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BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration

Amos 19 Feb 06 - 08:25 AM
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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 19 Feb 06 - 08:25 AM

The :A Tims reports on yet another area of stealth lawmaking undercutting individual and state traditional rights vis-a-vis different industries, shielding manufacturers from litigation and state regulation:

..."The surprise move seeking legal protection for automakers is one in a series of recent steps by federal agencies to shield leading industries from state regulation and civil lawsuits on the grounds that they conflict with federal authority.

Some of these efforts are already facing court challenges. However, through arcane regulatory actions and legal opinions, the Bush administration is providing industries with an unprecedented degree of protection at the expense of an individual's right to sue and a state's right to regulate.

In other moves by the administration:

• The highway safety agency, a branch of the Department of Transportation, is backing auto industry efforts to stop California and other states from regulating tailpipe emissions they link to global warming. The agency said last summer that any such rule would be a backdoor attempt by states to encroach on federal authority to set mileage standards, and should be preempted.

• The Justice Department helped industry groups overturn a pollution-control rule in Southern California that would have required cleaner-running buses, garbage trucks and other fleet vehicles.

• The U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has repeatedly sided with national banks to fend off enforcement of consumer protection laws passed by California, New York and other states. The agency argued that it had sole authority to regulate national banks, preempting state restrictions.

• The Food and Drug Administration issued a legal opinion last month asserting that FDA-approved labels should give pharmaceutical firms broad immunity from most types of lawsuits. The agency previously had filed briefs seeking dismissal of various cases against drug companies and medical-device manufacturers.

In a letter to President Bush on Thursday, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) said, "It appears that there may have been an administration-wide directive for agencies … to limit corporate liability through the rule-making process and without the consent of Congress."

Administration officials said the initiatives had not been centrally coordinated.

"Under the constitution, federal laws take priority over inconsistent state laws," said Scott Milburn, spokesman for the White House Office of Management and Budget. "Decisions about … whether particular rules should preempt state laws are made agency by agency and rule by rule."

Preemption initiatives by regulatory agencies have drawn less public attention than controversial legislative moves supported by the White House. With administration support, Congress has restricted class-action suits and banned certain claims against gun makers and vaccine producers.

By embedding similar protections for businesses in regulatory changes, the administration has advanced Bush's repeated pledge to rein in what he calls junk lawsuits."

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 18 Feb 06 - 06:02 PM

Bob Herbert suggest Dick-Head resign:

"It's time for Dick Cheney to step down - for the sake of the country and for the sake of the Bush administration.

Mr. Cheney's bumbling conduct at the upscale Armstrong Ranch in South Texas seemed hilarious at first. But when we learned that Harry Whittington had suffered a mild heart attack after being shot by the vice president in a hunting accident, it became clear that a more sober assessment of the fiasco at the ranch and, inevitably, Mr. Cheney's controversial and even bizarre behavior as vice president was in order.

There's a reason Dick Cheney is obsessive about shunning the spotlight. His record is not the kind you want to hold up for intense scrutiny.

More than anyone else, he was fanatical about massaging and distorting the intelligence that plunged us into the flaming quagmire of Iraq. He insisted that Saddam Hussein had chemical and biological weapons and was hot on the trail of nukes. He pounded away at the false suggestion that Iraq was somehow linked to Al Qaeda. And he spread the word that the war he wanted so badly would be a cakewalk.

"I really do believe," he told Tim Russert, "that we will be greeted as liberators."

Well, he got his war. And while the nation's brave young soldiers and marines were bouncing around Iraq in shamefully vulnerable Humvees and other vehicles, dodging bullets, bombs and improvised explosive devices, Mr. Cheney (a gold-medal winner in the acquisition of wartime deferments) felt perfectly comfortable packing his fancy 28-gauge Perazzi shotgun and heading off to Texas with a covey of fat cats to shoot quail.

Matters went haywire, of course, when he shot Mr. Whittington instead.

That was the moment when the legend of the tough, hawkish, take-no-prisoners vice president began morphing into the less-than-heroic image of a reckless, scowling incompetent who mistook his buddy for a bird.

This story is never going away. Harry Whittington is Dick Cheney's Monica. When Mr. Whittington dies (hopefully many years from now, and from natural causes), he will be remembered as the hunting companion who was shot by the vice president of the United States. This tale will stick to Mr. Cheney like Krazy Glue, and that's bad news for the Bush administration.

The shooting and Mr. Cheney's highhanded behavior in its immediate aftermath fit perfectly with the stereotype of him as a powerful but dangerous figure who is viewed by many as a dark force within the administration. He doesn't even give lip service to the idea of transparency in his public or private life. This is the man who fought all the way to the Supreme Court to keep his White House meetings with energy industry honchos as secret as the Manhattan Project. (Along the way he went duck hunting at a private camp in rural Louisiana with Justice Antonin Scalia.)

This is also the man whose closest and most trusted aide, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, has been indicted for perjury and obstruction of justice as a result of the investigation into the outing of a C.I.A. undercover operative, Valerie Wilson.

Mr. Cheney is arrogant, defiant and at times blatantly vulgar. He once told Senator Patrick Leahy to perform a crude act upon himself.

A vice president who insists on writing his own rules, who shudders at the very idea of transparency in government, whose judgment on crucial policy issues has been as wildly off the mark (and infinitely more tragic) as his actions in Texas over the weekend, and who has now become an object of relentless ridicule, cannot by any reasonable measure be thought of as an asset to the nation or to the president he serves.

The Bush administration would benefit from new thinking and new perspectives on the war in Iraq, the potential threat from Iran, the nation's readiness to cope with another terror attack, the development of a comprehensive energy policy and other important issues.

President Bush's approval ratings have dropped below 40 percent in recent polls. Even Republicans are openly criticizing the administration's conduct of the war, its response to Hurricane Katrina and assorted other failures and debacles.

Dick Cheney is a constant reminder of those things the White House would most like to forget: the bullying, the intelligence failures, the inability to pacify Iraq, the misuse of classified information and the breathtaking incompetence that seems to be spread throughout the administration.

Mr. Cheney would do his nation and his president a service by packing his bags and heading back to Wyoming. He's become a joke. But not a funny one...."

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 18 Feb 06 - 05:47 PM

Smoking Dutch Cleanser
By Maureen Dowd
New York Times Op-Ed

Vice President Dick Cheney bitterly complains that national security leaks are endangering America.

Unless, of course, he's doing the leaking, tapping Scooter Libby to reveal national security information to punish a political critic.

President Bush says he will not talk about specific security threats to America. Unless, of course, he needs to talk about a specific threat to Los Angeles to confuse the public and gain some cheap political advantage.

The White House says it has done everything possible to protect the homeland. Unless, of course, it hasn't. Then it can lie to hide the callous portrait of Incurious George in Crawford as New Orleans drowned.

The attorney general can claim that torture and warrantless wiretapping are legal, and mislead Congress. Unless, of course, enough Republicans stand up and say, as Arlen Specter told The Washington Post, that if the lickspittle lawyer thinks all this is legal, "he's smoking Dutch Cleanser."

The president doesn't know the Indian Taker Jack Abramoff. Unless, of course, W. has met with him a dozen times, invited him to Crawford and joked with him about his kids.

The Bushies can continue to claim that the invasion of Iraq was justified because Saddam was a threat to our security. Unless, of course, he wasn't, and the Cheney cabal was simply abusing the trust of Americans to push a wild-eyed political scheme.

At the Bush White House, the mere evocation of the word "terror" justifies breaking any law, contravening any convention, despoiling any ideal, electing any Republican and brushing off any failure to govern.

Asked yesterday by Senator Susan Collins why the administration had reacted in slo-mo on Katrina, with "people dying, people waiting to be rescued," Michael Brown replied that if FEMA had confirmed that a terrorist had blown up the 17th Street Canal levee, "then everybody would have jumped all over that and been trying to do everything they could."

Instead of just going after the 9/11 fiends, as W. promised with his bullhorn, the president and Vice President Strangelove have cynically played the terror card to accrue power and sidestep blame. They have twisted our values, mismanaged crises, fueled fundamentalist successes and violence around the world, and magnified a clash of civilizations.

It used to take an Israeli incursion to inflame the Arab world. Now all it takes is a cartoon in Denmark.

W. and Vice have wasted hundreds of billions of dollars, turning Iraq into a terrorist training ground, leaving the 9/11 villains at large, and letting cronies and losers botch the job of homeland security.

Brownie, one of the biggest boneheads in U.S. history, considered the homeland security chief, Michael Chertoff, so useless that he deliberately didn't call him right away about the suffering in New Orleans.

"The culture was such that I didn't think that would have been effective and would have exacerbated the problem, quite frankly," Brownie told the Republican senator Bob Bennett, who called the statement "staggering." A telephone call to his boss, Brownie said, "would have wasted my time."

The doofus who frittered away lives e-mailing colleagues about being a "fashion god" and wondering how he looked on television may have just been engaged in self-protective spin. Or has the Homeland Security Department simply created another set of paralyzing turf battles?

The most dysfunctional man in government is calling the government dysfunctional.

W.'s sophomoric "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job" line makes even Brownie cringe. "Unfortunately," the former FEMA chief complained, "he called me 'Brownie' at the wrong time. Thanks a lot, sir."

In the new Foreign Affairs, Paul Pillar, who was a senior C.I.A. official overseeing Middle East intelligence assessments until October, says the obvious conclusion that should have been drawn from the intelligence on Iraq was that war was unnecessary. He says the White House "went to war without requesting - and evidently without being influenced by - any strategic-level intelligence assessments on any aspect of Iraq."

He calls the relationship between the intelligence community and the policy makers - you guessed it - politicized, damaged by bureaucratic rivalries and dysfunctional.

A final absurd junction of dysfunction was reached on Wednesday, when Republican Party leaders awarded Tom DeLay with a seat on the Appropriations subcommittee overseeing the Justice Department, which is investigating Jack Abramoff, including his connections to Tom DeLay.

Perfect. "

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 18 Feb 06 - 04:28 PM

Maureen Dowd remarks....

"...Like the vice president, the defense secretary is eager to get information out. If the American press wouldn't scream, "Henny Penny, the sky is falling," every time the Pentagon tries to plant paid stories in the Iraqi press, for gosh sakes, maybe we could have some success in the P.R. battle.

After the Lincoln Group's "nontraditional means," as he delicately put it, were discovered, "the resulting explosion of critical press stories then causes everything, all activity, all initiative, to stop, just frozen."

"Even worse," he complained, "it leads to a chilling effect for those who are asked to serve in the military public affairs field." The press "seems to demand perfection from the government," he wailed. And why do the media focus on Abu Ghraib, perpetrated by "people on the night shift, one night shift in Iraq?" he asked. Why not more stories on Saddam's mass graves?

Rummy is genuinely perplexed about why it's wrong to subvert democracy while promoting democracy.

