Bush's Plan As Captured by the Rude Pundit
Apparently, all that's needed for "Victory in Iraq" is a shiny cover on the same old shit."
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Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton
In Care Of: Rochester Regional Office
Kenneth B. Keating Federal Office Building
100 State Street
Rochester, NY 14614
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Earlier today, I was copied on an E-mail by a constituent that had, in turn, already received comment via your office (the responder was “Ann” and the E-mail is email@example.com). Both the original E-mail and subsequent response addressed the Iraq war. The constituent who wrote was concerned about your stance on Iraq (and a variety of issues directly related) and the response was so profoundly vague, muddled, and non-committal, I can’t quite determine where you stand.
I responded to that person’s E-mail and copied your office at the same address as above – and I regret that, at that moment, I thoroughly lost my temper and responded rather vulgarly. I must apologize for my crass words: I behaved rather badly and I apologize. But I also need to express my concern rationally as this is a concern I hear expressed by many New York Democrats.
Senator, I saw your press conference after you returned from Iraq: you were, very clearly, cheerleading for both the war and for Bush policy. As I watched that interview, I grew disgusted. “Bipartisanship” is one thing. Doing the opposition’s dirty work is yet another, entirely.
Let me be painfully frank with you: I am a Democrat who lies in the Democratic Branch of the Democratic Party. I am profoundly liberal and profoundly pragmatic at the same time. In a sentence, I support full-on gay marriage and a graduated tax structure, but would never wear Birkenstocks or eschew eating meat in some misguided attempt at fostering a chicken’s “feelings.” Furthermore, I am a New York citizen by choice. I moved here from Ohio because, quite simply, I was utterly sick of and disgusted with the constant Conservative, Republican, Christian stupidity that runs Ohio. I am, in fact, a Red State Refugee who sought a better place to live and a better life in Blue New York.
I do not regret my decision to make New York my home: it was, indeed, the right decision to make.
Senator, in the coming election I will most assuredly vote for you – and I will do so because you are the Democratic candidate.
But thanks to both your “moderation” and the Democratic Party as a whole taking less-than-granite-bound positions and subsequently defending those positions like frightened school children? If that self-same chicken I like to eat could prove it could and would peck a Republican’s eyes out?
I would put down my fork and seasoning and vote for the chicken in place of you.
Senator, you now live in New York – which, if I may remind you, is the home of progressive thought on the East Coast: please plan both your positions and subsequent battles accordingly. As I left the Midwest for a more enlightened place, allow me to remind you that you did, too. You may have noticed attitudes are different here: embrace the difference, please.
I would also like to point out there are already rumblings about a challenge within the party. These rumblings concern me because it’s painfully clear the party is weak. That said, if a strong Democratic candidate to oppose you emerged? Thanks to your straddling the fence, I would contribute to that challenger's campaign.
The people of New York have put their trust in you – and I happen to be one of those people: please do not let us down. There is, indeed, a time to shake hands. There is also, however, a time to use fists. Clearly, the Republicans understand that difference. Don’t you think it’s time the Democrats did, too?
Pop star George Michael is to marry long-term partner Kenny Goss next year, he has revealed.
The former Wham! singer said he would marry his partner of nearly 10 years in a small, private ceremony "without the whole veil and gown thing".
The first civil partnership ceremonies for gay couples begin on 21 December.
Referring to his own plans: "It'll be relatively soon after it comes in, probably early next year."
As to where the 42-year-old star will wed Texan Kenny Goss, 47, he added: "We'll probably do it here, not abroad."
The singer was speaking after a screening of a new documentary about his career.
He said he would be attending the civil partnership ceremony of singer Elton John and partner David Furnish next month.
The 21 December has been named as the "probable" date for Elton John's ceremony.
The government has predicted that up to 22,000 gay couples will take civil partnership in the first five years.
The number of American casualties in Iraq is now well more than 2,000, and there is no end in sight. Some two-thirds of Americans, according to the polls, believe the war to have been a mistake. And congressional elections are just around the corner.
What had to come, has come. The question is no longer if American forces will be withdrawn, but how soon — and at what cost. In this respect, as in so many others, the obvious parallel to Iraq is Vietnam.
Confronted by a demoralized army on the battlefield and by growing opposition at home, in 1969 the Nixon administration started withdrawing most of its troops in order to facilitate what it called the "Vietnamization" of the country. The rest of America's forces were pulled out after Secretary of State Henry Kissinger negotiated a "peace settlement" with Hanoi. As the troops withdrew, they left most of their equipment to the Army of the Republic of South Vietnam — which just two years later, after the fall of Saigon, lost all of it to the communists.
Clearly this is not a pleasant model to follow, but no other alternative appears in sight.
Whereas North Vietnam at least had a government with which it was possible to arrange a cease-fire, in Iraq the opponent consists of shadowy groups of terrorists with no central organization or command authority. And whereas in the early 1970s equipment was still relatively plentiful, today's armed forces are the products of a technology-driven revolution in military affairs. Whether that revolution has contributed to anything besides America's national debt is open to debate. What is beyond question, though, is that the new weapons are so few and so expensive that even the world's largest and richest power can afford only to field a relative handful of them.
