Sunday, April 30, 2006

Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events.
-Winston Churchill (British politician 1874-1965)

Impeaching Bush, State by State

Forget bird flu, impeachment is spreading across the nation, state by state.

On Tuesday afternoon, Rep. Dave Zuckerman (Prog.-VT) dropped the third of three nearly unreported bombshells on the Bush administration. Zuckerman, along with 12 fellow lawmakers, introduced a formal resolution for the Vermont state legislature to call on the U.S. House of Representatives to impeach President George W. Bush.

With this resolution, Vermont joined the California and Illinois state legislatures, already embroiled in impeachment debates of their own.

For those who still believe impeachment's just a pipe dream, there are several key developments to consider beyond this burgeoning state movement. In addition to the hawkish Zbigniew Brzezinski's op-ed in Tuesday's International Herald Tribune warning that an attack on Iran could merit impeachment, Salon's Michelle Goldberg and my colleague Onnesha Roychoudhuri both noted last month that the "i-word" had gone public.


George Will: Tony Snow ‘Won’t Make a Particle of Difference’

From Think Progress:

Today on ABC’s This Week, conservative pundit George Will said the appointment of new White House Press Secretary Tony Snow was an “aesthetic” fix for a “substance problem” and would do nothing to help the Bush administration.


This is Stephen Colbert speaking at the White House Correspondents Dinner. He satirically lambastes the Bush administration and Washington Culture in front of Bush himself as well as big time Washington power players. This performance will soon be legend.

The second part of Colbert's brilliant performance at the White House Correspondent's Dinner including his short audition tape to be Scott McLellan's successor.

Bush Challenges Hundreds of Laws - Cites Powers of His Office

President Bush has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office, asserting that he has the power to set aside any statute passed by Congress when it conflicts with his interpretation of the Constitution.

Among the laws Bush said he can ignore are military rules and regulations, affirmative-action provisions, requirements that Congress be told about immigration services problems, ''whistle-blower" protections for nuclear regulatory officials, and safeguards against political interference in federally funded research.

Legal scholars say the scope and aggression of Bush's assertions that he can bypass laws represent a concerted effort to expand his power at the expense of Congress, upsetting the balance between the branches of government. The Constitution is clear in assigning to Congress the power to write the laws and to the president a duty ''to take care that the laws be faithfully executed." Bush, however, has repeatedly declared that he does not need to ''execute" a law he believes is unconstitutional.


Feds move to dismiss lawsuit challenging spy tactics

The Justice Department said Friday it was moving to dismiss a federal lawsuit challenging the Bush administration's secretive domestic wiretapping program.

The lawsuit, brought by the San Francisco-based Internet privacy group, Electronic Frontier Foundation, does not include the government but instead names AT&T Inc., whom the group accuses of colluding with the National Security Agency to make communications on AT&T networks available to the spy agency without warrants.

The government, in a filing here late Friday, said the lawsuit threatens to expose government and military secrets and therefore should be tossed. The administration added that its bid to intervene in the case should not be viewed as a concession that the allegations are true.


Tough Primary Race Confronts Lieberman

(I am troubled by the part of this story where Reid called Lamont and asked him to back off. Thats the problem with the Democratic Party. They want to operate safely rather than stand for something. Perhaps Reid also needs to go.)

With his ruddy tan and dark gray suit, Ned Lamont is an antiwar liberal with a twist. Rather than targeting a Republican, the millionaire Greenwich businessman is challenging a fellow Democrat, Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, one of President Bush's strongest supporters on the war in Iraq

When Lamont announced his primary challenge in mid-March, he was viewed as the longest of long shots, a quixotic blueblood who was scratching a political itch. While many Connecticut Democrats had soured on Lieberman over his war stance, a poll showed that voters backed the three-term senator over Lamont by 5 to 1.

But in the space of six weeks, the newcomer has come on strong. Lamont raised $344,111 from 4,337 online donors and added $371,500 of his own money. He hired a staff of seasoned professionals and signed up several thousand volunteers. The 52-year-old cable television entrepreneur is blitzing the state, hitting as many as three events per evening.

Now, Lamont has turned the Democratic primary into a horse race, giving Lieberman his first real test since he joined the Senate 18 years ago, according to Democratic operatives and analysts in Connecticut. Party leaders were so rattled by the challenge that Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) called Lamont asking him to back off.


Powell Says He Urged More Troops for Iraq

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell advised President Bush before the Iraq war to send more troops to the country, but the administration did not follow his recommendation, Powell said in an interview broadcast Sunday.

Critics accuse Bush and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld of failing to send enough soldiers to secure the peace in Iraq after the invasion three years ago.

Powell said he gave the advice to now retired Gen. Tommy Franks, who developed and executed the Iraq invasion plan, and Rumsfeld while the president was present.

"I made the case to Gen. Franks and Secretary Rumsfeld before the president that I was not sure we had enough troops," Powell said in an interview on Britain's ITV television, according to a transcript released by the network. "The case was made, it was listened to, it was considered. ... A judgment was made by those responsible that the troop strength was adequate."


'At Some Point, Reality Has Its Day'

Al Gore has launched his new campaign—this one to battle the effects of global warming. At its center is a new film, “An Inconvenient Truth,” which stars Gore and has been winning surprisingly positive press. It opens May 24. The former vice president, who has abandoned a relatively low profile to promote the movie, spoke to Eleanor Clift about the environment, technology and politics in America.

NEWSWEEK: They say timing is everything. Has the moment arrived for this issue?
Al Gore:
I hope it has. I hope that we are close to a tipping point beyond which the country will begin to face this very seriously and the majority of politicians in both parties will begin to compete by offering meaningful solutions. We’re nowhere close to that yet, but a tipping point by definition is a time of very rapid change—and I think that the potential for this change has been building up, with the evangelical ministers speaking out, General Electric and Republican CEOs saying we have to address it, grass-roots organizations—all of these things are happening at the same time because through various means people are seeing a new reality. The relationship between our civilization and the earth has been radically transformed. Global warming is by far the most serious manifestation of the collision—and Mother Nature is making the evidence ever more obvious. Scientific studies have been coming out right and left over the last several years that connect various parts of the overall picture to the whole. And by whatever means, a lot of people have been absorbing this message, and they’re now saying, "Wait a minute, we really have to do something about this."


