US Politics

RSS 2.0
 
Page contents
 
  Another Case of Questionable Ethics in Congress: Senator Thune (R-SD)February 28, 2006 15:00 Why is a small provision inserted in last summer's mammoth transportation bill for $2.7 Billion attracting scrutiny? Becasue, the provision was a project that Senator Thune (R-SD) had been a lobbyist for prior to becoming Senator. It seems self serving and a a direct action for Thue's business assoicates that has provoked Sen. Mark Dayton, D-Minn., to introduce legislation on Tuesday that would ban elected representatives from advocating for any former client during his or her first two years in office. Under current ethics rules, former legislators can't lobby Capitol Hill during their first year out of office. There are no regulations the other way around.
 
  Not Lame Yet?February 27, 2006 18:50 Interesting, if long winded, look at the troubles surrounding the Bush administration. The question is... will issues from the ports debacle to the Katrina response trickle down to hurt the Republican party this fall at the ballot box?
  California Governor Rejects Call By GOP For MakeoverFebruary 27, 2006 17:53 Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger yesterday rejected right wing calls for him to change his governing style as a threatened conservative uprising at the state Republican convention ended in a mild rebuke of his policies.

Schwarzenegger supporters at the weekend California Republican Party convention here squelched an attempt by some conservatives to put the party on record as criticizing the governor's fiscal policies but went along with a resolution gently suggesting that he not appoint so many Democrats to state judgeships.

At the same time, the governor went on national television to say he has no intention of changing the bipartisan approach he has adopted for his tough re-election fight.

  The Case For ImpeachmentFebruary 27, 2006 00:00 On December 18 of last year, Congressman John Conyers Jr. (D., Mich.) introduced into the House of Representatives a resolution inviting it to form a select committee to investigate the Administration's intent to go to war before congressional authorization, manipulation of pre-war intelligence, encouraging and countenancing torture, retaliating against critics, and to make recommendations regarding grounds for possible impeachment.

Although buttressed two days previously by the news of the National Security Agency's illegal surveillance of the American citizenry, the request attracted little or no attention in the press nothing on television or in the major papers, some scattered applause from the left-wing blogs, heavy sarcasm on the websites flying the flags of the militant right.

  U.S. Democrats Pin Their Hopes On State RacesFebruary 26, 2006 00:00 While considerable political attention is now focused on the Democrats' uphill struggle to regain control of Congress, leaders of both parties say Democrats appear to be in a much stronger position on another pivotal battlefield in November: contests for state governors.

According to party officials, Democrats have a strong chance of picking up a number of governorships held by Republicans and of retaining seats now held, even in states that President George W. Bush won in 2004. That could allow Democrats to put their view of government on display across a bigger swath of the country and strengthen their position for the 2008 presidential race, party officials said.
  Sometimes Politics Can Make You LaughFebruary 24, 2006 14:20 I cant even imagine how funny this must have been. I will have to catch the replay.
The headline is: 'Daily Show' humor befuddles governor

 
  Harris Uses 2000 Election To Raise CashFebruary 22, 2006 20:42 In a recent direct-mail fundraising appeal, U.S. Senate candidate Katherine Harris makes her most direct use yet of her role in the 2000 presidential election to rally Republican support, and then asks Republicans to make a "pledge of loyalty," signified by a contribution to her campaign.

"As Florida's Secretary of State during the hotly-contested 2000 Presidential election recount, I was thrust into the national spotlight for five grueling weeks," she wrote prospective donors.

"To this very day there are angry liberals who still cannot deal with the fact that their candidate lost. ... I am still being blamed for President Bush's victory."

  NSC, Cheney Aides Conspired To Out CIA OperativeFebruary 22, 2006 20:41 The investigation into the leak of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson is heating up. Evidence is mounting that senior officials in the office of Vice President Dick Cheney and the National Security Council conspired to unmask Plame Wilson's identity to reporters in an effort to stop her husband from publicly criticizing the administration's pre-war Iraq intelligence, according to sources close to the two-year-old probe.

In recent weeks, investigators working for Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald have narrowed their focus to a specific group of officials who played a direct role in pushing the White House to cite bogus documents claiming that Iraq attempted to purchase 500 tons of uranium from Niger, which Plame Wilson's husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, had exposed as highly suspect.