I love it when Shooter and Rummy call us unrealistic for trying to hold them to standards that they set. They are, after all, victims of their own spin on Iraq. Mr. Cheney thought we'd be greeted with flowers; Rummy said we could do more with less.

Rummy misses the point: we're supposed to be the good guys, the beacon of freedom. Our message is supposed to work because it has moral force, not because we pay some Lincoln Group sketchballs millions to plant propaganda in Iraqi newspapers and not because the press here plays down revelations of American torture. If the Bush crew hadn't distorted the truth to get to Iraq, it wouldn't need to distort the truth to succeed there.

"Ultimately, in my view," Rummy concluded, "truth wins out."

Bad news for him, and his pal Dick."

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Bobert
Date: 18 Feb 06 - 01:17 PM

I was just listening to PBS or NPR in the car and was listening to Richard Dryfus addressing the National Press Club and he sho nuff amde an excellent case for impeachment...

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 18 Feb 06 - 12:55 PM

The New York Times opines:

he Shame of the Prisons
E-Mail This
Save Article

Published: February 18, 2006
Who needs sophomoric cartoons to inflame the Muslim world when you've got the Bush administration's prison system? One reason the White House is so helpless against the violence spawned by those Danish cartoons is that it has squandered so much of its moral standing at Guantánamo Bay and Abu Ghraib. This week, the world got two chilling reminders of why both prisons must be closed.

On Thursday, the United Nations Human Rights Commission issued a scathing report on the violations of democratic principles, human rights and the rule of law at Guantánamo Bay: indefinite arbitrary detentions, hearings that mock fair process and justice, coercive and violent interrogations, and other violations of laws and treaties.

The Bush administration offered its usual weak response, that President Bush has decided there is a permanent state of war that puts him above the law. And that is exactly the problem: by creating Guantánamo outside the legal system for prisoners who, according to Mr. Bush, have no rights, the United States is stuck holding these 500 men in perpetuity. The handful who may be guilty of heinous crimes can never be tried in a real court because of their illegal detentions. A vast majority did nothing or were guilty only of fighting on a battlefield, but the administration refuses to sort them out.

Some members of Congress tried to exert control over Guantánamo Bay late last year. But their efforts were hijacked by Bush loyalists, who made matters worse by stripping the prisoners there of the basic human right to challenge their detentions.

Now the only solution is to close Guantánamo Bay and account for its prisoners fairly and openly. The United States then needs a prisons policy that conforms to the law and to democratic principles.

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 16 Feb 06 - 01:16 PM

A brief excerpt of Will's wrath:

"The administration, in which mere obduracy sometimes serves as political philosophy, pushes the limits of assertion while disdaining collaboration. This faux toughness is folly, given that the Supreme Court, when rejecting President Harry S Truman's claim that his inherent powers as commander in chief allowed him to seize steel mills during the Korean War, held that presidential authority is weakest when it clashes with Congress.

Immediately after Sept. 11, the president rightly did what he thought the emergency required, and rightly thought that the 1978 law was inadequate to new threats posed by a new kind of enemy using new technologies of communication. Arguably he should have begun surveillance of domestic-to-domestic calls -- the kind the Sept. 11 terrorists made.

But 53 months later, Congress should make all necessary actions lawful by authorizing the president to take those actions, with suitable supervision. It should do so with language that does not stigmatize what he has been doing, but that implicitly refutes the doctrine that the authorization is superfluous."

Power grabbery in the present extreme is no virtue; it is a quest for corruption without accountability.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Bobert
Date: 16 Feb 06 - 01:03 PM

Hey, Amos... Check out George Will's column in the Post today... I usually don't spent too much time reading his stuff beduase he is, IMO, very conservative but he has really blasted Bush for the executive power grab that we are witnessing...

Tell ya what... Bush is starting to scare the Hell outta a lot of conservatives...


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: number 6
Date: 16 Feb 06 - 12:46 PM

Hi Amos ... always wondered who posts here ... anyway, just droppin, a hi ya, how ya doin' ... it must be kinda lonely posting downhere by yourself.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 16 Feb 06 - 12:36 PM

From an interesting new on-line mag called No More King George;

"It is not unusual for a President to refuse to release documents by claiming "executive privilege." Presidents usually invoke this theory to protect the notes and papers of their closest advisors. The justification is made that the fear of finding their words published in the Congressional Record will prevent senior advisors from giving the candid advice that a President needs.

Now, through his extensive use of "signing statements," President Bush appears to have moved the limits of executive privilege into unknown territory.

Starting in 2001, it has become routine for President Bush to attach "statements" when he signs bills into law and returns them to Congress. These statements assert many claims regarding the presumed power of the President to ignore any part of the law that, in his judgement, impose on his view of his constitutional powers.

The most common claim made is in regard to a laws requirements that reports be made to Congress on its enforcement.

Beginning with a bill signed on December 28, 2001, President Bush has asserted "the President's constitutional authority to withhold information the disclosure of which could impair foreign relations, the national security, the deliberative processes of the Executive, or the performance of the Executive's constitutional duties."

This clause now appears in almost every signing statement. "

While I am all for an effective executive branch, the weasely inclusion of the term 'unitary' in its descriptpion is a wide-open wiggle space of Cyclopean dimensions (gigantic, but one-eyed, like a huge prick).

Actual signing statements from the Bush-head can be found here

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 15 Feb 06 - 02:43 PM

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February 14, 2006 | Issue 42•07

CRAWFORD, TX—According to White House sources, following yet another disappointing grading period for the nation he leads, President Bush hid the national report card in his bedroom sock drawer Monday. "We, as a nation, got a D in international relations, a D in economics, and an F in military history," Bush reportedly said. "We must work hard to make sure no one finds out about this." Critics say the report-card-hiding effort is immature, and point out that the sock drawer is the first place The New York Times will look.

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 11 Feb 06 - 01:06 PM

Trade Gap Hits Record For 4th Year In a Row
The U.S. trade deficit soared to a record in 2005 for the fourth year in a row, according to a government report released yesterday that provided a reminder of the dangers hovering over a generally robust economy.

(Washington Post, 2-11-06)

Michael D. Brown, the former Federal Emergency Management Agency director, accused the Bush administration yesterday of setting the nation's disaster preparedness on a "path to failure" before Hurricane Katrina by overemphasizing the threat of terrorism, and of discounting warnings on the day the storm hit that a worst-case flood was enveloping New Orleans.

Brown called "a little disingenuous" and "just baloney" assertions by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and other top Bush administration officials that they were unaware of the severity of the catastrophe for a day after Katrina struck on Aug. 29. Investigators say their inaction delayed the launch of federal emergency measures, rescue efforts and aid to tens of thousands of stranded New Orleans residents.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 11 Feb 06 - 11:44 AM

Excerpts from recent remarks by Sen Barbara Boxer on the flooor of the Senate:

Mrs. BOXER. Madam President, I rise now to discuss an amendment
on behalf of myself and Senators Kerry and Lautenberg which
expresses the sense of the Senate that the White House should
provide the public with a thorough account of the meetings that
the President, his staff, and senior executive branch officials
held with Jack Abramoff . The public's confidence in the
government has been rocked by the widespread reports of public
corruption involving Jack Abramoff.

On January 3, Mr. Abramoff pleaded guilty to conspiracy, fraud,
and tax evasion, charges that carry up to a 30-year sentence.
He agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in their investigation
of a number of public officials, and we don't know where all
this will lead. I urge the Justice Department to continue its
investigation into any bribery and corruption.

The damage to the public trust from the Abramoff scandal,
combined with the recent prosecution of Congressman Randy
Cunningham and the indictment of Congressman Tom Delay, is
massive. The investigation by the Department of Justice has
really just begun. But right now, sadly, there is a very low
opinion of politicians, and trust must be restored with the
American people. We cannot govern effectively without the
support and confidence of the people. We are supposed to be
their representatives. We owe them everything, and we must
start with honesty, with ethics, so we can regain their trust.

If the people have lost confidence, we have to win it back.
Every Senator I know has searched his or her records for
contributions from Jack Abramoff, from his associates and the
tribes he represented. Each of us has responded in our own way.
But to my knowledge, we have all made our actions public. We
have told our constituents what the situation is and whether we
plan to do something about it.

In the State of the Union Address, the President said: "Each of
us has made a pledge to be worthy of public responsibility--and
that is a pledge we must never forget, never dismiss, and never

Those are noble sentiments, very noble sentiments, and I
challenge the President to live up to them.

...If we are going to restore confidence in our government, it
starts with simple openness--not with saying: Oh, this is
privileged, this is secret. I will tell you right now, we all
learned it from our moms and dads. When somebody says "this is
secret," watch out. Our government is supposed to be open, not

I hope there will be strong support for this particular
amendment. I believe its timing is crucial. We can't let any
more time elapse.

There are calls for--and I am joining them--a special
prosecutor in this particular case. But even before that debate
begins, let us have everyone come clean on these meetings,
contributions, and the like....

I agree with her. An open government from the top down would be a very refreshing change.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 11 Feb 06 - 11:25 AM

WASHINGTON Feb 10, 2006 (AP)— A former top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney told a federal grand jury that his superiors authorized him to give secret information to reporters as part of the Bush administration's defense of intelligence used to justify invading Iraq, according to court papers.

Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald said in documents filed last month that he plans to introduce evidence that I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Cheney's former chief of staff, disclosed to reporters the contents of a classified National Intelligence Estimate in the summer of 2003. ...

If he's the top aide to the Veep, who would "his superiors" be? I can think of two, anyway.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 10 Feb 06 - 07:16 PM

Ramsey Clark, persistent and well-spoken, says:


"Impeachment is the most important issue facing Constitutional government in the United States. Impeachment will determine whether the American people will hold the Bush administration accountable for its High Crimes and Misdemeanors: the supreme international crime -- a war of aggression, rampant militarism, torture, surreptitious laws and treaties, and economic policies that steal from the poor and middle class to further enrich the rich.

Impeachment is also the test that will determine whether We, the People of the United States, still have the power to affect the conduct of our own elected officials and the will to exercise that power.

George Bush seeks $2.77 trillion for the 2007 Fiscal Year budget providing for more military aggression and less education, health care and other programs for the people.

He has nearly three more years to take our country into more wars maybe in Iran, North Korea, Syria, Cuba, Venezuela, or Sudan; three more years to trash the Bill of Rights at home and destroy all respect for the United States abroad; three more years to enrich the rich, impoverish the middle class and poor, undermine the U.S. economy and burden future generations of Americans with burdens they cannot bear.

Our impeachment ad in the New York Times on January 27, 2006 shows we can make a difference. It generated tens of thousands of new votes for impeachment.

The New York Times carried the Impeachment message in the first section, full page, to readers of more than a million copies of the National Edition and the New York Edition of the New York Times.