Saturday, April 29, 2006

In the lead up to the Iraq war and its later conduct, I saw at a minimum, true dereliction, negligence and irresponsibility, at worse, lying, incompetence and corruption.
- Anthony Zinni

John Bolton gets Questioned on PNAC

Will Your State Be the First to Send Impeachment Charges to Congress?

Three state legislatures, Illinois, California, and Vermont, have now introduced resolutions to send petitions to the U.S. House of Representatives to initiate impeachment proceedings against Bush (and, in the case of California, Cheney too). Minnesota, Missouri, and Oklahoma all have legislatures still active in May. Delaware, Louisana, R.I., South Carolina, and Puerto Rico are all up and running through June. New Hampshire is in session through July.

Every state has legislators brave enough to take the lead if we urge them to do so and provide them with the information they need.

Here's a kit to get you started:

Here's a place to get organized with others in your area:

Fitzgerald to Seek Indictment of Rove

Despite vehement denials by his attorney who said this week that Karl Rove is neither a "target" nor in danger of being indicted in the CIA leak case, the special counsel leading the investigation has already written up charges against Rove, and a grand jury is expected to vote on whether to indict the Deputy White House Chief of Staff sometime next week, sources knowledgeable about the probe said Friday afternoon.

Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald was in Chicago Friday and did not meet with the grand jury.

Luskin was informed via a target letter that Fitzgerald is prepared to charge Rove for perjury and lying to investigators during Rove’s appearances before the grand jury in 2004 and in interviews with investigators in 2003 when he was asked how and when he discovered that Valerie Plame Wilson worked for the CIA, and whether he shared that information with the media.

If the grand jury returns an indictment Rove would become the second White House official - and one of the most powerful political operatives in the country - charged in the case since the leak investigation began in the fall of 2003.

In the event that an indictment is handed up by the grand jury it would be filed under seal. A press release would then be issued by Fitzgerald’s press office indicating that the special prosecutor will hold a news conference, likely on a Friday afternoon, sources close to the case said. The media would be given more than 24 hours notice of a press conference, sources added.

Luskin was at his office when called for comment but his assistant said he would not take the call or comment on this story.


Number of Operations Iraq Freedom & Enduring Freedom casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Commmand: 2437/264

Most Recent Casualties:

April 29, 2006

Army Sgt. Steve M. Sakoda
, 29, of Hilo, Hawaii
-Operation Iraq Freedom

Complete Casualty List

Rush Limbaugh Arrested

The Palm Beach County, Florida, sheriff's Office says Rush Limbaugh has been arrested on prescription fraud charges.


launch player

Friday, April 28, 2006

To some degree it matters who's in office, but it matters more how much pressure they're under from the public.
-Noam Chomsky

Opening Nationwide Today

SEPTEMBER 11, 2001




Bush Rejects Calls for Tax on Oil Profits

President Bush said Friday that taxing enormous oil industry profits is not the way to calm Americans' anxieties about pain at the gas pump, and that his "inclination and instincts" are that major oil companies are not intentionally overcharging drivers.

Bush's remarks suggested the former Texas oilman is unlikely to take harsh action against oil companies despite public anger about the rising cost of fuel. Gasoline is averaging $2.92 a gallon across the country, up 69 cents from a year ago, according to AAA's daily fuel gauge report.

With politicians concerned the issue could tilt what are expected to be close midterm elections this fall, the president and many in Congress have been rushing to offer solutions, most of which would offer little immediate relief.

Some Democrats have viewed this week's announcement by major oil companies of huge first-quarter profits as a chance to renew their push for a windfall profits tax. But though a few Republicans, including Sen. Arlen Specter (news, bio, voting record) of Pennsylvania, have said the idea ought to be examined, Bush and most GOP lawmakers strongly oppose it.


Reporter asks to watch CNN on Air Force One

During a briefing led by White House spokesman Scott McClellan as President Bush was traveling to New Orleans, Louisiana, the Washington Post's Jim VandeHei asked why the White House televisions always seemed to be tuned to Fox News and if it was possible to have them tuned instead to CNN.

"It's come to my attention that there's been requests -- this is a serious question -- to turn these TVs onto a station other than Fox, and that those have been denied," VandeHei told McClellan, who is soon to be replaced by former Fox anchor and self-described conservative Tony Snow.

"My question would be, is there a White House policy that all government TVs have to be tuned to Fox?" VandeHei asked.

"Never heard of any such thing," McClellan responded. "My TVs are on four different channels at all times."


Number of Operations Iraq Freedom & Enduring Freedom casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 2437/264

Most Recent Casualties:

April 28, 2006

Army Staff Sgt. Bryant A. Herlem
, 37, of Killeen, Texas
-Operation Iraq Freedom

Army Sgt. Jose Gomez, 23, of Corona, N.Y.
-Operation Iraq Freedom

Marine Cpl. Brandon M. Hardy, 25, of Cochranville, Pa
-Operation Iraq Freedom

Marine Sgt. Lea R. Mills, 21, of Brooksville, Fla.
-Operation Iraq Freedom

Marine Sgt. Edward G. Davis III, 31, of Antioch, Ill.
-Operation Iraq Freedom

Complete Casualty List

Thursday, April 27, 2006

The first sign of corruption in a society that is still alive is that the end justifies the means.
- Georges Bernanos

Hastert Pulls a Fast One

House Speaker Dennis Hastert of Ill., center, gets out of a Hydrogen Alternative Fueled automobile, left, as he prepares to board his SUV, which uses gasoline, after holding a new conference at a local gas station in Washington, Thursday, April 27, 2006 to discuss the recent rise in gas prices. Hastert and other members of Congress drove off in the Hydrogen-Fueled cars only to switch to their official cars to drive back the few block back to the U.S. Capitol.


