Archive for June, 2005

Troops’ Silence at Fort Bragg Starts a Debate All Its Own

Thursday, June 30th, 2005

Troops’ Silence at Fort Bragg Starts a Debate All Its Own - New York Times

June 30, 2005

By DAVID E. SANGER
WASHINGTON, June 29 - So what happened to the applause?

When President Bush visits military bases, he invariably receives a foot-stomping, loud ovation at every applause line. At bases like Fort Bragg - the backdrop for his Tuesday night speech on Iraq - the clapping is often interspersed with calls of “Hoo-ah,” the military’s all-purpose, spirited response to, well, almost anything.

So the silence during his speech was more than a little noticeable, both on television and in the hall. On Wednesday, as Mr. Bush’s repeated use of the imagery of the Sept. 11 attacks drew bitter criticism from Congressional Democrats, there was a parallel debate under way about whether the troops sat on their hands because they were not impressed, or because they thought that was their orders.
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John Kerry on Bush’s Next Move

Wednesday, June 29th, 2005

Dear Friend,

Last night the President had a chance to move the country forward by laying out a specific course of action to make our troops safer and rescue the mission in Iraq.

Instead, the President took us backwards — backwards to campaign style rhetoric and unshakeable stubbornness.

Let me be clear about something. I’ve never met an American who doesn’t want to see America succeed in Iraq. I’ve never met a veteran who doesn’t fly the flag on the 4th of July with pride in our country. I’ve never met an American who doesn’t believe in the greatness of our country and the strength of our ideals.

But I’ve met a lot of Americans who fear the President has no plan to get it right in Iraq — and they woke up this morning feeling the same way.

The President and the administration need to get their story straight about what is happening in Iraq — and how they are going to get our mission back on track.

From their 24th different rationale for war, to the Vice President and Secretary Rumsfeld telling us the insurgency is in its “final throes” while last night President Bush said it is more dangerous than ever, Americans just want to hear the truth.

They want leadership equal to our soldiers’ sacrifice, and they know we can’t win if our leaders can’t even agree on the facts. This is a time for leadership, and a time for responsible answers to difficult problems.

Yesterday, I laid out a 9 point plan to get it right in Iraq. Here are 3 steps the President can take this weekend to start getting it right in Iraq and ensure greater security for our troops.

1) The President heads to Europe this weekend. He needs to bring home more commitments from our allies to shore up Iraq’s borders, invest more in reconstruction and do more training of Iraqi troops. A secure and stable Iraq is in the best interest of every nation across Europe and the Middle East.

2) Send a message across the Middle East that Iraq’s neighbor countries must do more to stop the rise of terrorism in Iraq. We need countries like Saudi Arabia to keep their commitment to help pay for reconstruction efforts in Iraq so the Iraqi people get electricity, water and better roads.

We also need help from Iraq’s neighbors in shoring up the borders so foreign fighters and terrorists can’t get in and can’t get out. The President needs to take his tough message to the region and enlist support for our mission. The best way to stop the growth of terrorism is by enlisting more Arab allies.

3) Truly honor our troops’ sacrifices in Iraq by immediately covering the one billion dollar shortfall in funding for veterans care this year here at home and increasing funding for armor and necessary supplies for our troops over in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Senator Byrd, Senator Murray, I and others have an amendment pending right now to address the critical funding shortage for veterans. The administration could send a powerful message about sacrifice and national unity if they act now to address this shortfall for the VA.

We need more than just words to get it right in Iraq. We need actions and focus and leadership. We saw what happened after 9/11, in the mountains of Tora Bora, when the administration took its eyes off the ball when it came to hunting down and capturing Osama Bin Laden. We can’t afford to let the same thing happen in Iraq.

Our troops are depending on us and we can’t let them down. It’s time to bring the country together to get it right. No more excuses, no more spin, and no more dividing the country on partisan lines.

Americans have the resolve - we need action from the administration.

Sincerely,

John Kerry

No News in Bush Primetime Address

Tuesday, June 28th, 2005

What a waste of air time.

President Bush spoke for 29 minutes and had nothing new to say. The only real surprise is that the national media, after seeing advance copies of his speech, covered it live.

What is sure to draw fire from Bush’s ever-growing number of critics is his numerous references to the attacks of 9/11.

“The only way our enemies can succeed is if we forget the lessons of September 11, if we abandon the Iraqi people to men like Zarqawi and if we yield the future of the Middle East to men like bin Laden,” Bush said.

