January 27, 2005
Cantwell to Oppose U.S. Attorney General Nominee Alberto Gonzales
Questions torture memo role and Enron connections
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) today announced that she will vote against the nomination of Judge Alberto Gonzales to be the next U.S. Attorney General when it comes to the Senate floor next week.
“The Attorney General of the United States , as the chief law enforcement officer in the land, holds a special independent place in the government. While the President selects the nominee, the Constitution requires the Senate to provide ‘advice and consent.' After carefully listening to Judge Gonzales during his Senate hearings and reading his responses to questions, I have decided to oppose his confirmation. . . .
[ full statement ]
Saturday, January 29, 2005
Monday, January 17, 2005
Ritter Right About Iraq
by Randy Scholfield
...........I'd like to nominate someone who really deserves the Presidential Medal of Freedom: Scott Ritter.
Remember Ritter? In a column in 2002, I wrote about the square-jawed former U.S. Marine and United Nations weapons inspector, who was in Wichita several months before the invasion of Iraq, giving a talk -- no, a plea -- about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
He was adamant: Saddam Hussein had no WMDs -- at least none of any consequence or that posed an imminent danger to the United States. Certainly nothing that would warrant a rushed invasion. "We can't go to war based on rhetoric and speculation," he told the crowd. "We'd better make sure there is a threat out there worth fighting."
He argued that 90 percent to 95 percent of Saddam's WMDs had been dismantled by the U.N. inspection team in which he served from 1991 to 1998. And that Saddam was otherwise well-contained by U.S. forces.
Now we know: He was right.
Sunday, January 16, 2005
.........Where are the true democrats among the Democrats? (Or, for that matter, the true republicans among the Republicans?) Have they all lost their voices?
First Bush and Gonzales came for the terrorists, but I was not a terrorist, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the enemy combatants, but I was not a combatant, so I did not object. Then they came for the protestors resisting "free speech zones" near Bush campaign rallies, but I was not a protestor and so I only voiced my unease.
If we - and our elected representatives - do not speak out now, loudly and forcefully, it may not be long before they come for the rest of us.
..........Despite demands by human rights groups in the US that the two companies be barred from further contracts in Iraq - where CACI alone employed almost half of all interrogators and analysts at Abu Ghraib - CACI International has been awarded a $16 million renewal of its contract. Titan, meanwhile, has been awarded a new contract worth $164m.
Despite the allegations in the internal US army report, the two companies have described the claims against them 'baseless' and as 'a malicious recitation of false statements and intentional distortions'.
Saturday, January 15, 2005
Bush doesn't let truth get in way of agenda
I find it hard to understand why Republican deficit spending is "good" policy while Democratic deficit spending was the root evil of the free world. Social Security is not broken. When President Bush and his mouthpieces tell us that, we have to remember weapons of mass destruction and the mess in Iraq that he has got us into.
This is not an administration that lets truth get in the way of its ideological agenda.
Taking on trillions of dollars of debt to "help" future generations be dependent on Wall Street and big finance for retirement seems cruel. I think it would be a better approach to make the smaller systemic adjustments now to Social Security and then roll back the big tax cuts to the rich and spread them around to the rest of us so we could use that money now to do what we wish to prepare for our retirement.
..........With resistance hardening among congressional Republicans, the White House is escalating efforts to restructure Social Security this year. There will be campaign-style events to win support, precision targeting of vulnerable lawmakers and, as Republicans indicated earlier, television ads to discredit opponents and prop up the Bush plan.
The same architects of Bush's political victories will mastermind the campaign, led by political strategists Karl Rove at the White House and Ken Mehlman at the Republican National Committee.
Bush set the tone for this campaign-style lobbying this week with a speech promoting his plan. During an appearance at Catholic University in Washington yesterday, Vice President Dick Cheney sought to counter criticism of the plan's risks, saying that limiting investment options should keep the accounts safe and that harnessing the power of the stock market should provide a far higher rate of return than Social Security reserves now enjoy.
Friday, January 14, 2005
Thursday, January 13, 2005
Nomination May Revisit Case of Citizen Seized in Afghanistan
........At his confirmation hearing for the appellate judgeship, Mr. Chertoff said he was not aware of the dissent among department lawyers on the case, including an opinion from an ethics lawyer, Jesselyn Radack, saying an F.B.I. interview of Mr. Lindh would not be authorized under the law.
Mr. Chertoff said, "I was not consulted with respect to this matter," and he said he was unaware that the office that handled ethics issues had given an official opinion on interviewing Mr. Lindh without his lawyer.
and you won't believe what happens to you when you do your job and tell the truth.........you can hear the interview with Jesselyn 1/13/05 on unfiltered.
and then there's the Feeney Amendment, patriot act participation and Bob “The Torch” Torricelli
Wednesday, January 12, 2005
Despite false claim, his star rises
Former Bush aide eyed for State job
By Bryan Bender, Globe Staff January 11, 2005
........WASHINGTON -- The man who insisted that President Bush make the claim that Saddam Hussein was seeking uranium for nuclear weapons in Africa is poised to assume a top State Department job that would make him the lead US arms negotiator with Iran and North Korea, according to administration officials..............After years of relative obscurity, Joseph saw his profile rise in 2003 when it was learned that he had overridden concerns expressed by the CIA and other intelligence agencies by insisting that the Jan. 28, 2003, State of the Union address -- widely seen as an effort to build public support for the invasion of Iraq two months later -- include the claim that Iraq sought to purchase uranium oxide in Niger to make nuclear weapons.
