Tuesday, November 29, 2005

We Know a Good Deal More Than We're Able To Say Publicly

George Bush, today, on Iraq exit strategy:
"People don't want me making decisions based on politics. They want me making decisions based on the recommendations of our generals on the ground. And that's exactly who I'll be listening to."

He's right, in a way. People should want him to receive vital input from generals on the ground regarding the military situation. But I really hope that people don't want generals on the ground in Iraq deciding for us whether it's worth risking the loss of more American lives for the sake of killing a few violent Sunnis here and there until such time as the Shiites are able to take over the task of killing a few violent Sunnis here and there. That is properly (and, I think, eventually will unavoidably be) a political decision.

Bush, again:
"I'm interested in winning. I want to defeat the terrorists."

Hmmm. "Defeating the terrorists" sounds like it could take years, decades, centuries, or an eternity. And didn't the objective in Iraq have something to do with WMDs? Why is it now about defeating terrorists?

"And I want our troops to come home. But I don't want them to come home without having achieved victory. We've got a strategy for victory."

Well, it's good you have one, I guess, but would you kindly stop telling us that you have a strategy, and start telling us what it is.

With any luck, we won't wait as long to find out what the strategy is as we've waited to find out exactly what kind of WMDs Saddam has and where in Iraq Bush & Cheney think they are.

And CIA Director Porter Goss says of the agency that it knows "a good deal more" about Al Qaida leaders Bin Laden and al-Zarqawi "than we're able to say publicly."

One might hope that would go without saying.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

"What Did He Know............and When.............?"

The National Journal, in an article titles "Key Bush Intelligence Briefing Kept From Hill Panel", that Mr. Bush recieved a PDB ten days after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Mr. Bush was told in a highly classified briefing that the US Intelligence community had no evidence linking the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein to the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and scant credible evidence that Iraq had any significant collabrative ties with Al Qaeda. In fact, according to current and former officials with firsthand knowledge of the matter, Hussein was suspicious of the fanatical religious fundamentalist Moslem group because of rhetoric by Al Qaeda threatening the secularist Iraqi regime. He wanted the group atched to the point of supposedly thinking about "spying" on the group by infiltrating it, which never materialized. The White House conveniently left that fact out of the intelligence reports it gave Congress and pushed it toward the non-existent threat of WMDs and "mushroom clouds"

This revelation lends substantial credibilty to the likes of Richard Clarke and Paul O'Neill, both former members of the Bush administration. They both stated that Mr. Bush was planning to invade Iraq way before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, he just needed a "good" reason.

The Senate Intelligence Committee has asked the White House for the CIA assessment amd the PDB of Sept. 21, 2001 and dozens of other PDBs in the Phase II investigation which is finally underway into whether the Bush administration misrepresented intelligence information in the run-up to the war. The White House refused to turn over the documents.

Once again we are left with the stinging question, "What did Bush know and when did he know it?" However, the answers are becoming clearer with every action the White House does and every speech utterance Bush delivers. The White House apparently wants to fuel the flames of the growing number of administration critics by not being open and honest. If they have nothing to hide, they should hand over the documents the Intelligence Committee asked for. Mr. Bush's rhetoric is sounding more and more stale everytime he opens his mouth. Trying to bring up the idea that Democrats in Congress had saw the "same" intelligence that Mr. Bush did and they voted to give him the authority to go to war is both irrelevant and meaningless. It's just one "lie" being piled-on after another in a lame argument for the justification as to the reason this country went to war. The very action of not being willing to hand over the documents, explains alot.

Monday, November 21, 2005

What Happened on the House Floor.......the Cameras Didn't Catch?

Democrats on the House floor erupted into a frenzy after Rep. Jean Schmidt, R-OH stated her outrageous comments, "He asked me to send Congress a message--stay the course. He also asked me to send Congressman Murtha a message--that cowards cut and run marines never do" Murtha is a 37 year Marine veteran, a war hero and ranking member on the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. Democrats booed and shouted Schmidt down, bringing the House to a virtual standstill.

Dozens erupted at once, pointing angrily at Schmidt demanding her "words be taken down"--a House rule for retracting a statement.

Rep. Marty Meehan, D-Mass. yelled, "You guys are pathetic, pathetic, pathetic!"

