Janet's Conner

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

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Politics: PELOSI ANNOUNCES DEMOCRATIC TRUTH SQUAD TO EXPOSE BUSH ADMINISTRATION



Pelosi Anounces Democratic Truth Squad to Expose Bush Administration's Waste, Fraud and Abuse

News From House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi
August 24, 2006

Washington, D.C.---House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi announced the formation of Democrats new Waste, Fraud and Abuse Truth Squad. The Truth Squad will be chaired by Congressman Henry A. Waxman (D-CA) and Dennis Cardoza (D-CA).

The Truth Squad will conduct oversight of the Bush Administration's handling of taxpayer dollars. Under the Bush Administration's watch, billions of taxpayer's dollars have been squandered, contributing to the largest annual deficits in our nation's history. Despite documented instances of waste, fraud and abuse, the Republican Congress has failed to provide meaningful oversight or hold the Administration accountable.

"The alarming amount of waste, fraud and abuse by the Bush Administration and the Rubber Stamp Republican Congress is egregious," House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said. "The Democratic Truth Squad will keep the Bush Administration honest by documenting and exposing waste, fraud and abuse. Democrats are committed to a new direction in the way our government does business so taxpayer's money is handled responsibly."

Today, the Truth Squad is releasing a new report on wasteful procurement spending in response to Hurricane Katrina. In the year following Hurricane Katrina, citizens of the Gulf Coast needed government to be at its best. Instead, they got the cronyism, corruption, and incompetence that has been far to commonplace under the Bush Administration and the Republican Congress.

"The way the Bush Administration has spent taxpayer dollars is shameful," Congressman Waxman said. "They've wasted billions and held no one accountable. And the continuing indifference of the Republican Congress has allowed this to continue unchecked."

"The Republican leaders in Congress and the White House have abdicated their responsibility to manage our nation's finances," Congressman Cardoza said. "Congress cannot continue to buck its constitutional duty of check and balances. Future generations will have to pay for the money the federal government is borrowing from other countries to spend in Washington."

Joining Congressman Waxman and Cardoza on the Truth Squad are:

Congressman David Obey (D-WI)

Congressman John Tanner (D-TN)

Congresswoman Eleanor Homes Norton (D-DC)

Congressman John Tierney (D-MA)

Veterans Issues: SOLDIER UNDER FIRE FOR SUGGESTING NEW 9/11 INVESTIGATION

Under Fire! U.S. Army Intelligence Analyst Targeted For Suggesting New Independent 9/11 Investigation

Army: Doubting Official 9/11 Story Is 'Disloyal To The United States'

FT. SAM HOUSTON, Texas---Forty-one-year-old Sergeant First Class Donald Buswell is a hero. Having served over 19 years in the United States Army, Buswell has seen a lot of terrain. On April 15, 2004, he was injured in a rocket attack while serving a tour in Iraq. For this, SFC Boswell was given a Purple Heart. And until recently, Buswell was an intelligence Analyst stationed at Ft. Sam Houston, Texas.

Lone Star Icon dot com
By: Stephen Webster, Investigative Reporter
August 21, 2006

But if one were to ask Buswell's Commanding Officer what he thinks of the Sergeant, the response would likely sound a little bit more like, "No comment."

Such were the words given to the Iconist by Lieutenant Colonel Jane Crichton after inquiring why SFC Buswell is the focus of an investigation initiated by Colonel Luke S. Green. Chief of Staff at Fifth Army in Ft. Sam Houston.

According to unnamed military sources contacted by The Iconoclast, SFC Buswell "used his Government issued email account to send messages disloyal to the United States...." Because of these statements, SFC Buswell could soon find himself dishonorably discharged, court marshaled, or worse.

It all started as a simple response to a common, unsolicited mass email, sent to 38 individuals at Ft. Sam Houston on Aug. 2, 2006. This message, as well as Buswell's response, is among documents obtained by the Iconoclast. The sender of the first message is identified as "Anderson, Larry Mr JMC." It reads:

This is being sent more as assurance for what happens when a plane has a nuclear site more so than in response to that German website alleging a government conspiracy related to the 9/11 Pentagon plane crash (though the website does present an interesting perspective)---Larry Subject: F-4 vs. Concrete Wall

Take a look at this clip [not included] and you'll get a good feel for what happens to an airplane when it hits a concrete wall. Many of you have seen the produced (but not factual), Michael Moore-esque website that asks the question: "If it's true that a Boeing airliner hit the Pentagon, what happened to all the parts of it? Why do we not find more pieces of it?

