’s use and continuing development of weapons of mass destruction, combined with efforts of terrorists to acquire such weapons pose a unique and dangerous threat to our national security.
(End videotape)
MR. RUSSERT: “A unique and dangerous threat.” We have not found any such weapons. Were you wrong or misled?
REP. GEPHARDT: Tim, I didn’t just take the president’s word for this. I went out to the CIA three times. I talked to George Tenet personally. I talked to his top people. I talked to people that had been in the Clinton administration in their security effort. And I became convinced, from that, all of that, that he either had weapons of mass destruction or he had components of weapons or he had the ability to quickly make a lot of them and pass them to terrorists.
Look, after 9/11, we’re in a world, in my view, that we have to protect the American people from further acts of terrorism. That’s my highest responsibility, that’s the Congress’ highest responsibility, and the president. And I did what I thought was the right thing to do to protect our people from further acts of terrorism. We cannot have that happen in the United States, and I will always do that.
MR. RUSSERT: But what happened to the weapons of mass destruction? What should be done now to find out why the intelligence was misleading or just plain wrong?
REP. GEPHARDT: Obviously, Tim, we need a blue-ribbon commission. If there hasn’t been one before I’m president, when I’m president, we will have one. The American people have to understand and believe that the information they’re getting from their government is credible, is true. And if there was a failure of intelligence, we’ve got to have more than just the intelligence committees look at it. We’ve got to have a blue-ribbon commission. We’ve got to get to the bottom of it.
MR. RUSSERT: The Washington Post reports today that a senior administration official said that White House officials called six reporters to identify the wife of Ambassador Joe Wilson, who is doing a report for the CIA on this matter, that she was an undercover agent and therefore was outed, which breaks the law. What should the president do?
REP. GEPHARDT: Well, the president ought to investigate what happened. The Congress probably ought to look at it as well. If the law was broken, if something was done that was improper and wrong legally, you know, the law ought to be enforced and people ought to be punished for doing this.
MR. RUSSERT: The Congress will have an opportunity to vote for $87 billion more for the operation in Iraq. Will you vote for that?
REP. GEPHARDT: I’m going to support our troops in the field. We have to do that. They’re performing a very, very dangerous mission and I’m in admiration of what they’re doing. We’ve got to support them with the money they need. On the $20 billion or so of this $87 billion that is for the reconstruction of Iraq, there are a lot of tough questions that the Congress needs to ask and will ask, both Republicans and Democrats.
One of the things we’ve got to look at is: What are we going to get from other countries? What are other countries going to bring to the table? What is the president doing to get other countries to help our taxpayers? And finally, what loans are out there that could be relieved or forgiven by other countries to Iraq so that this money for reconstruction could, in effect, be a new loan so that we don’t have to just ask the American taxpayers to do this.
Finally, I want some moneys for America, if we’re going to be using money for the further work in Iraq.
All of our states pretty much are bankrupt. They need help. They’re cutting health care, they’re cutting veterans, they’re cutting all kinds of important programs. We’ve got to make sure that the American people are taken care of here as well.
MR. RUSSERT: We’ll get to the domestic issues in a second, but in terms of Iraq, you just heard Dr. Rice say we’re going to stay the course. If you were the president right now, and other countries in the world said, “Mr. President, we don’t have any troops to give you. Maybe another 20,000, but this is an American operation,” what would you do?
REP. GEPHARDT: Tim, I have been terribly frustrated by this president’s inability or unwillingness to get the help that we need. I told him a year and a half ago that if he wanted to deal with Iraq or Afghanistan or any of these situations that he had to get us help. I encouraged him in February or March of last year to go to the U.N., to start the inspections so that it can bring our allies with us.
The U.N. had inspectors there for eight years, they were out for five years. The only way you could get the U.N. with you was start up the inspections and get it done. He finally went to the U.N. In truth, he went too late. He jammed them. He didn’t get the agreement he needed. But put that all aside, here weare four or five months after the conflict has ended, and he still has not gotten us the help that we need. He went to the U.N. last week.
Look, we ought to turn this over to the Iraqis as soon as we can. Secondly, we ought to have U.N. civil authority. The U.N. ought to take over the civil issues that are involved in Iraq. And we ought to get NATO and other allies helping us on the security front. If this president was doing his job right, he would be getting us the help that we need. This is costing a billion dollars a week. We’re losing people every day. People are being injured. This is unacceptable and he needs to get us the help that we should have gotten a long time ago.
MR. RUSSERT: But if the Iraqis are not prepared to take on the security themselves and other countries don’t have the troops to give us, to turn it over to the Iraqis now, you could create an extremist, fundamentalist, Islamic regime.
REP. GEPHARDT: Oh, no. I’m not saying turn it over to the Iraqis now. I’m saying get it turned over to the Iraqis as quickly as you can. In a practical way, do that. But in the meantime, we need help. We need money. We need troops. It is unacceptable that he has not gotten us the help that we need and it can’t go on.
MR. RUSSERT: In July, this is about nine months after supporting the president on the war, you said this, “...I believe George Bush has left us less safe and less secure than we were four years ago.” What do you base that on?
REP. GEPHARDT: A number of things. First of all, the homeland security effort is not what it ought to be. We have not looked in one container coming into this country. What are we worried about? We’re worried about an A-bomb in a Ryder truck in New York or Washington or Los Angeles. It cannot happen. We cannot allow it to happen. We have not looked in one container. That’s the most likely way it would come in. We’re not doing what we need with the local police and fire departments. The money that they need—they’re the new front-line troops in the war against terrorism. They have not gotten the training or the equipment that they need to do their job right.
Finally, he is not doing the job with regard to the loose nukes that are out in the work, in Russia, India, Pakistan. We should be very aggressively trying to stop this fissile material from getting into the hands of terrorists. I’ll say it again: 9/11 was the ultimate wake-up call. If we don’t understand that, I don’t know what we understand. And our government has a solemn responsibility to do everything in its power to keep these materials out of the hands of terrorists. When I am president, I will make it my highest priority to see that it’s done every day.
MR. RUSSERT: There’s a sense from some critics, Congressman, that you’ve watched Howard Dean rise to the status of front-runner of the Democratic primaries because he opposed George Bush on the war and opposed George Bush on the tax cut, and that you now are trying to make up for lost ground by imitating some of Howard Dean’s positions by saying the president’s a miserable failure or this: “This phony macho business is not getting us where we need to” go. Is that appropriate, to accuse the president of being a phony macho?
REP. GEPHARDT: Tim, I try to say what’s in my heart and what’s right, and I don’t mince my words, I don’t, you know, try to find the political high ground. I try to do my job, and I’m going to say what I think is right and what’s in my heart. I believe the president was right to try to deal with Saddam Hussein and weapons of mass destruction, not because of what he said, as I said, but because of everything that I learned and understood. I’ve never wavered from that position and never will. Because I did what I thought was right.
MR. RUSSERT: What’s the phony macho?
REP. GEPHARDT: Well, saying “Bring them on,” and you know, saying to our allies, “We’re going to do this with or without you,” and just—arrogance doesn’t get you anywhere, as a country, as a leader. And I think in some cases this president demonstrates arrogance. Look, I was in Germany a few years ago, the foreign minister said to me, “The reason we so respect America is that there’s never been a country in the history of the world that’s had this much military power and always used it so responsibly.” That’s what we’re in danger of losing with the way this president is leading. So if he’s right, I’m going to say it, and if he’s wrong, I’m going to say it, and that’s what I try to do. I try to say what’s in my heart.
MR. RUSSERT: Let me turn to your race for the presidency. This is your Web site, which is on the Internet: “It’s Time to Show Howard Dean who’s the Real Democrat, A Message from Steve Murphy, Campaign Manager”—that’s your campaign manager—”...I’ve had enough. Howard Dean still insists that he’s the candidate from ‘the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party.’ Well, where was Howard Dean when we needed him?” Do you think Howard Dean’s a real Democrat?
REP. GEPHARDT: He is a Democrat, but we have some legitimate differences of belief, on trade, on health care, on Medicare, on Social Security, and that’s what elections are about. That’s why we have campaigns, and I’m going to talk about the differences, not only with Howard but with other candidates, as well.
MR. RUSSERT: Another Web site, and I’ll show you this one, called DeanFacts.com: “Howard Dean on Social Security: ‘I absolutely agree we need to...increase retirement age.’”
Dean on Social Security, Dean on Medicare, and who’s paying for this Web site? Gephardt for President. You’re devoting an entire Web site to Howard Dean.
REP. GEPHARDT: Well, these Web sites are inexpensive. Look, some of the statements that Howard has made about Medicare demonstrate, and are hard to believe, frankly, but demonstrate the deep difference that we have on this issue. Let me just tell you two of the statements. He said Medicare is the worst federal program ever. He said Medicare is the worst thing that ever happened. Now, I just couldn’t disagree more. I think Medicare is one of the best things this country’s ever done. A third to a half of the elderly in this country were in poverty before Medicare. Now, every senior citizen has the benefit of Medicare.
And in our darkest hour, the day before we took up the Gingrich budget in 1995, Howard was the head of the National Governors’ Association. He made a speech in which he endorsed, basically, the Republican position on the $270 billion cut in Medicare, that Bill Clinton called the biggest cut in Medicare’s history. It would have decimated the program. And so later in the year, they even shut the government down over this. They were trying to do big Medicare cuts to give tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans.
Now, we just couldn’t disagree more on this. He’s had a number of other statements in which he’s severely critical of Medicare as a horribly run, terrible program. I just—we disagree on this. I think it’s an important issue. Look, the Republicans have always been after this program. From the beginning they haven’t liked this program. We need a candidate to go up against George Bush and articulate this issue, defend our proudest achievement, which is Medicare and Social Security, and re-explain to the American people why we cannot allow the Republicans to privatize and ruin these programs.
MR. RUSSERT: But if you say that Howard Dean stood with Newt Gingrich, why couldn’t Howard Dean say, “Dick Gephardt, you voted for the 1981 Ronald Reagan tax cut. Back then you voted against increasing minimum wage. You stood with Ronald Reagan.”
REP. GEPHARDT: Look, there are always times that we make judgments that in retrospect we think weren’t the right judgment. There have been things in my past that, you know, I later on decided that wasn’t the right thing to do. Howard’s not backing off this. He said just a week ago, or two weeks ago, that he still thinks we ought to slow down the growth of Medicare by 7 to 10 percent. That was the $270 billion cut. And he continues to say it’s a horribly run program, and that it’s not a good program.
MR. RUSSERT: But the number of people on Medicare is going to double, we’ve gone from 35 workers per retiree to two workers per retiree. We’re going to have to do something with Medicare and Social Security or those programs will go bust or we’re going to have to double the payroll tax.
REP. GEPHARDT: Tim, I have always been for doing what it takes to save Social Security and Medicare. I led the fight in 1983 to fix the Social Security program so it would have much longer time to run without having to dip into general revenue. I’ve always been for improving Medicare but I’ve never said Medicare is the worst thing that ever happened. I mean, this is a great program. We need to improve it but we sure don’t need to adopt the Republican rhetoric on this, that it’s a horrible program. It’s not. It’s a great program.
MR. RUSSERT: The centerpiece of your campaign thus far has been your proposal on health care, to subsidize businesses so they will provide health care to their employees. You would pay for it by repealing the Bush tax cut. This is how one commentator reported on that. “Gephardt’s Tax Hike. To finance government funding for business-provided health care, [Gephardt] would roll back Bush tax cuts...”
“This is heavy going for that $40,000-a-year family of four. ... The extra taxes paid over six years, starting with President Gephardt’s first year, total $6,800. If this family’s breadwinners work for a company that now provides health care, they”—only get—”pain”—for—”Gephardt.”
How do you say to the American people, “I’m going to raise your taxes anywhere from $1,500 to $2,000 a year, because I’m subsidizing businesses that give you health care.” But they already have health care?
REP. GEPHARDT: Well, what’s missing in this analysis is that companies that already give health care are cutting back benefits. People have anxiety that they’re going to lose their benefits altogether or that they’re not going to be able to afford the family plan or that they can’t ever get a wage increase. It’s the only thing that’s talked about between employers and employees today. I intend to solve that problem. My plan does more for the average family than the Bush tax cuts. And if you want to calculate it, I’ve got another Web site, mattsplan.com, named after my son, or gephardt2004.com. And you can calculate, on the Web site, what you get from my plan as opposed to the Bush tax cuts. I think if you go on and look at it, you’ll find that my plan is pretty good.
MR. RUSSERT: I’ve seen it. But people will pay more taxes. You have to be straight up and honest about that.
REP. GEPHARDT: But, Tim, it’s a tradeoff, between the tax cut you get and the economic benefit you get from my plan. And what I’m arguing is even if you have insurance now, you’ll get a huge economic benefit from my plan. And my plan is the only plan that helps everybody, not just one kind of employee.
MR. RUSSERT: But if you’re repealing the Bush tax cut to pay for your health-care plan, earlier in the program you said we have to have more money for Homeland Security, we have to have more money to rebuild the infrastructure, we need more money to take care of medical and Social Security because those programs are going to explode with the baby boom generation, we already have a $500 billion deficit, probably $600 billion. How can you possibly balance the budget or reduce the deficit when all you want to do is spend?
REP. GEPHARDT: Let me tell you what I learned in 1993. I led the fight for the Clinton economic program. It’s the proudest day that I was in the Congress. Because we got Democrats. We Democrats voted for a plan to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans, cut taxes on middle class. Raise spending in some areas, cut spending in other areas that were necessary. And we got the platform created on which the American people created the best economy in 50 years. Twenty-two million new jobs created in a seven-year period. You cannot balance budgets just by raising taxes and cutting spending. You have to have a set of ideas that work together, that get the American people to create economic growth and then you get your budget balanced. We took a $5 trillion deficit and got a $5 trillion surplus until this president came along and turned everything in a wrong direction.
MR. RUSSERT: Can you tell the American people we have to raise taxes?
REP. GEPHARDT: I will tell the American people that we need an economic plan, a lot like we had in the early ’90s. It’ll be different because we had different circumstances. But an economic plan that does all the right things to get us to the right economy. There was an article yesterday in The New York Times, Roger Gibboni of Mexico, Missouri, lost his job. He was making $19 an hour with benefits; now he’s making $8, $9 an hour without benefits. And he said in the article, “The tax cut isn’t helping me. I need a job that has good benefits.” That’s what we need to produce and I will as president. That’s what I want to do.
MR. RUSSERT: Even if it means raising taxes as part of that puzzle?
REP. GEPHARDT: I’m gonna have an economic plan that is gonna be fair, that is gonna move us in the right direction. I’ve done it. This is no mystery anymore. We know how to do this. The Republicans mess it up every time they get a chance. We know how to do this and I will do it.
MR. RUSSERT: John Kerry and Howard Dean, two of your competitors for the Democratic nomination, have called for the resignations of Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz for their handling of the Iraq war. Do you join in their call?
REP. GEPHARDT: I’m out here trying to replace George Bush. That’s the person that needs to be replaced. This is his administration. He decides who’s in the administration. The buck stops on the president’s desk and the president has to stand the responsibility for the failure or the success of whatever is done. So I’m not interested in trying to give him advice on who his Cabinet ought to be. I’m gonna replace him and I’m gonna bring you a Cabinet that won’t have the policies of this administration.
MR. RUSSERT: Congressman Gephardt, this is your 40th appearance on MEET THE PRESS, which puts you in second place behind Bob Dole in terms of history of most appearances. This is what you looked like back in 1983, your first appearance. And here you are today. Twenty years.
REP. GEPHARDT: It’s starting to show.
MR. RUSSERT: Be safe on the campaign trail.
REP. GEPHARDT: Thanks so much.
MR. RUSSERT: And we’ll be right back.
(Announcements)
MR. RUSSERT: Start your day tomorrow on “Today” with Katie and Matt, then the “NBC Nightly News” with Tom Brokaw. That’s all for today. We will be back next week. If it’s Sunday, it’s MEET THE PRESS.
Bills, bounce back. Get those Eagles.

Posted by Lisa at 10:21 PM
September 23, 2003
Legal Experts Challenge Shrub's "Enemy Combatant" Policy That Deprives U.S. Citizens Of Due Process


Bush Accused by Lords of the Bar

By Nat Hentoff for the Village Voice.


The [president's] constitutional argument [in the case of Jose Padilla] would give every President the unchecked power to detain, without charge and forever, all citizens it chooses to label as "enemy combatants." —friend-of-the-court brief, Padilla v. Rumsfeld, by the Cato Institute, the Center for National Security Studies, the Constitution Project, the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, People for the American Way, and the Rutherford Institute.

Ignored by most media, an array of prominent federal judges, government officials, and other members of the legal establishment has joined in a historic rebellion against George W. Bush's unprecedented and unconstitutional arrogance of power that threatens the fundamental right of American citizens to have access to their lawyers before disappearing indefinitely into military custody without charges, without seeing an attorney or anyone except their guards.

The case, Padilla v. Rumsfeld, is now before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. In a compelling friend-of-the-court brief on Padilla's behalf by an extraordinary gathering of the aforementioned former federal court judges, district court judges, and other legal luminaries of the establishment bar, they charge:

"This case involves an unprecedented detention by the United States of an American citizen, seized on American soil, and held incommunicado for more than a year without any charge being filed against him, without any access to counsel, and without any right to challenge the basis of his detention before a United States judge or magistrate . . .

"[We] believe the Executive's position in this case threatens the basic 'rule of law' on which our country is founded, the role of the federal judiciary and the separations in our national government, and fundamental individual liberties enshrined in our Constitution."...

Padilla was not charged with a crime, or with planning a crime. He was held as a material witness in a high-security prison in Manhattan. But suddenly, without Padilla's lawyer being informed, Padilla was hauled away by the Defense Department to a military brig in North Carolina where, in solitary confinement, he remains.

As Donna Newman says, "While the world knows about his case, he does not. They put somebody in a legal black hole."

Padilla has been stripped of his rights—until now guaranteed by the Constitution—by the sole order and authority of George W. Bush, who has designated him an "enemy combatant."

As the friend-of-the-court brief by the former federal judges and other prominent lawyers states:

"There is at present no constitutionally-approved definition of who is an 'enemy combatant'; there are no constitutionally-approved procedures governing when and how persons seized in the United States may be imprisoned as 'enemy combatants' or for how long . . .

"In the absence of such standards . . . the judiciary—and the historical 'great writ' of habeas corpus—serves as the sole safeguard against what otherwise would be an unbridled power of the Executive to imprison a citizen based solely on the Executive's hearsay assertions that he or she has become an 'enemy' of the state."

Habeas corpus, embedded in the body of the Constitution, even before the Bill of Rights was added, provides a citizen held by the government with the right to go to a court and make the government prove he or she is being imprisoned legally.

As Donna Newman, impeded from her right to represent her client meaningfully, says: "To have the government say to us, 'You have a right to bring a petition [for habeas corpus], [but] you just can't speak to your client.' [That] is absolutely absurd."

And that is absolutely unconstitutional.


Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:

http://www.villagevoice.com/issues/0339/hentoff.php

Nat Hentoff
Bush Accused by Lords of the Bar
They Put Him in a Legal Black Hole
September 19th, 2003 5:00 PM


o citizen shall be . . . detained by the United States except pursuant to an Act of Congress. —18 U.S.C. 4001 (a) a law passed by Congress in 1971

The [president's] constitutional argument [in the case of Jose Padilla] would give every President the unchecked power to detain, without charge and forever, all citizens it chooses to label as "enemy combatants." —friend-of-the-court brief, Padilla v. Rumsfeld, by the Cato Institute, the Center for National Security Studies, the Constitution Project, the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, People for the American Way, and the Rutherford Institute.

Ignored by most media, an array of prominent federal judges, government officials, and other members of the legal establishment has joined in a historic rebellion against George W. Bush's unprecedented and unconstitutional arrogance of power that threatens the fundamental right of American citizens to have access to their lawyers before disappearing indefinitely into military custody without charges, without seeing an attorney or anyone except their guards.

The case, Padilla v. Rumsfeld, is now before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. In a compelling friend-of-the-court brief on Padilla's behalf by an extraordinary gathering of the aforementioned former federal court judges, district court judges, and other legal luminaries of the establishment bar, they charge:

"This case involves an unprecedented detention by the United States of an American citizen, seized on American soil, and held incommunicado for more than a year without any charge being filed against him, without any access to counsel, and without any right to challenge the basis of his detention before a United States judge or magistrate . . .

"[We] believe the Executive's position in this case threatens the basic 'rule of law' on which our country is founded, the role of the federal judiciary and the separations in our national government, and fundamental individual liberties enshrined in our Constitution."

On May 8, 2002, Jose Padilla, unarmed and showing valid identification, was arrested at Chicago's O'Hare Airport by the FBI while getting off a plane. As his court-appointed lawyer, Donna Newman—who has shown herself to be truly a credit to the bar—told Judge Andrew Napolitano on the Fox News Channel:

"What they allege is that he had some 'loose talk.' That's their words, not mine, that he was planning, not a plan exactly, just loose talk about detonating a dirty bomb. Not him personally because, of course, he had . . . not even a pamphlet about bomb making when he was seized in the United States."

Padilla was not charged with a crime, or with planning a crime. He was held as a material witness in a high-security prison in Manhattan. But suddenly, without Padilla's lawyer being informed, Padilla was hauled away by the Defense Department to a military brig in North Carolina where, in solitary confinement, he remains.

As Donna Newman says, "While the world knows about his case, he does not. They put somebody in a legal black hole."

Padilla has been stripped of his rights—until now guaranteed by the Constitution—by the sole order and authority of George W. Bush, who has designated him an "enemy combatant."

As the friend-of-the-court brief by the former federal judges and other prominent lawyers states:

"There is at present no constitutionally-approved definition of who is an 'enemy combatant'; there are no constitutionally-approved procedures governing when and how persons seized in the United States may be imprisoned as 'enemy combatants' or for how long . . .

"In the absence of such standards . . . the judiciary—and the historical 'great writ' of habeas corpus—serves as the sole safeguard against what otherwise would be an unbridled power of the Executive to imprison a citizen based solely on the Executive's hearsay assertions that he or she has become an 'enemy' of the state."

Habeas corpus, embedded in the body of the Constitution, even before the Bill of Rights was added, provides a citizen held by the government with the right to go to a court and make the government prove he or she is being imprisoned legally.

As Donna Newman, impeded from her right to represent her client meaningfully, says: "To have the government say to us, 'You have a right to bring a petition [for habeas corpus], [but] you just can't speak to your client.' [That] is absolutely absurd."

And that is absolutely unconstitutional.

In a number of previous Voice columns and in my newly available book, The War on the Bill of Rights and the Gathering Resistance (Seven Stories Press), I have reported both on the series of radical abuses of the rule of law by Bush, Ashcroft, and Rumsfeld that have now reached a climax in this case, and on the case of another American citizen, Yaser Esam Hamdi, also being held without charges and without access to a lawyer in a military brig.

While the rest of the media failed to vigorously ring the liberty bell on Padilla v. Rumsfeld, The New York Observer came through with Greg Sargent's front-page August 11 story, "Bush's Tactics in Terror Case Called Illegal." It focused on the brief by the former judges, government officials, and renowned lawyers alarmed by the president's bypassing of the Constitution. Quoted was Harold Tyler, a former federal judge, and deputy attorney general under President Gerald Ford, who brought him in to cleanse the Justice Department after Watergate:

"They should charge this man if they've got something against him. And they should give him the right to counsel. These are all constitutional rights. . . . I have been a longtime Republican, but I'm a disenchanted Republican in this case."

The amicus brief he and the other members of the establishment bar signed declares: "Throughout history totalitarian regimes have attempted to justify their acts by designating individuals as 'enemies of the state' who were unworthy of any legal rights or protections. These tactics are no less despicable, and perhaps even more so, when they occur in a country that purports to be governed by the rule of law." And George W. Bush regularly intones his allegiance to "the rule of law."

Posted by Lisa at 05:07 PM
Shrub Plugs His Dirty 'Clean Air' Initiative


Bush Lauds Mich. Power Plant As Model of Clean Air Policy

But Opponents Say It's a Polluter Excused by 'Clear Skies' Plan
By Dana Milbank for the Washington Post. (Eric Pianin also contributed to this report.)


Bush came to demonstrate how, under his policies, power plants could be expanded and upgraded without any increase in air pollution. He said Monroe is a "living example" of why the administration this summer eased clean-air rules for the nation's oldest, coal-fired power plants -- allowing the plant to modernize and "continue doing a good job of protecting the quality of the air."

"You're good stewards of the quality of the air," the president told the Detroit Edison workers and executives.

Environmentalists and a number of Democratic lawmakers see Bush's visit here as a symbol of something entirely different. They say the Monroe plant is one of the nation's dirtiest polluters and, under Bush's plan, would not have to reduce pollution for the next 17 years. According to projections by Bush's Environmental Protection Agency, the plant is predicted to continue pouring its current annual level of 102,700 tons of sulfur dioxide into the air each year through 2020.

"It should come as no surprise to anyone that the Bush administration would hold an event to tout an initiative called 'Clear Skies' at a facility that will actually maintain its current levels of pollution over the next two decades," said Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), who is vying to challenge Bush in next year's election.

At issue are two major Bush policies regarding energy production and the environment. One is Bush's "Clear Skies" initiative now awaiting congressional action. The plan aims to cut power plant emissions by 70 percent beginning in the year 2018, reducing the largest pollutant, sulfur dioxide, to 3 million tons that year from 11 million now. Heavy polluters could purchase pollution rights from clean plants. The second policy, Bush's decision this summer to roll back "new source review" rules, means old power plants can make improvements and boost production without automatically adding expensive pollution-control equipment...

Environmental groups said Monroe is an example, but not a good one. They cited a 2000 study by Abt Associates, a group the EPA has used to gauge health effects of pollution, showing that the amount of pollution from the plant is responsible for 293 premature deaths, 5,740 asthma attacks and 50,298 lost workdays each year. They also cited an EPA model of Bush's initiative that showed the plant was not forecast to cut its sulfur dioxide.

The plant also produces 45,900 tons of nitrogen oxide and 810 pounds of mercury, the other two pollutants covered under Bush's initiative, and 17.6 million tons of carbon dioxide, which is not capped under Bush's plan.

"I'm amazed that the president would choose this plant to highlight, given how dirty it is, and how much dirtier it could become because of the administration's rollbacks of clean-air rules," said Becky Stanfield, a lawyer with U.S. Public Interest Research Group...

Bush's plan faces a difficult course in Congress. Sen. James M. Jeffords (I-Vt.), ranking minority member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said in a statement today that Bush "has chosen to push a divisive agenda that puts politics before public health."

Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A15720-2003Sep15.html

Bush Lauds Mich. Power Plant As Model of Clean Air Policy
But Opponents Say It's a Polluter Excused by 'Clear Skies' Plan

President Bush greets Mark Gayer, left with beard, and other workers at Detroit Edison plant in Monroe, Mich., which Bush called "living example" of why the administration eased anti-pollution rules for coal-fired power plants. (Photos Carlos Osorio -- AP)

By Dana Milbank
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 16, 2003; Page A03

MONROE, Mich., Sept. 15 -- Everyone agrees the Detroit Edison power plant here, which President Bush visited today, is a model -- but of what?

Bush came to demonstrate how, under his policies, power plants could be expanded and upgraded without any increase in air pollution. He said Monroe is a "living example" of why the administration this summer eased clean-air rules for the nation's oldest, coal-fired power plants -- allowing the plant to modernize and "continue doing a good job of protecting the quality of the air."

"You're good stewards of the quality of the air," the president told the Detroit Edison workers and executives.

Environmentalists and a number of Democratic lawmakers see Bush's visit here as a symbol of something entirely different. They say the Monroe plant is one of the nation's dirtiest polluters and, under Bush's plan, would not have to reduce pollution for the next 17 years. According to projections by Bush's Environmental Protection Agency, the plant is predicted to continue pouring its current annual level of 102,700 tons of sulfur dioxide into the air each year through 2020.

"It should come as no surprise to anyone that the Bush administration would hold an event to tout an initiative called 'Clear Skies' at a facility that will actually maintain its current levels of pollution over the next two decades," said Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), who is vying to challenge Bush in next year's election.

At issue are two major Bush policies regarding energy production and the environment. One is Bush's "Clear Skies" initiative now awaiting congressional action. The plan aims to cut power plant emissions by 70 percent beginning in the year 2018, reducing the largest pollutant, sulfur dioxide, to 3 million tons that year from 11 million now. Heavy polluters could purchase pollution rights from clean plants. The second policy, Bush's decision this summer to roll back "new source review" rules, means old power plants can make improvements and boost production without automatically adding expensive pollution-control equipment.

Bush, in his remarks at the plant after a tour of the facilities, invoked last month's Northeast blackout in his pitch for his environmental policies. "Lights went out last month -- you know that," Bush said to laughter. "It recognizes that we've got an issue with our electricity grid, and we need to modernize it." He added: "The quicker we put modern equipment into our power plants, the quicker people are going to get more reliable electricity."

A senior Bush aide said later that Bush was not asserting that the old clean-air rules led to the blackouts. "We are unable to draw any connection" without further study, he said.

The president, citing an EPA finding, released yesterday, that emissions of six major pollutants are down 48 percent over three decades as the economy grew 164 percent, said Monroe is a "good example" because its emissions have dropped 81 percent as its production increased 22 percent. "You work hard in this company to put energy on the grid, and at the same time you're protecting the environment," he said.

The Monroe plant, Bush said, delayed modernizations for five years because of previous clean-air rules and the threat of lawsuits and bureaucratic delays. "That's inefficient -- that doesn't make sense," Bush said as a company executive behind him smiled in agreement.

Environmental groups said Monroe is an example, but not a good one. They cited a 2000 study by Abt Associates, a group the EPA has used to gauge health effects of pollution, showing that the amount of pollution from the plant is responsible for 293 premature deaths, 5,740 asthma attacks and 50,298 lost workdays each year. They also cited an EPA model of Bush's initiative that showed the plant was not forecast to cut its sulfur dioxide.

The plant also produces 45,900 tons of nitrogen oxide and 810 pounds of mercury, the other two pollutants covered under Bush's initiative, and 17.6 million tons of carbon dioxide, which is not capped under Bush's plan.

"I'm amazed that the president would choose this plant to highlight, given how dirty it is, and how much dirtier it could become because of the administration's rollbacks of clean-air rules," said Becky Stanfield, a lawyer with U.S. Public Interest Research Group.

Brian McLean, director of EPA's atmospherics programs, acknowledged that the Monroe plant would not be required under Bush's plan to make further cuts in sulfur dioxide emissions by 2020, but noted that the plant has reduced such emissions by half since the 1980s by investing in new technology and switching to a higher grade of coal.

Gerard Anderson, Detroit Edison's president, said the company plans voluntarily to add sulfur dioxide "scrubbers" to all four of the plant's turbines by 2020, which would reduce emissions by 90 percent.

Bush's plan faces a difficult course in Congress. Sen. James M. Jeffords (I-Vt.), ranking minority member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said in a statement today that Bush "has chosen to push a divisive agenda that puts politics before public health."

Bush will continue his push for the "Clear Skies" proposal at the White House on Tuesday by hosting a roundtable discussion of the topic. And officials said Bush's "new source review" rule, though not subject to congressional approval, needs defending.

"I think it's important to literally clear the air on this rule," acting EPA administrator Marianne Horinko said in a briefing on Air Force One this morning. "It's been much misreported that this rule is going to somehow cause increased hospitalization and increases in emissions, and in fact, it will increase reliability without affecting emissions."

After his speech in Michigan, Bush flew to Philadelphia for a fundraiser that brought in $1.4 million for his reelection effort.

Staff writer Eric Pianin in Washington contributed to this report.

Posted by Lisa at 10:41 AM
September 18, 2003
GAO Top Dog Warns Of The Consequences Of The Shrub's Record Deficit (But Nobody's Listening)


Federal Budget Disaster Seen, but Won't Be Heard

By Janet Hook for the LA Times.


Even though the government is on track to run a record deficit in excess of $500 billion next year, neither President Bush nor congressional leaders have proposed doing anything to balance the budget anytime soon. Their strategy: to wait for a vigorous economy to do the job for them.

That makes David M. Walker, head of the General Accounting Office, Congress' investigative arm, a rare Cassandra. He is giving a speech today warning that the nation's long-term fiscal outlook is seriously out of whack. And he challenges the assumption that economic recovery will solve the problem painlessly.

"We need a wake-up call," Walker said in an interview. "We need to come to terms with reality: The gap is too great to grow our way out of the problem. Tough choices will be required."

His is a lonely voice on Capitol Hill, where deficit-expanding initiatives are growing like crabgrass, unchecked amid new budget demands for the war on terrorism and the reconstruction of Iraq.

Bush and lawmakers from both parties continue to press for a $400-billion, 10-year expansion of Medicare to provide prescription drug benefits. House Republicans are pushing yet another round of tax cuts — this time for big business, at a cost of more than $100 billion over 10 years. And even as Bush asks for $87 billion more for military and reconstruction efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, there seems to be little appetite in Congress for offsetting cuts in domestic spending.

"This is truly a Lyndon Johnson guns-and-butter fiscal policy," said Daniel J. Mitchell, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.


Here is the full text of the entire article in case the link goes bad:

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-budget17sep17002429,1,2719244.story


September 17, 2003

Federal Budget Disaster Seen, but Won't Be Heard


By Janet Hook, Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — Something remarkable will happen here today. A senior congressional figure will declare the federal budget, in effect, a disaster area — and official Washington will probably react with a shrug.

Even though the government is on track to run a record deficit in excess of $500 billion next year, neither President Bush nor congressional leaders have proposed doing anything to balance the budget anytime soon. Their strategy: to wait for a vigorous economy to do the job for them.

That makes David M. Walker, head of the General Accounting Office, Congress' investigative arm, a rare Cassandra. He is giving a speech today warning that the nation's long-term fiscal outlook is seriously out of whack. And he challenges the assumption that economic recovery will solve the problem painlessly.

"We need a wake-up call," Walker said in an interview. "We need to come to terms with reality: The gap is too great to grow our way out of the problem. Tough choices will be required."

His is a lonely voice on Capitol Hill, where deficit-expanding initiatives are growing like crabgrass, unchecked amid new budget demands for the war on terrorism and the reconstruction of Iraq.

Bush and lawmakers from both parties continue to press for a $400-billion, 10-year expansion of Medicare to provide prescription drug benefits. House Republicans are pushing yet another round of tax cuts — this time for big business, at a cost of more than $100 billion over 10 years. And even as Bush asks for $87 billion more for military and reconstruction efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, there seems to be little appetite in Congress for offsetting cuts in domestic spending.

"This is truly a Lyndon Johnson guns-and-butter fiscal policy," said Daniel J. Mitchell, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.

Democrats — both in Congress and on the presidential campaign trail — have tried to spotlight the deficit as an emblem of the failure of Bush's fiscal policy. It has given new impetus to Democratic proposals to repeal all or part of the 2001 tax cut. Some congressional Democrats are considering a proposal to help cover Iraq costs by raising taxes on the wealthiest taxpayers.

"The deficit is an easy-to-understand symbol that things are being mismanaged," said David Sirota, spokesman for the Center for American Progress, a liberal research group. "It should reopen the entire debate on whether we should continue cutting taxes for the wealthy."

But the Democratic Party is deeply divided over whether or how far to raise taxes. And with their own big spending plans for Medicare, education and other domestic priorities, Democrats also lack a clear program for getting the budget back into balance. Missing from the presidential field is an H. Ross Perot, whose 1992 maverick campaign made budget balancing the cornerstone of his challenge to the Washington establishment.

"Nobody is prepared to make any trade-offs," said Robert Bixby, executive director of the Concord Coalition, a budget watchdog group. "No one is prepared to give up anything important to them to bring the budget under control."

The deficit has cast an increasingly long shadow over Congress with each upward revision. In August, the Congressional Budget Office said the deficit in 2004 would reach $480 billion — and that did not include the cost of the conflict in Iraq or pending legislation to expand Medicare. Now, in light of its Iraq budget request, the administration projects that next year's deficit will reach at least $525 billion.

It seems certain that Congress will approve at least the $87 billion Bush has requested. The bigger question is whether that will boost the deficit so high that lawmakers will reassess other parts of the budget or change their legislative ways.

Sen. Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine), who voted against Bush's tax cut last spring because she was concerned about the deficit, said she thought the budget was putting new pressure on lawmakers to propose offsetting spending cuts when they propose increases — as she plans to when she pushes for more child-care funding in a welfare bill soon to come before the Senate.

"The deficit is now back on everyone's radar screen," Snowe said. "On the spending side, we have to make some choices."

But Snowe herself demonstrates why it will be so hard to reverse the current trend. Even though she says she is an adamant foe of deficits, Snowe still wants to go ahead with the $400-billion Medicare drug benefit. "Medicare is an exception and it should be," she said.

Bush and other politicians argue that running a deficit is justified at a time of military conflict abroad and economic downturn at home. His administration's stated goal has been to cut the deficit in half in five years. Rather than propose tax increases or big spending cuts, he is counting on economic growth to increase government revenue and reduce the red ink.

Bush and his Republican allies argue that tax cuts will help reduce the deficit, not increase it, because they spur the economic growth that will generate new revenue. That is why House Republicans are still plowing ahead with plans this week to pass another $12.5-billion tax cut to encourage charitable giving. A bigger test will come this fall when Congress debates a big-business tax break later this fall. A version drafted by House Ways and Means Chairman Bill Thomas (R-Bakersfield) would cost $127 billion over 10 years.

"When you give people their money back, they grow the economy much better than the government does," said House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). "The way to move out of deficit is to grow the economy."

Walker and other analysts argue, however, that economic growth alone will not bring the budget back into the black. They say that will require aggressive anti-deficit initiatives on a par with those launched in the 1980s and 1990s.

A 1985 law, for example, set up a mechanism to make automatic spending cuts if Congress missed specified annual deficit targets. In 1990, a tax hike was passed with the support of President George H. W. Bush, the current president's father.

In 1993, President Clinton and Congress passed a package of tax increases and spending cuts. In 1997, Congress passed a budget-balancing plan that included politically painful reductions in the growth of Medicare spending.

Now, however, any tax hike is anathema to a Republican Party that has turned into a bastion of tax cut enthusiasts in the decade since the elder Bush left office.

On the other hand, according to a study by the libertarian Cato Institute, the current president's first three annual budgets increased outlays by 15.6% — compared with 6.8% in President Reagan's first three budgets.