Karl Rove has described his three and a half hour meeting with a grand jury as grueling, and is more worried about being prosecuted than ever, MSNBC is reporting.



Ten members of the U.S. House of Representatives will file a lawsuit tomorrow seeking to block implementation of a budget law as signed by President George W. Bush, RAW STORY has learned.

In February, the President signed a version of the "Deficit Reduction Act" that never passed the House. The draft signed by Bush omitted provisions from the version that passed the House that required the government pay for 36 months of durable medical equipment rentals for those who qualified. The version Bush signed allows just 13 months--a difference of 23 months rental and $2 billion in spending.

According to the Constitution of the United States, the same version of a bill must pass both houses of Congress before it can be signed by the President to become law.

The plaintiffs seeking to block the law are all ranking Democratic members of committees affected by the differences.


Senate Panel Says FEMA Is Beyond Repair

Hurricane Katrina turned FEMA into a "symbol of a bumbling bureaucracy" so far beyond repair that it should be scrapped, senators said Thursday. They called for creation of a new disaster relief agency as the next storm season looms on the horizon.

The push to replace the beleaguered agency was the top recommendation of a hefty Senate inquiry that concluded that top officials from New Orleans to Washington failed to adequately prepare for and respond to the deadly storm, despite weather forecasts predicting its path through the Gulf Coast.


Judge Won't Dismiss Case Against Libby

A federal judge refused Thursday to dismiss charges against I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the former top White House aide who was indicted on perjury and obstruction charges last year in the CIA leak scandal.

In a 31-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton turned down a motion by lawyers for Vice President Dick Cheney's one-time top assistant, who challenged the authority of Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald to handle the case.

Libby's lawyers had argued that Fitzgerald was given too much power — more than the attorney general — and that the appointment should have been made by the president with the Senate's approval.

Walton said Thursday he did not need to "look far" in the law to reject the claim by Libby's defense team. The judge said there is no question the attorney general can delegate any of his functions.


Specter threatens to block money for NSA domestic wiretapping

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter said Thursday he is considering legislation to cut off funding for the Bush administration's secret domestic wiretapping program until he gets satisfactory answers about it from the White House.

"Institutionally, the presidency is walking all over Congress at the moment," Specter, R-Pa., told the panel. "If we are to maintain our institutional prerogative, that may be the only way we can do it."

Specter said he had informed President Bush about his intention and that he has attracted several potential co-sponsors. He said he's become increasingly frustrated in trying to elicit information about the program from senior White House officials at several public hearings.


Election 2008: Democrats by 12

Democrats currently hold a 12-point advantage over Republicans on a generic 2008 Presidential ballot. However, a third-party candidate focusing on immigration enforcement issues could fundamentally alter those political dynamics

The latest Rasmussen Reports national opinion survey finds that 44% of Americans say they would vote for a Democrat if the Presidential Election were held today. Just 32% would vote for a Republican. Those figures are likely a reflection of unhappiness with the Bush Administration rather than a commentary on prospective candidates from either party.

The survey also asked respondents how they would vote if "a third party candidate ran in 2008 and promised to build a barrier along the Mexican border and make enforcement of immigration law his top priority."


Senator bolts from chamber after shouting, 'I just violated the rules'

-The Republicans are seemingly unable to do ANYTHING without lying or cheating! Their belief that the ends justifies the means just happens to be the subject of todays quote!

Before bolting from the Senate chamber, U.S. Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM) shouted at Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR,) "I just violated the rules!"

Domenici had interrupted Wyden's introduction of an amendment under the pretense that he was attempting to ask a question. Rather, he blasted the Senator's plan, after doing so announcing, "I just violated the rules! I didn't ask a question, I gave a speech. I hope you listened."

Wyden had been on the Senate floor for nearly five hours. Under Senate rules, a lawmaker can push a vote on his or her amendment so long as they can stand on the floor.

The Wyden amendment would eliminate royalty relief subsidies for drilling on government land if oil prices exceed $55 per barrel. He has argued that the program was implemented when oil was priced at under $10 per barrel, and have since come to exceed $75 per barrel. President Bush has gone on record stating that these particular subsidies were no longer necessary.


Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman rebuffs attempts to interview Administration

The Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has denied Democratic attempts to interview Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former CIA Director George Tenet and two former senior aides to erstwhile Secretary of State Colin Powell,has learned.

Intelligence Vice Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) sought to interview Rice, Tenet and Powell's aides as part of a Senate inquiry into whether public statements by Administration officials about Iraq were corroborated by intelligence information. Recent reports – including one last Sunday from a former CIA chief in Europe – suggest that the Bush Administration was warned that Iraq did not have substantive weapons of mass destruction.


Second Thoughts in Congress on Oil Tax Breaks

Can you say 'duhhhhhhhhhhhh'? There should be no question or hesitation about this. This is an established industry making record profits. If tax breaks are to be given out for those in the energy business - they should be given out to those companies that are about the pursuit of renewable sources of energy.

As anxiety spread in Congress on Wednesday over soaring oil prices, lawmakers in both parties said they were ready to take a tough look at oil and gas incentives they passed as recently as eight months ago.

Citing record industry profits and huge executive pay packages, the top Republican and top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee asked the Internal Revenue Service to turn over tax returns for the nation's 15 biggest oil and gas companies.

Leading Republicans echoed President Bush's call Tuesday to trim about $2 billion in tax breaks Congress passed as part of the energy bill last August. Several prominent Democrats, not to be outdone, pushed for repealing oil and gas tax breaks worth more than $10 billion over the next five years.


Exxon Profits Up 7%

Exxon Mobil Corp., the world's largest oil company, said Thursday that higher oil prices drove first-quarter profit up 7 percent from the prior year.

Net income rose to $8.4 billion, or $1.37 per share, in the January-March period from $7.86 billion, or $1.22 per share, a year ago. Excluding a gain on the sale of an interest in China's Sinopec, the company's year-ago profit was $7.4 billion, or $1.15 per share.

