Janet's Conner

This Blog tell the Truth and will never not tell the Truth. Impeach Bush

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Military Cobra Helicopter Down

Baghdad,Iraq-A US Marine Ah-1 Cobra helicopter crashed in an insurgent stronghold in western Iraq on Saturday,two crew members were missing,the US military said.Hostile fire was not suspected as the cause.
The helicopter was on a maitenance test flight when it went down,and search-and rescue efforts were under way,the statement said.
We are using all the resources available to find our missing comrades,"Marine spokesman Lt.Col.Bryan said.
The Statement added that"the incident does not appear to be a result of enemy action"
The Statement did not specify where exactly the helicopter crashed in Anbar,a huge,insurgent-infested province extending from western outskirts of Baghdad to the Syrian and Jordanian borders.

J. DENNIS HASTERT (R-IL) ACCUSED OF 'CULTURE OF CORRUPTION'

BATAVIA---House Speaker Hastert came under scrutiny earlier this week after ABC News reported the Yorkville Republican was being investigated by the FBI in the public corruption probe centered around convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Friday, Hastert's opponent in the November election brought the issue to the Speaker's doorstep.

John Laesch, a Democrat from Newark, used the sidewalk outside Hastert's office to speak to a handful of reporters about the issue.

"We all know that (former House Majority Leader) Tom DeLay and Dennis Hastert have been the ringleaders responsible for the culture of corruption in America's Congress," Laesch said.

***A "HUGE" part of it!

"And the recent story is just further evidence that this culture of corruption includes all leaders---President Bush, Tom DeLay and the Speaker himself."

***It includes "all" of the Republican leadership. Let's not forget about the Senate side of this. Frist is just as involved!

Both the Department of Justice and Hastert have denied there is any investigation of the Speaker.

***Yeah! And wasn't it the Justice Department that said the Bush Administration wasn't doing anything wrong too? That's why these guys are in the "leadership" or the "heads" of Departments. They are there to protect each other.

Hastert's office sent a letter to Laesch Friday saying:

"In your rush to call a press conference, I fear that you may have missed the following statements from the Department of Justice."

The letter lists three seperate statements from the Justice Department, including Deputy Attorney General Paul J. McNulty saying: "With regard to reports suggesting that the Speaker of the House is under investigation or 'in the mix' as stated by ABC News, I reconfirm, as stated by the Department earlier this evening, that these reports are untrue."

***When are these two going to have a confrontation? And, by the way, ABC didn't say that Hastert was being investigated by the Justice Department. They said it was the FBI. Somewhere down the line...we'll see the Justice Department coming out and saying they made this statement because they didn't want anything to impede their investigations and that this is how they had to handle things. And why did the big baby, Hastert, have to go running to the Justice Department and "snitch" and "cry for help?" This isn't a normal protocol because if it were, we'd see more of the Attorney General than we do the president. He'd be out there everyday, saying that this Republican or that Republican "isn't" under investigation! Why does he feel he has to protect Hastert?

Laesch, though, is siding with ABC, which stands by its story.

Hey! Wasn't it former Governor George Ryan, another Republican from Illinois, who said that he had done nothing wrong even after being found guilty all of his the charges brought against him? He was good friends with Hastert and did campaining for George W. Bush, but get this, In Ohio, while he was Governor of Illinois! No, nobody did nothing wrong though, did they?

Pressed twice by a reporter on whether he believed the Justice Department's denial of the story, Laesch sidestepped, saying, "it would be almost impossible for Dennis Hastert not to be under investigation."

Asked if he was being investigated, Hastert said he had not received any notice from the Justice Department and that "somebody leaked it out."

Uh Oh! The government must be reading his mail and tapping his phones so he won't get wind of him being under investigation.

"The charges have started on the Speaker of the House, and of course, he's starting to deny it," Laesch said. "Who else was it leaked by other than the FBI? I think he's part of the investigation. Regardless, this is an opportunity to change how business is done in Washington, D.C."

