Janet's Conner

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

Friday, September 15, 2006

Illinois Politics: MURDER VICTIMS' RELATIVES RIP TOPINKA (R) FOR GUN JOKE



Choking back sobs of grief and anger, an Englewood woman who saw her 10-year-old niece killed by stray gunfire said Wednesday that Republican Judy Baar Topinka is unfit to be governor because she joked about using a rolling pin as an assault weapon against Gov. Blagojevich.

Sun Times
By: Scott Formek
September 14, 2006

"I'm the sword of justice"

"I don't think that's government material, at all," said Deanna Woods, who tried to use her body to shield children at the March 11 birthday party where her niece, Sietha White was killed.

"To someone who has been in this predicament, they are not going to take that as a joke."

Woods spoke with other relatives of gun victims at an emotional news conference held by Gov. Blagojecich's re-election campaign.

"It's just over the top"

They are responding to remarks Topinka made at a fund-raiser last week. She was joking about Blagojevich campaign commercials that feature Topinka explaining her opposition to an assault weapons ban saying the definition is so vague that a rolling pin could be considered an assault weapon.

"I'm the sword of justice and I'm going to cut him [Blagojevich] to pieces," Topinka told GOP donors, according to the Champaign News-Gazette. "We will take him out with my little rolling pin known as the assault weapon. I will prove to him, indeed, it is an assault weapon."

***This lady is off of her rocker. She must be hitting that sauce again!

Stephen Young, a gun-control activist whose 19-year0old son Andrew was killed by gang members in 1996, said: "This statement itself should lead people to question her character and her judgement."

***She sounds so uneducated when she makes comments like this! She doesn't sound capable of the job that she is looking to take on. I guess the Repubs think that they did it with Bush, so they think that they can do it with her!

Jennifer Bishop, field director for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, called on Topinka to apologize.

"I know it's a joke," said Bishop, whose sister, Nancy Bishop Langert, brother-in-law, Richard Langert, and the couple's unborn child were killed by a teenager with a handgun in 1990.

"It is a diversion:" Topinka

"It's just over the top. It's inappropriate. It's unprofessional," she said.

Topinka refused to apologize, standing by her position on assault weapons, saying her remarks were taken out of contect and accusing Blagojevich of trying to drw attention away from his own ethical problems.

Ethical problems! If anybody has ethical problems, it's Topinka! Just look at her sly remarks and inability to apologize. There is more going on behind the scenes with her problems than even she knows about!

She spoke at her own news conference Wednesday, calling on the governor to explain a Chicago Tribune report that Blagojevich's former campaign treasurer gave the governor's 7-year-old daughter Amy a $1,500 check as a birthday gift around the same time the man's wife got a $45,000-a-year state job.

***SO? Somebody did me a favor once and a lot of times the person won't take anything, so I made it up everytime one of their kids' birthdays came around!

"It's a diversion," Topinka said of the gun victim's remarks. "And you're going to see more diversions or as many diversions as it takes to try and bring me into this argument so as to get you off his tail on the $1,500."

***It's a dead story! She's going to need a few diversions of her own!

Topinka said Blagojevich needs to personally answer questions about whether the gift was a payoff for the job---allegations the governor's spokewomen has denied.

"At a minimum, I think the public ought to add that into their equation of how they want to vote in November," Topinka said. "Because this is a real mark on character and integrity if they allegations are true."

***I wouldn't vote for this person if somebody paid me. She acts illiterate! She could have at least said she was sorry if someone took her words out of contect. But it appears that she is too good to apologize. She's too arrogant, and why I don't know! Her day is coming!



War on Terror: LIMITS TO SURVEILLANCE BILL BLOCKED

Washington (AP)---Senate Republicans blocked Democratic attempts to rein in President Bush's domestic wiretapping program Wednesday amid a sustained White House cmpaign to give the administration broad authority to monitor, interrogate and prosecute terrorism suspects.

***The Republicans have been pretending like they are trying to distance themselves from Bush. But when it comes down to it, they go back into session and vote for what Bush wants. They are his lapdogs and need to be replaced. We need stronger representatives than those who go and "rubber-stamp" for this president! BUSH IS NOT A PRESIDENT OF THE PEOPLE! I don't care how many speeches he makes. Those who listen to him only for the meer fact that he is a president, are just as bad as he is. He has done nothing for the people except try to scare you while he goes behind your back and takes away your rights. You "may think" that it's not affecting you, but just wait. You have no idea what is going on out there.

Las Vegas Sun
By: Laurie Kellman
September 13, 2006

While refusing to give the president a blank check to prosecute the war on terrorism, Republicans in the Senate Judiciary Committee kept to the White House's condition that a bill giving legal status to the surveillance program passed unamended.

It's called "rubber-stamping!"

By voice vote and roll calls, Republicans defeated Democratic amendments to insert a one-year expiration date into the bill and require the National Security Agency to report more often to Congress on the standards for its domestic surveillance program.

***When you are the majority in both Houses, like the Republicans are, they are going to do what the Republican White House wants! The Democrats are out numbered. It is as simple as that. It's not like they haven't been trying to work for the people, because they are the only party that has been. But the White House isn't for "The People." The White House is for "itself!" And this White House is not for "The People!"