Posted by Lisa at 06:34 PM
September 13, 2003
Jimmy Kimmel's Version Of The Shrub's Football Speech

The Shrub took time out from his busy schedule to give a speech launching the new football season.

Jimmy Kimmel took time out to chide him a bit for it. Thanks, Jimmy.

This is from the September 4, 2003 program. (I was just lucky to catch it because I came on after the Patriot Act Nightline with Ted Koppel.)


The Shrub's Football Speech
(Small - 2 MB)




Jimmy Kimmel Live Official Web site

Posted by Lisa at 11:53 AM
September 10, 2003
Daily Show Rips The Shrub On His Latest Speech

This is from the September 9, 2003 program.


Daily Show On The Shrub's Latest Iraq Ploy
(Small - 11 MB)



The Daily Show
(The best news on television.)

Posted by Lisa at 05:34 PM
August 29, 2003
Meanwhile, The Deficit Reaches New Heights


2004 Deficit Could Near $500B

By the Associated Press.


The federal government is heading toward a record $480 billion deficit in 2004 and will rack up red ink of almost $1.4 trillion over the next decade, according to the latest analysis by the Congressional Budget Office.

The estimate may even break the half-trillion dollar mark, a newspaper reports.

Congressional aides with access to the CBO report said it also confirms earlier estimates that the federal deficit for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30 will be $401 billion, well above the previous record of $290.4 billion set in 1992.

The 2004-2013 deficit estimate of $1.397 trillion by the nonpartisan office reverses previous predictions that the federal budget, battered by economic recession and rising defense and security costs, would edge back into the black over the coming decade.

According to The New York Times, the CBO will actually provide two estimates. One ignores the cost of the military missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, which are running at a combined $4.9 billion a month.

Another assumes that war costs this year will continue at the same amount for the next 10 years.

Both assumptions are considered somewhat unrealistic. The method assuming a 10-year war cost could push the deficit over $500 billion.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/08/26/politics/main570166.shtml


2004 Deficit Could Near $500B

WASHINGTON, Aug. 26, 2003

"Even with growth we still have deep deficits getting even deeper."
Rep. John Spratt, D-S.C.

The budget impact of the war in Iraq is uncertain, because it is not clear how many troops will remain there as time goes on, or how long they will stay. (Photo: AP)

As higher deficits are projected, Congress is considering adding a costly prescription drug benefit to Medicare. (Photo: CBS)


DEBT & TAXES
# The federal debt is the total amount from IOUs accumulated by the federal government over time. The deficit is the annual gap between spending and revenues.

# The current federal debt is $6.6 trillion.

# About $2.8 trillion is owed by the Treasury to the Social Security or Medicare trust funds. The public holds the rest.

# About 40 percent of the privately held federal debt is held by foreigners.

# The projected federal deficit for this year exceeds the total government budgets of France, Canada and Russia.

CBS



(CBS/AP) The federal government is heading toward a record $480 billion deficit in 2004 and will rack up red ink of almost $1.4 trillion over the next decade, according to the latest analysis by the Congressional Budget Office.

The estimate may even break the half-trillion dollar mark, a newspaper reports.

Congressional aides with access to the CBO report said it also confirms earlier estimates that the federal deficit for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30 will be $401 billion, well above the previous record of $290.4 billion set in 1992.

The 2004-2013 deficit estimate of $1.397 trillion by the nonpartisan office reverses previous predictions that the federal budget, battered by economic recession and rising defense and security costs, would edge back into the black over the coming decade.

According to The New York Times, the CBO will actually provide two estimates. One ignores the cost of the military missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, which are running at a combined $4.9 billion a month.

Another assumes that war costs this year will continue at the same amount for the next 10 years.

Both assumptions are considered somewhat unrealistic. The method assuming a 10-year war cost could push the deficit over $500 billion.

Besides defense costs, Democrats were quick to cite the Bush administration's tax cuts for the government's financial problems.

In its last budget estimates in March, the CBO predicted that the deficit would be $246 billion this year, but would move gradually back toward the black and result in an accumulated surplus of $891 billion in the 2004-2013 period. But the latest figures, reflecting the rising costs of the military campaign in Iraq, are certain to be more pessimistic.

Even before the report was released, congressional Democrats on Monday argued that the CBO numbers underestimate the coming deficits because the office generally does not anticipate future changes in spending policy.

The Bush administration's drive to pass new tax cuts and make existing tax breaks permanent, coupled with efforts to give seniors a Medicare prescription drug benefit and meet sharply rising defense costs, will eliminate the possibility for a return to surpluses in the next decade, they said.

"It is clear that these estimates will provide yet more evidence of the nation's fiscal deterioration under the irresponsible tax cut and spending policies of the Bush administration," said Sen. Kent Conrad of North Dakota, top Democrat on the Senate Budget Committee.

The Budget Committee Democrats said their analysis shows that the deficit will hit $495 billion in 2004, and will never go below $300 billion in the 2004-2013 period, reaching a total over the decade of $3.7 trillion.

If money from the Social Security surpluses now being used to pay for other federal programs is not factored in, the decade-long deficit will be $6.3 trillion, they said.

Sean Spicer, spokesman for House Budget Committee Chairman Jim Nussle, R-Iowa, disputed the Democratic conclusions, saying Republicans do have a blueprint for getting the budget back in balance. He said the keys were promoting a strong economic recovery and controlling federal spending and "we're trying to do both."

The Bush administration has blamed the swift reversal from budget surpluses to perennial deficits to the faltering economy, the Sept. 11 attacks and the sharp rise in defense and homeland security costs. The White House says the fiscal situation will improve as the economy, bolstered by the Bush tax cuts, becomes more robust.

But Rep. John Spratt of South Carolina, ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee, contended that budget projections already assume strong growth of more than 3 percent a year over the next few years. "Even with growth we still have deep deficits getting even deeper," he said.

The CBO numbers, he said, do not take into account the $1.2 trillion that will be lost if tax cuts scheduled to expire over the next decade are made permanent, and another $878 billion in new tax cuts over the decade being sought by the White House.

Last month, the White House's own Office of Management and Budget estimated an even higher deficit for this year — $455 billion — and a lower one for next — $475 billion — compared to the CBO figures.

This fiscal year's deficit has already exceeded the old record of $290.4 billion set in 1992 when President Bush's father was president.

Republicans argue that the economy is much larger today than it was then, so the budget shortfall has less of an impact and is not a record when measured as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product.

Many economists look more at the percentage of GDP than raw dollars in assessing the impact of federal budget deficits on the economy.

But even at its current size, the deficit could damage the economy. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan warned as much last month.

"There is no question that if you run substantial and excessive deficits over time you are draining savings from the private sector," Greenspan told the House Financial Services Committee.

Posted by Lisa at 10:03 PM
August 23, 2003
Thousands In Portland, Oregon Protest Against The Shrub - August 21, 2003


Doug Byers sez:


I'm a photographer living in Portland Oregon. As you may know we had a large demonstration against George Bush's fundraising visit to Portland today. Thousands of people flooded the streets to send a message to our president of strong protest on many political and social fronts.

The show of force by the Portland Police was VERY SCARY INDEED !! The storm troopers have landed !!

Here is a link to additional images.
(http://www.byersphotography.com/bushprotest1)



Posted by Lisa at 04:28 PM
August 19, 2003
Focus Of Blackout Investigation Is Major Shrub Donor


Utility Officers Gave to Bush

By Mike Allen for the Washington Post.


The top two executives of FirstEnergy Corp., the Ohio-based utility that is a focus of investigations into last week's cascading blackouts, are key financial supporters of President Bush, according to campaign records.

H. Peter Burg, chairman and chief executive, was one of three hosts of a $600,000 fundraiser for Bush's reelection campaign in Akron, Ohio, on June 30. Vice President Cheney was the featured speaker.

Anthony J. Alexander, FirstEnergy's president and chief operating officer, was a "Pioneer" for Bush's last campaign, meaning he raised at least $100,000. Alexander also contributed $100,000 to Bush's inaugural committee.

The Energy Department has dispatched teams of investigators to the Midwest and Northeast. Democrats have questioned whether Bush's administration coddled electric companies because of his long personal ties to the energy industry.

FirstEnergy's ties could increase Capitol Hill scrutiny of the White House handling of the blackout aftermath.

Bush's campaign had no comment.

Records compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics show that FirstEnergy executives contributed about $50,000 to Bush's last campaign. Energy and natural resource interests gave the campaign more than $3.6 million, according to the group's figures.

Here is the full text of the entire article:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A11622-2003Aug18.html

Utility Officers Gave to Bush

Tuesday, August 19, 2003; Page E02

The top two executives of FirstEnergy Corp., the Ohio-based utility that is a focus of investigations into last week's cascading blackouts, are key financial supporters of President Bush, according to campaign records.

H. Peter Burg, chairman and chief executive, was one of three hosts of a $600,000 fundraiser for Bush's reelection campaign in Akron, Ohio, on June 30. Vice President Cheney was the featured speaker.

Anthony J. Alexander, FirstEnergy's president and chief operating officer, was a "Pioneer" for Bush's last campaign, meaning he raised at least $100,000. Alexander also contributed $100,000 to Bush's inaugural committee.

The Energy Department has dispatched teams of investigators to the Midwest and Northeast. Democrats have questioned whether Bush's administration coddled electric companies because of his long personal ties to the energy industry. FirstEnergy's ties could increase Capitol Hill scrutiny of the White House handling of the blackout aftermath.

Bush's campaign had no comment.

Records compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics show that FirstEnergy executives contributed about $50,000 to Bush's last campaign. Energy and natural resource interests gave the campaign more than $3.6 million, according to the group's figures.

When Bush was Texas governor, employees of the now-collapsed Enron Corp., the energy-trading company, were his most generous career patrons.

-- Mike Allen

Posted by Lisa at 10:22 PM
The Daily Show On The Blackout Of 2003

This clip has footage of the Shrub explaining the lesson we were supposed to learn from the blackout: we need to upgrade our power grid! (Of course.)

Funny, a friend of mine was telling me this morning that all the conspiracy theorists were speculating on the Shrub saying this before the week was out, and that Halliburton would probably get the contract. I guess the Stewart heard the same rumours. (Or started them :-)

This is from the August 18, 2003 program.

Daily Show On The Blackout Of 2003 (Small - 3 MB)







The Daily Show
(The best news on television.)

Posted by Lisa at 09:54 PM
August 02, 2003
The Shrub Sure Has A Way With Words

This is from the July 31, 2003 program.

Wow. You really have to see this to believe it.


Daily Show On Shrub's "9th Solo" Press Conference
(Small - 15 MB)







The Daily Show
(The best news on television.)

Posted by Lisa at 02:52 PM
July 31, 2003
One Down, Many More To Go

John Poindexter is leaving the Defense Department.

Poindexter to Quit Pentagon Post Amid Controversy
By Reuters.


John Poindexter, the retired Navy admiral who spearheaded two sharply criticized Pentagon projects, intends to resign from his Defense Department post within weeks, a senior U.S. defense official said on Thursday.

"It's my understanding that he ... expects to, within a few weeks, offer his resignation," the official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told reporters.


Here's the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:

http://reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=topNews&storyID=3198102

Poindexter to Quit Pentagon Post Amid Controversy
Thu July 31, 2003 01:59 PM ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - John Poindexter, the retired Navy admiral who spearheaded two sharply criticized Pentagon projects, intends to resign from his Defense Department post within weeks, a senior U.S. defense official said on Thursday.

"It's my understanding that he ... expects to, within a few weeks, offer his resignation," the official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told reporters.

Poindexter was involved with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's abandoned futures-trading market for predicting assassinations, terrorism and other events in the Middle East, and earlier with the so-called Total Information Awareness program that drew fire from civil rights groups.

Posted by Lisa at 10:52 PM
July 30, 2003
Daily Show On The "Classified" (Blacked Out) Pages Of The Government's 911 Report

This is from the July 28, 2003 Daily Show.

This is actually a two parter -- the first part being Jon's newscast and the second part being Stephen Colbert's abstract take on the missing pages.

Daily Show On The Missing Pages from 911 Report - Part 1 of 2 (Small - 5 MB)
Daily Show On The Missing Pages from 911 Report - Part 2 of 2 (Small - 9 MB)
Daily Show On The Missing Pages from 911 Report - Complete (Small - 14 MB)

















The Daily Show
(The best news on television.)

Posted by Lisa at 04:45 PM
July 06, 2003
Japanese Lawyers Indict Shrub For War Crimes In Afghanistan

Bush 'indicted' over war crimes
In the Japan Times.


A group of Japanese lawyers unveiled documents Monday "indicting" U.S. President George W. Bush for
war crimes allegedly committed against the Afghan people since the United States-led coalition
began its antiterrorism campaign in Afghanistan in October 2001.

"This is an act that breaks international rules, such as the idea of (honoring) human rights, that
have been formed over so many years," said Koken Tsuchiya, former president of the Japan Federation
of Bar Associations and head of the 11-member prosecutors' team in the tribunal. "We decided this
case has sufficient reason to be brought to court."

A civic tribunal will be held in Tokyo, with the first hearing scheduled for July 21.

The charges against Bush, according to the indictment, include aggression, attacks against
civilians and nonmilitary facilities and the torturing and execution of prisoners.

They said the indictment will be handed to the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo next week.

The tribunal is being organized by Tokyo Zokei University professor Akira Maeda and others.

Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/getarticle.pl5?nn20030701b3.htm


Bush 'indicted' over war crimes

A group of Japanese lawyers unveiled documents Monday "indicting" U.S. President George W. Bush for war crimes allegedly committed against the Afghan people since the United States-led coalition began its antiterrorism campaign in Afghanistan in October 2001.

"This is an act that breaks international rules, such as the idea of (honoring) human rights, that have been formed over so many years," said Koken Tsuchiya, former president of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations and head of the 11-member prosecutors' team in the tribunal. "We decided this case has sufficient reason to be brought to court."

A civic tribunal will be held in Tokyo, with the first hearing scheduled for July 21.

The charges against Bush, according to the indictment, include aggression, attacks against civilians and nonmilitary facilities and the torturing and execution of prisoners.

They said the indictment will be handed to the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo next week.

The tribunal is being organized by Tokyo Zokei University professor Akira Maeda and others.

Posted by Lisa at 10:04 AM
Bob Herbert In The NY Times: How The Shrub's Latest Labor Policies Will Steal From American Workers

Picking Workers' Pockets
By Bob Herbert for the NY Times.


The Bush administration, which has the very bad habit of smiling at working people while siphoning money from their pockets, is trying to change the federal Fair Labor Standards Act in a way that could cause millions of workers to lose their right to overtime pay.

The act, one of the last major domestic reform measures of the New Deal, gave Americans the 40-hour workweek and a minimum wage (which began at 25 cents an hour in the late 1930's). It wiped out grueling 12-hour days for many workers and prohibited the use of child labor in interstate commerce.

The act's overtime regulations have not been updated since 1975, and part of what the administration is proposing makes sense. Under existing rules only workers earning less than $8,060 a year automatically qualify for overtime. That would be raised to $22,100 a year.

But then comes the bad news. Nearly 80 percent of all workers are in jobs that qualify them for overtime pay, which is time-and-a-half for each hour that is worked beyond the normal 40-hour week. The administration wants to make it easier for employers to exempt many of those workers from overtime protection by classifying them as administrative, professional or executive personnel.

The quickest way to determine who is getting the better of this deal is to note that business groups are applauding the proposed changes while the A.F.L.-C.I.O. held a protest rally outside the Labor Department on Monday.


Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/03/opinion/03HERB.html

Picking Workers' Pockets
By BOB HERBERT

hen I started in the newspaper business I made so little money I had to work part time in my father's upholstery shop to make ends meet. So I'd spend the days chasing stories and struggling with deadlines, and the nights wrestling with beat-up sofas and chairs.

Then the editors at The Star-Ledger in Newark began asking me to work overtime on the copy desk, dreaming up headlines and doing some editing. The extra time-and-a-half pay was just enough to keep me solvent and out of the upholstery shop. And the copy desk experience was invaluable.

Now suppose the editors had been able to tell me to work the extra hours on the copy desk without paying me overtime. I couldn't have afforded to do it, and might have left the paper.

The Bush administration, which has the very bad habit of smiling at working people while siphoning money from their pockets, is trying to change the federal Fair Labor Standards Act in a way that could cause millions of workers to lose their right to overtime pay.

The act, one of the last major domestic reform measures of the New Deal, gave Americans the 40-hour workweek and a minimum wage (which began at 25 cents an hour in the late 1930's). It wiped out grueling 12-hour days for many workers and prohibited the use of child labor in interstate commerce.

The act's overtime regulations have not been updated since 1975, and part of what the administration is proposing makes sense. Under existing rules only workers earning less than $8,060 a year automatically qualify for overtime. That would be raised to $22,100 a year.

But then comes the bad news. Nearly 80 percent of all workers are in jobs that qualify them for overtime pay, which is time-and-a-half for each hour that is worked beyond the normal 40-hour week. The administration wants to make it easier for employers to exempt many of those workers from overtime protection by classifying them as administrative, professional or executive personnel.

The quickest way to determine who is getting the better of this deal is to note that business groups are applauding the proposed changes while the A.F.L.-C.I.O. held a protest rally outside the Labor Department on Monday.

But this is an administration that could figure out a way to sell sunblock to a night crawler. So the rules changes are being spun as a boon to working people.

"By recognizing the professional status of skilled employees, the proposed regulation will provide them a guaranteed salary and flexible hours," said Tammy McCutchen, the Labor Department's wage and hour administrator.

All spinning aside, I wonder how many Americans really think that working longer hours for less money is a good thing.

A more helpful approach to the issue was offered by the Economic Policy Institute, which found that the proposed changes could ultimately eliminate the right to overtime for eight million people. That represents an awful lot of cash that would be drawn away from working families.

Unfortunately, this is the kind of thing the Bush administration is committed to — undermining a hard-won initiative of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's that has helped many millions of working Americans for more than six decades. It ain't broke, but George Bush is busy fixin' it.

You would think that an administration that has presided over the loss of millions of jobs might want to strengthen the protections of workers fortunate enough to still be employed. But that's not what this administration is about.

Jared Bernstein, a co-author of the study by the Economic Policy Institute, said, "The new rules are structured in such a way as to create a very strong incentive for employers to exempt workers from overtime protection, primarily by converting hourly workers to salaried workers."

One of the workers who joined Monday's protest at the Labor Department was Bob Adams, a bakery manager at a supermarket chain in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

When I asked him why he had traveled to Washington for the demonstration, he said: "Because I think we have to put a stop to this. There seems to be a systematic assault on the rights of workers by this administration, and this is a perfect example of it. They tried to push this through as quietly as they could."

Posted by Lisa at 09:58 AM
This Just In From The World Meteorological Organisation: Global Warming Is Real

In case you're ever in a conversation with some bozo that tries to tell you that the fact of whether or not global warming is a reality is still in dispute, you can show them this.

Now. Will someone please give a heads up to the Shrub Administration?
Reaping the Whirlwind
Extreme weather prompts unprecedented global warming alert
In The Independent.


In an astonishing announcement on global warming and extreme weather, the World Meteorological Organisation signalled last night that the world's weather is going haywire.

In a startling report, the WMO, which normally produces detailed scientific reports and staid statistics at the year's end, highlighted record extremes in weather and climate occurring all over the world in recent weeks, from Switzerland's hottest-ever June to a record month for tornadoes in the United States - and linked them to climate change.

The unprecedented warning takes its force and significance from the fact that it is not coming from Greenpeace or Friends of the Earth, but from an impeccably respected UN organisation that is not given to hyperbole (though environmentalists will seize on it to claim that the direst warnings of climate change are being borne out).

The Geneva-based body, to which the weather services of 185 countries contribute, takes the view that events this year in Europe, America and Asia are so remarkable that the world needs to be made aware of it immediately.

The extreme weather it documents, such as record high and low temperatures, record rainfall and record storms in different parts of the world, is consistent with predictions of global warming. Supercomputer models show that, as the atmosphere warms, the climate not only becomes hotter but much more unstable. "Recent scientific assessments indicate that, as the global temperatures continue to warm due to climate change, the number and intensity of extreme events might increase," the WMO said, giving a striking series of examples...

"New analyses of proxy data for the northern hemisphere indicate that the increase in temperature in the 20th century is likely to have been the largest in any century during the past 1,000 years."

While the trend towards warmer temperatures has been uneven over the past century, the trend since 1976 is roughly three times that for the whole period...

It is possible that 2003 will be the hottest year ever recorded. The 10 hottest years in the 143-year-old global temperature record have now all been since 1990, with the three hottest being 1998, 2002 and 2001.

The unstable world of climate change has long been a prediction. Now, the WMO says, it is a reality.


Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/environment/story.jsp?story=421166

Reaping the Whirlwind
The Independent

Thursday 03 July 2003

Extreme weather prompts unprecedented global warming alert

In an astonishing announcement on global warming and extreme weather, the World Meteorological Organisation signalled last night that the world's weather is going haywire.

In a startling report, the WMO, which normally produces detailed scientific reports and staid statistics at the year's end, highlighted record extremes in weather and climate occurring all over the world in recent weeks, from Switzerland's hottest-ever June to a record month for tornadoes in the United States - and linked them to climate change.

The unprecedented warning takes its force and significance from the fact that it is not coming from Greenpeace or Friends of the Earth, but from an impeccably respected UN organisation that is not given to hyperbole (though environmentalists will seize on it to claim that the direst warnings of climate change are being borne out).

The Geneva-based body, to which the weather services of 185 countries contribute, takes the view that events this year in Europe, America and Asia are so remarkable that the world needs to be made aware of it immediately.

The extreme weather it documents, such as record high and low temperatures, record rainfall and record storms in different parts of the world, is consistent with predictions of global warming. Supercomputer models show that, as the atmosphere warms, the climate not only becomes hotter but much more unstable. "Recent scientific assessments indicate that, as the global temperatures continue to warm due to climate change, the number and intensity of extreme events might increase," the WMO said, giving a striking series of examples.

In southern France, record temperatures were recorded in June, rising above 40C in places - temperatures of 5C to 7C above the average.

In Switzerland, it was the hottest June in at least 250 years, environmental historians said. In Geneva, since 29 May, daytime temperatures have not fallen below 25C, making it the hottest June recorded.

In the United States, there were 562 May tornadoes, which caused 41 deaths. This set a record for any month. The previous record was 399 in June 1992.

In India, this year's pre-monsoon heatwave brought peak temperatures of 45C - 2C to 5C above the norm. At least 1,400 people died in India due to the hot weather. In Sri Lanka, heavy rainfall from Tropical Cyclone 01B exacerbated wet conditions, resulting in flooding and landslides and killing at least 300 people. The infrastructure and economy of south-west Sri Lanka was heavily damaged. A reduction of 20-30 per cent is expected in the output of low-grown tea in the next three months.

Last month was also the hottest in England and Wales since 1976, with average temperatures of 16C. The WMO said: "These record extreme events (high temperatures, low temperatures and high rainfall amounts and droughts) all go into calculating the monthly and annual averages, which, for temperatures, have been gradually increasing over the past 100 years.

"New record extreme events occur every year somewhere in the globe, but in recent years the number of such extremes have been increasing.

"According to recent climate-change scientific assessment reports of the joint WMO/United Nations Environmental Programme Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the global average surface temperature has increased since 1861. Over the 20th century the increase has been around 0.6C.

"New analyses of proxy data for the northern hemisphere indicate that the increase in temperature in the 20th century is likely to have been the largest in any century during the past 1,000 years."

While the trend towards warmer temperatures has been uneven over the past century, the trend since 1976 is roughly three times that for the whole period.

Global average land and sea surface temperatures in May 2003 were the second highest since records began in 1880. Considering land temperatures only, last May was the warmest on record.

It is possible that 2003 will be the hottest year ever recorded. The 10 hottest years in the 143-year-old global temperature record have now all been since 1990, with the three hottest being 1998, 2002 and 2001.

The unstable world of climate change has long been a prediction. Now, the WMO says, it is a reality.

Posted by Lisa at 09:35 AM
July 02, 2003
Double Whammy Against American Workers

These are pretty self-explanatory.


Bush Administration Repeals Requirement That Employers Report Strain Injuries

By Leigh Strope for the Associated Press.

Democrats Protest Changes to Overtime Rules
By Steven Greenhouse for the NY Times.


Forty-two Democratic senators and more than 100 Democratic House members urged the Bush administration yesterday to withdraw proposed regulations that they said would eliminate overtime pay for millions of workers.

The lawmakers made their plea on the final day of a 90-day comment period in which the administration received tens of thousands of criticisms of its proposals, which are the first effort to update overtime regulations since 1975.

"Our citizens are working longer hours than ever before — longer than in any other industrial nation," the senators wrote to Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao. "At least one in five employees now has a workweek that exceeds 50 hours. Protecting the 40-hour workweek is vital to balancing work responsibilities and family needs."

...The Democratic lawmakers joined labor unions in opposing the rule changes, asserting that they would reduce take-home pay and free time for many workers.

"Millions of workers who receive time and a half for their overtime work today will be required to work longer hours for less money under the proposal," the House members wrote to Ms. Chao. "Millions more who have long depended upon overtime work to help make ends meet will face effective pay cuts."

Richard Trumka, the A.F.L.-C.I.O.'s secretary-treasurer, who led a protest rally yesterday at the Labor Department, said: "It's outrageous that their proposals would deny overtime pay to 8 million more workers. It's particularly outrageous for them to do this when they haven't even held a single public hearing."

Critics of the proposals have relied heavily on a study by the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal research group, that concluded that the proposals would exempt an additional 8 million executive, administrative and professional workers from qualifying for overtime when they worked more than 40 hours a week. The institute faulted the administration's estimate that 640,000 more workers would be exempt.

The proposals would alter the criteria for determining which white-collar employees cannot receive overtime.

Under the new rules, anyone earning less than $22,100 a year would automatically qualify for overtime, while under existing rules only workers earning less than $8,060 a year automatically qualify. As a result, under existing regulations, assistant managers of fast-food restaurants who earn $18,000 a year often do not qualify for overtime because they are considered managers.


This page contains both complete articles. The one on top in the entry is actually second on this page.

Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/01/politics/01OVER.html

Forty-two Democratic senators and more than 100 Democratic House members urged the Bush administration yesterday to withdraw proposed regulations that they said would eliminate overtime pay for millions of workers.

The lawmakers made their plea on the final day of a 90-day comment period in which the administration received tens of thousands of criticisms of its proposals, which are the first effort to update overtime regulations since 1975.

"Our citizens are working longer hours than ever before — longer than in any other industrial nation," the senators wrote to Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao. "At least one in five employees now has a workweek that exceeds 50 hours. Protecting the 40-hour workweek is vital to balancing work responsibilities and family needs."

When the administration proposed the rule changes in March, it called them an evenhanded effort that would exempt an additional 640,000 white-collar workers from overtime coverage while adding 1.3 million low-paid workers to the group that automatically qualifies for overtime pay.

Many business groups praised the proposals, calling them a needed effort to modernize what they said was a thicket of confusing, obsolete rules.

"On balance, the proposed regulations do a very good job bringing our workplace regulations into the 21st century," Katherine Lugar, vice president for legislative affairs at the National Retail Federation, said yesterday at a news conference.

The Democratic lawmakers joined labor unions in opposing the rule changes, asserting that they would reduce take-home pay and free time for many workers.

"Millions of workers who receive time and a half for their overtime work today will be required to work longer hours for less money under the proposal," the House members wrote to Ms. Chao. "Millions more who have long depended upon overtime work to help make ends meet will face effective pay cuts."

Richard Trumka, the A.F.L.-C.I.O.'s secretary-treasurer, who led a protest rally yesterday at the Labor Department, said: "It's outrageous that their proposals would deny overtime pay to 8 million more workers. It's particularly outrageous for them to do this when they haven't even held a single public hearing."

Critics of the proposals have relied heavily on a study by the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal research group, that concluded that the proposals would exempt an additional 8 million executive, administrative and professional workers from qualifying for overtime when they worked more than 40 hours a week. The institute faulted the administration's estimate that 640,000 more workers would be exempt.

The proposals would alter the criteria for determining which white-collar employees cannot receive overtime.

Under the new rules, anyone earning less than $22,100 a year would automatically qualify for overtime, while under existing rules only workers earning less than $8,060 a year automatically qualify. As a result, under existing regulations, assistant managers of fast-food restaurants who earn $18,000 a year often do not qualify for overtime because they are considered managers.

Tammy D. McCutchen, the administrator of the wage and hour division at the Labor Department, said the lawmakers should not rely on the Economic Policy Institute study, asserting that it was flawed and misinterpreted current rules.

"A lot of the 8 million figure that the senators and congressmen are citing relies on misinformation," Ms. McCutchen said. "If you compare how executive employees become exempt today and how they will become exempt under our proposals, it will become harder for employers to exempt those employees."


Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:

http://www.boston.com/dailynews/181/wash/Bush_administration_repeals_re:.shtml

Bush Administration Repeals Requirement That Employers Report Strain Injuries By Leigh Strope The Associated Press

Monday 30 June 2003

The Bush administration on Monday repealed a requirement that employers report repetitive stress injuries.

The measure had not yet taken effect, and Labor Department officials said such data would be useless in identifying causes and preventing such injuries.

Labor unions had fought for the requirement, claiming that tracking repetitive strain injuries, also known as ergonomic injuries, would help identify potentially hazardous jobs and provide a better understanding of injury rates and trends.

The move ''continues the Bush administration's head-in-the-sand approach to ergonomic injuries,'' said AFL-CIO President John Sweeney.

''Just because the government is not going to require employers to track these injuries and just because the government is not going to enforce a safety standard doesn't mean that workers will stop becoming ill or permanently disabled on the job,'' he said.

Employers would have been required to record ergonomic-related injuries, which include disorders of the muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, joints, cartilage and spinal discs, except those caused by slips, trips, falls, motor vehicle accidents or other similar accidents.

That requirement would have taken effect in 2001, but was delayed that year after the GOP-controlled Congress repealed regulations issued by the Clinton administration that would have required businesses to make changes to work stations and pay employees with such injuries.

Instead of legal requirements, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is issuing voluntary guidelines for certain injury-prone businesses. The reporting requirement was to take effect this year.

"OSHA concluded that an additional record keeping column would not substantially improve the national injury statistics, nor would it be of benefit to employers and workers because the column would not provide additional information useful to identifying possible causes or methods to prevent injury,'' an OSHA statement said.


Posted by Lisa at 07:09 AM
June 29, 2003
Info On Friday's Anti-Shrub Protest In Burlingame, CA (SF Bay Area)

Glad these guys made it, but I'm kinda glad I didn't go too. I was unprepared and would've gotten heatstroke in a traffic jam, sounds like.

(Unrelated side note: Boy am I glad it's cooled down here in S.F. -- That was a miserable couple of days [and nights] last week...)

Protesters battle heat to boo Bush --
Tough day to make voice heard as cars jam airport-area streets

By Ryan Kim for the SF Chronicle.


The day was trying for many of the protesters and Bush supporters trying to converge on Friday's luncheon. While the relentless heat did its share of damage, the closure of Millbrae Avenue and Old Bayshore Highway for security reasons caused major traffic headaches on streets and Highway 101.

Opponents of Bush harped on a number of topics but consistently hammered home their belief that the president lied about Iraq's weapons capabilities as a false pretext for invasion.

"Bush lied, people died," shouted the throng of protesters as he arrived.

Inside the hotel, five members of Code Pink, a nationwide anti-war organization, gained access to the lobby after they booked a hotel room together. Dressed in pink evening wear, the women engaged many of the luncheon guests, knocking Bush and his $2,000-a-plate fund-raiser.

"I find it obscene to charge $2,000-a-plate when he's making sweeping budget cuts across the country in veterans' benefits and health care," said Carol Norris, an organizer with Code Pink.

The Code Pink women drew their own protester -- Terri Connell of Fairfield, who paused from checking into the Marriott to say, "I respect your First Amendment rights, but you're wrong."


Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/chronicle/archive/2003/06/28/MN278215.DTL&type=news

Despite near triple-digit heat, extensive street closures and frustrating traffic, about 1,000 protesters turned out Friday to boo the arrival of President Bush during a brief fund-raising lunch in Burlingame.

The president's visit to the San Francisco Airport Marriott attracted a vocal but peaceful gathering of protesters, who along with more than 50 Bush supporters, lined a half-mile stretch of Old Bayshore Highway just outside the hotel.

About 300 police officers formed a human barricade in front of the hotel, but they made no arrests and reported no major incidents.

Protesters used Bush's rare visit to the Bay Area to blast him on everything from the war in Iraq to his handling of domestic issues. Many called for his impeachment.

"I'm in 'shock and awe' about what Bush is doing to this country," said Bridgette Fuller, a 48-year-old unemployed tech worker from Santa Cruz. "We're spending far too much of our budget on the military, and we need to spend more money back at home. I just think for the sake of this country, we can't have another four years of Bush."

Mill Valley resident Martin Guffler, however, defended the president and touted Bush's vision and strength in the face of adversity.

"He's one of the most courageous presidents we've had," said Guffler, 59, a business analyst. "He has the ability to make difficult decisions that are necessary. He's a leader and we need a leader in this world."

The day was trying for many of the protesters and Bush supporters trying to converge on Friday's luncheon. While the relentless heat did its share of damage, the closure of Millbrae Avenue and Old Bayshore Highway for security reasons caused major traffic headaches on streets and Highway 101.

Opponents of Bush harped on a number of topics but consistently hammered home their belief that the president lied about Iraq's weapons capabilities as a false pretext for invasion.

"Bush lied, people died," shouted the throng of protesters as he arrived.

Inside the hotel, five members of Code Pink, a nationwide anti-war organization, gained access to the lobby after they booked a hotel room together. Dressed in pink evening wear, the women engaged many of the luncheon guests, knocking Bush and his $2,000-a-plate fund-raiser.

"I find it obscene to charge $2,000-a-plate when he's making sweeping budget cuts across the country in veterans' benefits and health care," said Carol Norris, an organizer with Code Pink.

The Code Pink women drew their own protester -- Terri Connell of Fairfield, who paused from checking into the Marriott to say, "I respect your First Amendment rights, but you're wrong."

Connell, who came to the Marriott specifically to counter anti-Bush protesters, praised Bush's character and said she was "sick and tired of no morals in the presidency."

Chronicle staff writer Mark Simon contributed to this report. / E-mail Ryan Kim at rkim@sfchronicle.com.

Posted by Lisa at 02:01 PM
June 26, 2003
Man On Trial For Holding Sign Outside Shrub Speech

Looks like there will be a whole lot of political statements being misinterpreted as death threats if all you gotta do is hold up a "No War For Oil" sign to qualify.

I'm not sure if I'm going to be there tomorrow myself yet, when the Shrubbery himself pulls into Burlingame for an instant tomorrow afternoon (morning?), but I think I can speak for a lot of other people when I say:

'See you tomorrow, Mr. "President." No death threats. No violence. Just a whole lotta love for each other and our country. Something you probably wouldn't understand...'

S.C. Man Charged with Threatening the President’s Safety For Holding Protest Sign
On the Democracy Now website.

Real Stream Including an Interview With Britt Bursey


Brett Bursey goes on trial today for simply holding a sign that read “No War For Oil” outside a President Bush speech last October. Bursey is being charged with the federal crime of threatening the president’s safety.

He is believed to be the first protester to ever be arrested on these charges for simply holding a sign.

He faces six months in jail and a $5,000 fine.

Back in October he was originally charged by the state with trespassing at the Columbia Metropolitan Airport. But the state dropped the trespassing charges perhaps because they knew the courts would rule in Bursey’s favor.

In fact they did 33 years ago when he was also arrested at the same airport for protesting Richard Nixon. He was charged with trespassing. Bursey challeneged his arrest and the state Supreme Court ruled in his favor.

But much has changed since then.

Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:

http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=03/06/24/1459249

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Tuesday, June 24th, 2003
S.C. Man Charged with Threatening the President’s Safety For Holding Protest Sign

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Brett Bursey goes on trial today for simply holding a sign that read “No War For Oil” outside a President Bush speech last October. Bursey is being charged with the federal crime of threatening the president’s safety.

He is believed to be the first protester to ever be arrested on these charges for simply holding a sign.

He faces six months in jail and a $5,000 fine.

Back in October he was originally charged by the state with trespassing at the Columbia Metropolitan Airport. But the state dropped the trespassing charges perhaps because they knew the courts would rule in Bursey’s favor.

In fact they did 33 years ago when he was also arrested at the same airport for protesting Richard Nixon. He was charged with trespassing. Bursey challeneged his arrest and the state Supreme Court ruled in his favor.

But much has changed since then.

After the state dropped the trespassing charges the local US Attorney, Strom Thurmond Jr., filed the much more severe charges of threatening the safety of the president.

The federal charges have not sat well with some members of Congress.

A few weeks ago Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank and 10 other members of Congress wrote a letter to Attorney General John Ashcroft condemning the arrest. They wrote: “This prosecution smacks of the use of the Sedition Acts two hundred years ago to protect the President from political discomfort. It was wrong then and it is wrong now. We urge you to drop this prosecution based so clearly on the political views being expressed by the individual who is being prosecuted.”

Today Brett Bursey goes to trial. We spoke to him earlier this morning.

* Brett Bursey, South Carolina man charged with threatening the president’s safety for holding up a sign that read “No War For Oil” outside a Bush fundraiser.

To purchase an audio or video copy of this entire program, call 1 (800) 881-2359.

Posted by Lisa at 07:44 PM
June 25, 2003
Shrub Sets New Deficit Record

CBO Expects Deficit to Shatter Record
By for the Alan Fram for the Associated Press.


Congress' top budget analyst warned Tuesday that the government is on track this year for a record deficit exceeding $400 billion, providing fresh fodder to President Bush and Democrats in their battle over taxes and spending.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office had estimated last month that the 2003 shortfall would surpass $300 billion. But that was before lawmakers approved fresh tax cuts for families and investors plus aid for cash-strapped states, projected to cost $61 billion this year alone. It also did not fully reflect the economy's malaise, which has constricted revenue.

The deepest shortfall ever, $290 billion, occurred in 1992. This year's deficit will be the second straight, a jarring turnabout from the four consecutive annual surpluses that marked the last years of the Clinton administration.

"The president has us on an utterly reckless course," said the Senate Budget Committee's top Democrat, Kent Conrad of North Dakota, referring to budget pressures that will intensify when the baby boom generation starts retiring late this decade.

