Tuesday, January 31, 2006

In The News - Jan. 31


Thirsty people feel more pain - 31 Jan 2006 at 6:29pm - Going without a drink can make you more sensitive to pain, a study has found.


Courts reject ban on partial-birth abortion - 31 Jan 2006 at 6:16pm - The rulings from the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York and the 9th Circuit in San Francisco were setbacks to abortion foes. The decisions could be appealed to the Supreme Court, which has two new justices recently appointed by President Bush.


Cohen tells NBC Bush must seek coalitions - 31 Jan 2006 at 5:56pm - Former Secretary of Defense William Cohen spoke with NBC Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Andrea Mitchell about world events prior to  President Bush's State of the Union address. Here is an edited transcript of the interview.


Connecticut rebels against Bush education policy - 31 Jan 2006 at 5:28pm - NEW HAVEN, Connecticut (Reuters) - The Bush administration's "No Child Left Behind" policy will lead to "dumbing down" tests in public schools because Washington has not fully funded the policy, the state of Connecticut said in a court hearing on Tuesday to try to block the program.


US food aid seen squeezed by Bush budget: NGOs - 31 Jan 2006 at 2:06pm - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush will not ask Congress to increase U.S. food aid when he presents his 2007 budget next week and some countries will be cut from donation programs to make funds go further, NGO sources said on Tuesday.


Antiwar mom gets invite to speech - 31 Jan 2006 at 8:06pm - President Bush's State of the Union speech will focus on the everyday concerns of ordinary Americans and the role of the United States on the world stage. He will say "our Nation is committed to an historic, long-term goal -- we seek the end of tyranny in our world... the future security of America depends on it," according to excerpts released by the White House. In the House chamber, the audience is expected to include Cindy Sheehan, the woman who became a symbol of the anti-Iraq war movement after her son was killed in Iraq.


'Peace mom' cuffed in House chambers - 31 Jan 2006 at 9:28pm - Peace activist Cindy Sheehan was arrested Tuesday in the House chambers after she unfurled an anti-war banner just minutes before President Bush gave his State of the Union address. Capitol police arrested Sheehan and questioned her for about an hour in a separate area of the House, a senior House official said.

For an hour??? That must have been a productive interview. "Ms. Sheehan, it seems from your behaviour tonight that you're against the Iraq war." "That's right." "And this anti-war banner you displayed in there, this seems consistent with your anti-war stance." "Yes." "You're not just pretending to be against the war, so as to exploit in some sick way your own son's death, are you?" "Umm, no." An hour?????


Text of President Bush's State of the Union Address - 31 Jan 2006 at 9:28pm - Text of President Bush's State of the Union address on Tuesday, prepared for delivery, as released by the White House: Mr. Speaker, Vice President Cheney, members of Congress, members of the Supreme Court and diplomatic corps, distinguished guests and...

Monday, January 30, 2006

In The News - Jan. 30


System error - January 29, 2006 - A program that was supposed to help the National Security Agency pluck out electronic data crucial to the nation's safety is not up and running more than six years and $1.2 billion after it was launched, according to current and former government officials.


FEMA acknowledges blunders during Katrina - 30 Jan 2006 at 5:24pm - WASHINGTON -- Poor planning and communication plagued FEMA's response to Hurricane Katrina, a top agency official said Monday, acknowledging that other federal departments' offers to help rescue storm victims went unheard or were ignored.


Transsexuals 'to get 2 ID cards' - 30 Jan 2006 at 4:36pm - Transsexuals who have yet to have a sex-change operation will be entitled to two ID cards, says Home Office.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, today on whether Hamas can effectively lead Palestine without renouncing violence: "You cannot have a democratic process in which a party that is in government also maintains the right to violence. That isn't fair to those who would be in opposition."
Thank you, Dr. Mushroomcloud. Am I the only one who feels like I've been transported into some other universe every time I hear a member of the Bush administration insisting that "peaceful" governments must disavow ambitions to effect change through violent means?


Poll: Bush faces 'gloomy' electorate - 30 Jan 2006 at 7:53pm - An NBC/WSJ poll shows President Bush faces an electorate that continues to be dissatisfied with his job performance, increasingly wants U.S. soldiers home from Iraq and believes the GOP is associated more with special interests and lobbyists.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

In The News - Jan. 29


Pentagon Can Now Fund Foreign Militaries - 29 Jan 2006 at 12:00am - Congress has granted unusual authority for the Pentagon to spend as much as $200 million of its own budget to aid foreign militaries, a break with the traditional practice of channeling foreign military assistance through the State Department.


Blair and Bush 'conspired to go to war regardless of United Nations' - 29 January 2006 - Tony Blair knew that George Bush was only "going through the motions" of offering support for a second UN resolution in the run-up to the Iraq war, it was claimed last night.


Britain's Blair to hand over power within two years, ally says - 29 Jan 2006 at 7:00am - LONDON (AFP) - British Prime Minister Tony Blair has reached a "new understanding" to hand over power to his finance minister Gordon Brown within two years, a close ally and former minister has said.


ABC's Woodruff injured in Iraq - 29 Jan 2006 at 1:31pm - ABC news anchor Bob Woodruff and camera operator Doug Vogt were seriously injured in a bomb attack in Iraq on Sunday, the U.S. television network said.

Tragic. But at least it can be said that Woodruff & Vogt chose to take that assignment. The service members with whom they were embedded have no choice of assignment; they cannot even choose a different job:


Army forces 50,000 soldiers into extended duty - 29 Jan 2006 at 10:56am - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Army has forced about 50,000 soldiers to continue serving after their voluntary stints ended under a policy called "stop-loss," but while some dispute its fairness, court challenges have fallen flat.


Frist: Schiavo case taught lesson - 29 Jan 2006 at 1:21pm - Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, who took a leading role in the Terry Schiavo case, said Sunday it taught him that Americans do not want the government involved in such end-of-life decisions.


Audit: U.S.-Led Occupation Squandered Aid - 29 Jan 2006 at 1:43pm - Iraqi money gambled away in the Philippines. Thousands spent on a swimming pool that was never used. An elevator repaired so poorly that it crashed, killing people.


CIA unlikely to back off al Qaeda attacks in Pakistan - 29 Jan 2006 at 1:35pm - WASHINGTON/ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - The Bush administration is unlikely to shy away from using Predator missile attacks on al Qaeda leaders in Pakistan, despite the risk of political backlash for U.S. ally, President Pervez Musharraf, officials and intelligence experts say.

Have Pakistani authorities identified the four "terrorists" they say were killed in the Damadola airstrike? Were the four originally misidentified, and counted among the 14 "civilians" killed? Or was the original victim count short by four?