Rep. David Obey, D-WI, physically restrained Rep. Harold Ford, D-TN., who appeared as if he would loose control of himself as he rushed across the aisle to confront the Republicans, jabbing his finger at them. They accused Republicans of playing "political games" with the war.

Rep. Ford, who is usually a calming voice, charged across the chamber's center aisle screaming, that the Republicans were making, "uncalled-for personal attacks." Ford shouted "Say Murtha's name! Say Murtha's name!"

Rep. Obey who was a loud voice chanting for Rep. Schmidt's comments be stricken from the record, gently pulled Ford back to the Democrats side of the aisle. Obey called the resolution, "A cheap political stunt,that mocks the sacrifice of every man and woman serving in Iraq." Obey shouted to Republicans, "How dare you? [This] is nothing except an effort to drive a stake through the heart of the Murtha resolution, without any effort to get to the heart of the truth about the facts in Iraq."

Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass. said, "This personal attack on one of the best members of this House is outrageous!"

"It's just heinous!," Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-CA said of the Republican move.

Those who have been on Capitol Hill for years, called the exchange amongst the 'wildest and most emotional they have ever seen."

At 5:31pm, order was finally restored, when Schmidt rose again and said, her voice quivering softly, "My words were not directed at any member of the House......" She then asked her words be withdrawn, after she was properly chastised, like a male lion does to a rambunctious young lioness, by her Republican colleagues on the ethics or her lack of them, of the House of Representatives, being she is a freshman Congresswoman.

Rep. John Murtha got a standing ovation from the Democrats when he entered the chamber and took his customary corner seat,walking straight and tall as ever, even in the midst of this heated battle. So what was this about Rep. Murtha, and "cut and run?"

Murtha has proposed his resolution that would force Mr.Bush to withdraw the nearly 160,000 troops in Iraq. "At the earliest practicable date." It would establish a "quick reaction force", and "a nearby presense of Marines in the region, possibly Kuwait" It also said the United States must,"pursue stability in Iraq through diplomacy, the war cannot be won militarily alone."

The Republican alternative authored by Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-CA and Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, says "It is the sense of the House of Representatives that deployment of the United States forces in Iraq be terminated immediately."

Three Democrats voted "Yes" on the Hunter resolution, Rep. Jose Serrano,NY ,Rep. Robert Wexler, FL, and Rep. Cynthia McKinney, GA,. The vote in the House was 403-3

Rep. Ford later explained, "I said, if you believe it's about Murtha, then talk about Murtha, don't hide behind a resolution."

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., commented on the Murtha incident, "I won't stand for the [swiftboating] of Jack Murtha."
Also a Vietnam veteran, Kerry was dogged during the 2004 Presidential campaign by a group called Swiftboat Veterans for Truth, that challenged his war record. Kerry also said, "There is no sterner stuff than the backbone and courage that defines Jack Murtha's character and conscience."

For his part, Kerry has proposed a phase exit from Iraq, starting with the withdrawal of 20,000 troops from Iraq after the elections in December.

Sen. John Warner, R-VA. had to add his 2 cents into the frey. He is Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. he said, "Today's debate in the House shows the need for bipartisanship on the war in Iraq instead of the political posturing."

The Senate a few days earlier performed what could be viewed as their own 'political stunt",when the Republicans hijacked a Democrat amendment to a Defense bill, written by Carl Levin, D-MI. and a number of others calling for the administration to devise a plan for US troop deployment and to report on the progress to Congress on a quarterly basis.

All in all, the heated rhetoric, the name-calling, hurt feelings and partisan bashing has stooped to a new low; a war is being faught alright, but the battlefield is not Iraq, it's here at home.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

82% of The Public Agrees With Rep. John Murtha

Mr. Bush can use the word "irresponsible" at least six times in two days in a lame attempt to counter his critics about Iraq.

Mr. Cheney can dress up in a tuxedo, thinking he's a tough guy and still continue to mislead about pre-war intelligence.

Scott McClellan can compare a 37 year US Marine veteran and war hero with five medals to award winning documentary film maker Michael Moore in a press release, rather than a conference in person, as if that is supposed to stir the public criticism away from this White House.