Here is the full text of the entire article in case the link goes bad:

http://www.newsday.com/news/politics/wire/sns-ap-deepening-deficit,0,4803012.story?coll=sns-ap-politics-headlines

CBO Expects Deficit to Shatter Record


By ALAN FRAM
Associated Press Writer

June 10, 2003, 8:06 PM EDT

WASHINGTON -- Congress' top budget analyst warned Tuesday that the government is on track this year for a record deficit exceeding $400 billion, providing fresh fodder to President Bush and Democrats in their battle over taxes and spending.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office had estimated last month that the 2003 shortfall would surpass $300 billion. But that was before lawmakers approved fresh tax cuts for families and investors plus aid for cash-strapped states, projected to cost $61 billion this year alone. It also did not fully reflect the economy's malaise, which has constricted revenue.

The deepest shortfall ever, $290 billion, occurred in 1992. This year's deficit will be the second straight, a jarring turnabout from the four consecutive annual surpluses that marked the last years of the Clinton administration.

"The president has us on an utterly reckless course," said the Senate Budget Committee's top Democrat, Kent Conrad of North Dakota, referring to budget pressures that will intensify when the baby boom generation starts retiring late this decade.

Republicans said their push for tax cuts and restrained spending would energize the economy and help erase the red ink.

"The president's fiscal policy is to increase take-home pay," said White House budget office spokesman Trent Duffy. "And through greater economic growth, we get on a path to a return to balance."

For years, Republicans decried federal imbalances and used them as a rationale for spending cuts. In recent months, many in the GOP have minimized the importance of the shortfalls, saying they are manageable in a $10.5 trillion economy.

"The deficit we care about is the jobs deficit," said Sen. George Allen of Virginia, who heads the Senate GOP's election efforts.

In a role reversal, it is mostly Democrats who have taken up the cry for dealing with long-range budget problems.

"The best way to ensure that we, as well as our children and our grandchildren, are overtaxed for the rest of our lives is to keep borrowing money to cover our deficits," said Rep. Charlie Stenholm, D-Texas.

Though unprecedented shortfalls loom, polls indicate that voters are far more concerned about the economy and the specter of terrorism. Historically low interest rates have cushioned the budget problem's impact on the public, blunting its emergence as a potent issue.

Even economists, while expressing concern over long-term fiscal difficulties, showed little alarm over the latest figures. Private analysts have long expected this year's deficit to exceed $400 billion, and many say flushing that money into the economy will help keep today's economic conditions from worsening.

"Budget discipline has been thrown out the window in Washington," said Ethan Harris, chief U.S. economist for Lehman Bros., the investment bank. "It's a long-run problem for the economy."

The new budget office numbers emerged as Bush and lawmakers craft legislation to establish new prescription drug benefits for Medicare recipients expected to cost at least $400 billion over the next decade. Other spending increases are expected later this year for defense, education, combatting AIDS overseas and other areas.

The Senate also has approved a bill expanding tax cuts for some lower- and higher-income Americans. House GOP leaders are discussing adding items to that measure.

Tuesday's budget office report, a monthly analysis of Treasury Department data, estimated a $291 billion deficit for the first eight months of the federal budget year, which runs through Sept. 30.

That is double the $145 billion shortfall for the same period a year ago, and $1 billion more than the previous record for an entire budget year.

"The deterioration in the short-term budget outlook stems from continued weakness in revenue collections" and May's tax cut legislation, the report said. That bill cut taxes by $330 billion through 2013 and provided a two-year cash infusion of $20 billion for states.

So far, federal receipts are down by $60 billion, or 4.9 percent, from a year ago, with the largest decline in individual income taxes. Spending is up by 6 percent, or $86 billion, largely due to the military, Social Security and Medicare.

A $400 billion deficit would be nearly 4 percent as large as the U.S. economy, a measure many economists consider significant because it illustrates the government's ability to afford its red ink.

As the condition of the budget worsened in the 1980s and early 1990s, there were seven annual federal deficits that were at least that large compared to the economy.

Bush and top lawmakers neared an agreement Tuesday to limit Congress to adding about $5 billion, or just over 1 percent, to its original plans for domestic programs for next year.

They hope to finalize details of the deal this week, which could help them minimize year-end battles and complete Congress' spending legislation near the Oct. 1 start of fiscal 2004.

Posted by Lisa at 03:51 PM
Another U.S. Citizen Denied Due Process - Declared 'Enemy Combatant' By The Shrub

This is wrong, wrong, wrong. I don't care what horrible crime the guy is SUSPECTED of committing. The key word is SUSPECTED and in this country we used to have something called DUE PROCESS. Anybody remember that?

And since when does the President have the sole authority to hand pick individuals out of our criminal justice system? At the very least it should be a very large panel of individuals that might serve to provide some kind of checks and balances to the process. What an embarrassment to our country. (Add it to the list of Shrub embarassments, I guess.)

We've got a president that thinks he's dictator. That makes our country a dictatorship. (Like the dictatorships we're fighting against on the other side of the world.) Nice work Shrub.

Bush Declares Student an Enemy Combatant
By for the NY Times.


President Bush made a surprise decision today to remove a Qatari student from the criminal justice system and declare him an enemy combatant after prosecutors said new evidence linked him to another round of terrorist plots by Al Qaeda after Sept. 11.

The student, Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, 37, had been held in civilian custody since late 2001, first as a material witness in connection with the Sept. 11 attacks and later on charges of lying to the F.B.I. and credit card fraud.
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Because he was declared an enemy combatant, Mr. Marri was moved from a prison in Illinois to a military brig in South Carolina, according to Lawrence S. Lustberg, who represented him in the criminal case. As an enemy combatant, Mr. Marri can be held indefinitely, and he has no access to a lawyer unless the military decides to bring charges, officials said...

Neither of the other two men publicly identified as enemy combatants, Yaser Esam Hamdi, who was captured in fighting in Afghanistan, and Jose Padilla, suspected in a scheme to set off a "dirty bomb," had faced criminal charges beforehand. Both are Americans...

"To just pluck someone from the criminal justice system and remove them from any of the protections of the legal system to me suggests a very troubling disregard for the rule of law," said Jamie Fellner, the United States director for Human Rights Watch.

Mr. Lustberg, a private lawyer in Newark, said he planned to seek a reversal of the decision by filing a writ of habeas corpus in the federal court system in a few days.

Mr. Marri had been scheduled to go to trial next month in federal court in Illinois on the criminal charges pending against him, and Mr. Lustberg said, "We thought he had a powerful defense."

Mr. Marri had apparently planned to argue that the charge he had lied to F.B.I. agents in interviews in late 2001 about his travels in the United States was based on a misunderstanding, and Mr. Lustberg said that notes from the bureau agents could bear that out...

Frank W. Dunham Jr., a standby lawyer for Mr. Moussaoui — who is representing himself and who has also been considered for enemy combatant status — said he was concerned that administration officials were abusing the judicial process by failing to maintain a separation between the military and civilian systems.

"You shouldn't be allowed to switch tracks like they're doing," Mr. Dunham said in an interview. "That's how you get into the abuse of threatening criminal defendants, suggesting that `if you don't pleaded guilty to this charge or that charge, we're going to declare you an enemy combatant and lock you up forever.' "

Elisa C. Massimino, director of the Washington office of the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, said the Bush administration had made it difficult for the public to tell why someone like Mr. Marri was declared an enemy combatant while the administration used the criminal system to convict someone like Iyman Faris, a truck driver from Ohio who admitted last week that he was involved in a conspiracy by Al Qaeda to destroy the Brooklyn Bridge.

"It really looks like a situation where they make the rules up as they go along," Ms. Massimino said.

Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/06/24/politics/24TERR.html

THE COURTS
Bush Declares Student an Enemy Combatant
By ERIC LICHTBLAU

WASHINGTON, June 23 — President Bush made a surprise decision today to remove a Qatari student from the criminal justice system and declare him an enemy combatant after prosecutors said new evidence linked him to another round of terrorist plots by Al Qaeda after Sept. 11.

The student, Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, 37, had been held in civilian custody since late 2001, first as a material witness in connection with the Sept. 11 attacks and later on charges of lying to the F.B.I. and credit card fraud.
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Because he was declared an enemy combatant, Mr. Marri was moved from a prison in Illinois to a military brig in South Carolina, according to Lawrence S. Lustberg, who represented him in the criminal case. As an enemy combatant, Mr. Marri can be held indefinitely, and he has no access to a lawyer unless the military decides to bring charges, officials said.

The case represents the first time that the administration is shifting custody of someone charged by criminal prosecutors to the military as an enemy combatant, administration officials said.

Neither of the other two men publicly identified as enemy combatants, Yaser Esam Hamdi, who was captured in fighting in Afghanistan, and Jose Padilla, suspected in a scheme to set off a "dirty bomb," had faced criminal charges beforehand. Both are Americans.

The administration said national security interests drove the decision to turn over Mr. Marri to military custody. They would not elaborate.

Critics of the detention policies said the move added to the confusion over using the array of military, criminal and civil measures against people considered terrorism suspects.

"To just pluck someone from the criminal justice system and remove them from any of the protections of the legal system to me suggests a very troubling disregard for the rule of law," said Jamie Fellner, the United States director for Human Rights Watch.

Mr. Lustberg, a private lawyer in Newark, said he planned to seek a reversal of the decision by filing a writ of habeas corpus in the federal court system in a few days.

Mr. Marri had been scheduled to go to trial next month in federal court in Illinois on the criminal charges pending against him, and Mr. Lustberg said, "We thought he had a powerful defense."

Mr. Marri had apparently planned to argue that the charge he had lied to F.B.I. agents in interviews in late 2001 about his travels in the United States was based on a misunderstanding, and Mr. Lustberg said that notes from the bureau agents could bear that out.

Legal observers surmised that classifying Mr. Marri as an enemy combatant might have been driven by concerns about being forced to expose intelligence sources in open court. That issue has complicated the case against Zacarias Moussaoui, who is accused of participating in the Sept. 11 conspiracy.

Justice Department officials said the decision to remove Mr. Marri from the criminal system was not based on any concern about the strength of the case against him.

"We had no obstacles in pursuing that case," Alice Fisher, a deputy assistant attorney general in the criminal division of the Justice Department, said at a briefing.

Mr. Marri arrived here on Sept. 10, 2001, on a student visa to pursue graduate studies at Bradley University in Peoria, Ill. The Federal Bureau of Investigation questioned him in October 2001 about possible links to terrorism.

Justice Department officials said new evidence uncovered in the last several months, after criminal charges had been brought against Mr. Marri, provided further links to overseas operatives of Al Qaeda.

The officials said people in American custody indicated that Mr. Marri had visited a Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan, met with Osama bin Laden and pledged support for Al Qaeda's cause. He was assigned to help "settle" operatives for follow-up attacks after Sept. 11, officials said.

They added that Mr. Marri's effort to call a financier for Al Qaeda by using a calling card account also used by Mohammed Atta, ringleader of the Sept. 11 attacks, further corroborated his role. The Justice Department refused to identify the detainees who gave them information, but law enforcement officials said Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, a senior leader of Al Qaeda captured in March in Pakistan, was a source.

At the F.B.I., the assistant director for counterterrorism, Larry A. Mefford, said there was no evidence that Mr. Marri was involved in the Sept. 11 attacks or knew about them beforehand. But, Mr. Mefford added, "Clearly, we think he's very important."

Mr. Lustberg, a prominent civil liberties lawyer, said he had never heard some of the allegations that Justice Department officials were making today against his client.

"It's either brand new," he said, "or it was withheld from us. The whole thing is really puzzling to me."

Frank W. Dunham Jr., a standby lawyer for Mr. Moussaoui — who is representing himself and who has also been considered for enemy combatant status — said he was concerned that administration officials were abusing the judicial process by failing to maintain a separation between the military and civilian systems.

"You shouldn't be allowed to switch tracks like they're doing," Mr. Dunham said in an interview. "That's how you get into the abuse of threatening criminal defendants, suggesting that `if you don't pleaded guilty to this charge or that charge, we're going to declare you an enemy combatant and lock you up forever.' "

Elisa C. Massimino, director of the Washington office of the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, said the Bush administration had made it difficult for the public to tell why someone like Mr. Marri was declared an enemy combatant while the administration used the criminal system to convict someone like Iyman Faris, a truck driver from Ohio who admitted last week that he was involved in a conspiracy by Al Qaeda to destroy the Brooklyn Bridge.

"It really looks like a situation where they make the rules up as they go along," Ms. Massimino said.

Justice Department and military officials said that each situation was evaluated on the merits and that they could not set forth a broad policy on who is considered an enemy combatant.

"There's no bright line," Ms. Fisher said.

Posted by Lisa at 06:54 AM
June 17, 2003
WMD Lies Just One Example Of Shrub Credibility Gap

Dems Call Bush Credibility Into Question
By Ron Fournier for the Associated Press.


The candidates say Bush has fudged the facts on issues well beyond Iraq, including:

* Education. While the president promotes his "No Child Left Behind" legislation, state and local officials struggle to pay for the standardized tests and other requirements of the 2002 law. "What kind of education plan tries to add by subtracting?" Rep. Dick Gephardt of Missouri said.

* Tax cuts. Bush said all families will get a break, but the $350 billion bill he signed excluded many low-income families from a child tax credit. Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts said Bush was "leaving 12 million children behind."

* Deficits. Bush pledged to bring fiscal sanity to Washington, but he "brought back the era of big and bloated government," Gephardt said.

* Foreign affairs. Bush promised in 2000 to have a "humble" foreign policy, but many allies feel bullied by Bush's moves on global warming, trade and Iraq. "Our country is viewed with increased hostility," Graham said.

* Homeland security. State and local leaders complain they have not received enough money from Washington to prepare for future attacks. "We should not cede this issue," said Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina.



Here is the full text of the entire article in case the link goes bad:

http://www.newsday.com/news/politics/wire/sns-ap-democrats-bush,0,6136688.story?coll=sns-ap-politics-headlines

Dems Call Bush Credibility Into Question

By RON FOURNIER
AP Political Writer

June 12, 2003, 12:15 PM EDT

WASHINGTON -- President Bush, elected after casting Al Gore as a serial exaggerator and borderline liar, is now being accused of stretching the truth about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

It is an irony that Democratic rivals would like to convert to a campaign issue -- a broad attack on Bush's credibility.

But many party leaders fear the president may be immune to accusations that his rhetoric falls short of the facts, and not just on Iraq, but on education, tax cuts, trade, the environment, homeland security and other policies.

As a popular president with a Reaganesque reputation for delegating responsibility, Bush will get the benefit of the doubt from voters unless Democrats unite behind a sustained campaign to undermine his integrity, according to party strategists around the country and aides to Democratic presidential candidates.

Even if they make all the right political moves, Democrats concede that character attacks may not work as well on Bush as they did against Gore in 2000.

"I think it's going to be a pretty hard sell right now," said Tricia Enright, communications director for presidential candidate Howard Dean. "I don't see the case being made by a broad range of Democrats, and that's what it will take to gain steam."

Dean and his presidential rivals are doing their part. Keying off the Bush administration's failure so far to find the Iraqi weapons, the candidates are trying to make an issue of Bush's trustworthiness.

Sen. Bob Graham of Florida, former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, accused Bush of "a pattern of deception and deceit." Other candidates have tried to build the issue into a consuming Watergate-style controversy.

"The question now is going to become, 'What did the president know, and when did he know it?' " Dean said.

Though banned material may yet be found, even some administration officials now conclude that weapons will not be discovered in the quantities predicted by Bush -- or in as threatening a form.

Polls suggest that most people think claims of banned weapons were exaggerated, but they also do not think the administration deliberately misled Americans about those weapons.

Trust in the president has remained high, with more than seven in 10 saying they find Bush to be honest and trustworthy.

"I never felt that he was personally a devious man at all. He's a decent guy," said Democrat Dan Glickman, former agriculture secretary in the Clinton White House and member of the House Intelligence Committee from 1987-1995.

"President Bush shows a great deal of flexibility, shall we say, in the ideology he espouses that sometimes belie the facts," Glickman said, "but every president does those things."

The candidates say Bush has fudged the facts on issues well beyond Iraq, including:

* Education. While the president promotes his "No Child Left Behind" legislation, state and local officials struggle to pay for the standardized tests and other requirements of the 2002 law. "What kind of education plan tries to add by subtracting?" Rep. Dick Gephardt of Missouri said.

* Tax cuts. Bush said all families will get a break, but the $350 billion bill he signed excluded many low-income families from a child tax credit. Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts said Bush was "leaving 12 million children behind."

* Deficits. Bush pledged to bring fiscal sanity to Washington, but he "brought back the era of big and bloated government," Gephardt said.

* Foreign affairs. Bush promised in 2000 to have a "humble" foreign policy, but many allies feel bullied by Bush's moves on global warming, trade and Iraq. "Our country is viewed with increased hostility," Graham said.

* Homeland security. State and local leaders complain they have not received enough money from Washington to prepare for future attacks. "We should not cede this issue," said Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina.

Democrats may have to cede the credibility issue.

"It's going to be tougher with President Bush than it was with Gore," said Greg Haas, a Democratic political consultant in Ohio. "Like they did for Reagan, people give Bush the benefit of the doubt ... because they don't think he's running the government. His advisers are. When things go wrong or he says something wrong, he gets a pass."

Bush has other advantages, starting with personal qualities that make him more likable and a fight against terrorism that has the public secure with his stewardship. Bush also did not serve under President Clinton, who was dogged by questions about his honesty that besmirched the Clinton-Gore team.

David Axelrod, a strategist for Edwards, said Americans are likely to continue supporting Saddam Hussein's ouster, even if White House weapons claims are never proven. They trust Bush more than they ever did Gore.

"I think it's harder with Bush because there was a context that Republicans laid over time -- I think unfairly -- against the Clinton administration and they fit Gore into that rubric," he said.

But, Axelrod said, "You have to ask whether he's been leveling with people on a range of things and whether he trusts people with the truth."

* __

EDITOR'S NOTE -- Ron Fournier has covered the White House and national politics since 1993.

Posted by Lisa at 04:49 PM
Shrub, Rove Spoke To DeLay Before He Allegedly Misused A Federal Agency

This entry goes with this earlier post.

I don't even want to get my hopes up on this one. But we're supposed to believe that DeLay spoke to the Shrub and Karl Rove about "redistricting in general" and did not discuss in any way the situation that was going on at the time about redistricting in Texas. I don't see how we could ever prove it one way or the other, unless there are tapes of the conversations or something. Otherwise it's just heresay -- as juicy as that heresay might be :-)

Details Sought on Bush Role in Texas Dispute
By Mike Allen for the Washington Post.


A Democratic leader asked yesterday for details of communication by President Bush and his senior adviser, Karl Rove, with House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) about a partisan Texas dispute that absorbed federal resources.

Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (Conn.), ranking Democrat on the Governmental Affairs Committee and a presidential candidate, said White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. told him by telephone Tuesday that DeLay spoke with Bush and Rove about the matter.

The issue is politically sensitive because the Department of Homeland Security has acknowledged assisting law enforcement officers who were asked by Republicans to round up Democrats who had fled the state to avoid voting on a redistricting plan championed by DeLay. The plan died when a deadline passed without a quorum.

An FBI agent also helped in the search, but the bureau said it did not act at the behest of politicians. The Federal Aviation Administration gave aircraft-tracking information to DeLay's staff, and his staff sought advice from the Justice Department.

A White House official said Bush and Rove spoke to DeLay before the departure of the Democratic legislators. The official said Bush spoke to DeLay "briefly and in passing" and that Rove and DeLay discussed "redistricting in Texas generally."

Another White House official confirmed Lieberman's conversation with Card. "The summary speaks for itself," spokeswoman Jeanie Mamo said. "The Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Transportation are looking into this matter."

A Lieberman source said Card was "vague" in his description.

A senior administration official said DeLay's conversation with Bush "likely" occurred in conjunction with a 45-minute meeting he held April 30 with Republican leaders of the House and the Senate to discuss the tax cut and other legislation. The exodus by Democrats began on May 12...

DeLay has said he and his staff made no overture to the Department of Homeland Security, and noted that the FAA information was publicly available.


Here is the full text of the entire article in case the link goes bad:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A29211-2003Jun7.html?nav=hptoc_p


Details Sought on Bush Role in Texas Dispute
By Mike Allen
Washington Post

Sunday 08 June 8 2003

A Democratic leader asked yesterday for details of communication by President Bush and his senior adviser, Karl Rove, with House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) about a partisan Texas dispute that absorbed federal resources.

Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (Conn.), ranking Democrat on the Governmental Affairs Committee and a presidential candidate, said White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. told him by telephone Tuesday that DeLay spoke with Bush and Rove about the matter.

The issue is politically sensitive because the Department of Homeland Security has acknowledged assisting law enforcement officers who were asked by Republicans to round up Democrats who had fled the state to avoid voting on a redistricting plan championed by DeLay. The plan died when a deadline passed without a quorum.

An FBI agent also helped in the search, but the bureau said it did not act at the behest of politicians. The Federal Aviation Administration gave aircraft-tracking information to DeLay's staff, and his staff sought advice from the Justice Department.

A White House official said Bush and Rove spoke to DeLay before the departure of the Democratic legislators. The official said Bush spoke to DeLay "briefly and in passing" and that Rove and DeLay discussed "redistricting in Texas generally."

Another White House official confirmed Lieberman's conversation with Card. "The summary speaks for itself," spokeswoman Jeanie Mamo said. "The Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Transportation are looking into this matter."

A Lieberman source said Card was "vague" in his description.

A senior administration official said DeLay's conversation with Bush "likely" occurred in conjunction with a 45-minute meeting he held April 30 with Republican leaders of the House and the Senate to discuss the tax cut and other legislation. The exodus by Democrats began on May 12.

DeLay told reporters at a briefing on May 13 that, as he walked out of a Republican leadership meeting with Bush the previous week, he had told the president he thought the Texas redistricting plan would pass. The administration official did not know when the conversation with Rove occurred.

DeLay has said he and his staff made no overture to the Department of Homeland Security, and noted that the FAA information was publicly available.

A Lieberman aide said the senator sent a letter to Card yesterday asking for more details. Lieberman said in his letter that Card told him that neither Bush nor Rove "contacted any federal agencies about the missing legislators" as a result of a conversation with DeLay. Lieberman said he was told that Card "had asked others at the White House about this matter and found no inappropriate action had been taken."

The letter quoted Card as saying that he did not intend to respond in writing to a request Lieberman made on May 27 for information about White House involvement.

"In a matter of this significance, where questions have been raised about whether scarce homeland security resources were misused for political purposes, the public should not be forced to rely on private reassurances," Lieberman said.

Lieberman's letter asked for a written description of White House involvement, including "any contacts and actions, even those you do not believe to be inappropriate."

Posted by Lisa at 03:32 PM
June 15, 2003
Repubs Stop Low Income Families From Receiving New Child Tax Credit

Repubs Stop Low Income Families From Receiving New Child Tax Credit (Small - 3 MB)


The Daily Show
(The best news on television.)

Posted by Lisa at 01:45 PM
So Much For The Roadmap For Peace In The Middle East

Roadmap For Peace - RIP (Small - 4 MB)


The Daily Show
(The best news on television.)

Posted by Lisa at 01:11 PM
June 08, 2003
The Daily Show's Lewis Black On The New Tax Cuts For The Rich

According to the IRS Website, thanks to the extra $400 you might be able to get for each kid this summer, parenting doesn't have to be the same old thankless, pain in the ass of an experience:

In the summer of 2003, your kids could be memorable for more than just a skinned knee, a stray dog, or a boyfriend with an earring. This summer your kids could be the reason you get a special check from Uncle Sam! And all you have to do is cash it.

By the way, there are parts of this bit that Lewis Black isn't kidding about. There really is a baby surrounded by money on the cover of the IRS Website.

Here's a link to the
other section of the IRS website he pokes fun at. (Yes I've saved a picture of it in case they take it down, but right now you can look for yourself.)

Lewis Black On The New Tax Cuts (Small - 9 MB)
Lewis Black On The New Tax Cuts (Hi-Res - 115 MB)






Republican Kiddie Porn

Posted by Lisa at 07:26 AM
June 04, 2003
Shrub Dodges WMD Question

Here's a little ditty to start off this fine day -- Courtesy of

The Daily Show
(the best news on television).


Shrub Dodges WMD Question
(Small - 2 MB)

Shrub Dodges WMD Question
(Hi-res - 15 MB)

Posted by Lisa at 08:33 AM
May 29, 2003
Guantanamo Bay Is Actually A "Death Camp"

The Shrub Administration is "floating" its plans to convert Guantanamo Bay into a 'Death Camp,' where prisoners are sentenced to death and executed, without ever being given a chance to defend themselves, on a regular basis.

Experts say that this has always been the plan.

I'm not sure what we can do about this yet guys, but be assured that it's on the radar and I'll be letting you know what action we can take to oppose this over the days and weeks to come.

US plans death camp
In the Courier Mail.


THE US has floated plans to turn Guantanamo Bay into a death camp, with its own death row and execution chamber.

Prisoners would be tried, convicted and executed without leaving its boundaries, without a jury and without right of appeal, The Mail on Sunday newspaper reported yesterday.

The plans were revealed by Major-General Geoffrey Miller, who is in charge of 680 suspects from 43 countries, including two Australians.

The suspects have been held at Camp Delta on Cuba without charge for 18 months.

General Miller said building a death row was one plan. Another was to have a permanent jail, with possibly an execution chamber.

The Mail on Sunday reported the move is seen as logical by the US, which has been attacked worldwide for breaching the Geneva Convention on prisoners of war since it established the camp at a naval base to hold alleged terrorists from Afghanistan.

But it has horrified human rights groups and lawyers representing detainees...

American law professor Jonathan Turley, who has led US civil rights group protests against the military tribunals planned to hear cases at Guantanamo Bay, said: "It is not surprising the authorities are building a death row because they have said they plan to try capital cases before these tribunals.

"This camp was created to execute people. The administration has no interest in long-term prison sentences for people it regards as hard-core terrorists."


Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:

http://www.thecouriermail.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5936,6494000%255E401,00.html

US plans death camp

26may03

THE US has floated plans to turn Guantanamo Bay into a death camp, with its own death row and execution chamber.

Prisoners would be tried, convicted and executed without leaving its boundaries, without a jury and without right of appeal, The Mail on Sunday newspaper reported yesterday.

The plans were revealed by Major-General Geoffrey Miller, who is in charge of 680 suspects from 43 countries, including two Australians.

The suspects have been held at Camp Delta on Cuba without charge for 18 months.

General Miller said building a death row was one plan. Another was to have a permanent jail, with possibly an execution chamber.


The Mail on Sunday reported the move is seen as logical by the US, which has been attacked worldwide for breaching the Geneva Convention on prisoners of war since it established the camp at a naval base to hold alleged terrorists from Afghanistan.

But it has horrified human rights groups and lawyers representing detainees.

They see it as the clearest indication America has no intention of falling in line with internationally recognised justice.

The US has already said detainees would be tried by tribunals, without juries or appeals to a higher court. Detainees will be allowed only US lawyers.

British activist Stephen Jakobi, of Fair Trials Abroad, said: "The US is kicking and screaming against any pressure to conform with British or any other kind of international justice."

American law professor Jonathan Turley, who has led US civil rights group protests against the military tribunals planned to hear cases at Guantanamo Bay, said: "It is not surprising the authorities are building a death row because they have said they plan to try capital cases before these tribunals.

"This camp was created to execute people. The administration has no interest in long-term prison sentences for people it regards as hard-core terrorists."

Britain admitted it had been kept in the dark about the plans.

A Downing St spokesman said: "The US Government is well aware of the British Government's position on the death penalty."

Posted by Lisa at 08:25 PM
Iran-Contra Criminals Continue To Be Shrub's Closest Advisors

Iran-Contra Figure Plays Key Role on Mideast
By Michael Dobbs For The Washington Post.


A cycle of disgrace and redemption has brought one of Washington's most accomplished -- and controversial -- bureaucratic infighters back to the center of U.S. foreign policy decision-making.

When Elliott Abrams stood in front of a federal judge in October 1991 and pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts of withholding information from Congress, few imagined he would ever return to government. At age 43, he had become one of the casualties of the Iran-contra scandal, detested by Democrats for his combative political style and mistrusted by human rights activists for playing down the crimes of right-wing dictatorships in Central America.

Twelve years later, Abrams is helping to shape White House policies toward many of the world's trouble spots. Appointed in December as President Bush's senior adviser on the Middle East, his responsibilities extend from Algeria to Iran. But nowhere is his influence more evident than on the Arab-Israeli peace process...

Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A41843-2003May26.html?nav=hptop_tb


Back in Political Forefront
By Michael Dobbs
The Washington Post

Tuesday 27 May 2003

Iran-Contra Figure Plays Key Role on Mideast

A cycle of disgrace and redemption has brought one of Washington's most accomplished -- and controversial -- bureaucratic infighters back to the center of U.S. foreign policy decision-making.

When Elliott Abrams stood in front of a federal judge in October 1991 and pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts of withholding information from Congress, few imagined he would ever return to government. At age 43, he had become one of the casualties of the Iran-contra scandal, detested by Democrats for his combative political style and mistrusted by human rights activists for playing down the crimes of right-wing dictatorships in Central America.

Twelve years later, Abrams is helping to shape White House policies toward many of the world's trouble spots. Appointed in December as President Bush's senior adviser on the Middle East, his responsibilities extend from Algeria to Iran. But nowhere is his influence more evident than on the Arab-Israeli peace process.

A self-described "neo-conservative and neo-Reaganite" with strong ties to Jews and evangelical Christians, Abrams has become a flash point for the debate on how much pressure the Bush administration is prepared to apply to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to reach an agreement with the Palestinians. Last week, the White House sought to address Israeli concerns about a U.S.-endorsed "road map" on Israeli-Palestinian peace by saying they would be considered during the implementation phase.

The question for many critics, both inside and outside government, is whether the White House will risk a public fight with Sharon on freezing and eventually reversing Jewish settlement activity that could antagonize some of its core political supporters in the run-up to a presidential election. Before joining the Bush administration, Abrams expressed skepticism about past U.S. peacemaking efforts in the region and praised Sharon for his "strength" and "firmness" toward the Palestinians in contrast to the "weakness" displayed by his predecessor, Ehud Barak.

Abrams's supporters emphasize his formidable bureaucratic skills, and say his pro-Sharon views will provide political cover for the administration in extracting concessions from a reluctant Israeli government. His enemies depict him as a partisan, ideological figure who pays a lot of attention to the pro-Israel lobby, but has yet to reach out to Arab Americans. Abrams's appointment raised a "red flag for me and my community," said Khalil Jahshan, director of government affairs for the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee. "If the president is serious about a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he picked the wrong person to manage the policy for him."

"Much of the criticism of Elliott misses the fact that he is an extremely intelligent, competent guy," countered William Kristol, a conservative commentator who served alongside Abrams in the Reagan administration. "Bush is more committed to seeing whether he can push ahead with the Middle East peace process than most people believe, and that is true of Elliott as well."

Unlike his previous incarnation in government, when he was a high-profile figure on Capitol Hill and in the media, Abrams this time around is working far from the glare of publicity and congressional oversight. According to people who have dealt with him, however, his operating style has changed little in the intervening decade, and is characterized by the same combination of ideological zeal and bureaucratic toughness that made him a formidable advocate for the Reagan administration.

"He is relentless in pursuit of his agenda," said someone who has clashed with him in internal administration debates. "If that means pushing people out of the way who disagree with him, then that is what he will do."

The White House declined requests for an interview with Abrams. A senior administration official said he was hired for the Middle East post because he had shown himself to be "an extremely good manager." He said that Abrams's personal views on the Palestinian-Israeli dispute were irrelevant as he was implementing "the vision of the president" on Middle East peace.

"It's the president who makes these decisions," the official said. "Our job is to take the president's policies and try to make them happen."

At the time of Abrams's appointment, Middle East policymaking at the White House was in a state of some turmoil, insiders said. Responsibility for shaping policy toward a vast, troubled area of the world was divided among three officials, each with the title of "senior director." The original National Security Council department chief, Zalmay Khalilzad, focused mainly on dealings with the Iraqi opposition and had the reputation of being a poor administrator. A third official, Flynt Leverett, had responsibility for the Middle East peace process.

Administration insiders said Abrams clashed with Leverett and Assistant Secretary of State William J. Burns, the State Department's top Middle East expert, over the shape of the final Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement. Burns and Leverett believed that any agreement probably would resemble a deal offered to the Palestinians by Barak in early 2001, with the Israelis giving up nearly all the occupied territories in return for Palestinians surrendering their right of return to Israel. Abrams envisaged more limited Israeli concessions.

According to the Abrams camp, his differences with Leverett were more bureaucratic than substantive: Abrams was frustrated by the lack of a clear chain of command on Middle East issues. Leverett left the NSC staff in mid-March after refusing an offer by national security adviser Condoleezza Rice to work on the road map under Abrams. Two other officials left the NSC staff as part of a shake-up in the Near East office related to Abrams's arrival.

Administration rivals say Abrams worked behind the scenes to rewrite the road map on the basis of critiques drawn up by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, a leading Jewish American lobby group. He fired off frequent e-mails to Rice and her deputy, Stephen Hadley, trying to reduce the role of international mediators in the peace process.

"Elliott was suspicious of anything that involved the United Nations and the European Union," a participant in the administration debates said. "It's an open question whether he is going to be the guy who becomes the one to push for a document he has expressed such ambivalence about."

Administration officials said Abrams is now fully on board with the peace plan, which envisages a freezing and eventual dismantlement of Jewish settlements in occupied Arab territories in return for an "unconditional cessation of violence" by the Palestinians.

Much of Abrams's adult life, beginning with his days as a Harvard Law School student during the tumultuous 1960s, has been preparation for an important role in government. In conventional political terms, he was a liberal, criticizing the Vietnam War and the Cambridge police for using force to end a 1969 student strike. By campus standards, however, he was a conservative, opposing the militant tactics employed by Students for a Democratic Society.

"He was culturally straight and had short hair," recalls a former roommate, Steven Kelman, now a professor of public policy at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government. "Elliott was the only person I knew who threw his blue jeans out when they started to fade."

Kelman believes that Abrams, as a bright young kid from the Hollis Hills neighborhood of Queens who was reared in the progressive Jewish tradition, was "traumatized" by his experiences of campus politics at Harvard. "There is a part of him that is still fighting the student radicals of the '60s," he said. "He doesn't like people whom he sees as anti-American, or down on the United States."

After Harvard, Abrams followed a classic neo-conservative trajectory, taking a job with Sen. Henry M. "Scoop" Jackson, a hawkish Washington Democrat. "They hit it off more or less immediately," said Richard N. Perle, a Pentagon official during the Reagan administration who introduced Abrams to Jackson. "He was comfortable with Scoop's combination of a tough foreign policy and a liberal domestic policy."

Abrams joined the neo-conservative aristocracy in March 1980 through his marriage to Rachel Decter, daughter of conservative pundits Norman Podhoretz and Midge Decter. By the time Ronald Reagan was elected president later that year, Abrams had become a Republican. As an assistant secretary of state, he found himself implementing the Reagan doctrine of "rolling back communism" in Central America.

For Abrams, fighting communism and promoting human rights were one and the same. Although he criticized the right-wing Augusto Pinochet regime in Chile, he played down or ignored human rights violations by pro-American governments in Central America, where the struggle for geopolitical influence with the Soviet Union was most intense. In an exchange with the human rights activist Aryeh Neier on ABC's "Nightline" in 1984, Abrams insisted that widely reported massacres by right-wing death squads in El Salvador "never happened."

"Elliott was willing to distort and misrepresent the truth in order to promote the policy adopted by the administration," Neier said. "His approach was that the ends justified the means." Abrams has replied to past criticism by Neier by describing his human rights work as "garbage" and "completely politicized."

Abrams also had problems with Congress over the Iran-contra scandal. In 1991, he was forced to admit in court that he had not disclosed his knowledge of a secret contra supply network and his solicitation of a $10 million contribution for the contras from the sultan of Brunei. He received a pardon from President George H.W. Bush in December 1992. An administration official brushed aside questions about the plea bargain, noting that Abrams had received a full pardon. In a 1993 book, "Undue Process," Abrams forcefully defended his actions, describing the legal proceedings against him as "Kafkaesque" and his prosecutors as "filthy bastards."

As president of the Center for Ethics and Public Policy, a Washington-based religious think tank, Abrams called for reconciliation between Jews and conservative Christians. He also wrote about the threats to the Jewish identity in the United States because of assimilation and intermarriage, arguing that it is important for Jews to understand that "tomorrow's lobby for Israel has got to be conservative Christians because there aren't going to be enough Jews to do it."

Under the Bush administration, evangelical Christians have emerged as an important source of political support for Israel. In some cases, they have been even more insistent than Jews in their backing for a Greater Israel, which they see as sanctified by the Bible. Abrams's years in the political wilderness ended in June 2001 when Rice chose him to head the NSC's office for democracy, human rights and international operations. In addition to his regular responsibilities, he took part in brainstorming sessions with Rice and other NSC officials to consider new approaches to Middle East peace.

"Elliott could always be relied upon to give clear expression of the Israeli line, and whether or not it would fly with the Jewish community," another participant in the sessions recalled.

Abrams received first-hand insight into Sharon's besieged worldview earlier this month when he made a secret visit to Israel with Hadley, the deputy national security adviser. According to Israeli sources, the prime minister took his guests up in a helicopter for a bird's-eye view of the Jewish settlements on the West Bank that Israel could be required to abandon under a peace deal with the Palestinians.

The helicopter tour has become a standard feature on the itinerary of U.S. officials visiting Sharon, said Martin Indyk, a former U.S. ambassador to Israel. "You look down at all these settlements in the hills below you, and you get the distinct impression that they will not be moving anywhere in the lifetime of your administration," he said.

"If anyone in the Bush administration is going to push Israel on the settlements, it would be Abrams, because he has credibility with the Israeli government," said Aluf Benn, diplomatic reporter for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, who broke the story about the secret helicopter tour. "But so far we have not seen the political will on the part of the White House to seriously press the issue."

Posted by Lisa at 01:41 PM
May 19, 2003
Latest Shrub Appellate Nominee: Former Press Secretary For Jesse Helms Who Calls Gays "Queers" On A Regular Basis

It's not just that the people the Shrub is nominating have arguably unfavorable biases -- no one is even mentioning the seemingly obvious fact that these people just aren't qualified to be appellate judges.