More newspaper ads, more votes for Impeachment, more organizing and fundraising can make Impeachment a major issue in the 2006 midterm Congressional elections. A committed effort over the next months can move Impeachment to the forefront in the elections and to the floor of the House of Representatives which has the "sole power of Impeachment," and onto the Senate for trial.

Ads in newspapers in Congressional Districts can help activate impeachment organizing to bring the issue home to members and candidates where their election will be decided.

Only Impeachment will warn the next Presidents that the American people will hold them accountable if they lawlessly lead us into wars, aggression and criminal acts to control foreign government and exploit their peoples.

Only Impeachment will assure governments and peoples around the world that the American people understand what their government has done, that the American people are strong and good, and have impeached and removed their lawless leaders from office for violating all the principles America has always espoused, and that We, the People of the United States will remain vigilant and see to it that the government of the United States will hereafter seek peace, friendship, equality of nations and peoples, and respect for the human dignity of every child, woman, and man on Earth.

I urge you to enlist now in the Impeachment Movement for the duration, to organize your community in the struggle and to raise and contribute funds essential to secure the Impeachment of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Alberto Gonzales and other civil officers found to have committed High Crimes and Misdemeanors. Click here to make a donation for the mass advertising campaign to place the NYT impeachment ad in other newspapers and support the campaign for impeachment.

Ramsey Clark"

Would it defuse affairs pointing at hostilities with Iran if we pulled the plug on both George and Dick?


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 10 Feb 06 - 02:38 PM

Funny, ya know. GH, the father of the current mistake, was annoyed that several people remarked at Corretta King's funeral on the dramatic difference between her goals and purposes, and the hypocrisy of the current President's.

(CBS) Former President George H.W. Bush has expressed dismay and anger at attacks on his son, President Bush, at the funeral for Coretta Scott King.

"In terms of the political shots at the president who was sitting there with his wife, I didn't like it and I thought it was kind of ugly frankly," the former president said in an exclusive radio interview with CBS News White House correspondent Peter Maer.

You want ugly, Mister Bush? Here's ugly for you, sir. . Think back on how that came about, and decide where the ugly stick landed.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 09 Feb 06 - 11:44 PM

The Los Angeles Times provides a saddening list of the many programs Bush wants to kill in his 2007 budget.

List here includes the following cuts -- among many others whose funding has been sucked into the black hole of reckless militarism:


Educational technology state grants, $272 million

Even Start, $99 million

High school programs terminations:

Vocational education state grants, $1,182 million

Vocational education national programs, $9 million

Upward Bound, $311 million

GEAR UP, $303 million

Talent search, $145 million

Tech prep state grants, $105 million

Smaller learning communities, $94 million

Safe and Drug-Free Schools state grants, $347 million

Elementary and secondary education program terminations:

Parental information and resource centers, $40 million

Arts in education, $35 million

Elementary and secondary school counseling, $35 million

Alcohol abuse reduction, $32 million

Civic education, $29 million

National Writing Project, $22 million

Star Schools, $15 million

School leadership,$15 million

Ready to Teach, $11 million

Javits gifted and talented education, $10 million

Exchanges with Historic Whaling and Trading Partners, $9 million

Comprehensive school reform, $8 million

Dropout prevention program, $5 million

Mental Health integration in schools, $5 million

Women's Educational Equity, $3 million

Academies for American History and Civics, $2 million

Close-Up fellowships, $1 million

Foundations for Learning, $1 million

Excellence in Economic Education, $1 million

Higher Education Programs:

Education demos for students with disabilities, $7 million

Underground Railroad Program, $2 million

State grants for incarcerated youth offenders, $23 million

Postsecondary Student Financial Assistance Programs:

Perkins Loan cancellations, $65 million

Leveraging educational assistance programs, $65 million

Byrd Scholarships, $41 million

hurgood Marshall Legal Educational opportunity, $3 million

B.J. Stupak Olympic scholarships, $1 million

* Vocational rehabilitation programs:

Supported employment, $30 million

Projects with industry, $20 million

Recreational programs, $3 million

Migrant and seasonal farmworkers,$2 million

Teacher Quality Enhancement, $60 million

Total $3,468 million (Educational cuts alone).

Read them as a testimony to rampant, unbridled hypocrisy. Read the lists of cuts in energy, and compare them to his mealy-mouthed platitudes on the subject in the SOTU address.

I swan, 's nuff to mek yer spit.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 09 Feb 06 - 10:52 PM

Cheney 'Authorized' Libby to Leak Classified Information

By Murray Waas, National Journal
© National Journal Group Inc.
Thursday, Feb. 9, 2006

Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby, testified to a federal grand jury that he had been "authorized" by Cheney and other White House "superiors" in the summer of 2003 to disclose classified information to journalists to defend the Bush administration's use of prewar intelligence in making the case to go to war with Iraq, according to attorneys familiar with the matter, and to court records.

According to sources with firsthand knowledge, Cheney authorized Libby to release additional classified information, including details of the NIE, to defend the administration's use of prewar intelligence in making the case for war.

Libby specifically claimed that in one instance he had been authorized to divulge portions of a then-still highly classified National Intelligence Estimate regarding Saddam Hussein's purported efforts to develop nuclear weapons, according to correspondence recently filed in federal court by special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald.

Beyond what was stated in the court paper, say people with firsthand knowledge of the matter, Libby also indicated what he will offer as a broad defense during his upcoming criminal trial: that Vice President Cheney and other senior Bush administration officials had earlier encouraged and authorized him to share classified information with journalists to build public support for going to war. Later, after the war began in 2003, Cheney authorized Libby to release additional classified information, including details of the NIE, to defend the administration's use of prewar intelligence in making the case for war. ...

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 09 Feb 06 - 12:16 AM

From an interesting rising rag called the New York Observer

Bush Flickers Out, Republicans Face Mass Hibernation

By Chris Lehmann

History and polling are two things the Bush administration professes to scorn. But as the 2006 elections speed toward us, both appear to be overtaking the Republican Party, and the Republicans are hardly in position to take on more bad news.

Just before last week's vote designating John A. Boehner as House Majority Leader, the Club for Growth—one of the Hill's biggest low-tax, pro-business political-action committees—released an opinion survey covering 20 key House races.

The survey supplies an advance view of what it could take for Democrats to turn around their present 30-vote deficit in the House. Fourteen of the races involve Republican incumbents facing tough re-election fights, five are open seats, and one is an open district—the one formerly belonging to the stunningly corrupt, indicted and since-departed House member Randy (Duke) Cunningham.

Now President Bush's terse verdict on the political past—"History. We don't know. We'll all be dead"—is looking just a little too vivid for G.O.P. candidates and consultants trying to avoid becoming history themselves.

"If you would have said a year ago that you'd be looking at the Republican House majority being potentially in play, no one would have believed it," said University of Texas historian Lewis Gould, author of histories of the Republican Party and the Senate. "The thing is that animus against Bush is like a beating heart. For whatever it's worth, back in November and December, when I was doing publicity for my book on the Senate, my publisher had me doing these radio call-in shows from all over the country. And people were just throbbing with indignation at Congress. And this wasn't about corruption, though that was part of it. There was this sense of Congress's complete out-of-touchness. In places like Ohio and Oregon, I was getting this hysteria, this animosity about things like the Medicare-reform implementation."

Which is where the leaden sense of historical recognition comes in. "It was amazing," Mr. Gould said. "It took me back to the end of his father's terms, in the fall of '92. It was just clear that that administration had run out of gas. It was to the point where you couldn't even imagine what a second George H.W. Bush agenda could have been."

This was all, mind you, a good two months before Jack Abramoff's ominous plea-bargain. Poll numbers in the wake of that fateful black-garbed performance reinforce the impressions that Mr. Gould picked up through his unscientific headphone sample. National polls show President Bush still mired in 40-percent-approval territory; "right-track/wrong-track" figures—far more telling in an off-year election—are breaking about 65 to 35 against the status quo.

And the Club poll found that in those 20 more vulnerable races, the right-track/wrong-tack tally was worse than in national polls, with a scant 29 percent of respondents giving the Republicans a warm nod of encouragement.

Republican Congress members—the incumbents in most of these contests, who are supposed to enjoy every gerrymandered advantage that Tom DeLay and company could engineer for them out of the U.S. Census—polled a dismal 35 percent in their approval rating. This is so dismal, in fact, as to place them in the company of the Democrats, at 34 percent.

A whopping 80 percent described present Congressional ethics questions as either "serious" (50 percent) or "scandalous" (30 percent). (...)


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 08 Feb 06 - 10:20 PM

ACLU Wants Apology to VA Employee Investigated on 'Sedition'
> Associated Press
>    The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico wants the
> government to apologize to a nurse for seizing her computer and
> investigating her for "sedition'' after she criticized the Bush
> administration.
>      The ACLU said Wednesday the Department of Veterans Affairs
> found no evidence Laura Berg used her VA office computer to write
> the critical letter.
>      VA human resources chief Mel Hooker said in a Nov. 9 letter
> that his agency was obligated to investigate "any act which
> potentially represents sedition,'' the ACLU said.
>      A VA spokesman in Washington could not say Wednesday whether
> the agency had received the ACLU's request.
>      It seeks an apology from Hooker "to remedy the
> unconstitutional chilling effect on the speech of VA employees that
> has resulted from these intimidating tactics.''
>      Even if Berg had used an office computer, neither that nor her
> criticism approached "unlawful insurrection,'' said Peter Simonson,
> executive director of the ACLU.
>      "Is the government so jealous of its power, so fearful of
> dissent, that it needs to threaten people who openly oppose its
> policies with charges of sedition?'' he said.
>      Berg, a clinical nurse specialist, wrote a letter in September
> to a weekly Albuquerque newspaper criticizing how the
> administration handled Hurricane Katrina and the Iraq War. She
> urged people to "act forcefully'' to remove an administration she
> said played games of "vicious deceit.''
>      She signed the letter as a private citizen, and the VA had no
> reason to suspect she used government resources to write it, the
> ACLU said.
>      "From all appearances, the seizure of her work computer was an
> act of retaliation and a hardball attempt to scare Laura into
> silence,'' the ACLU said.

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 08 Feb 06 - 10:09 PM

At a White House press conference on June 7, 2005, Steve Holland of Reuters asked President Bush and Prime Minister Blair the $1,000 question: "On Iraq, the so-called Downing Street Memo from July, 2002, says 'Intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy of removing Saddam through military actions.' Is this an accurate reflection of what happened? Could both of you respond?"

The adamant denials by Blair and Bush were widely reported by the White House press corps. But a new "White House Memo," reported in the British media on Feb. 2, 2006, has just exposed both responses as lies. is now offering $1,000 to any reporter who will directly ask Bush this question:
"How can you claim you were trying to avoid war through the UN, when you told Prime Minister Blair on Jan. 31, 2003, that if you failed to get a resolution from the UN authorizing war, 'military action would follow anyway'?"

