Janet's Conner

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

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Politics: CUT ANTI TERROR BUDGET? WE'VE HEARD THAT BEFORE

News that the Bush administration quietly was seeking to cut the budget for development of new explosives-detection equipment---just as terrorists were seeking to exploit advances in liquid explosives technology---comes with a discomforting whiff of deja vu.

***But yet the Republicans keep trying to convince the American people that they are better on national security that any other party! Yeah, right!

Pensacola News Journal dot com
August 15, 2006


Fortunately, Republicans and Democrats in Congress came together to reject the funding cuts. They also criticized the Homeland Security Department's technology research efforts, calling it a "rudderless ship."

***I hope somebody remembers this when the Republicans are on the campaign trail! Why would Bush do this if he is doing "everything" in his power to keep us safe? Evidently, HE'S NOT and the Republicans are out there lying to us again!

Given the vulnerability of air travel to terrorism---and the dramatic, worldwide impact when it succeeds---you'd think the administration would be stepping up technology research.

***No, instead he wants to take $6 million away from research. This proves that he is not doing "everything" he can to keep us safe!

But while this administration never spares the political rhetoric about terrorism, it sometimes seems less committed to the actual fight.

***You got that right!

It might have something to do with its long fixation with Iraq, which has diverted so much money and military and intelligence assets from fighting terrorists.

***There's something in Iraq that is more important than the American people to the Bush administration. The people just haven't figured it out yet!

Those with long memories remember that despite warnings from outgoing Clinton administration officials that al-Qaida and terrorism would be their primary challenge---a prescient warning---the main subject of President Bush's first National Security Council meeting was---Iraq.

***Makes you wonder why we got hit on his watch!

Meanwhile, after the 9/11 attacks in 2001, it came out that the administration, led by then-Attorney General John Ashcroft, was seeking to cut anti-terrorism budgets.

Despite the warnings about al-Qaida---including the now-famous August 6, 2001, Presidential Daily Brief headlined "Bin Laden Determined To Strike in U.S."---reports from Newsweek and other sources said the administration had been moving to 'de-emphasize" counterterrorism efforts.

Newsweek reported that on Sept. 10, 2001, Ashcroft denied an FBI request for almost $60 million to hire more counterterrorism agents, analysts and translators.

***Maybe it's because they weren't really needed and the Bush administration already knew that! Think about it!

It was also reported that Ashcroft wanted to cut $65 million from a Department of Justice program to equip and train first responders in the event of an attack.

***You don't go doing things like this unless you know it's not needed!

It was former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill who reported that the main topic of the January 2001 National Security Council meeting was Iraq and the Available military options.

***Because he said this, they now claim that he was a disgruntled ex-employee!

And former terrorism "czar" Richard Clarke said that on Sept, 12, 2001, Bush called him to find out if the attacks were linked to Saddam Hussein, despite Clarke's---accurate---protest that it was "clearly" al-Qaida.

***Bush has been looking to disrupt the peace process in the Middle East for a long time now. Not that it was his planning, but it was it supporters. The neo-cons, like Cheney, Rumsfeld, Perle, Shultz, so on and so forth!

Last year, Vanity Fair magazine reported that former British ambassador to the United States Christopher Meyer said that at a dinner soon after Sept. 11, Bush "made it clear he was determined to topple Sadam," and the internal debate was about whether to attack Afghanastan or Iraq first.

The knee-jerk response of the administration and its media mouthpieces---especially Internet bloggers---is to characterize critics of its Iraq policy as being against fighting terrorists. In truth, many of those critics have long complained that the emphasis on Iraq---never substantively tied to 9/11, or to al-Qaida before the war---had detracted from the fight against terrorists who did attack us.


Politics: CONSERVATIVES PUT FAITH IN CHURCH VOTER DRIVES

Evangelicals seek to sign up a new flock of GOP supporters with crucial November races.

Los Angeles Times
By: Peter Wilson
August 15, 2006

WASHINGTON---As discontent with the Republican Party threatens to dampen the turnout of conservative voters in November, evangelical leaders are launching a massive registration drive that could help counter the malaise and mobilize new religious voters in battleground states.

***Good luck. Why do they think that 25 million of their voters didn't vote in the 2004 elections? They didn't like Bush because Bush isn't really a conservative. He's a right-wing nut case! Those up for re-election are his lapdogs! Maybe the true conservatives are staying away for a reason.

The program, coordinated by the Colorado-based group Focus on the Family and its influential founder, James C. Dobson, woud use a variety of methods---including information inserted in church publications and booths placed outside worship services---to recruit millions of new voters in 2006 and beyond.