Let's take this latest case, Claude Allen. Does it even follow any stretch of the imagination that a former Press Secretary for a Senator turned Health and Human services appointee would be eligible for a position as a Federal Appellate Judge?

Bush pick for appeals court called gays 'queers' Allen, an abstinence-only advocate, would serve on Md., Va. court

Claude Allen, nominated by President Bush to the 4th Circuit, was a supporter of conservative Sen. Jesse Helms and once referred to gays as 'queers.'

By Lou Chibbaro Jr. for the Houston Voice.

President Bush this week nominated Claude A. Allen, a supporter of conservative former Sen. Jesse Helms, to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, which has jurisdiction over Maryland and Virginia.

Allen, 42, becomes the eighth federal judicial nominee named by Bush to hold views considered hostile to gay civil rights, according to the Alliance for Justice, a progressive watchdog group that monitors judicial appointments.

Allen, whose nomination was announced on April 28, has been one of the Bush administration's leading advocates for abstinence-only programs aimed at curtailing the spread of AIDS in his current job as deputy secretary for the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

In 1984, he served as press secretary for the re-election campaign of U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.), considered one of the strongest opponents of gay civil rights among all members of Congress at the time. Helms and his supporters attacked then-Gov. James Hunt, Helms' Democratic opponent, for receiving campaign support from gays.

According to the National Journal, when Hunt responded by saying Helms was being backed by right-wing radicals, an angered Allen replied that Hunt had links "with the queers." Helms retired from the Senate in January.

"Fair-minded senators should be very concerned about Allen's radical record of opposition to a woman's right to choose, equal rights for gays and lesbians, and his unfounded and dangerous belief that denying students access to proper sex education will keep them safe," said Nan Aron, president of the Alliance for Justice.


Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:

http://www.houstonvoice.com/national/030502bushpicks.php3?pub=hou


Bush pick for appeals court called gays 'queers'
Allen, an abstinence-only advocate, would serve on Md., Va. court

Claude Allen, nominated by President Bush to the 4th Circuit, was a supporter of conservative Sen. Jesse Helms and once referred to gays as 'queers.' (Photo by Bob Brown/AP)

By LOU CHIBBARO JR.

President Bush this week nominated Claude A. Allen, a supporter of conservative former Sen. Jesse Helms, to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, which has jurisdiction over Maryland and Virginia.

Allen, 42, becomes the eighth federal judicial nominee named by Bush to hold views considered hostile to gay civil rights, according to the Alliance for Justice, a progressive watchdog group that monitors judicial appointments.

Allen, whose nomination was announced on April 28, has been one of the Bush administration's leading advocates for abstinence-only programs aimed at curtailing the spread of AIDS in his current job as deputy secretary for the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

In 1984, he served as press secretary for the re-election campaign of U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.), considered one of the strongest opponents of gay civil rights among all members of Congress at the time. Helms and his supporters attacked then-Gov. James Hunt, Helms' Democratic opponent, for receiving campaign support from gays.

According to the National Journal, when Hunt responded by saying Helms was being backed by right-wing radicals, an angered Allen replied that Hunt had links "with the queers." Helms retired from the Senate in January.

"Fair-minded senators should be very concerned about Allen's radical record of opposition to a woman's right to choose, equal rights for gays and lesbians, and his unfounded and dangerous belief that denying students access to proper sex education will keep them safe," said Nan Aron, president of the Alliance for Justice.

The National Stonewall Democrats, a gay Democratic political group, said it would join groups like the Alliance for Justice in monitoring Allen's responses to questions during his upcoming Senate confirmation hearing.

"Allen's nomination is an opportunity for him to explain whether, and how, he has outgrown these beliefs," said NSD Executive Director Dave Noble, in referring to Allen's 1984 reference to gays as "queers." "Democrats have dramatically widened their understanding of the gay and lesbian community over the past two decades, and I would hope that Allen has done the same," Noble said.

Earlier this year, Allen told a meeting of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS that he understood the special AIDS prevention needs for high-risk groups such as gay men. He said he would not oppose HIV prevention programs advocating condom use under certain circumstances.

But administration critics note that Allen has pushed for HIV prevention programs in the nation's public schools that advocate abstaining from all sexual relations until marriage. Gay and AIDS activists have said such a position is harmful to gay youth, who know that marriage is not an option for them and who need information about how to protect themselves from HIV.

In addition to Maryland and Virginia, the 4th Circuit includes West Virginia and North and South Carolina. Although the 4th Circuit has one of the largest minority populations among the appeals court circuits, it has had the fewest number of minority judges.

During the Clinton administration, Republicans in the Senate blocked four African-American nominees named by Clinton to the 4th Circuit on grounds that they were too liberal. Clinton argued that his nominees were moderates and that the motive of the Republican opponents was to retain the 4th Circuit's status as a conservative appeals court.

Political observers say a number of Democratic senators who oppose Allen's positions on the issues are likely to vote for his confirmation on grounds that more minorities are needed on the 4th Circuit bench.

Aron of the Alliance for Justice acknowledged in an April 29 statement that race could play a role in the Allen nomination given that Allen is black.

"While I congratulate President Bush for recognizing, albeit belatedly, the need for racial diversity on this court, which has the highest percentage of African-American citizens of any circuit, his nomination of Claude Allen only proves further the White House's determination to make judicial nominations a dividing, rather than uniting, issue."

HRC meets Mosman

In a related development, another Bush judicial nominee, who is credited with successfully lobbying Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell to uphold Georgia's anti-gay sodomy law in 1986, told gay activists and the Portland Oregonian last week that he does not harbor anti-gay views.

The nominee, Michael Mosman, was a law clerk to the late Justice Powell in the 1980s. Two recently published books report that he argued forcefully behind the scenes in support of the Georgia sodomy law, reportedly prompting Powell to cast the deciding vote in favor of the law in the landmark 1986 decision known as Bowers vs. Hardwick. Bush now wants him to serve as a U.S. District Court judge in Oregon.

Mosman's nomination has been backed by both of the U.S. senators from Oregon, Democrat Ron Wyden and Republican Gordon Smith, who are also generally supportive of gay rights and have called for the reversal of Bowers vs. Hardwick. Senators are typically influential in the selection of federal judges, putting Mosman and his Senate backers in a difficult political position, according to a report in the Portlane Oregonian.

According to the newspaper, Mosman met on April 25 with representatives of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay political group, and an Oregon gay rights group. Mosman currently serves as U.S. Attorney for Oregon.

The newspaper said Mosman told its editorial board on April 28 that he personally opposes sodomy laws and that, as an Oregon resident, he voted against anti-gay ballot initiatives in Oregon in 1992, 1994 and 2000. He said he treats gays with "respect and civility and tolerance," the newspaper said.

HRC spokesperson David Smith said HRC and the gay group Basic Rights Oregon would issue a joint statement late this week announcing whether the two groups support or oppose Mosman's nomination. Smith said the decision would be based on Mosman's meeting with the groups and the groups' consultation with U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), a gay rights supporter who has also met with Mosman.

Mosman called the meeting "productive" and said he was happy to answer questions raised by the gay representatives, the Oregonian reported.

Mosman did not return a call to the Blade by press time.

In another development, the Senate voted 52 to 41 on April 29 to confirm Bush's nomination of Jeffrey Sutton to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, which covers the states of Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. Sutton is among the Bush judicial nominees cited by the Alliance for Justice claims for having hostile views toward gay civil rights.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. can be reached at lchibbaro@washblade.com .

Posted by Lisa at 04:29 PM
Shrub Pulls A Bait And Switch On The World Health Organization's Anti-tobacco Treaty

This just in from the Daily Show:

...the U.S. has told the World Health Organization it will not sign a groundbreaking treaty to curb global tobacco use, a treaty negotiated by 171 countries. The U.S. will only sign the treaty, and this is true, if a clause is added allowing us to opt-out of any part of the treaty at any time. It's the latest twist of theh Bush Administration's practice of only signing International Treaties ironically.

So to sum up, America's current even handed stance on international relations is "we do what we want, you do what we want."

A policy encapsulated on Airforce One's latest novelty bumpersticker "How's my diplomacy? Call 1-800-EAT SHIT."

Tobacco Shrub - Anti-tobacco Treaty Bait and Switch (Small - 3 MB)
Tobacco Shrub - Anti-tobacco Treaty Bait and Switch (Hi-Res - 34 MB)




The Daily Show -- the best news on television.

Posted by Lisa at 03:35 PM
April 30, 2003
Bush v. Bush

Why hasn't anybody in the popular press put together this kind of comparison?

This is another one of those, "That's hilarious!" (laugh until I cry) kind of moments.

By committing our country to years of "nationbuilding" in Iraq, the Shrub is doing exactly what he promised he wouldn't do when he was running for President in 2000.

I suppose the rationale is that 911 changed his mind. (So let's just get that out of the way.)

Anyway here it is. I'm gonna go get a coffee while the high resolution version is crunching. Then it will take a while longer to upload that sucker (it'll be a biggie).

Also note the MP3 of the audio below -- this sounds just as great without the pictures -- and I've also uploaded the uncompressed AIFF file -- so that those of you who are so inclined can do your creative mischief.

Enjoy!

Daily Show: Bush v. Bush (Small - 13 MB)

Uploading as of 10:45 am PST: Daily Show: Bush v. Bush (Hi-res - 160 MB)

Daily Show: Bush v. Bush (MP3 - 8 MB)

Uncompressed AIFF file - Daily Show: Bush v. Bush (45 MB)






The Daily Show -- the best news on television.

Posted by Lisa at 09:21 AM
April 18, 2003
Judges Finally Stand Up For Justice In Cheney Suit

Judge questions Bush request to halt Cheney suit
By the Associated Press (in the Houston Chronicle).


A federal appeals court today questioned the Bush administration's request to stop a lawsuit delving into Vice President Dick Cheney's contacts with energy industry executives and lobbyists.

Appeals Judges Harry Edwards and David Tatel suggested the White House had no legal basis for asking them to block a lower court judge from letting the case proceed.

The Bush administration took the unusual step of coming to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in the midst of the case.

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan has ruled that the Sierra Club and Judicial Watch may be entitled to a limited amount of information about the meetings Cheney and his aides had with the energy industry in formulating the White House's energy plan.

The plan, adopted four months after President Bush took office, favored opening up public lands to oil and gas drilling and a wide range of other steps backed by industry.

Among the industry executives that the Cheney energy task force has acknowledged meeting with were former Enron Corp. chief executive Ken Lay.

Tatel, an appointee of President Clinton, said the administration has failed to show that it is suffering legal harm at the hands of the lower court. Edwards, a Carter-era appointee, told a government attorney flatly that "you have no authority" to ask the appeals court to intervene in the middle of the lawsuit.

The government is seeking "a modest extension" of a previous court ruling, responded Gregory Katsas, a deputy assistant attorney general.

The third member of the panel, Appeals Judge A. Raymond Randolph, expressed doubt that the Cheney task force is required to disclose information about its inner workings. However, Randolph, an appointee of Bush's father, also questioned whether the administration should be seeking appeals court intervention.

Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:

http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/business/1872197

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April 17, 2003, 11:01AM
Judge questions Bush request to halt Cheney suit
Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- A federal appeals court today questioned the Bush administration's request to stop a lawsuit delving into Vice President Dick Cheney's contacts with energy industry executives and lobbyists.

Appeals Judges Harry Edwards and David Tatel suggested the White House had no legal basis for asking them to block a lower court judge from letting the case proceed.

The Bush administration took the unusual step of coming to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in the midst of the case.

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan has ruled that the Sierra Club and Judicial Watch may be entitled to a limited amount of information about the meetings Cheney and his aides had with the energy industry in formulating the White House's energy plan.

The plan, adopted four months after President Bush took office, favored opening up public lands to oil and gas drilling and a wide range of other steps backed by industry.

Among the industry executives that the Cheney energy task force has acknowledged meeting with were former Enron Corp. chief executive Ken Lay.

Tatel, an appointee of President Clinton, said the administration has failed to show that it is suffering legal harm at the hands of the lower court. Edwards, a Carter-era appointee, told a government attorney flatly that "you have no authority" to ask the appeals court to intervene in the middle of the lawsuit.

The government is seeking "a modest extension" of a previous court ruling, responded Gregory Katsas, a deputy assistant attorney general.

The third member of the panel, Appeals Judge A. Raymond Randolph, expressed doubt that the Cheney task force is required to disclose information about its inner workings. However, Randolph, an appointee of Bush's father, also questioned whether the administration should be seeking appeals court intervention.

The Bush administration says it has demonstrated that the two private groups are not entitled to any information about the meetings between industry representatives and presidential aides, including the vice president.

The environmental group and the conservative group allege that participants from industry effectively became members of Cheney's task force in assembling the White House's energy policy.

Posted by Lisa at 09:23 AM
April 02, 2003
Red Alert = Martial Law

According to an interview with the New Jersey director of the office of counter-terrorism in the the South Jersey Courier Post Online, a red alert means that "all non-critical functions cease."


Red alert? Stay home, await word

Sunday, March 16, 2003

By TOM BALDWIN
Gannett State Bureau
TRENTON

If the nation escalates to "red alert," which is the highest in the color-coded readiness against terror, you will be assumed by authorities to be the enemy if you so much as venture outside your home, the state's anti-terror czar says.

"This state is on top of it," said Sid Caspersen, New Jersey's director of the office of counter-terrorism.

Caspersen, a former FBI agent, was briefing reporters, alongside Gov. James E. McGreevey, on Thursday, when for the first time he disclosed the realities of how a red alert would shut the state down.

A red alert would also tear away virtually all personal freedoms to move about and associate.

"Red means all noncritical functions cease," Caspersen said. "Noncritical would be almost all businesses, except health-related."

A red alert means there is a severe risk of terrorist attack, according to federal guidelines from the Department of Homeland Security.

"The state will restrict transportation and access to critical locations," says the state's new brochure on dealing with terrorism.

"You must adhere to the restrictions announced by authorities and prepare to evacuate, if instructed. Stay alert for emergency messages."

Caspersen went further than the brochure. "The government agencies would run at a very low threshold," he said.

"The state police and the emergency management people would take control over the highways.

"You literally are staying home, is what happens, unless you are required to be out. No different than if you had a state of emergency with a snowstorm."

Here's text on what a red alert is from the Homeland Security website:


5. Severe Condition (Red). A Severe Condition reflects a severe risk of terrorist attacks. Under most circumstances, the Protective Measures for a Severe Condition are not intended to be sustained for substantial periods of time. In addition to the Protective Measures in the previous Threat Conditions, Federal departments and agencies also should consider the following general measures in addition to the agency-specific Protective Measures that they will develop and implement:
1. Increasing or redirecting personnel to address critical emergency needs;
2. Assigning emergency response personnel and pre-positioning and mobilizing specially trained teams or resources;
3. Monitoring, redirecting, or constraining transportation systems; and
4. Closing public and government facilities.

Posted by Lisa at 07:59 AM
March 30, 2003
New Michael Moore Movie In The Works

Michael Moore plans Bush-bin Laden film


"The senior Bush kept his ties with the bin Laden family up until two months after Sept. 11," said Moore.

Moore told Variety the primary focus of the new project will be to examine what has happened to the United States since the Sept. 11 terrorist attack. He accused the Bush administration of using a tragic event to push its agenda.

"It (the new project) certainly does deal with the Bush and bin Laden ties," said Moore. "It asks a number of questions that I don't have the answers to yet, but which I intend to find out."

Moore said he expects the new movie to be in U.S. theaters in time for the 2004 presidential election...

"I expressed exactly what was in the film and instead of being blacklisted, I've not only gotten a deal to fund 'Fahrenheit 911' but offers on the film after," he said. "Presales on ('Bowling for Columbine's') video release ran ahead of 'Chicago' this week, and my book is returning to the top spot on the New York Times best-seller list."

Moore said the success of his documentary and book reflects majority public support for his political argument.

"It's because the majority of Americans agree with me, see the economy in the toilet and didn't vote for George W," he said. "People are now realizing you can question your government while still caring about the soldiers."

Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:

http://www.upi.com/view.cfm?StoryID=20030328-032440-7289r

Michael Moore plans Bush-bin Laden film

From the Life & Mind Desk
Published 3/28/2003 4:00 PM
View printer-friendly version

LOS ANGELES, March 28 (UPI) -- Filmmaker Michael Moore's next project might be more controversial than his Oscar-winning documentary "Bowling for Columbine."

According to a report in Friday's Daily Variety, Moore is working on a documentary about the "the murky relationship" between former President George Bush and the family of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden. The paper said the movie, "Fahrenheit 911," will suggest that the bin Laden family profited greatly from the association.

Moore's anti-war, anti-Bush Oscar acceptance speech provoked a mixture of cheers and boos at the Academy Awards last Sunday.

In addition to the Best Documentary Oscar, "Bowling for Columbine" also had an extraordinarily robust bottom line. Made for about $3 million, it has grossed nearly $40 million worldwide -- making it one of the most commercially successful documentaries of all time.

Variety reported that Moore is working out a deal with Mel Gibson's production company, Icon Productions, to finance "Fahrenheit 911."

According to Moore, the former president had a business relationship with Osama bin Laden's father, Mohammed bin Laden, a Saudi construction magnate who left $300 million to Osama bin Laden. It has been widely reported that bin Laden used the inheritance to finance global terrorism.

Moore said the bin Laden family was heavily invested in the Carlyle Group, a private global investment firm that the filmmaker said frequently buys failing defense companies and then sells them at a profit. Former President Bush has reportedly served as a senior adviser with the firm.

"The senior Bush kept his ties with the bin Laden family up until two months after Sept. 11," said Moore.

Moore told Variety the primary focus of the new project will be to examine what has happened to the United States since the Sept. 11 terrorist attack. He accused the Bush administration of using a tragic event to push its agenda.

"It (the new project) certainly does deal with the Bush and bin Laden ties," said Moore. "It asks a number of questions that I don't have the answers to yet, but which I intend to find out."

Moore said he expects the new movie to be in U.S. theaters in time for the 2004 presidential election.

While some critics accused Moore of being anti-American for his Oscar speech, Moore told Variety business has been very good for his movie and his best-selling book "Stupid White Men: And Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation."

"I expressed exactly what was in the film and instead of being blacklisted, I've not only gotten a deal to fund 'Fahrenheit 911' but offers on the film after," he said. "Presales on ('Bowling for Columbine's') video release ran ahead of 'Chicago' this week, and my book is returning to the top spot on the New York Times best-seller list."

Moore said the success of his documentary and book reflects majority public support for his political argument.

"It's because the majority of Americans agree with me, see the economy in the toilet and didn't vote for George W," he said. "People are now realizing you can question your government while still caring about the soldiers."

Posted by Lisa at 09:24 AM
March 28, 2003
"National Day Of Religious Fasting" Bill Passes House

A.K.A. Religiously-Ambiguous Bill Aims To Further Blur The Line Between Church And State

Since when is it the role of our government to determine when the public needs "fasting and prayer." Are they just trying to keep our protien levels low so we're easier to fool?

Which religious practices exactly are being advocated? Some new kind of All-American religion? The Church Of Shrub, perhaps?

Gee Mr. Shrub "President" Sir, I haven't sinned against humanity and I certainly don't need a government-sanctioned day of national fasting to redeem myself.

Will it be against the law (or looked down upon) to eat up during the national day of fasting?

What's next? Appetite suppressants to help us through our national day of fasting? (Perhaps government-issued appetite suppressants? Wait a minute...who'll get the contract?!)

(If this Administration would only put this much effort into feeding people...
Food sure has a crazy way of bringing people together too :-)

Recognizing the public need for fasting and prayer in order to secure the blessings and protection of Providence for the people of the United States and our Armed Forces during the... (Introduced in House)


Whereas all of the various faiths of the people of the United States have recognized, in our religious traditions, the need for fasting and humble supplication before Providence;

Whereas humility, fasting, and prayer in times of danger have long been rooted in our essential national convictions and have been a means of producing unity and solidarity among all the diverse people of this Nation as well as procuring the enduring grace and benevolence of God;

Whereas, through prayer, fasting, and self-reflection, we may better recognize our own faults and shortcomings and submit to the wisdom and love of God in order that we may have guidance and strength in those daily actions and decisions we must take; and

Whereas dangers and threats to our Nation persist and, in this time of peril, it is appropriate that the people of the United States, leaders and citizens alike, seek guidance, strength, and resolve through prayer and fasting: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that the President should issue a proclamation--

(1) designating a day for humility, prayer, and fasting for all people of the United States; and

(2) calling on all people of the United States--

(A) to observe the day as a time of prayer and fasting;

(B) to seek guidance from God to achieve a greater understanding of our own failings and to learn how we can do better in our everyday activities; and

(C) to gain resolve in meeting the challenges that confront our Nation.

Here is the full text of the document in case the link goes bad:

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?c108:2:./temp/~c108e9fu5P::

Bill 2 of 2
There is 1 other version of this bill.
GPO's PDF version of this bill References to this bill in the Congressional Record Link to the Bill Summary & Status file. Printer Friendly Display - 4,229 bytes.[Help]
Recognizing the public need for fasting and prayer in order to secure the blessings and protection of Providence for the people of the United States and our Armed Forces during the... (Introduced in House)

HRES 153 IH

108th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. RES. 153

Recognizing the public need for fasting and prayer in order to secure the blessings and protection of Providence for the people of the United States and our Armed Forces during the conflict in Iraq and under the threat of terrorism at home.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

March 20, 2003

Mr. AKIN (for himself, Mr. GOODE, Mr. BARTLETT of Maryland, Mr. JONES of North Carolina, Mr. KING of Iowa, Mr. HAYES, Mrs. JO ANN DAVIS of Virginia, Mr. BEAUPREZ, Ms. CORRINE BROWN of Florida, Mr. MANZULLO, Mr. ADERHOLT, Mr. TIAHRT, Mr. PITTS, Mr. RYUN of Kansas, Mrs. MYRICK, Mr. WELDON of Florida, Mr. BISHOP of Utah, Mr. BARRETT of South Carolina, Mr. MILLER of Florida, Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN, Mr. GINGREY, Mr. TERRY, and Mr. SOUDER) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Government Reform

RESOLUTION

Recognizing the public need for fasting and prayer in order to secure the blessings and protection of Providence for the people of the United States and our Armed Forces during the conflict in Iraq and under the threat of terrorism at home.

Whereas the United States is currently engaged in a war on terrorism in response to the attacks of September 11, 2001;

Whereas the Armed Forces of the United States are currently engaged in a campaign to disarm the regime of Saddam Hussein and liberate the people of Iraq;

Whereas, on June 1, 1774, the Virginia House of Burgesses called for a day of fasting and prayer as an expression of solidarity with the people of Boston who were under siege by the enemy;

Whereas, on March 16, 1776, the Continental Congress, recognizing that the `Liberties of America are imminently endangered' and the need `to acknowledge the overruling Providence of God', called for a day of `Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer';

Whereas, on June 28, 1787, during the debate of the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin, convinced of God's intimate involvement in human affairs, implored the Congress to seek the assistance of Heaven in all its dealings;

Whereas, on March 30, 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln, at the bequest of the Senate, and himself recognizing the need of the Nation to humble itself before God in repentance for its national sins, proclaimed a day of fasting, prayer and humiliation;

Whereas all of the various faiths of the people of the United States have recognized, in our religious traditions, the need for fasting and humble supplication before Providence;

Whereas humility, fasting, and prayer in times of danger have long been rooted in our essential national convictions and have been a means of producing unity and solidarity among all the diverse people of this Nation as well as procuring the enduring grace and benevolence of God;

Whereas, through prayer, fasting, and self-reflection, we may better recognize our own faults and shortcomings and submit to the wisdom and love of God in order that we may have guidance and strength in those daily actions and decisions we must take; and

Whereas dangers and threats to our Nation persist and, in this time of peril, it is appropriate that the people of the United States, leaders and citizens alike, seek guidance, strength, and resolve through prayer and fasting: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that the President should issue a proclamation--

(1) designating a day for humility, prayer, and fasting for all people of the United States; and

(2) calling on all people of the United States--

(A) to observe the day as a time of prayer and fasting;

(B) to seek guidance from God to achieve a greater understanding of our own failings and to learn how we can do better in our everyday activities; and

(C) to gain resolve in meeting the challenges that confront our Nation.


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Posted by Lisa at 10:27 PM
March 27, 2003
Now That's What I Call "Taking Out The Competition"

Update: 3/27/03, 12:43pm -- Damn, I thought this story had just happened when I posted it this morning -- which is why I was so shocked. Luckily, a reader tipped me off that the story was from a while ago. So, although I think it's relevant to what's going on now, the story itself is not going on now, so I thought I'd better clarify that. (I don't want anybody to make the same mistake I did -- and I want to be able to do this news thing right when I attempt to do it.)

The above is just a longwinded way of saying that this story is from November 13, 2001.

Now I have to take this story out of "Peace Watch" and create some other category for these kinds of stories. There's nothing peaceful about this story or some of the other stories I've been posting in Peace Watch and I guess I'm going to have to create another friggin' category for all of this violent and humanitarian/casualties of war type stuff. That really sucks, but it's the way it's got to be. Peace Watch is supposed to be about diplomacy-related happenings. There simply aren't any right now. So I shouldn't clutter my hopeful category with violent stories as if somehow the violence is going to lead to peace.

Al-Jazeera Kabul offices hit in US raid


This office has been known by everybody, the American airplanes know the location of the office, they know we are broadcasting from there

Al-Jazeera Managing Director Mohammed Jasim al-Ali
The Qatar-based satellite channel, which gained global fame for its exclusive access to Osama Bin Laden and the Taleban, announced that none of its staff had been wounded.

But al-Jazeera's managing director Mohammed Jasim al-Ali, told BBC News Online that the channel's 12 employees in Kabul were out of contact.

Mr Jasim would not speculate as to whether the offices were deliberately targeted, but said the location of the bureau was widely known by everyone, including the Americans...

Al-Jazeera has a reputation for outspoken, independent reporting - in stark contrast to the Taleban's views of the media as a propaganda and religious tool.

But the channel has been viewed with suspicion by politicians in the West and envy by media organisations ever since the start of the US-led military action in Afghanistan...

The banner of al-Jazeera
The channel says its guiding principles are "diversity of viewpoints and real-time news coverage"

Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/1653887.stm

Tuesday, 13 November, 2001, 13:48 GMT
Al-Jazeera Kabul offices hit in US raid
Afghan boy in the ruins of the al-Jazeera office
The channel says everybody knew where the office was, including the Americans
The Kabul offices of the Arab satellite al-Jazeera channel have been destroyed by a US missile.

This office has been known by everybody, the American airplanes know the location of the office, they know we are broadcasting from there

Al-Jazeera Managing Director Mohammed Jasim al-Ali
The Qatar-based satellite channel, which gained global fame for its exclusive access to Osama Bin Laden and the Taleban, announced that none of its staff had been wounded.

But al-Jazeera's managing director Mohammed Jasim al-Ali, told BBC News Online that the channel's 12 employees in Kabul were out of contact.

Mr Jasim would not speculate as to whether the offices were deliberately targeted, but said the location of the bureau was widely known by everyone, including the Americans.

He also expressed concern at reports that Northern Alliance fighters were singling out Arabs in the city since they took over early on Tuesday.

Critical situation

The station said in an earlier report the bureau had been hit by shells when the Afghan opposition forces entered the capital.

Al-Jazeera confirmed later that it was a US missile that destroyed the building and damaged the homes of some employees.

Al-Jazeera presenter
The station has been viewed with suspicion in the West for its access to the Taleban
"The situation is very critical," Mr Jasim told the BBC from the channel's offices in Doha.

"This office has been known by everybody, the American airplanes know the location of the office, they know we are broadcasting from there," he said.

He said there had been no contact with Kabul correspondent Taysir Alluni because all their equipment had been destroyed.

The Northern Alliance has reportedly ordered most reporters in Kabul to gather at the Inter-Continental Hotel.

"Now that the Northern Alliance has taken over, it is too dangerous," Mr Jasim said, adding that he had heard that some Arabs had been killed.

Taleban withdrawal

Earlier, al-Jazeera correspondent Yusuf al-Shuli quoted Taleban officials in their southern stronghold of Kandahar as saying they had withdrawn from the cities to spare the civilians air bombardment and acts of vengeance by the Northern Alliance.

Al-Jazeera footage of three boys reported to be Bin Laden's sons
Al-Jazeera said these three boys are Bin Laden's sons
"They told us that reoccupying these cities will not take long once the air cover that supports the Northern Alliance is over," he said.

He said there was a "mixture of anger, despair, and disappointment among most people" in Kandahar at the fall of Kabul, but the situation there was calm.

Al-Jazeera has a reputation for outspoken, independent reporting - in stark contrast to the Taleban's views of the media as a propaganda and religious tool.

But the channel has been viewed with suspicion by politicians in the West and envy by media organisations ever since the start of the US-led military action in Afghanistan.

Exclusive access

For a time it was the only media outlet with any access to Taleban-held territory and the Islamic militia itself.

It broadcast the only video pictures of Afghan demonstrators attacking and setting fire to the US embassy in Kabul on 26 September.

The banner of al-Jazeera
The channel says its guiding principles are "diversity of viewpoints and real-time news coverage"
Most controversially, it was the first channel to air video tapes of Osama Bin Laden urging Muslims to rise up against the West in a holy war.

Last week it showed footage of three young boys reported to be Bin Laden's sons.

Western governments at one stage warned that the channel was being used by the al-Qaeda network to pass on coded messages to supporters around the world.

Posted by Lisa at 12:57 PM
We're Taking Iraq And We're Keeping It -- Any Questions?

In case you were wondering, "yes" the Shrub's Administration has thrown diplomacy completely out the window.

U.S. Says Will Not Cede Control of Iraq to U.N.


"We didn't take on this huge burden with our coalition partners not to be able to have a significant dominating control over how it unfolds in the future," Powell told a House of Representatives subcommittee.

"We would not support ... essentially handing everything over to the U.N. for someone designated by the U.N. to suddenly become in charge of this whole operation," he added.

"We have picked on a greater obligation -- to make sure there is a functioning Iraqi government that is supported by the coalition, the center of gravity remaining with the coalition, military and civilian," he said.

Powell said the United Nations should, however, have a role in a post-Saddam Iraq, if only because it makes it easier for other countries to contribute to reconstruction costs...

The coalition is the Bush administration's term for the United States, Britain and the other minor contributors to the invasion of Iraq they launched last week.

The question of the U.N. role has come to the fore in the last few days because of debates in New York on the terms for releasing Iraqi oil money to pay for humanitarian relief.


Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story2&cid=584&ncid=584&e=4&u=/nm/20030326/pl_nm/iraq_usa_un_dc

U.S. Says Will Not Cede Control of Iraq to U.N.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States will not cede control of Iraq (news - web sites) to the United Nations (news - web sites) if and when it overthrows President Saddam Hussein (news - web sites), Secretary of State Colin Powell (news - web sites) said on Wednesday.

"We didn't take on this huge burden with our coalition partners not to be able to have a significant dominating control over how it unfolds in the future," Powell told a House of Representatives subcommittee.

"We would not support ... essentially handing everything over to the U.N. for someone designated by the U.N. to suddenly become in charge of this whole operation," he added.

"We have picked on a greater obligation -- to make sure there is a functioning Iraqi government that is supported by the coalition, the center of gravity remaining with the coalition, military and civilian," he said.

Powell said the United Nations should, however, have a role in a post-Saddam Iraq, if only because it makes it easier for other countries to contribute to reconstruction costs.

"If we ask these nations to go get funds from their parliaments, it makes it a lot easier for them to get those funds and contribute those funds to the reconstruction effort ... if it has an international standing," he said.

The coalition is the Bush administration's term for the United States, Britain and the other minor contributors to the invasion of Iraq they launched last week.

The question of the U.N. role has come to the fore in the last few days because of debates in New York on the terms for releasing Iraqi oil money to pay for humanitarian relief.

The problem is expected to loom even larger if the United States takes control in Baghdad and then starts managing the Iraqi oil industry or seeking funds for reconstruction.

Washington will argue that as the victor it has the right to manage the transition to an Iraqi civilian government. Its opponents will say that the invasion was illegal and that the United Nations cannot endorse it retroactively.

Powell was speaking to the Commerce, Justice, State and Judiciary subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee.

Posted by Lisa at 10:39 AM
March 26, 2003
More On The Halliburton Contract

"Cost plus" basis huh?
Iraq rebuilding contracts awarded
Halliburton, Stevedoring Services of America get government contracts for early relief work.
By Mark Gongloff for CNN/Money.


The Army Corps of Engineers told CNN Tuesday that Halliburton would be paid on a "cost plus" basis, meaning it would be reimbursed for the costs of its work and would get a certain percentage of those costs as a fee.

Since it's still unknown how much damage has been or will be done to Iraqi oil fields in the war, it's difficult to estimate the contract's eventual dollar value.

But its biggest value could be that it puts Halliburton in a prime position to handle the complete refurbishment of Iraq's long-neglected oil infrastructure, which will be a plum job.

Getting Iraq's oil fields to pre-1991 production levels will take at least 18 months and cost about $5 billion initially, with $3 billion more in annual operating expenses, according to a recent study by the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University, named for the first President Bush's secretary of state during the first Gulf War.

"Certainly Halliburton would have the lead [in the competition for that job], even absent this contract, given the size and scope of their current operations," said Pierre Conner, an analyst with Hibernia Southcoast Capital. "But there's no question they'll start with some footprint there. It clearly puts them in the position where they will know more about the situation and have a bit of an operation there."

Though none of the potential administrators of such a contract -- including the Defense Department, the State Department's U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United Nations -- have claimed responsibility for handing out the job, Monday's award and Bush's request for funding seem to indicate the U.S. government will be in charge.

Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:

http://money.cnn.com/2003/03/25/news/companies/war_contracts/index.htm

Save a link to this article and return to it at www.savethis.comSave a link to this article and return to it at www.savethis.com Email a link to this articleEmail a link to this article Printer-friendly version of this articlePrinter-friendly version of this article View a list of the most popular articles on our siteView a list of the most popular articles on our site

Iraq rebuilding contracts awarded
Halliburton, Stevedoring Services of America get government contracts for early relief work.
March 25, 2003: 4:33 PM EST
By Mark Gongloff, CNN/Money Staff Writer

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - The first contracts for rebuilding post-war Iraq have been awarded, and Vice President Dick Cheney's old employer, Halliburton Co., is one of the early winners.

The Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR) unit of Halliburton (HAL: up $0.54 to $20.66, Research, Estimates), of which Cheney was CEO from 1995 to 2000, said late Monday that it was awarded a contract by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to put out oil fires and make emergency repairs to Iraq's oil infrastructure.

President Bush Tuesday asked Congress for $489.3 million to cover the cost of repairing damage to Iraq's oil facilities, much or all of which could go to Halliburton or its subcontractors under the terms of its contract with the Army.

Cheney divested himself of all interest in Halliburton, the largest U.S. oilfield services company, after the 2000 election.

Halliburton wouldn't speculate about the total monetary value or duration of its contract, under which it will put into action some of the firefighting and repair plans it outlined for the Army in a study it conducted in November.

"KBR's ... contract is limited to task orders under the contract for only those services which are necessary to support the mission in the near term," Halliburton spokeswoman Wendy Hall said.

The Army Corps of Engineers told CNN Tuesday that Halliburton would be paid on a "cost plus" basis, meaning it would be reimbursed for the costs of its work and would get a certain percentage of those costs as a fee.

Since it's still unknown how much damage has been or will be done to Iraqi oil fields in the war, it's difficult to estimate the contract's eventual dollar value.

But its biggest value could be that it puts Halliburton in a prime position to handle the complete refurbishment of Iraq's long-neglected oil infrastructure, which will be a plum job.

Getting Iraq's oil fields to pre-1991 production levels will take at least 18 months and cost about $5 billion initially, with $3 billion more in annual operating expenses, according to a recent study by the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University, named for the first President Bush's secretary of state during the first Gulf War.

"Certainly Halliburton would have the lead [in the competition for that job], even absent this contract, given the size and scope of their current operations," said Pierre Conner, an analyst with Hibernia Southcoast Capital. "But there's no question they'll start with some footprint there. It clearly puts them in the position where they will know more about the situation and have a bit of an operation there."

Though none of the potential administrators of such a contract -- including the Defense Department, the State Department's U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United Nations -- have claimed responsibility for handing out the job, Monday's award and Bush's request for funding seem to indicate the U.S. government will be in charge.

Halliburton said it has subcontracted the firefighting portion of the Army contract to Houston-based companies Boots & Coots International Well Control Inc. (WEL: up $0.06 to $1.16, Research, Estimates) and Wild Well Control Inc., a private company.

Hall of Halliburton said all oil fires should be put out within 240 days. Very few oil wells have been set ablaze by Iraqis so far, in contrast to the first Gulf War in 1991, when Iraqi troops retreating from Kuwait set fire to more than 700 Kuwaiti oil wells. Halliburton's KBR unit was involved in putting out the 1991 fires.

Separately, USAID late Monday awarded a $4.8 million contract to Stevedoring Services of America (SSA), a private company based in Seattle, to manage the Umm Qasr ports in southern Iraq.

Umm Qasr's ports, where U.S. and British troops have struggled for full control, are seen as critical to efforts to bring humanitarian relief to Iraqis. SSA will handle several tasks, including assessing the need for dredging and repairs to the ports, and unloading and warehousing cargo.

USAID plans to issue seven other contracts, including one for $600 million for general construction work in post-war Iraq. Halliburton is among several companies reported to have put in bids for that contract.

Posted by Lisa at 10:44 AM
Daily Show News Piece On The Iraq Halliburton Contract

The Daily Show is turning out to be a vital source of news and information during this war.

Jon and the gang are gracious as always as they connect the frightening, depressing dots. (Note: here's an update on some developments in this situation since this clip was originally posted.)
Daily Show On Halliburton Contract (Small 9 MB)



Little Halliburton Movie (Hi-res 8 MB)

Posted by Lisa at 10:20 AM
March 23, 2003
It's All About The Euro, Baby! (?)

Is this all about Saddam switching to the Euro?

Mmmmnnahh--could be?!

"Not Oil, But Dollars vs. Euros"


America's Bush administration has been caught in outright lies, gross
exaggerations and incredible inaccuracies as it trotted out its litany of
paper thin excuses for making war on Iraq. Along with its two supporters,
Britain and Australia, it has shifted its ground and reversed its position
with a barefaced contempt for its audience. It has manipulated information,
deceived by commission and omission and frantically "bought" UN votes with
billion dollar bribes.

