Saturday, September 30, 2006

DNC: Why did GOP House leader cover up sex crimes?

A press release issued on Saturday by the Democratic National Committee asks why a Republican House leader covered up sex crimes.

"Why Did Tom Reynolds Cover Up Congressman’s Sex Crimes?" asks the DNC press release sent to RAW STORY.

"According to the Associated Press, Congressman Reynolds’ spokesman confirmed that Reynolds had been informed by another Congressman that the boy had complained about Foley’s inappropriate communications 'months ago,'" the press release continues. "It appears that Reynolds did not tell authorities about the emails or take any step to discipline Foley, apparently choosing instead to sweep the matter under the rug to protect the Republican party’s dwindling chances of retaining control of the House of Representatives this November."

In the press release, DNC Communications Director Karen Finney calls Reynolds' inaction "very troubling" and demands "real answers" from GOP House leaders.

"We need real answers to important questions about precisely who knew about these activities and when they knew it, whether other current or former pages were victimized by Congressman Foley, why the Republican House leadership was prepared to adjourn without at the very least referring this matter to the ethics committee, and what corrective action if any Congressman Reynolds and the rest of the Republican House leadership took," says Finney.

"Failing to answer to these questions would send a terrible message to the parents who entrust their children to the care of the Page School and send them to Washington to serve Congress," Finney adds.

Click more...

Friday, September 29, 2006

The Sexually Explicit Internet Messages That Led to Fla. Rep. Foley's Resignation

Florida Rep. Mark Foley's resignation came just hours after ABC News questioned the congressman about a series of sexually explicit instant messages involving congressional pages, high school students who are under 18 years of age.

In Congress, Rep. Foley (R-FL) was part of the Republican leadership and the chairman of the House caucus on missing and exploited children.
He crusaded for tough laws against those who used the Internet for sexual exploitation of children.

"They're sick people; they need mental health counseling," Foley said.
But, according to several former congressional pages, the congressman used the Internet to engage in sexually explicit exchanges.

They say he used the screen name Maf54 on these messages provided to ABC News.

Maf54: You in your boxers, too?

Teen: Nope, just got home. I had a college interview that went late.

Maf54: Well, strip down and get relaxed.

Another message:

Maf54: What ya wearing?

Teen: tshirt and shorts

Maf54: Love to slip them off of you.

And this one:

Maf54: Do I make you a little horny?

Teen: A little.

Maf54: Cool.

The language gets much more graphic, too graphic to be broadcast, and at one point the congressman appears to be describing Internet sex.

Click here...

Henry Kissinger Advises Bush To Stay The Course

(CBS) Veteran Washington reporter Bob Woodward tells Mike Wallace that the Bush administration has not told the truth regarding the level of violence, especially against U.S. troops, in Iraq. He also reveals key intelligence that predicts the insurgency will grow worse next year.

In Wallace’s interview with Woodward, to be broadcast on 60 Minutes this Sunday, Oct. 1, at 7 p.m. ET/PT, the reporter also claims that Henry Kissinger is among those advising Mr. Bush.

According to Woodward, insurgent attacks against coalition troops occur, on average, every 15 minutes, a shocking fact the administration has kept secret. "It’s getting to the point now where there are eight-, nine-hundred attacks a week. That's more than 100 a day. That is four an hour attacking our forces," says Woodward.

The situation is getting much worse, says Woodward, despite what the White House and the Pentagon are saying in public. "The truth is that the assessment by intelligence experts is that next year, 2007, is going to get worse and, in public, you have the president and you have the Pentagon [saying], 'Oh, no, things are going to get better,'" he tells Wallace. "Now there’s public, and then there’s private. But what did they do with the private? They stamp it secret. No one is supposed to know," says Woodward.

"The insurgents know what they are doing. They know the level of violence and how effective they are. Who doesn't know? The American public," Woodward tells Wallace.

Woodward also reports that the president and vice president often meet with Henry Kissinger, who was President Richard Nixon’s secretary of state, as an adviser. Says Woodward, "Now what’s Kissinger’s advice? In Iraq, he declared very simply, ‘Victory is the only meaningful exit strategy.'" Woodward adds. "This is so fascinating. Kissinger’s fighting the Vietnam War again because, in his view, the problem in Vietnam was we lost our will."

President Bush is absolutely certain that he has the U.S. and Iraq on the right course, says Woodward. So certain is the president on this matter, Woodward says, that when Mr. Bush had key Republicans to the White House to discuss Iraq, he told them, "I will not withdraw, even if Laura and Barney are the only ones supporting me."

Woodward reported for two years and interviewed more than 200 people, including top officials in the Bush administration, to learn these and other revelations that he makes in his latest book, State of Denial, published by Simon & Schuster, part of the CBS Corp.

Click here...

Book Says Bush Ignored Urgent Warning on Iraq

WASHINGTON, Sept. 28 — The White House ignored an urgent warning in September 2003 from a top Iraq adviser who said that thousands of additional American troops were desperately needed to quell the insurgency there, according to a new book by Bob Woodward, the Washington Post reporter and author. The book describes a White House riven by dysfunction and division over the war.

The warning is described in “State of Denial,” scheduled for publication on Monday by Simon & Schuster. The book says President Bush’s top advisers were often at odds among themselves, and sometimes were barely on speaking terms, but shared a tendency to dismiss as too pessimistic assessments from American commanders and others about the situation in Iraq.

As late as November 2003, Mr. Bush is quoted as saying of the situation in Iraq: “I don’t want anyone in the cabinet to say it is an insurgency. I don’t think we are there yet.”

Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld is described as disengaged from the nuts-and-bolts of occupying and reconstructing Iraq — a task that was initially supposed to be under the direction of the Pentagon — and so hostile toward Condoleezza Rice, then the national security adviser, that President Bush had to tell him to return her phone calls. The American commander for the Middle East, Gen. John P. Abizaid, is reported to have told visitors to his headquarters in Qatar in the fall of 2005 that “Rumsfeld doesn’t have any credibility anymore” to make a public case for the American strategy for victory in Iraq.


Four men and a golf photo

Four years later, why aren't these men smiling anymore?

WASHINGTON - In the four years since the above photo was taken, in August of 2002, on a golf junket at the famed St. Andrews links in Scotland, fate and government investigations have taken the smiles off the faces of these four duffers and many others associated with Jack Abramoff.

Jack Abramoff: Former powerhouse Washington lobbyist, director of the National Center for Public Policy Research conservative think tank and Toward Tradition religious right organization.

Since 2002: The disgraced mega-lobbyist pleaded guilty in January to fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy to bribe public officials in a deal that requires him to provide evidence about members of Congress. He was sentenced to five years and 10 months in prison in March in Florida for his role in the SUNCRUZ casino cruise line case along with his partner Adam Kidan.


Former President Carter says U.S. in more danger of terrorism because of Iraq war

FALLON, Nevada-
Former President Jimmy Carter said major policy changes are needed because the Iraq war has divided the nation "almost as much as Vietnam."