Rep. Duncan Hunter can misinterpret a resolution proposed by a colleague, bring it to the floor to, he says,"send a message", yet vote against his own resolution, not the colleague's one at all, in an effort to confuse the public.

Rep, Jean Schmidt can cause almost fistacuffs to breakout on the House floor with her stunning words, "Marines dont cut and run, cowards do" as a message from some Marine named 'Danny" in her district, to Rep. Murtha, and she apparently gets a pass for that behavior because she is a freshman Congresswoman.

So through all this squabbling and words being flung back and forth and sideways, Rep. John Murtha's words definitely ring true, "The American people are way ahead of Congress". With that said I agree and add this caviat, From Mr. Bush to Mr. Cheney to Scott McClellan to Duncan Hunter to Jean Schmidt to the pundits on television to the columnists in newspapers to last but not least the right wing radio talk show hosts, are all "stuck on stupid" if not clueless, because according to the latest polls by both ABC News and CNN/Gallup 82% of the public still agree with Rep. John Murtha.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Victory Is a Moving Target?

George Bush, in remarks prepared for a speech at Osan Air Base in South Korea Saturday:
"'And as long as I am the commander-in-chief, our strategy in Iraq will be driven by the sober judgment of our military commanders on the ground. So we will fight the terrorists in Iraq, and we will stay in the fight until we have achieved the victory our brave troops have fought and bled for.'"

Unless his commanders on the ground are telling him that it's still possible for Saddam to acquire WMDs, victory is pretty much achieved, no? I'm sure that's what he means by "victory" — he would never try to rewrite history and claim there was some other objective, would he? I mean, if the purpose of all of this were not the separation of Saddam from his WMDs, it really wouldn't matter whether we found them or not; it wouldn't matter whether the White House twisted WMD intelligence or not; it wouldn't matter whether there were massive intelligence failures or not — and the Bush administration has fought very hard to convince us that all of those things matter very much.

Bob Woodward Does "Deep Throat". Phase II

What the defense attorney for the indicted former Chief of Staff for Dick Cheney calls the Bob Woodward revelation, a "bombshell", really isn't a "bombshell" at all. Once you read the statement prosecutor Paul Fitzgerald gave when he handed down the indictment against Lewis 'Scooter" Libby, it becomes very clear. It all comes down to show how careful Fitzgerald was with with his words. It all comes down to one word, that Libby's attorney conveniently overlooked, as did some in the media except may one, Keith Oberman, from MSNBC. The word is "known". and what was said by Fitzgerald is,"Mr. Libby was the first known source......." effectively leaving open the investigation into who leaked the identity if CIA agent Valerie Plame,and the possibility of more indictments.

But the real so-called "bombshell" in all this, is not what Mr. Libby's attorney says on behalf of his client, it is the fact that Woodward kept silent about he knew for two years.. The technical word could be "hoarded" because that is the reputation Bob Woodward has amongst his peers. He had every opportunity to come clean about his conversations with officials at the White House, but he hoarded the information because he was writing his book on events leading up to the war in Iraq. Woodward even so much as played down the whole idea of the CIA leak investigation on various cable shows like "Larry King Live". "I don't have any bombshells, I don't even have a firecracker!" He could be forgiven for keeping what he knew secret because he did'nt want to testify in the case, that could be chalked up to human nature, nobody wants to do that. But, as the case started heating up, it is also human nature to do the right thing. Is Bob Woodward truly only protecting a source, or is he going out of his way to protect the this White House and his access to it?

So what are we left with, another uunamed source, another political "guessing game", the same Bob Woodward, same Washington Post, of Watergate fame? Hopefully, it will not take another 30 years before yet another Woodward "Deep Throat" is revealed.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Hillary = the Next Trent?

On his radio show today, Sean Hannity and guest Jeannine Pirro, who is challenging Hillary Clinton for her Senate seat, tried to equate Clinton's attendence at a birthday party for one-time KKK member Robert Byrd with Trent Lott's speech at an observance of Strom Thurmond's birthday, in which he pined for the days of segregation.