Faced with the failure of gaining UN Security Council support for invading
Iraq, the USA has threatened to invade without authorisation. It would act
in breach of the UN's very constitution to allegedly enforced UN
resolutions.

It is plain bizarre. Where does this desperation for war come from?

There are many things driving President Bush and his administration to
invade Iraq, unseat Saddam Hussein and take over the country. But the
biggest one is hidden and very, very simple. It is about the currency used
to trade oil and consequently, who will dominate the world economically, in
the foreseeable future -- the USA or the European Union.

Iraq is a European Union beachhead in that confrontation. America had a
monopoly on the oil trade, with the US dollar being the fiat currency, but
Iraq broke ranks in 1999, started to trade oil in the EU's euros, and
profited. If America invades Iraq and takes over, it will hurl the EU and
its euro back into the sea and make America's position as the dominant
economic power in the world all but impregnable.

It is the biggest grab for world power in modern times.

Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:

http://slash.autonomedia.org/article.pl?sid=03/03/20/1330253&mode=nested

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Geoffrey Heard, "Not Oil, But Dollars vs. Euros"
posted by jim on Thursday March 20, @03:29AM
Printer-friendly layout | email this story
from the "money-money-money-money" dept.
News Aonymous Comrade writes:

"Not Oil, But Dollars vs. Euros"
Geoffrey Heard

Why is George Bush so hell bent on war with Iraq? Why does his
administration reject every positive Iraqi move? It all makes sense when you
consider the economic implications for the USA of not going to war with
Iraq. The war in Iraq is actually the US and Europe going head to head on
economic leadership of the world.

America's Bush administration has been caught in outright lies, gross
exaggerations and incredible inaccuracies as it trotted out its litany of
paper thin excuses for making war on Iraq. Along with its two supporters,
Britain and Australia, it has shifted its ground and reversed its position
with a barefaced contempt for its audience. It has manipulated information,
deceived by commission and omission and frantically "bought" UN votes with
billion dollar bribes.

Faced with the failure of gaining UN Security Council support for invading
Iraq, the USA has threatened to invade without authorisation. It would act
in breach of the UN's very constitution to allegedly enforced UN
resolutions.

It is plain bizarre. Where does this desperation for war come from?

There are many things driving President Bush and his administration to
invade Iraq, unseat Saddam Hussein and take over the country. But the
biggest one is hidden and very, very simple. It is about the currency used
to trade oil and consequently, who will dominate the world economically, in
the foreseeable future -- the USA or the European Union.

Iraq is a European Union beachhead in that confrontation. America had a
monopoly on the oil trade, with the US dollar being the fiat currency, but
Iraq broke ranks in 1999, started to trade oil in the EU's euros, and
profited. If America invades Iraq and takes over, it will hurl the EU and
its euro back into the sea and make America's position as the dominant
economic power in the world all but impregnable.

It is the biggest grab for world power in modern times.

America's allies in the invasion, Britain and Australia, are betting America
will win and that they will get some trickle-down benefits for jumping on to
the US bandwagon.

France and Germany are the spearhead of the European force -- Russia would
like to go European but possibly can still be bought off.

Presumably, China would like to see the Europeans build a share of
international trade currency ownership at this point while it continues to
grow its international trading presence to the point where it, too, can
share the leadership rewards.

DEBATE BUILDING ON THE INTERNET

Oddly, little or nothing is appearing in the general media about this issue,
although key people are becoming aware of it -- note the recent slide in the
value of the US dollar. Are traders afraid of war? They are more likely to
be afraid there will not be war.

But despite the silence in the general media, a major world discussion is
developing around this issue, particularly on the internet. Among the many
articles: Henry Liu, in the 'Asia Times' last June, it has been a hot topic
on the Feasta forum, an Irish-based group exploring sustainable economics,
and W. Clark's "The Real Reasons for the Upcoming War with Iraq: A
Macroeconomic and Geostrategic Analysis of the Unspoken Truth" has been
published by the 'Sierra Times', 'Indymedia.org', and 'ratical.org'.

This debate is not about whether America would suffer from losing the US
dollar monopoly on oil trading -- that is a given -- rather it is about
exactly how hard the USA would be hit. The smart money seems to be saying
the impact would be in the range from severe to catastrophic. The USA could
collapse economically.

OIL DOLLARS

The key to it all is the fiat currency for trading oil.

Under an OPEC agreement, all oil has been traded in US dollars since 1971
(after the dropping of the gold standard) which makes the US dollar the de
facto major international trading currency. If other nations have to hoard
dollars to buy oil, then they want to use that hoard for other trading too.
This fact gives America a huge trading advantage and helps make it the
dominant economy in the world.

As an economic bloc, the European Union is the only challenger to the USA's
economic position, and it created the euro to challenge the dollar in
international markets. However, the EU is not yet united behind the euro --
there is a lot of jingoistic national politics involved, not least in
Britain -- and in any case, so long as nations throughout the world must
hoard dollars to buy oil, the euro can make only very limited inroads into
the dollar's dominance.

In 1999, Iraq, with the world's second largest oil reserves, switched to
trading its oil in euros. American analysts fell about laughing; Iraq had
just made a mistake that was going to beggar the nation. But two years on,
alarm bells were sounding; the euro was rising against the dollar, Iraq had
given itself a huge economic free kick by switching.

Iran started thinking about switching too; Venezuela, the 4th largest oil
producer, began looking at it and has been cutting out the dollar by
bartering oil with several nations including America's bete noir, Cuba.
Russia is seeking to ramp up oil production with Europe (trading in euros)
an obvious market.

The greenback's grip on oil trading and consequently on world trade in
general, was under serious threat. If America did not stamp on this
immediately, this economic brushfire could rapidly be fanned into a wildfire
capable of consuming the US's economy and its dominance of world trade.

HOW DOES THE US GET ITS DOLLAR ADVANTAGE?

Imagine this: you are deep in debt but every day you write cheques for
millions of dollars you don't have -- another luxury car, a holiday home at
the beach, the world trip of a lifetime.

Your cheques should be worthless but they keep buying stuff because those
cheques you write never reach the bank! You have an agreement with the
owners of one thing everyone wants, call it petrol/gas, that they will
accept only your cheques as payment. This means everyone must hoard your
cheques so they can buy petrol/gas. Since they have to keep a stock of your
cheques, they use them to buy other stuff too. You write a cheque to buy a
TV, the TV shop owner swaps your cheque for petrol/gas, that seller buys
some vegetables at the fruit shop, the fruiterer passes it on to buy bread,
the baker buys some flour with it, and on it goes, round and round -- but
never back to the bank.

You have a debt on your books, but so long as your cheque never reaches the
bank, you don't have to pay. In effect, you have received your TV free.

This is the position the USA has enjoyed for 30 years -- it has been getting
a free world trade ride for all that time. It has been receiving a huge
subsidy from everyone else in the world. As it debt has been growing, it has
printed more money (written more cheques) to keep trading. No wonder it is
an economic powerhouse!

Then one day, one petrol seller says he is going to accept another person's
cheques, a couple of others think that might be a good idea. If this
spreads, people are going to stop hoarding your cheques and they will come
flying home to the bank. Since you don't have enough in the bank to cover
all the cheques, very nasty stuff is going to hit the fan!

But you are big, tough and very aggressive. You don't scare the other guy
who can write cheques, he's pretty big too, but given a 'legitimate' excuse,
you can beat the tripes out of the lone gas seller and scare him and his
mates into submission.

And that, in a nutshell, is what the USA is doing right now with Iraq.

AMERICA'S PRECARIOUS ECONOMIC POSITION

America is so eager to attack Iraq now because of the speed with which the
euro fire could spread. If Iran, Venezuela and Russia join Iraq and sell
large quantities of oil for euros, the euro would have the leverage it needs
to become a powerful force in general international trade. Other nations
would have to start swapping some of their dollars for euros.

The dollars the USA has printed, the 'cheques' it has written, would start
to fly home, stripping away the illusion of value behind them. The USA's
real economic condition is about as bad as it could be; it is the most
debt-ridden nation on earth, owing about US$12,000 for every single one of
it's 280 million men, women and children. It is worse than the position of
Indonesia when it imploded economically a few years ago, or more recently,
that of Argentina.

Even if OPEC did not switch to euros wholesale (and that would make a very
nice non-oil profit for the OPEC countries, including minimising the various
contrived debts America has forced on some of them), the US's difficulties
would build. Even if only a small part of the oil trade went euro, that
would do two things immediately:

* Increase the attractiveness to EU members of joining the 'eurozone', which
in turn would make the euro stronger and make it more attractive to oil
nations as a trading currency and to other nations as a general trading
currency.

* Start the US dollars flying home demanding value when there isn't enough
in the bank to cover them.

* The markets would over-react as usual and in no time, the US dollar's
value would be spiralling down.

THE US SOLUTION

America's response to the euro threat was predictable. It has come out
fighting.

It aims to achieve four primary things by going to war with Iraq:

* Safeguard the American economy by returning Iraq to trading oil in US
dollars, so the greenback is once again the exclusive oil currency.

* Send a very clear message to any other oil producers just what will happen
to them if they do not stay in the dollar circle. Iran has already received
one message -- remember how puzzled you were that in the midst of moderation
and secularization, Iran was named as a member of the axis of evil?

* Place the second largest reserves of oil in the world under direct
American control.

* Provide a secular, subject state where the US can maintain a huge force
(perhaps with nominal elements from allies such as Britain and Australia) to
dominate the Middle East and its vital oil. This would enable the US to
avoid using what it sees as the unreliable Turkey, the politically
impossible Israel and surely the next state in its sights, Saudi Arabia, the
birthplace of al Qaeda and a hotbed of anti-American sentiment.

* Severe setback the European Union and its euro, the only trading bloc and
currency strong enough to attack the USA's dominance of world trade through
the dollar.

* Provide cover for the US to run a covert operation to overturn the
democratically elected government of Venezuela and replace it with an
America-friendly military supported junta -- and put Venezuala's oil into
American hands.

Locking the world back into dollar oil trading would consolidate America's
current position and make it all but impregnable as the dominant world
power -- economically and militarily. A splintered Europe (the US is working
hard to split Europe; Britain was easy, but other Europeans have offered
support in terms of UN votes) and its euro would suffer a serious setback
and might take decades to recover.

It is the boldest grab for absolute power the world has seen in modern
times. America is hardly likely to allow the possible slaughter of a few
hundred thousand Iraqis stand between it and world domination.

President Bush did promise to protect the American way of life. This is what
he meant.

JUSTIFYING WAR

Obviously, the US could not simply invade Iraq, so it began casting around
for a 'legitimate' reason to attack. That search has been one of increasing
desperation as each rationalization has crumbled. First Iraq was a threat
because of alleged links to al Qaeda; then it was proposed Iraq might supply
al Qaeda with weapons; then Iraq's military threat to its neighbours was
raised; then the need to deliver Iraqis from Saddam Hussein's horrendously
inhumane rule; finally there is the question of compliance with UN weapons
inspection.

The USA's justifications for invading Iraq are looking less impressive by
the day. The US's statements that it would invade Iraq unilaterally without
UN support and in defiance of the UN make a total nonsense of any American
claim that it is concerned about the world body's strength and standing.

The UN weapons inspectors have come up with minimal infringements of the UN
weapons limitations -- the final one being low tech rockets which exceed the
range allowed by about 20 percent. But there is no sign of the so-called
weapons of mass destruction (WMD) the US has so confidently asserted are to
be found. Colin Powell named a certain north Iraqi village as a threat. It
was not. He later admitted it was the wrong village.

'Newsweek' (24/2) has reported that while Bush officials have been
trumpeting the fact that key Iraqi defector, Lt. Gen. Hussein Kamel, told
the US in 1995 that Iraq had manufactured tonnes of nerve gas and anthrax
(Colin Powell's 5 February presentation to the UN was just one example) they
neglected to mention that Kamel had also told the US that these weapons had
been destroyed.

Parts of the US and particularly the British secret 'evidence' have been
shown to come from a student's masters thesis.

America's expressed concern about the Iraqi people's human rights and the
country's lack of democracy are simply not supported by the USA's history of
intervention in other states nor by its current actions. Think Guatemala,
the Congo, Chile and Nicaragua as examples of a much larger pool of US
actions to tear down legitimate, democratically elected governments and
replace them with war, disruption, starvation, poverty, corruption,
dictatorships, torture, rape and murder for its own economic ends. The most
recent, Afghanistan, is not looking good; in fact that reinstalled a
murderous group of warlords which America had earlier installed, then
deposed, in favour of the now hated Taliban.

Saddam Hussein was just as repressive, corrupt and murderous 15 years ago
when he used chemical weapons, supplied by the US, against the Kurds. The
current US Secretary for Defence, Donald Rumsfeld, so vehement against Iraq
now, was on hand personally to turn aside condemnation of Iraq and blame
Iran. At that time, of course, the US thought Saddam Hussein was their
man -- they were using him against the perceived threat of Iran's Islamic
fundamentalism.

Right now, as 'The Independent' writer, Robert Fisk, has noted, the US's
efforts to buy Algeria's UN vote includes promises of re-arming the military
which has a decade long history of repression, torture, rape and murder
Saddam Hussein himself would envy. It is estimated 200,000 people have died,
and countless others been left maimed by the activities of these monsters.
What price the US's humanitarian concerns for Iraqis? (Of course, the French
are also wooing Algeria, their former north African territory, for all they
are worth, but at least they are not pretending to be driven by humanitarian
concerns.)

Indonesia is another nation with a vote and influence as the largest Muslim
nation in the world. Its repressive, murderous military is regaining
strength on the back of the US's so-called anti-terror campaign and is
receiving promises of open and covert support -- including intelligence
sharing.

AND VENEZUELA

While the world's attention is focused on Iraq, America is both openly and
covertly supporting the "coup of the rich" in Venezuela, which grabbed power
briefly in April last year before being intimidated by massive public
displays of support by the poor for democratically-elected President Chavez
Frias. The coup leaders continue to use their control of the private media,
much of industry and the ear of the American Government and its oily
intimates to cause disruption and disturbance.

Venezuela's state-owned oil resources would make rich pickings for American
oil companies and provide the US with an important oil source in its own
backyard.

Many writers have noted the contradiction between America's alleged desire
to establish democracy in Iraq while at the same time, actively undermining
the democratically-elected government in Venezuela. Above the line, America
rushed to recognise the coup last April; more recently, President Bush has
called for "early elections", ignoring the fact that President Chavez Frias
has won three elections and two referendums and, in any case, early
elections would be unconstitutional.

One element of the USA's covert action against Venezuela is the behaviour of
American transnational businesses, which have locked out employees in
support of "national strike" action. Imagine them doing that in the USA!
There is no question that a covert operation is in process to overturn the
legitimate Venezuelan government. Uruguayan congressman, Jose Nayardi, made
it public when he revealed that the Bush administration had asked for
Uruguay's support for Venezuelan white collar executives and trade union
activists "to break down levels of intransigence within the Chavez Frias
administration". The process, he noted, was a shocking reminder of the CIA's
1973 intervention in Chile which saw General Pinochet lead his military coup
to take over President Allende's democratically elected government in a
bloodbath.

President Chavez Frias is desperately clinging to government, but with the
might of the USA aligned with his opponents, how long can he last?

THE COST OF WAR

Some have claimed that an American invasion of Iraq would cost so many
billions of dollars that oil returns would never justify such an action.

But when the invasion is placed in the context of the protection of the
entire US economy for now and into the future, the balance of the argument
changes.

Further, there are three other vital factors:

First, America will be asking others to help pay for the war because it is
protecting their interests. Japan and Saudi Arabia made serious
contributions to the cost of the 1991 Gulf war.

Second -- in reality, war will cost the USA very little -- or at least, very
little over and above normal expenditure. This war is already paid for! All
the munitions and equipment have been bought and paid for. The USA would
have to spend hardly a cent on new hardware to prosecute this war -- the
expenditure will come later when munitions and equipment have to be replaced
after the war. But munitions, hardware andso on are being replaced all the
time -- contracts are out. Some contracts will simply be brought forward and
some others will be ramped up a bit, but spread over a few years, the cost
will not be great. And what is the real extra cost of an army at war
compared with maintaining the standing army around the world, running
exercises and so on? It is there, but it is a relatively small sum.

Third -- lots of the extra costs involved in the war are dollars spent
outside America, not least in the purchase of fuel. Guess how America will
pay for these? By printing dollars it is going to war to protect. The same
happens when production begins to replace hardware. components, minerals,
etc. are bought in with dollars that go overseas and exploit America's
trading advantage.

The cost of war is not nearly as big as it is made out to be. The cost of
not going to war would be horrendous for the USA -- unless there were
another way of protecting the greenback's world trade dominance.

AMERICA'S TWO ACTIVE ALLIES

Why are Australia and Britain supporting America in its transparent Iraqi
war ploy?

Australia, of course, has significant US dollar reserves and trades widely
in dollars and extensively with America. A fall in the US dollar would
reduce Australia's debt, perhaps, but would do nothing for the Australian
dollar's value against other currencies. John Howard, the Prime Minister,
has long cherished the dream of a free trade agreement with the USA in the
hope that Australia can jump on the back of the free ride America gets in
trade through the dollar's position as the major trading medium. That would
look much less attractive if the euro took over a significant part of the
oil trade.

Britain has yet to adopt the euro. If the US takes over Iraq and blocks the
euro's incursion into oil trading, Tony Blair will have given his French and
German counterparts a bloody nose, and gained more room to manouevre on the
issue -- perhaps years more room. Britain would be in a position to demand a
better deal from its EU partners for entering the "eurozone" if the new
currency could not make the huge value gains guaranteed by a significant
role in world oil trading. It might even be in a position to withdraw from
Europe and link with America against continental Europe.

On the other hand, if the US cannot maintain the oil trade dollar monopoly,
the euro will rapidly go from strength to strength, and Britain could be
left begging to be allowed into the club.

THE OPPOSITION

Some of the reasons for opposition to the American plan are obvious --
America is already the strongest nation on earth and dominates world trade
through its dollar. If it had control of the Iraqi oil and a base for its
forces in the Middle East, it would not add to, but would multiply its
power.

The oil-producing nations, particularly the Arab ones, can see the writing
on the wall and are quaking in their boots.

France and Germany are the EU leaders with the vision of a resurgent, united
Europe taking its rightful place in the world and using its euro currency as
a world trading reserve currency and thus gaining some of the free ride the
United States enjoys now. They are the ones who initiated the euro oil trade
with Iraq.

Russia is in deep economic trouble and knows it will get worse the day
America starts exploiting its take-over of Afghanistan by running a pipeline
southwards via Afghanistan from the giant southern Caspian oil fields.
Currently, that oil is piped northwards -- where Russia has control.

Russia is in the process of ramping up oil production with the possibility
of trading some of it for euros and selling some to the US itself. Russia
already has enough problems with the fact that oil is traded in US dollars;
if the US has control of Iraqi oil, it could distort the market to Russia's
enormous disadvantage. In addition, Russia has interests in Iraqi oil; an
American take over could see them lost. Already on its knees, Russia could
be beggared before a mile of the Afghanistan pipeline is laid.

ANOTHER SOLUTION?

The scenario clarifies the seriousness of America's position and explains
its frantic drive for war. It also suggests that solutions other than war
are possible.

Could America agree to share the trading goodies by allowing Europe to have
a negotiated part of it? Not very likely, but it is just possible Europe can
stare down the USA and force such an outcome. Time will tell. What about
Europe taking the statesmanlike, humanitarian and long view, and
withdrawing, leaving the oil to the US, with appropriate safeguards for
ordinary Iraqis and democracy in Venezuela?

Europe might then be forced to adopt a smarter approach -- perhaps
accelerating the development of alternative energy technologies which would
reduce the EU's reliance on oil for energy and produce goods it could trade
for euros -- shifting the world trade balance.

Now that would be a very positive outcome for everyone.

. . . .

Geoffrey Heard is a Melbourne, Australia, writer on the environment,
sustainability and human rights. . . . .

Geoffrey Heard (c) 2003. Anyone is free to circulate this document provided it
is complete and in its current form with attribution and no payment is
asked. It is prohibited to reproduce this document or any part of it for
commercial gain without the prior permission of the author. For such
permission, contact the author at gheard@surf.net.au.

SOME REFERENCES AND FURTHER INFORMATION:

http://www.ratical.org/ratville/CAH/RRiraqWar.html
'The Real Reasons for the Upcoming War With Iraq: A Macroeconomic and
Geostrategic Analysis of the Unspoken Truth' by W. Clark, January 2003
(revised 20 February), Independent Media Center, www.indymedia.org

http://www.indymedia.ie/cgi-bin/newswire.cgi?id=28 334
This war is about more than oil. OIL DOLLARS!!!! DOLLARS, THE EURO AND WAR
IN IRAQ. This story is based on material posted by Richard Douthwaite on the
FEASTA list in Ireland.

http://sf.indymedia.org/news/2002/12/1550023_comme nt.php#1551138
USA intelligence agencies revealed in plot to oust Venezuela's President

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename= article&node=&contentId"

< Text of 'Shock and Awe' On-Line | Brian Holmes, "Practicing Anti-Capitalism" >



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Posted by Lisa at 05:30 PM
March 22, 2003
4 American Soldiers and 8 British Soldiers That Didn't Have To Die

This tragic accident only emphasizes the dangerous situation our troops are up against over there.

It's too dangerous to even fly a helicopter safely during a sandstorm.

Here are more details from a KTVU News broadcast here in San Francisco.

If someone knows more information about the 8 British soldiers that were killed, please let me know so that I can post their information here.

These soldiers that are dying for oil aren't just numbers on a page. They are human beings with names and families. How many human beings must die for this war of "Iraqi Freedom"?

Entire Clip - About the 4 Americans Dead In Kuwait (9 MB)

Kendal Damon Waters-Bey's Father (2 MB)

Jay Thomas Aubin's Family (2 MB)


"President Bush, you took my only son away from me."

Entire Clip - About the 4 Americans Dead In Kuwait (9 MB)



Kendal Damon Waters-Bey's Father (2 MB)



Jay Thomas Aubin's Family (2 MB)


Posted by Lisa at 02:09 PM
March 21, 2003
Repubs Slash Veterans Benefits

How can the Shrub Administration proudly send our boys and girls off to war, while quietly cutting their benefits by billions at the same time?

VETERANS PROGRAMS SLASHED BY HOUSE REPUBLICANS

Budget Committee Blueprint Cuts Veterans Health Care and Other Benefits
by Nearly $25 Billion


Congressman Lane Evans (D-IL), the Ranking Democratic Member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, today said the budget adopted by the House Budget Committee would mean drastic reductions in funding for veterans’ benefits and services. Evans called the budget “shameful” and pledged to fight to defeat the Republic budget blueprint. Referring to the more than a trillion dollars worth of tax cuts approved by the Budget Committee, Evans asked, “Who deserves to receive the benefits of the national treasury—America’s disabled veterans or America’s millionaires?”

The Republican majority of the House Budget Committee approved a federal budget reducing funding for veterans health care and benefit programs by nearly $25 billion. The proposed budget cut $844 million from the President’s request for veterans’ health care next year. Over a ten-year period the GOP is proposing a cut of $9.7 billion in veterans’ health care—an average of more than $900 million less than the President has proposed per year. For other veterans’ benefits, including cash payments to veterans disabled by military service, the Republican budget calls for a $463 million cut during the next year and a $15 billion cut in spending from current levels during the next ten years. The House Budget Committee is chaired by Congressman Jim Nussle (R-IA)...

As our Nation stands on the verge of war, certain to result in disability and death for young Americans, the Budget Committee’s proposal requires the House Committee on Veterans Affairs to make permanent cuts in the benefits paid to those disabled by virtue of their service to our Nation. These cuts must be made, so that our government can afford to provide a tax cut which will benefit only the wealthiest Americans, many of whom have never served in the military.

Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:

http://www.veterans.house.gov/democratic/press/108th/3-13-03budget.htm

dem1.JPG (6015 bytes)

NEWS FROM….

CONGRESSMAN LANE EVANS
RANKING DEMOCRATIC MEMBER
COMMITTEE ON VETERANS AFFAIRS
U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Room 333 Cannon HOB For More Information Contact:
Washington, DC 20515 Susan Edgerton or
Mary Ellen Mc Carthy @ 202-225-9756

FOR RELEASE: March 13, 2003


VETERANS PROGRAMS SLASHED BY HOUSE REPUBLICANS

Budget Committee Blueprint Cuts Veterans Health Care and Other Benefits
by Nearly $25 Billion

Congressman Lane Evans (D-IL), the Ranking Democratic Member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, today said the budget adopted by the House Budget Committee would mean drastic reductions in funding for veterans’ benefits and services. Evans called the budget “shameful” and pledged to fight to defeat the Republic budget blueprint. Referring to the more than a trillion dollars worth of tax cuts approved by the Budget Committee, Evans asked, “Who deserves to receive the benefits of the national treasury—America’s disabled veterans or America’s millionaires?”

The Republican majority of the House Budget Committee approved a federal budget reducing funding for veterans health care and benefit programs by nearly $25 billion. The proposed budget cut $844 million from the President’s request for veterans’ health care next year. Over a ten-year period the GOP is proposing a cut of $9.7 billion in veterans’ health care—an average of more than $900 million less than the President has proposed per year. For other veterans’ benefits, including cash payments to veterans disabled by military service, the Republican budget calls for a $463 million cut during the next year and a $15 billion cut in spending from current levels during the next ten years. The House Budget Committee is chaired by Congressman Jim Nussle (R-IA).

By a nearly party-line vote of 22-19, Republicans defeated an amendment offered by Democratic Representatives Darlene Hooley, Tammy Baldwin, Dennis Moore, Chet Edwards, Bobby Scott, Lois Capps, and Artur Davis that would have restored the proposed $844 million for veterans health care and added a billion dollars to the VA’s budget for discretionary programs. These cuts are made to a budget that already relies upon $1.1 billion in vaguely defined management efficiencies and $1.4 billion in mostly unpalatable legislative and policy proposals already included in the President’s budget. The amendment would also have restored the Budget Committee’s proposed $463 million in cuts to veterans’ benefits. Only Republican Ginny Brown-Waite, a member of the Committee on Veterans Affairs, crossed party lines to vote for increased funding for veterans.

In sharp contrast to Nussle’s proposal, a bipartisan recommendation from Chairman Christopher Smith (R-NJ) and Democratic Ranking Member Lane Evans (D-IL) on behalf of the Committee on Veterans Affairs, would have added $3 billion next year for veteran discretionary programs including medical care and research, construction and programs that fund the administrative costs of other important benefits such as compensation, pension and education programs.

What would $1.844 billion mean to veterans health care?

· Congress would have to seriously consider the new copayments and enrollment fees proposed by the Bush Administration in order to keep the system operating in the next fiscal year. This means:

o New priority 8 veterans would remain ineligible for VA services indefinitely

o Priority 7 and 8 veterans would have an annual enrollment fee in addition to increased copayments for pharmaceutical drugs and primary care

o Only veterans with highly rated service connected disabilities (greater than 70%) would be eligible for placement in VA nursing homes. This would eliminate the need for 5000 nursing home beds from the system.

· In year one VA may have to disenroll at least 168,000 veterans.

· There would be no additional funds available to implement the Homeless Veterans Comprehensive Assistance Act to work toward the goal of eliminating chronic homelessness in a decade.

· The current Capital Assets Realignment for Enhanced Services (CARES) exercise that VA is undertaking to assess the best use of its physical infrastructure will become a “de facto” closure commission with no ability to respond to veterans’ needs for primary care, long-term care, and mental health projected by its own models.

· $1.844 billion =

o about 9,000 doctors or 19,000 nurses

o about 6.6 million outpatient visits

o 870,000 hospital bed days of care

o 2 million psychiatric bed days of care

o 9 million nursing home bed days of care

o all of VA’s top-twenty priorities major construction projects (totaling about $600 million) which include desperately needed seismic and modernization projects and projects to ensure patient and employee safety

What would $463 million cuts in mandatory spending mean to veterans benefits?

· Congress would have to seriously cut the benefits paid to men and women who are disabled as a result of military service. Cash benefits paid to veterans who have disabilities incurred or aggravated during military service comprise the vast majority of VA’s budget for mandatory programs. Ninety percent of the mandatory spending the Budget Committee proposes to cut is from cash payments to service disabled veterans, low-income wartime veterans and their survivors.

· Other programs funded with mandatory spending are the Montgomery G.I. Bill education benefits, vocational rehabilitation and independent living programs for service-disabled veterans, subsidies for VA home loans and insurance for service-disabled veterans and funds to provide headstones, markers and flags for deceased veterans.

· Even if all burial benefits, including flags and markers were eliminated to meet the Budget Committee resolution, funding for benefits for living veterans would need to be dramatically cut.

· Last year the cost-of living increase paid to service-disabled veterans was only 1.4%. In order to meet the Budget Committee criteria the House Committee on Veterans Affairs could propose a cost-of living decrease of 1.4% and no increase for FY 2004.

As our Nation stands on the verge of war, certain to result in disability and death for young Americans, the Budget Committee’s proposal requires the House Committee on Veterans Affairs to make permanent cuts in the benefits paid to those disabled by virtue of their service to our Nation. These cuts must be made, so that our government can afford to provide a tax cut which will benefit only the wealthiest Americans, many of whom have never served in the military.

In contrast, Democrats proposed to restore the “Nussle” cut for benefits and health care and add $1 billion to the VA health care budget to eliminate the need for increased copayments, assist VA in eliminating waiting times, restore VA’s nursing home care mission and provide a small boost to address the queue of VA major construction projects that include seismic projects and other projects that will assure patient and employee safety.

-30-


Back to Press Releases

Posted by Lisa at 05:27 PM
March 18, 2003
Maureen O'Dowd On Our Country's Xanax Cowboy

The Xanax Cowboy
By Maureen Dowd for The New York Times


As he rolls up to America's first pre-emptive invasion, bouncing from motive to motive, Mr. Bush is trying to sound rational, not rash. Determined not to be petulant, he seemed tranquilized.

But the Xanax cowboy made it clear that Saddam is going to pay for 9/11. Even if the fiendish Iraqi dictator was not involved with Al Qaeda, he has supported "Al Qaeda-type organizations," as the president fudged, or "Al Qaeda types" or "a terrorist network like Al Qaeda."

We are scared of the world now, and the world is scared of us. (It's really scary to think we are even scaring Russia and China.)

Bush officials believe that making the world more scared of us is the best way to make us safer and less scared. So they want a spectacular show of American invincibility to make the wicked and the wayward think twice before crossing us.

Of course, our plan to sack Saddam has not cowed the North Koreans and Iranians, who are scrambling to get nukes to cow us.

It still confuses many Americans that, in a world full of vicious slimeballs, we're about to bomb one that didn't attack us on 9/11 (like Osama); that isn't intercepting our planes (like North Korea); that isn't financing Al Qaeda (like Saudi Arabia); that isn't home to Osama and his lieutenants (like Pakistan); that isn't a host body for terrorists (like Iran, Lebanon and Syria).


Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/03/09/opinion/09DOWD.html


The Xanax Cowboy
By Maureen Dowd
The New York Times

Sunday 9 March 2003

You might sum up the president's call to war Thursday night as "Message: I scare."

As he rolls up to America's first pre-emptive invasion, bouncing from motive to motive, Mr. Bush is trying to sound rational, not rash. Determined not to be petulant, he seemed tranquilized.

But the Xanax cowboy made it clear that Saddam is going to pay for 9/11. Even if the fiendish Iraqi dictator was not involved with Al Qaeda, he has supported "Al Qaeda-type organizations," as the president fudged, or "Al Qaeda types" or "a terrorist network like Al Qaeda."

We are scared of the world now, and the world is scared of us. (It's really scary to think we are even scaring Russia and China.)

Bush officials believe that making the world more scared of us is the best way to make us safer and less scared. So they want a spectacular show of American invincibility to make the wicked and the wayward think twice before crossing us.

Of course, our plan to sack Saddam has not cowed the North Koreans and Iranians, who are scrambling to get nukes to cow us.

It still confuses many Americans that, in a world full of vicious slimeballs, we're about to bomb one that didn't attack us on 9/11 (like Osama); that isn't intercepting our planes (like North Korea); that isn't financing Al Qaeda (like Saudi Arabia); that isn't home to Osama and his lieutenants (like Pakistan); that isn't a host body for terrorists (like Iran, Lebanon and Syria).

I think the president is genuinely obsessed with protecting Americans and believes that smoking Saddam will reduce the chances of Islamic terrorists' snatching catastrophic weapons. That is why no cost - shattering the U.N., NATO, the European alliance, Tony Blair's career and the U.S. budget - is too high.

Even straining for serenity, Mr. Bush sounded rattled at moments: "My job is to protect America, and that is exactly what I'm going to do. . . . I swore to protect and defend the Constitution; that's what I swore to do. I put my hand on the Bible and took that oath, and that's exactly what I am going to do."

But citing 9/11 eight times in his news conference was exploitative, given that the administration concedes there is no evidence tying Iraq to the 9/11 plot. By stressing that totem, Mr. Bush tried to alchemize American anger at Al Qaeda into support for smashing Saddam.

William Greider writes in The Nation, "As a bogus rallying cry, `Remember 9/11' ranks with `Remember the Maine' of 1898 for war with Spain or the Gulf of Tonkin resolution of 1964. . . ." A culture more besotted with inane "reality" TV than scary reality is easily misled. Mr. Greider pointed out that in a Times/CBS News survey, 42 percent believe Saddam was personally responsible for the attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, and in an ABC News poll, 55 percent believe he gives direct support to Al Qaeda.

The case for war has been incoherent due to overlapping reasons conservatives want to get Saddam.

The president wants to avenge his father, and please his base by changing the historical ellipsis on the Persian Gulf war to a period. Donald Rumsfeld wants to exorcise the post-Vietnam focus on American imperfections and limitations. Dick Cheney wants to establish America's primacy as the sole superpower. Richard Perle wants to liberate Iraq and remove a mortal threat to Israel. After Desert Storm, Paul Wolfowitz posited that containment is a relic, and that America must aggressively pre-empt nuclear threats.

And in 1997, Bill Kristol of The Weekly Standard and Fox News, and other conservatives, published a "statement of principles," signed by Jeb Bush and future Bush officials - Mr. Rumsfeld, Mr. Cheney, Mr. Wolfowitz, Scooter Libby and Elliott Abrams. Rejecting 41's realpolitik and shaping what would become 43's pre-emption strategy, they exhorted a "Reaganite policy of military strength and moral clarity," with America extending its domain by challenging "regimes hostile to our interests and values."

Saddam would be the squealing guinea pig proving America could impose its will on the world.

With W., conservatives got a Bush who wanted to be Reagan. With 9/11, they found a new tragedy to breathe life into their old dreams.

Posted by Lisa at 09:36 PM
Shrub Attempts To Usurp Our Democratic Process

Bush Calls For Ban on Judicial Filibusters
from CNN and the AP.


President Bush, his appeals court nomination of Miguel Estrada mired in party politics, called Tuesday for a ban on judicial filibusters and a mandatory vote on all court nominations he and future presidents send to the Senate.

In a letter read on the Senate floor by Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tennessee, Bush called for a permanent rule "to ensure timely up or down votes on judicial nominations both now and in the future, no matter who is president or which party controls the Senate. This is the only way to ensure our judiciary works and that good people remain willing to be nominated to the federal bench."

Senators in the past have called for similar changes but to no effect.

Republicans have so far failed in their efforts to end the Democratic filibuster of Estrada's nomination for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia...

Democrats have said Owen and Pickering would face serious opposition from them, including possible filibusters.

The Republicans lost a filibuster vote on Estrada on Thursday, with only four Democrats voting with the GOP majority to give him an immediate confirmation vote. Frist said he would soon try vote on ending the filibuster, and Hatch said he expects such a vote perhaps as early as next week.


Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:

http://www.cnn.com/2003/ALLPOLITICS/03/11/senate.estrada.ap/index.html

notes at top from truthout:
http://truthout.org/docs_03/031303G.shtml


Editor's Note: Amid all the hue and cry regarding war in Iraq, Senate Democrats have been quietly but sternly wrestling Bush's judicial agenda to the mat with the ongoing filibuster of conservative judicial nominee Miguel Estrada. Republicans, frustrated by their inability to break the filibuster, have gone so far as to accuse the Democrats of anti-Hispanic bias on the matter. This ignores Estrada's ultra-conservative views, and further ignores the fact that the Senate was given no data with which to judge Estrada's nomination. Estrada refused to give up his papers, and has answered few questions before the Judiciary Committee. Thus, the filibuster.

Now, Mr. Bush and Senate Republicans have decided to try and overthrow a tried and true constitutional rule: the filibuster itself. Apparently, says Majority Leader Frist, the Democrats are failing the Founders by using the Constitution as it was meant to be used. Mr. Frist was apparently off practicing medicine when Republican Senators made rich use of the filibuster against Clinton's judicial nominees. And so it goes. - wrp

Bush Calls For Ban on Judicial Filibusters
CNN.com | Associated Press

Tuesday 11 March 2003

President Bush, his appeals court nomination of Miguel Estrada mired in party politics, called Tuesday for a ban on judicial filibusters and a mandatory vote on all court nominations he and future presidents send to the Senate.

In a letter read on the Senate floor by Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tennessee, Bush called for a permanent rule "to ensure timely up or down votes on judicial nominations both now and in the future, no matter who is president or which party controls the Senate. This is the only way to ensure our judiciary works and that good people remain willing to be nominated to the federal bench."

Senators in the past have called for similar changes but to no effect.

Republicans have so far failed in their efforts to end the Democratic filibuster of Estrada's nomination for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

Frist, with Vice President Dick Cheney presiding in the chamber, said Tuesday the Estrada filibuster goes against what the founding fathers wanted from the Senate on judicial nominations. Democrats have "brought us to the point to failing that charge," Frist said.

Democrats cite 'precedent'

But Democrats said GOP senators have blocked Democratic judicial nominees from getting confirmation votes in the Senate as well.

"Because that precedent stands in the way of their political ends, Republicans now seek to deny their own words and their own actions," said Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota. "They're here today to claim that the Constitution is threatened by the very same procedures that they themselves have employed. They're here today to claim the Constitution is going to be threatened by the very same powers that it grants."

But Bush called on the Senate to get beyond the past. "I ask senators of both parties to come together and end the escalating cycle of blame and bitterness and to restore fairness, predictability and dignity to the process," Bush said in the letter.