One high level behind-the-scenes player who has been named by witnesses in the case as a possible source for reporters in the leak is Robert Joseph, formerly the director of nonproliferation at the National Security Council. Joseph is responsible for placing the infamous "sixteen words" about Iraq's attempt to purchase uranium from Niger in President Bush's January 2003 State of the Union address.


 
  Calling President Bush a hypocrite and a warmonger, about 70 to 80 protesters shouted from a distance today as the president toured Golden's National Renewable Energy Laboratory.February 22, 2006 17:03 Calling President Bush a hypocrite and a warmonger, about 70 to 80 protesters shouted from a distance today as the president toured Golden's National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

"Bush is just creating another spin story, with his sudden epiphany about supporting alternative sources of energy," said Richard Andrews, 60, an environmental engineer from Boulder.

He complained that the government's spending on alternative energy is only a fraction of its military spending.


 
  Port Deals Conflict with Republican ValuesFebruary 22, 2006 16:30 So if Republican values support privatization, promoting democracy and not doing business with anyone who supports terrorism then why is Bush agreeing to give operational contract of U.S. ports to a foreign run government agency that supports Hamas and the destruction of Israel, knowingly has support within their government for terrorism, and is not a democracy nor does it ever intend to be anything close to a democracy. Talk about a contradiction of principals.
  Chertoff Vs. Brown, Round TwoFebruary 21, 2006 20:40 It's been one year since Michael Chertoff was appointed head of the Department of Homeland Security, and it's not a happy anniversary. Chertoff spoke before a Senate hearing this week, facing his critics and explaining his agency's lackluster performance during Hurricane Katrina.

"Curiously disengaged" during the onset of the crisis is how Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins depicted Chertoff; she also wondered why he took a trip to Atlanta rather than directing the effort from Washington. Minnesota Democrat Mark Dayton called DHS under Chertoff's leadership "non-functional," while Collins chose "late," "uncertain, "ineffective," "alarming" and "unacceptable" to define the agency's performance. Minnesota Republican Norm Coleman said Chertoff "failed the President" by not informing him of the doubts he had about then-Federal Emergency Management Agency head Michael Brown. The "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job" comment came a day after Chertoff says that he had begun to question Brown's ability.


 
  Bush And Cheney Are Threat To DemocracyFebruary 20, 2006 18:16 Many Bush administration supporters say that the President, "Vice," or administration officials should not be criticized for their statements and actions. Critics are called unpatriotic, cowards and obstructionists. Why, to intimidate the critics?

Here are some reasons for valid criticism. Giving false reasons (and changing the reason many times) for the Iraq war, not having plans for the occupation, and not providing sufficient troops, armored vehicles or body armor. Dozens of military, Defense and State Department professionals have resigned in protest and others forced out.

Emphasizing tax cuts for the rich while increasing the national debt due to unrealistic budget projections, leaving our children with the problem. Ignoring the true health care and social security reform while making the insurance and financial industries wealthier. Again many in government in these areas have resigned in protest. The Bush administration has also promised money for disasters and other support, which they have not released.


 
  Frist: No New Spy Legislation NeededFebruary 20, 2006 18:08 Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, continuing his political jockeying in preparation for a Presidential run, stood firmly with the White House on the administration's eavesdropping program. He said Sunday he doesn't think new or updated legislation is needed to govern domestic surveillance to foil terrorists.

"I don't think that it does need to be rewritten, but we are holding hearings in the Judiciary Committee right now,'' Frist said on CBS' "Face the Nation.''

Frist also said he didn't think a court order is needed before eavesdropping, under the program, occurs. ``Does it have to be thrown over to the courts? I don't think so. I personally don't think so,'' he said.


 
  Bush's Dishonest Politics - The Trillion-Dollar GimmickFebruary 19, 2006 15:27 Back when the late John Mitchell was attorney general in the Nixon administration, he advised reporters, "Watch what we do, not what we say."

That advice certainly applies to the Bush administration as well. The latest bit of evidence to come to my attention is what you might think of as the Case of the Disappearing Trillion.

The tip-off arrived last week in an e-mail from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. It is a Washington research organization with a distinctly liberal point of view but a deserved reputation for accuracy in its figures.

In this case, the information the center cites was confirmed to me -- though with a very different interpretation -- by officials of the White House Office of Management and Budget. It involves the treatment in the budget of the Bush tax cuts passed by Congress in 2001 and 2003.