I don't know whether any speeches were given at Byrd's celebration, or what Hillary may have said there; I'll go out on a limb and just assume it wasn't anything pro-segregationist. However, this is a good excuse to remind ourselves of what Trent Lott said of Thurmond, who in 1948 ran for President on a pro-segregation platform against Harry Truman and Thomas Dewey:
"I want to say this about my state: When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We're proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years, either."

Oh, and speaking of Robert Byrd: boy, I'll bet Bush and Cheney and pretty much everyone in the White House are sorry they didn't heed Byrd's warnings about the risks of rushing to war, don't you imagine? Since the administration was just as bamboozled by that bogus intelligence as anyone else? Gosh, they must feel just awful about so much as having considered going to war now, given the massive intelligence failures and all.

And that Robert Byrd fella happened to be right all along — who'd've thunk?

Now might be as good a time as any to recall some of Byrd's prose, too — this bit from the eve of the passage of the war resolution:
"We are rushing into war without fully discussing why, without thoroughly considering the consequences, or without making any attempt to explore what steps we might take to avert conflict. The resolution before us today is not only a product of haste; it is also a product of presidential hubris. This resolution is breathtaking in its scope. It redefines the nature of defense, and reinterprets the Constitution to suit the will of the Executive Branch. It would give the President blanket authority to launch a unilateral preemptive attack on a sovereign nation that is perceived to be a threat to the United States. This is an unprecedented and unfounded interpretation of the President's authority under the Constitution, not to mention the fact that it stands the charter of the United Nations on its head."

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

"Why Does Bush Do His Speeches and Photo-ops at Military Bases?"

One short answer. Because people at these bases cannot heckle him or get up and walk out on their Commander-in-Chief.

The Democrat Amendment On Iraq Becomes The Republican Amendment

The Republicans have finally agreed with something the Democrats want to do. That idea surprises you? It shouldn't on its face surprise anyone, but the way this was accomplished should be a concern. Not only did they cross-out wording, they crossed-out the names of all the Democrat co-signers, and added the names of Senators Warner and Frist. This act effectively weakened and ultimately hijacked the amendment.

Sen. Carl Levin, ranking member on the Senate Armed Services Committee made it clear at a press briefing yesterday about the underhanded "gutting" of the Democrat amendment to the Defense Authorization Bill. "I don't think they even read the amendment, because paragraph 7 which is apparently what they have "gutted" says that 2006 will be a significant transition in Iraq as they move to national sovereignty." He went on to quip that the" President should report to Congress every 90 days about a plan for eventual troop withdrawal." Apparently the Republicans didn't like the fact that the wording, in their opinion was tadamount to "cut and run". The old famikiar rhetoric we have heard time and time again from the administration and the Republicans.

Ultimately both the Democrat and Republican versions of the amendment were debated today on the Senate floor. The usual suspects, who show repeatedly that their whole purpose for being Senators, is to what they are told, but not by their constituents. Depending on one's point of view, these Senators did not disappoint. Senators like Sen Joe Lieberman, who stood at his podium declaring he would vote against his own party's amendment for reasons that consistently makes you wonder why there isn't an "R" in parentheses after his name. He proclaimed the reason for his voting "no" was because the last paragragh gives a time table for troop withdrawal, and that "sends the wrong message and mixed signals to our troops." he then rambled on about the partisan bickering that is embarrassing this great body". -- okay..

Sen Biden, took up the slack and right at the top, set Sen. Lieberman straight, or at least attempted to. "This is not a partisan issue, as stated by Sen. Lieberman. This debate is happening at this tine, about this issue because the people are fed up with the White House rhetoric which does not reflect the realities on the ground in Iraq."

Sen. Frist, was just in his usual form today, just reiterating the White House "talking points" or maybe he was reading from one of Mr.Bush's speeches he gave over the last few days. The points being, we shouldn't "cutand run", and "fight the terrorists over there so we don't have to fight them over here". montra. You get the idea.

At the end of the debate on both amendments, the final votes were: On the Levin Amendment, 57 "yeahs", 40 No", On the Warner Amendment, 79 "Yeahs" 19 "No". Even though a watered-down version was passed overwhelmingly, it did send a scathing message to Mr. Bush and the White House; The time has passed for lame self-serving rhetoric, the time is here to account for a plan on the occupation of Iraq. The American people diserve answers, this country cannot be wallowing in a quandry indefinitely.