Therefore, simply abandoning equipment or handing it over to the Iraqis, as was done in Vietnam, is simply not an option. And even if it were, the new Iraqi army is by all accounts much weaker, less skilled, less cohesive and less loyal to its government than even the South Vietnamese army was. For all intents and purposes, Washington might just as well hand over its weapons directly to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
Clearly, then, the thing to do is to forget about face-saving and conduct a classic withdrawal.
Handing over their bases or demolishing them if necessary, American forces will have to fall back on Baghdad. From Baghdad they will have to make their way to the southern port city of Basra, and from there back to Kuwait, where the whole misguided adventure began. When Prime Minister Ehud Barak pulled Israel out of Lebanon in 2000, the military was able to carry out the operation in a single night without incurring any casualties. That, however, is not how things will happen in Iraq.
Not only are American forces perhaps 30 times larger, but so is the country they have to traverse. A withdrawal probably will require several months and incur a sizable number of casualties. As the pullout proceeds, Iraq almost certainly will sink into an all-out civil war from which it will take the country a long time to emerge — if, indeed, it can do so at all. All this is inevitable and will take place whether George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleezza Rice like it or not.
Having been thoroughly devastated by two wars with the United States and a decade of economic sanctions, decades will pass before Iraq can endanger its neighbors again. Yet a complete American withdrawal is not an option; the region, with its vast oil reserves, is simply too important for that. A continued military presence, made up of air, sea and a moderate number of ground forces, will be needed.
First and foremost, such a presence will be needed to counter Iran, which for two decades now has seen the United States as "the Great Satan." Tehran is certain to emerge as the biggest winner from the war — a winner that in the not too distant future is likely to add nuclear warheads to the missiles it already has. In the past, Tehran has often threatened the Gulf States. Now that Iraq is gone, it is hard to see how anybody except the United States can keep the Gulf States, and their oil, out of the mullahs' clutches.
A continued American military presence will be needed also, because a divided, chaotic, government-less Iraq is very likely to become a hornets' nest. From it, a hundred mini-Zarqawis will spread all over the Middle East, conducting acts of sabotage and seeking to overthrow governments in Allah's name.
The Gulf States apart, the most vulnerable country is Jordan, as evidenced by the recent attacks in Amman. However, Turkey, Egypt and, to a lesser extent, Israel are also likely to feel the impact. Some of these countries, Jordan in particular, are going to require American assistance.
Maintaining an American security presence in the region, not to mention withdrawing forces from Iraq, will involve many complicated problems, military as well as political. Such an endeavor, one would hope, will be handled by a team different from — and more competent than — the one presently in charge of the White House and Pentagon.
For misleading the American people, and launching the most foolish war since Emperor Augustus in 9 B.C sent his legions into Germany and lost them, Bush deserves to be impeached and, once he has been removed from office, put on trial along with the rest of the president's men. If convicted, they'll have plenty of time to mull over their sins.
Martin van Creveld, a professor of military history at the Hebrew University, is author of "Transformation of War" (Free Press, 1991). He is the only non-American author on the U.S. Army's required reading list for officers."
See the Guardian's take on the above:
"Nowhere to run
After what has been described as the most foolish war in over 2,000 years, is there a way out of Iraq for President Bush, asks Brian Whitaker
Tuesday November 29, 2005
There is a remarkable article in the latest issue of the American Jewish weekly, Forward. It calls for President Bush to be impeached and put on trial "for misleading the American people, and launching the most foolish war since Emperor Augustus in 9 BC sent his legions into Germany and lost them".
Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman plans to announce he will drop out of the race for the Democratic nomination for governor. A news conference is scheduled for this afternoon to formally announce his withdrawal from the race. Coleman met with his family members over the Thanksgiving holiday and made the decision...
Jews and the Christian right: Is the honeymoon over?...And then he (an observant Jewish social and political leader) launched into the most controversial part of his sermon -- an impassioned denunciation of right-wing homophobia that invoked the historical parallel of Nazism. "We understand those who believe that the Bible opposes gay marriage, even though we read that text in a very different way," he said. "But we cannot understand why any two people who make a lifelong commitment to each other should be denied legal guarantees that protect them and their children and benefit the broader society. We cannot forget that when Hitler came to power in 1933, one of the first things that he did was ban gay organizations. And today, we cannot feel anything but rage when we hear about gay men and women, some on the front lines, being hounded out of our armed services. Yes, we can disagree about gay marriage. But there is no excuse for hateful rhetoric that fuels the hellfires of anti-gay bigotry."
Yoffie's sermon was more than 8,000 words long, and ranged over all kinds of subjects. By all accounts, though, the crowd responded most enthusiastically to his salvos against the religious right. This was something that American Jews have been desperate to hear from their leadership, but much of that leadership has been unable or unwilling to say it. As the Jewish newspaper the Forward wrote in an editorial, "There are many reasons to applaud this month's back-to-back speeches by Abe Foxman and Eric Yoffie on the dangers of the religious right, but here's the most important: They have given voice to something their constituents have been thinking and feeling for a long time."
CALIFORNIA, Ohio - They gather for practice here, on the banks of the Ohio River, in a stuffy trailer with wood paneling. There is no plumbing, no electricity. Outside, their boats are surrounded by a chain-link fence. Two portable toilet stalls sit nearby.
For the 60 or so women of the University of Cincinnati's rowing team, this is a familiar place, one they visit almost daily during the season.
It's also the main reason they're suing UC.