Those rate reductions, when enacted, had expiration dates of 2010, designed to keep their long-term costs within the limits set by the budget resolutions of which they were a part. The president is urging Congress to make those tax cuts permanent, but his proposal is controversial and has not yet passed.

This year, however, the budget the president submitted on Feb. 6 simply assumes that the tax cuts have been made permanent -- and thus includes them in the "baseline" for all future years.

The effect, according to the center's analysis, is that "legislation to make these tax cuts permanent will be scored as having no cost whatsoever."

In fact, this analysis says, "The administration's proposal, by changing the rules after the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts were enacted but before they are extended, would ensure that the cost of continuing the tax cuts in the years after the current sunset dates would never be counted. The costs in those years were not counted when the tax cuts were first enacted. . . . Now, the administration is proposing that the tax cuts for those years also be ignored when the tax cuts are extended. To fail ever to count the cost of the tax cuts in the years after the sunset dates . . . would represent one of the largest and most flagrant budget gimmicks in recent memory."

How large? The Congressional Budget Office scores the cost of making these tax cuts permanent at $1.6 trillion over the next decade. The administration's estimate is somewhat less -- $1.35 trillion.

But, the folks at the OMB told me, it's wrong to claim that they are hiding that cost. They told me to get out my copy of the budget, and they told me right where to look. And sure enough on Column 8, Line 11 of Table S-7 on Page 324 of the green-bordered book, I found the very figure they had cited -- $1.35 trillion.

The heading on the chart of Effects of Proposals on Receipts reads: "Make Permanent Certain Tax Cuts Enacted in 2001 and 2003 (assumed in the baseline)." Those last four words conceal more than a trillion dollars worth of lost revenue.

But that is not all, my OMB friends argued. If you turn to a 396-page volume called Analytical Perspectives, as any conscientious citizen should do, on Page 215 and again on Page 360, you will also find acknowledgment of the change in the bookkeeping. The key passage says, without elaboration, that "the 2001 Act and 2003 Act provisions were not intended to be temporary, and not extending them in the baseline raises inappropriate procedural roadblocks to extending them at current rates."

That sentence must be parsed. The basis for saying those two tax cuts were "not intended to be temporary" is that when Bush recommended them to Congress, he said they should be permanent. But Congress put time limits on them -- which Bush now finds it inconvenient to acknowledge.

And those "inappropriate procedural roadblocks to extending them"? Translation: If you tell Congress the cost of making those tax cuts permanent, lawmakers might have second thoughts about doing it.

In fact, it turns out that Bush tried to get Congress to go along with this bookkeeping switch back in 2004, actually submitting legislation to authorize the change. The House refused to accept it. He put it back in his budget last year, with the same result. But this year he's back again, with more urgency, as he presses the case to make these tax cuts permanent.

Now that you know exactly how easy it is to find this all explained in the budget, I'm sure you are as reassured as I am about the candor of this administration.

  Democratic Bloggers Abuzz Over Hackett ExitFebruary 17, 2006 15:47 The Democratic blogosphere was abuzz Tuesday with the news that one of its heroes, Iraq war veteran Paul Hackett, had dropped out of the Ohio Senate race.

Hackett, a civilian lawyer and a major in the Marine Corps reserves, caused a sensation last year when he nearly defeated Republican Jean Schmidt in a special election in a heavily Republican congressional district in southern Ohio.

  Democrat Wins Bid For TX Republican's State House SeatFebruary 16, 2006 16:47 Democrat Donna Howard won election to the Texas House on Tuesday to serve the remainder of Republican Todd Baxter's term.

Baxter, who resigned Nov. 1, became a lobbyist for the Texas Cable and Telecommunications Association.

He said he stepped down from House District 48 when he did to allow his successor to speak for the Austin district in a special legislative session on school finance this spring.


 
  Cheney Controversy PersistsFebruary 15, 2006 16:52 Questions about why Vice President Dick Cheney did not tell the public that he had accidentally shot Texas lawyer Harry Whittington during a quail hunting outing in Texas on Saturday continue to persist. Now the White House is under fire for not releasing information on the Cheney shooting quickly enough.

Sources told ABC News that the vice president's team had debated issuing a statement early Sunday morning per the White House's request. But sources said Cheney's team decided it would be more credible to allow ranch owner and witness Katharine Armstrong to make the information public.

Armstrong is the daughter of a former Halliburton official who hired Cheney as CEO.