Full article here.

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 08 Feb 06 - 04:10 PM

Cities and State Parties Pass Impeachment Resolutions

"The past month has seen a burst of resolutions supporting impeachment in city councils, state Democratic parties, and even chapters of Democrats Abroad. On January 6, the City Council of Arcata, Calif., passed a resolution demanding the impeachment or resignation of President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, citing violations of international and constitutional law. On January 15, the Executive Committee of Democrats Abroad France unanimously passed a resolution calling upon Congress to determine whether impeachable offenses have been committed by the Bush/Cheney Administration and if necessary to immediately begin impeachment proceedings against Bush and Cheney.

On January 28, the North Carolina Democratic Party passed a resolution to ask elected Democratic Representatives to Congress to sign on to legislation to impeach Bush, Cheney and Gonzales.

The Democratic Central Committee of Marin County, Calif., approved a resolution last Thursday night that calls for the impeachment of President Bush for what it considers to be illegal domestic wiretapping of American citizens.

Today the City of San Francisco began consideration of a resolution calling for a full investigation, and impeachment or resignation of Bush and Cheney

Participants in an upcoming town meeting in Newfane, Vt., will vote on town support for Bush's impeachment.

In Oregon, a former state senator will present a resolution calling for the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney to the Multnomah County Democratic Central Committee February 9. The resolution passed the Committee's agenda subcomittee last month. It charges that Bush and Cheney's (1) unprovoked and misrepresented invasion of Iraq violated the UN charter, (2) their actions contrary to acts of Congress volated their oaths of office and (3) their unlawful detention and torture of prisoners violated the US Constitution, acts of Congress and the Geneva Conventions. These actions, the Central Committee is asked to declare, reach the level of High Crimes and Misdeameanors while in office sufficient to constitute articles of impeachment before the House of Representatives. "

From an email from the Impeachment movement.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 07 Feb 06 - 04:34 PM

Bush's $2.7 trillion budget shows true cost of Iraq war
Email Print Normal font Large font By Michael Gawenda, Washington
February 8, 2006

PRESIDENT George Bush has submitted a $US2.77 trillion ($A3.74 trillion) budget to Congress for 2007 that would boost military spending by 6.9 per cent to $US439.3 billion and would cut 141 government programs.

These include cuts to education and Medicare, the Bush Administration's prescription drug program for pensioners.

The military spending does not include the cost of the campaign in Iraq and Afghanistan, for which Mr Bush has requested an extra $US50 billion, but which Administration officials admit is just a starting point for what will be needed.

The Administration has already asked Congress for an extra $US120 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan this year.

The budget deficit for this financial year is expected to hit $US423 billion in the wake of hurricane Katrina and the Iraq war, but Mr Bush has included tax cuts of $US1.4 trillion over 10 years in his budget plan.

President Bush said the Administration's plan to halve the budget deficit by 2010 was "on track", but economic commentators were almost unanimous in their view that this was unlikely to be achieved.

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 07 Feb 06 - 10:19 AM

Bush's budget sparks bipartisan protestMARTIN CRUTSINGERAssociated PressWASHINGTON - President Bush, constrained by wars, hurricanes and exploding budget deficits, has sent Congress a 2007 spending plan that is garnering howls of pain from farmers, teachers, doctors and a wide array of other groups with special interests.
Democrats, as expected, pronounced the Republican president's budget plan dead on arrival. But many Republicans were equally sharp in their reservations about the $2.77 trillion spending blueprint the administration unveiled on Monday.
Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., called Bush's proposed cuts in education and health "scandalous" while Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, said she was "disappointed and even surprised" at the extent of the administration's proposed cuts in Medicaid and Medicare.
Given the level of congressional frustration, administration witnesses, led by Treasury Secretary John Snow, were expected to face a tough sales job before various congressional committees on Tuesday.
Bush's spending blueprint for the 2007 budget year that begins Oct. 1 would provide large increases for the military and homeland security but would trim spending in the one-sixth of the budget that covers the rest of discretionary spending. Nine Cabinet agencies would see outright reductions with the biggest percentage cuts occurring in the departments of Transportation, Justice and Agriculture.
And in mandatory programs - so-called because the government must provide benefits to all who qualify - the president is seeking over the next five years savings of $36 billion in Medicare, $5 billion in farm subsidy programs, $4.9 billion in Medicaid support for poor children's health care and $16.7 billion in additional payments from companies to shore up the government's besieged pension benefit agency.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley noted that Congress has just completed a yearlong battle to achieve far smaller five-year savings in Medicaid, the joint federal-state health program for the poor, and Medicare as part of a $39 billion five-year trim in benefit programs.
"It wasn't an easy legislative accomplishment," said Grassley, R-Iowa. "Any more reductions of a significant scope could be difficult this year."
Bush's budget would meet his twin goals of making permanent his first-term tax cuts, which are set to expire by 2010, and cutting the deficit in half by 2009, the year he leaves office.
The administration's new budget projects that this year's deficit will soar to an all-time high of $423 billion, surpassing the old mark in dollar terms of $412 billion set in 2004, as the costs of rebuilding from last year's devastating hurricanes and the continuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan push spending higher. ...

(From The Mercury News.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 06 Feb 06 - 02:50 PM

Borrowing a link from another thread, I invite your attention to this movie well worth seeing and a moment's reflection on whether these are images of necessary force or unnecessary force.

While this is of course a dramatization, it pinpoints very well the core reason for my personal disdain for George Bush and his fellow war-mongers. He (and his colleagues) have accrued great renown, wealth, visibililty and influence as a direct result of deciding to do what this images portray. They made those decisions individually. Above all, George Bush made an individual decision. The ethics of that decision are, IMHO, perverse, destructive and harmful.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 05 Feb 06 - 11:04 PM

The one thing Bush always had going for him – and it served him well in two elections – was that he came across as someone who said what he meant and meant what he said.

These days, if you don't like what he says, you can stay tuned and, in a few days, he might say something totally different.

For instance, the administration claims it doesn't need congressional permission or new legislation to engage in domestic spying. But according to The Washington Post, Justice Department lawyers drafted legislation in 2003 that – along with strengthening the USA Patriot Act – would have provided a legal justification for the administration's eavesdropping program.

During his first presidential campaign, Bush projected the image of someone who'd be just as happy if he lost the race and had to go back to the ranch in Crawford. Now, with the domestic spying fiasco, he's projecting a different image – of someone who is not only hungry for the power of the executive branch, but nibbling on the legislative and judicial.

Bush gives a speech talking about how Border Patrol agents should lay off hardworking immigrants trying to support their families and instead focus on smugglers and other hardened criminals. Then he stands before an assembly of Border Patrol agents insisting that we're a nation of laws and anyone who wants to immigrate here must do so legally.

All this has me scratching my head and wondering: "Dude, where's my president?" Can't the guy make up his mind as to what he really believes, instead of trying to please everyone?

It's no wonder that, according to several recent polls, the number of Americans who still consider Bush honest and trustworthy has fallen to below 40 percent.

What many Americans do consider Bush to be is stubborn. In fact, an AP/Ipsos poll conducted in November found that 82 percent of respondents used that word to describe him.

I like my presidents to be steadfast. I'm no fan of flip-flopping, which is why Al Gore and John Kerry gave me the creeps.

But I also want people who know when a product isn't selling – like the Harriet Miers nomination or Bush's plan to offer at least a temporary amnesty to illegal immigrants – and then are willing to go in another direction.

During his speech, Bush showed again why that's so hard for him to do. After promising that he would seek Congress' advice, he was careful to draw a distinction between "responsible criticism" and "defeatism."

"Hindsight alone is not wisdom," he said. "And second-guessing is not a strategy."

Maybe not. But a leader who learns from his mistakes is so much more appealing than one who has difficulty choking out an acknowledgment that he ever erred.

Maybe Bush needs a personal trainer to show him how to digest crow.

(From today;s San Diego Union-Tribune)

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 05 Feb 06 - 07:39 PM

Specter: Administration broke law
WASHINGTON, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, says President George W. Bush's warrantless surveillance program appears to be illegal.

Appearing on NBC's "Meet the Press," Specter called the administration's legal reasoning "strained and unrealistic" and said the program appears to be "in flat violation" of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Hearings into the surveillance program are scheduled to begin Monday on Capitol Hill.

Reasoning both strained and realistic surfaces when an unacknowledged agenda is in play, and the desire is not to inform but to spin and influence outcomes according to that agenda. This sort of reasoning has been an earmark of the Bush Administration since their first campaign.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 05 Feb 06 - 02:33 AM

Feb. 4, 2006, 1:34AM
Gagged prophet
The Bush administration continues to ignore climate change while trying to silence government scientists

Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle

NASA's top climatologist, James E. Hansen, recently urged swift action to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming. When he did, the agency's public affairs machinery went into overdrive.

NASA officials ordered Hansen to submit for review any lectures, Internet statements and journalists' requests for interviews. Hansen recently posted a widely quoted report on a NASA Web site stating that 2005 was the hottest year since comprehensive weather records were first kept.

A NASA political appointee, William Deutsch, nixed an interview with Hansen on National Public Radio. Deutsch reportedly told another NASA public affairs officer that NPR was "the most liberal media source" in the nation and that his job "was to make the president look good." If Deutsch said that, he is wrong. The job of government public affairs officials is to inform the public and make available public information.

Hansen, who holds a doctorate in physics, has been issuing warnings of the consequences of man-made pollution of the atmosphere for 15 years. He rightly refused to comply with the gag order. "They feel their job is to be this censor of information going out to the public," he told The New York Times, noting that "public concern is probably the only thing capable of overcoming the special interests that have obfuscated the topic." According to Hansen, many scientists within the government have been pressured to avoid public discussion of climate change. ... Balance of article here.

In an article called The Worst Shame of the Bush Administration a blogger discusses the culpable consequences of the EPA telling New Yorkers it was safe to go back into Southern Manhattan while the air there was still heavily toxic.

The Toledo Blade , in an editorial, discusses the views of two professors on the hazards of the Bush Administrations distortive impact on the balance of powers, and the checks and balances system of the U.S. Government.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 04 Feb 06 - 03:19 PM

Presidential signing statements are more than just executive branch lunacy.

By Dahlia Lithwick
Posted Monday, Jan. 30, 2006, at 5:32 AM ET

There are two ways President Bush likes to wage war on your civil liberties: He either asks you to surrender your rights directly—as he does when he strengthens and broadens provisions of the Patriot Act. Or he simply hoovers up new powers and hopes you won't find out—as he did when he granted himself authority to order warrant-less wiretapping of American citizens.