Republicans are moving aside Estrada's blocked appeals court nomination temporarily as they turn their attention to other Bush nominees, including Texas Supreme Court Judge Priscilla Owen, who was rejected last year when Democrats controlled the Senate.

Frist said Estrada's filibustered nomination won't be left behind. The delay is to move other controversial U.S. Appeals Court nominees such as Owen, Ohio appellate lawyer Jeff Sutton and Ohio Supreme Court Justice Deborah Cook.

Not giving up

"I'm not going to give up on the Estrada nomination," Frist said Monday. "We're going to pursue this nomination until we get an up or down vote."

Owen, a Texas Supreme Court Justice who wants a seat on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, was one of two White House judicial nominees voted down by Democrats in the Senate Judiciary Committee last year. Committee chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, has planned a Thursday hearing, hoping to rehabilitate her nomination and move her on to the full Senate for confirmation with his GOP committee majority.

Democrats complained that Owen has been an anti-abortion and pro-business judicial activist whose opinions and rulings are overly influenced by her personal beliefs.
"The charge that she is a judicial activist was nothing more than a cynical trick of words from Washington special interest lobbyists," Hatch said Monday.

The other nominee who failed to clear the committee last year was U.S. District Judge Charles Pickering of Mississippi, who also wanted a seat on the 5th Circuit. Hatch has said Pickering also will get another hearing.

Democrats have said Owen and Pickering would face serious opposition from them, including possible filibusters.

The Republicans lost a filibuster vote on Estrada on Thursday, with only four Democrats voting with the GOP majority to give him an immediate confirmation vote. Frist said he would soon try vote on ending the filibuster, and Hatch said he expects such a vote perhaps as early as next week.

Posted by Lisa at 09:27 PM
March 14, 2003
To Impeach Or Not To Impeach...

Tempting....but perhaps ultimately distracting more than anything else...

Meeting Assembled By Conyers Mulls Seeking Bush's Impeachment Over Iraq

Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:

http://www.drudgereport.com/flash.htm

Meeting Assembled By Conyers Mulls Seeking Bush's Impeachment Over Iraq
Thu Mar 13 2003 10:30:03 ET

House Judiciary ranking member John Conyers (D-Mich.) assembled more than two-dozen prominent liberal attorneys and legal scholars on Tuesday to mull over articles of impeachment drafted against President Bush by activists seeking to block military action against Saddam Hussein. ROLL CALL is reporting on Thursday.

MORE

The two-hour session, which featured former attorney general-turned-activist Ramsey Clark, took place in the downtown office of a prominent Washington tort lawyer. Participants said Conyers, who hosted the meeting, was the only Member of Congress to attend. 'We had a pretty frank discussion about putting in a bill of impeachment against President Bush,' said Francis Boyle, an Illinois law professor who has been working on the impeachment language with Clark.

Developing...

Posted by Lisa at 12:52 PM
March 07, 2003
The Shrub On The Pulpit - The Daily Show On Faith-Based Governement Aid

The Daily Show has put together a beautiful little couple of sequences about the Shrub's latest attack on the Constitution (and the very important separation of church and state).

Part 1 includes the Shrub at a recent conference for religious broadcasters in which he takes a whack at preaching on the pulpit himself.
You have to see this to believe it. Unbelievable.

Part 2 takes a stab at the Shrub's prison faith programs (when he's not killing 'em, he's saving 'em).

Part 3 is Stephen Colbert's new "Constitution Shmonstitution" series in which he lets the author of the Faith-based initiative explain how vague the requirements are to qualify for funding.


Daily Show Faith Part 1 (All) (Lo-res 13 MB)
Daily Show Faith Part 1 (1 of 2) (Lo-res 8 MB)
Daily Show Faith Part 1 (2 of 2) (Lo-res 6 MB)

Daily Show Faith Part 2 (Lo-res 6 MB)

Daily Show Faith Part 3 (All) (Lo-res 12 MB)
Daily Show Faith Part 3 (1 of 2) (Lo-res 4 MB)
Daily Show Faith Part 3 (2 of 2) (Lo-res MB)





Ride the Faith-Based Gravy Train! Woo! Woo!

Posted by Lisa at 02:31 PM
February 24, 2003
You Too Can Die For Oil

So we can give up all of our freedoms, and create hassles and holdups in every aspect of our daily lives, and there's still really no way to protect ourselves from becoming "soft targets" once the war has begun.

Sounds like another good reason to NOT START THE WAR IN THE FIRST PLACE.

Sounds like an even better reason to NOT GIVE UP ALL OF OUR FREEDOMS since it won't make us any safer anyway.

I have a real problem with articles like this. Parts of it regarding the use of Total Information Awareness are informative, but the rest of it just adds to the hysteria.

Are we drawing up roadmaps for the terrorists now?

Writers and officers are thinking up horrific potential disasters, and printing them up, with details about which places would be best to blow up in order to cause the largest amounts of casualties -- and for what purpose? To let us know how bad it could be if we don't let our freedoms be compromised? To add to the re-freakening of America, perhaps?

At the risk of adding to the hysteria. I bring this article to you.

Fortress America
By Matthew Brzezinski fo the NY Times

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/02/23/magazine/23FORTRESS.html


February 23, 2003

Fortress America

By MATTHEW BRZEZINSKI

In the last several weeks, as preparations for the war against Iraq
have heated up, it has begun to sink in that this will be a different
conflict from what we have
seen before -- that there may, in fact, be two fronts, one far away
on the ground in the Middle East, the other right here at home. For the
first time in history,
it seems plausible that an enemy might mount a sustained attack on
the United States, using weapons of terrorism. The term ''soft
targets,'' which refers to
everyday places like offices, shopping malls, restaurants and hotels, is
now casually dropped into conversation, the way military planners talk
about ''collateral
damage.''

Earlier this month, the federal government raised the official terrorism
alert level and advised Americans to prepare a ''disaster supply kit,''
including duct tape to
seal windows against airborne toxins. Members of Congress organized news
conferences to demand that passenger jets be outfitted with
missile-avoidance
systems. In major public areas of cities, the police presence has been
especially conspicuous, with weapons ostentatiously displayed. Whatever
the details, the
message was the same: war is on the way here.

The impossible questions begin with where, what and how, and end with
what to do about it. Sgt. George McClaskey, a Baltimore cop, spends his
days thinking
about the answers, and one cold day recently, he took me out in an old
police launch to survey Baltimore harbor. He showed me some of the new
security
measures, like the barriers at the approach to the harbor, which rose
out of the water like stakes in a moat. Cables were suspended between
these reinforced
pylons, designed to slice into approaching high-speed craft and
decapitate would-be suicide bombers before they reached their mark. It
looked fairly daunting.

Then McClaskey maneuvered the boat toward an unprotected stretch of
Baltimore's Inner Harbor. With the temperature dipping into the teens,
the place was
empty. But when the weather is warm, up to a quarter of a million people
congregate on these piers and brightly painted promenades every weekend.

''If I wanted to create a big bang,'' McClaskey said, adopting the
mind-set of a suicide bomber, ''I'd pack a small boat with explosives
and crash it right there.'' He
pointed to a promenade. ''It'd be a catastrophe,'' he declared. ''It
would take 48 hours just for the tide to flush out the bodies from under
the boardwalk.''

The port is lined with large oil terminals, storage tanks and
petrochemical facilities, incendiaries in need only of a lighted fuse.
Even the Domino sugar refinery,
with its sticky-sweet flammable dust, poses a threat. ''Most people
don't think about it,'' McClaskey said, ''but that's a giant bomb.''

The list of vulnerabilities is perilously long in Baltimore, as it is
just about everywhere in the United States. And every one of those
potential targets can set in
motion an ever-broadening ripple effect. Should terrorists manage to
blow up an oil terminal in Baltimore, for instance, the nearby
ventilation systems for the
I-95 tunnel would have to be shut. Shut down the tunnel, and the
Interstate highway must be closed. Close down a section of I-95, and
traffic along the entire
Eastern Seaboard snarls to a halt.

''So how would you defend against frogmen blowing up half the harbor?''
I asked McClaskey.

The sergeant shrugged uneasily. ''Honestly,'' he confessed, ''I don't
think it's possible.'' Like most law enforcement officers in this
country, McClaskey has been
trained to catch crooks, not to stop submerged suicide bombers.
Imagining doomsday possibilities is one thing; we've all become good at
it these past 18
months. Coming up with counterterror solutions is another story, often
beyond the scope of our imaginations. But while that expertise may not
yet exist in the
United States, it's out there, if you know where to look.

''Sonar,'' replied Rear Adm. Amiram Rafael, when I put the same question
to him 6,000 miles away in Israel, perhaps the one place in the world
where terrorism
is as much a part of daily life as commuter traffic. ''It can
distinguish between humans and large fish by mapping movement patterns
and speed.'' Rafael spent
28 years protecting Israel's coastline from terrorists and now consults
for foreign clients. ''If the alarm sounds, rapid response units in fast
boats are dispatched,''
he said. ''They're equipped with underwater concussion grenades.''

''To stun the divers?'' I asked.

''No,'' Rafael said, flashing a fatherly smile. ''To kill them.''


Until recently, the United States and countries like Israel occupied
opposite ends of the security spectrum: one a confident and carefree
superpower, seemingly
untouchable, the other a tiny garrison state, surrounded by
fortifications and barbed wire, fighting for its survival. But the
security gap between the U.S. and
places like Israel is narrowing. Subways, sewers, shopping centers, food
processing and water systems are all now seen as easy prey for
terrorists.

There is no clear consensus yet on how to go about protecting ourselves.
The federal government recently concluded a 16-month risk assessment,
and last
month, the new Department of Homeland Security was officially born, with
an annual budget of $36 billion. Big money has already been allocated to
shore up
certain perceived weaknesses, including the $5.8 billion spent hiring,
training and equipping federal airport screeners and the $3 billion
allocated for
''bioterrorism preparedness.'' All that has been well publicized. Other
measures, like sophisticated radiation sensors and surveillance systems,
have been installed
in some cities with less fanfare. Meanwhile, the F.B.I. is carrying out
labor-intensive tasks that would have seemed a ludicrous waste of time
18 months ago,
like assembling dossiers on people who take scuba-diving courses.

This marks only the very beginning. A national conversation is starting
about what kind of country we want to live in and what balance we will
tolerate between
public safety and private freedom. The decisions won't come all at once,
and we may be changing our minds a lot, depending on whether there are
more attacks
here, what our government tells us and what we believe. Two weeks ago,
Congress decided to sharply curtail the activities of the Total
Information Awareness
program, a Pentagon project led by Rear Adm. John Poindexter and
invested with power to electronically sift through the private affairs
of American citizens.
For the time being, it was felt that the threat of having the government
look over our credit-card statements and medical records was more
dangerous than its
promised benefits.

Congress didn't completely shut the door on the T.I.A., though. Agents
can still look into the lives of foreigners, and its functions could be
expanded at any
time. We could, for instance, reach the point where we demand the
installation of systems, like the one along the Israeli coastline, to
maim or kill intruders in
certain sensitive areas before they have a chance to explain who they
are or why they're there. We may come to think nothing of American
citizens who act
suspiciously being held without bail or denied legal representation for
indeterminate periods or tried in courts whose proceedings are under
seal. At shopping
malls and restaurants, we may prefer to encounter heavily armed guards
and be subjected to routine searches at the door. We may be willing to
give up the
freedom and ease of movement that has defined American life, if we come
to believe our safety depends upon it.

For the better part of a generation now, Americans have gone to great
lengths to protect their homes -- living in gated communities, wiring
their property with
sophisticated alarms, arming themselves with deadly weapons. Now imagine
this kind of intensity turned outward, into the public realm. As a
culture, our
tolerance for fear is low, and our capacity to do something about it is
unrivaled. We could have the highest degree of public safety the world
has ever seen. But
what would that country look like, and what will it be like to live in
it? Perhaps something like this.

Electronic Frisking Every Day on Your Commute

As a homebound commuter entering Washington's Foggy Bottom subway
station swipes his fare card through the turnstile reader, a computer in
the bowels of
the mass transit authority takes note. A suspicious pattern of movements
has triggered the computer's curiosity.

The giveaway is a microchip in the new digital fare cards, derived from
the electronic ID cards many of us already use to enter our workplaces.
It could be in
use throughout the U.S. within a couple of years. If embedded with the
user's driver's license or national ID number, it would allow
transportation authorities to
keep tabs on who rides the subway, and on when and where they get on and
off.

The commuter steps through the turnstile and is scanned by the radiation
portal. These would be a natural extension of the hand-held detectors
that the police
have started using in the New York subways. A cancer patient was
actually strip-searched in a New York subway station in 2002 after
residue from radiation
treatments tripped the meters. But this doesn't happen to our fictitious
commuter. The meters barely flicker, registering less than one on a
scale of one to nine,
the equivalent of a few microroentgens an hour, nowhere near the 3,800
readout that triggers evacuation sirens.

Imagine a battery of video cameras following the commuter's progress to
the platform, where he reads a newspaper, standing next to an old
utility room that
contains gas masks. Cops in New York already have them as part of their
standard-issue gear, and a fully secure subway system would need them
for
everybody, just as every ferryboat must have a life preserver for every
passenger. Sensors, which are already used in parts of the New York
subway system,
would test the air around him for the presence of chemical agents like
sarin and mustard gases.

The commuter finishes reading his newspaper, but there is no place to
throw it away because all trash cans have been removed, as they were in
London when the
I.R.A. used them to plant bombs. Cameras show the commuter boarding one
of the subway cars, which have been reconfigured to drop oxygen masks
from the
ceiling in the event of a chemical attack, much like jetliners during
decompression. The added security measures have probably pushed fares up
throughout the
country, maybe as much as 40 percent in some places.

The commuter -- now the surveillance subject -- gets off at the next
stop. As he rides the escalator up, a camera positioned overhead zooms
in for a close-up of
him. This image, which will be used to confirm his identity, travels
through fiber-optic cables to the Joint Operations Command Center at
police headquarters.
There, a computer scans his facial features, breaks them down into
three-dimensional plots and compares them with a databank of criminal
mug shots, people on
watch lists and anyone who has ever posed for a government-issue ID. The
facial-recognition program was originally developed at M.I.T. Used
before 9/11
mainly by casinos to ferret out known cardsharps, the system has been
tried by airport and law enforcement authorities and costs $75,000 to
$100,000 per
tower, as the camera stations are called.

''It can be used at A.T.M.'s, car-rental agencies, D.M.V. offices,
border crossings,'' says an executive of Viisage Technology, maker of
the Face-Finder
recognition system. ''These are the sorts of facilities the 19 hijackers
used.''

Almost instantly, the software verifies the subject's identity and
forwards the information to federal authorities. What they do with it
depends on the powers of
the Total Information Awareness program or whatever its successors will
be known as. But let's say that Congress has granted the government
authority to note
certain suspicious patterns, like when someone buys an airline ticket
with cash and leaves the return date open. And let's say the commuter
did just that -- his
credit cards were maxed out, so he had no choice. And he didn't fill in
a return date because he wasn't sure when his next consulting assignment
was going to
start, and he thought he might be able to extend his vacation a few
days.

On top of that, let's say he was also indiscreet in an e-mail message,
making a crude joke to a client about a recent airline crash. Software
programs that scan for
suspect words are not new. Corporations have long used them to
automatically block employee e-mail containing, for instance, multiple
references to sex. The
National Security Agency's global spy satellites and supercomputers have
for years taken the search capability to the next level, processing the
content of up to
two million calls and e-mail messages per hour around the world.

Turning the snooping technology on Americans would not be difficult, if
political circumstances made it seem necessary. Right now, there would
be fierce
resistance to this, but the debate could swing radically to the other
side if the government showed that intercepting e-mail could deter
terrorists from
communicating with one another. Already, says Barry Steinhardt, director
of the A.C.L.U. program on technology and liberty, authorities have been
demanding
records from Internet providers and public libraries about what books
people are taking out and what Web sites they're looking at.

Once the commuter is on the government's radar screen, it would be hard
for him to get off -- as anyone who has ever found themselves on a
mailing or
telemarketers' list can attest. It will be like when you refinance a
mortgage -- suddenly every financial institution in America sends you a
preapproved platinum
card. Once a computer detects a pattern, hidden or overt, your identity
in the digital world is fixed.

Technicians manning the Command Center probably wouldn't know why the
subject is on a surveillance list, or whether he should even be on it in
the first
place. That would be classified, as most aspects of the government's
counterterrorist calculations are.

Nonetheless, they begin to monitor his movements. Cameras on K Street
pick him up as he exits the subway station and hails a waiting taxi. The
cab's license
plate number, as a matter of routine procedure, is run through another
software program -- first used in Peru in the 1990's to detect vehicles
that have been
stolen or registered to terrorist sympathizers, and most recently
introduced in central London to nab motorists who have not paid
peak-hour traffic tariffs.
Technicians get another positive reading; the cabdriver is also on a
watch list. He is a Pakistani immigrant and has traveled back and forth
to Karachi twice in the
last six months, once when his father died, the other to attend his
brother's wedding. These trips seem harmless, but the trackers are
trained not to make these
sorts of distinctions.

So what they see is the possible beginning of a terrorist conspiracy --
one slightly suspicious character has just crossed paths with another
slightly suspicious
character, and that makes them seriously suspicious. At this moment, the
case is forwarded to the new National Counterintelligence Service, which
will pay very
close attention to whatever both men do next.

The N.C.S. does not exist yet, but its creation is advocated by the
likes of Lt. Gen. William Odom, a former head of the National Security
Agency. Whether
modeled after Britain's MI5, a domestic spy agency, or Israel's much
more proactive and unrestricted Shin Bet, the N.C.S. would most likely
require a budget
similar to the F.B.I.'s $4.2 billion and nearly as much personnel as the
bureau's 11,400-strong special agent force, mostly for surveillance
duties.

N.C.S. surveillance agents dispatched to tail the two subjects in the
taxi would have little difficulty following their quarry through
Georgetown, up Wisconsin
Avenue and into Woodley Park. One tool at their disposal could be a
nationwide vehicle tracking system, adapted from the technology used by
Singapore's
Land Transport Authority to regulate traffic and parking. The system
works on the same principle as the E-ZPass toll-road technology, in
which scanners at
tollbooths read signals from transponders installed on the windshields
of passing vehicles to pay tolls automatically. In a future application,
electronic readers
installed throughout major American metropolitan centers could pinpoint
the location of just about any vehicle equipped with mandatory
transponders.
(American motorists would most likely each have to pay an extra $90 fee,
similar to what Singapore charges.)

When the commuter arrives home, N.C.S. agents arrange to put his house
under 24-hour aerial surveillance. The same thing happens to the
cabdriver when he
arrives home. The technology, discreet and effective, is already
deployed in Washington. Modified UH-60A Blackhawk helicopters, the kind
U.S. Customs
uses to intercept drug runners, now patrol the skies over the capital to
enforce no-fly zones. The Pentagon deployed its ultrasophisticated RC-7
reconnaissance
planes during the sniper siege last fall. The surveillance craft, which
have proved their worth along the DMZ in North Korea and against cocaine
barons in
Colombia, come loaded with long-range night-vision and infrared sensors
that permit operators to detect move-ment and snap photos of virtually
anyone's
backyard from as far as 20 miles away.

A Government That Knows When You've Been Bad or Good

In the here and now, an aerial photo of my backyard is on file at the
Joint Operations Command Center in Washington, which, unlike the N.C.S.,
already exists.
The center looks like NASA, starting with the biometric palm-print
scanners on its reinforced doors.

The center has not singled me out for any special surveillance. My
neighbors' houses are all pictured, too, as are still shots and even
three-dimensional images
of just about every building, landmark and lot in central D.C.

The technology isn't revolutionary. How many times a day is the average
American already on camera? There's one in the corner deli where I get
my morning
coffee and bagel. Another one at the A.T.M. outside. Yet another one
films traffic on Connecticut Avenue when I drive my wife to work. The
lobby of her office
building has several. So that's at least four, and it's only 9 a.m.

There are few legal restraints governing video surveillance. It is
perfectly legal for the government to track anyone, anywhere, using
cameras except for inside
his own home, where a warrant is needed to use thermal imaging that can
see all the way into the basement. Backyards or rooftops, however, are
fair game.

There is a growing network of video cameras positioned throughout the
capital that feed into the Joint Operations Command Center, otherwise
known as the
JOCC, which has been operational since 9/11. The experimental facility
is shared by several government agencies, including the Metropolitan
Police
Department, the F.B.I., the Secret Service, the State Department and the
Defense Intelligence Agency. Agents from different law enforcement
bodies man the
JOCC's 36 computer terminals, which are arrayed in long rows beneath
wall-size projection screens, like the Houston space center. The wall
screens
simultaneously display live feeds, digital simulations, city maps with
the locations of recently released felons and gory crime scene footage.

''From here we can tap into schools, subways, landmarks and main
streets,'' says Chief Charles Ramsey of the D.C. Police, with evident
pride. Theoretically,
with a few clicks of the mouse the system could also link up with
thousands of closed-circuit cameras in shopping malls, department stores
and office buildings,
and is programmed to handle live feeds from up to six helicopters
simultaneously. Ramsey is careful to add that, for now, the majority of
the cameras are
off-line most of the time, and that the police aren't using them to look
into elevators or to spy on individuals.

But they could if they wanted to. I ask for a demonstration of the
system's capabilities. A technician punches in a few keystrokes. An
aerial photo of the city
shot earlier from a surveillance plane flashes on one of the big
screens. ''Can you zoom in on Dupont Circle?'' I ask. The screen
flickers, and the thoroughfare's
round fountain comes into view. ''Go up Connecticut Avenue.'' The
outline of the Hilton Hotel where President Reagan was shot
materializes. ''Up a few more
blocks, and toward Rock Creek Park,'' I instruct. ''There, can you get
any closer?'' The image blurs and focuses, and I can suddenly see the
air-conditioning unit
on my roof, my garden furniture and the cypress hedge I recently planted
in my yard.

The fact that government officials can, from a remote location, snoop
into the backyards of most Washingtonians opens up a whole new level of
information
they can find out about us almost effortlessly. They could keep track of
when you come and go from your house, discovering in the process that
you work a
second job or that you are carrying on an extramarital affair. Under
normal circumstances, there's not much they could do with this
information. And for the
time being, that is the way most Americans want it. But this is the kind
of issue that will come up over the next few years. How many extra tools
will we be
willing to grant to the police and federal authorities? How much will we
allow our notions of privacy to narrow?

Because if domestic intelligence agents were able to find out secret
details of people's lives, they could get the cooperation of crucial
witnesses who might
otherwise be inclined to keep quiet. There is more than a whiff of
McCarthyism to all this, but perhaps we will be afraid enough to endure
it.

The JOCC is also studying the effect of large-scale bombs in Washington.
A three-dimensional map of all downtown buildings allows technicians to
simulate
bomb blasts and debris projections. They can also tap into the weather
bureau for real-time data on wind speeds and directions to determine
which parts of the
city would have to be evacuated first in the event of a radiological or
biochemical plume. Programmers are now working on an underground map of
the capital
that would show water and gas distribution and power grids.

Efforts are under way to establish facilities similar to the JOCC in big
urban centers like Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta and New York. One
benefit of the
JOCC's is that they are relatively cheap to set up, particularly since
most major cities already have surveillance equipment positioned in
places like tunnels and
bridges. Each command center would likely cost around $7 million to
build, with an additional $15,000 charge for every camera installed.

There is also talk of connecting all the facilities together so that
officials in different parts of the country could coordinate response
efforts to terrorism. ''Attacks
will likely occur in different cities simultaneously,'' Chief Ramsey
says. And as for those civil libertarians uneasy with the notion of
blanket national
surveillance, Ramsey just shrugs. ''We can't pretend we live in the 19th
century. We have to take advantage of technology.''

The Mall Guard Who Carries a Machine Gun

Imagine a wintry scene: snowdrifts and dirty slush and a long line of
people muffled against the cold. This is a line to get into the mall,
and it is moving
frustratingly slowly. What's the holdup? There is no new blockbuster
movie opening that day, or any of those ''everything must go'' clearance
sales that might
justify standing outside freezing for 20 minutes. Customers are simply
waiting to clear security.

Shopping in an environment of total terrorist preparedness promises to
be a vastly different experience from anything ever imagined in America.
But for
millions of people who live in terror-prone places like Israel or the
Philippines, tight security at shopping malls has long been a fact of
life. ''I was shocked when
I first came to the States and could go into any shopping plaza without
going through security,'' says Aviv Tene, a 33-year-old Haifa attorney.
''It seemed so
strange, and risky.''

It took me just under eight minutes to clear the security checkpoint
outside the Dizengoff Center in downtown Tel Aviv. But that was on a
rainy weekday
morning before the food courts and multiplex theater had opened.

The future shopping experience will start at the parking-lot entrance.
Booths manned by guards will control access to and from lots to prevent
terrorists from
emulating the Washington sniper and using parking lots as shooting
galleries. Cars entering underground garages will have their trunks
searched for
explosives, as is the practice in Manila. It has also become common
outside New York City hotels. This will guard against car or truck bombs
of the type that
blew up beneath the World Trade Center in 1993.

No one will be able to drive closer than a hundred yards to mall
entrances. Concrete Jersey barriers will stop anyone from crashing a
vehicle into the buildings
-- a favored terrorist tactic for American targets overseas -- or into
the crowds of customers lining up. Screening will follow the Israeli
model: metal barricades
will funnel shoppers through checkpoints at all doors. They will be
frisked, and both they and their bags will be searched and run through
metal detectors.
Security would be tightest in winter, says a former senior F.B.I. agent,
because AK-47's and grenade belts are easily concealed beneath heavy
coats.

What won't be concealed, of course, are the weapons carried by the
police at the mall. Major shopping areas will not be patrolled by the
docile, paid-by-the-hour
guards to whom we're accustomed, but -- like airports and New York City
tourist attractions -- by uniformed cops and soldiers with rifles.

What will it be like to encounter such firearms on a regular basis? I
lived for years in Moscow, and after a short time, I rarely noticed the
guns. In fact, I tended
to feel more uncomfortable when armed guards were not around; Israelis
traveling in the United States occasionally say the same thing. But
despite the
powerful presence of guns in popular culture, few Americans have had
much contact with the kind of heavy weapons that are now becoming a
common sight on
city streets. Such prominent displays are meant to convey the notion
that the government is doing something to ward off terrorists, but they
can have the reverse
effect too, of constantly reminding us of imminent danger.

Even more mundane procedures might have the same effect -- for example,
being asked to produce a national identification card every time you go
into a store,
much the same way clubgoers have to prove they are of age. The idea of a
national identity card, once widely viewed as un-American, is gaining
ground in
Washington, where some are advocating standardizing driver's licenses
throughout the country as a first step in that direction. Though perhaps
reminiscent of
Big Brother, these cards are not uncommon in the rest of the world, even
in Western Europe. In Singapore, the police frequently ask people to
produce their
papers; it becomes so routine that people cease being bothered by it.
How long would it take Americans to become similarly inured?

The new ID's, which are advocated by computer industry leaders like
Larry Ellison of Oracle, could resemble the digital smart cards that
Chinese authorities
plan to introduce in Hong Kong by the end of the year. These contain
computer chips with room to store biographical, financial and medical
histories, and
tamper-proof algorithms of the cardholder's thumbprint that can be
verified by hand-held optical readers. Based on the $394 million Hong
Kong has budgeted
for smart cards for its 6.8 million residents, a similar program in the
U.S. could run as high as $16 billion.

Among other things, a national identity card program would make it much
harder for people without proper ID to move around and therefore much
easier for
police and domestic-intelligence agents to track them down. And once
found, such people might discover they don't quite have the rights they
thought they had.
Even now, for instance, U.S. citizens can be declared ''enemy
combatants'' and be detained without counsel. Within a few years,
America's counterterrorist
agencies could have the kind of sweeping powers of arrest and
interrogation that have developed in places like Israel, the Philippines
and even France, where the
constant threat of terrorism enabled governments to do virtually
whatever it takes to prevent terrorism. ''As long as you worry too much
about making false
arrests and don't start taking greater risks,'' says Offer Einav, a
15-year Shin Bet veteran who now runs a security consulting firm, ''you
are never going to beat
terrorism.''

In years past, the U.S. has had to rely on other governments to take
these risks. For example, the mastermind of the 1993 W.T.C. bombing,
Ramzi Yousef, was
caught only after Philippine investigators used what official
intelligence documents delicately refer to as ''tactical interrogation''
to elicit a confession from an
accomplice arrested in Manila. In U.S. court testimony, the accomplice,
Abdul Hakim Murad, later testified that he was beaten to within an inch
of his life.

In Israel, it is touted that 90 percent of suicide bombers are caught
before they get near their targets, a record achieved partly because the
Shin Bet can do almost
anything it deems necessary to save lives. ''They do things we would not
be comfortable with in this country,'' says former Assistant F.B.I.
Director Steve
Pomerantz, who, along with a growing number of U.S. officials, has
traveled to Israel recently for antiterror training seminars.

But the U.S. is moving in the Israeli direction. The U.S.A. Patriot Act,
rushed into law six weeks after 9/11, has given government agencies wide
latitude to
invoke the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and get around judicial
restraints on search, seizure and surveillance of American citizens.
FISA, originally
intended to hunt international spies, permits the authorities to wiretap
virtually at will and break into people's homes to plant bugs or copy
documents. Last year,
surveillance requests by the federal government under FISA outnumbered
for the first time in U.S. history all of those under domestic law.

New legislative proposals by the Justice Department now seek to take the
Patriot Act's antiterror powers several steps further, including the
right to strip terror
suspects of their U.S. citizenship. Under the new bill -- titled the
Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003 -- the government would not be
required to
disclose the identity of anyone detained in connection with a terror
investigation, and the names of those arrested, be they Americans or
foreign nationals, would
be exempt from the Freedom of Information Act, according to the Center
for Public Integrity, a rights group in Washington, which has obtained a
draft of the
bill. An American citizen suspected of being part of a terrorist
conspiracy could be held by investigators without anyone being notified.
He could simply
disappear.

The Face-to-Face Interrogation on Your Vacation

Some aspects of life would, in superficial ways, seem easier, depending
on who you are and what sort of specialized ID you carry. Boarding an
international
flight, for example, might not require a passport for frequent fliers.
At Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, ''trusted'' travelers -- those who
have submitted to
background checks -- are issued a smart card encoded with the pattern of
their iris. When they want to pass through security, a scanner checks
their eyes and
verifies their identities, and they are off. The whole process takes 20
seconds, according to Dutch officials. At Ben-Gurion in Israel, the same
basic function is
carried out by electronic palm readers.

''We start building dossiers the moment someone buys a ticket,'' says
Einav, the Shin Bet veteran who also once served as head of El Al
security. ''We have quite
a bit of information on our frequent fliers. So we know they are not a
security risk.''

The technology frees up security personnel to focus their efforts on
everybody else, who, on my recent trip to Jerusalem, included me. As a
holder of a
Canadian passport (a favorite of forgers) that has visa stamps from a
number of high-risk countries ending in ''stan,'' I was subjected to a
40-minute
interrogation. My clothes and belongings were swabbed for explosives
residue. Taken to a separate room, I was questioned about every detail
of my stay in
Israel, often twice to make certain my story stayed consistent. Whom did
you meet? Where did you meet? What was the address? Do you have the
business
cards of the people you met? Can we see them? What did you discuss? Can
we see your notes? Do you have any maps with you? Did you take any
photographs while you were in Israel? Are you sure? Did you rent a car?
Where did you drive to? Do you have a copy of your hotel bill? Why do
you have a
visa to Pakistan? Why do you live in Washington? Can we see your D.C.
driver's license? Where did you live before Washington? Why did you live
in
Moscow? Are you always this nervous?

A Russian speaker was produced to verify that I spoke the language. By
the time I was finally cleared, I almost missed my flight. ''Sorry for
the delay,''
apologized the young security officer. ''Don't take it personally.''

El Al is a tiny airline that has a fleet of just 30 planes and flies to
a small handful of destinations. It is also heavily subsidized by the
government. This is what
has made El Al and Ben-Gurion safe from terrorists for more than 30
years.

Getting the American airline system up to this level would require a
great deal more than reinforced cockpit doors and the armed air marshals
now aboard
domestic and international flights. It would require changing
everything, including the cost and frequency of flights. Nothing could
be simpler, right now, than
flying from New York to Pittsburgh -- every day, there are at least a
dozen direct flights available from the city's three airports and
countless more connecting
flights. Bought a week or two in advance, these tickets can be as cheap
as $150 round-trip.

Making U.S. airlines as security-conscious as El Al would put the U.S.
back where the rest of the world is -- maybe a flight or two a day from
New York to
Pittsburgh, at much higher costs, and no assurance whatsoever you can
get on the plane you want. Flights would take longer, and landings might
be a little more
interesting, because pilots would have to stay away from densely
populated areas, where a plane downed by a shoulder-launched Stinger
missile could do
terrible damage.

Kayaking in the Wrong Place Is a Federal Crime

In a state of full readiness, American cities would be a patchwork of
places you couldn't go near. At first, most people wouldn't even notice
when no-sail zones
were instituted around all 50 major industrial ports in the country.
Maybe they would find out when they went to a local marina where they
occasionally rent a
small outboard to go water-skiing and found that it had been closed and
relocated. Or maybe they went kayaking up near the Indian Point nuclear
plant on the
Hudson and spent an afternoon talking to the Coast Guard after they got
a little too close.

There may be a lot of places private boats will be unable to go, like
anywhere near a shipping channel used by oil and gas freighters.
Infrared and video optronic
systems that can detect small boats, and even inflatable rubber craft,
may be deployed to enforce the no-sail zones. ''We invented it after
terrorists rode a
freighter to within 10 miles of Tel Aviv,'' says Rafael, the former
Israeli rear admiral, ''and used inflatable boats to attack beachfront
hotels.''

Each optronic installation costs $2 million, and four or five of the
units would be needed to protect the approach to any major harbor,
Rafael says. The system
would thus cost around $500 million.

''I'm always amazed at how lightly defended your industry is compared to
most other countries,'' says Hezy Ribak, another Israeli intelligence
expert, who runs a
security consulting firm. ''In Israel, we treat security at our
industrial facilities the way we do borders. The stakes,'' he adds,
''are just as high, higher if you
consider the damage terrorists can do if they infiltrate a nuclear power
plant or blow up a gas reservoir.''

The P-Glilot natural gas reservoir near Tel Aviv is a good example of
what security experts like Ribak have in mind for the U.S. From a
distance, P-Glilot
doesn't seem all that different than similar installations in New
Jersey, Ohio or Texas. The massive storage tanks are even painted with
quaint butterflies and
birds. But just off the highway, watchtowers dot the landscape. If you
drive closer, the complex takes on the feel of a military garrison, with
high walls and
electric fences bristling with sensors and cameras, and notices posted
in Hebrew, English and Arabic warning: ''No Photography.'' Pull off the
road and park by
the perimeter fence for a mere 15 seconds, and a metallic voice sounds
from an unseen loudspeaker, calling out your license plate number and
telling you to
move on.

''Security,'' Einav says, ''is about layers, creating buffer zones.'' On
the ground, that means changing the way industrial sites are guarded.
Security precautions in
the U.S. are concentrated around the core of the targets -- be they
reactors, pumping stations or chemical plants -- rather than the
perimeter. ''Security at the
main buildings might stop environmental protesters or the lone crazy,
but it doesn't help in the case of a truck loaded with explosives,
because the terrorists have
already reached their objective,'' Ribak says. ''Why give yourself so
little room? There should be as big a buffer as possible between the
first line of defense --
the perimeter of the property -- and the target, to give yourself early
warning.''

Perimeters, Ribak says, will need to be equipped with vibration sensors;
thermal and infrared cameras; buried magnetic detection devices that can
distinguish
between humans, animals and vehicles; and several rows of old-fashioned
razor coil to delay intruders, giving guards time to respond to alarms.

In the U.S., where many industrial facilities are concentrated in dense
urban areas, such security measures would necessitate the rerouting of
highways and
possibly the relocation of neighborhoods that are just too close. In New
York City, power plants sit right in the middle of residential
neighborhoods, like the one
at 14th Street and Avenue D in the East Village. It is across the street
from Stuyvesant Town and a public housing project, home to tens of
thousands of people.
Israeli security officials shake their heads in astonishment at such
''crazy'' U.S. practices, but then again who ever thought that putting
an airport next to the
Pentagon was a security risk?

Securing dense, mixed-use urban neighborhoods could not only complicate
housing markets and commuting patterns, which are typically a disaster
in most
cities already, but could also come at tremendous expense. Consider the
Donald C. Cook nuclear power plant in Berrien County, Mich. It has two
Westinghouse reactors and sits on a relatively cramped 650-acre plot.
Just to provide a three-mile buffer around the plant would run $76
million, according to
U.S.D.A. statistics on the average price per acre of land in Michigan.
For the Indian Point plant in Westchester, the cost would be
exponentially higher. Add to
that the $3.5 billion to $7 billion estimated by a recent Princeton
University study to safeguard spent fuel pools from air attack, the
roughly $3.5 million price
tag of new perimeter sensors and the $160 million that Raytheon charges
for a Patriot missile battery capable of knocking out airborne threats,
and multiply the
total by the 103 nuclear power stations in the country.

Now factor in the 276,000 natural gas wells in the U.S., the 1.5 million
miles of unprotected pipelines, the 161 oil refineries, 2,000 oil
storage facilities and
10,400 hydro, coal and gas-fired power generating stations, and you get
a sense of the costs involved.

Every Day Is Super Bowl Sunday

But you probably won't be thinking about any of that when you go out to
dinner or to the movies or to a ball game. By then, it could all be
second nature. The
restaurant attendant will go through your purse and wave a
metal-detector wand over your jacket, as they do in Tel Aviv. The valet
parker will pop open your
trunk and look through it before dropping your car off at an underground
garage, just as in Manila.

If you take the family to a Dodgers game, you'll be able to tell your
kids how, back in the day, they used to have blimps and small planes
trailing ad banners
over stadiums. The flight restrictions, started at Super Bowl XXXVII in
2002, would not permit any planes within seven miles of any significant
sporting events.
Fans would have to park at least five miles from the stadium and board
shuttle buses to gates. Spectators would be funneled through
airport-style metal
detectors and watched over by a network of 50 cameras installed
throughout the stadium. Air quality would be monitored for pathogens by
the type of portable
detectors brought in by the Army at last year's Olympics.

