Thursday, February 02, 2006

In The News - Feb. 02

Senate Panel Rebuffed on Documents on U.S. Spying - 1 Feb 2006 at 11:00pm - The Justice Department's stance could provoke another clash between Congress and the executive branch.

U.S. Copter Fires Rockets Into Sadr City - 2 Feb 2006 at 8:16am - A U.S. helicopter fired rockets into a crowded Shiite neighborhood of eastern Baghdad on Thursday, killing a young woman, after the aircraft was fired on, the U.S. command said. The military also said four U.S. soldiers died in separate attacks. Three...

US must stop gas guzzling to beat Gulf oil addiction - Reuters - 2 Feb 2006 at 7:44am - LONDON (Reuters) - The United States must put more energy efficient cars on the highway and raise taxes on gasoline if it wants to kick its addiction to oil from the volatile Middle East, analysts said on Thursday.

Shell profits gush to record $22.9 billion in 2005 - 2 Feb 2006 at 7:40am - LONDON (AFP) - Royal Dutch Shell has posted net profit of 22.94 billion dollars (19.03 billion euros) for 2005, the highest full-year profit figure in British corporate history, as the Anglo-Dutch energy group benefited from record oil prices.

Women sue Wal-Mart over morning-after pill - 2 Feb 2006 at 7:15am - BOSTON -- Backed by abortion rights groups, three Massachusetts women sued Wal-Mart on Wednesday, accusing the retail giant of violating a state regulation by failing to stock emergency contraception pills in its pharmacies.

Bush to request $70B more for war funding - 2 Feb 2006 at 12:34pm - WASHINGTON -- The White House has told Congress to expect requests for about $70 billion in additional funding for the ongoing budget year for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and $18 billion more for hurricane relief, a Senate GOP aide says.

Bono Pushes U.S. to Increase Aid to Poor - 2 Feb 2006 at 12:31pm - Quoting from Islamic, Jewish and Christian texts, rock star Bono called Thursday for the U.S. government to give an additional 1 percent of the federal budget to the world's poor. Speaking to President Bush and members of Congress at the National...

Intel chief defends surveillance program - 2 Feb 2006 at 12:57pm - WASHINGTON -- National Intelligence Director John Negroponte strongly defended President Bush's eavesdropping without warrants Thursday, calling it a crucial program for protecting the nation against its most menacing threat.
I wish someone would ask Negroponte and the rest of the Bush administration spinmeisters whether the program would be any less crucial were it carried out in accordance with applicable laws.

CIA Head Bashes Wiretapping Disclosure - 2 Feb 2006 at 2:51pm - CIA Director Porter Goss said Thursday that the disclosure of President Bush's eavesdropping-without-warrants program and other once-secret projects had undermined U.S. intelligence-gathering abilities.
I hope someone reminded Porter Goss that had the eavesdropping been undertaken in a legal manner, there wouldn't have been anything for disclosing whistleblowers to blow the whistle on.

Audit finds accounting flaws at VA - 2 Feb 2006 at 2:18pm - WASHINGTON -- Eager to reduce spending, the Bush administration falsely claimed savings of more than $1.3 billion in the Department of Veterans Affairs to justify cuts to health care services, congressional investigators say.

Sources: Bush seeks $120 billion for wars - 2 Feb 2006 at 3:26pm - President Bush will ask Congress for another $120 billion for the wars in Iraq  and Afghanistan,  congressional sources said Thursday.
Oops. A few minutes ago, it was only US$70 billion. Greenspan is only gone for a day and already inflation is spiraling outta control. Seriously, haven't we already allocated enough money (to say nothing of lives) to the task of taking WMDs (that it turns out we had a pretty good idea didn't exist in the first place)out of Saddam's hands?

E-mail related to CIA leak may be missing - 2 Feb 2006 at 12:08pm - Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald is raising the possibility that records sought in the CIA leak investigation could be missing because of an e-mail archiving problem at the White House.

Intelligence leaders seeking leak probes - 2 Feb 2006 at 8:00pm - WASHINGTON -- The leaders of the government's intelligence agencies said Thursday they will push for investigations into leaks of classified information and seek to subpoena journalists if necessary to protect national security.
I hope the leaders of the government's intelligence agencies will be as zealous in their pursuit of accountability for breaking the law in the process of intelligence-gathering as they are in their pursuit of identifying those who blew the whistle on the law-breakers.

Bush to request $439.3B defense budget - 2 Feb 2006 at 7:56pm - WASHINGTON -- President Bush next week will request a $439.3 billion Defense Department budget for 2007, a nearly 5 percent increase over this year, according to senior Pentagon officials and documents obtained Thursday by The Associated Press.

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Don Rumsfeld, speaking before the National Press Club, on Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who expelled a U.S. Embassy military attaché on Thursday after authorities accused him of espionage for trying to persuade Venezuelan officers to hand over state secrets: "He's a person who was elected legally, just as Adolf Hitler was elected legally and then consolidated power, and now is of course working closely with Fidel Castro and Mr. Morales and others. It concerns me."

But presumably attempts by GWB (who was also elected, at least semi-legally) to consolidate power don't concern him.
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National Intelligence Director John Negroponte, testifying today before the Senate Intelligence Committee: "We have eliminated much of the leadership that presided over al-Qaida in 2001", but "core elements still plot and make preparations for terrorist strikes against the (U.S.) homeland and other targets from bases in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border area."

So, HOOAH, much of the "leadership" has been eliminated; yet "core elements" remain active, so, be on the lookout for DANGER, WILL ROBINSON. I guess you can have your cake and eat it, too, after all.


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