"So there's no doubt that our country is in much more danger now from terrorism than it would have been if we would have done what we should have done and stayed in Afghanistan," he said Wednesday on the campaign trail with his son, Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Jack Carter.

The former president said the Bush administration made a "terrible mistake" by invading Iraq and diverting troops from Afghanistan.

Jack Carter criticized his opponent, Republican Senator John Ensign, for supporting the Iraq war. Both Carters also said Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld should go.

"I think he's one of the worst secretaries of defense we've ever had," the former president said of Rumsfeld. "Almost every decision he has made has aggravated his military subordinates and has also proved to be a mistake."

Click here...

Congress restricts Bush on Iraq spending

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Congress on Friday moved to block the Bush administration from building permanent U.S. military bases in
Iraq or controlling the country's oil sector, as it approved $70 billion for funding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The restrictions included in a record $447 billion military funding bill were a slap at the administration, and Republicans have stripped them out of legislation in the past.

Democrats and many Republicans say the Iraqi insurgency has been fueled by perceptions that the United States has ambitions for a permanent presence in the country. They have called on Bush to make a policy statement that the United States has no such plans.

More here...

White House Lashes Out

Sept. 29, 2006 — The White House is lashing out at a new report which says convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his associates had far more extensive contacts with the White House than President Bush's staff ever acknowledged.
Outside his home in Washington, D.C., Karl Rove commented exclusively to ABCNews on his dealings with Jack Abramoff.

In answer to an inquiry on whether he had accepted gifts from Abramoff, Rove simply replied, "afraid not."

The report from the Republican-led House Government Affairs Committee stated that Abramoff had as many as 485 contacts with the White House, and prime among his lobbying targets was former White House political director Ken Mehlman, and Bush's adviser Karl Rove.

Of those 485 contacts, 345 were described as meetings or other in-person contacts; 71 were described as phone conversations and 69 were e-mail exchanges.

The records detailed in the recent report span from Jan. 2001 to Mar. 2004. In Jan. of 2006, Abramoff pleaded guilty to four counts of conspiracy, one count of mail fraud and one count of tax evasion.

Former White House political director Ken Mehlman is now the Chairman of the Republican National Committee, which issued this statement in response to the report: "In his capacity as Political Director of the White House, it is not unusual that Mr. Mehlman would be in contact with supporters who had interest in administration policy."

The investigation is based on a detailed examination of the billing records and the e-mails the committee received from Abramoff and his associates, which indicated far more extensive contacts than investigators were led to believe in the past between the lobbyist and both the White House and the Republican National Committee.


Wiretap bill sets up election-year issue

WASHINGTON - The House approved a bill Thursday that would grant legal status to President Bush's warrantless wiretapping program with new restrictions. Republicans called it a test before the election of whether Democrats want to fight or coddle terrorists.

"The Democrats' irrational opposition to strong national security policies that help keep our nation secure should be of great concern to the American people," Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said in a statement after the bill passed 232-191.

"To always have reasons why you just can't vote 'yes,' I think speaks volumes when it comes to which party is better able and more willing to take on the terrorists and defeat them," Boehner said.

Democrats shot back that the war on terrorism shouldn't be fought at the expense of civil and human rights. The bill approved by the House, they argued, gives the president too much power and leaves the law vulnerable to being overturned by a court.

"It is ceding the president's argument that Congress doesn't matter in this area," said Rep. Chris Van Hollen (news, bio, voting record), D-Md.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Heather Wilson (news, bio, voting record), R-N.M., that give legal status under certain conditions to Bush's warrantless wiretapping of calls and e-mails between people on U.S. soil making calls or sending e-mails and those in other countries.

Under the measure, the president would be authorized to conduct such wiretaps if he:

• Notifies the House and Senate intelligence committees and congressional leaders.

• Believes an attack is imminent and later explains the reason and names the individuals and groups involved.

• Renews his certification every 90 days.

The Senate also could vote on a similar bill before Congress recesses at the end of the week. Leaders concede that differences between the versions are so significant they cannot reconcile them into a final bill that can be delivered to Bush before the Nov. 7 congressional elections.

For its part, the White House announced it strongly supported passage of the House version but wasn't satisfied with it, adding that the administration "looks forward to working with Congress to strengthen the bill as it moves through the legislative process."

But with Congress giving Bush the other half of his September anti-terrorism agenda — a bill setting conditions on how terrorism suspects are to be detained, interrogated and tried — Republicans shifted from lawmaking to campaign mode.

After the House voted 253-168 to set rules on tough interrogations and military tribunal proceedings, Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., was even more critical than Boehner.

"Democrat Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and 159 of her Democrat colleagues voted today in favor of more rights for terrorists," Hastert said in a statement. "So the same terrorists who plan to harm innocent Americans and their freedom worldwide would be coddled, if we followed the Democrat plan. "

Retorted Pelosi: "I think the speaker is a desperate man for him to say that. Would you think that anyone in our country wants to coddle terrorists?"

She and other Democratic critics of the GOP's September anti-terrorism agenda contend the Republican-written bills make Bush's programs vulnerable to being overturned in court. More broadly, they argue the legislation reflects the White House's willingness to fight the war on terrorism at the expense of civil and human rights.

A Democratic majority in either House would set the balance right, Democrats say. "In 40 days, we can put an end to this nonsense," said Sen. Edward Kennedy (news, bio, voting record), D-Mass, referring to the election.

A federal judge in Detroit who struck down the warrantless surveillance program turned aside a government request for an indefinite stay Thursday. U.S. Judge Anna Diggs Taylor said the government could have a week to appeal.


The House bill is H.R. 5825; the Senate bill is S. 3931.


More here...

Lawrence O'Donnell says Abramoff had 'run' of White House

A draft report from the House Government Reform committee, to be released this morning, says that indicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff had many more connections to the Bush Administration than the White House had originally reported. Abramoff's billing records and emails indicate that, over a three year period, he had 485 lobbying contacts with the White House. 10 of those contacts were with Karl Rove.

ABC News obtained an exclusive preview of the report. ABC's George Stephanopoulos reports that evidence suggests some of the contacts may rise to the level of criminal activity. Stephanopoulos says. "There will be some questions about whether or not these concert tickets, meals, drinks offered to White House official violated the gift ban. That's going to be something at issue. There does seem to be, as I said, circumstantial evidence that Abramoff did get what he wanted on behalf of his clients."

On MSNBC's Countdown, Lawrence O'Donnell provided early analysis of the Abramoff report. Keith Olbermann asked O'Donnell how this report may affect public opinion prior to November's midterm elections, and O'Donnell concluded:

"Abramoff is now the way you spell the word 'scandal' in Washington, DC. The public doesn't know a great deal about Abramoff but they know he's bad. They know he's a criminal. They're certainly aware that he's, in effect, pleading guilty and is going to end up in jail. And now, this is a picture that says, not only did he have access -- which I think the public was vaguely aware that he had presidential access, White House access -- he had the run of the place. He has a frequency of appearance now that looks like he had a White House pass.