Where did all the mass GO???" Therefore, the paranoid liberal reasoning. 9-11 must have been a US gov't conspiracy!) Weel, for those who question what happened to "all the mass of that airplane".....watch this clip.

It's the old Air Force engineering tests of the concrete barrier that surrounds nuclear reactor domes---tests to see if it will indeed survive an aerial attack. With the hi-speed camera rolling, they accelerated an F-4 Phantom to 500mph and....

Recall: "What happens when an 'Unstoppable Force meets an Immovable Object'???" (Remember, as you watch in slow motion as the F-4 turns to vapor, the Phantom was one of the toughest airplanes ever built).

SFC Buswell responded later that day, saying:

Subject: F-4 vs. Concrete Wall Hello,

I receive many unsolicited e-mails daily, this one I chose to respond to. The below mentioned premise that an F-4 Phantom fighter jet hitting that hardened concrete barrier is akin to the alleged 757 hitting the Pentagon is like oil and water; they don't mix, and they serve to muddy the issue. The issue is 911 was filled with errors in the 'official report' and 'official story' of that day, and, what happened that day. We all know and saw 2 planes hitting the WTC buildings, we didn't see the 757 hit the Pentagon, nor did we see the plane crash in Shanksville, PA. Both the PA and Pentagon 'crashes' don't have clues and tell-tale signs of a jumbo-jet impacting those zones!

The Pentagon would have huge wing impacts in the side of the building. Shanksville, PA would have had debris, and a large debris field; it didn't.

Getting back to the F-4...The Pentagon isn't a nuclear hardened structure, so I can't follow your weak logic that since an F4 vaporized itself in a test impact on a nuclear hardened structure that the alleged 757 hitting the Pentagon should have exhibited the same characteristics!

I say Occums razor is the best way to deduce this 'day of infamy,' if you weigh all options, do some simple studying you will see 911 was clearly not executed by some arabs in caves with cell phones and 3 day old newspapers! I mean how are the Arabs benefiting from pulling off 911? They have more war, more death and dismal conditions, so how did 911 benefit them? Answer. It didn't. So, who benefited from 9-11? The answer is sad, but simple: The Military Industrial [sic] Complex.

It's not a paranoid conspiracy to think there are conspiracies out there....and, it's not Liberal Lunacy either, nor is it Conservative Kookiness! People, fellow citizens we've all been had! We must demand a new independent investigation into 911 and look at all the options of that day, and all plausabilities [sic], even the most incredulous theories must be examined.

Upon returning to his office the next day, Buswell discovered the locks had been changed, his security clearance was revoked, and an investigation had been launched. Buswell's commanding officer, Colonel Luke Green, drafted a letter assigning Major Edwin Escobar to the investigation. According to sources, Colonel Green has asserted that SFC Buswell failed to obey Army regulations when he used his government issued email account to send what has been termed as messages disloyal to the United States with the intent of stirring up disloyalty, in a manner that brings discredit upon the United States Army.

It has been reported that Colonel Green also wrote that SFC Buswell claims to have information proving a conspiracy on the part of the United States Military Industrial Complex to attack targets within the United States, e.g., The Pentagon. Officials have suggested that the email response sent by SFC Buswell may be in violation of CFR 2635.705(a), DoD-R 5500.7, and Joint Ethics Regulation paragraph 2-301b. These rules SFC Buswell is said to have perhaps violated regulate how soldiers utilize government resources, how they use their off-duty time, and how they use their official time.

The Iconoclast attempted to establish a dialogue with Colonel Green amd Major Escobar, but calls were not returned as of press time. SFC Buswell declined to comment on the investigation, but noted that he spoke with his parents about the matter for a period of two days before he was ordered to not disclose any further information.

"My son spoke with me about [the investigation]," said Winthrop Buswell, SFC Buswell's father. "There was an unsolicited email. My son, without divulging anything, without usurping anything, without doing anything to discredit anyone in any way, simply responded to that saying, 'Yes, there are what-ifs. And maybe there is something that is being covered up.' That's all I know. He responded to it, but it was unsolicited. I think---of course, I'm dad, being very much in love with his son and wanting to praise him---because he is a low man on the totem pole, of course he's of pretty high rank but not quite an officer, that maybe...Maybe an investigation might be the scapegoat for whomever."