Monday, the team filed suit against the university, saying UC has spent millions on men's sports while not providing the women's rowing team so much as a boathouse...
Insects are one of life's great success stories. They have evolved into five million living species, dwarfing the diversity of all other animals combined...
"The truth is I broke the law, concealed my conduct, and disgraced my office," the 63-year-old Republican said at a news conference. "I know that I will forfeit my freedom, my reputation, my worldly possessions, most importantly, the trust of my friends and family."
He could get up to 10 years in prison at sentencing Feb. 27 on federal charges of conspiracy to commit bribery and fraud, and tax evasion."
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A basketball-sized piece of marble molding fell from the facade over the entrance to the Supreme Court Monday, landing on the steps near visitors waiting to enter the building.[snip]
The piece that fell was over the figure of Authority, near the peak of the building's pediment, and to the right of the figure of Liberty, who has the scales of justice on her lap.[snip]
WASHINGTON - Lest we all forget that Rep. Jean Schmidt, R-Miami Township, has an opponent in next year's re-election campaign, Democrat Jim Parker of Waverly e-mailed folks at The Enquirer to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.
So what does Parker, 37, a health care administrator, think about Schmidt telling Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., a decorated Marine, that "cowards cut and run, Marines never do"?
Parker posted his response to Schmidt's comments on an Ohio politics blog, which can be linked to through Parker's own blog....
WASHINGTON - A second Time magazine reporter has agreed to cooperate in the leak case and will testify about her discussions with Karl Rove's attorney, a sign that prosecutors are still exploring charges against the White House aide.
Viveca Novak, a reporter in Time's Washington bureau, is cooperating with Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald...
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee urged President George W. Bush on Sunday to go before the American public to explain his plan for the war in Iraq.
Virginia Sen. John Warner told NBC's "Meet the Press," that such a public address would be helpful to hold on to public support during the next six months while Iraq sets up its own government and gains the ability to maintain its security.
Nov. 28, 2005 issue - Gay marriage in the Holy Land? Five Israeli gay couples who got hitched in Canada under its 2003 gay-marriage law asked judges in Israel last week to order authorities to recognize their unions as binding. Israeli law is strict on matrimony, going so far as to bar unions between Jews and non-Jews. But authorities do recognize mixed couples who tie the knot abroad, a legal custom that the couples' lawyer now wants applied to gay unions.
The stakes are mainly political. Israel already has labor laws and court judgments extending benefits to same-sex partners. But in a country where religious parties usually wield enough power to make or break ruling coalitions, a liberal decision by the bench could trigger a political backlash from ultra-Orthodox members of Parliament. "We made the decision to marry knowing it would spark a battle in Israel," Yosi BenAri, a petitioner, told NEWSWEEK.
Israel's chief justice, Aharon Barak, has appointed an expanded panel to hear the case. Analysts believe the court, often a trailblazer on liberal issues, will side with the petitioners. But Avraham Ravitz, a rabbi and member of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's coalition, said Parliament would block gay-marriage advances through legislation. "We have a coalition agreement that says when the court makes decisions against religious principles, Parliament will correct them," he says.
What better way to recover from a Thanksgiving gorging than to settle down in front of the computer and check out the latest Friday line? This week The Fix tackles the top 10 House races; the contests are ranked from the least likely to switch party control to the most (just like a Thanksgiving dinner, you have to wait until the end to get the good stuff). As always, your comments, queries and criticisms are welcome, and you can compare this list to the last line on the House.
Without further ado, the Friday Line:
10) Indiana’s 8th district – Rep. John Hostettler (R): Yes, we know Hostettler does almost nothing incumbents typically do – raise money, for one – and still always managed to win reelection in this southern Indiana district. And, yes, we know that Democrats tout their candidate in this seat every two years only to be disappointed on Election Night. But we just can’t resist putting this seat on the line – especially after Vanderburgh County Sheriff Brad Ellsworth (D) seemed to be all over television after tornadoes ripped through the area in early November. Hostettler, keeping with his un-politician image, had previously voted against more than $50 billion in relief dollars for Hurricane Katrina victims and initially balked at visiting parts of the district hit by tornadoes because he said it would distract from clean-up efforts. He eventually did visit the ravaged areas but voters may remember his early reluctance next year. (Previous ranking: N/A)
5) Ohio's 6th district – OPEN, Rep. Ted Strickland (D) is running for governor: The resounding defeat of a handful of reform propositions on the ballot earlier this month gave us pause about just how much trouble Ohio Republicans are really facing next November. Right now, their problems seem more minor than we thought as just a month ago. National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Reynolds (N.Y.) uses every opportunity to praise the campaign of youthful state Rep. Chuck Blasdel (R). Democrats seem encouraged by the performance of state Sen. Charlie Wilson, who is their likely nominee and has the moderate bona fides to win in this southeastern Ohio seat carried by President Bush with 51 percent of the vote in 2004. Republicans insist that Wilson’s background is riddled with political landmines that will doom him. (Previous ranking: 7)
"Sex education will encourage kids to have sex? No way. I had 4 years of algebra and I never do math." - Elayne Boosler
COLUMBUS - A year ago, the attorney who wrote Ohio's ban on civil unions said it wouldn't affect the few public universities already offering health insurance to employees' same-sex partners.
Now he and State Rep. Tom Brinkman Jr. are suing to overturn the benefits at one of those universities.