  Gary Hart: Pressuring Paul Hackett To Abandon Campaign Is Old Politics At Its WorstFebruary 14, 2006 22:48 Based on news reports alone and knowing nothing (thank goodness) about behind-the-scenes politics, the pressure brought on Paul Hackett, the bold Iraqi veteran, to abandon his campaign for the U.S. Senate from Ohio is deplorable.

This is simply old politics at its worst. There is a party which hand-picks its candidates, decides who can and cannot run, directs money to the favorite candidate, and dictate terms. Up till now, that party has been the Republican party.

Now, it seems, my Democratic party is once again imitating the Republican party in a desperate effort to regain power. With the McGovern democratic reforms in the early 1970s, political bosses were diminished and grassroots voters were elevated. The theme was, Let the people decide.

  Noe Case Heading to OH Grand JuryFebruary 14, 2006 19:07 As Columbus prosecutors yesterday filed criminal ethics charges against two former aides to Gov. Bob Taft for their ties to former Ohio Republican fundraiser Tom Noe, Lucas County Prosecutor Julia Bates said she will soon seek charges based on her investigation of Mr. Noe s failed state rare-coin investment fund.

Ms. Bates said her office, which is working with a federal-state task force looking into Mr. Noe and others, nearly has finished its investigation into the former GOP fund-raiser s $50 million coin venture. She said she will take the case before a county grand jury.

We re done investigating and we re going forward with the grand jury, she said yesterday.

  Democrats Think SmallFebruary 14, 2006 18:58 Establishment Democrats are openly lobbying Iraq War vet and original "Fighting Dem" Paul Hackett to drop out of the Senate primary in Ohio, to again challenge "Mean Jean" Schmidt for her House seat.

The official rationale is that Hackett is the only guy who has a chance of picking off Schmidt in blood-red suburban Cincinnati, while establishment Dem Sherrod Brown also stands a strong chance of unseating Republican Senator Mike DeWine in a state rocked by GOP corruption.

Unfortunately, as we've been saying, the Democrats lack a clear and persistent strategy and instead are muddling through, focused on the small stuff.

  Abramoff Claims Close Ties to RoveFebruary 14, 2006 05:42 Three former associates of Jack Abramoff said Monday that the now-disgraced lobbyist frequently told them during his lobbying work he had strong ties to the White House through presidential confidant Karl Rove.

The White House said Monday that Rove remembers meeting Abramoff at a 1990s political meeting and considered the lobbyist a "casual acquaintance" since President Bush took office in 2001.

New questions have arisen about Abramoff's ties to the White House since a photo emerged over the weekend showing Abramoff with Bush. Also surfacing were the contents of an e-mail from Abramoff to Washingtonian magazine claiming he had met briefly with the president nearly a dozen times.


 
  Veterans take to TV to build Iraq war supportFebruary 13, 2006 21:20 Veterans take to TV to build Iraq war support after they were approached by the organization Conservative Progress for America who is sponsoring the advertisement. The ad is suppose to raise awareness and draw attention to the accusation that the media is not reporting the facts. The ad will air on several media outlets over the next month. The web site http://www.midwestheroes.com/ is the launch pad for this ad campaign.
 
  Dean Says Cheney May Have Broken The LawFebruary 13, 2006 17:59 Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean said Monday that Vice President Cheney should resign if he ordered a top aide to leak classified information to the media to defend the invasion of Iraq.

On CNN's "American Morning" program, Dean repeated calls he first made Sunday, saying Cheney may have broken the law if he ordered his former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, to share secret information with reporters in 2003.

"If Vice President Cheney has, in fact, ordered the leaking of political information - of intelligence information, that means he has to step aside," Dean said on CNN.

  The Fact: 97% of Bush Tax Cuts Goto People with Income > $1.2 Milllion per YearFebruary 13, 2006 17:16 The Facts: 97% of Bush Tax Cuts Go to People with Income > $1.2 Milllion per Year
- 20% of Americans (59,613,153 people) live on less than $11,000/yr
- 40% of Americans (119,226,306 people) live on less than $23,000/yr
- 3% of Americans (8,941,973 people) live on $300,000/yr and receive 97% of the tax cuts under the Bush Tax Plan
-More than 99 percent of Americans would receive nothing at all from these new tax cuts in 2006.
-The scheduled cuts would cost $2.6 billion in 2006 if allowed to take effect. The annual cost of these cuts would increase rapidly in later years, and would exceed $10 billion in 2010.