WSJ/NBC News Poll: Bush’s Approval Rating Falls to 36%

Spiking gas prices have intensified discontent with Washington and handed Congress a frightening mid-term election backdrop: a deeply pessimistic electorate despite a robust economy.

A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll underscores a striking gap between Americans’ mood and the nation’s economic performance. Fully 77% call themselves uneasy about the state of the economy — even as new data showed that new home sales and factory orders have remained strong. Two-thirds of Americans say the nation is “off on the wrong track,” President Bush’s approval rating has fallen to 36% and Congress fares even worse at 22% approval.


Rove Testifies 5th Time On Leak

White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove sought to convince a federal grand jury yesterday that he did not provide false statements in the CIA leak case, testifying for more than three hours before leaving a federal courthouse unsure whether he would be indicted, according to a source close to the presidential aide.

In his fifth appearance before the grand jury, Rove spent considerable time arguing that it would have been foolish for him to knowingly mislead investigators about his role in the disclosure of the identity of undercover CIA officer Valerie Plame to the media, the source said. His grand jury appearance, which was kept secret even from Rove's closest White House colleagues until shortly before he went to court yesterday, suggests that prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald remains keenly interested in Rove's role in the case.

Rove for the first time partly waived his attorney-client privilege to detail conversations he had with his attorney, Robert Luskin, about the leak and his knowledge of it, the source said.


Who Asked Rove to Return

Karl Rove's return to the grand jury today could mean the end of the Rove investigation or the beginning of the Rove prosecution. It depends on who asked Rove to return. If Fitzgerald asked Rove to return to the grand jury, that means Fitzgerald thinks he doesn't have enough for an indictment. If Rove asked to return to the grand jury, that means Rove's lawyer, Bob Luskin, believes an indictment is imminent and is sending his client back to make a final desperate attempt to avoid indictment.


Robert Greenwald's
Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers
In Pre-Production

See the trailer and learn how you can help make this film a reality by clicking here.

Number of Operations Iraq Freedom & Enduring Freedom casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 2436/265

Complete Casualty List

April 27, 2006

Army Sgt. Matthew A. Webber, 23, of Kalamazoo, Mich.
-Operation Iraq Freedom

Army Staff Sgt. Mark A. Wall, 27, of Alden, Iowa
-Operation Iraq Freedom

Army 1st Sgt. Bobby Mendez, 38, of Brooklyn, N.Y.
-Operation Iraq Freedom

Complete Casualty List

Nancy Pelosi Blasts the White House

"If you want to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and therefore improve our national security situation, you can't do it if you're a Republican because you are too wedded to the oil companies. We have two oilmen in the white house....

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The control of information is something the elite always does, particularly in a despotic form of government. Information, knowledge, is power. If you can control information, you can control people.
- Tom Clancy

Army Times Poll: Rumsfeld Should Resign

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has come under fire in recent weeks from a variety of retired generals, who say he should resign for his performance in managing the war in Iraq. Do you think the U.S. war effort is grounds for Secretary Rumsfleld to resign?

Yes 64.08 % (2,125)
No 32.60 % (1,081)
Don't know / no opinion 3.32 % (110)
Total votes: 3316

18 rich families pay for campaign to kill estate taxes

Eighteen of America's wealthiest families, including the Timkens of Canton, are bankrolling efforts to permanently repeal estate taxes that would save their families a total of $71.6 billion, according to a report released Tuesday by public interest groups.

Groups funded by the super-rich have engaged in a deceptive campaign to convince the public that estate taxes cause widespread problems for small businesses and family farms when they actually affect about one in 370 estates, said the report released by Public Citizen and Boston-based United for a Fair Economy.


Rove said cooperating in CIA leak inquiry

Karl Rove, Deputy White House Chief of Staff and special adviser to President George W. Bush, has recently been providing information to special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald in the ongoing CIA leak investigation, sources close to the investigation say.

According to several Pentagon sources close to Rove and others familiar with the inquiry, Bush's senior adviser tipped off Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald to information that led to the recent "discovery" of 250 pages of missing email from the office of Vice President Dick Cheney.

Rove has been in the crosshairs of Fitzgerald's investigation into the outing of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson for what some believe to be retaliation against her husband, former U.S. Ambassador to Gabon, Joseph Wilson. Wilson had been an ardent critic of pre-war Iraq intelligence.

While these sources did not provide any details regarding what type of arrangements Rove's attorney Robert Luskin may have made with the special prosecutor's office, if any, they were able to provide some information regarding what Rove imparted to Fitzgerald's team. The individuals declined to go on the record out of concern for their jobs.

According to one source close to the case, Rove is providing information on deleted emails, erased hard drives and other types of obstruction by staff and other officials in the Vice President's office. Pentagon sources close to Rove confirmed this account.


Neil Young on CNN - April 18th 2006 - Discussing his new album "Living with War" and the song from that album "Impeach the President".

CIA Leak Prosecutor Goes to Grand Jury

Special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald early Wednesday went before a federal grand jury looking into the leak of the identity of undercover CIA officer Valerie Plame.

It is believed to be only the second session the prosecutor has had with the grand jury which is examining questions left unanswered in the Plame affair. The only other time Fitzgerald was seen going before the new panel was Dec. 7.

An earlier grand jury expired Oct. 28, the day it handed up an indictment against Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, on five counts of perjury, obstruction of justice and lying to the FBI. Libby is scheduled to go on trial next January.

Fitzgerald's unfinished business includes White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove, who was under investigation when the previous grand jury that indicted Libby expired.


Democrats Say Lieberman Too Close to Bush

Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman, who once occupied the lofty No. 2 spot on his party's presidential ticket, is too Republican for some Democrats.

The three-term lawmaker, a strong advocate of the Iraq War, proponent of some GOP policies and recipient of a kiss from President Bush, has frustrated several national Democrats and angered enough in his home state to draw a primary challenger.

"I think it's a challenge for Lieberman to reconnect to the rank-and-file of the party and prove he is an authentic Democrat," said John McNamara, chairman of the New Britain Democratic Town Committee.