Maybe the FBI is trying to give Hastert a heads-up! We better start watching what he takes out of his office. No wonder why he was putting up such a big stink about the FBI raiding a Democratic congressman's office. He didn't want his raided! He's try to say that it's unconstitutional. What would he know about the Constitution since this Administration and their Republican cronies have shredded it?

Source: Suburban Chicago News
By: Staff Writer
May 27, 2006

VETERANS CHIEF BLAMES DATA ANALYST FOR THEFT


Congress Rebukes Secretary Nicholson Who Promises 'Corrective Action'

Secretary of Veterans Affairs R. James Nicholson told Congress today he is "mad as hell" about the theft of personal data on more than 26 million veterans and about his department's failure to notify him about it promptly, and he promised to take strong "corrective action" following an investigation.

Appearing successfully before the House Veteran's Affairs Committee and a joint hearing of the Senate veterans and homeland security committees, Nicholson said he accepts responsibility for the loss of veterans' information resulting from a burglary at a VA employee's home. But he appeared to fix the bulk of the blame on the data analyst who took the electronic data files home to work on, without proper authorization and lost them when his laptop computer and an external hard drive were stolen.

***Maybe it's just me but, don't you feel that we have had an awful lot of "black ops" being done in this country since this administration has come along? Just like Friday, when that Republican told his staff to call the police because he thought he heard gunshots coming from the Rayburn garage. I THINK MAYBE THE DEMOCRATS' HAD BETTER CHECK THEIR OFFICES FOR BUGS, DON'T YOU? It's not like the Republicans haven't pulled something like this once before!!!!!

Federal authorities later announced a $50,000 reward for information leading to the recovery of the stolen equipment.

Lawmakers charged that the problem goes far beyond the transgression of one employee, lambasting Nicholson and other top VA officials for an information security system that has been repeatedly identified as vulnerable in recent years.

***This kinda' adds to the "black ops" theory of mine, huh? "Let's leave the security in bad shape so theat we can have an excuse!" And the Republicans say that they are so great on national security! Huh! They can't even protect themselves and we all know that Washington, D.C. looks like a police state. I've said it many time before and this proves it. "They're national security is only a front!" It "appears" like they are doing something!

"We can't pin this on one individual," Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) told Nicholson. "This is a systemic breakdown. The system is so poorly designed that one employee can compromise the whole thing."

***There you go. It's not like they haven't been told about this!

VA officials told the communities that computer equipment appeared to have been a main target of whoever committed the burglary but that there was no evidence of a focused effort to steal data on veterans. A number of CD's containing sensitive VA data were left in the house after the burglary, which fit a pattern seen by police in other recent cases in the area, the VA inspector general testified.

Investigators "think this was a routine breaking and entering and not a targeted burglary," Nicholson said. "It was a random burglary."

"We are the best at what we do, aren't we......"

"Nicholson testified that "I am the person responsible for this situation." If the May 3 theft at the data analyst Montgomery County home was not bad enough, "I was not notified about this event until May 16," Nicholson said in opening remarks.

***Maybe that was ordered by someone higher up.

"As a 34-year veterans myself, I am mad as hell," he said. "I am outraged by all of this. I am outraged that the employee would do this so recklessly and I am outraged that I wasn't notified about this sooner."

***A paper pushin' 34-year veterans.

Nicholson, a 1961 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, served in Vietnam and spent 22 years in the Army Reserve, retiring as a colonel. He was a chairman of the Republican National Committee and ambassador to the Vatican becoming secretary of veterans affairs Feb. 1, 2005, as President Bush began his second therm.

***Wasn't he asked to be relpaced by the Vatican? What's the story behind that?

He said the stolen records contain the names and birth dates of 26.5 million veterans "and some spouses." The data also includes the Social Security numbers of 19.6 million of the veterans, he said. In addition, there were "some numerical disability ratings and diagnostic codes that identify their disability." Not included, he said, were any VA electronic health records or "explicit financial information."