How then can President Bush claim in public speeches and the media that MOST the TAX CUTS go to Middle Class? Pull out your taxes for the last 10-15 years and divide your taxes paid by your income. Corporations and the wealthy pay 1%-10% of their income in taxes. Some corporations actually receive tax credits and refunds, -35% in some cases. This does not seem like an economic policy that considers the interests of most Americans.


 
  Audits Show Millions in Katrina Aid WastedFebruary 13, 2006 17:01 Profiteering rears its head again. How many times are we going to stand by idle while decision makers in Washington take Billions in tax dollars and misappropriate them? Almost half the people monies were distributed to had bad or false social security numbers. The government is allowing profiteers to charge exorbitant rates for services and materials with no questions being asked or justifications being requested. This is the irresponsible fiscal behavior the American people have come t accept as the bureaucracy of our government. That is not the answer but the excuse for people that are not doing their jobs. If I were to perform my job in the manner that my government performs their job I would be unemployed with an employer I cant reference on my resume.
  GOP Backs Ex-Steeler SwannFebruary 13, 2006 16:38 Pennsylvania's Republican Party leaders endorsed former Pittsburgh Steeler star Lynn Swann for governor Saturday, virtually guaranteeing that he will be the candidate to face Democratic incumbent Ed Rendell this fall.

"I haven't cried this much since I was inducted into the Hall of Fame," Swann told the applauding crowd as he wiped tears from his eyes.

Swann, 53, was unopposed for the endorsement, which came in a unanimous voice vote during a meeting of the 300-plus-member Republican State Committee at a downtown hotel.

  First Photo Of Bush And AbramoffFebruary 13, 2006 16:14 Just how close was the relationship between the White House and disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff? The Bush Administration again faced questions about those ties after an e-mail Abramoff sent a journalist friend surfaced last week in which Abramoff wrote that he had met President Bush almost a dozen times over the past five years, and even received an invitation to the President's Crawford, Texas, ranch along with other large political donors. Bush "has one of the best memories of any politician I have ever met," Abramoff mused in the e-mail last month, adding that, He "saw me in almost a dozen settings, and joked with me about a bunch of things, including details of my kids." The White House, however, has continued to assert that the President had no recollection of ever meeting Abramoff. When TIME reported in January that it had viewed unpublished photographs of Abramoff with Bush, aides responded that the pictures meant nothing since the President is photographed with thousands of supporters and White House visitors every year.
  Bush Intervened for Abramoff TwiceFebruary 13, 2006 15:55 President Bush intervened to remove federal prosecutors from investigating Jack Abramoff not once, but twice. On two occasions, Bush personally prevented Abramoff from being investigated.

On another occasion, one newspaper has documented evidence of Jack Abramoff taking a $25,000 check from an Indian tribe for a meeting with the President. The meeting took place and seems to show the President in the same light as many of his Republican colleagues in the House and Senate. His influence has been 'peddled' by Abramoff to the highest bidder.

  Libby Was Told to Leak Plame's NameFebruary 13, 2006 15:39 The biggest piece of news not to make the news happened last week. It concerns the leaking of a covert CIA agent s identity in revenge and Vice President Dick Cheney s lackeys. It should all make us shiver in pause that a Machiavellian prince is pulling the strings and triggers in Washington.
The vice president s former chief of staff, Lewis Scooter Libby, testified to a grand jury last week that he was authorized by his bosses to leak classified information in retaliation and an effort to justify the invasion of Iraq. The leaked identity endangered the life of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame and revealed that the Bush administration is willing to do anything including putting pistols to faces to get its agenda through and push for war. It shouldn t surprise anyone who has been paying attention that behind it all, like Adam Smith s mythological guiding hand, is Cheney.
  Conservative From The U.S. Heartland Is A Maverick - AmericasFebruary 10, 2006 00:00 With a bluntness that seems habitual - and more than occasionally strikes fellow Republicans as disloyal - Senator Chuck Hagel started voicing skepticism about the Bush administration's fixation on Iraq as a place to fight the Global War on Terror more than half a year before the president gave the go-ahead for the assault. What the senator said in public was milder than what he said in private conversations with foreign-policy gurus like Brent Scowcroft, the national security adviser in another Bush administration, or his friend Colin Powell, the secretary of state, who thought he still had a chance to steer the administration on a diplomatic course.