The former category seems more benign, and it's tempting to lump Bush's affinity for "presidential signing statements" in that camp. It's tempting to believe that with these statements he is merely asking that the courts take his legal views into account. But President Bush never asks anything of the courts; he doesn't think he has to. His signing statements are not aimed at persuading the courts, but at reinforcing his claim that both courts and Congress are irrelevant.

Many of us had never heard of a presidential signing statement until last month, when Bush used one to eviscerate the McCain Anti-Torture bill he claimed to endorse. We all saw the big Oval Office reconciliation with McCain; we heard Bush say he was dropping his opposition to the bill, which passed with broad bipartisan support (90-9 in the Senate, 308-122 in the House) and made it illegal for Americans to engage in the "cruel, inhuman and degrading" treatment of detainees held here or abroad. What we missed was the actual signing ceremony, which took place two weeks later, at 8 p.m. on Dec. 30.

Unless you spent New Year's weekend trolling the White House Web site or catching up on your latest U.S. Code Congressional and Administrative News as you waited for the ball to drop, you probably missed the little "P.S." the president tacked onto the McCain anti-torture bill. The postscript was a statement clearly announcing that the president will only follow the new law "in a manner consistent with the constitutional authority of the president to supervise the unitary executive branch ... and consistent with the constitutional limitations on the judicial power." In other words, it is for the president—not Congress or the courts—to determine when the provisions of this bill interfere with his war-making powers, and when they do, he will freely ignore the law.

In other news, various writers fro around the nation offer their thoughts:

Linda from Aurora, Colo., writes:

"Those in the Arab world are not alone in seeing Bush as stubborn and confusing. I think more and more Americans are also seeing him as such, in addition to being dishonest. His story is ever-changing, and that has eroded his credibility here and abroad. It has also eroded the credibility of the United States across the globe."

Yolande, writing from Port of Spain, Trinidad, agrees:

"It is painful to see the country losing credibility at an alarming rate, worldwide, in countries rich and poor, developed and developing. America under Bush is seen as ruthless, bullying and dictatorial, not really interested in true democracy but in other nations following its decrees. Truly, there is no longer a superpower to whom the world could rely in times of crisis. America has lost it."

Mike from Cleveland presents a different view:

"I wonder about your assertion that anything the U.S.A. supports becomes unpopular in the Middle East. By extension, are you suggesting the U.S.A. not voice support for anything it wants, or even to support the opposite of its desires? I sympathize with your viewpoint that the world is far more complex than the worldview our present administration projects, but I don't clearly see what you are recommending our country do."

But in Denver, T.J., who says he is a veteran of Iraq, disagrees:

"I have noticed an implied rhetoric from the current administration that shows an ignorance of Arab culture and a disregard for their views," he writes. "I learned a lot about the culture and our societal differences while in Iraq, and I hope that somehow our government will recognize these and make decisions that are grounded in acceptance and humility. The arrogant, imperialistic approach has done nothing but fuel anti-American sentiment and certainly has not made America a safer place, nor the world a better place."

George, a Vietnam-era veteran from Anchorage, Alaska, poses a similar view:

"This is very hard for me to express," he writes. "I [have] always had a great deal of pride in being an American. I am, as of right now, still proud. I was also a Republican until 1999 … Mr. Bush and his cronies, I feel, are an embarrassment to the ideals and makeup of our great nation. Americans are not just deceived but boldly lied to. Before we can get respect from the world, we have got to clean up our own mess. I think the president means to do the right thing, he is just caught up in his own image of glory and power. Bill Clinton was impeached for lying about staining a young lady's dress. Mr. Bush, however, is killing a lot of people with his spin. Can't we as a nation take our place among the proud who walked before all of this mess?"

William from San Diego is on Bush's side. "It isn't about the Arab people. It is about the American people," he writes. "Our president looks out for the United States, our allies and our best interest."

(Both offered without comment)


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 03 Feb 06 - 10:45 PM

Full story at:,,1701214,00.html

Blair-Bush deal before Iraq war revealed in secret memo

PM promised to be 'solidly behind' US invasion with or without UN backing

Richard Norton-Taylor
Friday February 3, 2006

Tony Blair told President George Bush that he was
"solidly" behind US plans to invade Iraq before
he sought advice about the invasion's legality
and despite the absence of a second UN
resolution, according to a new account of the
build-up to the war published today.

A memo of a two-hour meeting between the two
leaders at the White House on January 31 2003 -
nearly two months before the invasion - reveals
that Mr Bush made it clear the US intended to
invade whether or not there was a second UN
resolution and even if UN inspectors found no
evidence of a banned Iraqi weapons programme.

"The diplomatic strategy had to be arranged
around the military planning", the president told
Mr Blair. The prime minister is said to have
raised no objection. He is quoted as saying he
was "solidly with the president and ready to do
whatever it took to disarm Saddam".

The disclosures come in a new edition of Lawless
World, by Phillipe Sands, a QC and professor of
international law at University College, London.
Professor Sands last year exposed the doubts
shared by Foreign Office lawyers about the
legality of the invasion in disclosures which
eventually forced the prime minister to publish
the full legal advice given to him by the
attorney general, Lord Goldsmith.

The memo seen by Prof Sands reveals:

· Mr Bush told Mr Blair that the US was so
worried about the failure to find hard evidence
against Saddam that it thought of "flying U2
reconnaissance aircraft planes with fighter cover
over Iraq, painted in UN colours". Mr Bush added:
"If Saddam fired on them, he would be in breach
[of UN resolutions]".

· Mr Bush even expressed the hope that a defector
would be extracted from Iraq and give a "public
presentation about Saddam's WMD". He is also said
to have referred Mr Blair to a "small
possibility" that Saddam would be "assassinated".

· Mr Blair told the US president that a second UN
resolution would be an "insurance policy",
providing "international cover, including with
the Arabs" if anything went wrong with the
military campaign, or if Saddam increased the
stakes by burning oil wells, killing children, or
fomenting internal divisions within Iraq.

· Mr Bush told the prime minister that he
"thought it unlikely that there would be
internecine warfare between the different
religious and ethnic groups". Mr Blair did not
demur, according to the book.

The revelation that Mr Blair had supported the US
president's plans to go to war with Iraq even in
the absence of a second UN resolution contrasts
with the assurances the prime minister gave
parliament shortly after. On February 25 2003 -
three weeks after his trip to Washington - Mr
Blair told the Commons that the government was
giving "Saddam one further, final chance to
disarm voluntarily".
. . .
Sir Menzies Campbell, the Liberal Democrat acting
leader, said last night: "The fact that
consideration was apparently given to using
American military aircraft in UN colours in the
hope of provoking Saddam Hussein is a graphic
illustration of the rush to war. It would also
appear to be the case that the diplomatic efforts
in New York after the meeting of January 31 were
simply going through the motions.

"The prime minister's offer of February 25 to
Saddam Hussein was about as empty as it could
get. He has a lot of explaining to do."
. . .

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 03 Feb 06 - 10:44 PM

A study in the characteristics of Fascism as practiced in different countries:

"Dr. Lawrence Britt has examined the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia) and several Latin American regimes.

Britt found 14 defining characteristics common to each:

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism - Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights - Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause - The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial, ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

4. Supremacy of the Military - Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

5. Rampant Sexism - The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.

6. Controlled Mass Media - Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

7. Obsession with National Security - Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

8. Religion and Government are Intertwined - Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions.

9. Corporate Power is Protected - The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

10. Labor Power is Suppressed - Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.

11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts - Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.

12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment - Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption - Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

14. Fraudulent Elections - Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections. "

The above is a summary of the more detailed orignal article "Fascism Anyone?" first published in Spring 2003 edition of Free Inquiry

"As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron."

H.L. Mencken (1880 - 1956)

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 03 Feb 06 - 12:53 PM

WASHINGTON -- President George W. Bush soon will ask Congress for another $120 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, bringing their total cost so far to about $440 billion.

That's enough to buy General Motors Corp. 33 times or Google almost four times, at current stock prices.

The vast majority of the money is for Iraq, where expenses are about $4.5 billion a month, according to administration officials. The U.S. campaign in Afghanistan is costing about $800 million a month.

Joel Kaplan, deputy director of the White House budget office, said Thursday that Bush would seek a quick $70 billion plus another $50 billion as part of the proposed fiscal 2007 federal budget that will go to Congress on Monday.

The Associated Press, citing Pentagon officials and documents, reported Thursday that the 2007 budget request will include $439.3 billion for the Defense Department, a nearly 5% increase over this year. That doesn't include the war requests.

In comparison, the Department of Veterans Affairs budget is about $68 billion a year, and the Environmental Protection Agency spends about $7.9 billion a year.

Rock star Bono challenged the U.S. government Thursday to give an additional 1% of the federal budget to the world's poor.

Bono, lead singer for U2, has led a push for health care aid and the cancellation of billions of dollars in debt owed by African nations, causes he mentioned to President George W. Bush and members of Congress at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington.

"This is not about charity in the end, is it?" he said. "It's about justice."

Bush, who spoke later, made no commitment but praised Bono.

Articles in full can be found here.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 03 Feb 06 - 12:20 AM

A real health risk.


The Center for Disease Control has issued a warning about a new virulent
strain of Sexually Transmitted Disease. The disease is contracted through
dangerous and high-risk behavior. It is called Gonorrhea Lectim and
pronounced "gonna re-elect him."

Many victims contracted it in 2004, after having been screwed for the
previous four years.

Cognitive characteristics of infected individuals include:

anti-social personality disorders
delusions of grandeur with messianic overtones
extreme cognitive dissonance
inability to incorporate new information
pronounced xenophobia and paranoia
inability to accept responsibility for one's actions
cowardice masked by misplaced bravado
uncontrolled facial smirking
ignorance of geography and history
tendencies towards evangelical theocracy
categorical all-or-nothing behavior

Naturalists and epidemiologists are amazed at how this destructive disease,
which originated only a few years ago, has spread throughout the country
from an infected bush found in Texas.

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 03 Feb 06 - 12:16 AM

Bush administration's track record laughable

SEVERAL great minds were asked to help think up interview questions for George W. Bush. I liked, "Are you the worst president since James Buchanan, or have you never heard of him?"
Sorry about the snarkiness quotient, but is there anything these folks can't screw up - and then refuse to own up to? Iraq is the most difficult to judge because it's so far away. I can find no indication - from hours of electricity available to amount of oil being pumped to number of dead people - that hints at any improvement.

On the other hand, even though I don't think it's my job, I can't prove that pulling out won't make things worse. Judging the good news-bad news volume from Iraq took such an exceptional lurch to ludicrous, it's now difficult to even try to judge it with a straight face.

(For those of you who missed it: The Pentagon is now investigating itself to find out why it was paying American soldiers to write phony stories about how well things are going in Iraq and then paying a politically connected Republican public relations firm to in turn bribe Iraqi news outlets to run the phony stories. Presumably, this fooled a lot of Iraqis.)