Other schools offering the benefits say they aren't changing their policies but are watching the lawsuit against Miami University closely...
LONDON (AP) -- Elton John says he and his partner David Furnish plan a small private ceremony to seal their civil partnership under new legislation offering gays many of the legal protections available to married heterosexuals.
''It'll be a very small family affair and then in the evening there'll be a soiree somewhere, which we have yet to work out,'' John was quoted as saying in an interview with Attitude magazine released Thursday....
U.S. Rep. Jean Schmidt, R-Miami Township, said Wednesday she has been asked to go to Iraq early next year as part of a congressional delegation....
The Indiana Supreme Court today upheld a state law requiring women to wait 18 hours before having an abortion.
In a 4-1 decision released this morning, the justices said the law doesn't impose a "material burden" on any right to privacy or abortion.
The law has been under attack since it was passed in 1995 over the veto of then-Gov. Evan Bayh....
I've decided that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. There is no religion, no gift buying, no bull. Just a good reason for a gathering of family and friends (and the next day off from work). What could be better?I concur. And my girl is coming down TODAY!
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Letters to the editor
Schmidt just mouths attacks of leaders
Why are we so outraged at the inappropriate remarks of Rep. Jean Schmidt? She is just mouthing the same sorts of attacks that the Bush administration and many of their supporters have been leveling at anyone who would dare to disagree with them. It is far braver to speak out against decisions that are harming our country than to just follow blindly.
Schmidt spoke truth, owes no apology
I do not understand the outrage at the message Jean Schmidt delivered the other night; she was just relaying a message from a Marine that they do not cut and run. I say kudos to Schmidt for delivering the message. The backlash she is receiving is ridiculous, and I don't think she should have to apologize.
The people asking for the immediate withdrawal from Iraq should ask the Marines and soldiers in the field how they feel, and I am sure they would tell Congress: "Let us do and finish the job, and stop all the rhetoric about immediate withdrawal and pre-war intelligence."
Schmidt should listen more, speak less
With just a few words, Rep. Jean Schmidt has managed to embarrass herself, her district, and the entire Greater Cincinnati area by calling her colleague, a highly decorated war veteran, a coward on the floor of the House. Perhaps the gentle lady could better represent her district with more listening than more speaking.
A course being offered next semester by the university religious studies department is titled "Special Topics in Religion: Intelligent Design, Creationism and other Religious Mythologies."
"The KU faculty has had enough," said Paul Mirecki, department chairman. "Creationism is mythology," Mirecki said. "Intelligent design is mythology. It's not science. They try to make it sound like science. It clearly is not."
It appears that Jean Schmidt's people must read blogs because the addresses are no longer up there.
Danny Bubp, a freshman state representative who is a colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve, told The Enquirer that he never mentioned Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., by name when talking with Schmidt, and he would never call a fellow Marine a coward.
The notion that opposition to U.S. policy somehow qualifies as cowardice or disloyalty is noxious, an affront to the very Constitution Schmidt is sworn to uphold. But Schmidt's speech violated another oath, one she imposed upon herself when she took office, according to State Rep. Tom Brinkman (R-Mount Lookout), who had opposed Schmidt in the GOP primary last summer.
"When she was sworn in 75 days ago," Brinkman says, "she said, 'This House has much work to do. On that we can all agree. We will not always agree on the details of that work. Honorable people can certainly agree to disagree. However, here today I accept a second oath. I pledge to walk in the shoes of my colleagues and refrain from name-calling or the questioning of character. It is easy to quickly sink to the lowest form of political debate. Harsh words often lead to headlines, but walking this path is not a victimless crime. This great House pays the price.'
"Boy, she sure forgets quick, doesn't she?"
Actress Rachel Dratch of NBC-TV's "Saturday Night Live" portrays Rep. Jean Schmidt of Clermont County as a laughingstock lawmaker.
U.S. Rep. Jean Schmidt said this afternoon she had “no idea’’ when she created an uproar on the House floor that she was addressing a remark to a fellow House member who is a much decorated Marine veteran of Vietnam.
...the DINO below is obviously looking to keep his job by hiding behind what he thinks is the majority. Holding on to dear leader's coattails.
We need MORE LIKE MURTHA!!!
Among other things, [Bush} said, "the progress in
He also hailed "fine Democrats like Senator Joe Lieberman share the view that we must prevail in
Eww. So, you are fine only if you agree with a war that was started based on lies, started to pad Cheney's Halliburton pockets, and which has caused us to be more hated than EVER...
If that is fine - count me OUT. And count anyone who has any hope of getting my vote out also!
There is a lot of other crap in the article also - particularly about how it is not "relevant" that Cheney is authorizing war and torture, yet had a record FIVE goddam deferments.
As I watched President Bush attack
Democrats critical of his
As I watched President Bush attack Democrats critical of his handling of pre-war intelligence -- while donned in military regalia -- I wanted to cry out: ``But Mr. President, Halloween was two and a half weeks ago.''
WILLIAM C. MARSHALL, Miami Beach
Now that the United States has bought enough avian-flu vaccine to protect only 1 percent of the population, who will be vaccinated? It wouldn't be the 1 percent that controls most of the wealth in the United States, would it?
J. TOMARCHIO, Miami
President Bush's conservative supporters should rent the movie Hotel Rwanda and then tell me that our troops couldn't have been bigger heroes in other parts of the world plagued by horrific governments.