***Isn't this the same guy that was pulling off all of those scandals with Ralph Reed and Jack Abramoff? I wouldn't get mixed up with him or his so-called church if you paid me and I suugest the same thing to you people out there!

The effort builds on the aggressive courtship of evangelical voters in 2004 by President Bush's reelection campaign, even as the Internal Revenue Service has announced renewed scrutiny of nonprofit organizations, including churches, that engage in political activities.

***These people aren't into religion. That's only a front! They are into politics and want to make you think that it's all about church. They're not conservatives either. They are the religious right-wing, and you can take it from there!

The new registration program puts a special focus this year on eight states with key Senate, House and state-level races. Turning out core voters is central to the GOP strategy to retain control of Congress, especially as the party struggles with negative public sentiment over the war in Iraq and other administration policies.

***People don't want to vote for anybody that was wrapped up with the Abramoff scandal as the Republicans are. They'd rather stay home. A vote for a Republican is condoning the scandals.

"Anytime you go from a big presidential year like 2004 to an off-year like this, there's going to be a drop-off" in voter interest, said John Paulton of Focus on the Family Action, the political arm of Focus on the Family. "It's a question of how much. You could argue with the fear of what could happen of many more liberal politicians take over could be very motivating to get out and vote as stronly."

***And what is it that could happen if more politicians, other than Republicans get into office? They might investigate Dobson? That's why they are so afraid. Dobson wanted to be paid in cash for working with Abramoff and Ralph Reed so there wasn't a paper trail that would lead back to him! Doesn't that tell you something?

The program, announced in an e-mail to activists last week, is seeking county and church coordinators in the targeted sites of Maryland, Montana, Tennessee, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Minnesota.

"In 2004, about 25 million evangelicals failed to vote. Now is the time to reverse the trend," the e-mail said.

***This is the "real" evangelists. They had plenty reason not to vote in 2004. They didn't want to be part of putting Bush back into office. And this was all before we found out about all of the Bush and Republican lies that put us into Iraq in the first place!

According to the e-mail, county coordinators are being asked to work about 5 hours a week and would be responsible for "recruiting key evangelical churches."

The church coordinators, devoting one or two hours a week, would be in charge of "encouraging pastors to speak about Christian citizenship, conducting a voter-registration drive, distributing voter guides and get-out-the-vote efforts."

Registering voters in churches is not a new tactic for either party, but Republicans have proved far more effective in recent years at combining religion and politics for electoral gain.

Critics say the practice is potentially illegal, citing tax laws that prohibit churches from engaging in partisan activities.

The IRS has launched a program to crack down on violators, with investigations pending against dozens of churches.

The IRS probe with the highest profile is that of All Saints Church in Pasadena, one of Southern California's largest and most liberal congregations.

After a priest delivered a sermon critical of the Iraq war two days before the 2004 presidential election, the IRS began reviewing the Episcopal church's tax-exempt status. No decision has been announced.

***I'd like to know how the IRS found out about that?

The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Seperation of Church and State, called the evangelical voter registration drive a "blatant effort by Dobson to build a partisan political machine based in churches."

***And that's exactly what it is. If Dobson was really into "religion," he would know that there are 7 levels of hell and those who gain political power through the church will go to the lowest level in hell. Supposedly, that's the worst level. He doesn't seem to be too worried about that now does he? Who wants to go to hell? Maybe he should practice what he preaches!

"He has made it absolutely clear that electing Republicans is an integral part of his agenda, and he doesn't mind risking the tax exemption of churches in the process," Lynn said. "Dobson wants to be a major political boss, and this is his way to get there."

Organizers of the drive say they pay careful attention to the law---focusing on registering voters and discussions of values, not endorsing a specific candidate or party.

***You have got to be kidding me?

But, they acknowledge, the goal is reaching the conservative base.

***The "real" conservatives don't want to have anything to do with the Republicans. They don't represent them. They have gone to far right!

"Everybody knows where their audience is, and we know who our audience is," said Phil Burress, president of Citizens for Community values, an Ohio-based group coordinating voter registration with Dobson's organization.

***Then what happened to your audience in 2004?

"Absolutely we can target who we want to register to vote," he said. "There's nothing that prevents us from doing that."

***They target the weak and uneducated.

He said that in Ohio, where this year's Senate and gubernatorial races are highly competitive, the plan calls for 3 million bulletins detailing voter registration procedures to be placed in publications distributed by 15,000 churches.

The group will also distribute voter guides listing candidates' views on same-sex marriage, abortion, stem cell research and other hot-button issues.

***There they go again! Wedge issues! These are not the things that people are worried about anymore. This issues are at the bottom of the list in the polls. And the people that they are trying to target with this B.S., don't like it anymore. Many of them are much smarter than this!