Bumper stickers spotted in Connecticut read, "Anybody but Joe — I want a real Democrat in '06." Campaign buttons show Bush and Lieberman in an embrace, with the words, "The Kiss: Too Close for Comfort."

In February 2005, after Bush's State of the Union speech, the president hugged Lieberman and planted a kiss on his right cheek.

Call it the buss that launched a challenge.

Ned Lamont, a wealthy Greenwich businessman, is trying to snatch the Democratic nomination from Lieberman, arguing that the 64-year-old senator is "Republican-lite."


Bush's Fortune May Rest With GOP Congress

President Bush is not on the ballot in November, but he might as well be. Republican losses could make an already difficult situation in Congress almost untenable for him.

If his party loses control of one, or both chambers of Congress, the next two years could be a political nightmare for Bush and his GOP allies on Capitol Hill.

With poll numbers at the lowest of his presidency, Bush has had trouble enough winning support for his priorities in his second term even with a Republican-led Congress. That helped lead to a recent reshuffling of the White House staff.


Percentage of Uninsured Americans Rising

The percentage of working-age Americans with moderate to middle incomes who lacked health insurance for at least part of the year rose to 41 percent in 2005, a dramatic increase from the 28 percent in 2001 without coverage, a study released on Wednesday found.

Moreover, more than half of the uninsured adults said they were having problems paying their medical bills or had incurred debt to cover their expenses, according to a report by the Commonwealth Fund, a New York-based private, health care policy foundation. The study of 4,350 adults also found that people without insurance were more likely to forgo recommended health screenings such as mammograms than those with coverage, and were less likely to have a regular doctor than their insured counterparts.

The report paints a bleak health care picture for the uninsured. "It represents an explosion of the insurance crisis into those with moderate incomes," said Sara Collins, a senior program officer at the Commonwealth Fund.

Collins said the study also illustrates how more employers are dropping coverage or are offering plans that are just too expensive for many people.


Fox News analyst replaces McClellan as press secretary

As expected, President Bush announced his new White House press secretary on Wednesday: former Fox News host Tony Snow.

FULL STORY has compiled a comprehensive list of things Mr Snowjob has said in the past about is new boss:

-“George W. Bush and his colleagues have become not merely the custodians of the largest government in the history of humankind, but also exponents of its vigorous expansion.” [3/17/06]

-George Bush has become something of an embarrassment.” [11/11/05]

-No president has looked this impotent this long when it comes to defending presidential powers and prerogatives.” [9/30/05]

– Bush has given the impression that [he] is more eager to please than lead, and that political opponents can get their way if they simply dig in their heels and behave like petulant trust-fund brats, demanding money and favor — now!” [9/30/05]

-When it comes to federal spending, George W. Bush is the boy who can’t say no. In each of his three years at the helm, the president has warned Congress to restrain its spending appetites, but so far nobody has pushed away from the table mainly because the president doesn’t seem to mean what he says.[The Detroit News, 12/28/03]

– “George W. Bush, meanwhile, talks of a pillowy America, full of niceness and goodwill. Bush has inherited his mother’s attractive feistiness, but he also got his father’s syntax. At one point last week, he stunned a friendly audience by barking out absurd and inappropriate words, like a soul tortured with Tourette’s.” [8/25/00]

– “He recently tried to dazzle reporters by discussing the vagaries of Congressional Budget Office economic forecasts, but his recitation of numbers proved so bewildering that not even his aides could produce a comprehensible translation. The English Language has become a minefield for the man, whose malaprops make him the political heir not of Ronald Reagan, but Norm Crosby.” [8/25/00]

See the complete list here.

Number of Operation Iraq Freedom & Enduring Freedom casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 2436/265

Most Recent Casualties:

April 26, 2006

Marine Lance Cpl. Michael L. Ford
, 19, of New Bedford, Mass
-Operation Iraq Freedom

Complete Casualty List

Senate Panel Considers Hearing on Rumsfeld

The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, underscoring lawmakers' concerns about the Iraq war's progress, said yesterday that he may invite testimony from retired generals who have called for Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to resign.

Sen. John W. Warner (R-Va.) said he will confer with colleagues before deciding whether to schedule a hearing that would feature defenders of Rumsfeld as well as retired officers who have stirred debate in recent days by saying the secretary should step down. "I commit to making a decision on this request in the near future," Warner said in a statement, adding that the panel has a busy schedule.


Rally To Stop Genocide

Join our rally in Washington, DC on April 30th, 2006.

The Rally to Stop Genocide will feature leading voices in the effort to stop the genocide in Darfur, including a broad spectrum of prominent faith leaders, political figures, human rights activists, celebrities, and survivors of genocide.

Take action: sign up today for the Rally to Stop Genocide.


Action Alert

Saving Independent Media
Will Congress stifle community TV and internet freedom?


This week, Congress could deal a serious blow to some of the few remaining checks on corporate domination of the media landscape.

The House Commerce Committee is debating proposed legislation called the COPE Act (or the Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement Act). Critics point to two significant problems with the bill:

--Community TV: Public access, government and educational (PEG) channels offer a rare opportunity for the production of local, noncommercial, community-oriented television. But the proposed bill, in a bid to allow phone companies access to the cable TV market, could undermine the ability of local communities to negotiate with cable companies to maintain these channels, or to expand their public interest space in the digital age. For years, public access television has been a vital educational and organizing resource in an increasingly corporatized media marketplace. PEG channels are one of the few ways a community can have some input into the type of media it thinks would be of public benefit.

--"Net neutrality": The Internet is based on the principle that all participating networks give equal access to all the information they transmit. But the COPE Act would give big Internet service providers the ability to prioritize high-speed Internet access according to their own interests—or the interests of deep-pocketed proprietors of Web real estate that could pay for premium access. As the coalition puts it:

These companies have a new vision for the Internet. Instead of an even playing field, they want to reserve express lanes for their own content and services—or those from big corporations that can afford the steep tolls—and leave the rest of us on a winding dirt road.

Maintaining net neutrality is a fundamental necessity if the democratic promise of the Internet is to be realized.