PETER KONEN, Miami Shores
GOP plans to leave no millionaire behind
Republican members of Congress held true to their unofficial motto by simultaneously passing in the House sweeping cuts to student loans, food stamps and other social programs while passing in the Senate extensions to tax cuts on investment income but blocking higher taxes for oil companies.Now Congress is considering granting $2 billion in hurricane relief funds to Northrop Grumman, an enormous defense contractor. This proves that the Republican Party plans to leave no millionaire behind in its quest to trample the poor underfoot.
Be wary of calls to give up freedom for safety
Richard Feldman's column (Nov. 15) encourages giving up freedoms for security. I wonder why so many writers are telling us to give up more liberty to be "safe." Does anyone remember history class? The USSR and Nazi Germany convinced their citizens that certain liberties and freedoms were to be given up for the safety of the many. Eventually, all liberty and freedom was gone. We don't need more laws taking away more freedom. I for one do not want to be put in a "safe environment" (read "ghetto"). Our ancestors fought for our freedom; the least we can do is hang onto it.Sondra Jarrett
Critics of war critics blindly follow Bush
I am growing very tired listening to Bush supporters slam Democrats for criticizing the president for his blatant manipulation of war intelligence. Angie Spaulding's and James Gregory's letters to the editor are prime examples of conservative Bush supporters who have been brainwashed by this administration into believing what is not true. They claim that there is "too much evidence" supporting Saddam's weapons of mass destruction. There may have been evidence supporting Saddam's WMD, but there was also an extraordinary amount of intelligence that proved that Saddam did not have WMD. The president did not lie about the intelligence he chose to present to Congress and the American people, but he clearly did manipulate intelligence by refusing to present credible evidence that would have weakened his case for war. I suggest Spaulding and Gregory objectively investigate the whole truth instead of blindly following their conservative leaders.Patrick Wanzer
By PETE YOST, Associated Press Writer
Michael Scanlon, a former partner to lobbyist Jack Abramoff, pleaded guilty Monday to conspiring to bribe public officials, a charge growing out of the government investigation of attempts to defraud Indian tribes and corrupt a member of Congress.
Scanlon, a former aide to Rep. Tom DeLay, entered the plea before U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle and agreed to pay restitution totaling more than $19 million to the tribes.
Scanlon, who is expected to cooperate in the investigation of Abramoff and members of Congress, could face up to five years in prison.
Outside the courthouse, Scanlon attorney Plato Cacheris said his client "is regretful for what happened to the tribes" and is trying to do what is right by cooperating with the investigation.
The charge was in a criminal information filed Friday accusing Scanlon of conspiring with Abramoff to defraud Indian tribes and engage in a corrupt scheme that lavished trips, sports tickets and campaign donations on a member of Congress, Rep. Bob Ney (news, bio, voting record), R-Ohio.
DeLay is among those facing scrutiny for his associations with Abramoff, including a trip to Scotland and use of Abramoff's skybox at a Washington sports arena.
Abramoff's lobbying network stretched far into the halls of Congress. Documents obtained by The Associated Press show nearly three dozen lawmakers helping to block an American Indian casino in Louisiana while collecting large donations from the lobbyist and his tribal clients.
Among the documents were private e-mails, released by the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, in which Abramoff said he had persuaded Ney to attach language to an election reform bill to help an American Indian tribe in Texas reopen a closed casino.
Abramoff directed a Texas tribe, the Tiguas, to donate to Ney's re-election campaign and PAC by e-mail.
Abramoff and Scanlon were paid more than $80 million between 2001 and 2004 by six American Indian tribes with casinos.
Mark Tuohey, a Washington attorney for Ney, has said the congressman was misled by other people and was a victim in the circumstances involving Scanlon.
Ney's office performed certain acts and "there was certain other wining and dining situations like other people do," Tuohey said.
DeLay, who relinquished his post as House minority leader after a separate indictment in Texas, is due in court in Austin Tuesday for a hearing seeking dismissal of conspiracy and money laundering charges."
"Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people." ~ Theodore Roosevelt
"The only thing new in the world is the history you don't know." ~ Harry S. Truman
A couple years ago, historian Chalmers Johnson predicted that thanks to the "entrenched interests" of the military-industrial complex, the United States can look forward to a future of perpetual war, increased propaganda, fewer Constitutional rights, and a bloated executive branch. America, he warned, "will cease to resemble the country outlined in the Constitution of 1787" unless there is a "revolutionary rehabilitation of American democracy."
" . . . I do hope everyone reads the LA Times article on Curveball. This was my favorite passage:One CIA-led unit investigated Curveball himself. The leader was "Jerry," a veteran CIA bio-weapons analyst who had championed Curveball's case at the CIA weapons center. They found Curveball's personnel file in an Iraqi government storeroom. It was devastating.
Curveball was last in his engineering class, not first, as he had claimed. He was a low-level trainee engineer, not a project chief or site manager, as the CIA had insisted.
Most important, records showed Curveball had been fired in 1995, at the very time he said he had begun working on bio-warfare trucks. A former CIA official said Curveball also apparently was jailed for a sex crime and then drove a Baghdad taxi.
Jerry and his team interviewed 60 of Curveball's family, friends and co-workers. They all denied working on germ weapons trucks. Curveball's former bosses at the engineering center said the CIA had fallen for "water cooler gossip" and "corridor conversations."