"It's an amazing presence that he has everywhere in the Republican world during the time that this scandal was developing. Guys like Conrad Burns, Senator from Montana, running for election and his big problem is that he took money from Jack Abramoff. That's his single biggest problem. For Karl Rove, the president's senior advisor, to be meeting with Abramoff 9 times, specifically by himself -- and, by the way, possibly much more than that. That's probably just the 9 times that Abramoff signed in to meet Rove. Once in the building he could have easily have encountered him many, many more times than that. This brings this horrible scandal into the White House and plants it in a way that we haven't seen before."

The following video report contains news clips from ABC World News Tonight, ABC Good Morning America, and MSNBC Countdown.


Thursday, September 28, 2006

Dispute on Intelligence Report Disrupts Republicans’ Game Plan

WASHINGTON, Sept. 27 — The dispute over a newly disclosed National Intelligence Estimate has threatened a pre-election script in which the White House had sought to put Democrats on the defensive on national security.

As the White House saw it, this was to have been the week in which Republicans seized the advantage by pushing two antiterrorism bills through Congress over the objections of recalcitrant Democrats.

Instead, on Wednesday for the second day in a row, Democrats seized on the intelligence report as confirmation of their case that the Iraq war has in fact compounded the global terrorism threat.

Click here...

Republicans responded by saying Democrats were distorting the findings or were exploiting important intelligence information for political gain. In Congress, the Republicans appeared to give up on passing one of the two antiterrorism bills, the one on surveillance.


The Party is Over...GOP that is!!

Did you know....
(Many thanks to 'Global Evildoer Fighter' for this info!)

1. 80% of all votes in America are counted by only two companies: Diebold and ES&S.


2. There is no federal agency with regulatory authority or oversight of the U.S. voting machine industry.

3. The vice-president of Diebold and the president of ES&S are brothers.

4. The chairman and CEO of Diebold is a major Bush campaign organizer and donor who wrote in 2003 that he was "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year."

5. Republican Senator Chuck Hagel used to be chairman of ES&S. He became Senator based on votes counted by ES&S machines.

6. Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, long-connected with the Bush family, was recently caught lying about his ownership of ES&S by the Senate Ethics Committee.

7. Senator Chuck Hagel was on a short list of George W. Bush's vice-presidential candidates.

8. ES&S is the largest voting machine manufacturer in the U.S. and counts almost 60% of all U.S. votes.

9. Diebold's new touch screen voting machines have no paper trail of any votes. In other words, there is no way to verify that the data coming out of the machine is the same as what was legitimately put in by voters.

10. Diebold also makes ATMs, checkout scanners, and ticket machines, all of which log each transaction and can generate a paper trail.

11. Diebold is based in Ohio.

12. Diebold employed 5 convicted felons as consultants and developers to help write the central compiler computer code that counted 50% of the votes in 30 states.,2645,61640,00.html

13. Jeff Dean was Senior Vice-President of Global Election Systems when it was bought by Diebold. Even though he had been convicted of 23 counts of felony theft in the first degree, Jeff Dean was retained as a consultant by Diebold and was largely responsible for programming the optical scanning software now used in most of the United States.

14. Diebold consultant Jeff Dean was convicted of planting back doors in his software and using a "high degree of sophistication" to evade detection over a period of 2 years.

15. None of the international election observers were allowed in the polls in Ohio.

16. California banned the use of Diebold machines because the security was so bad. Despite Diebold's claims that the audit logs could not be hacked, a chimpanzee was able to do it!
(See the movie here:,2645,63298,00.html

17. 30% of all U.S. votes are carried out on unverifiable touch screen voting machines with no paper trail.

18. All -- not some -- but all the voting machine errors detected and reported in Florida went in favor of Bush or Republican candidates.,2645,65757,00.html

19. The governor of the state of Florida, Jeb Bush, is the President's brother.

20. Serious voting anomalies in Florida -- again always favoring Bush -- have been mathematically demonstrated and experts are recommending further investigation.,10801,97614,00.html


1 in 5 Americans believe the elections were fraudulent.

That's over 41 Million Americans.

You are NOT alone!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Democrats Cite New Hope in Bid to Retake Senate

WASHINGTON, Sept. 27 — Six weeks before Election Day, the Democrats suddenly face a map with unexpected opportunities in their battle for control of the Senate.

In Virginia, a state that few expected to be seriously competitive, Senator George Allen, a Republican, looks newly vulnerable after a series of controversies over his racial views, strategists in both parties say. In Tennessee, another Southern state long considered safely red, Representative Harold E. Ford Jr., a Democrat, has run a strong campaign that has kept that state in contention.

Elsewhere, Democratic challengers are either ahead or neck and neck in five states held by the Republicans — Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island — according to political strategists in both parties and the latest polls.

All of these races could shift direction in a matter of days, let alone six weeks, and Republicans are counting on their superior finances and large blocks of television advertising to hold the line. Democrats also have their own vulnerabilities, particularly in New Jersey, where Senator Robert D. Menendez has run behind his Republican challenger, State Senator Thomas H. Kean Jr., in recent polls.


Libby's graymail gambit

Judge to decide if jury will be allowed to hear national secrets.

WASHINGTON - In what is stacking up to be one of the most decisive pre-trial hearings in the CIA leak case against I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the parties involved will face off Wednesday to argue which -- if any -- classified documents Libby will be allowed to use in his defense against charges of perjury and obstruction of justice.

Libby's legal gambit -- threatening to reveal sensitive national security details when the trial begins in January -- has the potential to derail the proceedings.
Attorneys for Vice President Cheney's former top aide and for special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald will meet before Judge Reggie Walton on Wednesday in the first of several closed hearings dealing with classified documents. Judge Walton will decide the use, relevance or admissibility of the classified information.


More Americans blame Bush than Clinton for failure to capture Osama bin Laden

According to the latest Gallup Poll, more Americans blame President Bush than former President Clinton for the failure to capture Osama bin Laden.

"According to a recent Gallup Panel survey, the American public puts the primary blame on Bush rather than Clinton for the fact that bin Laden has not been captured," writes Lydia Saad for the Gallup News Service.

In the telephone survey based on interviews with 1,010 national adults, aged 18 and older, which was conducted from September 21 to 24, before and after Clinton's "heated" interview on Fox News Channel aired on Sunday, 53 percent blame Bush, while only 36 percent blame Clinton.

"Clinton's reputation in this matter is far from unblemished, however," notes Saad. "Forty-two percent of Americans believe Clinton deserves either a great deal or a fair amount of blame, while only 32% say he deserves no blame."

Excerpts from Gallup News Service report:
Click here...

CondiMan ??!!

Condi Rice turns into a man to defend Dubya. (Screen shot from the Boston Herald.) I guess someone at the Boston Herald has a sense of humor.

Click here

Sen. Clinton Disputes Rice's Comments

WASHINGTON (AP) -- New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has struck back at Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in the escalating political bickering over which president - Bill Clinton or George W. Bush - missed more opportunities to prevent the Sept. 11 attacks.