Saturday, January 28, 2006

In The News - Jan. 28


Pelosi questions Bush's spying program - 28 Jan 2006 at 8:25pm - WASHINGTON -- House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi says President Bush should have used his extensive authority under the law to monitor suspected terrorists rather than approve the National Security Agency's disputed monitoring program.


Climate Expert Says NASA Tried to Silence Him - 28 Jan 2006 at 11:00pm - NASA's top climate scientist says the Bush administration tried to stop him from talking about emissions linked to global warming.


U.S. Says Abramoff Tipped Tyco to GSA Move - 28 Jan 2006 at 12:00am - Lobbyist Jack Abramoff gave his client Tyco International an early warning in 2003 that the government was about to suspend Tyco's federal contracts -- inside information he received from a General Services Administration official now under indictment, federal prosecutors alleged yesterday.

Friday, January 27, 2006

In The News - Jan. 27


Poll: Most think Bush is failing second term - 27 Jan 2006 at 8:22am - A majority of Americans are more likely to vote for a candidate in November's congressional elections who opposes President Bush, and 58 percent consider his second term a failure so far, according to a poll released Thursday.


Murtha says Iraq is now a 'civil war' - 27 Jan 2006 at 9:42am - PITTSBURGH -- U.S. troops will leave Iraq by the end of the year due to political pressure in a Congressional election year, Rep. John Murtha predicted.


McCain still concerned about Guantanamo - 27 Jan 2006 at 9:30am - DAVOS, Switzerland -- Sen. John McCain said Friday that interrogation techniques at the U.S. prison camp in Guantanamo Bay are still of concern, and the prisoners held there should have their cases processed after spending up to four years in detention without charge.


Majorities Disapprove of Bush on Ethics - 27 Jan 2006 at 9:21am - Three-Quarters Favor Release of Abramoff Meeting Records


Documents Show Army Seized Wives As Tactic - 27 Jan 2006 at 2:52pm - The U.S. Army in Iraq has at least twice seized and jailed the wives of suspected insurgents in hopes of "leveraging" their husbands into surrender, U.S. military documents show.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

In The News - Jan. 26


Iraq releases 400 detainees - 26 Jan 2006 at 8:33am - BAGHDAD (AFP) - Iraq has released more than 400 detainees being held in Iraqi and US-run prisons, including five women, in a move which could help abducted US reported Jill Carroll.


Britain announces 3,300 new troops for Afghanistan - 26 Jan 2006 at 7:43am - "We aim for these deployments to be fully operational by July this year," Secretary of Defense John Reid told parliament.


Bush to shun Hamas until it changes Israel stance - 25 Jan 2006 22:46:44 GMT - WASHINGTON, Jan 25 (Reuters) - President George W. Bush on Wednesday said he would not deal with Hamas unless the militant group which made a strong showing in the Palestinian election renounced its stance on Israel, The Wall Street Journal reported.



CBO projects $337 billion deficit in 2006 - 26 Jan 2006 at 9:57am - WASHINGTON -- The federal budget deficit will reach at least $337 billion for the current year, the Congressional Budget Office estimates, and the deficit is likely to go higher because of tax cuts and new additional spending for hurricane relief and the war in Iraq.


Top U.S. General Says Army 'Stretched' - 26 Jan 2006 at 9:20am - The top U.S. general in Iraq acknowledged Thursday that American forces in this country are "stretched," but he said he will only recommend withdrawals based on operational needs.


Bush: Elections a 'wake-up call' for Palestinian leaders - 26 Jan 2006 at 10:38am - President Bush called the results of Palestinian parliamentary elections a wake-up call for the Palestinian leadership. "Obviously, people were not happy with the status quo," Bush said. The militant group Hamas claims it defeated Fatah, the party that has had authority in Palestine for years. President Bush said Hamas cannot be a partner for Middle East peacemaking without renouncing violence. "I don't see how you can be a partner in peace if you advocate the destruction of a country," Bush said.

According to wikipedia, the stated goal of Hamas (or HAMAS) is "to establish an Islamic theocracy in the area that is currently Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza strip", which I guess must be nothing like Bush's stated goal of establishing a western-style democracy in Iraq via violent regime-change, since Bush considers himself a "partner in peace", and Hamas, not so.


Bush vouches for legality of wiretaps - 26 Jan 2006 at 10:55am - The president defended warrantless surveillance, saying "there's no doubt in my mind it is legal."

Which assessment I think ought to carry about as much weight as Dick Cheney's proclamation on 2002-Aug-26 that "Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction."


Bush says ready to use veto if Congress overspends - 26 Jan 2006 at 10:54am - "I'm fully prepared to use the veto if they overspend," he told a news conference.

Evidently forgetting, momentarily, about the projected US$2 trillion price tag of his lil democracy-promotion program in Iraq.


Korea orders Agent Orange payments - 26 Jan 2006 at 11:58am - A South Korean court ordered two U.S. manufacturers of the Agent Orange to pay $62 million in compensation to local veterans and their families.


Sens. want independent corruption probe - 26 Jan 2006 at 11:46am - WASHINGTON -- Two Senate Democrats called Thursday for the appointment of a special counsel to take over the investigation of the corruption scandal spawned by lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

In The News - Jan. 25


Gonzales says surveillance entirely legal - 25 Jan 2006 at 7:50am - WASHINGTON -- Attorney General Alberto Gonzales offered additional defenses of President Bush's domestic spying program on Tuesday, as the administration tried to redefine the warrantless surveillance in a way that undermines critics. Speaking to students at Georgetown University law school, Gonzales said a 15-day grace period allowing warrantless eavesdropping under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act demonstrates that Congress knew such surveillance "would be essential in wartime."
Yes, so it would seem; and it also would seem to demonstrate that Congress knew that after the 15-day grace period, the warrantless eavesdropping would no longer be allowable.


Al Qaeda Sees Resurgence in Pakistani Tribal Areas - 25 Jan 2006 at 10:19am - Videotape Shows Terror Network Actively Recruiting, Plotting Attacks


ACLU: Patriot Act excludes Muslim scholar from U.S. - 25 Jan 2006 at 10:16am - Saying the government should not use anti-terrorism laws as "instruments of censorship," the American Civil Liberties Union sued the government Wednesday for excluding a leading Muslim scholar from entering the United States.


Army's 'thin green line' could snap, study says - 25 Jan 2006 at 10:23am - WASHINGTON (AP) -- Stretched by frequent troop rotations to Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army has become a "thin green line" that could snap unless relief comes soon, according to a study for the Pentagon.

Senator seeks information on subpoena of Google (Reuters) - 25 Jan 2006 at 12:11pm - Reuters - The Senate Judiciary Committee's top Democrat asked Attorney General Alberto Gonzales what steps are being taken to protect Americans' privacy rights as the Justice Department demands information about Internet searches.