The Nebraskan wanted to believe Powell but, deep down, felt the White House wasn't going to be diverted from its drive to topple Saddam Hussein.

 
  Will Gop Hold On To Congress?February 09, 2006 19:12 In Pennsylvania, Sen. Rick Santorum has been running behind his challenger for months. In Montana, Sen. Conrad Burns, linked to the Jack Abramoff scandal, is on the defensive. In Ohio, Sen. Mike DeWine is struggling to overcome a toxic environment of in-state scandals that has tarnished his party.

Not since 1994 has the party in power in this case the Republicans faced such a discouraging landscape in a midterm election. President Bush is weaker than he was only a year ago, a majority of voters in recent polls have signaled their desire for change, and Democrats outpoll Republicans on which party voters think is more capable of handling the country's biggest problems.

  Tuke Calls On Mcleary To Return Democrat ContributionsFebruary 08, 2006 22:54 Tenessee Democratic Party Chairman Bob Tuke today called on former Democratic state Sen. Don McLeary "to immediately return $79,679 in campaign contributions he accepted from the Tennessee Democratic Party and the Senate Democratic Caucus during the 2002 election cycle and to refund individual Democratic contributions as well."

Mr. Tuke said, "Those were dollars contributed by good Democrats in good faith. By accepting our support and then switching parties before his term expired, Don McLeary acted in bad faith. At this point, the only honorable thing to do is to return those funds. If Don McLeary doesn't return that money, then he's not an honorable man."

He said in 2002, the Senate Democratic Caucus contributed $40,000 to Sen. McLeary and made in-kind contributions totaling $12,000 for consulting, research and media services. The Tennessee Democratic Party's Victory 2002 committee made in-kind contributios to Sen. McLeary totaling $27,679 for printing and postage. Sen. McLeary used the resources to defeat former Republican Sen. Bobby Carter, it was stated.


 
  Democrats Fear Failure To Exploit Bush ProblemsFebruary 08, 2006 18:46 Democrats are heading into this year's election in a weaker position than they might have hoped, party leaders say, stirring concern that they are letting pass an opportunity to exploit what they see as widespread Republican vulnerabilities.

In interviews, senior Democrats said they were optimistic about making marked gains in congressional elections this autumn, describing this as the best political environment they have faced since President George W. Bush took office.

But Democrats described a growing sense that they had failed to take full advantage of the troubles that have plagued Bush and his party since the middle of last year, driving down the president's approval ratings, opening divisions among Republicans in Congress over policy and potentially putting control of the House and Senate into play in November

 
  King Eulogists Jab BushFebruary 07, 2006 00:00 Speakers took a rare opportunity to criticise US President George W. Bush's policies to his face at the funeral of Coretta Scott King, widow of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

Civil-rights leader the Rev. Joseph Lowery and former President Jimmy Carter cited King's legacy as a leader in her own right and advocate of nonviolence as they launched barbs over the Iraq war, government social policies and Bush's domestic eavesdropping program.

  Put Wiretaps To Test, Bush Urged - World - Smh.Com.AuFebruary 07, 2006 00:00 A sceptical Senate judiciary committee has challenged the Bush Administration's legal justification for its domestic eavesdropping program, with members from both political parties calling for a ruling from a special federal court on whether the practice violates US law.

In testimony before the committee on Monday, the Attorney-General, Alberto Gonzales, defended the surveillance program as a legal and vital tool in protecting the country.

Mr Gonzales maintained that President George Bush had the authority to order the National Security Agency to listen in on international phone calls and emails - without warrants, if necessary - to help detect and deter terrorist attacks.

  FEMA is just a money making machine for contractors with political connectionsFebruary 06, 2006 21:27 Once again the U.S. government and this administration are demonstrating their ability to waste taxpayers money. It was recently uncovered that contractors were renting single room tow behind trailers to residents displaced by hurricane Katrina for $3,322/month. The government approved this gross overpayment for these trailers and has been making payments to contractors that own these trailers. In some cases the residents dont even live in the trailer due to the lack of space and yet the trailers are still being paid for. Nevermind the fact you can go purchase one of these trailers for approx. $12,000. This is wasteful spending combined with kickbacks for contractors with political connections. The lack of oversight and mismanagment of these funds is criminal to say the least.
 
