Janet's Conner

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

Friday, July 28, 2006


Flights home stopped as U.S. figures out Baghdad security plan

Any American family thinking their soldier is coming home soon from Iraq may be in for a nasty surprise.

All flights out of there for troops at the end of their deployment are canceled, while the military tries to figure out how to make Baghdad safe.

President Bush had said earlier this week that soldiers in other parts of Iraq would go to the capital.

Defense officials say commanders are working out the details of a plan to move as many as five-thousand soldiers with tanks and armored vehicles.

They'd team up with Iraqi police and army units, turning every Baghdad operation into a joint effort.

America now has about 130,000 troops in Iraq, with 30,000 in the capital.

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The problem with a successful marketing campaign is that eventually people are going to buy the product and if it doesn't meet expectations, word of mouth will overpower the sales pitch.

According to a very innovative poll commissioned by National Public Radio (NPR) and conducted by Democrat Stan Greenberg and Republican Glenn Bolger, it appears the same can be said for political campaigns.

For decades now, Republicans have been incredibly successful at marketing and selling their political ideas or products. NPR's Poll, however, has found that among the voters who matter most in 2006 the GOP's actual product hasn't met expectations.

Greenberg and Bolger polled only the 50 most competitive Congressional districts---the races that both party's candidate could conceivably win---and where contol of the House will be decided. Of the 50 districts polled, 40 are Republican seats and 10 are Democratic. The results are nothing short of stunning and, too, a dark omen indeed, for the GOP.

Typically, a Republican voter, Peggy Beekler of Kentucky's Third District best highlights the Republican Party's biggest problem:

"I think to do an amendment on burning the flag would be totally ridiculous---I also think when Bush vetoed the stem cell research...I feel like that's ridiculous because they're just going to destroy all those embryos anyway, so even though I am pro-life, I think that shouldn't have been vetoed. I think that was a really bad thing."

Beekler seems to express the underlying mood of 2006 voters. When Greenberg and Bolger asked people who they preferred in a generic match up, i.e., a nameless. faceless Republican or Democrat, and then asked the question again citing the specific incumbent and challenger in the race, "the numbers didn't change much and the voters seemed pretty firm about their choices."

That finding alone of course, doesn't say too much about what is happening until it is revealed that since 2004, in these districts, there has been an 18 point swing in favor of the Democratic candidate.

In 2004, among these same districts, Republicans won by an average of 12 points. Today, however, Democrats hold a very strong 6 point lead over Republicans. When coupled with every known national poll that asks, generically, who people prefer and Democrats consistently come out ahead, and the finding by Greenberg and Bolger that the differences between the generic and named candidates changes the dynamics very little it becomes very obvious, very quickly that the GOP is in deep trouble in 2006.

Most incredible of all, is what Greenberg and Bolger discovered and that Beekler articulated so eloquently, the Democrats sored their largest polling margin on the "values issues." THAT IS CORRECT! On the very "valus Issues" Republicans have chosen to highlight in the House, i.e., flag-burning, stem-cell research, and yes, gay marriage---Democrats were favored 51 percent to 37 percent over Republicans.

Surely, no person could have expected Democrats to have such a commanding lead on the so-called values issues. This finding led Greenberg to surmise: "What this say: By 13 points, voters say they are more likely to vote Democratic because of hearing about these issues. Which suggests that the strategy of using the Congress to get out the base is one that's driving away a lot of voters."


***I wonder how Bush feels now! It took him to come into power to take down the whole Republican Party! People know that his religious beliefs are all phony. He only talked like he had values to win the presidency. Let's face it, look at how he lived his life up until the time he wanted to become president! It was like that ever since his grandfather was into politics! Playing dirty is fine in love and war, but when it comes down to ruining the lives of innocent people because you think they "just might know something about your family," then that is just plAin old wrong. What kind of values is that for a so-called, even, self-proclaimed Christian! Not everybody is going to put up with the crap that these Republicans have shoved out. IT'S GOT TO END SOMEWHERE!


WASHINGTON (AP) --- These are dreay days for U.S. diplomacy.

