Thursday, April 29, 2004
Sometimes it’s hard to keep track. Which of these lurking investigations will bring the Administration down? Here’s a quick rundown on some of the biggest ones :
• Republican staffers for Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Orrin Hatch intruded into the computer files of Democrats on the committee and stole thousands of pages of their documents for political use in what has come to be known as “Memogate.” Some of the documents were leaked to Right-Wing media outlets, and may have been shared with the White House. The Justice Department has asked David Kelley, the acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, to investigate.
• George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and the rest of the Administration led us to war in Iraq with strong claims about Iraq possessing weapons of mass destruction and having ties to al Qaeda. We now know that those claims were almost completely unsubstantiated. Now Congress wants to know what happened, and whether administration officials knowingly misled the country and the world. The House and Senate Intelligence Committees are investigating Iraq intelligence failures and Bush's pre-war statements about Iraq's WMDs and ties to al Qaeda.
• In one of the most heinous scandals, senior administration officials are being investigated by a Justice Dept. special prosecutor for leaking the name of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame in order to discredit her husband, Joseph Wilson, who debunked the administration's claim that Iraq was seeking nuclear material in Niger. For any administration, especially one that prides itself on national security, betraying a CIA operative, and her contacts, for political purposes, is completely inexcusable.
• The 9/11 Commission continues to investigate the circumstances that led to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 201. Bush fought the creation of the Commission and has since resisted cooperating, including initially refusing to allow National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice to testify, and agreeing that he would testify only jointly with Vice-President Cheney, and only in secret.
• The Department of Health and Human Services is investigating administration lies about the true cost of the Medicare bill. The Bush Administration understated the cost of the bill by over $100 billion in order to convince reluctant members of Congress to vote for it. Still worse, they threatened an actuary with firing if he revealed the true cost of the bill to Congress. That is, they threatened to fire a government employee for simply doing his job in order to push their political agenda.
• The General Accounting Office is investigating the fake "news reports" the White House created to promote the Medicare law's new prescription drug coverage provisions. The Administration spent tens of millions of taxpayer dollars advertising their flawed policies in the guise of news.
• Republican Congressman Nick Smith has stated that members of the Republican House leadership bribed and threatened him on the House floor to get him to vote for the bloated Medicare bill. They promised campaign contributions for Smith’s son, Brad, who is planning to run for Smith’s seat, from which he is retiring. When he refused, they threatened to make sure that Brad would lose. The House Standards of Official Conduct Committee and the Justice Department are both investigating this outrageous ethical abuse.
• Vice President Cheney is fighting at the Supreme Court to withhold evidence of the proceedings of his secret energy commission. In all likelihood, this is to cover up evidence of our energy policy being written by and for the energy industry, including Enron and other companies that played a roll in manufacturing the California energy crisis.
• President Bush has never proven convincingly that he fulfilled his service requirement in the Texas Air National Guard. In spite of the Administration’s claims that they have released all of the relevant documents, many documents have still failed to appear, including anything explaining the circumstances surrounding Bush being suspended from flight status. The Bushies continue to shamelessly hammer Vietnam vet. John Kerry on his military record. When will Bush come clean about his own record?
• House Republican Leader Tom DeLay is under criminal investigation regarding whether his Texas political action committee improperly financed the GOP's takeover of the Texas legislature. The practices of the PAC seem to have violated numerous campaign finance laws in the Republicans’ pursuit of power. DeLay has already signaled he may be forced to step down from his leadership post if indicted.
Claim vs Fact website!
Conservatives have spent the last 20 years distorting reality and getting away with it. That is about to change. The Center for American Progress has launched this new database project to chart the dishonesty and lies of conservatives – and compare them with the truth. In this database, each conservative quote will be matched against well-documented facts.
Tuesday, April 20, 2004
Anti Intellectual leader
How deep a man is President George W. Bush? “He’s not an intellectual. He is not what I guess would be called a deep thinker,” says Woodward. “He chastised me at one point because I said people were concerned about the failure to find weapons of mass destruction. And he said, ‘Well you travel in elite circles.’ I think he feels there is an intellectual world and he's indicated he's not a part of it … the fancy pants intellectual world. What he calls the elite.”
Woodward Shares War Secrets
Woodward permitted 60 Minutes to listen to tapes he recorded of his most important interviews, to read the transcripts, and to verify that the quotes he uses are based on recollections from participants in the key meetings.
Woodward says immediately after that, Rumsfeld told Gen. Tommy Franks to develop a war plan to invade Iraq and remove Saddam - and that Rumsfeld gave Franks a blank check.
”Rumsfeld and Franks work out a deal essentially where Franks can spend any money he needs. And so he starts building runways and pipelines and doing all the preparations in Kuwait, specifically to make war possible,” says Woodward.
“Gets to a point where in July, the end of July 2002, they need $700 million, a large amount of money for all these tasks. And the president approves it. But Congress doesn't know and it is done. They get the money from a supplemental appropriation for the Afghan War, which Congress has approved. …Some people are gonna look at a document called the Constitution which says that no money will be drawn from the Treasury unless appropriated by Congress. Congress was totally in the dark on this."
DOUBLE YOUR PLEASURE
Al Franken's web site:
A recent press release from the Treasury Department (title: "April 15th Tax Day Reminder: Treasury and IRS Work To Make Paying Taxes A Little Easier") concluded with this:
"America has a choice: It can continue to grow the economy and create new jobs as the President's policies are doing; or it can raise taxes on American families and small businesses, hurting economic recovery and future job creation."
It may remind you of the Republican National Committee's website, which proudly states:
"America has a choice: It can continue to grow the economy and create new jobs as the President's polices are doing; or it can raise taxes on American families and small businesses, hurting economic recovery and future job creation."
It could be a coincidence. Well - no, it couldn't. And when Bush campaign rhetoric ends up on official government documents, it has to give us pause for thought.
Wednesday, April 07, 2004
While we were playing
Chess the Vietnamese were playing Go, it seems now
that the Arabs are playing chess and backgammon and
we're trying to cheat at cards.