In 2004, Burress said, his group registered more than 50,000 voters, largely because of a ballot measure seeking a ban on same-sex marriage, a campaign he headed.

This year, a potential ban on same-sex marriage is on the ballot in Tennessee, where there is a competitive Senate race. Legal and political battles are also raging over the issue in three of the other targeted states: Pennsylvania, Minnesota and Maryland.

The Republican Party is escalating its owncourtship of evangelicals, registering voters at Christian rock concerts, state fairs and other events that draw religious activists and core conservatives.

The effort has been completed in several months, though, with Dobson and other evangelical leaders expressing disappointment in Bush and the Republican leadership.

***Don't let them kid you!

They were pleased with Bush's nominations of John G. Roberts Jr. and Samuel A. Alito Jr. to the Supreme Court, but distressed by Congress' failure to approve a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and its support of expanded federal spending on embryonic stem cell research.

Bush used the first veto of his presidency on the stem cell bill, a move that some viewed as an effort to mobilize evangelicals.

***That was a really stupid move.

In May, Dobson warned the GOP that trouble might lie ahead, holding a series of meetings with party strategists and members of Congress to remind them of the evangelical movement's muscle.

"There's just very, very little to show for what has happened," Dobson said on Fox News' "Hannity & Colmes" show at the time, "and I think there's going to be some trouble down the road if they don't get on the ball."






Iraq: VETERAN BAGHDAD REPORTER EXPLODES U.S. ASSESSMENTS

New York---Journalists in Iraq are often criticized for being too positive or too neglected about the conflict there---or for sticking to their home offices as violence escalates. Yet there is much evidence that often they are still able to obtain, and express a more accurate assessment of conditions in the country than top military officers or visiting politicians.

Editor&Publisher
By: E&P Staff
August 15, 2006

Tom Lasseter of the McClatchy (formerly Knight Ridder) bureau in Baghdad has long been the forefront of both daring and on-the-mark reporting from the war zone. In his latest dispatch, he observes, "as security conditions continue to deteriorate in Iraq, many Iraqi politicians are challenging the optimistic forecasts of governments in Baghdad and Washington, with some worrying that the rosy views are preventing the creation of effective strategies against the escalating violence.

Their worst fear, one that some American soldiers share, is that top officials don't t really understand what's happening. Those concerns seem to be supported by statistics that show Iraq's violence had increased steadily during the past three years."

Lasseter then quotes an unnamed intelligence officer, who has written the reporter (apparently without the military's permission). "As an intelligence officer...I have had the chance to move around Baghdad on mounted and dismounted patrols and see the city and violence from the ground. I think that the greatest problem that we deal (besides the insurgents and militia) with is that our leadership has no real comprehension of the ground truth. I wish that I could offer a solution, but I can't. When I have briefed General Officers, I have given them my perspective and assessment of the situation. Many have been surprised at what I have to say, but I suspect that in the end nothing will or has changed."

The reporter reveals that McClatchey is withholding the officer's name to protect him from possible retaliation by his superiors or political appointees in the Penatgon "for communicating with the news media without authorization."

But he does quote by name Mahmoud Othman, a Kurdish member of parliament who says, "The American policy has failed both in terms of policy and security, but the big problem is that they will not confess or admit that. They are telling the American public that the situation in Iraq will be improved, they want to encourage positive public opinion (in the U.S.), but the Iraqi citizens are seeing something different. They know the real situation."

Othman told Lasseter that top American officials spend most of their time in the heavily guarded Green Zone and at large military bases and don't know what's happening beyond.

Another man, a Shiite parliament member named Jalaladin al Saghir, offered: "All the American policies have failed because the American analysis of the situation is wrong; it is not related to reality. The slaughtered Iraqi man on the street conveys the best explanation" for what's happening there.

Yet American military and civilian leaders continue to offer generally upbeat assessments. Lasseter notes some recent comments, then adds dryly, "In the week that followed, at least 110 Iraqis died in a series of bombings and shootings, and at least eight U.S. soldiers and Marines were killed. The Iraqi death toll was probably much higher, since many Iraqis are killed by death squads and their bodies are undiscovered, buried or dumped in rivers."

Then Lasseter adds, frankly, "Nationwide statistics during the past three weeks suggest that American efforts to secure Iraq aren't succeeding. While various military operations have at times improved security in parts of the country, the bloodshed has mounted with each U.S.-declared step of progress, according to figures that the Brookings Institute research center compiled from news and government reports."

Today, the American military said that two car bombs ignited a gas line in the explsoion that killed at least 63 Iraqis on Sunday---retreating from its earlier assertions that the explosion was the result of an accidental gas leak.

Also Tuesday came news that more Iraqi civilians were killed in July---about 3,400---than in any month of the war, according to Iraqi Health Ministry and morgue statistics, despite a security plan begun by the new government in June.