"The Iraqis were all laughing," recalled a former member of the survey group. "They were saying, 'This guy? You've got to be kidding.'"
There's a great Coen Brothers style black comedy here if anyone has any screenplay writing skills. The flunkee engineer turned taxi driver pervert who led America to war."
ISSUE #1 - THE SIN OF SODOM
1st deferment: Cheney enrolled in Casper Community College in January 1963 -- he turned 22 that month -- and sought his first student deferment on March 20.
2nd deferment: (student) after transferring to the University of Wyoming on July 23, 1963.
3rd deferment: (student) on Oct. 14, 1964.
4th deferment: attended graduate school at the University of Wyoming on Nov. 1, 1965.
5th deferment: On Oct. 6, 1965, the Selective Service lifted its ban against drafting married men who had no children. Nine months and two days later, Cheney had his first daughter. Cheney applied for 3-A status, the ''hardship'' exemption, which excluded men with children or dependent parents. It was granted.
Longtime Physician To Head FDA Office Of Women's Health Drug Review Officer to Fill Position Left Vacant in Protest of Contraception Ruling
By Marc Kaufman, Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, November 21, 2005; Page A02
The Food and Drug Administration has selected a veteran agency official with considerable experience in drug review to head its Office of Women's Health -- a politically sensitive post that became a center of controversy earlier this year when its former director resigned to protest agency decisions on emergency contraception....
U.S. Rep. John P. Murtha has dedicated his life to serving his country both in the military and in the halls of Congress. He had a long and distinguished 37-year career in the U.S. Marine Corps, retiring from the Marine Corps Reserve as a colonel in 1990; and he has been serving the people of the 12th Congressional District since 1974, one of only 131 people in the nation's history to have served more than 30 years in the U.S. House of Representatives and one of only 224 Members of Congress who have served 30 or more years.
Congressman Murtha has worked hard to bring thousands of long-term, family-sustaining jobs to Western Pennsylvania. With the disappearance of the coal and steel jobs that for more than a century were the lifeblood of the area, he pushed the region in a new direction, intent on diversifying the economy to help insulate it from future shocks. In the early 1990s, new companies in an industry unfamiliar in Western Pennsylvania - defense - began to spring up, bringing more than 5,000 jobs to the district he represents. He founded the House Steel Caucus and has brought millions of dollars to the United Mine Workers to retrain displaced miners and train new miners.
He fights for policies that help people, including a patient's bill of rights, prescription-drug benefits, a better minimum wage, and protecting Medicare, Social Security and veterans' benefits. For example, when Pennsylvania's Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) was about to be killed by federal regulations, he convinced the White House to be more flexible and saved the program. When EPA said the six-county Pittsburgh Air Basin would get no permits for industrial growth, he inserted language allowing time to finish a balanced, community-based plan. When Medicare refused to pay for preventive health care such as mammograms and flu shots, he included language in an appropriation that convinced the agency to provide coverage. He has twice saved the health care program of retired miners.
His crusade to improve the health and well-being of Pennsylvanians could benefit people across the nation. Determined to reverse the diabetes epidemic in Western Pennsylvania, he has directed funding to UPMC's Diabetes Institute for diabetes prevention, education and outreach, and to Children's Hospital for a project on Type 1 diabetes. He has forged partnerships between Western Pennsylvania hospitals and world-renowned institutions such as Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Bethesda Naval Hospital, one of which has led to research that could revolutionize the early detection and treatment of breast cancer and significantly advance efforts to eradicate the disease.
He has played a major role in tourism development in the region, starting the National Heritage Area program, which includes two areas in Southwestern Pennsylvania. The Rivers of Steel, dedicated to preserving the history of Big Steel, encompasses 3,000 square miles in Allegheny and six surrounding counties; and the Path of Progress winds through 500 miles in nine Southwestern Pennsylvania, linking heritage sites that pertain to the westward expansion of the early U.S.
His countless honors include the National Breast Cancer Coalition Leadership Award, Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry's Government Leader of the Year, Pittsburgh's Riverperson of the Year and Pennsylvania's two highest honors, the Distinguished Service Medal and the Meritorious Service Medal.
Congressman Murtha is so well-respected for his first-hand knowledge of military and defense issues that he has been a trusted adviser to presidents of both parties on military and defense issues and is one of the most effective advocates for the national defense in the country. He is ranking member and former chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, a Vietnam combat veteran and a retired Marine Corps colonel with 37 years of service, a rare combination of experience that enables him to understand defense and military operations from every perspective.
He learned about military service from the bottom up, beginning as a raw recruit when he left Washington and Jefferson College in 1952 to join the Marines out of a growing sense of obligation to his country during the Korean War. There he earned the American Spirit Honor Medal, awarded to fewer than one in 10,000 recruits. He rose through the ranks to become a drill instructor at Parris Island and was selected for Officer Candidate School at Quantico, Virginia. He then was assigned to the Second Marine Division, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. In 1959, Captain Murtha took command of the 34th Special Infantry Company, Marine Corps Reserves, in Johnstown. He remained in the Reserves after his discharge from active duty until he volunteered for Vietnam in 1966-67, receiving the Bronze Star with Combat "V", two Purple Hearts and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. He remained in the Reserves until his retirement. This first-hand knowledge of military and defense issues has made him a trusted adviser to presidents of both parties and one of the most effective advocates for the national defense in Washington. At the request of Presidents and Speakers of the House, he served as chairman of delegations monitoring elections in the Philippines, El Salvador, Panama and Bosnia.