Rumsfeld: U.S. military not overextended - 25 Jan 2006 at 1:53pm - WASHINGTON -- Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld on Wednesday disputed reports suggesting that the U.S. military is stretched thin and close to a snapping point from operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, asserting "the force is not broken."


Sen. Clinton blasts Bush on eavesdropping - 25 Jan 2006 at 2:29pm - WASHINGTON -- Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton on Wednesday called President Bush's explanations for eavesdropping on domestic telephone calls "strange" and "far-fetched," launching a blistering attack on the White House ahead of the president's State of the Union address.


U.S. must submit papers to Moussaoui team - 25 Jan 2006 at 6:27pm - WASHINGTON -- A federal judge has ordered the government to give admitted terrorist conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui's defense team documents describing what officials knew before Sept. 11, 2001, about al-Qaida threats and some of its hijackers.

It's nice to see that the White House has decided to add a touch of humour to its news webpage, with occasional posts entitled "Setting the Record Straight."

Bush, speaking today at the NSA in Fort Meade, Maryland (in front of a sign for something called "Threat Operations Center" -- all that warrantless wiretapping must be paying off: he appears to be closing in on the center of the threat operations): "I have the authority, both from the Constitution and the Congress, to undertake this vital program. The American people expect me to protect their lives and their civil liberties, and that's exactly what we're doing with this program."
Now, I can't prove this in a court of law or anything, but I'm sure there must be some significance to the fact that so far, none of the public defenders of this warrantless-domestic-surveillance program have explained how the American people would have been any less safe had the surveillance been limited to whatever it is the FISA court normally approves.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

In The News - Jan. 24


US 'outsourced' torture: probe - 24 Jan 2006 at 6:32am - STRASBOURG, France (Reuters) - A European human rights investigator said on Tuesday there was evidence the United States had "outsourced" torture to other countries and it was likely that European governments knew about it.

Documents Show Govt Forewarned on Katrina - 24 Jan 2006 at 7:54am - The government had advance warning of the danger and potential damage from Hurricane Katrina before the storm hit, newly released documents show.

Jury orders reprimand, no jail for soldier - 24 Jan 2006 at 6:56am - FORT CARSON, Colo. -- A military jury has recommended that an officer once facing up to life in prison for the interrogation death of an Iraqi general be given only a reprimand, a decision that drew applause from soldiers.
So the pResident is against torture, except when he's for it, and soldiers (and the military "justice" system) are evidently in favour not only of torture, but of murder as well. On the day after pResidentially-declared Sanctity Of Human Life Day. And on the day the pResident has the cheek to say, in a speech at Kansas State University, "They [the enemy] make decisions based upon their view of the world, which is the exact opposite of our view of the world."


Gonzales: Congress knew scope of spy program - 24 Jan 2006 at 9:34am - Attorney General Alberto Gonzales dismissed criticism of the National Security Agency's domestic spying program Tuesday, saying Congress was aware of its scope and approved it "under the authorization to use military force" against terrorism.
California Representative Jane Harman, the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee, presumably will be surprised to learn that she has been kept "fully and currently informed", as required by the National Security Act.


US military issues new execution regulations - 24 Jan 2006 at 9:47am - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - In a little-noticed move, the U.S. Army has issued new regulations governing the death penalty, raising speculation that the military might be preparing for its first execution since 1961.

Monday, January 23, 2006

In The News - Jan. 23


Democrats to press Bush on domestic spying - 23 Jan 2006 at 9:00am - WASHINGTON -- Several lawmakers said Sunday they will press President Bush to justify his decision to allow domestic eavesdropping, rebuffing GOP suggestions their criticism of broad executive authority puts the nation at risk.

White House steps up defense of domestic spying (USATODAY.com) - 23 Jan 2006 at 7:16am - USATODAY.com - The White House launches a political campaign this week, not for a candidate but for a controversial program: warrantless surveillance of some U.S. citizens by the National Security Agency.


Former NSA chief says surveillance limited - 23 Jan 2006 at 11:40am - WASHINGTON -- In a wide-ranging defense of the National Security Agency's controversial surveillance program, the government's No. 2 intelligence official said Monday that the spy agency's operations are not a drift net over U.S. communities.


US judge orders release of detainees' names - Mon Jan 23, 2006 9:28 PM - NEW YORK (Reuters) - A federal judge made a final ruling on Monday for the Pentagon to release the names of detainees at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.


Jury orders reprimand, no jail for soldier - 23 Jan 2006 at 11:15pm - FORT CARSON, Colo. -- A military jury on Monday ordered a reprimand but no jail time for an Army interrogator convicted of killing an Iraqi general by stuffing him headfirst into a sleeping bag and sitting on his chest.


Bush defends 'terrorist surveillance' - 23 Jan 2006 at 11:15pm - MANHATTAN, Kan. -- President Bush pushed back Monday at critics of his once-secret domestic spying effort, saying it should be termed a "terrorist surveillance program" and contending it has the backing of legal experts, key lawmakers and the Supreme Court.

....

"It's amazing that people say to me, 'Well, he's just breaking the law.' If I wanted to break the law, why was I briefing Congress?" asked Bush.
Whether or not the bypassing itself of the FISA court was legal, Bush has apparantly broken the law by choosing to brief only selected members of relevant congressional committees, rather than the full committees. I guess some people are just easily amazed.

....

Back in Washington, Gen. Michael Hayden, the former National Security Agency director who is now the government's No. 2 intelligence official, contended the surveillance was narrowly targeted. He acknowledged that the program established a lower legal standard to eavesdrop on terror-related communications than a surveillance law implemented in 1978.
....

Hayden maintained that the work was within the law. "The constitutional standard is reasonable. ... I am convinced that we are lawful because what it is we are doing is reasonable," he said at the National Press Club.
I've a hunch that the law that provides for the FISA-court oversight of domestic-surveillance operations is meant to ensure "reasonableness" by leaving the determination of such up to an independent entity, through the warrant-application-and-approval process, rather than leaving the determination to Hayden himself, or to Bush. At least that would seem reasonable to me.


National security vs. whistle-blowing - Protections erode for those who allege governmental wrongdoing - especially if going public risks state secrets. - January 24, 2006 - NEW YORK – Former intelligence officer Russ Tice wants to tell Congress about what he believes were illegal actions undertaken by the National Security Agency in its highly sophisticated eavesdropping programs. But he can't. He's been warned by the NSA that the information is so highly classified that even members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees - who are charged with overseeing the work of the intelligence community - don't have clearance to hear about them. If Mr. Tice talks at the hearings early next month, he could face criminal prosecution.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

In The News - Jan. 22


Army officer found guilty in Iraqi's death - 22 Jan 2006 at 2:06am - FORT CARSON, Colo. -- An Army officer was found guilty of negligent homicide late Saturday in the death of an Iraqi general at a detention camp, but was spared a conviction of murder that could have sent him to prison for life.