In matters closer to home, however, it is not that hard to miss total disaster when you see it. The Medicare prescription drug benefit comes to mind. As governmental screw-ups go, it ranks up there with Katrina, which in turn is the latest in a parade of fiascoes inspiring the administration to an impressive level of dishonesty.

Following its usual m.o., the administration's first step on Katrina was to clam up on all the information possible about how the government handled it.

Why should a congressional committee have any right to question the Bush administration? Whom do they think they represent?

I couldn't even bring myself to snicker at poor Joe Lieberman, chair of the committee trying to find out what went wrong, as he forlornly announced a "near total lack of cooperation." Despite his record as a Bush toady, Lieberman couldn't get enough information to even start on the problem.

The committee had one interesting item - Bush had claimed that "no one anticipated" New Orleans would be leveled.

Turns out they not only expected it, but the Department of Homeland Security sent an urgent warning to the White House situation room, saying Katrina will likely leave "the New Orleans metro area submerged for weeks or months."

Meanwhile, the White House informed Louisiana reps it would not be supporting legislation for a federally financed reconstruction program for the area, despite Bush's promise to make it the grandest reconstruction since the Marshall Plan.

Looking on the bright side, this may yet turn out to be a good thing, since a new audit of the federally financed reconstruction in Iraq indicates - well, a great deal left to be desired. That would be counting untold billions of dollars wasted, millions left lying around in footlockers and filing cabinets, millions gambled away and - here's a note - three Iraqis who fell to their death in a repaired hospital elevator that had been certified as safe.

I also like the one about the contractor who got $100,000 to refurbish an Olympic-sized swimming pool (clearly a high priority in war-torn Iraq) but only polished the pumps. Well, polished pumps are nice.

Governance in this administration is like Casey Stengel with the early Mets: "Doesn't anybody here know how to play this game?"

But lest you think I do nothing but pick on the Bushies, let me devote some loving attention to the best Congress money can buy.

Last month, in a closed-door, Republican-only "conference committee" meeting, a $22 billion change was inserted at the last minute.

The taxpayers were supposed to get $26 billion in relief over 10 years by altering a formula for Medicare reimbursement. But lo, many insurance lobbyists for the HMOs knew about the committee meeting attended only by Republicans, who helpfully lowered the savings estimate of the formula to $4 billion and handed the other $22 billion back to the insurance industry.

We can certainly see how serious the Republicans are about "reform" - we can't wait to pay, er, hear more. One sign to look for would be if they stop calling it "lobby reform" and call it "congressional reform," instead.

(A Molly Ivins Column)

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 03 Feb 06 - 12:12 AM

From the "American Chronicle":


California Political Desk

The California Political Desk provides information, news releases, and announcements obtained from communication and public relations offices throughout the state.

By California Political Desk
January 31, 2006

Rep. George Miller Renews Call for Congressional Hearings

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Rep. George Miller (D-CA) today issued a new report that shows that the Bush Administration has systematically undermined health and safety protections for American mine workers by putting the interests of mine operators ahead of rigorous enforcement of the law. The report was prepared at Miller's request by the Democratic staff of the House Education and the Workforce Committee.

"This report clearly shows that the Bush Administration has put mine workers' lives at greater risk by putting the interests of mining company executives ahead of the enforcement of critical workplace health and safety rules," said Miller, the senior Democrat on the Education and the Workforce Committee. "Most troubling, the Administration has scrapped or delayed 18 regulations that would have improved health and safety conditions in mines without putting onerous burdens on mine operators. These actions represent a shocking abdication of the Administration's responsibilities to protect the lives of American mine workers."

The report's key findings include:

Between 2001 and 2005, the Bush Administration delayed, weakened, or withdrew a total of at least 18 regulations intended to protect the health and safety of mine workers. At least three of those regulations were intended to boost safety measures that could have directly affected the outcomes at the Sago and Alma mines in West Virginia.

In addition to delaying or withdrawing these safety regulations, the Bush Administration also adopted a regulation that weakens safeguards against fires on conveyor belts in mines. At the Alma mine in West Virginia where two miners were killed earlier this month, investigators suspect a conveyor belt fire may have been to blame.

From 1996 to 2000, the Clinton Administration proposed fining coal operators the maximum fine allowed under law a total of 118 times, according to an analysis of MSHA data. From 2001 to 2005, the Bush Administration proposed the maximum allowable fine just 37 times. ...

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 03 Feb 06 - 12:10 AM

Bush Administration, In Flip-Flop, Not Helping Katrina Investigation

February 02, 2006
David R. Mark

MSNBC's David Shuster is reporting that the White House -- in a "flip-flop" from statements made last year -- is not releasing Hurricane Katrina-related documents or making senior officials available for a Congressional investigation.

We've been down this road before.

Substitute "9/11 Commission" or "Discussions On Warrantless Surveillance" or "Pre-War Intelligence" for "Katrina Investigation," and you get some insight into how the Bush Administration regards sharing information.

It doesn't.

Why? Perhaps the administration doesn't want to create the opportunity for dissenting opinion. Perhaps because the less people really know, the larger the vacuum for administration spin. How else can one explain a history of fighting against the truth?


Initially, the administration was against forming the 9/11 Commission. Later, it took the unusual step of having President Bush and Vice President Cheney meet informally -- not under oath -- with the commission.

Shuster reports that the administration wants similar informal meetings with White House advisors now, rather than formal -- under oath -- testimony before Congress.


The administration claimed that it met with senior members of Congress before proceeding with its warrantless surveillance program. But various senators have said that they were either misinformed at the time about what the administration wanted to do, or not given a chance to express disapproval with the plan.

Although Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) suggested that Congress would consider legislation to allow for warrantless surveillance, Bush has said he isn't interested in releasing details of the program, to allow for Congressional consideration. (Note: The Justice Department considered including a provision to cover warrantless surveillance in 2003 legislation, but later nixed those plans.)


The administration has repeatedly said it had access to the same pre-war intelligence as Congress. But the non-partisan Congressional Research Service disputed that, saying in a Dec. 15 report that the White House has access to a much broader ranger of intelligence reports than Congress.

The CRS report identified nine key U.S. intelligence "products" that aren't generally shared with Congress. These include the President's Daily Brief, a compilation of analyses that's given only to the president and a handful of top aides, and a daily digest on terrorism-related matters.

***Excerpted from BlogCritics.Org

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 30 Jan 06 - 02:08 PM

In fairness, a recent article in the BBC News bravely defends Bush against his detractors. While I am skeptical of its assertions, I respect the fact that Justin Webb, the author, is taking what is for him an unpopular stand on the question of Bush's character.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 29 Jan 06 - 04:01 PM

UBAI, United Arab Emirates - Iraqi money gambled away in the Philippines. Thousands spent on a swimming pool that was never used. An elevator repaired so poorly that it crashed, killing people.

A U.S. government audit found American-led occupation authorities squandered tens of millions of dollars that were supposed to be used to rebuild Iraq through undocumented spending and outright fraud.

In some cases, auditors recommend criminal charges be filed against the perpetrators. In others, it asks the U.S. ambassador to Iraq to recoup the money.

Dryly written audit reports describe the Coalition Provisional Authority's offices in the south-central city of Hillah being awash in bricks of $100 bills taken from a central vault without documentation.

It describes one agent who kept almost $700,000 in cash in an unlocked footlocker and mentions a U.S. soldier who gambled away as much as $60,000 in reconstruction funds in the Philippines.

"Tens of millions of dollars in cash had gone in and out of the South-Central Region vault without any tracking of who deposited or withdrew the money, and why it was taken out," says a report by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, which is in the midst of a series of audits for the Pentagon and State Department.

Much of the first audit reports deal with contracting in south-central Iraq, one of the country's least-hostile regions. Audits have yet to be released for the occupation authority's spending in the rest of Iraq.

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 29 Jan 06 - 03:54 PM

In an analytical piece called "All the President's Dodges", Slate examines Bush's favorites gimmicks for not confronting an issue or answering a straight question:


Hamas: Put on a Happy Face

President Bush believes in a simple formula. Democracy is good. Terrorism is evil. When democracy is introduced in hostile countries it acts like enchanted water: Apply a drop and liberty flowers. That theory, never plausible, obviously has now been undone: The victory of the radical Islamic organization Hamas in the Palestinian elections demonstrates that democracy and terrorism are not mutually exclusive.

Instead of dealing with the topsy-turvy result, the president focused on the sunny side. He said the elections "remind me of the power of democracy" and added, "I like the competition of ideas." Groovy....

NSA Spying: Just Trust Us

The president was asked six questions about the NSA's warrantless eavesdropping, which he carefully calls a "terrorist surveillance program." The questions and answers hopped around over well-worn territory. Finally, Bush played the trump card that shuts off further discussion: To talk any more about the program, or even consider legislation to codify it, would help the terrorists. This doesn't avoid the question so much as it makes asking too many pointed ones an act of treachery. "This program is so sensitive and so important that if information gets out to how we do it, how we run it, or how we operate, it will help the enemy," he said. "I think the American people understand that. Why tell the enemy what we're doing, if the program is necessary to protect us from the enemy?"...

Abramoff: Look at the Shiny Ornament!

Another trick: Distract the questioner with something else. Show reporters a sparkly ornament, and hope we'll forget the tree it's hanging on. (Talking about Saddam Hussein has served this purpose in ducking tricky Iraq questions.) When talking about Jack Abramoff, Bush focused on the pictures of the two together rather than the larger issue of what influence the lobbyist had with White House officials and what, if anything, he may have gotten in return for all of that campaign cash.

The president continued to define the photographs as a few of the thousand taken at "grip and grin" sessions. This wasn't a dodge: It was a deception. At least one of the snapshots with the chairman of the Kickapoo Indians was clearly something more. Bush had a scripted joke for this eventuality. "Having my picture taken with someone doesn't mean that, you know, I'm a friend with them or know them very well," he said setting up the gag. "I've had my picture taken with you at holiday parties."

Bush's questioners' fixation on the pictures helped him stay focused on just the pictures. (Have you seen how shiny the ornament is! Yes, and he just mentioned us!) The real questions are: What happened in the rooms where there were no photographs taken and where Abramoff met with White House staff? Whom did Abramoff meet with, what did he want, and what did the White House officials want from him?

Other White House officials have refused to answer those questions. And today, the president just ducked them. ..."

Alternative title: Anatomy of a Slimeball (my notion, not Slate's.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 29 Jan 06 - 02:53 PM

More on the NASA gagging story from Slate:

"Hansen, who directs NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies, claims that after the speech, the NASA public affairs staff was ordered to review his lectures, papers, web postings and requests for interviews. NASA higher-ups deny the muzzling, but one public affairs officer claims that another officer rejected an NPR request to interview Hansen because NPR's "liberal" slant would interfere with the officer's job "to make the president look good." "

Makes me gag, anyway...