***Oh, now we're hearing spouses?

The affected veterans were those who have been discharged sine 1975, plus veterans receiving VA disability compensation, Nicholson said. He said fewer than 100 spouses were included in a stolen electronic file listing people who had been affected by mustard gas.

Rep. Steven Buyer (R-IN), chairman of the House Veteran's Affairs Committee, described the incident as "a meltdown in VA's information management" and a "wake-up call" to correct department-wide problems. He asked if Nicholson would "consider offeringa reward, say a million dollars, that would lead to arrest or recovery of this loss." Buyer said this amount "is nothing compared with what we are about to expend" to deal with the stolen data.

The government later announced its $50,000 reward, which is being offered through the Montgomery County Crime Stoppers organization. County police, who are investigating the burglary in the Aspen Hill community with assistance from the FBI and the Veterans Affairs Department, want anyone with information on the crime to call the crime solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS.

In the joint hearing on the Senate side, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WASH) pointed out that there are currently about 25 million living veterans in the United States, of whom 6 million are enrolled in the VA. She asked about the discrepancy of 1.5 million names in the stolen records.

"Some of the veterans on this list would be decreased but not expunged from the rolls," Nicholson said. But he was at a loss to explain how the VA would identify the dead and contact their relatives to alert them to the possibility that the identities of deceased victims could be used for infamous purposes. "We have to look at that," he said.

Nicholson said the VA is sending letters to all of the 19.6 million people whose Social Security numbers were stolen, urging them to "be vigilant" for signs of identity theft and advising them how to protect themselves. He said a special VA call center has been set up and has received more than 105,000 calls through yesterday. The number is 1-800-333-4636.

He vowed to take decisive "corrective action" after the VA inspector general finishes an investigation and to "bring about a ringing change in the way we do business." Meanwhile, he said, the employe whose home was burglarized has been placed on administrative leave.

"I'm so damn mad at the loss of our veterans' data and the fact that one person could put all of us at risk," he said. "One person in violation of VA policies."

Sen. Susan M. Collins (R-MAINE), who chairs the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, told Nicholson: "You seem to be saying it was just one employee" who breached security. "But in fact it was not just one employee. You have a high-risk vulnerable system that has been identified time and again as vulnerable." She pointed to a stack of reports in which she said inspectors had issued the same warnings "over and over again" for the past five years.

"You were on notice," Collins said. "Were you aware of these repeated audits and reports?"

"Yes, I was," Nicholson replied. He said an effort was "just underway" to centralize information systems that have become "very loose and undisciplined."

The committee was told tht although VA policies permit "telework" from home, guidelines say the person taking information away from a VA office must have permission from a superior and the information must be encrypted. Neither guideline was followed in this case, the committee was told.

Michael McLendon, a deputy VA assistant secretary for policy, testified that the employee informed him of the May 3 burglary shortly after discovering it and notifying Montgomery County police.

"He was very distraught," McLendon said. He said the employee, a "PhD analyst," told him that a back window had been broken and the house ransacked. While the burglars passed up such valuables such as silver, they took a personal laptop and an external hard drive that had veterans' data on it, he said the employee told him.

VA officials were hard pressed to explain why it then took so long to launch an investigation and make the theft known to veterans.

George. J. Opfer, the VA inspector general, said one of his information-security officers heard about the burglary by happenstance May 10 and submitted a written report the following day.

"On May 12, 2006, a criminal investigation was initiated and efforts commenced to identify and interview the employee" who was questioned May 15, Opfer said in a written testimony. Nicholson was informed the next day.

Opfer said his office, the FBI and the Montgomery County Police Department are conducting a joint investigation aimed at catching whoever committed the burglary and recovering the stolen data.

"To date, there has been no indication that this data has been further compromised," he said.