WP: States draft 'blue' energy rules - 21 Jan 2006 at 11:14pm - Democratic-leaning states increasingly are regulating energy use and emissions, working around a GOP-controlled federal government that state officials say has not done enough.


NBC Cancels 'West Wing' After 7 Seasons - 22 Jan 2006 at 5:40pm - NBC Cancels Emmy-Winning 'West Wing' After Seven Seasons, Makes Several Midseason Moves


Iran Sanctions Could Drive Oil Past $100 - 22 Jan 2006 at 6:39pm - A surge in oil prices last week to almost $70 a barrel on concerns about the restart of Iran's nuclear program only hints at what may lie ahead. Prices could soar past $100 a barrel, experts say, if the U.N. Security Council authorizes trade sanctions...


Lawmakers seek review of eavesdropping rules - 22 Jan 2006 at 6:04pm - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. surveillance laws should be reviewed and possibly rewritten to allow the type of eavesdropping that U.S. President George W. Bush has been criticized for authorizing, lawmakers from both parties said on Sunday.

Lawmakers Say Will Press Bush on Spying (AP) - 22 Jan 2006 at 5:31pm - AP - Several lawmakers said Sunday they will press President Bush to justify his decision to allow domestic eavesdropping, rebuffing GOP suggestions their criticism of broad executive authority puts the nation at risk.


Report: Untreated water at U.S. base in Iraq - Halliburton denies contamination of supply to American soliders, civilians - 5:42 p.m. ET Jan. 22, 2006 - WASHINGTON - Troops and civilians at a U.S. military base in Iraq were exposed to contaminated water last year and employees for the responsible contractor, Halliburton, couldn’t get their company to inform camp residents, according to interviews and internal company documents.


Pakistan PM: CIA attack reports 'bizarre' - No evidence that top al Qaeda leaders were at target, he says - January 22, 2006 Posted: 2357 GMT - WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz on Sunday ridiculed as "bizarre" a U.S. report that senior al Qaeda leaders were killed in a CIA attack on a home along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

In The News - Jan. 21


Kristen Breitweiser: Know Thine Enemy--A Primer for President Bush et al. - 20 Jan 2006 at 5:46pm - Bin Laden is alive and able to release an audiotape that threatens to attack our homeland.

Pakistan Tells U.S. Not to Repeat Attack - 21 Jan 2006 at 10:41am - Pakistan's foreign minister told a senior U.S. diplomat on Saturday that the two countries must work together to avoid a repeat of U.S. attacks like last week's strike on a Pakistani border village that killed civilians.


Why Isn't Bin Laden Caught, 'Dead or Alive?' - 21 Jan 2006 at 9:41am - Al Qaeda Chief May Have Found a Sanctuary in Remote Pakistan


Rove tells Republicans to run on Bush's record - 20 Jan 2006 at 5:48pm - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - White House political adviser Karl Rove on Friday said Democratic critics of the Iraq war were wrong and Republicans should highlight the issue in November's congressional elections.

Belafonte Continues Tirade Against Bush (AP) - 21 Jan 2006 at 6:47pm - AP - Entertainer Harry Belafonte, one of the Bush administration's harshest critics, compared the Homeland Security Department to the Nazi Gestapo on Saturday and attacked the president as a liar.


Schiavo's sister: U.S. doesn't value life - 21 Jan 2006 at 5:56pm - COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The sister of Terri Schiavo said Saturday that her family's failed court struggle to keep the brain-damaged woman alive shows a society that has "lost sight of the value" of human life.


Army jury to deliberate Iraq abuse charge - 21 Jan 2006 at 7:06pm - FORT CARSON, Colo. (Reuters) - A jury of six U.S. Army officers began deliberations on Saturday in the court-martial of an Army officer charged with murdering an Iraqi general during an interrogation, using techniques that the prosecutor described as torture.


CIA role a mystery at court-martial - 21 Jan 2006 at 7:04pm - FORT CARSON, Colo. -- The initials were spoken aloud only once all week, and then apparently by mistake.

Friday, January 20, 2006

In The News - Jan. 20


U.S. rejects any 'truce' with bin Laden - 20 Jan 2006 at 8:03am - WASHINGTON -- Rejecting a suggestion by Osama bin Laden of a negotiated truce in the war on terror, Vice President Dick Cheney said there was only one way to deal with terrorists. "I think you have to destroy them," Cheney said.

True, you cannot really negotiate with someone like bin Laden. He goes unseen for months; his office is in some "undisclosed location". Unlike Cheney.


Registered Traveler raises privacy issues - 20 Jan 2006 at 12:52pm - Airplane passengers who buy a preapproved security pass could have their personal records examined as part of the government?s plan to hand over the Registered Traveler program to private companies.


Yahoo admits it let White House access its databases - Times Online - 20 Jan 2006 at 12:34pm - Yahoo has admitted that it granted the US Government access to its search engine's databases this summer, as a battle develops over the right to privacy in cyberspace.


Md. judge strikes down gay-marriage ban - 20 Jan 2006 at 2:55pm - BALTIMORE -- A Baltimore judge struck down a 33-year-old state law against gay marriage Friday, declaring it violates the Maryland Constitution's guarantee of equal rights.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

In The News - Jan. 19


Cisneros probe report charges cover-up: NY Times - 19 Jan 2006 at 12:23am - A report by David M. Barrett, which concludes the longest independent counsel investigation on record, costing some $21 million, says Justice Department officials refused to grant him the broad jurisdiction he wanted, the newspaper said.


Senior al Qaeda figures believed killed in US strike - 19 Jan 2006 at 1:08am - ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - An al Qaeda bomb expert with a $5 million bounty on his head and a son-in-law of the group's No. 2 were among four militants believed killed by a U.S. airstrike last week, Pakistani intelligence sources said on Thursday.


Guantanamo prisoners tied to London bomb probe - 19 Jan 2006 at 2:08am - GUANTANAMO BAY U.S. NAVAL BASE, Cuba (Reuters) - Prisoners at the Guantanamo base in Cuba provided important information in connection with the London transit bombings that the United States shared with UK authorities, the general in charge of the prison said.

Provocative headline, but nowhere in the story does it suggest any connection between Guantanamo prisoners and the London bombings, beyond the fact that some of the Guantanamo prisoners had lived in or around London at one time.


Report says legality of CIA flights doubted - 19 Jan 2006 at 1:52am - The memo says the practice, known as extraordinary rendition, "could never be legal" if the detainee is at risk of torture, according to extracts printed in the Guardian.


Breaking Ranks - 19 Jan 2006 at 12:00am - In an overheated old schoolroom in Washington, Larry Wilkerson, a retired Army colonel, is doing his best to impose military discipline on 25 pupils as they prepare to attack a mountain of pizza, cupcakes and cookies. It is the year-end party for Macfarland Middle School's Colin L. Powell Leadership...


