Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Republican Congressman: Saddam involved in 9/11

In spite of statements to the contrary in the 9/11 Commission report, Representative Robin Hayes (R-N.C.) told CNN Wednesday that "Saddam Hussein and people like him were very much involved in 9/11" When the CNN interviewer responded that no investigation had ever found evidence to link Saddam and 9/11, Hayes said "I'm sorry, but you must have looked in the wrong places."

Hayes said that legislator have access to evidence that others do not. However, Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), was asked by CNN about Hayes statement, said "I haven't seen compelling evidence of that"

The 9/11 Commission report reported that Bin Ladin, the al Qaeda leader, had "been sponsoring anti-Saddam Islamists in Iraqi Kurdistan, and sought to attract them into his Islamic army." The report also said that investigators had nor found evidence of an operational relationship between al Qaeda and Saddam. "Nor have we seen evidence indicating that Iraq cooperated with al Qaeda in developing or carrying out any attacks against the United States".

President Bush, in spite of mentioning 9/11 in his Tuesday night address (without defining any real link to Iraq), did state in September, 2003, that "We've had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with" the 9/11 attacks.

The blog Crooks and Liars has video of the CNN interview.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Bush: It is lay out a timetable...

No, in this evenings speech on TV President Bush did not announce a timetable or support for a timetable for withdrawal. However...

Speaking during the Clinton andministration's involvement in Eastern Europe:
Houston Chronicle April 9, 1999: "Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is."

Scripps Howard -- Feb. 9, 1999 "I would strongly urge that if there are U.S. troops involved, they be under U.S. command or NATO command," Bush said Thursday. "I think it's also important for the president to lay out a timetable as to how long they will be involved and when they will be withdrawn."

On his own war in Iraq:
White House press release June 24, 2005: "There's not going to be any timetables. I mean, I've told this to the Prime Minister. We are there to complete a mission, and it's an important mission. A democratic Iraq is in the interest of the United States of America, and it's in the interest of laying the foundation for peace. And if that's the mission, then why would you -- why would you say to the enemy, you know, here's a timetable, just go ahead and wait us out? It doesn't make any sense to have a timetable. You know, if you give a timetable, you're -- you're conceding too much to the enemy.

Thanks to Think Progress for the leads.

Blog Watch:

June 28:
KIcking Ass, the DNC blog, had a statement from the North Carolina Democratic party chair Jerry Meek welcoming President Bush to North Carolina for his speech at 8pm tonight. He also suggest that maybe Bush should tell us how long we will be in Iraq and answer some other questions. Meek stated "While we are unwavering in our support for our men in women in harm's way, their Commander-in-Chief's leadership is lacking. Yes, Mr. President. Welcome to North Carolina. North Carolinians are eager for honest answers."

Meanwhile the Raleigh, NC News and Observer reported its poll showning falling support in that state for the war. The latest figures indicated that 49 percent of the respondents did not agree that the war had been "worth it"; only 42 percent agreed that the war had been worth the cost.

June 24:
In case you missed Howard Dean on the Daily Show last night, Crooks and Liars has video on their site.

June 23:

Atrios suggests that constituents of Republicans in congress contact their representatives to ask if Carl Rove speaks for them. (The Atrios blog refers to Rove, according to reports by the New York Times, stated "Let me just put this in fairly simple terms: Al Jazeera now broadcasts the words of Senator Durbin to the Mideast, certainly putting our troops in greater danger. No more needs to be said about the motives of liberals." (emphasis added).
Kicking Ass, the DNC blog, has a story "GOP exploits memory of 9/11 for partisan gain" concerning Rove's statements and inconsistencies with previous White House statements, in a well researched piece by DNC Research.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Rove, Liberals, and Therapy

Carl Rove told the conservative party that liberals wanted to offer therapy and understanding for our attackers. He is a little mixed up. Liberals want to offer therapy for Mr. Rove. Perhaps he can hire Tom Cruise for some psychiatry.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Cheney: "If you look at what the dictionary says about throes... "

Dick Cheney has come under criticism for is comment on Larry King that the Iraq insurgency was in its "last throes". On Thursday, June 23, Cheney went Clintonian, discussing the meaning of "throes".

In an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Chaney said "If you look at what the dictionary says about throes, it can still be a violent period, the throes of a revolution". Cheney went on to predict a huge defeat for the insurgents.

General John Abizaid, told a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing otherwise.