Winning Hearts And Minds

AFP reports that "an Iraqi woman who dramatically confessed on Jordanian television to her role in the deadly multiple bombings on Amman hotels last week had three brothers and a brother-in-law killed by US forces in Iraq."

Bush Remembers Details, Misses Big Picture

George Bush, speaking at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, Nov. 14: "Some Democrats who voted to authorize the use of force are now rewriting the past. They're playing politics with this issue and they are sending mixed signals to our troops and the enemy. That is irresponsible."

While remembering well what his critics were saying years ago, Bush again seems to have forgotten that the Iraq war resolution some of the critics voted for called for the President to exhaust all diplomatic avenues before resorting to force.

Bush's Iraq-attack is also a violation of U.N. Security Council resolution 1441, which requires that the Security Council, not the White House, make the determination as to the necessity of military action.

There is no mixed message being sent to our troops: we're indebted to them for their service, and are doing all that we can to encourage our leaders to make responsible use of our military.

If, by "the enemy", Bush refers to Saddam, he's in prison, and it makes little difference what message we're sending him. And I think other enemies are probably already as aware as anyone to what extent Bush misled America regarding the urgency of taking military action.

If Bush really wants a unified America, he ought to really lead, and start giving us something we can get unified behind.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Manipulating Intelligence And/Or the Public

National security adviser Stephen Hadley, Sunday, November 13, speaking on CNN's "Late Edition": "Allegations now that the president somehow manipulated intelligence, somehow misled the American people, are flat wrong."

Really?

Perhaps Hadley could review some of the statements made by the Bush administration before and just after the war, and explain, given the intelligence we now know was available to it at the time, and point-by-point, exactly how they are not misleading:

"[Iraq] possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons. It is seeking nuclear weapons... And surveillance photos reveal that the regime is rebuilding facilities that it had used to produce chemical and biological weapons." -President Bush on October 7, 2002 in Cincinnati

"Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons... Iraq has made several attempts to buy high-strength aluminum tubes used to enrich uranium for a nuclear weapon." -President Bush on September 12, 2002 to the UN General Assembly

"Well, there is no question that we have evidence and information that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, biological and chemical particularly...all this will be made clear in the course of the operation, for whatever duration it takes." -White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer on March 21, 2003 in his daily press briefing

"Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction...What he wants is time, and more time to husband his resources to invest in his ongoing chemical and biological weapons program, and to gain possession of nuclear weapons." -Vice President Cheney on August 26, 2002

"We believe [Saddam Hussein] has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons. I think Mr. El Baradei frankly is wrong." -Vice President Cheney on March 16, 2003 on "Meet The Press"

"There is no doubt in my mind but that they currently have chemical and biological weapons." -Secretary Rumsfeld on January 7, 2003 at a press briefing

"We know where [weapons of mass destruction] are, they are in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad." -Secretary Rumsfeld on March 30, 2003 on ABC's "This Week"

"We've also discovered through intelligence that Iraq has a growing fleet of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to disperse chemical or biological weapons across broad areas. We're concerned that Iraq is exploring ways of using these UAVS for missions targeting the United States." -President Bush on October 7, 2002 in Cincinnati

"Iraq has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes and other equipment needed for gas centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons." -President Bush on October 7, 2002 in Cincinnati

"The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." -President Bush on January 20, 2003 in his State Of the Union address

"We know he has been absolutely trying to acquire nuclear weapons and we believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons." -Vice-President Dick Cheney on March 16, 2003

"If there's a problem with intelligence it doesn't mean that anybody misled anybody. It means that intelligence is an art and not a science." -Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz on June 18, 2003

"I think the intelligence was correct in general." -Secretary Rumsfeld on June 19, 2003

"This revisionist notion that somehow this is now the core of why we went to war, a central issue in why we went to war, a fundamental underpinning of the president's decisions, is a bunch of bull." -Ari Fleischer, 2003-Jul-14

"Those who say we haven't found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons are wrong. We found them." -President Bush, Krakow, Poland on May 30, 2003

Dishonoring Veterans With A Campaign Speech

Veterans' Day, a somber, yet joyous day too, from laying red. white and blue ribboned wreaths at memorial sites, to parades down the main street of town. This is the day when veterans their families and others gather in Arlington Cemetary, at the Tomb of the Unknowns, to hear speeches from various people including the President of the United States. But alas, the President was a no-show. This has not happened since the holiday's inception. So where was Mr. Bush?