Excuse me, Mr. Bush, can you explain to me again the connection between your illegal war in Iraq and bin Laden. Just exactly where in Iraq did the 9/11 terrorists train? And exactly how many of the terrorists were from Iraq? And about those WMDs…

And as for abandoning “the Iraqi people to men like Zarqawi,” just what brought Zarqawi to Iraq in the first place?

How about this question: Are the Iraqi people better off since the U.S. invasion. Do they have adequate water, power and food?

And this one: Do the Iraqis think the continual loss of innocent lives is worth having Saddam in prison?

We must be patient, Bush says, and give his Iraq policies time to work.

“We have more work to do, and there will be tough moments that test America’s resolve,” Bush said. Interpretation: his cronies have yet to make enough money, so we must remain.

“Amid all this violence, I know Americans ask the question: Is the sacrifice worth it? It is worth it, and it is vital to the future security of our country,” said Bush.

If it’s so worth it, Mr. Bush, why aren’t your daughters over there? Where’s your sacrifice?

This war was never about the security of the United States; past, present or future. It is about profiteering and gouging the U.S. Treasury. It is about a personal vendetta. It is about time to stop the madness.

One last question: Where’s bin Laden?

9/11 Conspiracy?

Tuesday, June 28th, 2005

Lately I am hearing a lot of credible talk about a conspiracy surrounding 9/11. I am hearing more and more talk of an “inside job.”

SoonerThought raised some questions about this just over a year ago–and we still feel that there has been no legitimate answer to this legitimate question.

Is this latest flood of conspiracy news being emboldened by Bush’s failing poll numbers? By the acknowledgement by all but the most ignorant people that Bush lied about Iraq and Osama?

Whatever the reason, there are plenty of unanswered questions, along with a whitewash aftertaste that reminds us plenty of the Warren Commission.

Evil wins when the good are silent. Perhaps we are seeing a change for the good.

ENRON II: Nightmare on Main Street

Tuesday, June 28th, 2005

If you think Enron didn’t do enough damage to the economy before they imploded (and after), just wait and see what happens if the Bush energy bill becomes law as it is currently written.

Kelpie Wilson of TruthOut.org has an eye-opening article posted at AlterNet entitled: Exponential Enrons Ahead.

WARNING: Do not read this if you already suffer from high blood pressure, sleeplessness, or if you are in possession of morals and ethics.

We have truly become a nation of the corporation, by the corporation and for the corporation.

Pepsi Hoax Recirculating

Tuesday, June 28th, 2005

An email is again circulating cyper space with the subject line “Don’t buy the new Pepsi can …”

Here is the body of the message in its entirety:

“Don’t buy Pepsi in the new can. Pepsi has a new ‘patriotic’ can coming out
with pictures of the Empire State Building, and the Pledge of Allegiance on
them.

“However, Pepsi left out two little words on the pledge, ‘Under God.’ Pepsi
said they didn’t want to offend anyone. In that case, we don’t want to
offend anyone at the Pepsi corporate office, either. So if we don’t buy any
Pepsi product, they will not be offended when they don’t receive our money
that has the words ‘In God We Trust’ on it.”

Originally seen in 2002, the email has been resurrected despite the fact that it was unmasked as a hoax almost immediately.

Pepsi again responded with this on their Web site:

False Rumor Alert

Patriotic Cans

We wanted to clarify an erroneous report that has been circulating around cyberspace for some time. Pepsi has not created any packaging containing an edited version of America’s Pledge of Allegiance. A patriotic package used in 2001 by Dr Pepper (which is not a part of PepsiCo) was inappropriately linked to this rumor. Dr Pepper’s position is very clearly articulated at: http://www.dpsu.com/drpepper_can.html.

It seems some people will always believe what they want without bothering to check the facts. How else could Bush get reelected?

Personally I don’t drink Pepsi; it’s too sweet for my tastes. Whenever I am in a restaurant that serves only Pepsi, I order iced tea.

But in light of this, I just might get it a try. After all, if the whackos on the far Christian right think Pepsi’s an evil company, the folks at Pepsi must be doing something right.

Jake Lowrey
Associate Editor

Heir to Wal-Mart Empire Killed

Monday, June 27th, 2005

Wal-Mart heir dies in Wyoming plane crash - Retail - Newsmakers - General - Company Announcements

John Walton, a son of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. founder Sam Walton, died Monday when his ultra-light airplane crashed shortly after taking off from the Jackson Hole, Wyo., airport, the company said.