He was awarded the Navy Distinguished Service Medal by the Marine Corps Commandant when he retired from the Marines."
By Bob Graham
Sunday, November 20, 2005; B07
In the past week President Bush has twice attacked Democrats for being hypocrites on the Iraq war. "[M]ore than 100 Democrats in the House and Senate, who had access to the same intelligence, voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power," he said.
The president's attacks are outrageous. Yes, more than 100 Democrats voted to authorize him to take the nation to war. Most of them, though, like their Republican colleagues, did so in the legitimate belief that the president and his administration were truthful in their statements that Saddam Hussein was a gathering menace -- that if Hussein was not disarmed, the smoking gun would become a mushroom cloud.
The president has undermined trust. No longer will the members of Congress be entitled to accept his veracity. Caveat emptor has become the word. Every member of Congress is on his or her own to determine the truth.
As chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence during the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001, and the run-up to the Iraq war, I probably had as much access to the intelligence on which the war was predicated as any other member of Congress.
I, too, presumed the president was being truthful -- until a series of events undercut that confidence.
In February 2002, after a briefing on the status of the war in Afghanistan, the commanding officer, Gen. Tommy Franks, told me the war was being compromised as specialized personnel and equipment were being shifted from Afghanistan to prepare for the war in Iraq -- a war more than a year away. Even at this early date, the White House was signaling that the threat posed by Saddam Hussein was of such urgency that it had priority over the crushing of al Qaeda.
In the early fall of 2002, a joint House-Senate intelligence inquiry committee, which I co-chaired, was in the final stages of its investigation of what happened before Sept. 11. As the unclassified final report of the inquiry documented, several failures of intelligence contributed to the tragedy. But as of October 2002, 13 months later, the administration was resisting initiating any substantial action to understand, much less fix, those problems.
At a meeting of the Senate intelligence committee on Sept. 5, 2002, CIA Director George Tenet was asked what the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) provided as the rationale for a preemptive war in Iraq. An NIE is the product of the entire intelligence community, and its most comprehensive assessment. I was stunned when Tenet said that no NIE had been requested by the White House and none had been prepared. Invoking our rarely used senatorial authority, I directed the completion of an NIE.
Tenet objected, saying that his people were too committed to other assignments to analyze Saddam Hussein's capabilities and will to use chemical, biological and possibly nuclear weapons. We insisted, and three weeks later the community produced a classified NIE.
There were troubling aspects to this 90-page document. While slanted toward the conclusion that Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction stored or produced at 550 sites, it contained vigorous dissents on key parts of the information, especially by the departments of State and Energy. Particular skepticism was raised about aluminum tubes that were offered as evidence Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear program. As to Hussein's will to use whatever weapons he might have, the estimate indicated he would not do so unless he was first attacked.
Under questioning, Tenet added that the information in the NIE had not been independently verified by an operative responsible to the United States. In fact, no such person was inside Iraq. Most of the alleged intelligence came from Iraqi exiles or third countries, all of which had an interest in the United States' removing Hussein, by force if necessary.
The American people needed to know these reservations, and I requested that an unclassified, public version of the NIE be prepared. On Oct. 4, Tenet presented a 25-page document titled "Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction Programs." It represented an unqualified case that Hussein possessed them, avoided a discussion of whether he had the will to use them and omitted the dissenting opinions contained in the classified version. Its conclusions, such as "If Baghdad acquired sufficient weapons-grade fissile material from abroad, it could make a nuclear weapon within a year," underscored the White House's claim that exactly such material was being provided from Africa to Iraq.
From my advantaged position, I had earlier concluded that a war with Iraq would be a distraction from the successful and expeditious completion of our aims in Afghanistan. Now I had come to question whether the White House was telling the truth -- or even had an interest in knowing the truth.
On Oct. 11, I voted no on the resolution to give the president authority to go to war against Iraq. I was able to apply caveat emptor. Most of my colleagues could not.
The writer is a former Democratic senator from Florida. He is currently a fellow at Harvard University's Institute of Politics."
WASHINGTON, Nov. 19 - The Justice Department has signaled for the first time in recent weeks that prominent members of Congress could be swept up in the corruption investigation of Jack Abramoff, the former Republican superlobbyist who diverted some of his tens of millions of dollars in fees to provide lavish travel, meals and campaign contributions to the lawmakers whose help he needed most.
The investigation by a federal grand jury, which began more than a year ago, has created alarm on Capitol Hill, especially with the announcement Friday of criminal charges against Michael Scanlon, Mr. Abramoff's former lobbying partner and a former top House aide to Representative Tom DeLay.
The charges against Mr. Scanlon identified no lawmakers by name, but a summary of the case released by the Justice Department accused him of being part of a broad conspiracy to provide "things of value, including money, meals, trips and entertainment to federal public officials in return for agreements to perform official acts" - an attempt at bribery, in other words, or something close to it.
Mr. Abramoff, who is under indictment in a separate bank-fraud case in Florida, has not been charged by the federal grand jury here. But Mr. Scanlon's lawyer says he has agreed to plead guilty and cooperate in the investigation, suggesting that Mr. Abramoff's day in court in Washington is only a matter of time.