Clinton, D-N.Y., took aim at President Bush and Rice over their roles in 2001 before the attacks, part of a growing argument that ignited after former President Clinton gave a combative interview on "Fox News Sunday" in which he defended his efforts to kill Osama bin Laden.

"I think my husband did a great job in demonstrating that Democrats are not going to take these attacks," Hillary Clinton said Tuesday. "I'm certain that if my husband and his national security team had been shown a classified report entitled 'Bin Laden Determined To Attack Inside the United States' he would have taken it more seriously than history suggests it was taken by our current president and his national security team."

The senator was referring to a classified brief given to Bush in August 2001, one that Democrats say showed the Bush administration did not do enough to combat the growing threat from al-Qaida.

When the brief was delivered, Rice was Bush's national security adviser, and Clinton's response was clearly designed to implicate her in the same criticisms that have been made of Bush.

Click here...

Study Doesn’t Share Bush’s Optimism on Terror Fight

WASHINGTON, Sept. 26 — Three years ago, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld wrote a memo to his colleagues in the Pentagon posing a critical question in the “long war’’ against terrorism: Is Washington’s strategy successfully killing or capturing terrorists faster than new enemies are being created?

Until Tuesday, the government had not publicly issued an authoritative answer. But the newly declassified National Intelligence Estimate on terrorism does exactly that, and it concludes that the administration has failed the Rumsfeld test.

Portions of the report appear to bolster President Bush’s argument that the only way to defeat the terrorists is to keep unrelenting military pressure on them. But nowhere in the assessment is any evidence to support Mr. Bush’s confident-sounding assertion this month in Atlanta that “America is winning the war on terror.’’

While the spread of self-described jihadists is hard to measure, the report says, the terrorists “are increasing in both number and geographic dispersion.”
It says that a continuation of that trend would lead “to increasing attacks worldwide’’ and that “the underlying factors fueling the spread of the movement outweigh its vulnerabilities.’’

More here...

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

2001 memo to Rice contradicts statements about Clinton, Pakistan

A memo received by United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice shortly after she became National Security Advisor in 2001 directly contradicts statements the Secretary made to reporters yesterday, RAW STORY has learned.

"We were not left a comprehensive strategy to fight al Qaeda," Rice told a reporter for the New York Post on Monday. "Big pieces were missing," Rice added, "like an approach to Pakistan that might work, because without Pakistan you weren't going to get Afghanistan."

Rice made the comments in response to claims made Sunday by former President Bill Clinton, who argued that his administration had done more than the current one to address the al Qaeda problem before the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. She stopped short of calling the former president a liar.

However, RAW STORY has found that just five days after President George W. Bush was sworn into office, a memo from counter-terrorism expert Richard A. Clarke to Rice included the 2000 document, "Strategy for Eliminating the Threat from the Jihadist Networks of al-Qida: Status and Prospects." This document devotes 2 of its 13 pages of material to specifically addressing strategies for securing Pakistan's cooperation in airstrikes against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan.

The strategy document includes "three levers" that the United States had started applying to Pakistan as far back as 1990. Sanctions, political and economic methods of persuasion are all offered as having been somewhat successful.

Click here...

So Many GOP Blunders, So Few Weeks till Midterms

I can't remember which upset me more....the stolen election in 2000 or the war in Iraq. Or was it when they outed Valerie Plame, a woman working in the service of her country's intelligence apparatus who had the "misfortune" of being married to a government official who dared to contradict this White House's right-wing-nut-bag agenda in Baghdad?

Or was it that the withering Republican stooge, Robert Novak, made it all seem so business-as-usual? Or was it when scientists, on the government's payroll and otherwise, were being told to shut up about global warming? It might have been when they actually started editing government reports to suit their pro-business purposes. I can't recall. Maybe it was when I read that David Addington really runs the government. Never heard of him? Oh.

It might have been when Secretary Rice, like any good secretary covering up for her boss, smirked her way through the 9/11 hearings and never seemed to flinch in the face of "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Within the US." Then again, I could be wrong. It might have been when I read in the New York Times of March 3, 2006, that Jason Peltier, a former agricultural lobbyist in California's San Joaquin Valley, had gone to work in the Bush Interior Department and was responsible for awarding government water contracts to his former employers. Actually, on second thought, I might be confusing the Peltier issue with the revelations about Jack Abramoff and the Interior Trust scandals. Or the Klamath Basin questions in 2003. Or the Interior Department's own Inspector General who said last week that the place is rife with "cronyism and cover-ups."


Halliburton paid $4 million to politicians for 600% gain on contracts since 2000

WASHINGTON, Sept. 26 ( -- Halliburton spent $4.6 million since 2000 buying influence in Washington via campaign donations and lobbying, a HalliburtonWatch analysis reveals.

The board of directors and their spouses personally gave $828,701 to candidates for Congress and the presidency while Halliburton's political action committees gave $1.2 million, most of it donated to Republicans and political organizations with strong Republican ties.

The company spent an additional $2.6 million lobbying members of Congress, the White House and federal agencies.

Conclusion: Halliburton's $4.6 million in political arm-twisting since 2000 has paid-off magnificently as the company's government contracts ballooned by over 600 percent in value by the end of 2005, mostly because of the war in Iraq.

In 2000, Halliburton was the 20th largest federal contractor, receiving $763 million in federal contracts. By 2005, Halliburton had grown to become the 6th largest federal contractor, receiving nearly $6 billion in federal contracts during that year.

Between March 2003 and June 30, 2006, Halliburton received $18.5 billion in revenue from the federal government for the war in Iraq. The company has seen its profits in government contracting almost quadruple to $330 million in 2005 compared to $84 million in 2004.


Monday, September 25, 2006

Global temperature highest in millennia

WASHINGTON - The planet's temperature has climbed to levels not seen in thousands of years, warming that has begun to affect plants and animals, researchers report in Tuesday's issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The Earth has been warming at a rate of 0.36 degree Fahrenheit per decade for the last 30 years, according to the research team led by James Hansen of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York.

That brings the overall temperature to the warmest in the current interglacial period, which began about 12,000 years ago.

The researchers noted that a report in the journal Nature found that 1,700 plant, animal and insect species moved poleward at an average rate of about 4 miles per decade in the last half of the 20th century.

Click here...

Americans look for political manipulation as gasoline prices plunge

WASHINGTON — There is no mystery or manipulation behind the recent fall in gasoline prices, analysts say. Try telling that to many. motorists.
Almost half of Americans believe the plunge at the pump has more to do with politics and the November elections, than economics.

Retired farmer Jim Mohr of Lexington, Ill., rattled off a tankful of reasons why pump prices may be falling, including the end of the summer travel season and the fact that no major hurricanes have disrupted Gulf of Mexico output.

"But I think the big important reason is Republicans want to get elected," Mohr, 66, said while filling up for $2.17 a gallon. "They think getting the prices down is going to help get some more incumbents re-elected."