Lies, Damn Lies and the Fools Who Believe Them

Monday, June 27th, 2005

From Capitol Hill Blue

The Rant
Lies, Damn Lies and the Fools Who Believe Them
By DOUG THOMPSON
Jun 27, 2005, 07:45

A bumper sticker on a car outside a coffee shop in the tiny Southwestern Virginia mountain town of Floyd, Virginia, says it all:

“We’re making enemies faster than we can kill them.”

You didn’t used to see such bumper stickers in a conservative town like Floyd where American flags fly from every light pole on holidays and adorn most pickup trucks on the road.

Now they seem to pop up everywhere.

“These colors don’t run…the rest of the world” proclaims another. My wife is fond of one that says “Born just fine the first time.”

At the town’s Friday Night Jamboree, a weekly gathering of bluegrass fans from all over the world, a 70-ish fiddle player opened his set with “let’s have a moment of silence for all the Americans who have died in George W. Bush’s illegal war.” Nobody booed or got upset. They stood silent for 60 seconds and then cheered and clapped wildly when the music started.

If opposition to Bush’s lies-backed invasion of Iraq can appear openly in a traditional, flag-waving Blue Ridge mountain community like Floyd, you can be sure it runs rampant in other, larger places in America.

Polls show Bush’s job approval rating dropping faster than General Motors stock while American opposition to his war climbs. Most Americans now oppose the war in Iraq and question both Bush’s honesty and his reasons for invading another country.

And the numbers of brain-dead, partisan lemmings who continue to support Dubya’s madness decline daily. Only those who continue to think, in some barbaric way, that war solves problems back this madman’s actions. They’re mostly partisan political hacks or those who cling to the outdated notion that American should impose its will throughout a world that neither embraces, or needs, our way of life.

Sadly, the idiots who continue to embrace Bush’s Armageddon-driven policies are inane political polemics who find political lies justified, torture of suspects acceptable and the rights of the Constitution expendable in an over hyped “war against terrorism.”

One of these numb nuts tried the other day to convince me that Bush’s illegal war is part of that war against terrorism but all he succeeded in doing was showcasing his ignorance of both facts and politics. Like too many of the warmongering partisans who back Bush’s dirty little war he is driven by the insane notion that American imperialism is the answer to the world’s woes.

It is not. Bush lied to the American people, to Congress and to the world to justify his war and now his lies have come back to haunt him. He has the blood of 1,700 plus Americans on his hands and, at the rate he is going, his war will too soon have killed more Americans than the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Yet those Americans in Iraq died for nothing, in a war that had nothing to do with payback for 9/11. As the proof increases that Bush planned this war before the first plane slammed into the first tower of the World Trade Center, only those who checked their brains at the door continue to support his lies.

Osama bin Laden remains at large because American troops are too busy with a war in Iraq that has nothing to do with tracking down the mastermind of 9/11. He and his henchmen are free to plan more attacks because while Bush continues to lie, Americans continue to die and the President’s reckless actions continue to create more enemies of, and hatred for, America.

As the bumper sticker says, “we’re creating enemies faster than we can kill them.” And those we haven’t killed are killing us – more than 1,700 in Iraq in a war based on lies and driven by deceit.

And the blood of every single one of those Americans stains not only the hands of George W. Bush but the hands of any fool who supports him and his insane war.

© Copyright 2005 Capitol Hill Blue

Wimp in Chief?

Friday, June 24th, 2005

For a guy who likes to swagger around in a flight suit and act like he is a Top Gun or a “real bad hombre,” President Bush sure has some wimpy qualities. Sorry to bring up the “W” word about “W,” but this guy’s fear of having anyone who might sass him with a boo, Bronx cheer or discouraging word plants him squarely in wuss territory if you ask me.

Thursday, Bush commandeered a high school for one of his little theatricals, and the town’s people were not at all happy or welcoming:

Although Montgomery police officers tried to confine them to one area, many of the demonstrators broke away and briefly disrupted traffic on University Boulevard. “I feel like he’s kind of trespassing,” said Katie Frank, 16, who will be a Blair senior next school year. “He should know we don’t support him.”

Stage managed events, silly banners with fourth-rate PR slogans and softball questions from “real people” show Bush to be what he is: a puppet on a string.

And a wimpy one at that.

Democrats: Rove Questions Your Patriotism

Thursday, June 23rd, 2005

Since when does this fat tub of crap get to question my patriotism? Enjoy your time in the White House, gang– ’cause unless you steal another election, the American people are going to put you all out on your asses. Mark my words.