Congressional Agency Questions Legality of Wiretaps - 19 Jan 2006 at 12:00am - The Bush administration appears to have violated the National Security Act by limiting its briefings about a warrantless domestic eavesdropping program to congressional leaders, according to a memo from Congress's research arm released yesterday.


Furor Over Targeting Of Liberal Profs - 19 Jan 2006 at 9:47am - A former U.S. congressman and two others have quit the board of a conservative alumni group at UCLA after it offered students cash to inform on professors accused of pushing liberal views.


Bush rules out Senate run for first lady - 19 Jan 2006 at 12:52pm - STERLING, Va. -- The Senate may be the place for some former first ladies, but President Bush on Thursday categorically ruled out a run for office by his wife, Laura Bush.

"She's not interested in running for office. She's interested in literacy," Bush said during an appearance at JK Moving & Storage here.

...evidently reaffirming his belief that the two ought to be mutually exclusive.


Cheney says domestic surveillance vital - 19 Jan 2006 at 2:22pm - NEW YORK -- Vice President Dick Cheney offered a robust defense of the Bush administration's domestic surveillance program Thursday, calling it an essential tool in monitoring the activities of al-Qaida and associated terrorist organizations. But he stressed the program was limited in scope and had been conducted in a way that safeguarded civil liberties.

Kinda makes one wonder how they define "robustness" for purposes of characterizing bloviation. I'm not sure I remember Dick Cheney saying anything I'd call "robust" in years, possibly decades. Everything he says comes out sounding like a sales pitch for neofascist totalitarianism the kind of American-style democracy we hope to bring to Iraq.

"Some have suggested that by liberating Iraq from Saddam Hussein, we've simply stirred up a hornet's nest. They overlook a fundamental fact: we were not in Iraq on September 11, 2001, and the terrorists hit us anyway," Cheney said. "The reality is that the terrorists were at war with our country long before the liberation of Iraq."


And it may be a "fundamental fact" that my roof was leaking long before I broke the garage-door window, but how that explains why I wouldn't be better off with an intact garage-door window, I'm not quite sure.

Cheney warned that the United States still faced significant threats from terrorists intent on establishing a radical Islamic empire throughout Northern Africa and the Middle East. He insisted the U.S.-led war in Iraq was essential to combating that threat.

Whatever may have been undesirable about Saddam, I don't think allowing radical Muslims to remove him from power and assimilate Iraq into a vast Islamic caliphate held a prominent position on his to-do list.


Clinton strikes out at Bush, Republicans - 19 Jan 2006 at 2:05pm - ALBANY, N.Y. -- Hillary Rodham Clinton has come out swinging.


Retired military officers push Bush on torture ban - 19 Jan 2006 at 6:48pm - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A group of retired military officers urged President George W. Bush on Thursday to spell out how he will enforce a ban on the torture of U.S.-held prisoners, complaining he muddied the issue in a statement last month.

"Cause Hillary Said It................."

The media commentators and pundits of every persuasion had a field day over the one word that Sen. Hillary Clinton spoke at a gathering in Harlem, NYC for Martin Luther King day. The word the Senator spoke was "plantation", and the context which it was spoken referred to the Republican Congress being "run like a plantation". Almost immediately the rebuttals began to emerge in rather an anemic sort of memory lapse from right-wing news commentators, pundits, and current and former members of Congress and the Administration(one African-American former Bush advisor, in trying to promote his book "Black in the White House", Ron Christie, could'nt resist putting in his bit and actually called for Sen. Clinton to resign!). Hillary's remarks were called "insulting to the memory of Dr. King", and, "offensive to many African Americans" said Rep. Peter King (R) NY. Rep. King's statements were stunning, given the fact that Hillary got a hugh applause and standing ovation from the crowd gathered.

These commentators, pundits and "thin-skinned" Republicans really do need to lighten-up and calm down before they get a nosebleed about Sen. Clinton. They should find some kind of remedy for this painfully obvious memory lapse. Soon to be Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich(R) GA referrred to Congress in the "plantation" mold a few days before the infamous GOP takeover of Congress in 1994. he called that Congress, "The Democrat plantation", and referred to himself as "the leader of the slave revolt". Gingrich's remarks had to have happened under the radar because there was no uproar over those remarks or Newt Gingrich making them, then? Maybe the connotation of the word or subject matter of "plantation" is different because it occurred after Jan 1, 2006. 2006 being an election year and all. We all know that Hillary just drives the Conservatives crazy, but what is not clear is, just whay that is?

One just has to do a Google search on the word "plantation" and it is very likely one would stumble over more Republicans and right-wingers using the word in the same context, but minus the uproar as was bestowed on Sen. Clinton. Or, you could watch the House of Representatives in action on C-Span to know that the Senator's word ring very true. Apparently it really isn't the word or the context which the word was used, it's who says it that gives new meaning to the word and idea many Republicans don't seem to know much about..........debate. Which was exactly what Hillary was trying to get across quite effectively when referring to the Republican-led House, as a 'plantation", stifling legitamate debate and honest human discourse, much like a 'plantation" degraded the human dignity of people.

The Republican party truly is the "plantation" party, because they continously prove the lengths they will go to divide this country even more. Some examples of the "plantation" ethic in the Republican House are: (The Democrats cannot use the same cloak room as the Republicans, the rules for debate change as the bills come to the floor for a vote---and the Democrats' ideas and "substitution" bills are often stifled and not even heard)

The only thing Hillary possibly did 'wrong" was to envoke a percieved controversy on a slow news cycle day! Even so, she certainly got people debating.......something very needed.......so "Bravo Hillary!!!!"

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

In The News: Jan. 18


2002 Memo Doubted Uranium Sale Claim - 17 Jan 2006 at 11:00pm - Intelligence analysts found the sale of uranium from Niger to Iraq was "unlikely," according to a recently declassified memo.


Senate Democrat backs Alito for US Supreme Court - 18 Jan 2006 at 6:38am - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Ben Nelson of Nebraska, a moderate voice in the U.S. Congress, on Tuesday became the first Senate Democrat to announce his support for conservative Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito, who is expected to be confirmed later this month by the full Republican-led Senate.


Rights group says U.S. abuse deliberate - 18 Jan 2006 at 12:37pm - WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration has a deliberate strategy of abusing terror suspects during interrogations, Human Rights Watch said Wednesday in its annual report on the treatment of people in more than 70 countries.


Ex-CIA chief's book to explain "slam dunk" on Iraq - 18 Jan 2006 at 4:04pm - The News Corp.-owned company said it agreed to publish a Tenet memoir that is tentatively entitled, "At the Center of the Storm." The release was expected late this year or early in 2007. There was no immediate word on the value of the deal.