As FAIR has documented over its 20 year history, media policy is usually crafted in Washington to the benefit of corporate media interests and their lobbyists. But in the last few years, citizen voices have successfully challenged that business as usual. It's time to do so once again.

Speak up for media freedom by opposing the COPE Act. Visit the sites below to send your message to Congress:
(a coalition dedicated to preserving community TV)
(the action page for the coalition)

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.

-Abraham Lincoln

"60 Minutes produced a segment with an interview with Tyler Drumheller, the now-retired CIA officer who was head of covert operations in Europe during the lead up to the Iraq War."

Zbigniew Brzezinski: Do Not Attack Iran

Iran's announcement that it has enriched a minute amount of uranium has unleashed urgent calls for a preventive U.S. air strike by the same sources that earlier urged war on Iraq.

If there is another terrorist attack in the United States, you can bet your bottom dollar that there will be also immediate charges that Iran was responsible in order to generate public hysteria in favor of military action.

But there are four compelling reasons against a preventive air attack on Iranian nuclear facilities:

1. In the absence of an imminent threat (with the Iranians at least several years away from having a nuclear arsenal), the attack would be a unilateral act of war.

If undertaken without formal Congressional declaration, it would be unconstitutional and merit the impeachment of the President. Similarly, if undertaken without the sanction of the UN Security Council either alone by the United States or in complicity with Israel, it would stamp the perpetrator(s) as an international outlaw(s).


Rice discusses Cyprus amid violent Greek protests

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urged Cyprus on Tuesday to support Turkey's efforts to join the European Union, during a visit to Athens marked by violent protests.

As Rice met her Greek counterpart Dora Bakoyanni and Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, riot police hurled teargas at demonstrators trying to march to the U.S. embassy.

Police said 9 protesters were arrested in the clashes, which wrecked at least 10 central Athens shops and 4 cars. No injuries were reported.


Ohio Churches' Political Activities Challenged

In a challenge to the ethics of conservative Ohio religious leaders and the fairness of the Internal Revenue Service, a group of 56 clergy members contends that two churches have gone too far in supporting a Republican candidate for governor.

Two complaints filed with the tax agency say that the large Columbus area churches, active in President Bush's narrow Ohio win in 2004, violated their tax-exempt status by pushing the candidacy of J. Kenneth Blackwell, who is the secretary of state and the favored candidate of Ohio's religious right.

The clergy members said the churches improperly held political activities and allowed Republican organizations to use their facilities.

The goal of the challenge is "for these churches to stop acting like electioneering organizations," said the Rev. Eric Williams, pastor of North Congregational United Church of Christ. "I don't want to harm or demonize these churches. I want these churches to act legally."

When three months passed without public evidence that the IRS had acted on a January complaint, the clergy members filed a second document, expanding the allegations.

"You have flagrant intervention continuing and no indication of IRS activity," said Marcus Owens, a lawyer for the group and former director of the IRS office that regulates tax-exempt organizations. He considers the evidence of wrongdoing "pretty overwhelming" and suspects favoritism, which tax agency officials deny.


U.S. to free 141 Guantanamo suspects

The United States is planning to release 141 terror suspects being held at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

The decision to release the men follows a year-long review of their cases in which interrogators determined the detainees could provide no further intelligence and would pose no threat to U.S. security, the Los Angeles Times reported.

There are about 490 prisoners still being held, and only 10 of them have been charged after nearly four years of captivity and interrogation.


Once Boon, Ties to Bush May Be Bust

Fate has turned Representative Mike Sodrel's re-election campaign into a test case of the impact of public discontent with President Bush and the war in Iraq.

Two years ago, Mr. Sodrel, a Republican and the owner of a trucking company, stood shoulder to shoulder with Mr. Bush in support of the invasion of Iraq, and his campaign featured a procession of appearances with Mr. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and several cabinet members. Mr. Bush won 59 percent of the vote in the district, and the Republican tide helped push him to victory by a few hundred votes over the Democratic incumbent, Baron Hill.

This fall he faces a rematch against Mr. Hill, but like Republican incumbents around the country, Mr. Sodrel is running at a time when disillusionment with the war has turned association with Mr. Bush from a credential to a question mark in the eyes of many voters.

"We have lost so many young men that I think it is time we need to make some changes," said Betty Robbins, a shopkeeper in Scottsburg, Ind., who said she voted for Mr. Bush in 2004 and then pulled the lever for every Republican on the ticket, including Mr. Sodrel. Ms. Robbins said that she now viewed Mr. Bush as "asinine," and that if she went to the polls this fall she was unlikely to vote again for Mr. Sodrel. "I would jump the fence," she said.

Republicans around the country are openly debating how to distance themselves from voters' dissatisfaction with Mr. Bush and the war, but without further tarnishing their party and its public face in the process. For Mr. Sodrel, who won the razor-close race on Mr. Bush's coattails, the problem is especially acute.


Sources: Tony Snow likely to take White House post

WOW! The only thing that's going to change is what we call the 'crap' that comes out of the WH Press Room - we've replaced a bad liar with a 'snow job'.

Sources close to the White House said Monday that Fox anchor Tony Snow is likely to accept the job as White House press secretary, succeeding Scott McClellan.


Under Pressure, Bush Diverting Oil From Reserve to Pumps

President Bush has decided to temporarily halt deposits to the nation’s strategic petroleum reserve to make more oil available for consumer needs and relieve pressure on pump prices, a senior administration official said Tuesday

Bush, under pressure to do something about gasoline prices that are expected to stay high throughout the summer, was to announce the decision in a speech. It was part of a flurry of actions designed to demonstrate that the administration was trying to deal with rising prices. The government also asked states on Tuesday to guard against unfair pricing.

The president has also order investigations into whether the price of gasoline has been illegally manipulated.


Bush Eases Environmental Rules on Gasoline

President Bush on Tuesday ordered a temporary suspension of environmental rules for gasoline, making it easier for refiners to meet demand and possibly dampen prices at the pump. He also halted for the summer the purchase of crude oil for the government's emergency reserve.