Senator Carl Levin: General Abizaid, can you give us your assessment of the strength of the insurgency. Is it less strong, more strong, about the same strength as it was six months ago?

General Abizaid: Senator, I'd say… In terms of comparison from six months ago, in terms of foreign fighters, I believe there are more foreign fighters coming into Iraq than there were six months ago. In terms of the overall strength of the insurgency, I'd say it's about the same as it was.

Levin: So you wouldn't agree with the statement that it's 'in its last throes'?

Abizaid: I don't know that I would make any comment about that, other than to say there's a lot of work to be done against the insurgency.

Levin: Well, the Vice-President has said it's in its last throes. That's the statement that the Vice President. Doesn't sound to me from your testimony, or any other testimony here this morning, that it is in its last throes.

Abizaid: I'm sure you'll forgive me from criticizing the Vice-President.

Levin: I just want an honest assessment from you as to whether you agree with a particular statement of his, it's not personal. I just want to know whether you agree with that assessment. It's not a personal attack on him, any more than if he says that something is a fact and you disagree with it, we would expect you to say you disagree with it.

Abizaid: I gave you my opinion of where we are.

Thursday, June 23, 2005 News | Dissent within the ranks today has a story about politicians who can't be considered "anti-war lefties" who are criticizing Bush's Iraq policy. Even Republicans are more openly opposing the war.

Sen. Chuck Hagle (R-Nebraska) said that "the White House is completely disconnected from reality ... The reality is that we're losing in Iraq." Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), was asked on "Meet The Press" if the Iraq insurgency was in the "last throes", as Dick Cheney claimed. McCain replied "no".

And Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.), who, at the start of the war asked that french fries be called "freedom fries", has asked that the troops be withdrawn from Iraq. News | Dissent within the ranks

June 23: Add Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. to the list. In today's Senate hearing on Iraq, while questioning Sec. Rumsfeld: "The public views this every day, Mr. Secretary, more and more like Vietnam. ... In the last year, Sir, the public support in my state has turned, and I worry about that, because that's the only way we'll ever leave before we should, is if the public loses faith in us." From Fox 23, WXXA-TV, Albany, NY.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Jenna? Barbara? Your war is waiting points out that with the military's inability to meet its recruiting goal, perhaps President Bush's daughters, Jenna and Barbara Bush should enlist.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan was asked at a White House press briefing if any of the president's family are currently serving in the military. McClellan did not admit to knowing the answer. The answer however, is no.

We still have two types of people in the United States: those who decide to go to war and those who go to war.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Kicking Ass (DNC) - White House Disconnected from reality

In a post today, the Democratic blog comments on the disconnect from reality of the White House with the "last throes" comment of Dick Cheney compared to quotes from Republican Senators John McCain and Chuck Hagel.

Congress Assaults the Courts, Again - New York Times

The New York Times published an editorial Saturday concerning a measure the U.S. House of Representatives pass that would bar federal money from being spent to enforce a federal court ruling regarding the Ten Commandments.

A mounument depicting the Ten Commandments is displayed on the Gibson County Courthouse in Princeton, Indiana. A federal district judge ruled that the presence of the monument to an endorsement of religion because, as he states, the display is “in violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.”

The local Congressman, Rep. John Hostettler of Indiania's Eighth District wrote a letter to President Bush on Feb. 17, 2005 asking that the president instruct the Department of Justice and the U. S. Marshal Service not to enforce this decision (or the decision of any appelate court or the Supreme Court) to remove the monument. In the letter Rep. Hostettler claimed that enforcement of such an order would be "inconsistent with both the clear intent of the Framers and the Christian heritage of the United States".

Rep. Hostettler admits that federal law provides that "Except as otherwise provided by law or Rule of Procedure, the United States Marshals Service shall execute all lawful writs, process, and orders issued under the authority of the United States...". However, he claims that "this ruling by the Southern District Court in Indiana is not a lawful decision consistent with the Constitution". Apparently, Rep. Hostettler believes that it is for himself, or for the president, rather than for an appellate court or the Supreme Court, to determine if a lower court ruling is consistent with the constitution.

Rep. Hostettler then introduced an amendment to the bill that funds the Justice Department that would prohibit federal funds from being spent to enforce the court's order. This would, in effect, prevent the Marshals Service from carrying out their required duty of enforcing court orders. The amendment passed the House by a 242-182 vote.