Even people with no interest in sports who live in high-rises near
stadiums would know whenever game day came round. ''Tall buildings near
stadiums are also
a risk,'' says Col. Mena Bacharach, a former Israeli secret-service
agent who is one of the lead security consultants for the 2004 Summer
Olympics in Athens.
''They would have to be swept for snipers or R.P.G.'s.'' R.P.G.'s? Those
are rocket-propelled grenades, another term that could become an
American
colloquialism.

It's still too early to tell what all this would mean to ticket prices,
but, in a sign of the changing times, the security allocation alone for
last month's Super Bowl
was $9 million -- the equivalent of $134 for every one of the 67,000
fans in attendance.

Of course, public awareness programs could help to significantly cut
down counterterror costs. In Israel, televised public service
announcements similar to
antidrug commercials in the U.S. warn viewers to be on the lookout for
signs of suspicious activity. The messages are even taught to
schoolchildren, along with
other important survival tips, like how to assemble gas masks. ''I was
out with my 7-year-old granddaughter the other day,'' recalls Joel
Feldschuh, a former
Israeli brigadier general and president of El Al. ''And she sees a bag
on the street and starts shouting: 'Granddaddy, granddaddy, look.
Quickly call a policeman.
It could be left by terrorists.' ''

What Is Your Security Worth to You?

It is commonly held that a country as big and confident in its freedoms
as the United States could never fully protect itself against
terrorists. The means
available to them are too vast, the potentially deadly targets too
plentiful. And there is a strong conviction in many quarters that there
is a limit to which
Americans will let their daily patterns be disturbed for security
precautions. Discussing the possibility that we might all need to be
equipped with our own gas
masks, as Israelis are, Sergeant McClaskey of Baltimore assured me it
would never happen. ''If it ever reaches the point where we all need gas
masks,''
McClaskey said, shaking his head with disgust, ''then we have lost the
war on terror because we are living in fear.''

What does it really mean, however, to ''lose the war on terror''? It's
as ephemeral a concept as ''winning the war on terror.'' In what sense
will it ever be possible
to declare an end of any kind?

One thing that makes the decisions of how to protect ourselves so
difficult is that the terrorism we face is fundamentally different from
what other governments
have faced in the past. The Israelis live in tight quarters with an
enemy they know well and can readily lay their eyes on. Terror attacks
on European countries
have always come from colonies or nearby provinces that have generally
had specific grievances and demands. Americans don't know exactly who
our enemies
are or where they are coming from. Two of the recent thwarted
terrorists, Richard Reid and Zacarias Moussaoui, were in fact Europeans.

The United States also lacks the national identity that binds Israel and
most European countries and helps make the psychic wounds of terrorism
heal faster. In
Israel, hours after a bombing, the streets are crowded again -- people
are determined to keep going. Immediately after 9/11, that's how many
Americans felt, too,
but it's not at all clear how long this kind of spirit will endure.

Nor is it clear how we will absorb the cost. An adviser to President
Bush estimates that as much as $100 billion will have to be spent
annually on domestic
security over the next 10 years, if you factor in all the overtime
accrued by police departments every time there is a heightened alert.
There are many who believe,
as General Odom does, that the money is ''insignificant.'' ''At the
height of the cold war we used to spend 7.2 percent of G.D.P. on defense
and intelligence,'' he
says. ''We spend less than half that now.''

Outside of defense and some of the entitlement programs, however,
domestic security will dwarf every other kind of federal spending:
education, roads,
subsidized housing, environmental protection. More than that, the
decisions we make about how to protect ourselves -- the measures we
demand, the ones we
resist -- will take over our political discourse and define our ideas
about government in the years to come.

One significant argument against the creation of an American security
state, a United States that resembles Israel, is that even there, in a
society rigorously
organized around security, the safety of its citizens is far from
guaranteed. But what keeps Israelis going about their daily lives -- and
what might help
Americans do the same despite the fear of violence here -- is the
conspicuousness of the response and the minor sacrifices that have to be
made every day. The
more often we have to have our bags searched, the better we might feel.
Sitting in the kind of traffic jam that would have normally frayed our
nerves might seem
almost comforting if it's because all the cars in front of us are being
checked for bombs. We may demand more daily inconveniences, more routine
abrogations
of our rights. These decisions are not only going to change how we go
about our days; they're also going to change our notion of what it means
to be an
American. How far do we want to go?

''Security is a balancing act,'' says Einav, the former El Al security
chief. ''And there are always trade-offs. Give me the resources, and I
can guarantee your
safety. The question is, What are you willing to pay or put up with to
stay safe?''

Matthew Brzezinski, a contributing writer for the magazine, last wrote
about the detention of Hady Hassan Omar, a Muslim immigrant.

Posted by Lisa at 07:18 AM
Law Professor Will Assist With Articles Of Impeachment, Free Of Charge

International Law Professor Francis A. Boyle of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign thinks we ought to pre-emptively kick the Shrub's butt out of office for making pre-emptive strikes a part of our foreign policy. He thinks we should rid ourselves of Ashcroft while we're at it. (I think he's forgetting somebody...But two out of three ain't bad.)

Preemptive impeachment
Law professor stands ready to draft articles for any member of the House
By Kéllia Ramares, Online Journal Contributing Editor


While the United States will constantly strive to enlist the support of the international community, we will not hesitate to act alone, if necessary, to exercise our right of self defense by acting preemptively against such terrorists, to prevent them from doing harm against our people and our country . . .

—The National Security Strategy of the United States of America

...Article II Sec. 4 of the Constitution states that: "The President, Vice President and all Civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors." Boyle says that waging a war of aggression is a crime under the Nuremberg Charter, Judgment and Principles. "It's very clear," he adds, "if you read all the press reports, they are going to devastate Baghdad, a metropolitan area of 5 million people. The Nuremberg Charter clearly says the wanton devastation of a city is a Nuremberg war crime."

The United States is a party to the Nuremberg Charter, Judgment and Principles, and thus is constitutionally bound to obey them. "The Constitution, in Article 6, says that international treaties are the supreme law of the land here in the United States of America. So all we would be doing here, in this impeachment campaign," Boyle says, "is impeaching them for violating international treaties, as incorporated into the United States Constitution, as well as the Constitution itself."

Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:

http://www.onlinejournal.com/Special_Reports/Ramares010403/ramares010403.html


Preemptive impeachment
Law professor stands ready to draft articles for any member of the House

By Kéllia Ramares
Online Journal Contributing Editor

While the United States will constantly strive to enlist the support of the international community, we will not hesitate to act alone, if necessary, to exercise our right of self defense by acting preemptively against such terrorists, to prevent them from doing harm against our people and our country . . .

—The National Security Strategy of the United States of America

January 4, 2002—"We sentenced Nazi leaders to death for waging a war of aggression," says International Law Professor Francis A. Boyle of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. By contrast, Prof. Boyle wants merely to impeach George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and John Ashcroft for their plans to invade Iraq and create a police state in America.

Boyle is offering his services as counsel, free of charge, to any member of the House of Representatives willing to sponsor articles of impeachment. He is experienced in this work, having undertaken it in 1991 for the late Rep. Henry B. Gonzalez (D-TX), in an effort to stop the first Persian Gulf War. It takes only one member to introduce articles of impeachment. Of course, it will take many more than that to vote for impeachment, which will culminate in a trial in the Senate. Boyle is confident that, once the articles are introduced, others, including Republicans, will co-sponsor them. But we have to convince our Representatives that impeachment is necessary for the country and politically safe for them. This non-violent, constitutional process may be our best way of stopping World War III and saving our civil rights.

Grounds for Impeachment

Article II Sec. 4 of the Constitution states that: "The President, Vice President and all Civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors." Boyle says that waging a war of aggression is a crime under the Nuremberg Charter, Judgment and Principles. "It's very clear," he adds, "if you read all the press reports, they are going to devastate Baghdad, a metropolitan area of 5 million people. The Nuremberg Charter clearly says the wanton devastation of a city is a Nuremberg war crime."

The United States is a party to the Nuremberg Charter, Judgment and Principles, and thus is constitutionally bound to obey them. "The Constitution, in Article 6, says that international treaties are the supreme law of the land here in the United States of America. So all we would be doing here, in this impeachment campaign," Boyle says, "is impeaching them for violating international treaties, as incorporated into the United States Constitution, as well as the Constitution itself."

Bush Cabal Repudiates Nuremberg Principles

We don't have to wait for the devastation of Baghdad to impeach the Bush cabal because they have already repudiated the Nuremberg Charter via the so-called Bush Doctrine of preventive war and pre-emptive attack. "This doctrine of pre-emptive warfare or pre-emptive attack was rejected soundly in the Nuremberg Judgment, " Boyle says. "The Nuremberg Judgment . . . rejected this Nazi doctrine of international law of alleged self-defense." The Bush Doctrine, embodied in the National Security Strategy document, published on the White House web site, is appalling, Boyle says. "It reads like a Nazi planning document prior to the Second World War."

The Fruit Doesn't Fall Far From the Tree

As Rep. Henry B. Gonzalez explained on the floor of the House in 1991, his articles charged the elder Bush with:

1) Violating the Equal Protection Clause by having minorities and poor whites, who were the majority of the soldiers in the Middle East, "fight a war for oil to preserve the lifestyles of the wealthy."

2) Violating "the Constitution, Federal law, and the UN Charter by bribing, intimidating, and threatening others, including the members of the UN Security Council, to support belligerent acts against Iraq."

3) Violating the Nuremberg principles by conspiring to engage in a massive war against Iraq that would cause tens of thousands of civilian deaths.

4) Committing "the United States to acts of war without congressional consent and contrary to the UN Charter and international law." (This refers to the lack of a formal declaration of war, as required by the Constitution).

5) Committing crimes against the peace by leading the United States into aggressive war against Iraq, in violation of Article 24 of the UN Charter, the Nuremberg Charter, other international instruments and treaties, and the Constitution of the United States.

Boyle believes that the articles he drafted for Gonzalez' effort to impeach George H. W. Bush, the father, could still serve as a basis for impeaching George W. Bush, the son.

Are the People Ready for Another Impeachment?

Impeachment has the advantage of bypassing the U.S. Supreme Court, which illegally installed Bush in the Oval Office. The same "Justices" would have the final word on legal challenges to constitutional abominations, such as the USA PATRIOT Act and the Homeland Security Act, both of which the White House rammed through a Congress frightened by the September 11th attacks and the as yet unsolved anthrax attacks on Capitol Hill.

But no matter how blatant the violations of constitutional, statutory and international law are, impeachment is still a political process. Republicans control the Congress and many Democrats, fearful of being labeled "soft on terrorism" might be unwilling to challenge the Bush cabal. It would take tremendous public pressure to get a reluctant Congress to impeach. Still, Boyle thinks he can garner public support by adding an article of impeachment against John Ashcroft.

"We know for a fact that there are Republicans and Democrats and Independents and Greens, even very conservative Republicans, such as Dick Armey and [Bob] Barr, who are very worried about a police state." Boyle says that an article against Ashcroft would make clear "that we don't want a police state in the name of an oil empire."

It's Up to Us

Unfortunately for the impeachment campaign, Armey has retired and Barr, who spoke out against some of the most draconian proposals for what eventually became the USA PATRIOT Act, was defeated in the Republican primary. Boyle is still waiting for the one member of Congress willing to introduce articles of impeachment when the 108th Congress convenes on January 7.

Since Bush has indicated that he is not likely to go to war before the end of January or early February, Boyle thinks we have a month to stop the war by impeaching the chain of command: Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld, along with police state enforcer Ashcroft. Time and the Internet are advantages Rep. Gonzalez did not have in 1991, when the Persian Gulf War was launched the day after he introduced his articles.

Boyle is asking the public to push for impeachment in two ways. First, contact your own member of Congress to urge him or her to introduce articles of impeachment, and tell the member that he or she may contact Prof. Boyle for assistance in drafting the articles. Second, demand impeachment by engaging in non-violent direct action, in exercise of your First Amendment rights to free speech, peaceable assembly and petition for redress of grievances. Boyle was pleased that 100,000 people marched around the White House last October 26 to protest the impending war on Iraq. But he says one million people need to peaceably take to the streets with signs, banners and voices shouting, "Impeach Bush!"

"The bottom line: it's really up to you and to me to enforce the law and the Constitution against our own government," he says. "We are citizens of the United States of America. We have to act to preserve the republic that we have, to preserve our Constitution, to preserve a rule of law. This is our responsibility as citizens. We simply can't pass the buck and say 'Oh, some judge is going to do it somewhere.' It's up to us to keep this republic."

Copyright © 2003 Kéllia Ramares. For fair use only.

Listen to Kéllia Ramares' full interview of Prof. Francis Boyle at R.I.S.E. - Radio Internet Story Exchange. Also, shop the R.I.S.E. online store for impeachment paraphernalia.


Download a printable version.
For a free copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader, click here.

National march against war and racism

Saturday, Jan. 18

National march on Washington, DC, to say no to war on Iraq. The event will begin with a rally at 11a.m. Eastern time on the west side of the Capitol Building, followed by a march to the Washington, DC, Navy Yard, a huge military complex located in the heart of one of Washington's working class communities.

In a joint action in San Francisco, marchers will assemble at 11a.m. Pacific time at Market and Embarcadero Streets in the Financial District for a march to Civic Center.

Sunday, Jan. 19

There will be a Youth and Student Rally and March against War and Racism In Washington, DC. Marchers should gather at 11 a.m. at the Departmentt of In-Justice on Pennsylvania Ave., between 9th and 10th Streets NW. There will be a march to the Presidential Palace (a.k.a. the White House) for a Youth & Student Weapons Inspection.

The Youth and Student Rally and March is to protest the attacks against the Arab and Muslim communities—including the recent mass arrests in California. People are encouraged to bring banners and puppets, to dress as weapons inspectors, to find as many creative methods to dramatize your demands in opposition to a war of aggression and in support of a reorganization of society's priorities that would put people's needs ahead of the Pentagon and the war profiteers in Corporate America. For more information on these protests, please visit the website of International ANSWER—Act Now to Stop War and End Racism.

The views expressed herein are the writers' own and do not necessarily reflect those of Online Journal.
Email editor@onlinejournal.com

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1-hour documentary on the Terrorist flight school in Venice Fl. The must see video on the "terrorist" flight school in Venice, Fla.

War on Freedom: How and Why America was Attacked, September 11th 2001
War on Freedom: How and Why America was Attacked, September 11th 2001

Best Democracy Money Can Buy: An Investigative Reporter Exposes the Truth about Globalization, Corporate Cons, and High Finance Fraudsters
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Bacardi: The Hidden War
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Preemptive impeachment
Law professor stands ready to draft articles for any member of the House

By Kéllia Ramares
Online Journal Contributing Editor

While the United States will constantly strive to enlist the support of the international community, we will not hesitate to act alone, if necessary, to exercise our right of self defense by acting preemptively against such terrorists, to prevent them from doing harm against our people and our country . . .

—The National Security Strategy of the United States of America

January 4, 2002—"We sentenced Nazi leaders to death for waging a war of aggression," says International Law Professor Francis A. Boyle of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. By contrast, Prof. Boyle wants merely to impeach George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and John Ashcroft for their plans to invade Iraq and create a police state in America.

Boyle is offering his services as counsel, free of charge, to any member of the House of Representatives willing to sponsor articles of impeachment. He is experienced in this work, having undertaken it in 1991 for the late Rep. Henry B. Gonzalez (D-TX), in an effort to stop the first Persian Gulf War. It takes only one member to introduce articles of impeachment. Of course, it will take many more than that to vote for impeachment, which will culminate in a trial in the Senate. Boyle is confident that, once the articles are introduced, others, including Republicans, will co-sponsor them. But we have to convince our Representatives that impeachment is necessary for the country and politically safe for them. This non-violent, constitutional process may be our best way of stopping World War III and saving our civil rights.

Grounds for Impeachment

Article II Sec. 4 of the Constitution states that: "The President, Vice President and all Civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors." Boyle says that waging a war of aggression is a crime under the Nuremberg Charter, Judgment and Principles. "It's very clear," he adds, "if you read all the press reports, they are going to devastate Baghdad, a metropolitan area of 5 million people. The Nuremberg Charter clearly says the wanton devastation of a city is a Nuremberg war crime."

The United States is a party to the Nuremberg Charter, Judgment and Principles, and thus is constitutionally bound to obey them. "The Constitution, in Article 6, says that international treaties are the supreme law of the land here in the United States of America. So all we would be doing here, in this impeachment campaign," Boyle says, "is impeaching them for violating international treaties, as incorporated into the United States Constitution, as well as the Constitution itself."

Bush Cabal Repudiates Nuremberg Principles

We don't have to wait for the devastation of Baghdad to impeach the Bush cabal because they have already repudiated the Nuremberg Charter via the so-called Bush Doctrine of preventive war and pre-emptive attack. "This doctrine of pre-emptive warfare or pre-emptive attack was rejected soundly in the Nuremberg Judgment, " Boyle says. "The Nuremberg Judgment . . . rejected this Nazi doctrine of international law of alleged self-defense." The Bush Doctrine, embodied in the National Security Strategy document, published on the White House web site, is appalling, Boyle says. "It reads like a Nazi planning document prior to the Second World War."

The Fruit Doesn't Fall Far From the Tree

As Rep. Henry B. Gonzalez explained on the floor of the House in 1991, his articles charged the elder Bush with:

1) Violating the Equal Protection Clause by having minorities and poor whites, who were the majority of the soldiers in the Middle East, "fight a war for oil to preserve the lifestyles of the wealthy."

2) Violating "the Constitution, Federal law, and the UN Charter by bribing, intimidating, and threatening others, including the members of the UN Security Council, to support belligerent acts against Iraq."

3) Violating the Nuremberg principles by conspiring to engage in a massive war against Iraq that would cause tens of thousands of civilian deaths.

4) Committing "the United States to acts of war without congressional consent and contrary to the UN Charter and international law." (This refers to the lack of a formal declaration of war, as required by the Constitution).

5) Committing crimes against the peace by leading the United States into aggressive war against Iraq, in violation of Article 24 of the UN Charter, the Nuremberg Charter, other international instruments and treaties, and the Constitution of the United States.

Boyle believes that the articles he drafted for Gonzalez' effort to impeach George H. W. Bush, the father, could still serve as a basis for impeaching George W. Bush, the son.

Are the People Ready for Another Impeachment?

Impeachment has the advantage of bypassing the U.S. Supreme Court, which illegally installed Bush in the Oval Office. The same "Justices" would have the final word on legal challenges to constitutional abominations, such as the USA PATRIOT Act and the Homeland Security Act, both of which the White House rammed through a Congress frightened by the September 11th attacks and the as yet unsolved anthrax attacks on Capitol Hill.

But no matter how blatant the violations of constitutional, statutory and international law are, impeachment is still a political process. Republicans control the Congress and many Democrats, fearful of being labeled "soft on terrorism" might be unwilling to challenge the Bush cabal. It would take tremendous public pressure to get a reluctant Congress to impeach. Still, Boyle thinks he can garner public support by adding an article of impeachment against John Ashcroft.

"We know for a fact that there are Republicans and Democrats and Independents and Greens, even very conservative Republicans, such as Dick Armey and [Bob] Barr, who are very worried about a police state." Boyle says that an article against Ashcroft would make clear "that we don't want a police state in the name of an oil empire."

It's Up to Us

Unfortunately for the impeachment campaign, Armey has retired and Barr, who spoke out against some of the most draconian proposals for what eventually became the USA PATRIOT Act, was defeated in the Republican primary. Boyle is still waiting for the one member of Congress willing to introduce articles of impeachment when the 108th Congress convenes on January 7.

Since Bush has indicated that he is not likely to go to war before the end of January or early February, Boyle thinks we have a month to stop the war by impeaching the chain of command: Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld, along with police state enforcer Ashcroft. Time and the Internet are advantages Rep. Gonzalez did not have in 1991, when the Persian Gulf War was launched the day after he introduced his articles.

Boyle is asking the public to push for impeachment in two ways. First, contact your own member of Congress to urge him or her to introduce articles of impeachment, and tell the member that he or she may contact Prof. Boyle for assistance in drafting the articles. Second, demand impeachment by engaging in non-violent direct action, in exercise of your First Amendment rights to free speech, peaceable assembly and petition for redress of grievances. Boyle was pleased that 100,000 people marched around the White House last October 26 to protest the impending war on Iraq. But he says one million people need to peaceably take to the streets with signs, banners and voices shouting, "Impeach Bush!"

"The bottom line: it's really up to you and to me to enforce the law and the Constitution against our own government," he says. "We are citizens of the United States of America. We have to act to preserve the republic that we have, to preserve our Constitution, to preserve a rule of law. This is our responsibility as citizens. We simply can't pass the buck and say 'Oh, some judge is going to do it somewhere.' It's up to us to keep this republic."

Copyright © 2003 Kéllia Ramares. For fair use only.

Listen to Kéllia Ramares' full interview of Prof. Francis Boyle at R.I.S.E. - Radio Internet Story Exchange. Also, shop the R.I.S.E. online store for impeachment paraphernalia.

Posted by Lisa at 06:45 AM
February 14, 2003
Senator Max Baucus On CSPAN - More About This Unprecedented Situation

Here are some clips of Senator Max Baucus (D-Montana) from
yesterday's debate over the nomination of Miguel Estrada
to the second highest court in the land.

It was lengthly, but very interesting. I sure learn a lot watching
CSPAN. (Well, a lot compared to what I used to know before about this stuff anyway, which was nothing :)

Senator Max Baucus (D-Montana) explains a thing
or two about the Estrada situation

(Note: These clips are in no way complete -- he spoke for
two or three times as long as these clips):

Highlights with descriptions: Part 1: Baucus recalls how he
recalls Supreme Court Justice O'Connor starting the
practice of not answering certain questions when she
was being considered for the bench -- noting that she
had an extensive record from which she could be
assessed. Estrada, in contrast, has refused to answer
any questions whatsoever. (Not just one or two
questions that he doesn't feel comfortable about.)

Sen Max Baucus On CSPAN Part 1 of 4 (Lo-Res - 17 MB)
Audio - Sen Max Baucus On CSPAN Part 1 of 4 (Lo-Res - 2 MB)

Part 2 - Baucus talks about how important it is to
know what kind of a person that nominee is since
these are lifetime appointments.

Sen Max Baucus On CSPAN Part 2 of 4 (Lo-Res - 17 MB)
Audio - Sen Max Baucus On CSPAN Part 2 of 4 (Lo-Res - 2 MB)

Part 3 - Baucus elaborates about how he feels
responsible to do what is right by the people.
He also brings up the point that the Justice Dept.
probably interviewed Estrada before the Shrub
made his recommendation -- and asks "why wasn't
that information made available to the Senate?"

Sen Max Baucus On CSPAN Part 3 of 4 (Lo-Res - 25 MB)
Audio - Sen Max Baucus On CSPAN Part 3 of 4 (Lo-Res - 3 MB)

Part 4 - Baucus talks about when Roosevelt tried
to pack the Supreme Court when he didn't like
the decisions it had been making. (He tried to
add Justices to the court.) But the Senate stood
up to him. Now it is time, he said, for the Senate
to stand up against the blind approval of these kind
of mystery nominees.
Sen Max Baucus On CSPAN Part 4 of 4 (Lo-Res - 40 MB)
Audio - Sen Max Baucus On CSPAN Part 4 of 4 (Lo-Res - 4 MB)

Senator Max Baucus (D-Montana) Complete Audio:
Audio - Sen Max Baucus On CSPAN - Parts 1-4 (Hi-Res - 10 MB)
Audio - Sen Max Baucus On CSPAN - Parts 1-4 (Lo-Res - 5 MB)

Posted by Lisa at 06:47 PM
February 13, 2003
Estrada - The Stealth Judge Nominee

Okay so the deal with Estrada isn't that there's no way to determine how the guy feels about anything, because he's not providing any information about his record.

In fact, the root of the problem is that there's no way to determine much about him for sure, one way or the other. He has never served as a Judge anywhere else, so there's no way to judge him on past decisions. He's not a scholar so there are no academic writings from which his values can be derived.

He refused to provide the Senate with a single Supreme Court Decision he disagrees with, for instance. (Yes, in the entire history of the Supreme Court.)

There simply isn't enough information about the guy, and it appears that Estrada has been instructed by the Shrub Administration to not make any statements about anything -- even to the Senate attempting to evaluate him.

"He has refused to answer any basic questions. And he has no record...
The people deserve better," said Senator Tim Johnson (D- South Dakota)
"I hope that never again will we see this kind of stealth process."

Posted by Lisa at 12:24 PM
Estrada Debate Going On Right Now On CSPAN

Yeah, I'm recording it....Don't worry...And on VHS because my TiVOs so full these days. (How quaintly retro.)

Right now Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-Georgia) is really hamming it up about Estrada being Hispanic, and working his way up from nothing as an immigrant, etc. "We think you've come far from a lowly background...and he's taken advantage of the opportunities that have been given to you...."

Anyway, tune in for yourself if you're interested...

Posted by Lisa at 11:56 AM
More On The Estrada Filibuster

Democrats Prepare for Estrada Filibuster
AP story by Jesse J. Holland.


The White House on Wednesday refused to release internal Justice Department (news - web sites) memos written by one of President Bush (news - web sites)'s nominees to an important appeals court, setting up a partisan showdown over Miguel Estrada.

Democrats say they will use a filibuster to keep Estrada from being confirmed for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit until the Washington lawyer answers more of their questions. They also want internal Justice memos Estrada wrote while working for the solicitor general's office. Democrats say those writings would reveal how Estrada would think as a judge...

Democrats said the refusal means the Estrada debate will drag on. "I regret that the White House remains recalcitrant and continues to stand in the way of a solution to this impasse," said Sen. Patrick Leahy (news, bio, voting record) of Vermont, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee (news - web sites).

Bush said the Democratic plan to block his nominee, who would be the first Hispanic judge on the appeals courts, was "shameful politics." Senate GOP leader Bill Frist warned Democrats that he might force them to stay in the Senate chamber at night and on weekends until he gets a final vote on Estrada.

"I think it is important for America to understand that your side of the aisle is — whether or not you use the word filibuster or not — is obstructing or stalling a process that is important to our judicial system," said Frist, R-Tenn.

Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story2&u=/ap/20030213/ap_on_go_pr_wh/senate_estrada&e=2

White House - AP
Democrats Prepare for Estrada Filibuster
Wed Feb 12, 9:45 PM ET
Add White House - AP to My Yahoo!

By JESSE J. HOLLAND, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - The White House on Wednesday refused to release internal Justice Department (news - web sites) memos written by one of President Bush (news - web sites)'s nominees to an important appeals court, setting up a partisan showdown over Miguel Estrada.

Democrats say they will use a filibuster to keep Estrada from being confirmed for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit until the Washington lawyer answers more of their questions. They also want internal Justice memos Estrada wrote while working for the solicitor general's office. Democrats say those writings would reveal how Estrada would think as a judge.

But White House counsel Alberto Gonzales, in a letter Wednesday, told senators that the administration would not release the documents and that Justice normally does not release such documents. All of the living former solicitors general, four Democrats and three Republicans, have agreed with the White House's position, he said. "That is a fundamental principle that has been followed irrespective of the party that controls the White House and the Senate," Gonzales said.

Democrats said the refusal means the Estrada debate will drag on. "I regret that the White House remains recalcitrant and continues to stand in the way of a solution to this impasse," said Sen. Patrick Leahy (news, bio, voting record) of Vermont, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee (news - web sites).

Bush said the Democratic plan to block his nominee, who would be the first Hispanic judge on the appeals courts, was "shameful politics." Senate GOP leader Bill Frist warned Democrats that he might force them to stay in the Senate chamber at night and on weekends until he gets a final vote on Estrada.

"I think it is important for America to understand that your side of the aisle is — whether or not you use the word filibuster or not — is obstructing or stalling a process that is important to our judicial system," said Frist, R-Tenn.

Democrats are looking for material they can use against Estrada, since he didn't provide them with anything controversial during his confirmation hearing last year, said Senate Judiciary Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. "They couldn't dig up any dirt on him," Hatch said. "So what are they doing now? Trying to see through a fishing expedition if they can find some documents where they can."

Democrats have not yet tried a traditional filibuster on Estrada, although they say they will if necessary. That means lawmakers take over the Senate floor and refuse to allow the Senate to go home or move to other business until they get their way.

That type of filibuster is rare today, Senate historian Don Ritchie said. "The old image of 'Mr. Smith Goes To Washington,' and one senator holding the Senate for hours and hours doesn't happen anymore," Ritchie said.

Democrats say they have enough votes to sustain that type of filibuster against Estrada, who they contend lacks judicial experience. Democrats also complained about his refusal to answer questions about specific cases, including abortion rights, and to provide copies of the memos.

"It's simply not right for anyone to be asked to make a decision in the dark," said Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota.

Since Estrada's nomination in May 2001, Republicans have accused Democrats of treating him unfairly because he is a conservative Hispanic. The GOP has the 51 votes needed to confirm him but not the votes to stop a filibuster.

Democrats "can vote against him. That is their right. And if that is what they want to do, that is the proper exercise of their constitutional duty," Hatch said.

"But to simply deny the Senate a vote is unfair to the nominee, it's unfair to this body, it's unfair to the president, it's unfair to the majority of senators who want to vote for this man."

Daschle said if they do not force Estrada to answer their questions, other Bush nominees will stonewall them. "If we don't draw the line here, we will never be able to draw this line," Daschle said.

Senate parliamentary rules allow a filibuster to be maintained with just 41 votes. Democratic aides say Democrats have 44 of their 48 senators agreeing to keep a filibuster going, with Sens. John Breaux of Louisiana, Zell Miller of Georgia and Ben Nelson of Nebraska against a filibuster and Sen. Blanche Lincoln (news, bio, voting record) of Arkansas on the fence.

The longest traditional Senate filibuster in history belongs to recently retired Sen. Strom Thurmond (news, bio, voting record) of South Carolina, who spoke for 24 hours and 18 minutes in opposition to civil rights legislation in 1957. Thurmond failed, and the bill eventually passed the Senate.

Posted by Lisa at 11:47 AM
Let The Dems Know You Support Estrada Filibuster

If you haven't heard about this Estrada guy until know and it doesn't seem like it could be that important or you would have, please keep reading.
It's important...Promise :-)

This just in from Move On.

You can look up your reps to call and thank them (Congressmerge -- anyone know of a better lookup service?)

In any case: do it now guys! Thanks!


Responding to thousands of our calls, Democrats have just launched
a filibuster* to prevent the confirmation of Miguel Estrada to
America's second-highest court. This filibuster is the first sign
of real resistance to extremism in Congress and the White House...

Please call your Senators now, at:

Senator Feinstein (D)
Local Phone: 310-914-7300
DC Phone: 202-224-3841

Senator Boxer (D)
Local Phone: 415-403-0100
DC Phone: 202-224-3553

If your Senator is a Democrat, say:

"Thank you for supporting the filibuster
to block the Estrada nomination.
Please speak out on the Senate floor."

If your Senator is a Republican, say:

"Please support the filibuster to block
the Estrada nomination."

A story on the filibuster in today's New York Times is at:
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/02/12/politics/12ESTR.html

For more information on Estrada, there's a good fact sheet at:
http://www.pfaw.org/pfaw/general/default.aspx?oid=7795

* For more information on filibusters, see our recent bulletin at:
http://www.moveon.org/moveonbulletin/bulletin11.html

Responding to thousands of our calls, Democrats have just launched
a filibuster* to prevent the confirmation of Miguel Estrada to
America's second-highest court. This filibuster is the first sign
of real resistance to extremism in Congress and the White House.

Weíve got to support this filibuster.

Please call your Senators now, at:

Senator Feinstein (D)
Local Phone: 310-914-7300
DC Phone: 202-224-3841

Senator Boxer (D)
Local Phone: 415-403-0100
DC Phone: 202-224-3553

If your Senator is a Democrat, say:

"Thank you for supporting the filibuster to block the Estrada
nomination. Please speak out on the Senate floor."

If your Senator is a Republican, say:

"Please support the filibuster to block the Estrada nomination."

If you are asked why you support the filibuster, make some of the
following points in your own words:

- Estrada has hidden his views on the law from the public;
- Estrada has a reputation as a right-wing extremist;
- The Senate must be informed to advise and consent on nominations.

Please let us know you're making your calls, at:

http://www.moveon.org/callmade2.html

The filibuster is a bold move -- playing the Senate's ultimate ace --
and bold moves carry big risks. This filibuster is now the battle line
on which everything we care about depends. Republicans will make every
effort to peel Dems away from the filibuster.

If they succeed, we're screwed. It's that simple. If the Dems cave
in here, the right wing will steamroller us on every issue, gutting
environmental protections, giving enormous new tax breaks to the rich
while the economy tanks, and eviscerating our civil rights.

But if the filibuster succeeds, it will be a resounding victory, giving
us a real chance to protect the things that matter to us. It could
even embolden the Democrats to challenge the White House's war plans.

Six weeks ago, nobody thought we'd get this far. Yet more than
18,000 MoveOn members have called since last week in support of the
filibuster. Hundreds of us vistited Senate offices a month ago.
Senators are telling each other what a difference MoveOn is making.
Our work is paying off and we've got to keep it up.

Please make your calls today. Please call again, even if you've called
before.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

--The MoveOn Team
Carrie, Eli, Joan, Peter, Wes, Zack
February 12, 2003

P.S.:

A story on the filibuster in today's New York Times is at:
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/02/12/politics/12ESTR.html

For more information on Estrada, there's a good fact sheet at:
http://www.pfaw.org/pfaw/general/default.aspx?oid=7795

* For more information on filibusters, see our recent bulletin at:
http://www.moveon.org/moveonbulletin/bulletin11.html

Here's a list of organizations opposing the Estrada nomination:

ADA Watch/National Coalition for Disability Rights
AFL-CIO
Alliance for Justice
American Association of University Women
Americans for Democratic Action
Congressional Hispanic Caucus
Congressional Black Caucus
Earthjustice
Feminist Majority
Labor Council for Latin American Advancement
Leadership Conference on Civil Rights
Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund
MoveOn.org
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.
NARAL Pro-Choice America
National Council of Jewish Women
National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association
National Fair Housing Alliance
National Organization for Women
National Partnership for Women and Families
National Women's Law Center
People For the American Way
Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund
Sierra Club
Southwest Voter Registration and Education Project
United Auto Workers
Working Assets
________________

Posted by Lisa at 11:31 AM
February 12, 2003
More Signs Over The Weekend That A Peaceful Solution Is Possible

Although the Shrub has hopped up the war talk this week, the reality of the situation is that Saddam is complying with U.N. demands -- now more than ever.

Here's a story that got out Sunday night on my local station KTVU Channel 2 before the nation-wide war push got going:

Update On Iraq Situation (Lo-Res - 20 MB)

Posted by Lisa at 10:33 AM
February 06, 2003
Shrub Caught In Lie About Visit To Houston Space Center

He just couldn't help himself, it sounded too good in the speech...

I'm going to have to start a new category soon just to sub-group the specific lies.

WH uncertain about previous Bush visit to space center
No record of visit by Bush as governor
For CNN.


Fleischer's boss, communications director Dan Bartlett, worked with Bush in Texas and said a review of governor's office records suggests he had not been to the center -- at least not as governor or president.

"I have no record of him going so I'm telling you in my judgment he didn't go as governor," Bartlett said.

On Monday, Fleischer dismissed suggestions that Bush had not been interested in the NASA program before the Columbia crash and rejected a report that Bush had never been to the Space Center. He told reporters the president visited the facility near Houston in 1995 or 1996.

The spokesman did not know the exact date, and promised to do more research.


Please, don't make something up on our account. Quit while you're ahead on this one...

Fleischer said Tuesday that after further review, Bush's staff could find no record of the visit. "Johnson Space Center says that he did not go there, and I'm not able to find the exact date. So that's why I say it's murky," Fleischer said.

"To the president's recollection, he thinks he has been there," his spokesman said, adding that Bush's staff from Texas also thought they recalled such a visit.

The spokesman said Bush has never seen a NASA launch or landing, in part because there are so many other beautiful things to see in the country that he has yet to explore.

Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:

http://www.cnn.com/2003/ALLPOLITICS/02/04/sprj.colu.bush.spacecenter.ap/

SPACE CENTER, Houston (AP) -- President Bush is no longer so sure he's been here before.

A day after telling reporters that Bush had visited Johnson Space Center while serving as governor of Texas in the 1990s, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer backpedaled from that assertion.

"I think right now it's somewhat murky," the press secretary said aboard Air Force One Tuesday, en route to a memorial service for the seven Columbia astronauts who died in last weekend's tragedy.

It may not be so murky after all.

Fleischer's boss, communications director Dan Bartlett, worked with Bush in Texas and said a review of governor's office records suggests he had not been to the center -- at least not as governor or president.

"I have no record of him going so I'm telling you in my judgment he didn't go as governor," Bartlett said.

On Monday, Fleischer dismissed suggestions that Bush had not been interested in the NASA program before the Columbia crash and rejected a report that Bush had never been to the Space Center. He told reporters the president visited the facility near Houston in 1995 or 1996.

The spokesman did not know the exact date, and promised to do more research.

Fleischer said Tuesday that after further review, Bush's staff could find no record of the visit. "Johnson Space Center says that he did not go there, and I'm not able to find the exact date. So that's why I say it's murky," Fleischer said.

"To the president's recollection, he thinks he has been there," his spokesman said, adding that Bush's staff from Texas also thought they recalled such a visit.

The spokesman said Bush has never seen a NASA launch or landing, in part because there are so many other beautiful things to see in the country that he has yet to explore.

Posted by Lisa at 09:36 AM
More On The Economic Hole Shrub Is Digging For Us

Peace is prosperous! This graphic proves it. (My mirror of big image originally published here.) (Thanks, Yahoo.)


Almost three-quarters of U.S. states, led by California, face the grim task of plugging budget gaps next year, even as the sour U.S. economy digs this year's fiscal ditches ever deeper, fresh data showed on February 4, 2003. The National Conference of State Legislatures said a survey of legislative fiscal directors showed at least 36 states would have to cover a collective shortfall of some $68.5 billion as they prepare their 2004 spending plans. (Reuters Graphic)

Posted by Lisa at 08:04 AM
Do The Math: We Will Never Recover Financially From Shrub Economics


(My mirror of a large version of this graphic)
If you're up for walking through an intelligent mathematical proof of this concept, Brad DeLong was nice enought to prepare one just for you:
I Really Cannot Understand Why Anyone Would Do This.