The moves came as political pressure intensified on Bush to do something about gasoline prices that are expected to stay high throughout the summer.

Bush said the nation's strategic petroleum reserve had enough fuel to guard against any major supply disruption over the next few months.


Number of Iraq Freedom & Enduring Freedom casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 2428/261

Most Recent casualties:

April 25, 2006

Army Sgt. 1st Class Richard J. Herrema, 27, of Jackson, Tenn.
-Operation Iraq Freedom

Army Pfc. Raymond L. Henry, 21, of Anaheim, Calif
-Operation Iraq Freedom

Complete Casualty List

All things are subject to interpretation. Whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth.
-Friedrich Nietzsche

Monday, April 24, 2006

Bush's approval ratings slide to new low

President Bush's approval ratings have sunk to a personal low, with only a third of Americans saying they approve of the way he is handling his job, a national poll released Monday said.


8th General Calls For Rumsfeld’s Resignation

From Think Progress:

Fox News is reporting an eighth general has called for Rumsfeld’s resignation. Ret. Marine General Paul Van Riper said he constantly talks with many active duty and retired senior officers who share his feelings that Secretary Rumsfeld has not fought the Iraq war competently. He told Fox that Rumsfeld has run the Pentagon through intimidation and that a change in leadership is needed.


Retired chief justice for third circuit says Rumsfeld shows 'disregard' for military law

John J. Gibbons, a former Chief Judge of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals appointed by President Richard Nixon and a former officer in the U.S. Navy, joined the chorus of critics attacking Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld Monday, RAW STORY has learned.

"As many distinguished experts have concluded, Donald Rumsfeld has failed in his job as Secretary of Defense," Gibbons said in a statement released to RAW STORY. "I believe our security, our military and our rule of law have all suffered under his leadership.

"The recent disclosure of testimony from the Army Inspector General's 391-page report from December 2005 indicates that Secretary Rumsfeld had far more knowledge of and responsibility for degrading and abusive treatment of my client than he previously acknowledged. The Army's own reports reveal a Defense Secretary showing a disturbing disregard for military law.


Bush Faces Growing Dissent From Republicans on Climate Change

Representative Bob Inglis, a South Carolina Republican, says he ``pooh-poohed'' global warming until he trekked to the South Pole in January.

``Now, I think we should be concerned,'' says Inglis, who heads the U.S. House Science Research subcommittee. ``There are more and more Republicans willing to stop laughing at climate change who are ready to get serious about reclaiming their heritage as conservationists.''

U.S. companies including General Electric Co. and Duke Energy Corp. have come out in support of national limits on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse-gas emissions that scientists say contribute to global warming. They are now being joined by Republican lawmakers who have parted company with President George W. Bush on the issue.

In addition to Inglis, who says he saw evidence of heat- trapping gases in the atmosphere during his trip to Antarctica, the list includes Senators Pete Domenici of New Mexico, the chairman of the chamber's Energy Committee; Mike DeWine of Ohio; and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, as well as Representative Jim Leach of Iowa.

``Resistance to action on climate change is crumbling,'' says Reid Detchon, an Energy Department official under former President George H.W. Bush who is now head of energy and climate at the United Nations Foundation. ``The business community has a number of prominent leaders arguing for action, and the science on climate change becomes clearer and more inescapable by the day.''


Senate Vote Inquiry Widens as Democrats Probe White House Link

To Republicans, the New Hampshire phone-jamming incident is an isolated case of political dirty tricks that took place more than three years ago.

To Democrats, it's a scandal with echoes of Watergate that may reach all the way to the White House.

Republican leaders are facing questions stemming from a criminal case involving efforts to suppress voter turnout in a U.S. Senate election in the state in 2002. Republican John Sununu won that race over Democrat Jeanne Shaheen, helping Republicans retake control of the Senate.

The facts, on the surface at least, are suspicious: dozens of phone calls to the White House by a man later convicted in the case; the national Republican Party agreeing to pay more than $2.5 million in legal bills; phones jammed on Election Day, not only of Democrats but of a firefighters' group, in the first U.S. congressional elections since the Sept. 11 attacks. Democrats say that disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff may even be involved.

``The calls to the White House and the relationship with White House staff are a real eye-opener and should be a cause for concern on all fronts,'' said Sheila Krumholz, acting executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington- based research group. ``It calls into question who the person was on the end of that telephone line.''


Inspectors Find More Torture at Iraqi Jails

Last Nov. 13, U.S. soldiers found 173 incarcerated men, some of them emaciated and showing signs of torture, in a secret bunker in an Interior Ministry compound in central Baghdad. The soldiers immediately transferred the men to a separate detention facility to protect them from further abuse, the U.S. military reported.

Since then, there have been at least six joint U.S.-Iraqi inspections of detention centers, most of them run by Iraq's Shiite Muslim-dominated Interior Ministry. Two sources involved with the inspections, one Iraqi official and one U.S. official, said abuse of prisoners was found at all the sites visited through February. U.S. military authorities confirmed that signs of severe abuse were observed at two of the detention centers.

But U.S. troops have not responded by removing all the detainees, as they did in November. Instead, according to U.S. and Iraqi officials, only a handful of the most severely abused detainees at a single site were removed for medical treatment. Prisoners at two other sites were removed to alleviate overcrowding. U.S. and Iraqi authorities left the rest where they were.

This practice of leaving the detainees in place has raised concerns that detainees now face additional threats. It has also prompted fresh questions from the inspectors about whether the United States has honored a pledge by Marine Gen. Peter Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that U.S. troops would attempt to stop inhumane treatment if they saw it.