A string if disappointments in recent weeks has left Washington's role as a global power broker diminished. The unalloyed U.S. support for Israel during two weeks of fighting with Hezbollah insurgents in Lebanon and American refusal to agree to a quick cease-fire are leaving the Bush administration ever more isolated internationally.

U.S. relations with its allies had shown signs of improvement in the aftermath of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. But the signs of strain are growing:

* Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice failed to agree in Rome with European and Arab allies on terms of a cease-fire to end two weeks of Israel-Hezbollah violence.

* President Bush and visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had to concede a six-week-old plan for quelling violence in Baghdad had failed. Bush ordered more U.S. troops to Iraq's battered capital---a setback to hopes for a big drawdown of U.S. troops this year.

* Efforts to get North Korea and Iran to restrict their nuclear ambitions remained stalled.

* World trade talks collapsed.

"This president has a very firm world view that is not about to be changed by facts or realities. There are good guys and bad guys," said Ivo Daalder, who was director of European affairs in the National Security Council in the Clinton administration.

***Yeah, well right now the U.S. and its citizens are being considered the "bad guys" and that is because of facts or realities. Bush isn't a strong leader, he's a weal little man that doesn't know what to do!

"Right now, Israelis are the good guys and Hezbollah, Syria and Iran are the bad guys," said Daalder, now a fellow with the Brookings Institute. He said the administration's refusal to deal directly with Hezbollah, Syria or Iran "is a manifestation of this world view: We don't talk to bad people."

Bush may get some solace later this week when his strongest ally on Iraq, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, visits the White House---he was last here just two months ago. But Blair himself is politically weakened, both by Iraq and by domestic woes. Blair has answered to calls for him to step down by saying it is too soon, but he has promised to give up the prime minister's post before the next national elections, expected by 2009.

***It is being reported that Blair is going to ask Bush to call for a cease-fire in Lebanon.

The administration insists it is engaged with foes as well as friends, if not always directly. But White House spokesman Tony Snow on Thursday criticized what he called a push for "egg-timer diplomacy. Things do not happen on snap deadlines."

***Isn't what the administration is saying and what Ivo Daalder is saying contradictive to each other?

"If someone could guarantee me that a slip of paper would end a death, then we'll have a conversation," he said.

***Hey, Bush thinks that whatever he puts down on paper is the golden rule, so I'll argue with you!

Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice insisted not backing an immediate cease-fire in the current strife was the right move. "The fields of the Middle East are littered with broken cease-fires," she told reporters on Wednesday as she flew toward a meeting in Asia.

***BUT, they do stop for a little while!

The Bush administration and Israel insist that Hezbollah, which they consider a terror group, must be disarmed and defeated in southern Lebanon. European and Arab allies want a quick cease-fire to stop mounting civilian deaths.

Strong support in Congress for Israel is further complicating efforts to find common ground with allies.

***They are being supported because nobody wants to lose in the elections because of the Jewish vote. It's as simple as theat!

The principal U.S. allies in the area, the predominantly Sunni states of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Joran and the weak U.S.-backed Democratic government of Lebanon have all criticized Hezbollh for kidnapping two Israeli soldiers and lobbing hundreds of missiles into northern Israel.

But support for Hezbollah appears to be growing across the region among both Sunni and Shiite Arabs.

Despite the administration's repeated assertions that Syria is among the powers behind the Hezbollah attacks, there has been "not a single contact" by the U.S. government with Syria since the fighting began, said Syrian Ambassador Imad Moustapha.

That is a departure from past prctice in which U.S. envoys would be dispatched whenever there was a crisis, Moustapha said.

Should Rice have included a stop in the Syrian capital of Damascus on a diplomatic mission that only took her to Lebanon, Israel, the Palestinian West Bank and Rome?

"If necessary, yes," said former Clinton national security adviser Sandy Berger. "If Syrian help is necessary to put an end to this thing, then I think she should go to Damascus."

The Bush administration became "so preoccupied with Iraq, that it has no credibility whatsoever with the Arab people," said Mehdi Noorbaksh, an international affairs professor at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology. "Unfortunately, with the current conflict in Lebanon it has been intensified."