Rep. Hostettler, and many other House members, apparently do not understand two important values of our form of government.

First, we have a government "of laws, not of men". It is the proper role of the courts to uphold the constitution. It is not up to individuals, either Members of Congress or presidents to substitute their judgement.

Secondly, while the majority of the founders of the country may have been Christian, we do not base government action on "Christian heritage". Our country is one of many religions, some of which recognize the Ten Commandments and some of which do not. Some Americans would consider government protection of "graven images" to be against their religion.

NYT Editorial
Hostettler press release
Hostettler letter to the President
Crooks and Liars

Sunday, June 19, 2005

The Supreme Court Nomination Blog: Analysis: Today's Washington Post

The Supreme Court Nomination Blog is a blog that will certainly become very important over the next few weeks if, as expected, Chief Justice Rehnquist announces his retirement at the end of the current term. This announcement may come Monday, 6/20/05, or within the next couple of weeks.

Tonight the blog posted an in-depth analysis of an article in today's (Sun., 6/19/05) Washington Post. I won't try to recap it here, but recommend it as important reading for those who are interested in the future direction of the Court.

Is the Justice Department Undermining the Protection of Medical Privacy?

An opinion dated June 1, 2005 but not made public until New York Times article of June 7, answers a request from the general counsel of HHS for clarification of the scope of the HIPAA criminal provision.

According to Swire’s analysis, “the OLC opinion is terribly frustrating to read. The opinion reads like a brief for one side of an argument. Even worse, it reads like a brief that knows it has the losing side but has to come out with a predetermined answer.”

Swire states that “The opinion had assumed that Congress wanted to exempt employees and thieves from criminal penalty.”

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Jeb Bush Just Won’t Stop Exploiting Terri Schiavo

Florida Governor and presidential brother Jeb Bush just won’t let go. The sad case of Terri Schiavo was good for his courtship of the extreme religious right. After Ms. Schiavo’s autopsy revealed that her condition had been beyond hope and that therapy would not have been of any use, Bush jumps back into the Shiavo news by asking a state prosecutor to investigate Michael Schiavo, Terri’s husband.

The reason for the investigation: Bush’s allegation that Michael Schiavo waited from 40 to 70 minutes from when he heard is wife fall to when he called 911.

In a statement issued by his lawyer, Schiavo stated “I have consistently said over the years that I didn’t wait but ran to call 911 after Terri collapsed.” The 911 call was recorded at 5:40 a.m. on Feb. 25, 1990. There is no evidence that there was any delay in the call except for statements made by Michael Shiavo. In a 1992 medical malpractice trial he testified that he found his wife at 5 a.m., and in a 2004 television interview he said that he found her at 4:30 a.m.

The autopsy report places the 911 call about 5:40 a.m. Paramedics found her not breathing at 5:52 a.m., and a pulse was measured at 6:32 a.m. A University of South Florida pathology professor, Dr. Amyn M. Rojiani, who reviewed the autopsy reports for the St. Petersburg Times said he does not believe Schiavo could have been revived if her husband had waited 70 minutes to call for help.

In the malpractice trial in 1992 in which Michael Schiavo successfully sued his wife's doctors, the doctor's attorneys likely would certainly have used any evidence in a delay in calling for help.

But is there any significance to the conflicts in the statements? The one consistency, and the one thing that Schiavo could be reasonable certain, is that the call was made immediately after he heard her collapse. However, in such a situation it is not likely that he would have noted the time. He has said that he was not wearing a watch and did not look at a clock. Not having known the time, his statements two years later and again 14 years later were guesses and could not have any real validity.

Bush, however, is more certain of which statements were correct. "Between 40 and 70 minutes elapsed before the call was made, and I am aware of no explanation for the delay," Bush wrote. "In light of this new information, I urge you to take a fresh look at this case without any preconceptions as to the outcome."

Friday, June 17, 2005

Trade Deficit at New High

Some say that the loss of manufacturing jobs to foreign contries is offset by more exports to those countries. However, if this is the case, why is the trade deficit continuing to rise?

The deficit in the broadest measure of international trade rose to an all-time high of $195.1 billion from January through March of this year as the country sank deeper into debt to Japan, China and other nations.

The Commerce Department reported Friday that the deficit in the current account rose by 3.6 percent from the previous quarterly record, an imbalance of $188.4 billion in the final three months of 2004.