He decided he liked being on the campaign trail, where he knows he support cause they have to purchase tickets and he can manipulate the photo-op. This campaign stop was an Army depot in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvannia. Mr. Bush was on the defense, attempting to boost his sagging favorability rating in the polls. He made this day not about honoring the veterans, but about him, in a very self-serving way. Mr. Bush chose Veteran's Day to use fear tactics, and smear Democrats who are asking questions about the pre-war intelligence, as they should. Nobody is attempting to rewrite history except for Mr. Bush. The Democrats feel as thought they have been misled about the intelligence that sent the troops to war, and they want answers, as do the majority of the public. Not smear campaigns and photo-ops. Veteran's Day is a day to honor veterans not dishonor them by using them as a backdrop to promote misguided delusions of grandeur.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Cornyn Strikes Again

Texas Sen. John Cornyn, Nov. 7, speaking on the Senate floor: "The Democrat leaders' latest accusation that the administration has manipulated intelligence and exaggerated the threat is nothing more than an effort to use the war in Iraq for political gain, and that is shameful."

If Bush neither manipulated intelligence nor exaggerated the threat, then Democrats have nothing to gain, politically or otherwise, from an investigation. What would be shameful, however, is for an administration to intentionally distort its depiction of the state of affairs it feels necessitates military action; if that were the case with the current White House and Iraq, it's vital that Bush be held accountable.

Republicans tend to downplay the significance of the manner in which Bush's Iraq policy was promoted. But war policy is not any policy: it's not like the consequences are lower taxes or better education. This policy's consequences are measured in terms of U.S. military deaths, Iraqi civilian deaths, and so on. The ethical bar for selling a war policy ought to be correspondingly higher.

More Hadley

Hadley:: "Some of the critics today believed themselves in 2002 that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. They stated that belief and they voted to authorize the use of force in Iraq because they believed Saddam Hussein posed a dangerous threat to the American people. For those critics to ignore their own past statements exposes the hollowness of their current attacks."

Those who Hadley describes as having "voted to authorize the use of force in Iraq", according to the text of the resolution, actually voted for the use of diplomacy toward the end of continued monitoring of Iraq's military programs, only authorizing the use of force as a last resort in the event of failed diplomacy. Conveniently for Hadley & Bush's White House, it is almost always true that if you pub no effort into diplomacy, you will fail at it.

Depends On What the Definition Of "Conclusion" Is?

National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, Thursday, on pre-war intelligence:"We all looked at the same intelligence, and most people -- on the intelligence -- reached the same conclusion." Which conclusion: that pre-emptive war against Iraq was the only option? There was hardly broad agreement on that. I think the real point - that the White House is trying to avoid - is that, while most with access to the Iraq intel may well have agreed that it suggested that Saddam desired and sought the capability to command WMDs, it was only the White House and the real hardcore neocons that insisted the intel was sufficient to warrant immediate military action.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

"All Politics Is Local............Isn't It?"

Election Day 2005 proved to be a shining day for Democrats. Winning two important governships and defeating the referendums pushed by the Republican Governor of California, could be a "peek" into what is in store for the midterm elections a year from now.

It's time for the Republicans to understand that a "tree"is being shaken; and shaken to see who can hang on. But what are the Republicans doing, they are "spinning". No surprise there......they are spinning the idea that the Democrat victories were just "local" elections, with no indicators of the direction the country is headed.

This was just the latest declaration by Press Secretary Scott McClellan on behalf of the White House in an effort to either put a positive light on something that is looking quite dim for this administration, more fodder aimed at changing the subject, or both.

Some pundits are saying that the defeat of gubernatorial candidate Kilgore in Virginia had nothing to do with Mr. Bush's last minute campaign rally, it's just bad campaigning on the part of Mr. Kilgore. Others just want to make excuses by saying there's a Republican "slump" going on right now, but there is a year before the midterm election? Still, others are taking the White House line. No matter how these pundits and others want to "spin" it, the Democrats did score significant victories.