***Lies! Lies! Lies! That is all that this Republican administration is capable of giving us. Why should we vote them back in? For more lies?

Politics: REPUBLICANS BEAT THE WAR DRUM

There they go again!

Hoping for a reprise of the 2002 and 2004 elections, when they rolled over Democrats by claiming they were soft on terrorism, leading Republicans are once again portraying the invasion of Iraq as brilliant, denouncing their critics as traitors, and claiming anything less than enthusiastic support for "staying the course" is tantamount to saddling up with Al-Qaida.

working for change dot com
By: Cynthia Tucker
Universal Press Syndicate
August 14, 2006

Recently, GOP heavyweights used the victory of anti-war political novice Ned Lamont over three-term incumbent Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CONN), in last week's Democratic primary---Lieberman had remained a staunch defender of the war---to portray the Democrats as a bunch of America-hating wimps. With so many Republican incumbents struggling to distance themselves from President Bush and the war, you'd think the GOP leadership would have a qualm or two about that strategy. But if you only know one tune, you sing it.

According to Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman, Lieberman's loss means "defeatism and isolation are now Democratic Party orthodox." Vice President Dick Cheney even suggested Lieberman's defeat might encourage "al-Qaida types," according to The New York Times.

AL QAIDA TYPES? They've been closely watching the outcome of the contest between Lamont and Lieberman, seeking encouragement? You've got to be kidding.

First off, the vast majority of Texans couldn't tell you who won the race between Lamont and Lieberman, much less the rank-and-file of al-Qaida. Second, jihadists seem to be getting all the encouragement they need from a heavy-handed American presence in Iraq; an Iran emboldened by Iraq's breakdown; and a disproportionate Israeli response to Hezbollah in Lebanon. The mujahadeen couldn't care less about Connecticut.

But Cheney and his ilk---the vice president utters a pronouncement at least once a week that ought to qualify him for 72 hours' observation in a mental facility---continue to beat the war drum because it worked for them before. In 2002, then-U.S. Rep. Saxby Chambliss (-GA), defeated incumbent Sen. Max Cleland (D-GA)---a Vietnam triple amputee---by questioning his "courage." Chambliss ran an ad linking Cleland to Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. (Incidentally, Chambliss, who walks with the brisk stride of a fit man, escaped service in Vietnam with a medical exemption for a bad knee).

Simply, Bush defeated John Kerry two years ago by constantly resurrecting the searing memory of 9/11 and questioning Kerry's toughness against terrorism. In the months leading up to the election, the Bush administration issued a terror alert once a week. Oddly, there have been precious few terror alerts in the 2-1/2 years since Bush's re-election; the most stringent of those related from plots carried out or interrupted in Great Britain.

This time around, the GOP leadership is going to have a much more difficult time painting Democrats as cut-and-run, bed-wetting pantywastes, because Republicans want to leave Iraq, too. In June, Republicans staged a for-the-cameras debate on the floor of the House, where they insisted U.S. troops must "stay the course." U.S. Rep, Gil Gutknecht (R-MINN), upbraided anyone who thought otherwise: "members, now is not the time to go wobbly," he declared.

But last month, Gutknecht returned from a visit to Iraq with a bleak assessment of the war and called for at least a partial withdrawal of U.S. troops. "Baghdad is worse today than it was three years ago," he said, adding, "All of the information we receive sometimes from the Pentagon and the State Department isn't always true."

REALLY? The voters had already figured that out. According to a poll conducted for CNN this month by Opinion Research Corp., 60% of Americans now oppose the war in Iraq, the highest number since the invasion began in March 2003. Sixty-one percent favor the withdrawal of some U.S. troops by the end of the year.

Last Thursday, Bush used the news of a thwarted plot involving aircraft bound for the United States from Great Britain as a "stark reminder that this nation is at war with Islamic fascists." That is certainly true. But the President forfeited the moral authority to lead that war when he misled the American people about Saddam Hussein and his connection to those Islamic fascists, especially al-Qaida. The war he led us into has set off shock waves throughout the Middle East that will roll the region for years to come.

The damage is already done---even if we start withdrawing U.S. troops tomorrow.


***The Republicans just don't get it, do they? The American people have finally woken up and see what they are up too! Their scare tactics aren't going to work anymore. There are so many reasons not to vote the Republicans back into power this election season, it's pitiful. They have not taken one recommendation from the 9/11 commision to keep this country and its occupants safer. And there were a lot of recommendations. If they continue to run on national security, they will lose for sure. Hopefully they will lose anyway. And when it comes to Republicans saying that they are against the war, I don't believe them. That is just a strategy for them to gt reelected.