According to a new Gallup poll, 42% of respondents agreed with the statement that the Bush administration "deliberately manipulated the price of gasoline so that it would decrease before this fall's elections." Fifty-three percent of those surveyed did not believe the conspiracy theory; 5% said they had no opinion.

Not surprising, almost two-thirds of those who suspect President Bush intervened to bring down energy prices before Election Day are registered Democrats, according to Gallup.


Protesters interrupt Senate Gitmo hearing

In this video, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) criticizes activists that stood up in protest at a hearing on the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay prison. The Senate Judiciary Committee is considering whether detainees will have only limited access to habeas corpus review. At the end of the video, Specter stands up, bangs his gavel, and walks out of the hearing.

Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan can also be seen in attendance at the hearing.

Video here...

Retired officers to criticize Rumsfeld

WASHINGTON - Retired military officers on Monday are expected to bluntly accuse Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld of bungling the war in
Iraq saying U.S. troops were sent to fight without the best equipment and that critical facts were hidden from the public.

"I believe that Secretary Rumsfeld and others in the administration did not tell the American people the truth for fear of losing support for the war in Iraq," retired Maj. Gen. John R. S. Batiste said in remarks prepared for a hearing by the Senate Democratic Policy Committee.

A second witness, retired Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, is expected to assess Rumsfeld as "incompetent strategically, operationally and tactically ...."
"Mr. Rumsfeld and his immediate team must be replaced or we will see two more years of extraordinarily bad decision-making," said his testimony prepared for the hearing, to be held six weeks before the Nov. 7 midterm elections in which the war is a central issue.

More here...

Sunday, September 24, 2006

White House Takes Issue With Intelligence Assessment

WASHINGTON --The White House on Sunday sharply disagreed with a new U.S. intelligence assessment that the war in Iraq is encouraging global terrorism, as Bush administration officials stressed that anti-American fervor in the Muslim world began long before the Sept. 11 attacks.

Peter Watkins, a White House spokesman, declined to talk specifically about the National Intelligence Estimate, a classified analysis that represents a consensus perspective of all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies.

The highly classified report, delivered to policymakers in April, is the first of its kind since the start of the Iraq war in March 2003. In it, the agencies concluded that the war has only worsened the U.S. effort to defeat global terrorism. They said that the war is spreading radicalism from Iraq throughout the Middle East and that the longer it continues, the more likely it is that it will provide fresh training grounds for future terrorist plots.

But the White House view, according to Watkins, is that much of the radical fundamentalists' deep anger at the U.S. and Israel goes back generations and cannot be linked to the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq.

"Their hatred for freedom and liberty did not develop overnight," Watkins said. "Those seeds were planted decades ago."


Teammates: Allen used "N-word" in college

Sept. 24, 2006 WASHINGTON -- Three former college football teammates of Sen. George Allen say that the Virginia Republican repeatedly used an inflammatory racial epithet and demonstrated racist attitudes toward blacks during the early 1970s.

"Allen said he came to Virginia because he wanted to play football in a place where 'blacks knew their place,'" said Dr. Ken Shelton, a white radiologist in North Carolina who played tight end for the University of Virginia football team when Allen was quarterback. "He used the N-word on a regular basis back then."

A second white teammate, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he feared retribution from the Allen campaign, separately claimed that Allen used the word "nigger" to describe blacks. "It was so common with George when he was among his white friends. This is the terminology he used," the teammate said.

A third white teammate contacted separately, who also spoke on condition of anonymity out of fear of being attacked by the Virginia senator, said he too remembers Allen using the word "nigger," though he said he could not recall a specific conversation in which Allen used the term. "My impression of him was that he was a racist," the third teammate said.

Click here...

End of the New American Century?

In America at present, a completely un-American debate is germinating: Is it time for neo-conservatism's obituary?

If political theories have an address, the address of neo-conservatism reads 1150 17th Street NW, Washington, DC. There on the fifth floor in rather ordinary-looking offices reside a half dozen right-wing intellectuals, who supply a steady stream of arguments for the propagation of democracy and a world dominated by America. The little club is called The Project for the New American Century . In 1997 nearly every important American neoconservative signed the club's founding charter. The thinking that evolved here then circulated amongst a group of friendly think tanks. With the election of George Bush to the presidency and especially after 9/11, the significance of the think tank increased, even if the staff size remained small. Neo-conservatism was a dominant force in American foreign policy, and the network of friends had become a network of power.

Now, nine years later, the Project for the New American Century is closing – due to a shortage of funds, it is said. Those that remain there are looking for work. Their ranks are thinning. The New American Century has taken too long to arrive. An ideology is packed up and in moving crates. One couldn’t have a sight more pregnant with symbolism.

One needn't look long for the crisis of neo-conservatism. The magic word is Iraq. The central project of this foreign policy school, the democratic transformation of Mesopotamia [Iraq], has not gone as hoped. Theory didn't withstand contact with reality, and that reality has now swept away some theoreticians. And at the same time, a harvest of new treatises is emerging.

The thinking of neo-conservatism, especially after 9/11, is based on an astute criticism of what had been the established foreign policy in America and Europe. The neo-cons rejected the usual left-liberal theory about the causes of the attacks, according to which the attackers were motivated by unfairness and a lack of modernization in the Middle East. Instead, the reason for the terror is a lack of democracy. But the terrorists recognized the hypocrisy of the West, which wants the Middle East's oil, and despite its pro-democracy rhetoric entered into an evil pact with the authoritarian rulers of the region. The terrorist attacked the hypocrite.

Click here...

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Fox News Sunday, Interview With President Bill Clinton

WALLACE: In a recent issue of the New Yorker you say you’re sixty years old and you’re worried about how many lives you can save…Is that what drives you in your effort to help?

CLINTON: Yes. That sounds sort of morbid. The tone in which I said was almost whimsical and humorous. This is what I love to do it’s what I think I should do. I’ve had a wonderful. I got to be president. I’ve lived the life of my dreams. I dodged a bullet with that health thing. I think I owe it to my fellow countrymen and people around the world to help save lives and help people see the future. But as it happens I love it. I feel it’s a great gift. I feel it’s a rewarding way to spend my life.

WALLACE: Someone asked you …he asked you if you could do more good as a former president than as a president and you said only if I live a long time.

CLINTON: Yea that’s true.

WALLACE: how do you compare the powers of being in office and what you can do out of office?

CLINTON: When you’re president you can operate on broader scope. You can simultaneously work to stop the genocide in Kosovo, bring peace to the middle east, pass a budget that gives millions of kids a chance to have after school programs… So in other words you’ve got a lot of different moving parts and you can move them all at once.
But you’re also more at the mercy of events. That is 43 did not run for President to deal with the events of 9/11 but once it happened it wasn’t as if he had an option. Once I looked at the economic data after I won the election, I realized I would have to work harder to reduce the deficit and therefore have less money in my first year to invest in things I wanted to invest in.

WALLACE: So what is it that you can do as a former president.