Bush was even getting some diplomacy static at home from staunchy pro-Israel members of Congress who criticized the failure of Bush's present poster child for democracy---al-Maliki, a Shiite Muslim---to condemn Hezbollah in his speech to Congress on Wednesday.

To that, Senate Armed Services Chairman John Warner (R-VA), rose to Maliki's defense. "Well, it's better that he come and state the facts as they are, rather than trying to paint an unrealistic picture," said Warner.

***That's a joke, coming from Warner!

By: Tom Raum
July 27, 2006


SAN FRANCISCO---The American Civil Liberties Union released a compilation of covert government surveillance of political activists in northern and central California on Thursday, decrying a "a greater expansion of government power and abuse of power" since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The group's Northern California branch blamed weak oversight of law-enforcement and intelligence agencies, and called for a new state government watchdog over their activities.

"With inadequate regulation and an insufficient understanding of the protections afforded to protest and dissent, law enforcement has overstepped its bounds in monitoring political activity," the group said.

The ACLU of Northern California cataloged instances of that surveillance in recent years, some of ot previously reported. Several incidents involved police infiltration of anti-war groups.

***Bush is turning this nation into a police-state. Isn't being able to demonstrate part of our Bill of Rights?

Two Oaklnad police officers posed as demonstrators ahead of a 2003 march. Moreover, the infiltrators managed to get themselves elected as organizers of the march, which was meant to protest a clash the previous month in which Oakland police had fired beanbags and other non-lethal projectiles at anti-war demonstrators, injuring dozens of people. The infiltrators helped plan the march route, according to the ACLU.

The Fresno County Sheriff's Department sent a deputy into an anti-war group, Peace Fresno, posing as a fellow activist. "Aaron Stokes" had attended rallies with the group, and taken minutes at meetings in 2003. In fact, Aaron Stokes was Aaron M. Kilner, the sheriff's deputy. The president of Peace Fresno discovered this when she saw an obituary for Kilner disclosing his true identity. Attorney General Bill Lockyer opened an investigation in April 2004, and later said he had "serious concerns" about the sheriff's methods, but has taken no action against the department, nor issued a report about his inquiry, which remains open.

In January 2004, union members at a demonstration identified two Contra Costa Sheriff's Department Homeland Security Unit members in attendance. When California Labor Federation leader Art Pulaski confronted the men, they claimed they were there to support the rally. Pulaski later asked the two men, whether they were law enforcement agents. Eventually they acknowledged that they were.

"We recognize that much of what we learned, we've learned by chance, and what that tells us is, the report is just the tip of the iceberg," said Dorothy Ehrlich, the group's executive director.

"Since the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, we have found an even greater expansion of government power and the abuse of power," Ehrlich said.

California law prohibits law enforcement officers from conducting undercover operations or engaging in surveillance of political activity in the absence of a reasonable suspicion of a crime, according to Lockyer.

The ACLU of Northern California offered several recommendations for curbing "surveillance abuses."

Lockyer should offer "specific and direct" guidelines to local law enforcement on legal limits on collecting information and undercover monitoring of political activities, the group said. And he should press for law enforcement agencies to implement them.

The ACLU called for legislation that would force local law enforcement to report on their surveillance activities to the Legislature once a year, as well as laws that would regulate state intelligence agencies. One such bill currently under consideration would bar the California National Guard, previously enmeshed in a domestic spying scandal, from engaging in such surveillance without authorization from lawmakers. And the Legislature should create an inspector general post---a new official who would investigate complaints against state-level intelligence agencies, the group said.

***This isn't just happening in California. Ever since the Bush administation and his Republican-controlled Congress have come along, this is happening all over the United States!

Contra Costa Times
Scott Lindlaw/Associated Press
July 27, 2006


House Republican leaders, Giving in to political Reality, Plan Vote to Raise $5.15 Minimum Wage

Washington---House Republican leaders, giving in to political reality, plan a vote to raise the $5.15 minimum wage before leaving Washington this weekend for a five-week recess.

***Hastert (R-IL) must be getting worried. He'll do anything for a vote nowadays! It's kinda' late isn't it Denny? Don't you think the people will realize that your getting desperate?