Ex-EPA chiefs blame Bush in global warming - 18 Jan 2006 at 5:48pm - WASHINGTON -- Six former heads of the Environmental Protection Agency - five Republicans and one Democrat - accused the Bush administration Wednesday of neglecting global warming and other environmental problems.


Tribal council rejects 'tainted' donation - 18 Jan 2006 at 5:28pm - WASHINGTON -- Sen. Conrad Burns is redirecting a $111,000 donation he had given to the Montana-Wyoming Tribal Leaders Council after members said the money was tainted because it originally came from lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his clients.


Bush meets victims of 'butcherer' Saddam - 18 Jan 2006 at 5:02pm - WASHINGTON -- Iraqis who said they were beaten, imprisoned and lost loved ones at the hands of Saddam Hussein's government shared their stories Wednesday with President Bush, who said the former Iraqi president "will get his due justice."

I wonder with whom Iraqis who were beaten, imprisoned and lost loved ones at the hands of the new George-Bush-installed government will share their stories.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

In The News: Jan. 17


Sen. Clinton slams GOP 'plantation' - 17 Jan 2006 at 7:28am - Sen. Hillary Clinton on Monday blasted the Bush administration as "one of the worst" in U.S. history and compared the Republican-controlled House of Representatives to a plantation where dissenting voices are squelched

Gonzales Rejects Gore's Criticism (AP) - 17 Jan 2006 at 7:52am - AP - Former Vice President Al Gore called Monday for an independent investigation of President Bush's domestic spying program, contending the president "repeatedly and insistently" broke the law by eavesdropping on Americans without court approval.


Spy agency's post-9/11 data sidetracked FBI: NY Times - 17 Jan 2006 at 8:52am - FBI officials complained repeatedly to the secretive spy agency, which was collecting much of the data by eavesdropping on the international phone and Internet communications of targeted Americans.


ACLU sues over NSA eavesdropping program - 17 Jan 2006 at 9:48am - The American Civil Liberties Union on Tuesday said it had filed suit against the National Security Agency, alleging that its warrantless wiretapping program is unconstitutional and that President Bush, in authorizing it, exceeded his constitutional authority.


Supreme Court upholds Oregon suicide law - 17 Jan 2006 at 10:23am - WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court, with Chief Justice John Roberts dissenting, upheld Oregon's one-of-a-kind physician-assisted suicide law Tuesday, rejecting a Bush administration attempt to punish doctors who help terminally ill patients die.


White House Accuses Gore of Hypocrisy - ABC News - 17 Jan 2006 at 10:37am - The White House accused former Vice President Al Gore of hypocrisy Tuesday for his assertion that President Bush broke the law by eavesdropping on Americans without court approval.


Belgium PM: U.S. relations need more work - 17 Jan 2006 at 12:18pm - WASHINGTON -- Belgium's prime minister told President Bush on Tuesday that while the United States has improved its relationship with Europe in the last year, "there is certainly a lot of work still to do."


California school scraps 'intelligent design' - 17 Jan 2006 at 12:44pm - A rural school district agreed to stop teaching a religion-based alternative to evolution as part of a court settlement filed Tuesday, a legal group said.

Monday, January 16, 2006

In The News: Jan. 16


Iran Bars CNN Over Translation of Remarks (AP) - 16 Jan 2006 at 12:42pm - AP - Iran said Monday it is barring CNN from working in Iran "until further notice" due to its mistranslation of comments made by the president in a recent news conference about the country's nuclear research.


U.S. chopper crashes; election officials toss some votes - 16 Jan 2006 at 10:45am - Iraq's electoral commission said Monday that 227 ballot boxes from the Dec. 15 parliamentary vote would be thrown out because ...


Two-Year-Old Is Called for Jury Duty - Associated Press - New Bedford, Mass. (AP) -- Kaylee Reynolds had a problem when she recently received a summons to serve on a jury. She wasn't old enough to read it. The 2-year-old has quite a few years to go before she reaches the minimum age of 18 to...

Gore Assails Domestic Wiretapping Program (AP) - 16 Jan 2006 at 2:18pm - AP - Former Vice President Al Gore asserted Monday that President Bush "repeatedly and persistently" broke the law by eavesdropping on Americans without a court warrant and called for a federal investigation of the practice.

Ohio churches face probe over politics - 16 Jan 2006 at 6:38 p.m. - COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A group of religious leaders have accused two evangelical churches of improperly promoting an Ohio candidate for governor and want the Internal Revenue Service to investigate.

CNN cannot seem to stop covering first lady Laura Bush's suggestion that Secretary of State Condi Rice would make a good (female) president. "President Mushroomcloud"? I don't think so.

A headline earlier today announced that President Bush marked Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with a gospel performance, which, if true, would undoubtedly be a welcome relief from his usual Iraq-is-going-spendidly cheerleading performance.

Fw: Bush Is A Genius

Bush Is A Genius

Most people just don't understand the brilliance of President
Bush's strategy. Bush stated we were attacked because our enemies hate
our liberties and freedom. Since 9/11, Bush has successfully promoted a
plan to diminish those liberties and freedoms, thus making us more
secure.

What radical Islamic freedom-hater would want to attack a country
that already supports torture and holding people for indefinite periods
of time without the right to counsel? Then, you add in the sneak and
peek provision of the Patriot Act, which allows the government to enter
your home while you're away-and don't forget the provision that forbids
you from questioning the government if you find out they are spying on
you. In fact, if you hire an attorney, the government requires you to
inform them of everything you told your attorney.

Even with this, Bush understood that some freedom-haters still
might want to attack the United States, so what he did next was
ingenious. He goes on television and scorns the press for revealing the
secret spy initiative (freedom of the press is just another one of
those silly liberties that will get us attacked) and then admits he
ordered unchecked wiretaps on Americans. Freedom-haters are all too
familiar with their dictatorial leaders being above the law. Now these
radical Islamic freedom-and liberty-haters will go and attack some
other naive country that still exalts liberty and freedom above
security.

In Bush We Trust

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
This editorial view was copied from the January 16, 2006 edition of The
Athens Banner-Herald and was attributed to Michael Williams of Danielsville.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

In The News - Jan. 15


U.S. Military Frees 500 Iraqi Prisoners - 15 Jan 2006 at 7:24pm -
The U.S. military on Sunday released some 500 prisoners cleared of ties to Iraq's insurgency, including a pair of journalists who had been held for months, U.S. military officials said. Majed Hameed, an Iraqi reporter for the Dubai-based Al-Arabiya...


Cronkite: Time for U.S. to Leave Iraq - 15 Jan 2006 at 6:48pm - Former CBS anchor Walter Cronkite, whose 1968 conclusion that the Vietnam War was unwinnable keenly influenced public opinion then, said Sunday he'd say the same thing today about Iraq. "It's my belief that we should get out now," Cronkite said in a...