CLINTON: So what you can do as a former president, you don’t have as wide a range of powers so you have to concentrate on fewer things. But you are less at the mercy of …events. If I say look we’re going to work on economic empowerment of poor people, on fighting aids and other diseases, on trying to bridge the religious and political differences between people and on trying to avoid the worst calamities of climate change and try to revitalize the economy in the process, I can actually do that. Because tomorrow when I get up and there’s a bad headline in the papers, it’s President Bush’s responsibility and not mine. That’s the joy of being a former potus. And it is true that if you live long enough and have discipline in the way you do it — like this CGI — you might be able to effect as many lives as you did when president.


NYT: Spy agencies say Iraq war worsens terrorism threat

Spy agencies say that the Iraq war has worsened the threat of terrorism, according to a front page article in Sunday's New York Times.

"A stark assessment of terrorism trends by U.S. intelligence agencies has found that the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks," reports Mark Mazzetti.

"The classified National Intelligence Estimate attributes a more direct role to the Iraq war in fueling radicalism than that presented either in recent White House documents or in a report released Wednesday by the House Intelligence Committee, according to several officials in Washington who were involved in preparing the assessment or have read the final document," the article continues.


Cost of Iraq War

The Cost of Iraq War calculator is set to reach $318.5 billion September 30, 2006, the end of fiscal year 2006. The Cost of Iraq War calculator is occasionally reset based on new information and new allocations of funding. The numbers include military and non-military spending, such as reconstruction. Spending only includes incremental costs, additional funds that are expended due to the war. For example, soldiers' regular pay is not included, but combat pay is included. Potential future costs, such as future medical care for soldiers and veterans wounded in the war, are not included. It is also not clear whether the current funding will cover all military wear and tear. It also does not account for the Iraq War being deficit-financed and that taxpayers will need to make additional interest payments on the national debt due to those deficits.

Cost of War

Friday, September 22, 2006

U.N. expert: Iraq torture may be worse

GENEVA - Torture in Iraq may be worse now than it was under Saddam Hussein with militias, terrorist groups and government forces disregarding rules on the humane treatment of prisoners, the U.N. anti-torture chief said Thursday.

Manfred Nowak, the U.N. special investigator on torture, made the remarks as he was presenting a report on detainee conditions at the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay as well as to brief the U.N. Human Rights Council, the global body's top rights watchdog, on torture worldwide.

Reports from Iraq indicate that torture "is totally out of hand," he said. "The situation is so bad many people say it is worse than it has been in the times of Saddam Hussein."

Nowak added, "That means something, because the torture methods applied under Saddam Hussein were the worst you could imagine."
Some allegations of torture were undoubtedly credible, with government forces among the perpetrators, he said, citing "very serious allegations of torture within the official Iraqi detention centers."

"You have terrorist groups, you have the military, you have police, you have these militias. There are so many people who are actually abducted, seriously tortured and finally killed," Nowak told reporters at the U.N.'s European headquarters.


Strained, Army Looks to Guard for More Relief

WASHINGTON, Sept. 21 — Strains on the Army from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have become so severe that Army officials say they may be forced to make greater use of the National Guard to provide enough troops for overseas deployments.

Senior Army officers have discussed that analysis — and described the possible need to use more members of the National Guard — with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld’s senior adviser on personnel, David S. C. Chu, according to Pentagon officials.

While no decision has been made to mobilize more Guard forces, and may not need to be before midterm elections, the prospect presents the Bush administration with a politically vexing problem: how, without expanding the Army, to balance the pressing need for troops in the field against promises to limit overseas deployments for the Guard.

The National Guard has a goal of allowing five years at home between foreign deployments so as not to disrupt the family life and careers of its citizen soldiers. But instead it has been sending units every three to four years, according to Guard officials.


Bush 'taken aback' by Musharraf comment

WASHINGTON - President Bush said Friday he was "taken aback" by a purported U.S. threat to bomb Pakistan back to the Stone Age if it did not cooperate in the fight against terrorism after the Sept. 11 attacks.

He praised Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf for being one of the first foreign leaders to come out after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to stand with the U.S. to "help root out an enemy."

At a joint White House news conference, Musharraf said a peace treaty between his government and tribes along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border is not meant to support the Taliban.

He said news reports had mischaracterized the deals. "The deal is not at all with the Taliban. This deal is against the Taliban. This deal is with the tribal elders," Musharraf said.


Thursday, September 21, 2006

Republicans set to announce terrorism trial deal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House and Senate Republicans on Thursday were reviewing a tentative deal on legislation setting out rules for interrogating and trying foreign terrorism suspects, and an announcement was expected shortly.

The White House has proposed legislation for treatment of such suspects but has faced a revolt over the past week from an group of Senate Republicans who put forward an alternative measure they said would provide greater rights to suspects.

"We are close. But there is no deal yet," an aide to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said.

Frist of Tennessee was meeting with Republican Sens. John Warner of Virginia, John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina as well as administration officials to review the tentative deal. An announcement was likely within the hour, said Amy Call, Frist's spokeswoman.

"I'm a happy man," Graham said as he entered Frist's office.

Congress is trying to pass a bill to establish trial procedures for foreign terrorism suspects picked up since the September 11 attacks after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Bush's original program.

Warner, McCain and Graham challenged President George W. Bush's plan for trying suspected terrorists, saying it would undermine the Geneva Conventions' protections for war prisoners, and allow abusive interrogations and unfair trials.

They pushed a rival bill that gained greater Senate support and forced the administration to negotiate a compromise.


Senior intel official: Pentagon moves to second-stage planning for Iran strike option

The Pentagon's top brass has moved into second-stage contingency planning for a potential military strike on Iran, one senior intelligence official familiar with the plans tells RAW STORY.

The official, who is close to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest ranking officials of each branch of the US military, says the Chiefs have started what is called "branches and sequels" contingency planning.

"The JCS has accepted the inevitable," the intelligence official said, "and is engaged in serious contingency planning to deal with the worst case scenarios that the intelligence community has been painting."

A second military official, although unfamiliar with these latest scenarios, said there is a difference between contingency planning -- which he described as "what if, then what" planning -- and "branches and sequels," which takes place after an initial plan has been decided upon.

Adding to the concern of both military and intelligence officials alike is the nuclear option, the possibility of pre-emptive use of nuclear weapons targeting alleged WMD facilities in Iran.

An April
New Yorker report by Sy Hersh alleged that the nuclear option was on the table, and that some officers of the Joint Chiefs had threatened resignation.


New RFK Jr. article will explore if 2006 election can be hacked

In the upcoming issue of Rolling Stone, environmental lawyer Robert F. Kennedy Jr., along with award-winning writer Dick Russell, deepens his investigation into America's electoral process, according to a press release received by RAW STORY.

"Following the debacle of the 2000 presidential election, touch-screen voting machines promised to make voting as easy and reliable as withdrawing cash from an ATM," the press release states. "In 2002, privately owned Diebold, the world’s third-largest seller of ATMs, was awarded a contract to install 19,000 voting machines across the state of Georgia even though its bid was the highest among nine competing vendors, and it had only recently completed its acquisition of Global Election Systems (a voting-machine firm that owned the technology Diebold was promising to sell Georgia)."