The assertion had been taken out of an Oct. 7, 2002, speech by Bush at the insistence of then-CIA Director George Tenet. But after contentious discussions between Joseph and senior CIA officials it was included in the January 2003 speech to Congress with the caveat that the information came from Britain, according to the Senate Intelligence Committee's inquiry into prewar intelligence.
The president stated, "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."
Tuesday, January 11, 2005
White House: Williams Case Was Isolated
..........WASHINGTON - The White House said Monday that the case of the Education Department paying a conservative commentator to plug its policies was an isolated incident, not a practice widely used by the Bush administration.
With the Education Department still defending its $240,000 contract with syndicated columnist and TV personality Armstrong Williams, White House spokesman Scott McClellan was cautious in choosing his comments.
"Questions have been raised about that arrangement, it ought to be looked into, and there are ways to look into matters of that nature," McClellan said. The spokesman did not say precisely who should look into it, and stopped short of backing an inquiry by the department's inspector-general, as some lawmakers have sought. He noted that department lawyers have taken up the matter.
or.......Armstrong Williams: I Am Not Alone
And then Williams violated a PR rule: he got off-point. "This happens all the time," he told me. "There are others." Really? I said. Other conservative commentators accept money from the Bush administration? I asked Williams for names. "I'm not going to defend myself that way," he said. The issue right now, he explained, was his own mistake. Well, I said, what if I call you up in a few weeks, after this blows over, and then ask you? No, he said.
Does Williams really know something about other rightwing pundits? Or was he only trying to minimize his own screw-up with a momentary embrace of a trumped-up everybody-does-it defense? I could not tell. But if the IG at the Department of Education (news - web sites) or any other official questions Williams, I suggest he or she ask what Williams meant by this comment. And if Williams is really sorry for this act of "bad judgment" and for besmirching the profession of rightwing punditry, shouldn't he do what he can to guarantee that those who watch pundits on the cable news networks and read political columnists receive conservative views that are independent and untainted by payoffs from the Bush administration or other political outfits?
Armstrong, please, help us all protect the independence of the conservative commentariat. If you are not alone, tell us who else has yielded to bad judgment.
and the democrats weigh in...
Lawmakers Call on President to Stop Covert Propaganda
WASHINGTON -- January 7 -- Democratic leaders in Congress today called on President Bush to stop the alarming use of illegal covert propaganda to promote government policy after two new accounts of such activity surfaced today. In a letter to the President, they pointed out that the use of covert propaganda has been revealed through independent investigations by at least three separate federal agencies.
"We are concerned that these three incidents, while serious and disturbing on their own, may not be isolated incidents," the lawmakers wrote to the President. "It would be abhorrent to our system of government if these incidents were part of a deliberate pattern of behavior by your Administration to deceive the public and the media in an effort to further your policy objectives."
Monday, January 10, 2005
Smith to be out as Veterans Affairs head
.......WASHINGTON -- House Republican leaders decided to yank Rep. Christopher Smith of New Jersey from his post as head of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee, where he has riled his party and the Bush administration by loudly pushing for more federal aid for veterans.
The official removal -- rare for a sitting chairman -- could take place as early as Thursday when the entire GOP caucus votes to accept the leadership's recommendation to promote Rep. Steve Buyer of Indiana as the new chairman.
...... Smith is expected to lose his committee seat, which he has held for 24 years.
The decision is expected to be ratified when all House Republicans meet on Thursday.
and this is the treatment the veterans are getting.....appalling!!!
Homeless Iraq vets showing up at shelters
....."It was more of a rush. They put us in a warehouse for a while. They treated us like cattle," Arellano said about how the military treated him on his return to the United States.
"It is all about numbers. Instead of getting quality care, they were trying to get everybody demobilized during a certain time frame. If you had a problem, they said, 'Let the (Department of Veterans Affairs) take care of it.'"
U.S. Rep. Howard Coble, dean of the state's congressional delegation and an avowedly strong supporter of President Bush, says it's time for the United States to consider withdrawing from war-ravaged Iraq.
Coble, a Republican from Greensboro, is one of the first members of Congress -- Republican or Democrat -- to say publicly that the United States should consider a pullout.
The 10-term congressman, head of the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security, said he is "fed up with picking up the newspaper and reading that we've lost another five or 10 of our young men and women in Iraq."
Wednesday, January 05, 2005
Tuesday, January 04, 2005
this is who we are and we do big business with(genocide-R-us)
......For the war effort in Iraq, the Bush administration has hired at least one company tied to the network of Victor Bout, one of the world's most notorious arms traffickers.
see previous post:
and then there is more......this is an unbroken circle......from vic to charles to pat to dick
Monday, January 03, 2005
Obviously, honesty and integrity are not part of Republican moral values.
.......Administration officials are preparing long-range plans for indefinitely imprisoning suspected terrorists whom they do not want to set free or turn over to courts in the United States or other countries, according to intelligence, defense and diplomatic officials.
.....including for hundreds of people now in military and CIA custody whom the government does not have enough evidence to charge in courts.
.....As part of a solution, the Defense Department, which holds 500 prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, plans to ask Congress for $25 million to build a 200-bed prison to hold detainees who are unlikely to ever go through a military tribunal for lack of evidence, according to defense officials.
......The new prison, dubbed Camp 6, would allow inmates more comfort and freedom than they have now, and would be designed for prisoners the government believes have no more intelligence to share, the officials said. It would be modeled on a U.S. prison and would allow socializing among inmates.
........The CIA has been scurrying since Sept. 11, 2001, to find secure locations abroad where it could detain and interrogate captives without risk of discovery, and without having to give them access to legal proceedings.