Saturday, January 14, 2006

In The News - Jan. 14


Completed Qaeda Application Said to Be Filled Out by Padilla - 13 Jan 2006 at 11:00pm - Federal prosecutors released an application to join a training camp of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan that they say was filled out by Jose Padilla.

I hope in his application Padilla remembered to mention his membership in the Concerned Alumni Of the Latin Kings.


Web Site Attacks Critic of War - 14 Jan 2006 at 12:00am - Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.), the former Marine who is an outspoken critic of the war in Iraq, has become the latest Democrat to have his Vietnam War decorations questioned.



Official: Iraqi Election Results Delayed - 14 Jan 2006 at 7:25am - Iraq's electoral commission won't release final results from last month's election in coming days because the panel is waiting on international monitors to finish investigating fraud complaints, a senior Iraqi election official said Saturday.


Reports: Bin Laden's No. 2 not in targeted village - 14 Jan 2006 at 7:17am - Ayman al-Zawahiri -- Osama bin Laden's right-hand man in the al Qaeda terrorist network -- was the target of a CIA airstrike Friday in a remote Pakistani village and may have been among those killed, knowledgeable U.S. sources told CNN.

But the strike only killed eight men, five women and five children, so I guess it was worth it, even though it turns out they really didn't know Zawahri was there.


Pentagon Papers Ellsberg Urges Leaking - 14 Jan 2006 at 7:03am - Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers 35 years ago, said whistleblowers should reveal government secrets to save people's lives, even if it means going to jail. Meanwhile, the judge in the famed case has died.


Saddam Trial Judge Not Stepping Down - 14 Jan 2006 at 6:30am - (AP) The chief judge overseeing the Saddam Hussein trial has no plans to step down, and media reports suggesting that he will are "baseless," another judge on the Saddam tribunal said Saturday.


Chief judge in Hussein trial resigns - 14 Jan 2006 at 11:52am - The chief judge in Saddam Hussein's trial has submitted his resignation, a court official said Saturday, but it wasn't immediately clear if the decision had been accepted.

Baseless.


Classmate says he knew gun was fake - CNN - 14 Jan 2006 at 4:00pm - LONGWOOD, Florida (CNN) -- A classmate of Christopher David Penley, the pellet gun-wielding eighth-grader shot Friday morning by a SWAT team officer, said he thought he was going to die until he realized Penley's pistol was fake.


AP: Boy shot by police at school dies - 14 Jan 2006 at 4:29pm - A teenager who was shot by police while brandishing a pellet gun in his middle school has died of his injuries, The Associated Press reports. Fifteen-year-old Christopher Penley, of Winter Springs, Florida, reportedly pulled the pellet gun in a classroom Friday. He was shot by a SWAT team member when he raised the gun, authorities said.


Attorney: Police were told boy's gun wasn't real - 14 Jan 2006 at 8:44pm - Police were told that a teenager had a pellet gun, not a real gun, before an officer shot Christopher Penley on Friday at a Florida middle school, the Penleys' attorney said Saturday. The eighth-grader is clinically brain dead and being kept on life support to harvest his organs, attorney Mark Nation said.

Friday, January 13, 2006

In The News - Jan. 13


Deficit Will Climb in 2006, White House Says - 12 Jan 2006 at 11:00pm - The White House acknowledged that the budget deficit would climb back above $400 billion this year, erasing the brief improvement last year.


U.S. Seeks to Avoid Detainee Ruling - 13 Jan 2006 at 12:00am - The Bush administration took the unusual step yesterday of asking the Supreme Court to call off a landmark confrontation over the legality of military trials for terrorism suspects, arguing that a law enacted last month eliminates the court's ability to consider the issue.


No Explosives In Starbucks 'Bomb' - 13 Jan 2006 - (CBS/AP) What authorities thought was a bomb in a Starbucks coffee shop turned out to be a flashlight casing, police said Thursday.


Info on war critics database sought - 13 Jan 2006 at 7:55am - Following NBC's disclosure, Sen. Dianne Feinstein has asked for answers to an obscure Pentagon agency whose anti-terrorist database includes reports on student anti-war protests and other peaceful  demonstrations.


Army dropped abuse probe, records show - 13 Jan 2006 at 8:39am - WASHINGTON -- The Army closed a criminal investigation of abuse allegations by an Iraqi detainee last year, finding no reason to believe his claims, even though no Americans involved in the case were questioned, according to Pentagon records made public Thursday.


U.S. general details Iraq violence - 13 Jan 2006 at 12:30pm - WASHINGTON -- The recent spikes in violence in Iraq are coming more from religious extremists, mercenaries and groups who oppose democracy rather than al-Qaida, the number two U.S. commander in Iraq said Friday.


Bush Says Gitmo Is 'Necessary' - 13 Jan 2006 at 5:53pm - President Bush rejected a plea by German Chancellor Angela Merkel that the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, be shut down. He called the four-year-old camp "a necessary part of protecting the American people."

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

"Bush Launches Idle Threats to Democrats: Don't Slam Iraq Policy"

Bush warned the Democratic critics of his Iraq policy Tuesday, to watch what they say or risk giving "comfort to our adversaries", and suffering at the ballot box in November.

Democrats said, "Bush should take his own advice."

Bush's shrill tongue represented an attempt by the Administration to neutralize Democrats' ability to use Iraq as an election-year issue against Republicans.

Bush used the word "irresponsible" once again to parse words at the "partisan critics who claim that we acted in Iraq because of oil, or because of Israel, or because we misled the American people," as well as "defeatists who refuse to see that anything is right."

Bush said, "In a free society, there's only one check on plitical speech and that is the judgement of the American people." Bush said in conclusion of his Tuesday speech at the Veterans of Foreign Wars, "So I ask all Americans to hold their elected leaders to account and demand a debate that brings credit to our democracy, not comfort to out adversaries."

Bush says he doesn't read newspapers, doesn't watch television, and doesn't pay attention to the polls. Well his remarks on Tuesday speak volumes otherwise. He is trying to take the advice of his supporters and advisers to keep the focus on Iraq by redirecting the debate on Iraq from his detractors discussion to his Administration's vision for Iraq. It appears this tactic is falling on "deaf ears", so now Bush is trying a new tactic-- a town hall like setting in Kentucky amongst "like-thinkers" who most likely had to purchase tickets-----no surprise there, it's more like "grasping at straws" in desperation, while the Democrats respond:

Sen.Harry Reid, (D), NV, said, "Patriotic Americans continue to ask the tough questions because our brave men and women in Iraq, their families and the American people deserve to know that their leaders are being held accountable."