"That is so ridiculous," said Winthrop Buswell. "[To say he is disloyal to the United States] is totally ridiculous. And the discourtesy was, ah, very apparent at that particular time..."' I've always thought the American way is this: to disagree is important. To dissent is important. And my son simply said, without any fanfare, 'Look, let's take a look at the whole picture. If you want to take a look at it, maybe there are a few paragraphs that a Michael Moore might want to emphasize.' That is all that my son has said. Never, however, to at all disparage the country and the patriotism that is so necessary for all of us. But, patriotism, as suggested by FOX News' [Bill O'Reilly], is following the line of George W. Bush and cohorts completely! All my son is saying is, 'Hey, maybe there's a what if.' Never, though, did he get sidetracked from the fact that [he loves his] country."

"What disturbed him more than anything else, I think, was the fact that the Iraqi citizens suffered so much and are suffering so much now," said Withrop Buswell. "The time that he was injured, there were several Iraqis burning to death in front of him. He tried to put out the fire. It was a traumatic experience for him...He spoke about that a number of times, and how terrible that was to see the citizenry being killed and suffering so much."

"One of his heroes is Abraham Lincoln," Winthrop Buswell continued. "And Abraham Lincoln said many things, but one of the things he said---and I'm paraphrasing---was, 'I may disagree with the fellow who's speaking, but I will stand and defend his right to speak.' That's my son's position. He does look at the what if's. But that doesn't take away from his dedication and his patriotism. I don't know a fellow who gets more chills running up and down his spine when he sees the flag flying."

"As a boy, [Donald was] always a very curious fellow," he added. "Very daring, but never risking anything or stepping over the line. He loved motorcycles, but was always very cautious about it, always wearing proper clothing, always wearing a helmet. Also, he was very active in little model racing cars. He was in Cub Scouts. I remember walking to the gymnasium with him and having wonderful conversations with him years ago. His mother and I went through a divorce, and that is never easy for anyone. My son was also very close to his grandfather on his mother's side, and also his grandfather and grandmother on my side. Donald loves railroading, and my father has the best job that anyone could ever have, He's a locomotive engineer, and my son related to that. My son also has a strong belief in a greater power than ourselves."

"But one of the things that stands out...is his love and his caring," said Winthrop, choking back tears. "He loves children. He's just the greatest guy, as far as I'm concerned. He walks into a room with a big smile on his face...He's like my dad---he makes you feel like, you know...I...I care for you. Ah, he's...He's my son..."


...........will continue reporting on this story as new details become available.

Veterans Issues: IT'S THE LAW: RETURNING VETERANS GET THEIR JOBS BACK

Another look at USERRA from columnist David Hendricks

My San Antonio dot com
By: David Hendricks
August 23, 2006

When military reservists or National Guardsmen finish an active-duty deployment, they are briefed about their rights under the Uniformed Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, or USERRA.

USERRA means that if they had to leave their job because they were called up, they should receive the same job and benefits from their previous employer as if they had never left.

Not receiving the same briefing are the EMPLOYERS, who sometimes are caught by surprise when Johnny comes marching home.

Some businesses find it more difficult than others to comply with USERRA.

Large companies usually can accomodate returning veterans because they have the flexibility to shift personnel.

Small companies, however, usually must fill the position vacated by a military reservist or National Guard member immediately. When veterans are released from military duty, small companies can least afford to rehire former employees.

If a company employs five people, for example, it may be financially painful to add a sixth when the veteran returns.

"The employer must say in normal conversation, 'I don't have an opening right now. Check back in two weeks,'" said labor employment law specialist Cynthia Benedict, a lawyer in the San Antonio office of Fulbright and Jaworski.

"No. That doesn't work with USERRA," Benedict said.

USERRA covers every business down to those with only one employee, she stressed.

Another difficult situation can arise, Benedict said, if a company operated a production department when an employee left for military service but it later outsourced or closed down production.

If the company found other jobs for some of the employees but not for others, what obligation does it have for the returning military veteran? "Always err on the side of the veteran," Benedict said. "That's how the courts would decide, and rightly so."