The Democrats also scored with what could be described as a "moral" victory. They caused the White House, and Republicans to be on the defensive. Not only that, but many in the House {all House members seats are up for grabs in 2006} and in the Senate are saying, they don't want to be seen campaigning on the coattails of George W. Bush. So, while it's true, state governors' races are local, so is the US House of Representatives and US Senate races.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

"So Look Who's "Flip-flopping" Now!"

In early October 2002 Mr. Bush, in order to make the case for war acceptable and credible,touted, "Democrats are with us, and in agreement." Bush was so upbeat that many Democrats, like Sen.Hillary Clinton, Sen. Edward Kennedy,and House Democrat leader at the time, Rep.Dick Gephardt were with him, and looking forward to the debate and vote on the Resolution to give him authority to go to war.

Now, fast-forward some three years, things are not so credible and acceptable. The majority of the public are not supporting the war in Iraq. Bush and his supporters are no longer touting the Democrats" support in a positive light. They are using what Mr.Bush once exalted in the Democrats, against them. All this in response to the Democrats envoking Senate Rule 21, imposing the Senate into "closed session" in an attempt to get the Senate to investigate the "shaping" of pre-war intelligence that led to the invasion of Iraq.

The Democrats say they are very upset they were "mislead" with the intelligence they were given pre-war and if they knew then what they know now, there possibly would have been a different outcome. This is the reason they envoked the closed session in the Senate. They wanted to get to the bottom of the "bad" intelligence and to force the Republicans to do what they had promised; investigate.

The Republicans are still stuck on being apologists for the Bush Administration, suffering from the "debilitating disease" called "walking in lock-step". They will whine, make excuses for, and do whatever it takes to protect the adminstration, almost to the point of being delusional. Do they really want to get to the bottom of why the pre-war intelligence was so "bad", or not?

Apparently it will be left up to the American people to decide at the ballot box.

"It's the Liberal media.............right?

Sen. Pat Roberts, Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, laid it out on CBS's "Face the Nation", Sunday morning,explaining why it took only 2 hours to reach what appeared to be a bipartisan decision on resuming "PhaseII"of the investigation into pre-war intelligence. He said there was 'no politics" involved in the delay of "Phase II", and "no motive" to delay it until after the 2004 Presidential election. That comment sounded somewhat like when a child believes the word "maybe" means "yes" and tries to remind a parent. So when host Bob Scheiffer needed an explanation, Sen. Roberts displayed somewhat of a mini-tantrum and attempted to change the subject, which did without any interruption by Scheiffer.

Apparently, the speeches used by the Democrats during the pre-war debate, before the Resolution vote that gave the president the authority to go to war, on the Senate floor is going to be used against them. Sen. Roberts made it clear how the decision was made within the Senate Republican Caucus, as a result of the Rule 21 being imposed on them last week. This "gotcha" rule to be used by the Republicans will also be imposed more widely as part of the White House "talking points", by pundits and others in support of Mr. Bush.

The media which is often portrayed as having a "Liberal bias" is being used as a conduit to help the Republican agenda. That's to tske the focus off their damaged adminstration

This was quite evident on NBC's "Meet the press" when Tim Russert 'ambushed' Sen. Edward Kennedy, with words the Junior senator from MA Sen. John Kerry said during the pre-war debate. he put Sen. Kerry's words on the screen without saying who said them, knowing full well that Sen. Kennedy, who probably thought they were something V.P. Cheney might have said, would disagree with it. Russert did not say who it was until after the Senator stated how how he felt. Sen. George Allen (R) of VA, who with no surprise,always takes the words of the White House to heart, made it quite clear on CNN, Sunday, that the Republican "talking points" were to bring up how the Democrats were for the war in 2002, now they are changing their tune cause "the wind has changed", and it's not popular. Sen. Allen was right on cue with the rhetoric

The media,which is allowing this to occur without questioning the motive has once again displayed their lack of dimension in conveying information. Does the media have an agenda all their own, or are they so made of "stone", that they could be afraid of dissolving like that pillar of salt if they don't get it right?

Whatever the case some in the media need to go through their files for things they have said in the past,before their words come back to haunt them. Afterall. this *wicked*...........*horrible*.........*off-the-wall*...................so called "Liberal " media does have a knack for eating their own.