Number of Iraq Freedom & Enduring Freedom casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 2428/261

Most Recent Casualties:

April 24, 2006
Marine Lance Cpl. Aaron W. Simons, 20, of Modesto, Calif
-Operation Iraq Freedom
Army Staff Sgt. Metodio A. Bandonill, 29, of Honolulu
-Operation Iraq Freedom

Complete Casualty List

I decided that my morning song, my morning devotion, the prayer I will offer at the start of every day, will be simple. I want Cindy Sheehan to get everything she has worked for. I want every question she has asked to be answered. I want every tear she has shed for her son to become a flood that will wash away these last five years of horror. I want her son's death, and her life, to mean something great and good for everyone, for all the people she and her son have stood for. I want the reckoning she seeks, and I believe it will come, if the rest of us display the courage and determination that has marked her passage through these dark days.

- William Rivers Pitt

An Inconvenient Truth

Eloquently weaves the science of global warming with Al Gore’s personal history and lifelong commitment to reversing the effects of global climate change. A longtime advocate for the environment, Gore presents a wide array of facts and information in a thoughtful and compelling way. The film is not a story of despair but rather a rallying cry.

Trailer (2:30)
Rating: PG
In Theatres: May 24th, 2006

Davis Guggenheim (dir.)
Al Gore

Official movie site.

Number of Operation Iraq Freedom & Enduring Freedom Casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 2417/259

Most Recent Casualties:

April 23, 2006

Army Sgt. Robert W. Ehney, 26, of Lexington, Ky.
-Operation Iraq Freedom

Army Cpl. Jason B. Daniel, 21, of Fort Worth, Texas

Army Cpl. Shawn T. Lasswell Jr., 21, of Reno, Nev.

Complete Casualty List

Sunday, April 23, 2006

The Decider

I'm The Decider (Koo-Koo-Ka-Choo). The spoof of a popular Beatles song done by the talented Paul Hipp. Hear it HERE

Wal-Mart Issue Now Washington-Style Brawl

There is no candidate. There are no ballots. There won't be an Election Day. And yet it may be the hottest, highest-stakes political contest in America today. It's the campaign against Wal-Mart.

A year-old effort to force the nation's No. 1 private employer to change its business practices has evolved into a Washington-style brawl: tens of millions of dollars spent by Republican and Democratic political consultants using polling, micro-targeting, ads, e-mails, direct mail, grass-roots organizing and strategic "war rooms" to ply their trade in the corporate world.

Their fight involves some of society's most vexing trends, including the rising cost of health care, the painful realities of globalization and the waning relevance of organized labor.

"Our opponents have organized the likes of a political campaign against us," said Bob McAdam, vice president of corporate affairs at Wal-Mart. "It would be nonsense for us not to respond in a similar fashion."

Wal-Mart's main opponents are the Service Employees International Union, which started Wal-Mart Watch, and the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, which funds a separate campaign called


Gas Prices Up Nearly a Quarter in 2 Weeks

Retail gas prices across the country jumped an average of nearly a quarter per gallon in the past two weeks, according to a survey released Sunday.

Self-serve regular averaged $2.91 a gallon, up from $2.67 two weeks ago, said Trilby Lundberg, who publishes the nationwide Lundberg Survey of 7,000 gas stations.

Mid-grade hit $3 a gallon, up from $2.76, while premium climbed to an average of $3.10, from $2.86 two weeks ago.

The survey covered the period from April 7 through April 21.

Among the stations surveyed, the lowest average price in the country for regular unleaded was in Boise, Idaho, at $2.54 a gallon.

Drivers in San Diego were paying the most for gas, at an average of $3.12 a gallon for regular.


Bush Seemingly Resigned to High Gas Prices

As oil prices hit a record, drivers worried about $3-a-gallon gas and politicians feared the impact on elections, President Bush on Friday acknowledged the pain but seemed resigned to being able to do little about it.

"I know the folks here are suffering at the gas pump," the president said while promoting his competitiveness initiative at the Silicon Valley headquarters of Internet networking company Cisco Systems Inc. "Rising gasoline prices is like taking a — is like a tax, particularly on the working people and the small-business people.

But to address the immediate problem, Bush offered only a pledge that "if we find any price gouging it will be dealt with firmly."


Bush warns of 'tough summer' with higher petrol prices

US President George W. Bush has warned rising oil prices will mean a "tough summer" for US consumers as the high cost of gasoline (petrol) showed signs of becoming a big political issue.

But even as more Americans expressed discontent over the price of filling up their gas tanks, Bush suggested there was little his government could do in the short term about the problem.

"We're going to have a tough summer because people are beginning to drive now during tight supply," Bush said as he toured a California facility developing hydrogen-powered vehicles.

"The American people have got to understand what happens elsewhere in the world affects the price of gasoline you pay here.

Bush spoke after a week of unremitting rises in prices in global crude oil markets and at gasoline (petrol) pumps across the country. Crude topped a record 75 dollars per barrel in New York trading Friday, five dollars up from a week earlier.

At the same time, US retail pump prices were topping an average three dollars a gallon (3.8 liters) in many places in the country, up 60 cents -- 33 percent -- from a year ago.


Roadside bombs kill 5 U.S. soldiers in Iraq

Two roadside bombs attacks killed five U.S. soldiers in Baghdad on Saturday, the U.S. military said. Four died when their combat patrol south of Baghdad was hit by a bomb, the military said in a statement. A fifth soldier died on Saturday night after being hit in a separate bomb attack south of Baghdad, a military spokeswoman said. No further details were available.

Dear Mister President

Pink performs Dear Mr President Live in NYC. It's a controversial song from her new album that all people should hear.

The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them.

- Patrick Henry

Number of Iraq Freedom & Enduring Freedom casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 2417/259

Most Recent Casualties:

April 22, 2006

Army Pvt. Michael E. Bouthot, 19, of Fall River, Mass.
-Operation Iraq Freedom

Army Pvt. Travis C. Zimmerman, 19, of New Berlinville, Pa.
-Operation Iraq Freedom

Marine Cpl. Eric R. Lueken, 23, of Dubois, Ind
-Operation Iraq Freedom

Army Pfc. Jacob H. Allcott, 21, of Caldwell, Idaho

Army Sgt. Kyle A. Colnot, 23, of Arcadia, Calif.

Army Spc. Eric D. King
, 29, of Vancouver, Wash.

Complete Casualty List