"But as November's high-stakes midterm elections approach, electronic voting machines are making things worse instead of better," according to the press release. "Studies have demonstrated that hackers can easily rig the technology to fix an election – and across the country this year, faulty equipment and lax security have repeatedly undermined election primaries."

In the article, Kennedy interviews former Diebold consultant, Chris Hood, who "reveals to what extent our right to vote is at risk."


Conservative websites claim Rove has been promising GOP insiders an 'October surprise'

According to two conservative websites, White House political strategist Karl Rove has been promising GOP insiders that there will be an "October surprise" before the midterm elections.

"In the past week, Karl Rove has been promising Republican insiders an 'October surprise' to help win the November congressional elections," reports Ronald Kessler for

"President Bush's political strategist is also saying that the final two weeks before the elections will see a blitz of advertising, and the Republican National Committee is deploying an army of volunteers to key locations to help the grass-roots effort and monitor the election," the article continues. "The RNC is offering to fly in volunteers and cover their expenses."

Click for more...

Voting rights groups sue Ohio officials including Sec of State Blackwell for allegedly violating federal voter registration law

Voting rights groups filed a lawsuit against Ohio officials, including Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell for allegedly violating a federal voter registration law.

"A federal lawsuit filed in Cleveland today charges that Ohio's Secretary of State, Kenneth Blackwell, and the Director of its Department of Job and Family Services (DJFS), Barbara Riley, have violated the rights of thousands of low-income Ohioans by failing to provide voter registration opportunities in public assistance offices as required by the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA)," according to a press release received by RAW STORY. "The NVRA is a federal law enacted 13 years ago to encourage voter registration and turnout in elections."

"The lawsuit, brought by Carrie Harkless, Tameca Mardis and the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), alleges that offices of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services failed to provide Harkless, Mardis and thousands of other low-income Ohioans with the opportunity to register to vote or change their voter registration address during visits to DJFS offices to apply for or recertify their eligibility for public assistance benefits," the press release continues.


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Report documents 25 'most corrupt' in Congress

A new report on political corruption in Washington offers exhaustive documentation of the unethical and possibly illegal activities of the 25 "most tainted" members of Congress.

Five of the names on the list are currently under federal investigation: Senators Conrad Burns (R-MT) and Bill Frist (R-TN) and Representatives Jerry Lewis (R-CA), William Jefferson (D-LA), and Alan Mollohan (D-WV).

Others have come under scrutiny for ethical lapses involving campaign contributions, conflicts of interest, improper relationships with lobbyists, and failures to meet disclosure requirements.

"Beyond DeLay: The 20 Most Corrupt Members of Congress (and five to watch)" is the second annual report from the non-profit legal watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). An associated website,
Beyond DeLay, offers both summary and detailed versions of CREW's analysis of the transgressions of all 25.

A majority of those listed are Republicans, several of whom have been linked to the spreading Jack Abramoff and "Duke" Cunningham scandals. As well as those cited as being under investigation, the Top 20 includes such high-profile names as Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) and Representatives Roy Blunt (R-MO), John Doolittle (R-CA), Tom Feeney (R-FL), Katherine Harris (R-FL), Richard Pombo (R-CA), Pete Sessions (R-TX), John Sweeney (R-NY), and Curt Weldon (R-PA). Representatives Chris Cannon (R-UT) and J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ) are among the dishonorable mentions.

Click here for more...

Here is the list:

The 20 Most Corrupt Members of Congress:

Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT)
Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN)
Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA)
Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO)
Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA)
Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA)
Rep. Tom Feeney (R-FL)
Rep. Katherine Harris (R-FL)
Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA)
Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA)
Rep. Gary Miller (R-CA)
Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV)
Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO)
Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA)
Rep. Rick Renzi (R-AZ)
Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX)
Rep. John Sweeney (R-NY)
Rep. Charles Taylor (R-NC)
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA)
Rep. Curt Weldon (R-PA)

Dishonorable Mentions:

Rep. Chris Cannon (R-UT)
Rep. Dennis Hastert (R-IL)
Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ)
Rep. John Murtha (D-PA)
Rep. Don Sherwood (R-PA)

Chavez: 'El diablo' Bush came to the UN yesterday

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez blasted President Bush as "el diablo" on the floor of the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday and suggested that the U.S. president should seek psychiatric help.

"The devil came here yesterday," Chavez said. "He came here talking as if he were the owner of the world."

"We need a psychologist to analyze Bush," Chavez added.

Chavez appealed to "the people of the United States and the world to halt this threat, which is like a sword hanging over our head."

Watch the video..

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

2006 Elections

President Bush's approval ratings are stagnant. Opposition to the Iraq war is high. Will Democrats be able to take back the House and the Senate this fall?
Some races to watch:

Click here for more...




More wrangling over interrogation bill

WASHINGTON - The White House and maverick Senate Republicans have begun a fresh round of talks over how to handle the nation's most dangerous terrorism suspects, resuscitating GOP hopes for approving a key piece of the president's anti-terror agenda before the November elections.

In a new offer, the White House has conceded changes to its previous proposal, while the Senate Republicans who challenged the administration's plan say they are once again hopeful a deal could be reached.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in New York for meetings at the United Nations, predicted Tuesday that President Bush and Congress would find language for interrogation and treatment of terror suspects that "gives the professionals, the people who actually interrogate, clarity on what is legal and what is not."

More here...

During U.N. talks, Bush hints at Iran sanctions

President to try persuading skeptical leaders about his Mideast policy

UNITED NATIONS - Ahead of his speech to other world leaders gathered here, President Bush on Tuesday said Iran must immediately begin negotiations on its nuclear program and warned Tehran that delay would bring consequences.

Iran’s defiant pursuit of a nuclear program was at the top of the agenda when Bush met with French President Jacques Chirac on the sidelines of the three-day U.N. General Assembly meeting. The French leader is balking at the U.S. drive to sanction Iran for defying Security Council demands that it freeze uranium enrichment.

Click here...

Monday, September 18, 2006

Billionaire speculator Soros says Democrats should subpoena the president

Should Democrats retake the House in November, George Soros says they should have one priority: Subpoena President George W. Bush.

The billionaire currency speculator, who poured more than $20 million of his personal fortune into efforts to unseat Bush in 2004, offered his opinions on American politics and foreign policy in a wide-ranging interview with
RAW STORY last week. In the exchange, he responded to questions on domestic politics, while criticizing the war in Iraq and efforts to contain nuclear technologies in Iran and Pakistan.

Soros wouldn’t say who he favored for the 2008 presidential race, but he did say Democrats should take bold moves should they win back the House of Representatives in November.

“Clearly,” he said, “using the subpoena power to bring to light the misdeeds by the administration would have to be, I think, a top priority.”
Asked whether he’s given thought to supporting moderate Republicans, he said he believed the party couldn’t be “recaptured from extremists” without the right wing of the caucus suffering defeats.

“I don't think it can be done without a defeat that will lead the Republicans to regroup, when the extremists are distracted,” he said. “Right now the extremists are still ridding themselves of the moderates in the Republican Party.”