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 29 Jan 06 - 12:59 PM

The top climate scientist at NASA says the Bush administration has tried to stop him from speaking out since he gave a lecture last month calling for prompt reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases linked to global warming.

Dr. Hansen said he would ignore the restrictions. "They feel their job is to be this censor of information going out to the public," he said.

Dean Acosta, deputy assistant administrator for public affairs at the space agency, said there was no effort to silence Dr. Hansen.

The NY Times offers three justifications from the Bush administration on their spy-on-Amrica program, and the counter-arguments for them, in an editorial (1-29-2006):

Sept. 11 could have been prevented. This is breathtakingly cynical. The nation's guardians did not miss the 9/11 plot because it takes a few hours to get a warrant to eavesdrop on phone calls and e-mail messages. They missed the plot because they were not looking. The same officials who now say 9/11 could have been prevented said at the time that no one could possibly have foreseen the attacks. We keep hoping that Mr. Bush will finally lay down the bloody banner of 9/11, but Karl Rove, who emerged from hiding recently to talk about domestic spying, made it clear that will not happen — because the White House thinks it can make Democrats look as though they do not want to defend America. "President Bush believes if Al Qaeda is calling somebody in America, it is in our national security interest to know who they're calling and why," he told Republican officials. "Some important Democrats clearly disagree."

Mr. Rove knows perfectly well that no Democrat has ever said any such thing — and that nothing prevented American intelligence from listening to a call from Al Qaeda to the United States, or a call from the United States to Al Qaeda, before Sept. 11, 2001, or since. The 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act simply required the government to obey the Constitution in doing so. And FISA was amended after 9/11 to make the job much easier.

Only bad guys are spied on. Bush officials have said the surveillance is tightly focused only on contacts between people in this country and Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups. Vice President Dick Cheney claimed it saved thousands of lives by preventing attacks. But reporting in this paper has shown that the National Security Agency swept up vast quantities of e-mail messages and telephone calls and used computer searches to generate thousands of leads. F.B.I. officials said virtually all of these led to dead ends or to innocent Americans. The biggest fish the administration has claimed so far has been a crackpot who wanted to destroy the Brooklyn Bridge with a blowtorch — a case that F.B.I. officials said was not connected to the spying operation anyway.

The spying is legal. The secret program violates the law as currently written. It's that simple. In fact, FISA was enacted in 1978 to avoid just this sort of abuse. It said that the government could not spy on Americans by reading their mail (or now their e-mail) or listening to their telephone conversations without obtaining a warrant from a special court created for this purpose. The court has approved tens of thousands of warrants over the years and rejected a handful.

As amended after 9/11, the law says the government needs probable cause, the constitutional gold standard, to believe the subject of the surveillance works for a foreign power or a terrorist group, or is a lone-wolf terrorist. The attorney general can authorize electronic snooping on his own for 72 hours and seek a warrant later. But that was not good enough for Mr. Bush, who lowered the standard for spying on Americans from "probable cause" to "reasonable belief" and then cast aside the bedrock democratic principle of judicial review.

Just trust us. Mr. Bush made himself the judge of the proper balance between national security and Americans' rights, between the law and presidential power. He wants Americans to accept, on faith, that he is doing it right. But even if the United States had a government based on the good character of elected officials rather than law, Mr. Bush would not have earned that kind of trust. The domestic spying program is part of a well-established pattern: when Mr. Bush doesn't like the rules, he just changes them, as he has done for the detention and treatment of prisoners and has threatened to do in other areas, like the confirmation of his judicial nominees. He has consistently shown a lack of regard for privacy, civil liberties and judicial due process in claiming his sweeping powers. The founders of our country created the system of checks and balances to avert just this sort of imperial arrogance.

Imperial arrogance says it mighty succinctly.

When private citizens act like that toward each other they are called assholes.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 28 Jan 06 - 03:41 PM

Forunately for our good nation, OG, not everyone agrees with your views on Alito:

"Filibustering the Alito nomination isn't just the right policy for the country, it's good politics for progressives. Voters want leaders with the courage to fight for their true convictions. Democrats have said they oppose Alito's extreme views on unchecked presidential power and limited rights for the rest of us—now it's time to show they mean it.

As John Edwards put it when he declared his support for the filibuster:

Americans know what's at stake here—a president who believes he's above the law, and basic rights in grave danger. This is a critical moment for Democrats to stand up, fight for what we believe, and show the American people that we will provide principled leadership. The country is hungry for this kind of principled leadership and if we lead with conviction we will be successful both in 2006 and beyond

Yesterday, the New York Times came out with a blistering a editorial calling for a filbuster, called "Senators in Need of a Spine," Here are some highlights:

It is hard to imagine a moment when it would be more appropriate for senators to fight for a principle...
...It is indefensible for...any senator who has promised constituents to protect a woman's right to an abortion to turn around and hand Judge Alito a potent vote to undermine or even end it...The judge's record strongly suggests that he is an eager lieutenant in the ranks of the conservative theorists who ignore our system of checks and balances, elevating the presidency over everything else...
...A filibuster is a radical tool. It's easy to see why Democrats are frightened of it. But from our perspective, there are some things far more frightening. One of them is Samuel Alito on the Supreme Court.

If George Bush is able to replace Sandra Day O'Connor with Samuel Alito, it may become his most damaging legacy: a Supreme Court that frees the president to spy, detain and torture at will, and leaves Congress powerless to protect workers, women, the environment, and to combat discrimination."...

I don't think my favorite president has run for office yet...


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Old Guy
Date: 27 Jan 06 - 06:21 PM

Hey Amos who is your favorite president??

January 19, 2006
Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings:
Thomas Sowell, one of America's brightest intellects, wrote the following about the Senate Confirmation hearings for Judge Samuel Alito:
Thomas Sowell

"They told us more about the Senators than about Judge Alito."

"The biggest hypocrisy was asking Judge Alito questions that everyone knew in advance, no judicial nominee could - or should - answer, and then complaining on nationwide television that Alito was not responsive."

"The real purpose of all this grand standing was to play to the gallery of the most rabid element of Democratic Party activists, people like Hollywood leftists who contribute big bucks and who hate everything this administration stands for, as well as what most Americans stand for."

Sowell then stated "The larger question is how we are going to get good people that we need on courts, if they have to go through smears and petty harassment during confirmation hearings. Highly qualified people usually have other options and many of them may go elsewhere other than becoming the butt of political games on nationwide television."

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 27 Jan 06 - 03:20 PM

Perhaps one of the King's stablelads? A surly lot, in sooth, deprived of all learning and bereft of all manners. This child was surely and tragically left behind.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: GUEST,T. Herg
Date: 27 Jan 06 - 02:32 PM

you guys auck ass

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 26 Jan 06 - 06:54 PM

The Power-Madness of King George

Is Bush turning America into an elective dictatorship?
By Jacob Weisberg in Slate
Posted Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2006, at 3:44 PM ET

It's tempting to dismiss the debate about the National Security Agency spying on Americans as a technical conflict about procedural rights. President Bush believes he has the legal authority to order electronic snooping without asking anyone's permission. Civil libertarians and privacy-fretters think Bush needs a warrant from the special court created to authorize wiretapping in cases of national security. But in practice, the so-called FISA court that issues such warrants functions as a virtual rubber stamp for the executive branch anyhow, so what's the great difference in the end?

Would that so little were at stake. In fact, the Senate hearings on NSA domestic espionage set to begin next month will confront fundamental questions about the balance of power within our system. Even if one assumes that every unknown instance of warrant-less spying by the NSA were justified on security grounds, the arguments issuing from the White House threaten the concept of checks and balances as it has been understood in America for the last 218 years. Simply put, Bush and his lawyers contend that the president's national security powers are unlimited. And since the war on terror is currently scheduled to run indefinitely, the executive supremacy they're asserting won't be a temporary condition.

This extremity of Bush's position emerges most clearly in a 42-page document issued by the Department of Justice last week. As Andrew Cohen, a CBS legal analyst, wrote in an online commentary, "The first time you read the 'White Paper,' you feel like it is describing a foreign country guided by an unfamiliar constitution." To develop this observation a bit further, the nation implied by the document would be an elective dictatorship, governed not by three counterpoised branches of government but by a secretive, possibly benign, awesomely powerful king.

In other news, MoveOn is requesting wide public support in blocking Mister Bush's power grab:

Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the nomination of Samuel Alito. Every Democrat voted against— the first nomination to lose every minority party vote in 90 years.1 The nomination now goes to the full Senate for a final vote, which could happen in less than a week.

Many of the committee Democrats based their historic opposition on what the New York Times called Alito's "extreme views on presidential authority."2 President Bush claims the power to detain American citizens without trial, torture at will, and spy, apparently illegally, on our private conversations. Confirming Alito to the Supreme Court would threaten the last real check against presidential abuse of power.

The next few days are the last chance we have to influence the Senate before the final vote. So, today, we're aiming to send in 10,000 letters to the editor to newspapers around the country, opposing the nomination of Samuel Alito and Bush's plan to put himself above the law.

You can write and submit your letter online right now, at:

Filling the nation's editorial pages with citizens' letters connecting Alito and the Bush power grab is one of the most effective ways we can show the Senate that we understand the stakes and are counting on them to stand up. And it's important to act now, because the Democrats and moderate Republicans who oppose Alito have still not decided if they will mount a filibuster to block his nomination—but they must decide soon.

Senator Leahy, the top Democratic senator on the Judiciary Committee, put it well yesterday: "The president is in the midst of a radical realignment of the powers of the government and its intrusiveness into the private lives of Americans...this nomination is part of that plan."3

Here are some key areas where Alito's record makes him a sure bet to back Bush's grab for unchecked power:

The spying scandal: Bush likely breaking the law

As a lawyer in the Reagan White House, Samuel Alito wrote that he personally believed administration officials should have complete immunity if they break the law and spy on American citizens—and worked to protect Nixon's Attorney General who was convicted of exactly that crime.4 President Bush now stands accused of illegally spying on Americans, and the issue is likely to go to the Supreme Court.

The torture scandal: Bush above the law

Alito helped create the radical argument that the president can override Congress and dominate the courts by issuing a "signing statement" to "get in the last word" about what a new law means.5 Last year, Congress passed a ban on torture and Bush, who opposed the law, issued a signing statement claiming that it simply wouldn't apply to him if he didn't want it to.6 This, too, is likely to come before the Supreme Court in near future. 