"How Good Do Things Need To Get Before U.S. Troops Leave Iraq?"

Watching the "Special Order Speeches" in the House of Representatives led by Rep. Duncan Hunter(R) of CA, and Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, on C-Span yesterday, touting the successes of the U.S. troops in Iraq, one would next have to question, "With all these good things happening, why aren't the troops leaving Iraq?" This is a question that needs to be answered and answered honestly, in the wake of over 2000 now U.S. casualties in the war. Duncan Hunter, who says he has a picture of a dead Kurdish mother and her baby after they were gassed on the street of Halabjah, their village, by Saddam Hussein, back in 1988 hanging in his Congressional office, as a reminder of why he says we have troops in Iraq. But Rep. Hunter who along with the present Neo-Cons kept silent when the event was actually occurring. He needs to start taking more responsibility for his own actions instead of the blame game directed towards the Democrats.

The Republicans including Duncan Hunter are the majority party, but they don't seem to understand what that means. It doesn't mean "pass the buck"party. So beyond, "Mission Accomplished" to the Iraqi people twice voting, and another school somewhere in Iraq being painted, what exactly does the word "Good" mean? It certainly would be "Good" if supporting the troops meant bringing them home, it certainly would be "Good" if the Iraqis would stand up and make their elections not only stand for something, but mean something, it would also be "Good" if Congress would be responsible for what they do and hold those to where the blame belongs, accountable, but alas, some in the government are having a problem with the meaning of "Good".

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Demagogue Vs. Demagogue

Carter: Americans were misled on war - Nov 4, 2005
Shown live footage of the [Summit of the Americas] protests, [former U.S. president Jimmy] Carter said the United States' reputation in the world is as low as it's been in his lifetime and that the United States has lost its prestige, authority and influence in Latin America. He added, however, that the chief opponent to the Free Trade Area of the Americas, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, is a "demagogue."


Is George Bush less a demagogue than is Chavez?

Anti-Bush Rhetoric In Argentina

Summit city hit by clashes as Bush struggles to push agenda

....

Among anti-US activists in Mar del Plata were Nobel Peace Prize holder Adolfo Perez Esquivel, the populist frontrunner in Bolivia's presidential race, Evo Morales, and Argentine football idol Diego Maradona who received a rapturous ovation.

"I love you. Argentina is great. Let's get rid of Bush," Maradona told the cheering crowd.

Earlier, Maradona called Bush "human rubbish" in comments to AFP as he traveled to Mar del Plata from Buenos Aires in a special train.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

"We're Not Gonna take It Anymore............"

In a rear move Democrat Leader Sen. Harry Reid envoked Senate Rule 21, calling the Senate to go into closed session, as a protest against the Republican "stall" of what was deemed "Phase II" of the Senate Intelligence Committee's probe into pre-war intelligence. In light of the five-count indictment against "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Cheney's Chief of Staff, the Democrats were emboldened to press for this investigation, which was promised over a year ago by Sen. Pat Roberts, the Intelligence Committee's chairman. The Democrats are finally showing what they should have shown back in early 2003 during debate which gave Mr. Bush the authority to invade Iraq; backbone.
They now seem to be controlling the agenda. The administration cannot seem to change the subject, no matter how they try. Sen. Bill Frist, the Republican majority leader was completely taken by surprise, and started whining about it. The rest of the Republicans were left to calling the Democrats' solidarity move a "political stunt". What else could they call the move, considering they are experts at it themselves? Keeping "Phase II" on the "back burner" until after the presidential election last year.....what was that??
If what the Democrats did was a "political stunt" it worked, because a six-senator bipartisan commission was established out of the 2 hr closed session. They have until Nov. 14 to report a status of the investigation into the "shaping" of pre-war intelligence use to make the case for war. The anger apparently was raised to a "fever-pitch" amongst the Democrats when they realized there is no accountability within this government and its administration, just repudiation and slandering of anyone who disagrees with them.
It's time to speak truth to power. Anyone who wants the troops home, and wants answers, should contact Sen. Reid's office and tell him, "It's about time", "What took you so long?", or at least just to say "Thank you, Sen. Reid."