“But I don't yet see moderates knocking out Republicans,” he added. “There are many radical or extremist challengers to moderates within the Republican Party, and very few -- if any -- to the extremists from moderates.”

More here...

GOP talk of vibrant economy rings hollow

FALMOUTH, Ky. - Used boots fetch $3 and old salt-and-pepper shakers bring in a buck at a makeshift flea market along Highway 27, presumably not what President Bush and Republicans have in mind when they herald a vibrant economy.

Times are "very good for the rich and very, very bad for the poor" who "can't afford to live," laments Larry Mitchell, 43, a now-and-then merchant peddling his wares recently in a submarine sandwich shop parking lot. He says the middle class is "having a hard time."

In the Ohio River Valley, where people decry high gas prices, stagnant wages, lost jobs and factory closures, many don't buy the claim that the economy is humming along.

Seven weeks before the midterm elections, the gulf between Bush's perceptions and that of voters form the political backdrop across the country as well as in a region with several competitive House races. This area typically gets left out of national boom times and usually feels the pinch more than others during slowdowns.

Here and elsewhere differing views on the economy could hurt the GOP's efforts to retain control of the House and Senate this fall, and give voters reason to put Democrats in charge instead.

Click here

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Frank Rich: As the war drags on, the lies get thicker

Until recently, the mainstream media has been loathe to call out the Bush administration on false statements. And even when a reporter or commentator did so, he or she would would not characterize the misstatements as deliberate lies.

That may be changing. Frank Rich's column in Sunday's New York Times trots out the "L" word in matter-of-fact fashion.

He also suggests that if what Bush says really were true -- that the safety of Americans depends on the success of the Iraq war -- then Americans are in trouble, given the course of the war so far.

More here...

McCain vs. Bush: GOP Battle Over Torture, Detainees

Sept. 17, 2006 — Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., defended his opposition to White House-approved terror-detainee legislation Sunday, instead supporting a measure that provides for the detention and trial of terrorist suspects that the president has vowed to defeat.

"This is a matter or conscience, an American conscience," McCain told ABC News in an exclusive appearance on "This Week with George Stephanopoulos." "Are we going to be like the enemy, or are we going to be the United States of America?"

On Friday, President Bush argued that CIA-led detention and interrogation of suspected terrorists was essential to fighting the war on terror.

"Were it not for this program, our intelligence community believes that al Qaeda and its allies would have succeeded in launching another attack against the American homeland," Bush told reporters in a Rose Garden press conference. "By giving us information about terrorist plans we couldn't get anywhere else, this program has saved innocent lives."

Click here...

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Analysts: Bush's cowboy image waning; world still wary

WASHINGTON (AP) -- When President Bush addresses world leaders at the United Nations this week, he will have fewer options and lower expectations on almost every major foreign policy front than a year ago.

The United States is relying more readily on international institutions and alliances for help in Iran, Lebanon, North Korea, Sudan and elsewhere. Yet, according to analysts, the Bush administration has less room to maneuver.

Bush and his foreign policy advisers have tried with some success to dispel the caricature of Bush abroad as a Texas cowboy riding alone and herding the U.S. into an unpopular war in Iraq.

But the war, now in its fourth year, devours resources and energy for other global objectives and feeds mistrust about U.S. intentions, experts say.

"I'm not sure they have changed their minds about to what extent to proceed unilaterally and how much to use military force so much as they have run out of options," said Richard Stoll, a political science professor at Rice University who studies foreign policy and national security.

Click here...

Olbermann: Bush's 'rush' to redefine Geneva Conventions may be mostly about 'covering his own backside'

Keith Olbermann's Friday broadcast on MSNBC featured a long look at the President's contentious Rose Garden press conference on Friday, dubbing it the "Roast Garden," and then pondered whether Bush's urgency to redefine the Geneva Convention had more to do with "covering his own backside" than anything else.

At a Friday press conference, an animated President Bush tells reporters that the U.S. program to interrogate terrorist suspects will not continue unless Congress creates new legal definitions for Common Article 3 or the Geneva Conventions -- a move that has alarmed some GOP senators and former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

More here and watch the video...

How 3 G.O.P. Veterans Stalled Bush Detainee Bill

WASHINGTON, Sept. 16 — Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham cornered their partner, Senator John W. Warner, on the Senate floor late Wednesday afternoon.

Mr. Warner, the courtly Virginian who is chairman of the Armed Services Committee, had been trying for weeks to quietly work out the three Republicans’ differences with the Bush administration’s proposal to bring terrorism suspects to trial. But Senators McCain, of Arizona, and Graham, of South Carolina, who are on the committee with Mr. Warner, convinced him that the time for negotiation was over.

The three senators, all military veterans, marched off to an impromptu news conference to lay out their deep objections to the Bush legislation. Mr. Warner then personally broke the news to Senator Bill Frist of Tennessee, the majority leader, and the next day the Armed Services Committee voted to approve a firm legislative rebuke to the president’s plan to reinterpret the Geneva Conventions.

Click here...

Friday, September 15, 2006

Rep. Ney Agrees to Plead Guilty

Rep. Robert Ney (R-Ohio) agreed today to plead guilty to conspiring to commit multiple official acts for lobbyists in exchange for campaign contributions, meals and luxury travel, sports tickets and gambling chips. He became the first elected official to face charges in the ongoing influence-peddling investigation of former lobbying powerhouse Jack Abramoff.

After insisting for more than a year that he had broken no laws in his dealings with Abramoff, Ney signed a plea deal Wednesday that was entered into federal court today. Prosecutors are seeking a sentence of 27 months in prison.

Ney checked into an alcohol rehabilitation clinic Wednesday and apologized in a statement today for "serious mistakes" that have brought pain to his family and constituents.

Justice Department Criminal Division chief Alice Fisher announced today the department had accepted the plea agreement and filed a criminal information in court. Ney is expected to appear in court to enter a plea Oct. 13.

"Congressman Ney and his co-conspirators engaged in a long-term pattern to deprive the public of his honest, unbiased services as an elected official," said Fisher at a press conference. "People must have faith and confidence in their elected officials" and she said that Ney had "acted in his own interests, not in the interests of his constituents."

P.S. I wonder what he looks like without that hideous wig? LOL

More here...

Bush Attempts To Counter McCain Revolt At Press Conference...

WASHINGTON - Facing a GOP revolt in the Senate, President Bush urged Congress on Friday to join in backing legislation to spell out strategies for interrogating and trying terror suspects, saying "the enemy wants to attack us again."

"Time is running out," Bush said in a Rose Garden news conference. "Congress needs to act wisely and promptly."

Bush denied the U.S. might lose the moral high ground in the war on terror in the eyes of world opinion, as former Secretary of State Colin Powell suggested.

"It's unacceptable to think there's any kind of comparison between the behavior of the United States of America and the action of Islamic extremists who kill innocent women and children to achieve an objective," said Bush, growing animated as he spoke.

Click here...