"Whether people like it or not, we need to go ahead with it," said Rep. Mike Castle (R-DEL), who supports the idea. "There's a general agreement among Republicans (opposing the raise) that 'maybe we don't like it much, but we need to move forward with it just for politial reasons."

***They've got some nerve, don't they? Political reasons! I hope it passes and they don't get one vote out of it. This isn't coming from compassion or consideration for the people. They're just doing it because the Republicans are desperate for a vote! Besides, it also has to go through the Senate. I think Hastert (R-IL) is just pulling the people's legs here. He'll let it go through the House and tell everyone on the campaign trail that, "the House voted on it, it's up to the Senate now!" When they come back, or should I say wait until after the elections to bring it up again and then it won't pass! The only thing that this Republican Congress has managed to do in the past 6 years is REDISTRIBUTE THE WEALTH OF THIS COUNTRY. There are only 2 classes of people now. The rich and the poor.

The No. 3 House GOP leader, Majority Whip Roy Blunt of Missouri, said the plan was to have a vote before week's end. But Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Republicns leaders were working to pass the increase but that "no decisions have been made."

It was a decade ago, during the hotly contested campaign year of 1996, that Congress voted to increase the minimum wage. A person working 40 hours per week at minimum wage makes $10,700, which is below the poverty line for workers with families.

Democrats have made increasing the wage a pillar of their campaign platform and are pushing to raise the wage to $7.25 per hour over two years. In June, the Republican-controlled Senate refused to raise the minimum wage, rejecting a proposal from Democrats.

***It's very obvious who works for "the people" and who works for the corporations. Do you know why the Republicans vote for the corporations? It's because they own a lot of them or are major stock holders!

The chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee said the GOP would embrace the increase to $7.25 per hour and probably attach a proposal passed last year that would make it easier for small business to band together and buy health insurance plans for employees at a lower cost. Rep. Howard McKeon, R-Calif., said the minimum wage bill probably will not include tax cuts such as a repeal of the estate tax.

It was not clear what other potential add-ons might soothe unhappy lawmakers and GOP opponents of a wage increase such as the small business lobby.

House Democrats cried foul on Thursday, saying Republicans planned to add "poison pills" for their business allies. Many Democrats oppose the small business health insurance legislation because it would overrule state laws requiring coverage for procedures such as diabetes care and cancer screenings.

House Demoocratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California demanded a vote on a bill that would just increase the minimum wage. She spoke out against "the ususal Republican poison pills of attaching tax cuts for the wealthy or other so-called sweeteners for the Republican special interests."

Inflation has eroded the minimum wage's buying power to the lowest level in about 50 years. Yet lawmakers have won cost-of-living wage increases totaling about $35,000 over that time. So House GOP leaders are bowing to the inevitable on the increase.

Forty-eight Republicans, many of them moderates or representing districts with large working-class populations, wrote Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL), requesting a vote this week on an increase.

"It is time for Congress to take responsible action to raise the minimum wage and ensure our hardworking constituents can provide for their families," said the letter, drafted by Reps. Steven LaTourette, R-Ohio, and Frank LoBiono, R-NJ.

Conservatives (***which are now considered the far-right in this Bush administration) responded with a letter signed by 31 Republicans asking that no vote be held.

"Quickly increased labor costs unrelated to business conditions will encourage or force employers to fire employees, reduce working hours for existing employees, and/or postpone plans to hire additional employees," they wrote.

***Look, if they can afford to lobby the Republicans, they can afford a raise in the minimum wage!

After a private meeting Thursday morning of House Republicans, many lawmakers said they believed the wage increase would advance when Congress returns in September.

"There seems to be a consensous that we'll do it after the break," said Rep. Tim Johnson, R-IL.

***Good! More questions for the Republicans from Illinois when they get home!

But GOP leaders such as Boehner believe that if the vote is to happen, it makes political sense to do it now, otherwise Democrats would hammer Republicans on the issue during the summer break.

***Like I said before, this is not being done out of compassion for the people. It only makes "political sense" for the Republicans! Some nerve, huh!

ABC News
By: Andrew Taylor
Associated Press
July 28, 2006