The employee told investigators that he routinely took data home to work on and had been doing so since 2003, Opfer said.


Source: Washington Post
By: William Branigin
May 25, 2006









TRUTH: THE BETTER IDEA

Carl Bernstein had a piece in the April edition of Vanity Fair warning that, if the Republicans want to avoid losing big in November they need to make a bold move now. That bold move, Carl suggests, would be for the Senate to hold bipartisan Watergate-type hearings on alleged Bush administration misdeeds.

"...it is essential that the Senate vote---hopefully before the November elections, and with overwhelming support from both parties---to undertake a full investigation of the conduct of the presidency of George W. Bush, along the lines of the Senate Watergate Watergate Committee's investigation during the presidency of Richard M. Nixon."

***It's a little too late for that now. They would never be done. What we needed was for the Republicans and Democrats to have done this a long time ago. If they "say" they "are going to do this," it probably wouldn't be until after the elections. Saying something and doing something are two entirely different things! We need to see this being done now and to have these hearings put on television for everyone to see and hear. Until then, I wouldn't believe a word that the Republicans have to say. You can see right through what Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) is doing. He's been calling for all of these hearings but they wind up to be nothing. Nothing ever happens. The only thing that the hearings do, is it gives the Republicans a chance to give the President's side, since he doesn't know how to speak for himself. They're afraid he'll stutter or embarass them even more. Specter "pretends to be a "moderate," when in all reality, he's doing exactly what the president wants hime to do. Arlen Specter works for Bush and Karl Rove. ***Read my postings from May 21 & 22. They are called "The Real Arlen Specter." You'll see exactly what I mean.

With all due respect to Carl, I have a better idea: impanel a South African-style, "Truth and Reconciliation Commission."

Stick with me here for a minute.

First, I like Carl's idea. But it won't work because Republicans suspect---(as do most folks by now)---that the Bushies have broken the law... or more accurately "laws." They also know that dragging those guys before the Senate and putting them under oath would wipe away those suspicions by replacing them with hard proof.

Great. But then what? Once suspicion became proof they committed "high crimes and misdemeanors" Congress would have no choice, they'd have to act, meaning impeachment proceedings. Those administration officials not impeachable would then have to be indicted, convicted and jailed.

Can you imagine the mess? Sure, plenty of folk would revel in seeing the Bushies get what they have coming. But it's a wet dream. It's simply not going to happen. Period. Ever.

First, those currently in charge of Congress, Republicans, understand all to well that that's exactly where Carl's idea leads. So they aren't going to go there.

Ah, you ask, but what if Democrats win control of the House and/or Senate in November? They could do it. They could hold hearings leading to impeachment proceedings.

Sure they could. And you bet there would be plenty of folks out here on the left hounding them to do just that---investigate, investigate, impeach.

But should they do that? I would argue, no. Remember the Clinton impeachment? What mess. What a waste of time. Voters hated it.

***I totally disagree with this writer on this part! Clinton should have never been impeached. That was a whole different ballgame! If this writer doesn't think that the everyday, Joe Public, doesn't want to sit down and see the Democrats "win back" all of the civil lierties that this, joke of a president and his Republican cronies, have taken away from us. You are wrong! Orville Redenbacher's stock would sky rocket! You wouldn't be able to unglue them from the front of their television sets. Energy stocks would also be on the rise from everybody's televisions blaring. Kid's would be telling their parents that they have to go to bed. Joe Public has no idea what this administration has taken from them, because it hasn't affected them yet. Middle class American doesn't have anything to do anymore because they don't have jobs or they have three of them to survive. The writer of this article is sadly mistaken if they believe that it will be a waste of time! America is waiting for Bush to "get his." It would also make the Democrats a shoe-in for the 2008 elections!

But more importantly, it would gum up the works at the very time Democrats should instead be using any political clout they win in November to begin fixing the things these guys have stolen, broken or just plain screwed up.