If veterans initially do not receive their jobs back, they can inform the U.S. Department of Labor, which usually will send a letter to the employer explaining the law. Federal prosecution or litigation can follow if the conflict continues.

Returning veterans should not lose seniority when it comes to promotions, pay raises and benefits, Benedict explained. The veterans are not entitled to accrued pay hikes or vacation days, but they should resume their jobs with the promotions, higher pay levels and number of vacation days they would have acquired had they not left for military service.

USERRA accounts for less than 10% of Benedicts caseload, she said, but cases come and go in cycles.

USERRA makes the all-volunteer military possible. Hardly anyone would sign up for the Reserves or Guard if their careers were put at risk.

Laws protecting jobs for military personnel date to the World War II era but were strengthened by Congress after the Vietnam War and again after the 1991 Gulf War. The latest version of USERRA was approved in 1994.

"My advise to employers is that if you know about a military situation, ask questions first" before making a mistake, Benedict said. "Employers need to be equally informed (as military personnel) about the law," she added.


Employment rights for returning military

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act gives those who need to be absent from their civilian employment to serve in uniformed services, including the Rerserves and National Guard, the right to reclaim their jobs held before deployment.

-Time frame: Military veterans have 14 days to apply for former jobs if deployment lasted 31 to 180 days, and 90 days if deployment lasted more than 180 days, to allow time with family. Employers must re-employ veterans 'as soon as reasonably possible.'

-Job protection: Jobs are protected for one year if military service interruption lasted more than 180 days, six months if less than 180 days. Veterans can still lose jobs 'for cause' at any time, but the job protection overrides Texas' 'employment at will' law.

-Benefits: Veterans must receive promotions and pay increases, as well as vacation and pension benefits, they normally would have received had seniority not been interrupted by military duty.

-Who's covered: Law applies to military personnel returning from overseas hostilities as well as National Guard assignments along U.S. borders and domestic disaster duty.

-It's the law: Employers refusing to hire qualified applicants because of their affiliation with military organizations or firing workers before military deployment violate federal law.

-Source: San Antonio office of Fulbright & Jaworski law firm






Afghanastan: LOSING AFGHANASTAN

Reclaiming Afghanastan from the Taliban remains a crucial element in America's struggle against terrorism. So it should be setting off alarm bells in Washington that Afghans are becoming disenchanted with the performance of the country's pro-American president, Hamid Karzai.

The democratically elected Karzai government is a big improvement over any of its recent predeccesors. But it has not brought security, economic revival or effective governance to most of the country. That has left it vulnerable to complaints about blatant corruption, the pervasive power of warlords and drug lords, and escalating military pressure from a revived and resupplied Taliban.

Nearly five years after American military forces help topple a Taliban that provided sanctuary and training camps to Osama bin Laden, there is no victory in the war for Afghanastan, due in significant measure to the Bush administration's reckless haste to move on to Iraq and shortsighted stinting on economic reconstruction.

The Taliban, operating from cross-border sanctuaries in Pakistan, has exploited Washington's strategic blunders and Mr. Karzai's disappointing performance to rebuild its political and military strength, particularly in the southern region where it first began its drive to power more than a decade ago. Daily battles now rage across five southern provinces. Civilian and military casualties are rising sharply, including those among the NATO forces that have recently moved into these areas.

Mr. Karzai cannot deliver security and redevelopment without sustained and effective international help. But he should be doing more to curb the corruption of his political allies and appointees.

Their ostentatious greed has widened the gap, and sharpened political antagonisms, between the favored few and the desperately poor majority in one of the world's least developed countries. Such venality is a gift to austere Taliban recruiters.

So is the notorious corruption of the police and judges, which makes it impossible for people to win redress of simple grievances. Frustration with the courts is again driving people to look to the swift and brutal punishmenta that have always been a Taliban specialty. Mr. Karzai did himself no favors be appointing a warlord and organized-crime figure as Kabul's police chief earlier this year.

Americans are coming to see the war in Iraq as something apart from the war against 9/11-style terrorism---and a distraction from it. The war in Afghanastan has always been an essential part of that larger struggle.

THAT MAKES IT A WAR THAT AMERICA SIMPLY CANNOT AFFORD TO LOSE.


The New York Times
August 24, 2006