Now--one year later--things are very different indeed! The numbers in the back of the 2004 Budget documents project that the budget year that began when Clinton was still President will be America's last surplus year, ever. The policies proposed in the 2004 Budget are projected to see the deficit widen steadily to 17.5 percent of GDP by 2050. By that date debt held by the public is projected to be 229.4 percent of GDP--a debt and deficit level that no economy could possibly sustain.

Posted by Lisa at 07:59 AM
February 04, 2003
It's A Right-Wing Hate Fest Baby!

Shock troops for Bush
Partisans of the extreme right gathered outside of Washington this weekend to cheer on Cheney and Coulter -- and vent their rage at the liberals who rule America.
By Michelle Goldberg for Salon.


It was another year at CPAC, ground zero of the vast right-wing conspiracy, the place where in 1994 Paula Jones was first introduced to the world. This year marks CPAC's 30th anniversary, but not since the Reagan presidency has its agenda meshed so easily with that of the White House, which honored the event by sending both Cheney and Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao to speak. Republican National Committee chairman Marc Racicot, House Majority Whip Tom DeLay of Texas, Senate Whip Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and a bevy of other Republican congressmen were also there, cheered by hordes of college boys in blue blazers, soignée blondes in short skirts, and portly Southerners in T-shirts with slogans like "Fry Mumia" and, above a photo of the burning towers of the World Trade Center, "Clinton's Legacy."

Held at Gateway Marriott in Crystal City, Va. from January 30 to February 1, CPAC drew a crowd of 4,000, 1,700 of them college students. Most of the action took place in a ballroom on the second floor, where speakers lambasted liberals from a stage draped in red, white and blue and backed by 18 American flags and two enormous video screens. It was like a right-wing version of a Workers World rally, with one crucial difference. Workers World is a fringe group with no political power. CPAC is explicitly endorsed by people running the country. Its attendees are Bush's shock troops, the ones who staged the white-collar riot during the Florida vote count and harassed Al Gore in the vice presidential mansion. Bush may not want to embrace them in public, but they are crucial to his political success and he has let them know, in hundreds of ways, that their mission is his.

Heralded by the power chords of Survivor's 1982 hit "Eye of the Tiger," Cheney got things off to a roaring start at about noon on Thursday. "CPAC has consistently championed those ideas that make America great," he said, before essentially repeating President Bush's State of the Union address. In the days that followed, one had to wonder exactly which ideas Cheney was talking about...

To attend CPAC is to crash through the looking glass into a world where passionate worship of the president is part of a brave rebellion against government, where Sweden is a hellish dystopia and Tom Daschle a die-hard Marxist. It's to realize that, despite the conservative hold on the White House, the Congress and the Supreme Court and the utter dejection among Democrats, right-wingers still fancy themselves an embattled minority facing an army of wily, ruthless leftists, who they hate with the righteous fury of the downtrodden.


Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:

http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2003/02/04/cpac/

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News
Vice President Dick Cheney addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference in Arlington, Va., Jan. 30. Below, a bumper sticker for sale at the conference.

Shock troops for Bush
Partisans of the extreme right gathered outside of Washington this weekend to cheer on Cheney and Coulter -- and vent their rage at the liberals who rule America.

- - - - - - - - - - - -
By Michelle Goldberg

printe-mail

Feb. 4, 2003 | Before Vice President Dick Cheney gave the opening address at the Conservative Political Action Conference, a three-day gathering of the right-wing faithful outside of Washington, D.C., organizers asked vendor Gene McDonald to put away his "No Muslims = No Terrorists" bumper stickers.

McDonald complied, and for the rest of the conference the jolly white-haired Floridian peddled his popular anti-Islam wares from under a table. As the leading lights of conservatism, including some of the most powerful figures in the Republican Party, gave speeches to a packed house, McDonald did a brisk trade, despite official condemnation by CPAC staff. He offered T-shirts with the words "Islam: Religion of Peace" surrounding a photo of a bomb with the word "Allah" on its timer. A towering linebacker of a man attending the conference with his elderly parents bought a mug saying "Islam" in red Nazi-style block lettering, with the "S" replaced by a black swastika. "They're going to love me at work," he chortled.

It was another year at CPAC, ground zero of the vast right-wing conspiracy, the place where in 1994 Paula Jones was first introduced to the world. This year marks CPAC's 30th anniversary, but not since the Reagan presidency has its agenda meshed so easily with that of the White House, which honored the event by sending both Cheney and Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao to speak. Republican National Committee chairman Marc Racicot, House Majority Whip Tom DeLay of Texas, Senate Whip Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and a bevy of other Republican congressmen were also there, cheered by hordes of college boys in blue blazers, soignée blondes in short skirts, and portly Southerners in T-shirts with slogans like "Fry Mumia" and, above a photo of the burning towers of the World Trade Center, "Clinton's Legacy."

Held at Gateway Marriott in Crystal City, Va. from January 30 to February 1, CPAC drew a crowd of 4,000, 1,700 of them college students. Most of the action took place in a ballroom on the second floor, where speakers lambasted liberals from a stage draped in red, white and blue and backed by 18 American flags and two enormous video screens. It was like a right-wing version of a Workers World rally, with one crucial difference. Workers World is a fringe group with no political power. CPAC is explicitly endorsed by people running the country. Its attendees are Bush's shock troops, the ones who staged the white-collar riot during the Florida vote count and harassed Al Gore in the vice presidential mansion. Bush may not want to embrace them in public, but they are crucial to his political success and he has let them know, in hundreds of ways, that their mission is his.

Heralded by the power chords of Survivor's 1982 hit "Eye of the Tiger," Cheney got things off to a roaring start at about noon on Thursday. "CPAC has consistently championed those ideas that make America great," he said, before essentially repeating President Bush's State of the Union address. In the days that followed, one had to wonder exactly which ideas Cheney was talking about.

Yes, CPAC explored some crucial questions. One panel asked, "Islam, Religion of Peace?" (Short answer: no.) There was a 40-minute talk on tort reform and 35 minutes on "Safeguarding Civil Liberties in a Time of War," which included a speech by veteran lefty civil libertarian Nat Hentoff, who was treated respectfully by an audience that largely fears big government and holds its privacy sacrosanct.

Yet Hentoff aside, one theme overwhelmed all others: a quaking, obsessive hatred of the liberals who are still believed to rule the world. CPACers exemplify what historian Richard Hofstadter called "the paranoid style in American politics" in the 1964 essay of the same name. "Since the enemy is thought of as being totally evil and totally unappeasable, he must be totally eliminated -- if not from the world, at least from the theatre of operations to which the paranoid directs his attention," Hofstadter wrote. "Even partial success leaves him with the same feeling of powerlessness with which he began, and this in turn only strengthens his awareness of the vast and terrifying quality of the enemy he opposes." And George W. Bush has harnessed their obsession and rage for his own political gain.

The conference was packed with events devoted to denouncing the perfidious left. There were panels titled "Modern Feminism: The Bilking of the Taxpayer," "Real Stories of Real Liberal Bias on Real College Campuses," "NAACP, the Congressional Black Caucus and other Professional Victims" and "Myths, Lies & Terror: The Growing Threat Of Radical Environmentalism." Dan Flynn, author of "Why the Left Hates America," was on hand to sign his book. Ann Coulter, there to push her own book, was greeted with a thunderous standing ovation, after which she ripped into the "treason lobby" -- the Democratic Party -- whose platform "consists in breaking every one of the 10 commandments."

. Next page | They have no doubt that Bush will do their bidding
1, 2, 3

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Shock troops for Bush | 1, 2, 3


To attend CPAC is to crash through the looking glass into a world where passionate worship of the president is part of a brave rebellion against government, where Sweden is a hellish dystopia and Tom Daschle a die-hard Marxist. It's to realize that, despite the conservative hold on the White House, the Congress and the Supreme Court and the utter dejection among Democrats, right-wingers still fancy themselves an embattled minority facing an army of wily, ruthless leftists, who they hate with the righteous fury of the downtrodden.

At the "What Are We Fighting For?" talk, Elaine Donnelly, a veteran of the Reagan and Bush I administrations, cautioned that the "destructive legacy of Bill Clinton" remains in the Pentagon and "could still make a comeback. We have to be vigilant." She made the horrifying consequences of such a resurgence clear. Hillary Clinton, she said, is now a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, where "she will have more power than we may think." For example, she may tell the military, "If you want those Apache helicopters, you have to put women in combat ... think about 'Black Hawk Down,' the soldier being dragged through the streets. Do we want to see that on a gender-neutral basis?"

Of course, for decades the conservative movement has been defining itself in opposition to the specter of an amok liberalism that, among other depredations, leaves American women vulnerable to ravishment by savage black men. The right needs liberal power, no matter how illusory, as a foil.

That may be why there were so many college students in attendance, since university campuses are perhaps the only places left in America where conservatives might legitimately feel marginalized. Many students spoke of being radicalized by the hostility they face as Republicans at liberal schools, much as David Brock did in his book "Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative." Given the p.c. hysteria that has choked the intellectual life of so many institutions, it's likely they really have been mistreated. Still, some of the examples they proffered suggested something rather less than an epidemic of college Stalinism. At the panel on campus liberal bias, for example, Roger Custer of Ithaca College's Young America's Foundation spoke of the oppression he suffered when his group advertised a speech by Pat Buchanan's sister Bay with signs saying, "Feminazis beware: Your Nuremberg has come."

"We received a barrage of criticism," Custer said indignantly. "Leftists said they felt physically threatened."

The issue of environmentalism shows much about CPAC-style politics. For CPACers, standing up to environmentalists isn't merely a matter of opposing regulations seen as onerous. Rather, they've framed it as a creationism-style holy war. Speakers at CPAC were livid even at businesses that adopted green models out of self-interest. Nick Nichols, CEO of the crisis management group Nichols-Dezenhall, railed against British Petroleum's attempts to cast itself as environmentally friendly, calling it a "new and improved Neville Chamberlain." David Riggs, who runs the anti-environmentalist GreenWatch project at the Capitol Research Center, took the stage to the sound of jungle roars and declared that environmentalism "has nothing to do with bunnies and bambies. It's about destroying free enterprise and eliminating private property." Floyd Brown of the Young America's Foundation announced, "A lot of people who used to claim their color was red now claim their color is green."

Of course, CPACers are ebullient about the Bush presidency, and they have no doubt that Bush will do their bidding. Their understanding of Bush is very similar to the conventional wisdom on the left: He's seen as a man whose language and image pander to moderates while his actions serve the far right. Tim Weigel, who was manning the Free Republic booth, described compassionate conservative initiatives like Bush's plan to address AIDS in Africa as, "throwaways, put out there to keep the left quiet while he takes care of Iraq." Behind him hung a picture of Hillary Clinton's head Photoshopped onto the body of a pig.

The lobby behind Bush's social agenda was on full display. Austin Ruse of the Catholic Families and Human Rights Institute told the audience about his success working with Population Research Institute, which opposes family planning in all forms, to pressure the White House to withdraw the United States' $34 million contribution to the United Nations Family Planning Fund. Population Research Institute did this largely by fabricating evidence that the Population Fund supports coerced abortion in China, a charge that the administration's own investigators found to be baseless. Ruse offered advice to the crowd about how the U.S. could fully extricate itself from all its international treaties. His was the moderate position; another man on his panel wanted to pull out of the U.N. altogether.

In the exhibitors' hall, Freedom Village USA, an upstate New York-based Christian drug-treatment center hoping to get federal money under Bush's faith-based initiative showed just what faith-based drug treatment really means. "Other programs teach you relief," said Robert A. Neu, assistant to Freedom Village president Fletcher A. Brothers. "Freedom Village offers a cure. It's a one-step program of getting on your knees and accepting Jesus Christ." Neu claims a 75 to 80 percent success rate, which he says measures the number of Freedom Villagers who have become born-again Christians. In addition to literature about drug abuse, the booth was selling videos titled "Harry Potter, Witchcraft Repackaged: Making Evil Look Innocent."

. Next page | Why does the right hate so many Americans?
1, 2, 3


Shock troops for Bush | 1, 2, 3


Bush is revered so intensely among CPACers that all successes seem to issue from him, while failures are the fault of others unworthy of the great man. Jason Crawford, a 23-year-old who works in business development in New York, formed his group Patriots for the Defense of America right after Sept. 11 to promote "moral clarity" in the war on terror. Now, convinced that moral clarity requires attacking North Korea and fomenting revolution in Iran, he's disappointed in the administration. Yet speaking along with Oliver North (who ranted against the "brie-eating, foie gras-sucking French") at the "What Are We Fighting For?" panel, he put the blame not on Bush, but on some amorphous "us" who failed to rise to Bush's challenge. "Today we can see from our actions that we lack moral clarity," he told the crowd. "We are betraying the principles of the Bush doctrine!"

Rev. Lou Sheldon, the founder of the Traditional Values Coalition and sworn enemy of homosexuality, put it best. Asked if Bush was in sync with his agenda, he replied, "George Bush is our agenda!"

But Sheldon, a plump, pink man with pale blue eyes, wasn't out celebrating the Bush presidency. Instead, the man who has pledged "open warfare" against all things gay, stood in the exhibitors hall before a makeshift carnival game called "Tip a Troll," in which players were invited to throw gray beanbags at toy trolls with the heads of Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Hillary Clinton and Tom Daschle, or trolls holding signs saying, "The Homosexual Agenda," "Roe V. Wade" and "The Liberal Media."

Sheldon, like the rest of the right, isn't letting success distract from a monomaniacal focus on its foes. Indeed, the overwhelming message at CPAC was that it's time to toughen up.

At a Thursday seminar titled "2002 and Beyond: Are Liberals an Endangered Species?" Paul Rodriguez, managing editor of the conservative magazine Insight, warned that the liberal beast wouldn't be vanquished until conservatives learn to be merciless. "One thing Democrats have long known how to do is play hardball," he intoned, urging Republicans to adopt more "bare-knuckle" tactics. The next day, Frank Gaffney, assistant secretary of defense under Ronald Reagan, told a rapt crowd about the "well-financed media campaign against the Bush White House."

The rise of Fox News and talk radio has done little to assuage right-wing resentment toward the supposedly liberal media. "It's amazing conservatives ever win any victories at all with the left's hegemonic domination of the media," Coulter told her listeners. She spent most of her talk mocking antiwar arguments ("Why not go to war just for oil? We need oil") and antiwar protesters. "Scott Ritter, that's a liberal for you," began one bit. "Cleans up, cuts his hair and it turns out that it's to get underage girls." Bada-BOOM.

For speakers like Coulter, who performs her act as a kind of stand-up routine, much of this stuff just seems like cynical hyperbole, but among the rank and file, liberal-phobia is real and deep. Virgil Beato, a 25-year-old graduate student at American University, spoke of the "mean-spiritedness" of the left, much of which he'd learned about from David Horowitz (the former Salon columnist). "David Horowitz knows how the left thinks," Beato proclaimed. "He's trying to send out the message that sometimes we need to play hardball. That's the message we're getting from here."

Throughout the three days of CPAC, Beato, a gangly, smooth-cheeked blond studying public administration, sat rapt in the audience, sprawling on the floor when all the seats were taken and murmuring, "yes, yes" as people like Coulter hurled imprecations against liberal treachery. An evangelical Christian who proudly announced his virginity to me moments after we met, he was polite and earnest and seemed genuinely worried by what the Democrats have in store. "The liberal ideal is a collectivist utopia," he said gravely. "In essence, it's the same as communism. Tom Daschle won't get up there and say he's a communist, but ultimately that's what the left envisions." He invoked, as many at CPAC did, the Scandinavian hellhole of Sweden. "Sure, some people there might be happy," he allowed, "but how do you define happiness?"

Beato really believes that Coulter isn't cruel, only brave and battle-worn. "Ann's passion is a reaction to a lot of what she receives from liberals," he said. "She's had tomatoes thrown at her. She's trying to communicate with a sense of humor about the mean-spiritedness of the left."

It's a telling twist, this idea of Coulter as a victim lashing back at her tormentors. Writing of the paranoid, Hofstadter said: "He does not see social conflict as something to be mediated and compromised, in the manner of the working politician. Since what is at stake is always a conflict between absolute good and absolute evil, what is necessary is not compromise but the will to fight things out to a finish." It's a will that Coulter has, and that the right has. Over three days, they struggled with various degrees of sincerity to puzzle out why the left, as they imagine it, hates America. A better question, and one they'll never ask, is why the right hates so very many Americans.

Posted by Lisa at 08:31 PM
Virginian Republicans Challenge Womens' Reproductive Rights

Note: this is going on in Virginia. Not up in D.C.

Nevertheless -- heads up people!

Get ready for a full on attack on a woman's right to choose in the months to come.
5 Antiabortion Bills Advance in House
By Steven Ginsberg for the Washington Post.


Virginia's House of Delegates approved a bill today that would allow health care workers to invoke a "conscience clause" if they wish to avoid participating in abortion or birth control procedures.

The measure was among five abortion limits that cleared various stages in the General Assembly, and activists on both sides of the issue said they were predicting a landmark year for abortion regulation in Virginia...

...The Senate narrowly upheld Warner's late-term veto last year, but abortion opponents said they believe they have the votes to override one this year.

Despite the possibility of several new restrictions, abortion rights activists were pleased with the defeat of the clinic regulation bill, because they said its tough regulations would have forced most abortion clinics to close.

"It was the most important vote in the General Assembly so far on whether abortion rights would still be available to the women of Virginia," said Bennet Greenberg, director of government relations at Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia, an abortion rights group.

Sen. Ken Cuccinelli (R-Fairfax), sponsor of the bill, said he would try to "come up with an alternate scheme that would improve the health and safety in those clinics. It can be done, and it can be done in this session."...

"There's been nothing like this, this wave of anti-choice legislation," Sen. Janet D. Howell (D-Fairfax) said...


Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A8403-2003Jan31.html

5 Antiabortion Bills Advance in House
Va. Delegates Also Pass Vietnam Flag Bill


"There's been nothing like this, this wave of anti-choice legislation," Sen. Janet D. Howell (D-Fairfax) said. (File Photo)

By Steven Ginsberg
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, February 1, 2003; Page B01

RICHMOND, Jan. 31 -- Virginia's House of Delegates approved a bill today that would allow health care workers to invoke a "conscience clause" if they wish to avoid participating in abortion or birth control procedures.

The measure was among five abortion limits that cleared various stages in the General Assembly, and activists on both sides of the issue said they were predicting a landmark year for abortion regulation in Virginia.

Bills that would bar a practice defined as "partial-birth infanticide," a late-term procedure commonly called "partial-birth abortion" by opponents; require parental consent for abortions; and remove a woman's mental health as a condition for allowing a late-term abortion all advanced toward final votes on the House floor.

The Senate's Education and Health Committee approved a parental consent bill for the first time. The one setback today for abortion opponents came when the committee failed to pass a bill that would have toughened the regulation of abortion clinics.

"We are very optimistic," said Victoria Cobb, director of legislative affairs for the Family Foundation, who said today was a "historic day in Virginia. We believe the voice of Virginians has been heard."

Sen. Janet D. Howell (D-Fairfax), who voted against Thursday's late-term abortion bill and today's parental consent and clinic regulation bills, said "there's been nothing like this, this wave of anti-choice legislation." To become law, the bills must win approval in both chambers of the assembly and receive the signature of Gov. Mark R. Warner (D).

Meanwhile today, the House and Senate advanced many other bills as they approached the halfway point in their 46-day session. The House of Delegates passed a measure that would pay tribute to the flag of the defeated Republic of Vietnam.

Delegates also approved a bill that would require doctors to inform parents when minors seek treatment for such conditions as sexually transmitted diseases and depression.

The House Privileges and Elections Committee approved a measure that would permit Virginia's governor to run for successive terms, setting up a vote on the floor. Virginia is the only state that does not allow its governor to run for consecutive terms. If approved, the legislation would apply to governors elected after Warner.

The action on abortion issues in Virginia leads a nationwide push by abortion opponents to place new restrictions on the procedure, said Leah Oliver, a policy analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures. There are nearly 200 bills in 38 states seeking to restrict abortions, but none has as many as Virginia or has acted as quickly, Oliver said.

Abortion opponents in Maryland say they hope to advance some restrictions under Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R). Ehrlich has said he would consider bills on the late-term procedure and parental consent, but he faces strong opposition in the General Assembly, which is controlled by Democrats.

Many of Virginia's abortion bills have been proposed before, and anti-abortion activists attributed their success this year to strong efforts by interest groups and lawmakers.

Those working to limit abortions also have been aided by last year's election of several antiabortion legislators and more supportive representation on the Health and Education Committee.

Lobbyists said legislators are mindful of those election successes as they look forward to this November, when all 140 assembly seats will be on the ballot. "They are more sensitive in an election year," Cobb said.

Supporters of the conscience clause said it would allow physicians, pharmacists and other health care professionals to opt out of providing birth control pills, morning-after pills or other medicine that they see as a form of murder.

The bill's opponents worried about what a rural resident would do if her pharmacist wouldn't fill a prescription for medication, particularly morning-after pills that could let her avoid a surgical abortion.

In brief but passionate debate on the floor of the House, supporters of a parental consent bill said it was one of "the most significant to ever come before the assembly," while others said a ban on the late-term procedure would help to stop the "killing" that occurs in Virginia.

Supporters of parental consent said it would ensure that parents have a greater say in the health and safety of their daughters. The Senate version includes a provision that allows minors to obtain consent from a judge if their parents refuse to allow an abortion.

Opponents said a consent law would lead to back-alley abortions for those afraid to tell their parents that they were pregnant.

Warner vetoed a late-term ban last year, and he has signaled his intent to do so again unless it allows exceptions for the health of a mother, which the assembly versions do not. He also said Thursday that he opposed the consent bill.

The Senate narrowly upheld Warner's late-term veto last year, but abortion opponents said they believe they have the votes to override one this year.

Despite the possibility of several new restrictions, abortion rights activists were pleased with the defeat of the clinic regulation bill, because they said its tough regulations would have forced most abortion clinics to close.

"It was the most important vote in the General Assembly so far on whether abortion rights would still be available to the women of Virginia," said Bennet Greenberg, director of government relations at Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia, an abortion rights group.

Sen. Ken Cuccinelli (R-Fairfax), sponsor of the bill, said he would try to "come up with an alternate scheme that would improve the health and safety in those clinics. It can be done, and it can be done in this session."


Posted by Lisa at 07:52 PM
January 30, 2003
One Last Deal With Our Business Partner (Before We Bomb The Hell Out Of His Country)

US buys up Iraqi oil to stave off crisis
Seizing reserves will be an allied priority if forces go in
By Faisal Islam and Nick Paton Walsh in Moscow for The Observer.


Facing its most chronic shortage in oil stocks for 27 years, the US has this month turned to an unlikely source of help - Iraq.

Weeks before a prospective invasion of Iraq, the oil-rich state has doubled its exports of oil to America, helping US refineries cope with a debilitating strike in Venezuela.

After the loss of 1.5 million barrels per day of Venezuelan production in December the oil price rocketed, and the scarcity of reserves threatened to do permanent damage to the US oil refinery and transport infrastructure. To keep the pipelines flowing, President Bush stopped adding to the 700m barrel strategic reserve.

But ultimately oil giants such as Chevron, Exxon, BP and Shell saved the day by doubling imports from Iraq from 0.5m barrels in November to over 1m barrels per day to solve the problem. Essentially, US importers diverted 0.5m barrels of Iraqi oil per day heading for Europe and Asia to save the American oil infrastructure.

The trade, though bizarre given current Pentagon plans to launch around 300 cruise missiles a day on Iraq, is legal under the terms of UN's oil for food programme...

But, in the run-up to war, the US oil majors will this week report a big leap in profits. ChevronTexaco is to report a 300 per cent rise. Chevron used to employ the hawkish Condoleezza Rice, Bush's National Security Adviser, as a member of its board.

Five years ago the then Chevron chief executive Kenneth Derr, a colleague of Rice, said: 'Iraq possesses huge reserves of oil and gas - reserves I'd love Chevron to have access to.'

Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:

http://www.observer.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,882512,00.html

Guardian Unlimited
US buys up Iraqi oil to stave off crisis

Seizing reserves will be an allied priority if forces go in

Faisal Islam and Nick Paton Walsh in Moscow
Sunday January 26, 2003
The Observer

Facing its most chronic shortage in oil stocks for 27 years, the US has this month turned to an unlikely source of help - Iraq.

Weeks before a prospective invasion of Iraq, the oil-rich state has doubled its exports of oil to America, helping US refineries cope with a debilitating strike in Venezuela.

After the loss of 1.5 million barrels per day of Venezuelan production in December the oil price rocketed, and the scarcity of reserves threatened to do permanent damage to the US oil refinery and transport infrastructure. To keep the pipelines flowing, President Bush stopped adding to the 700m barrel strategic reserve.

But ultimately oil giants such as Chevron, Exxon, BP and Shell saved the day by doubling imports from Iraq from 0.5m barrels in November to over 1m barrels per day to solve the problem. Essentially, US importers diverted 0.5m barrels of Iraqi oil per day heading for Europe and Asia to save the American oil infrastructure.

The trade, though bizarre given current Pentagon plans to launch around 300 cruise missiles a day on Iraq, is legal under the terms of UN's oil for food programme.

But for opponents of war, it shows the unspoken aim of military action in Iraq, which has the world's second largest proven reserves - some 112 billion barrels, and at least another 100bn of unproven reserves, according to the US Department of Energy. Iraqi oil is comparatively simple to extract - less than $1 per barrel, compared with $6 a barrel in Russia. Soon, US and British forces could be securing the source of that oil as a priority in the war strategy. The Iraqi fields south of Basra produce prized 'sweet crudes' that are simpler to refine.

On Friday, Pentagon sources said US military planners 'have crafted strategies that will allow us to secure and protect those fields as rapidly as possible in order to then preserve those prior to destruction'.

The US military says this is a security issue rather than a grab for oil, after a 'variety of intelligence sources' indicated that Saddam planned to damage or destroy his oil fields - which would inflict up to $30bn damage on the US economy and cause irreparable environmental damage.

But the prospect of British and US commandos claiming key oil installations around Basra by force has pushed global oil diplomacy into overdrive. International oil companies have been jockeying position to secure concessions before 'regime change'.

Last weekend a Russian delegation flew to Baghdad to patch up relations after Iraq's cancellation of its five-year-old contract to develop the huge West Qurna oil field - worth up to $600bn at today's oil price. Lukoil was punished by Baghdad for negotiating with the US and Iraqi exiles on keeping its concession in a post-Saddam Iraq.

The delegation of Ministers and oil executives returned to Moscow with three signed contracts. Oil is the state budget's lifeblood, and Russia requires an oil price of at least $18. Russians fear a US grip on a large reserve of cheap oil could send prices tumbling.

But Saddam has offered lucrative contracts to companies from France, China, India and Indonesia as well as Russia.

It is only the oil majors based in Britain and America - now the leading military hawks - that don't have current access to Iraqi contracts.

Richard Lugar, the hawkish chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, suggests reluctant Europeans risk losing out on oil contracts. 'The case he had made is that the Russians and the French, if they want to have a share in the oil operations or concessions or whatever afterward, they need to be involved in the effort to depose Saddam as well,' said Lugar's spokesman.

A delegation of senior US Republicans was in Moscow last Tuesday trying to persuade Kremlin officials and oil companies that a war in Iraq would not compromise their concessions. A leaked oil analyst report from Deutsche Bank said ExxonMobil was in 'pole position in a changed-regime Iraq'.

Washington is split along hawk-dove lines about the role of oil in a post-Saddam Iraq. Two sets of meetings sponsored by the State Department and Vice-President Dick Cheney's staff have been attended by representatives of ExxonMobil, ChevronTexaco, ConocoPhilips and Halliburton, the company that Cheney ran before his election.

The dovish line, led by Colin Powell, places the emphasis on 'protection' of Iraq's oil for Iraq's people. His State Department has pointed to a precedent in the US interpretation of international law set in the 1970s. Then, when Israel occupied Egypt's Sinai desert, the US did not support attempts to transfer oil resources.

While the State Department is mindful of cynical world opinion about US war aims, officials do not always stick to the script. Grant Aldonas, Under Secretary at the US Department of Commerce, said war 'would open up this spigot on Iraqi oil which certainly would have a profound effect in terms of the performance of the world economy for those countries that are manufacturers and oil consumers'.

The US economy will announce zero growth this week, prolonging three years of sluggish performance. Cheap oil would boost an economy importing half of its daily consumption of 20m barrels.

But a cheaper oil price could have been reached more easily by lifting sanctions and giving the US oil majors access to Iraq's untapped reserves.

Instead, war stands to give control over the oil price to 'new Iraq' and its sponsors, with Saudi Arabia losing its capacity to control prices by altering productive capacity.

Paul Wolfowitz, Assistant Defence Secretary, and Richard Perle, a key Pentagon adviser, see military action as part of a grand plan to reshape the Middle East.

To this end, control of Iraqi oil needs to bypass the twin tyrannies of UN control and regional fragmentation into Sunni, Shia and Kurdish supplies. The neo-conservatives plan a market structure based on bypassing the state-owned Iraqi National Oil Company and backing new free-market Iraqi companies.

But, in the run-up to war, the US oil majors will this week report a big leap in profits. ChevronTexaco is to report a 300 per cent rise. Chevron used to employ the hawkish Condoleezza Rice, Bush's National Security Adviser, as a member of its board.

Five years ago the then Chevron chief executive Kenneth Derr, a colleague of Rice, said: 'Iraq possesses huge reserves of oil and gas - reserves I'd love Chevron to have access to.'

If US and UK forces have victory in Iraq, the battle for its oil will have only begun.


Posted by Lisa at 09:48 PM
January 29, 2003
Schwarzkopf: "I have gotten somewhat nervous at some of the pronouncements Rumsfeld has made."

I love it. Even Schwarzkopf couldn't, in good conscience, not speak out against this war. Thanks Norman. It means a lot.
Desert Caution
Once 'Stormin' Norman,' Gen. Schwarzkopf Is Skeptical About U.S. Action in Iraq

By Thomas E. Ricks for the Washington Post.


And don't get him started on Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

In fact, the hero of the last Gulf War sounds surprisingly like the man on the street when he discusses his ambivalence about the Bush administration's hawkish stance on ousting Saddam Hussein. He worries about the Iraqi leader, but would like to see some persuasive evidence of Iraq's alleged weapons programs.

"The thought of Saddam Hussein with a sophisticated nuclear capability is a frightening thought, okay?" he says. "Now, having said that, I don't know what intelligence the U.S. government has. And before I can just stand up and say, 'Beyond a shadow of a doubt, we need to invade Iraq,' I guess I would like to have better information."

He hasn't seen that yet, and so -- in sharp contrast to the Bush administration -- he supports letting the U.N. weapons inspectors drive the timetable: "I think it is very important for us to wait and see what the inspectors come up with, and hopefully they come up with something conclusive."

This isn't just any retired officer speaking. Schwarzkopf is one of the nation's best-known military officers, with name recognition second only to his former boss, Secretary of State Powell. What's more, he is closely allied with the Bush family. He hunts with the first President Bush. He campaigned for the second, speaking on military issues at the 2000 GOP convention in Philadelphia and later stumping in Florida with Cheney, who was secretary of defense during the 1991 war.

But he sees the world differently from those Gulf War colleagues. "It's obviously not a black-and-white situation over there" in the Mideast, he says. "I would just think that whatever path we take, we have to take it with a bit of prudence."

Here is the full text of the entire article in case the link goes bad:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A52450-2003Jan27.html

Desert Caution
Once 'Stormin' Norman,' Gen. Schwarzkopf Is Skeptical About U.S. Action in Iraq


Schwarzkopf: "I have gotten somewhat nervous at some of the pronouncements Rumsfeld has made." (Jim Stem -- Silver Images For The Washington Post)


By Thomas E. Ricks
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 28, 2003; Page C01

TAMPA--Norman Schwarzkopf wants to give peace a chance.

The general who commanded U.S. forces in the 1991 Gulf War says he hasn't seen enough evidence to convince him that his old comrades Dick Cheney, Colin Powell and Paul Wolfowitz are correct in moving toward a new war now. He thinks U.N. inspections are still the proper course to follow. He's worried about the cockiness of the U.S. war plan, and even more by the potential human and financial costs of occupying Iraq.

And don't get him started on Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

In fact, the hero of the last Gulf War sounds surprisingly like the man on the street when he discusses his ambivalence about the Bush administration's hawkish stance on ousting Saddam Hussein. He worries about the Iraqi leader, but would like to see some persuasive evidence of Iraq's alleged weapons programs.

"The thought of Saddam Hussein with a sophisticated nuclear capability is a frightening thought, okay?" he says. "Now, having said that, I don't know what intelligence the U.S. government has. And before I can just stand up and say, 'Beyond a shadow of a doubt, we need to invade Iraq,' I guess I would like to have better information."

He hasn't seen that yet, and so -- in sharp contrast to the Bush administration -- he supports letting the U.N. weapons inspectors drive the timetable: "I think it is very important for us to wait and see what the inspectors come up with, and hopefully they come up with something conclusive."

This isn't just any retired officer speaking. Schwarzkopf is one of the nation's best-known military officers, with name recognition second only to his former boss, Secretary of State Powell. What's more, he is closely allied with the Bush family. He hunts with the first President Bush. He campaigned for the second, speaking on military issues at the 2000 GOP convention in Philadelphia and later stumping in Florida with Cheney, who was secretary of defense during the 1991 war.

But he sees the world differently from those Gulf War colleagues. "It's obviously not a black-and-white situation over there" in the Mideast, he says. "I would just think that whatever path we take, we have to take it with a bit of prudence."

So has he seen sufficient prudence in the actions of his old friends in the Bush administration? Again, he carefully withholds his endorsement. "I don't think I can give you an honest answer on that."

Now 68, the general seems smaller and more soft-spoken than in his Riyadh heyday 12 years ago when he was "Stormin' Norman," the fatigues-clad martinet who intimidated subordinates and reporters alike. During last week's interview he sat at a small, round table in his skyscraper office, casually clad in slacks and a black polo shirt, the bland banks and hotels of Tampa's financial district spread out beyond him.

His voice seems thinner than during those blustery, globally televised Gulf War briefings. He is limping from a recent knee operation. He sometimes stays home to nurse the swelling with a bag of frozen peas.

He's had time to think. He likes the performance of Colin Powell -- chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Gulf War, now secretary of state. "He's doing a wonderful job, I think," he says. But he is less impressed by Rumsfeld, whose briefings he has watched on television.

"Candidly, I have gotten somewhat nervous at some of the pronouncements Rumsfeld has made," says Schwarzkopf.

He contrasts Cheney's low profile as defense secretary during the Gulf War with Rumsfeld's frequent television appearances since Sept. 11, 2001. "He almost sometimes seems to be enjoying it." That, Schwarzkopf admonishes, is a sensation to be avoided when engaged in war.

The general is a true son of the Army, where he served from 1956 to 1991, and some of his comments reflect the estrangement between that service and the current defense secretary. Some at the top of the Army see Rumsfeld and those around him as overly enamored of air power and high technology and insufficiently attentive to the brutal difficulties of ground combat. Schwarzkopf's comments reflect Pentagon scuttlebutt that Rumsfeld and his aides have brushed aside some of the Army's concerns.

"The Rumsfeld thing . . . that's what comes up," when he calls old Army friends in the Pentagon, he says.

"When he makes his comments, it appears that he disregards the Army," Schwarzkopf says. "He gives the perception when he's on TV that he is the guy driving the train and everybody else better fall in line behind him -- or else."

That dismissive posture bothers Schwarzkopf because he thinks Rumsfeld and the people around him lack the background to make sound military judgments by themselves. He prefers the way Cheney operated during the Gulf War. "He didn't put himself in the position of being the decision-maker as far as tactics were concerned, as far as troop deployments, as far as missions were concerned."

Rumsfeld, by contrast, worries him. "It's scary, okay?" he says. "Let's face it: There are guys at the Pentagon who have been involved in operational planning for their entire lives, okay? . . . And for this wisdom, acquired during many operations, wars, schools, for that just to be ignored, and in its place have somebody who doesn't have any of that training, is of concern."

As a result, Schwarzkopf is skeptical that an invasion of Iraq would be as fast and simple as some seem to think. "I have picked up vibes that . . . you're going to have this massive strike with massed weaponry, and basically that's going to be it, and we just clean up the battlefield after that," he says. But, he adds, he is more comfortable now with what he hears about the war plan than he was several months ago, when there was talk of an assault built around air power and a few thousand Special Operations troops.

He expresses even more concern about the task the U.S. military might face after a victory. "What is postwar Iraq going to look like, with the Kurds and the Sunnis and the Shiites? That's a huge question, to my mind. It really should be part of the overall campaign plan."

(Rumsfeld said last week that post-Saddam planning "is a tough question and we're spending a lot of time on it, let me assure you." But the Pentagon hasn't disclosed how long it expects to have to occupy Iraq, or how many troops might be required to do that.)

The administration may be discussing the issue behind closed doors, Schwarzkopf says, but he thinks it hasn't sufficiently explained its thinking to the world, especially its assessment of the time, people and money needed. "I would hope that we have in place the adequate resources to become an army of occupation," he warns, "because you're going to walk into chaos."

The Result of a Bad Ending?

Just as the Gulf War looks less conclusive in retrospect, so has Schwarzkopf's reputation diminished since the glory days just after the war, when, Rick Atkinson wrote in "Crusade," Schwarzkopf "seemed ubiquitous, appearing at the Kentucky Derby, at the Indianapolis 500, on Capitol Hill, in parades, on bubblegum cards."

Twelve years and two American presidents later, Saddam Hussein is still in power, and the U.S. military is once again mustering to strike Iraq.

Some strategic thinkers, both inside the military and in academia, see Schwarzkopf's past actions as part of the problem. These experts argue that if the 1991 war had been terminated more thoughtfully, the U.S. military wouldn't have to go back again to finish the job.

"Everyone was so busy celebrating the end of the Vietnam syndrome that we forgot how winners win a war," says one Gulf War veteran who asked that his name not be used because he hopes to work in the administration.

Schwarzkopf in particular draws fire for approving a cease-fire that permitted the Iraqi military to fly helicopters after the war. Soon afterward, Iraqi helicopter gunships were used to put down revolts against Hussein in the Shiite south and the Kurdish north of Iraq. Only later were "no-fly zones" established to help protect