  How much $$ should a company make off the Iraq war?February 06, 2006 21:14 I recently watched, "Off to War" on the Discovery Times channel and one glaring issue in the documentary was the lack of equipment. The U.S. Soldiers expressed frustration that they had trained Iraqi police but they still had not recieved armor, ammo, weapons, vehicles, or even shoes to wear. How are the soldiers suppose to transition security to these people? Where is the money going and why are the simple things like shoes not available? I cannot help but take a look back at defense contractor David H. Brooks CEO. His salary rose from $550,000 to $70 MILLION not to mention the $10MILLION Birthday party he threw for his daughter. Brooks is not the only one making tons of money paid for by the U.S. taxpayers. When will it be enough?

http://www.nydailynews.com/front/story/369994p-314735c.html
http://www.defensetech.org/archives/cat_armor.html
http://www.culturefreak.com/blog-cabin/archives/2005/11/bulletproof_bro.html

  Dissent in the Democratic PartyFebruary 06, 2006 19:07 There's definitely some dissent and suspicion about the Democratic party leaders' motives and goals right now. The party seems pathetically poor at captializing on Republican failures and, to some, seems more concerned with looking Centrist than actually advocating for individual rights and social well-being.
 
  Beauprez, You're No VetFebruary 06, 2006 18:08 Bob Beauprez, congressman and candidate for governor of Colorado, apparently didn't learn anything from President Bush's "Mission-Accomplished" appearance on a U.S. carrier, wearing a flight jacket. That photo-op later turned into a P.R. nightmare for Bush, and fodder for late-night comedians for weeks. Beauprez looks like he may have pulled a similar blunder.

According to a group of Vietnam veterans, Beauprez has no business appearing in uniform, as he did at the Front Range Airport in Watkins, Colorado in June, 2004 (see photo at right).

"We have reviewed the Selective Service Classification History for Robert Louis Beauprez," the veterans report on the "Veterans for Progress" Web site, "and these records indicate that he requested and received three different student deferments. They also indicate that Beauprez came up for the draft, based on his lottery drawing for 1970 of #160. Yet on August 6, 1970 the records indicate that Beauprez was 'excused' because of a questionable 'physical reason.'


 
  GOP Banking On National Security For Another Election VictoryFebruary 06, 2006 18:05 Pumped up by tough talk from President Bush's State of the Union address, Republicans are hoping for a hat trick relying on national security credentials to win their third congressional election since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

But some wonder whether the winning campaign strategy used in the 2002 and 2004 races will be a third-time charm or a big-time bust.

"Clearly, Americans love golden oldies, but this golden oldie will have much more difficulty hitting the charts this time around," said Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia.

  Handful Of Races May Tip Control Of CongressFebruary 06, 2006 17:58 In Pennsylvania, Sen. Rick Santorum (R) has been running behind his challenger for months. In Montana, Sen. Conrad Burns (R), linked to the Jack Abramoff scandal, is on the defensive. In Ohio, Sen. Mike DeWine (R) is struggling to overcome a toxic environment of scandals that have tarnished the state Republican Party.

Not since 1994 has the party in power -- in this case the Republicans -- faced such a discouraging landscape in a midterm election. President Bush is weaker than he was just a year ago, a majority of voters in recent polls have signaled their desire for a change in direction, and Democrats outpoll Republicans on which party voters think is more capable of handling the country's biggest problems.


 
  Will Bush's War on Terror Bring Back Detention Camps?February 06, 2006 00:00 On Jan. 24, the Halliburton subsidiary KBR announced that it had been awarded by the Department of Homeland Security a $385 million contract to build detention centers in the United States. The purpose was to prepare for "an emergency influx of immigrants, or to support the rapid development of new programs" in the event of emergencies. What lessons can we learn from the history of detention centers of an earlier war?

Like the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Centers, Japan's military attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, was a shattering experience for Americans. Parallels between these two "days of infamy" have already been widely discussed by politicians and pundits as well as by everyday people. However, most of us today do not know what actually happened to Japanese Americans on the West Coast as well as in Hawaii in the wake of the devastating bombing.