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D), CA, said, "Loyalty demands that Democrats differ with Bush on the lack of sufficient body armour for our troops and other issues," Pelosi also said," From its inception and continuing from this moment, the absence of open and honest debate has been one of the hallmarks of this war."

Rep. Adam Schiff, (D), CA, said, "Some of the worst culprits in worsening the dialogue on Iraq, have come from the White House."

So , yes Mr. Bush you should follow your own advice, and be able to accept the criticism he is getting on his Iraq policy, and hold people to account, not reward them with cronyism, and respect the military as a Commamder-in-Chief should, not use them as backdrops when speechifying. Listen to the military leaders like Gen. Zinni and Gen. Shinseki when they give advice, not misguided pipedreams from those who only think they know, like V.P. Cheney and Defense Sec. Rumsfeld. So yes Mr. Bush, the ballot box will tell come November, not just on Iraq alone, and the judgement of the American people on your "political speech" is to change the channel.

Bushaganda, Jan-11 Edition

George Bush, taking part in a "discussion on the global war on terror" today in Louisville, Kentucky:
"I have the right as the Commander-in-Chief in a time of war to take action necessary to protect the American people. And secondly, the Congress, in the authorization, basically said the President ought to -- in authorization of the use of troops -- ought to protect us. Well, one way to protect us is to understand the nature of the enemy. Part of being able to deal with this kind of enemy in a different kind of war is to understand why they're making decisions they're making inside our country."

Bush considers the United States engaged in a never-ending "war on terror", which is fine - he's entitled to his fantasies; but read, if you will, from the war-powers resolution he is presumably citing as justification of his decision to disregard applicable law for purposes of wiretapping U.S. citizens:

SEC. 2. AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES.
(a) IN GENERAL- That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

Even if the wiretapping program were as limited in scope as Bush has claimed (according to New York Times, ABC, and Washington Post reporting, it more closesly resembles John Poindexter's "Total Information Awareness" data-mining operation than what Bush has acknowledged publicly), the 2001 war-powers resolution does not apply to efforts to thwart all terrorism, anywhere, forever, no matter how well-intentioned; it is limited quite specifically to those enemies of the United States who were involved in the 2001-Sep-11 attacks in the U.S.

Which is not to say that efforts should not be made to prevent terrorism; but those efforts must be made within the bounds of existing law. Commander-in-chief status cannot be allowed to be used as a free pass to authorize any sort of non-war-related espionage.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Bushaganda

George Bush, today, speaking to Veterans of Foreign Wars:
"The American people know the difference between responsible and irresponsible debate when they see it. They know the difference between honest critics who question the way the war is being prosecuted and partisan critics who claim that we acted in Iraq because of oil, or because of Israel, or because we misled the American people."

If the President hopes not to be criticized for misleading the American people, perhaps his advisors should encourage him to consider avoiding misleading the American people.

"So I ask all Americans to hold their elected leaders to account, and demand a debate that brings credit to our democracy -- not comfort to our adversaries."

Again, if the fact that Bush has misled the American people gives comfort to our adversaries, I fail to see in what way that becomes the responsibility of Bush's critics.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

"Abramoff Does Capone One Better"

Watching Jack Abramoff walk from the court house to his waiting limo, dressed in his derby hat and dark double-breasted topcoat reminded me of looking at a perp walk of some mobster right out of 'The Godfather"...but alas....it was just the one time super lobbyist/minor film producer Jack Abramoff heading on a downward spiral. It certainly was interesting to watch, wondering what kind of message was he sending? If the following list of "politicos" that went scambling Friday to either return or give to charity monies recieved by Abramoff and/or his clients is any indication....many got the message......."I am a rat, and I will rat you out.........."

The List:

Rep. Bob Ney (R) OH $98,000 Sen. Dick Durbin (D) IL $2,000
Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R) IL Sen. Tim Johnson (D) SD $2,000
amount undisclosed Sen. Mikulski (D) MD amount unknown
Rep. Roy Blunt (R) WI $10,000 Rep. Engel (D) NY amount unknown
Rep. Tom DeLay (R) TX $15,000 Rep. Lane Davis (D) $3,000
Sen. Majority Leader Bill Frist (R) TN $4,000 Rep. Nita Lowey (D) NY amount unknown
Gov. Bob Erhlich (R) MD $32,000 Rep. Charles Rangel (D) NY $3,000
Sen. Kit Bond (R) MO amount unknown Sen. Max Baucus (D) MT $18,982
Sen. Jim Bunning (R) TN $10,000 Sen. Byron Dorgan (D) ND $67,000 refunded
Sen Cochran (R) ND amount unknown Rep. Frank Lobiendo (D) $2,000
Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R) NC $15,000 Sen. Hillary Clinton (D) NY $2,000
Sen. Judd Gregg (R) NH $12,000
Sen. Kyl (R) AR $15,000
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) KY $18,500
Sen. Rick Santorum (R) PA $25,000
Sen. Gordon Smith (R) OR $13,500
Sen. John Sununnu (R) NH amount unknown
Rep, Thomas (R) $2,000
Sen John Thune (R) SD $15,000
Sen John Warner (R) VA $2,000
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R) TX $18,000
Rep, Chris Cannon (R) $10,000
Rep. Barbara Cubin (R) WY $10,000
Rep. Tom Davis (R) WI amount unknown
Rep, Kay Granger (R) TX $10,000
Rep. Mark Foley (R) FL $2,000
Rep. Randy Forbes (R) $3,000
Rep. Melissa Hart (R) $3,000
Rep. J.D. Hayward (R) AR amount undisclosed
Rep.Walter Jones (R) NC $3,000
Rep. Musgrave(R) CO $15,000
Rep. Pickering (R) MS amount undisclosed
Rep. Deborah Pryce (R) OH $3,000
Rep. Hal Roger (R) KY $6,000
Rep. Paul Ryan (R) WI $2,000
Rep. Bill Shuster (R) PA amount unknown
Rep. John Sweeney (R) NY $2,000
Rep. Curt Weldon (R) PA amount unknown
Rep. Jerry Weller (R) $2,000
Rep.Wicker (R) MS amount unknown
Rep. Heather Wilson (R) $2,000
Sen. Brownback (R) KS $12,000
Sen. Burns (R) $15,000
Rep. Ernest Istook (R) MT $19,900
Rep. Mike Ferguson (R) NJ $10,000
Rep. Regula (R) OH $2,000
Rep. Simmons (R) CT $3,000
Sen. Jim Talent (R) MO amount unknown
Sen David Vitter (R) LA amount undisclosed
Rep. Mary Bono (R) CA $21,500

*this is only a partial listing-------
It appears that Jack Abrahoff is an Equal Opportunity Destroyer
But what really is disturbing is just knowing and realizing yours and mine--our elected officials are so easily dooped and persuaded by this person and others possibly of his ilk