Anyway, think about it. If Democrats do win back control of congress it would mean voters themselves "investigated, indicted and sentenced" the culprits. At that point the biggest job facing Democrats would be to prove to those same voters that they also deserve the White House back. The worst way for them to go about that would be to become a lynching party rather than a legislating party.

***With all due respect, it would also make them look weak. Come on....everybody knows that they broke the law and failed deeply to uphold the Constitution. Democratic voters would be saying, "now is their chance and they aren't doing anything about it. Why? Because they are more concerned about the upcoming elections." They would seem no different than the Republicans to a certain degree. A lot of Democrats wouldn't go Republican, but they just may go Independent and some Democrat incumbents could lose their seats. It would also give the people the impression that they are more worried about "themselves," than they are "the people." This idea of supporting the president with bi-partisanship is a thing of the past. What about supporting "the country," in other words, "the people." This Bush Administration has changed the face of politics. The quicker the Democrats see that, the better. You are one thing or another. At least Bush has taught us that if nothing else.

But Carl's right about one thing---the Bush administration needs to be investigated, inside and out, upside down and inside out. They should not be allowed to leave office as just a failed administration. Because they are more than that---much more than that. They are arguably the largest, boldest and most virulent criminal enterprise ever to occupy that office. Their alleged crimes span the full spectrum; graft, corruption, perjury, war crimes, false imprisonments, kidnapping...It's breathtaking. Simply breathtaking.

So I suggest that rather than waste time hoping Congress will investigate, they instead authorize the establishment of a South African styled Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The commission would be made up by a handful of respected, non-partisan judges---people who have proved they can subordinate their political affiliation to the greater good. I am thinking of people like David Gergen, Sam Nunn, George Mitchell and Sandra Day O'Connor. Their job would be to determine if the testimony given by suspects was full and truthful. And, if so judged, they would be given immunity from prosecution. If not, then the evidence collected by the commission's investigators would be referred to the FBI for further investigation and prosecution.

***Sandra Day O'connor? What, are you nuts? She was made an honorary cowgirl in Texas by this administration, and believe me she has quite a few other things for this administration.

My point here is, America needs to know the truth more than it needs revenge. Future administrations need to know they can't hide from history. So, before these guys leave office, we need to find out:

* Which energy company officials did Dick Cheney meet with to create the administration's national energy policies... what deals did they strike that remain secret.. who got what in return.. and what role if any did those deals play in our current energy mess and the record profits being made by those same energy companies?

* Who authorized torture---what did the President and Vice President know about it, and when?

* How many individuals have been abducted by or at the direction of this administration around the world---why were they abducted, where were they held, how were they treated, what happened to them---which administration officials authorized the abductions and interrogations?

* What did the President and Vice President know about torture and abductions, and when did they know it?

* What did the Attorney General know about torture and abductions---when did he know about it---what role did he play?

* What did the President and Vice President know about truthfulness of the Niger yellowcake accusations, and when did they know it?

* What did the President and Vice President know about the leaking of Valerie Plame's identity, and when did they know it?

* What did the administation really know about the state of Iraq's WMD programs before the war and how does that compare with their public statements?

* Did the Preseident and /or Vice President knowlingly lie to Congress---and the American public regarding the reasons for going to war in Iraq?---And/or about torture and domestic spying?

I'm sure folks can add to this list, but I think that would be a good place to start. Let them come before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, face the facts and explain or admit. If they tell the truth, they are free to go. No indictments, no long trials, no jail. Just the verdict of the court of public opinion and , worse, history.

***If anyone were to even "think" about doing such an idiotic suggestion as this committee, they are as "whacked" as the Republicans are! They deserve to be punished. Fortunately for them, I don't believe in torture, but this is only "my" opinion! Anyway, America has done well enough on its own without having to resort to South Africa's way of doing things. AMERICA JUST NEEDS TO ENFORCE THEIR OWN LEGISLATION THAT HAS PROTECTED ''THE PEOPLE'' BEFORE THIS ADMINISTRATION CAME ALONG. "Did you hear me out there, Democrats?" I know you're listening.........I hope you're listening!........Are you listening?.........