The detention scandal: Bush inventing the law

After 9/11 Bush claimed the power to indefinitely detain American citizens, without trial, formal charges, or access to a lawyer. In Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, the Supreme Court rejected his argument.7 Sandra Day O'Connor wrote for the majority, "a state of war is not a blank check for the president when it comes to the rights of the Nation's citizens."8 Clarence Thomas dissented, basing his argument on the theory of the "unitary executive"9—the same theory Judge Samuel Alito refers to as "gospel."10

Samuel Alito even railed against Morrison v. Olson, which granted Congress the power to create an independent counsel to investigate presidential scandals whom the president could not simply fire at will. Alito called the decision, "stunning" and praised Justice Scalia's "brilliant but very lonely dissent."11

Bush's ploy to increase his own power with Alito on the Court will not only throw off checks and balances for the rest of this term, but for decades to come. Vice-President Al Gore spoke on this topic last week and summed it up well when he asked:

Can it be true that any president really has such powers under our Constitution? If the answer is "yes" then under the theory by which these acts are committed, are there any acts that can on their face be prohibited? If the President has the inherent authority to eavesdrop, imprison citizens on his own declaration, kidnap and torture, then what can't he do?12

With Samuel Alito on the Supreme Court, the answer may be very little indeed.

Please take a minute to write a letter to the editor asking your senators to reject Bush's grab for unchecked power and Alito's nomination to the Supreme Court.


1. "Senate Panel Backs Alito on Party-Line Vote," Los Angeles Times, January 25, 2006,0,1707725.story?coll=la-home-nation

2. "Judge Alito's Radical Views," New York Times, January 23, 2006

3. Transcript of the Senate Judiciary Committee, January 24, 2006

4. "Alito said Attourneys General Can't be Sued for Illegal Wiretaps," Bloomberg, December 23, 2006

5. "Alito once made case for Presidential power," Washington Post, January 2, 2006

6. "Bush could bypass new torture ban," Boston Globe, January 4, 2006

7. "Timeline: Sandra Day O'Connor's Key Decisions," Washington Post, July 1, 2005

8. "A Supreme Court nominee in wartime," Kansas City Star, July 09, 2005

9. "The Limits of Power: Questions for Alito," The Nation, January 6, 2006

10. Sen. Patrick Leahy'Statement on the Confirmation Vote of Judge Samuel Alito, January 19, 2006

11. "The Record and Philosophy of Samuel Alito," People for the American Way, January 2006, p.22

12. "Restoring the Rule of Law," Prepared Remarks of Vice-President Al Gore, January 16th, 2006

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 26 Jan 06 - 10:42 AM

US Senators Say Bush Administration Restricting Information in Katrina Response Probe
By VOA News
25 January 2006

Congressional leaders say the White House is refusing to cooperate in an investigation of its response to Hurricane Katrina, which devastated the U.S. Gulf coast last year.

Speaking in Washington on Wednesday, Democratic Senator Joseph Lieberman said his staff members were told by federal agency officials the White House has barred them from answering questions pertaining to the probe. Republican Senator Susan Collins also criticized the White House for going too far in restricting information.

A White House spokesman has said the administration is cooperating with the Katrina probe, but added that it wants to protect the confidentiality of presidential advisors.

DUMMERSTON, Vt. — President Bush and other members of his administration have been fanning out around the country this week in a public relations blitz to sell the nation on the idea that their campaign domestic surveillance (or, as they call it, their "terrorist surveillance program") is legal and necessary to national security.
The administration is trying to convince us, as they have for the past few weeks, that no laws were broken. They continue to push the idea that the post-9/11 world means that there is no time for legal niceties such as warrants and court orders. If the president says something needs to be done, it needs to be done.
They keep saying this over and over, as if by sheer repetition, they can convince people that they did nothing wrong.
However, it doesn't matter how many times they say they didn't break the law.
It doesn't matter, because they are all lying.
This fact is indisputable: the Bush administration has repeatedly violated the Fourth Amendment, which clearly states "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
In other words, if you are going to search or spy on someone, you have to have to convince a court that you have probable cause to do so before you can get a warrant.
The Foreign Intelligence Services Act (FISA) gives the Bush administration all the power it needs to spy on terror suspects. All it has to do is go to the secret FISA court and request a warrant. The law even gives the government a full 72 hours to ask for a warrant, allowing it to spy first and seek a warrant later if time is of the essence.
The FISA court has approved all but four of the more than 10,000 warrant requests presented to it since 1978, so the bar of legality is set extremely low.
So, if the FISA law is so easy to comply with, why did the Bush administration brazenly violate that law? Because Bush is claiming the right as commander-in-chief to violate any U.S. law on the grounds of national security.
The Bush administration is also claiming a different standard than the Fourth Amendment. They have ordered surveillance based upon "reasonable belief," rather than probable cause. In other words, if they reasonably believe a person has ties to al-Qaida, they have the right to spy on them. They don't need to show probable cause, which remains the accepted standard in a court of law.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 25 Jan 06 - 10:54 PM

A remark from a correspondent:

        ``In defending this secret spying on Americans, Bush said that
        he relied on his constitutional powers (Article 2) and the joint
        resolution passed by Congress after 9/11 that led to the war in
        Iraq. This rationale was spelled out in a memo written by John Yoo,
        a White House attorney, less than two weeks after the attacks of
        9/11. It's a dense read and a terrifying piece of legal contortionism,
        but it basically says that the president has unlimited powers to
        fight terrorism. He can spy on anyone, arrest anyone, and kidnap
        anyone and ship him to another country ... merely on the suspicion
        that he might be a terrorist. And according to the memo, this power
        lasts until there is no more terrorism in the world.''

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 25 Jan 06 - 09:24 PM

Alberto Gonzales spoke before law students at Georgetown today,
justifying illegal, unauthorized surveilance of US citizens, but
during the course of his speech the students in class did
something pretty ballsy and brave. They got up from their seats
and turned their backs to him.

To make matters worse for Gonzales, additional students came
into the room, wearing black cowls and carrying a simple banner,
written on a sheet.
[The good Ben Franklin quote: "Those who would sacrifice liberty
for security deserve neither"]

Fortunately for him, it was a brief speech... followed by a
panel discussion that basically ripped his argument a new

And, as one of the people on the panel said,

"When you're a law student, they tell you if say that if you
can't argue the law, argue the facts. They also tell you if you
can't argue the facts, argue the law. If you can't argue either,
apparently, the solution is to go on a public relations
offensive and make it a political issue... to say over and over
again "it's lawful", and to think that the American people will
somehow come to believe this if we say it often enough.

In light of this, I'm proud of the very civil civil disobedience
that was shown here today." - David Cole, Georgetown University
Law Professor

It was a good day for dissent.

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 25 Jan 06 - 08:19 PM

Future American lawyers to be proud of.
... and Alberto Gonzales.
[A few good pictures on the website]

Alberto Gonzales spoke before law students at Georgetown today,
justifying illegal, unauthorized surveilance of US citizens, but
during the course of his speech the students in class did
something pretty ballsy and brave. They got up from their seats
and turned their backs to him.

To make matters worse for Gonzales, additional students came
into the room, wearing black cowls and carrying a simple banner,
written on a sheet.
[The good Ben Franklin quote: "Those who would sacrifice liberty
for security deserve neither"]

Fortunately for him, it was a brief speech... followed by a
panel discussion that basically ripped his argument a new

And, as one of the people on the panel said,

"When you're a law student, they tell you if say that if you
can't argue the law, argue the facts. They also tell you if you
can't argue the facts, argue the law. If you can't argue either,
apparently, the solution is to go on a public relations
offensive and make it a political issue... to say over and over
again "it's lawful", and to think that the American people will
somehow come to believe this if we say it often enough.

In light of this, I'm proud of the very civil civil disobedience
that was shown here today." - David Cole, Georgetown University
Law Professor

It was a good day for dissent.

And from the WP:

Bush the Incompetent
By Harold Meyerson

Wednesday, January 25, 2006; Page A19

Incompetence is not one of the seven deadly sins, and it's hardly the worst attribute that can be ascribed to George W. Bush. But it is this president's defining attribute. Historians, looking back at the hash that his administration has made of his war in Iraq, his response to Hurricane Katrina and his Medicare drug plan, will have to grapple with how one president could so cosmically botch so many big things -- particularly when most of them were the president's own initiatives.

In numbing profusion, the newspapers are filled with litanies of screw-ups. Yesterday's New York Times brought news of the first official assessment of our reconstruction efforts in Iraq, in which the government's special inspector general depicted a policy beset, as Times reporter James Glanz put it, "by gross understaffing, a lack of technical expertise, bureaucratic infighting [and] secrecy." At one point, rebuilding efforts were divided, bewilderingly and counterproductively, between the Army Corps of Engineers and, for projects involving water, the Navy. That's when you'd think a president would make clear in no uncertain terms that bureaucratic turf battles would not be allowed to impede Iraq's reconstruction. But then, the president had no guiding vision for how to rebuild Iraq -- indeed, he went to war believing that such an undertaking really wouldn't require much in the way of American treasure and American lives.

It's the president's prescription drug plan (Medicare Part D), though, that is his most mind-boggling failure. As was not the case in Iraq or with Katrina, it hasn't had to overcome the opposition of man or nature. ...

Mr. Abramoff's Meetings

Wednesday, January 25, 2006; Page A18

HERE ARE SOME things we know about Jack Abramoff and the White House: The disgraced lobbyist raised at least $100,000 for President Bush's reelection campaign. He had long-standing ties to Karl Rove, a key presidential adviser. He had extensive dealings with executive branch officials and departments -- one of whom, former procurement chief David H. Safavian, has been charged by federal prosecutors with lying to investigators about his involvement with Mr. Abramoff.

We also know that Mr. Abramoff is an admitted crook who was willing to bribe members of Congress and their staffs to get what he (or his clients) wanted. In addition to attending a few White House Hanukkah parties and other events at which he had his picture snapped with the president, Mr. Abramoff had, according to the White House, "a few staff-level meetings" with White House aides.

I'm Feeling . . . Surveilled

» Eugene Robinson | As its servers fill up with our dreams, ambitions, beliefs and fears, Google can know too much. It's no surprise the administration wants in on the action.
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Miller: Palestinian Leadership Crisis
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Here is what we don't know about Jack Abramoff and the White House: whom he met with and what was discussed. Nor, if the White House sticks to its current position, will we learn that anytime soon. Press secretary Scott McClellan told the White House press corps: "If you've got some specific issue that you need to bring to my attention, fine. But what we're not going to do is engage in a fishing expedition that has nothing to do with the investigation."

This is not a tenable position. It's undisputed that Mr. Abramoff tried to use his influence, and his restaurant and his skyboxes and his chartered jets, to sway lawmakers and their staffs. Information uncovered by Mr. Bush's own Justice Department shows that Mr. Abramoff tried to do the same inside the executive branch.

Under these circumstances, asking about Mr. Abramoff's White House meetings is no mere exercise in reportorial curiosity but a legitimate inquiry about what an admitted felon might have been seeking at the highest levels of government. Whatever White House officials did or didn't do, there is every reason to believe that Mr. Abramoff was up to no good and therefore every reason the public ought to know with whom he was meeting....

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