EXCERPT:
At a Manhattan fundraiser Wednesday night, the flamboyant architect of Bush’s two presidential campaigns and now White House deputy chief of staff told members of the Conservative Party of New York State: “Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 in the attacks and prepared for war. Liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers.”

During his unusually contentious daily briefing today at the White House, Press Secretary Scott McClellan defended Rove to the hilt, saying repeatedly that Rove was “simply pointing out the different philosophies and different approaches when it comes to winning the war on terrorism.”

Letter to the Editor: Bill Would Restore Million-Dollar Donors

Monday, June 20th, 2005

By Fred Wertheimer
June 20, 2005

Federal Election Commissioner Michael Toner’s support for the repeal of limits on party spending coordinated with a candidate completely misses one huge problem (Guest Observer, “Pass Pence-Wynn So We Can Fix Coordinated Expenditures,” June 15, 2005).

The repeal of the coordinated party spending limits contained in the Pence-Wynn bill is accompanied by another provision in the bill that repeals the aggregate limit on the total amount an individual can give to a political party — a limit established in response to the Watergate scandals. The combination of these two provisions in the Pence-Wynn bill would result, in effect, in the repeal of the $2,100 contribution limit on the amount an individual can give to a federal candidate — another bedrock provision of the 1974 post-Watergate campaign finance laws.

Here’s why.

Currently, the aggregate limit on the total amount an individual can contribute to all party committees and PACs is $61,400 in a two-year election cycle. If that cap is removed, however, an individual would be able to give up to $1.1 million to a single party in a cycle.

Furthermore, that $1.1 million could be solicited from an influence-seeking individual by a Member of Congress for the Member’s party, and could end up in the Member’s Congressional party committee as a result of the unlimited transfers among party committees permitted by current law. Under the old soft-money system, it was common practice to transfer soft money contributions among party committees.

The Pence-Wynn bill also contains the provision endorsed by Toner that repeals the limits on the amount a party can spend in direct coordination with a Member, currently a total of $76,600 in the case of a House candidate. This means that a Member who solicited a $1.1 million contribution from an individual for the Member’s party could also directly control its spending to support the Member’s own campaign. And, the Member could do so with an unlimited number of such huge contributions.

A presidential candidate also would be able to solicit contributions from individuals of up to $1.1 million and use them in the same way to support the candidate’s presidential campaign.

The net result for a Member would be to eviscerate the current $2,100 contribution limit on the amount an individual can give to a Member’s campaign and replace it, in effect, with an individual being able to make a contribution of up to $1.1 million to support the Member’s campaign. These million-dollar contributions could be solicited by a Member, channeled to the Member’s Congressional party committee and then spent under the direct control of the Member.

Contrary to Toner’s analysis, the effect of repealing the coordinated party spending limits, in combination with repealing the aggregate limit on the total amount an individual can give to a party, would fundamentally undermine the nation’s campaign finance laws.

It would return million-dollar contributions to federal campaigns, solicited by federal officeholders and candidates and used to support their campaigns — precisely the kind of huge corrupting contributions that Congress wisely eliminated in passing the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002.

That is just one of the reasons why the extraordinarily retrogressive Pence-Wynn bill must be defeated.

Fred Wertheimer
President
Democracy 21

# # #

Released: Monday, June 20, 2005

For the latest reform news and to access previous reports, releases, and analysis from Democracy 21, visit www.democracy21.org.

Someone Else’s Child > NY Times Commentary

Monday, June 20th, 2005

By Bob Herbert

[Here’s a not-so-original thought: starting with the Bush twins all chickenhawks must send their relatives to fight in all wars they start. In addition, all American citizens who support the chickenhawks and their wars must send at least one son or daughter to the war zone. If they have no son or daughter of their own, a niece or nephew or cousin will do. If they have no relatives of fighting age (which keeps getting older and older) they must go themselves or shut the f**k up. Unless you are ready to make a personal sacrifice in pursuit of some mad men’s dream, you have no business beating the war drum. If you are not willing to lay your life or the life of your loved ones on the line in the name of greater profits you have no right to tell me I am unpatriotic for not supporting war. Put your child’s body where your mouth is. Go ahead. I dare you.–Jake]

It has become clearer than ever that Americans do not want to fight George W. Bush’s tragically misguided war in Iraq.

You can still find plenty of folks arguing that we have to stay the course, or even raise the stakes by sending more troops to the war zone. But from the very start of this war the loudest of the flag-waving hawks were those who were safely beyond military age themselves and were unwilling to send their own children off to fight.
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