Scholars who specialize in the history and operations of Congress say that given the brazenness of Mr. Abramoff's lobbying efforts, as measured by the huge fees he charged clients and the extravagant gifts he showered on friends on Capitol Hill, almost all of them Republicans, the investigation could end up costing several lawmakers their careers, if not their freedom.
The investigation threatens to ensnarl many outside Congress as well, including Interior Department officials and others in the Bush administration who were courted by Mr. Abramoff on behalf of the Indian tribe casinos that were his most lucrative clients.
The inquiry has already reached into the White House; a White House budget official, David H. Safavian, resigned only days before his arrest in September on charges of lying to investigators about his business ties to Mr. Abramoff, a former lobbying partner.
"I think this has the potential to be the biggest scandal in Congress in over a century," said Thomas E. Mann, a Congressional specialist at the Brookings Institution. "I've been around Washington for 35 years, watching Congress, and I've never seen anything approaching Abramoff for cynicism and chutzpah in proposing quid pro quos to members of Congress."
Even by the gold-plated standards of Washington lobbying firms, the fees paid to Mr. Abramoff were extraordinary. A former president of the College Republicans who turned to lobbying after a short-lived career as a B-movie producer, Mr. Abramoff, with his lobbying team, collected more than $80 million from the Indian tribes and their gambling operations; he was known by lobbying rivals as "Casino Jack."
Mr. Abramoff's lobbying work was not limited to the casinos, though. Newly disclosed documents from his files show that he asked for $9 million in 2003 from the president of Gabon, in West Africa, to set up a White House meeting with President Bush; there was an Oval Office meeting last year, although there is no evidence in the public record to show that Mr. Abramoff had a role in the arrangements.
Fred Wertheimer of Democracy 21, an ethics watchdog group that has called for tighter lobbying rules, said it was too early to say whether the Abramoff investigation would produce anything like the convulsion in Congress during the Abscam investigations of the 1980's, when one senator and five House members were convicted on bribery and other charges after an F.B.I. sting involving a phony Arab sheik.
"But this clearly has the potential," Mr. Wertheimer said.
So far, one member of Congress, Representative Bob Ney, an Ohio Republican who is chairman of the House Administration Committee, has acknowledged receiving a subpoena from the grand jury investigating Mr. Abramoff. Another, Representative John T. Doolittle, Republican of California, has acknowledged that his wife, who helped Mr. Abramoff organize fund-raisers, was subpoenaed.
The Justice Department signaled last month that Mr. DeLay had come under scrutiny in the investigation, over a trip that Mr. Abramoff arranged for Mr. DeLay and his wife to Britain in 2000 that included rounds of golf at the fabled course at St. Andrews in Scotland.
The department revealed its interest in Mr. DeLay, who is under indictment in Texas in an unrelated investigation involving violations of state election laws, in an extraordinary request to the British government that police there interview former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher about the circumstances of a meeting in London with Mr. DeLay during the trip five years ago.
London newspapers quoted a document prepared by the British Home Office that outlined the Justice Department's investigation and said that "it is alleged that Abramoff arranged for his clients to pay for the trips to the U.K. on the basis that Congressman DeLay would support favorable legislation."
Richard Cullen, a lawyer for Mr. DeLay, said in an interview Friday that he was "glad that the Justice Department is looking into all aspects of the trip because I think that a thorough investigation will show that the trip was substantive and transparent."
Mr. Cullen said that shortly after he was hired several months ago, he contacted the Justice Department "to let them know that Mr. DeLay is available to cooperate in any way."
The lawyer said he was "convinced that when the Justice Department completes its investigation of Abramoff and Scanlon, that it will be clear Tom DeLay has acted ethically and has conducted himself consistent with all laws and House standards of conduct." He said he had not heard from federal prosecutors since the initial contacts.
The situation could be more serious for Mr. Ney, a five-term lawmaker whose position as chairman of the House Administration Committee gives him power over the operations of the Capitol building and allows him to divide up Congressional perks like office space and parking.
Mr. Ney's ties to Mr. Abramoff have been revealed slowly over the last year, largely through testimony before the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, which has held a series of hearings into accusations that Mr. Abramoff and Mr. Scanlon defrauded their Indian tribe clients.
Mr. Ney was not identified by name in the documents filed against Mr. Scanlon on Friday. But the Ohio lawmaker's lawyers acknowledged that Mr. Ney was the lawmaker identified as "Representative #1" in the Justice Department papers, which charged Mr. Scanlon with conspiring to provide "Representative #1" with a golfing trip to Scotland, meals at Mr. Abramoff's Washington restaurant and campaign contributions.
Mr. Ney took part in a golf trip to Scotland in 2002 with Mr. Abramoff, where they played at St. Andrews, as Mr. DeLay had done two years earlier. Documents and testimony to Congress showed that Mr. Abramoff had asked an Indian tribe in Texas to sponsor the trip and that Mr. Ney was then asked for his help in trying to reopen a casino owned by the tribe that had been shuttered by state officials.
Mr. Ney was also a regular at Signatures, the expensive Washington restaurant that Mr. Abramoff owned and used to entertain clients, colleagues and lawmakers. Former Signatures employees have said that Mr. Ney frequently ate and drank at the restaurant without paying. Mr. Ney has acknowledged the gifts but said they were within limits set by Congressional ethics rules."