That could work. Carl's idea won't work, for all the reasons I pointed out above. Republicans are not about to open that door because it leads to more trouble than anyone wants. But Republicans could get the same bang for their buck that Carl suggests they would from his idea by appointing a national Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

***They don't need to be getting the same bang for their buck...They have gone along with this corrupt administration at every turn. What? Do you think that Bush did this all on his own? It was the Congress that gave him the votes. The White House just told them what he wanted. The Republicans are the majority!

What we citizens would get in return are answers to the most important questions of our time. Which would be enough. Because the bright light of truth is always more powerful and lasting than the orgasm of revenge.


Source: News for Real
Story By: Stephen P. Pizza
April 2006





SENATOR SANTORUM TRIES TO COVER HIS TRACKS ON RESIDENCY

Editorial: Nobody home / Santorum tries to cover his tracks on residency

Before every election, the Post-Gazette routinely sends letters to the candidates seeking material for the Voters Guide. Back in March, as part of that process for the preliminary, the newspaper sent a letter to Rick Santorum (R-PA) at his home address, at least the one that he claims. Back from Penn Hills came the letter with a sticker from the U.S. Postal Service checked as "Not Deliverable As Addressed---Unable To Forward."

That is all you need to know about the nasty dispute between the Republican Sen. Santorum and his Democrat opponent, Bob Casy, Jr., in the November election. The whole thing is rooted in one inconvenient fact for Sen. Santorum: He doesn't live here anymore.

That is not to say that he doesn't visit Penn Hills from time to time. But while he may meet the legal requirements for residency, his home is in Virginia with his wife and children. This is well-known and it has been for quite a while. Indeed, it was at the heart of the objection by some Penn Hills residents to the local school district paying for the senator's children to be enrolled on a cyber charter school. The theory was that---let us emphasize it again because is it central to the current problem---he doesn't live here anymore.

In furtherance of that objection, two local Democrats, Ed and Erin Vecchio, tried to revive the residency issue on primary election day, which was covered by a subsequent KDKA-TV report. A radio ad for Sen. Santorum flagrantly distorts that report, suggesting that "operatives" for the Casey campaign had trespassed on the Santorum property. (It also sneeringly calls Mr. Casey "Bobby"---as if the Democrat wore short pants.)

First, the couple criticizing Sen. Santorum have denied a connection to the Casey campaign, an assertion confirmed by Mr. Casey. (Perhaps Sen. Santorum thinks that just being a critical Democrats makes people "operatives.")

Second, no one has admitted to trespassing on the Santorum property or peering through windows. The KDKA report merely quoted Mr. Vecchip as saying the house was vacant, with no curtains or furniture. But you wouldn't have to be a trespasser to find that out; you could ask neighbors---or the local mail carrier. After all, the senator's absence in nit in serious dispute because he doesn't live here anymore.

Mr. Casey described Sen. Santorum's claims as "weird" and "bizarre." Actually, they are beyond weird and raise serious questions about the senator's ethics that go beyond the residency question. In a letter to Mr. Casey, he speaks of his "outrage" regarding the actions of the Casey campaign "which have put our six young children at a serious safety risk."

Though that suggestion is far-fetched to the point of absurdity, it would be a potential source of fear only if the senator actually lived in Penn Hills, but---let us repeat one last time---the Santorum family is not at risk because he doesn't live here anymore and his family is in Virginia most of the time. So what we have is the senator making untrue and outrageous comments while seeking to hide behind his wife and kids in order to get around an inconvenient fact.

We have a feeling that those who do live here may have something to say about this cowardly tactic at the November polls.


Source: Post-Gazette
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Editor
May 26, 2006