 
  CIA "Was Making Specific Efforts To Conceal" Plame's Covert Status When OutedFebruary 06, 2006 00:00 Newly released court papers could put holes in the defense of Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby, in the Valerie Plame leak case. Lawyers for Libby, and White House allies, have repeatedly questioned whether Plame, the wife of White House critic Joe Wilson, really had covert status when she was outed to the media in July 2003. But special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald found that Plame had indeed done "covert work overseas" on counterproliferation matters in the past five years, and the CIA "was making specific efforts to conceal" her identity, according to newly released portions of a judge's opinion.
  Bush's Oil Sell Meets ResistanceFebruary 03, 2006 00:00 George W. Bush started a three-day tour of the US yesterday to sell his State of the Union vision of breaking America's addiction to oil, only to find plenty of sceptics and a sense of unease over the direction of the country.

As administration officials appeared to backtrack on his bold vision that alternative fuels could help the US replace 75per cent of its oil imports by 2025, Mr Bush headed to Nashville, Tennessee, for a follow-up address to Wednesday's speech to both houses of Congress.

Mr Bush acknowledged yesterday the unease in the US that has been prompting calls for the country to retreat from Iraq as well as erect trade barriers against emerging giants such as China - key themes in his State of the Union address.

  Rep. Boehner Elected House Majority LeaderFebruary 02, 2006 20:22 Rep. John Boehner of Ohio was elected House majority leader Thursday to replace indicted Rep. Tom DeLay.

Boehner defeated fellow Republican Rep. Roy Blunt of Missouri, 122-109, after lagging behind his rival in a first, inconclusive vote of GOP House members. The third contender John Shadegg of Arizona withdrew after finishing last in the initial round.

Blunt, who had been the front-runner, remains the GOP whip. "Believe me, the world goes on," he said.

  Right Wing Propaganda Mixed With NonsenseFebruary 02, 2006 19:29 Fox News is downplaying the criminal activities of Jack Abramoff, a powerful Republican lobbyist who has pleaded guilty to conspiracy, mail fraud, and tax evasion, preferring instead to politically indict the Democrats.

CNN is giving an equal opportunity slant on the Abramoff story, reporting that both parties are corrupt.

MSNBC's right wing "presenters," reading from their Karl Rove scripts, are beating up on the Democrats as the true culture of corruption, citing Franklin D. Roosevelt.

CNN Headline News goes merrily on its way, not really understanding much of anything except the break-up of Brad and Jennifer.

The MSM has generally been unwilling, or unable, to point out exactly which party is presenting the largest target in the corruption scandal that should be rocking the foundations of our government right now.

  Police Red-Faced Over T-Shirt TussleFebruary 02, 2006 16:42 The chief of the Capitol Police on Wednesday dropped a charge of unlawful conduct against anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan and apologized for ejecting her and the wife of an influential Republican congressman from the State of the Union address for wearing T-shirts with war messages.
``The officers made a good faith, but mistaken effort to enforce an old unwritten interpretation of the prohibitions about demonstrating in the Capitol. The policy and procedures were too vague,'' said Capitol Police Chief Terrance Gainer in a statement.
``The failure to adequately prepare the officers is mine,'' he said.

 
  'Denver 3' Upset By Sheehan Treatment At CapitolFebruary 01, 2006 20:35 Two people who were ejected from a Colorado meeting featuring President Bush last year expressed indignation Wednesday that Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a fallen soldier in Iraq, was ejected from the State of the Union address for wearing a shirt with an anti-war slogan.

"The Bush White House has a pattern of stifling dissent, having those who disagree with the president arrested or threatened with arrest and removed, and then denying any responsibility afterward," Leslie Weise and Alex Young said in a statement e-mailed to media outlets.

Sheehan was arrested and removed from the House gallery Tuesday night before Bush's speech. She faces a misdemeanor charge of unlawful conduct. Police said she was wearing a T-shirt with an anti-war slogan and had been warned that such displays were not allowed.


 
  College Students' Reaction Mixed To Bush SpeechFebruary 01, 2006 20:33 Stephen Noriega watched President Bush's State of the Union address Tuesday in a rare spare moment between classes at Metropolitan State College of Denver and his full-time job as a hotel front desk clerk.

Bush's talk about the war on terror and lessening the country's dependence on foreign oil didn't surprise Noriega, but he was immediately concerned when the president began talking of cutting more than 130 programs deemed obsolete or ineffective from the budget to save $14 billion next year.

"One tends to worry what those programs are," Noriega said adding that he's worried that some of those cuts will come out of education, despite the president's pledge of more funding for math and science.