We just don't want to see the Americans' rights abused for the next 50 or 60 years because of an oversight on our part," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who joined some Republicans in opposing some amendments offered by her Democratic colleagues.

But the Republicans countered that the bill represented the best deal on the matter and should not be amended---conforming with the White House's condition that Bush would sign it into law if passed unchanged.

***Once again, "rubber stamping" for the White House. The Republicans don't even try to listen to reason or they are threatened by the Bush administration. Is that the kind of people you want representing you? The weak?

The deal is part of the White House's election-season campaign to preserve its ability to fight the war on terror despite congressional concerns about civil liberties.

***Our forefathers seen this years ago and said that it was up to the people to make the right choices. If the people didn't make that right choice, we would end up in a dictatorship like we were before the Revolutionary War. The framers of our constitution made laws to make sure that any president is not above the law. But with these Republicans, we will soon become a dictatorship. The American people don't know what that is and let's face it, we are too arrogant to comprehend what it means!

A parade of White House officials seeking support for legal tools against terrorists was to culminate Thursday with an appearance by Bush himself before House Republicans anxious to maintain their majority in the November elections.

***When Bush says "terrorists," he's not talking about foreigners. He is mostly talking about American-born citizens. That's something a lot of people haven't put into perspective yet. He uses words like Guantanamo detainees, al-Qaeda, etc., to make it appear as if that is what he is talking about. It's not! He's talking about us! Ask yourself this: Why does Bush want to get into "everybody's" phones? Or, wht does Bush need to get into "everybody's" computer's? These are the beginnings of a dictatorship!

Under firm pressure from the administration, Republicans were expected to advance seperate versions of bills to give legal status to Bush's warrantless wiretapping program, but also impose some restrictions not embraced by the White House.

Behind-the-scenes negotiations were intense Wednesday. As the Senate bill moved toward committee approval, the House Judiciary Committee abruptly canceled its markup that had been scheduled to happen simultaneously. This reason for the cancellation wasn't immediatly clear.

Spector, sponsor of one administration-backed bill, acknowledged that GOP lawmakers fighting for re-election may not embrace a measure bearing Bush's stamp of approval.

***Spector, of all people! He's the one that is always calling for hearings on Bush because he claims that he is unconstitutionaly breaking laws. Now look at what he's doing! Sponsoring the administration's-backed bill. What a phony! He only calls for hearings so that the Republicans can explain their side of things and nothing gets done. Spector is a liar and needs to leave Congress!

"It is popular to have bills that are not White House bills," Specter (R-PA), told reporters recently.

He was speaking of Republican support for the House version, which is opposed by the White House because it imposes more restrictions on the program than Specter's.

***Don't believe that! Hastert (R-IL) is one of the White House's lapdogs. This is what the House Republicans want you to think. Hastert doesn't want you to think that they are doing anything for the White House. Don't forget, the House are the ones that are worried about their seats this election-season!

Sponsored by Rep. Heather Wilson (R-NM), and endorsed by House GOP leaders, that measure would require the president to wait until an attack has occured to initiate wiretapping without warrants,a provision administration officials say would hamper the White House's ability to prevent attacks.

***Sounds terrific, if it were only true. Like I said, the House Republicans are going to do anything to win back their seats. Even make up phony bills, because they know that it will never happen. The White House usually gets what it wants!

Instead, the Bush administration has given Specter's version a highly conditional endorsement, as long as it is passed unchanged---not a sure thing given the amendments and substitutes that await it on the floor.

Specter's bill would submit the warrantless wiretapping program to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court for a one-time constitutional review and extend from the current three days to seven days the time allowed for emergency surveillance before a warrant application is submitted and approved by that court.

The proposals were 2 of several bills to alter or change portions of Bush's war on terror that inspired him this week to send several emissaries to Capitol Hill.

Vice President Dick Cheney and other top aides encountered stiff resistance from senators and House leaders. The standoffs raised questions about whether the president could unite Republicans on his anti-terror agenda before November's midterm elections.

Cheney and White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten appealed to Senate Republicans during their weekly policy lunch Tuesday to pass legislation that would let the president begin prosecuting terror suspects. The legislation also would limit the circumstances under which a government interrogator could be prosecuted for mistreating a detainee.

CIA Director Michael Hayden also met with lawmakers this week on detainee treatment.



TOP 10 STORIES THE NATION'S MAINSTREAM MEDIA IGNORED



CENSORED STORIES (09/14/2006)

The 10 stories the nation's mainstream news media ignored, neglected or missed lasy year

Tuscon Weekly
By: Sarah Phelan

Last month, two news stories broke the same day: one meaty, one junky. In Detroit, U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor ruled that the Bush administration's warrantless National Security Agency surveillance program was unconstitutional and must end. Meanwhile, somewhere inThailand, a weirdo named John Mark Karr claimed he was with 6-year-old beauty queen JonBonet Ramsey when she died in 1966.

Predictably, the mainstream media devoted acres of newsprint and hours of airtime to the alleged beauty-queen killer, including stories on what he ate on the plane ride home, his desire for a sex change, his child-porn fixation and, when DNA tests proved Karr wasn't the killer, why he confessed to a crime he didn't commit.