Read Article on Yahoo! Finance

Danforth: Onward, Moderate Christian Soldiers - New York Times

Episcopal minister and former Republican Senator John C. Danforth, in a NY Time Op-Ed, made it clear that culture wars are not between people of faith and nonbelivers. Danforth pointed out that many religious people favor stem cell research and were against government intervention in the Terri Schiavo case.

According to Danforth, "In recent years, conservative Christians have presented themselves as representing the one authentic Christian perspective on politics. With due respect for our conservative friends, equally devout Christians come to very different conclusions."

"Many conservative Christians approach politics with a certainty that they know God's truth, and that they can advance the kingdom of God through governmental action. So they have developed a political agenda that they believe advances God's kingdom, one that includes efforts to 'put God back' into the public square and to pass a constitutional amendment intended to protect marriage from the perceived threat of homosexuality."

Danforth continued: "Moderate Christians are less certain about when and how our beliefs can be translated into statutory form, not because of a lack of faith in God but because of a healthy acknowledgement of the limitations of human beings. Like conservative Christians, we attend church, read the Bible and say our prayers."

In a March 30, 2005 New York Times Op-ed, Danforth said that it was a problem that "a party that has gone so far in adopting a sectarian agenda that it has become the political extension of a religious movement."

Read NYT article

NPR : Taking a Second Look at Nuclear Power

There was a discussion of nuclear power as an alternative to greenhouse gas on NPR's Talk of the Nation this afternoon. Much of the discussion was a debate between Arjun Makhijani of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research and Angie Howard , executive vice president, Nuclear Energy Institute.

The atudo for the story will be available after about 6pm ET this evening at NPR's web site.

Tom DeLay Going to the Moon?

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) today said the Science, State, Justice and Commerce spending bill, which includes $16.5 billion for NASA, will continue Congress' work to implement President Bush's bold new vision for space exploration. The bill, which includes far more than space spending, past the House of Representatives by a large, bipartisan vote.

"The return of the shuttle to flight is the first step in a long process that, truth be told, may outlast most of our careers," DeLay said. "We're still years away from the moon, and even further away from Mars, but make no mistake - we're going.

The funding bill passed today sets aside $16.5 billion for NASA, an increase of $275 million above last year's bill and $15 million above the administration's request. In addition to providing the full request for the Space Shuttle program, this legislation funds the president's vision for space exploration at $3.1 billion.

DeLay is known as one of Congress' strongest proponents of space exploration.

While many people, in the face of a record and growing national debt, would like to limit government expense, many of the same people would love to see Tom DeLay travel to the moon or Mars.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Senate Energy Bill to Help Former Enron Executive

According to Public Citizen, a public interest non-profit organization, the energy bill currently being considered in the U. S. Senate provides for a load guarantee for an energy from coal project. The description of the project in the bill narrows, according to Public Citizen, the load guarantees to one company's project. And that company, DKRW Energy, was founded by Jon C. Doyle, Robert C. Kelly, H. David Ramm, and Thomas White, all former executives of Enron. White was President Bush's Secretary of the Army after leaving Enron."

Read more

Saturday, June 04, 2005

It Is My Opinion - Working Three Jobs. Uniquely American?

On Feb 4, 2005, President Bush traveled to Omaha, Nebraska to push for Social Security privatization. One of the people he talked to was Mary Mornin, a devoiced mother of three grown children. Part of the discussion:
THE PRESIDENT: There's a certain comfort to know that the promises made will be kept by the government. You don't have to worry.
MS. MORNIN: That's good, because I work three jobs and I feel like I contribute.
THE PRESIDENT: You work three jobs?
MS. MORNIN: Three jobs, yes.
THE PRESIDENT: Uniquely American, isn't it? I mean, that is fantastic that you're doing that. (Applause.) Get any sleep? (Laughter.)
Does President Bush really think that working three jobs is "uniquely American"? Does he think that it speaks well for our economic condition that someone would have to work three jobs? Apparently, to him it is "fantastic". It is good to know that he has created so many jobs; Ms. Mornin has three of them. Doesn't he understand that with the jobs he is creating it takes more than one to support a family?
Morton Bahr, president of the Communications Workers of America union, stated that Bush's comments "show how frighteningly out of touch he is with reality. He refuses to acknowledge any link between Americans working two, three or more jobs and the impact of his devastating tax cuts for the rich and budget cuts for the poor. From his point of view, working that hard is 'fantastic.' For him, it's all about character, not financial desperation."