During that same time period, hardly a word was written or said in the same outlets about Judge Diggs Taylor's ruling and the questions it raises about Bush's power-grabbing administration, and why the president repeatedly lies to the American public.

The mainstream news media's fascination with unimportant news isn't anything new. Professor Carl Jensen, a disenchanted journalist who entered advertising only to walk away in greater disgust and become a sociologist, says the media's preoccupation with "junk-food news" inspired him to found a media-research project at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, Calif., 30 years ago to publicize the Top 25 big stories the media had censored, ignored or underreported in the previous year.

That was the beginning of Project Censored, the longest-running media censorship project in the nation---and it drew plenty of criticism from editors and publishers.

"I was taking a lot of flak from editors around Project Censored's annual list of the top stories the mainstream media missed," recalls the now-retired Jensen. "They said the reason they hadn't covered the stories was that they only had a limited amount of time and space, and that I was an academic, sitting there, criticizing."

But Jensen had an answer. There was plenty of time and space. It was just being filled with fluff.

Since 1993, Project Censored has been running not only the stories that didn't get adequate coverage, but the "junk-food news"---the stories that were way, way overblown and filled precious pages and airtime that could have been used for real news.

While Jensen would love to be able to claim that Project Censored solved the media's problems with censorship and junk-food news, that didn't happen.

"If anything, it's gotten worse," says Jensen, pointing to increased media monopolization. Acknowledging that many of this year's Project Censored stories have already been published on the Internet, or in well-known magazines like The New Yorker and Mother Jones, Jensen says, "What's known to some isn't known to everyone. Not everyone reads The New Yorker. And if a story is really important, I call it censored anyways."

Project Censored's current director, Peter Phillips, says the fact that entertainment news is addictive is no excuse for the media to push it.

"Massacres, celebrity gossip---we're automatically attracted," says Phillips. "It's like selling drugs. But we don't tolerate the drug dealer on the corner. For the democratic process to happen, we have to have information presented and made available. To just give people entertainment news is an abdication of the First Amendment."

Art Brodsky, a telecommunications expert at Public Knowledge, a Washington, D.C.---based advocacy group, says some of the problems with censorship are a product of journalistic laziness. Brodsky, who has written extensively on "network neutrality," which is the No. 1 issue of Project Censored's 2007 list, says the topic hasn't received enough coverage, partly because the debate has largely remained couched in telecommunications jargon.

"'Network neutrality' is a crappy term, other than its alliterative value," says Brodsky. "It's one of those Washington issues that gets intense coverage in the field where it happens, but can be successfully muddled, and it's technical. So a lot of editors and reporters throw their hands up in the air, a lot like senators. But it's the job of reporters to act as translators and help people understand."

Following are Project Censored's Top 10 stories for the past year.

1. The feds and the media muddy the debate over Internet freedom

In a relatively brief life, the Internet has been touted as the greatest example of democracy ever invented by humankind. It gives disillusioned Americans hope that there is a way to get the truth out, even if you don't own airwaves, newspapers or satellite stations. It's forced the mainstream media to talk about issues they previously ignored, such as the Downing Street memo and Abu Ghraib prison abuse.

So, when the Supreme Court ruled that giant cable companies aren't required to share their cables with other Internet service providers, it shouldn't have been a surprise that the major media did little in terms of exploiting whether this ruling would destroy Internet freedom. As Elliot Cohen reported at buzz flash dot com, the issue was misleadingly framed as an argument over regulation, when it's really a case of the FCC and Congress talking about giving cable and telephone companies the freedom to control supply and content---a decision that could have them playing favorites and forcing consumers to pay extra to get information and services that are currently free.

The good news? With the Senate still set to debate the Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement Act of 2006, as the network-neutrality bill is called, it's not too late to write congressmembers, alert friends and acquaintances and join grassroots groups to protect Internet freedom amd diversity.

Sources: buzz flash dot com, July 28, 2005. Title: "Web of Deceit: How Internet Freedom Got the Federal Ax, and Why Corporate News Censored the Story." Author: Elliot D. Cohen, Ph.D.


2. Halliburton charged with selling nuclear technology to Iran

Halliburton, the notorious U.S. energy company, sold key nuclear-reactor components to a private Iranian oil company called Oriental Oil Kish as recently as 2005, using offshore subsidiaries to circumvent U.S. sanctions, journalist Jason Leopold reported on Global research dot ca, the Web site of a Canadian research group. He cited sources intimate with the business dealings of Halliburton and Kish.

The story is particularly juicy, because Vice President Dick Cheney, who now claims to want to stop Iran from getting nukes, was president of Halliburton in the mid-1990s, at which time he may have advocated business dealings with Iran, in violation of U.S. law.

Leopold contended that the Halliburton-Kish deals have helped Iran become capable of enriching weapons-grade uranium.

Leopold filed his report in 2005, when Iran's new hard-line government was rounding up relatives and business associates of former Iranian president and defeated mullah presidential candidate Hashemi Rafsanjani, amid accusations of widespread corruption in Iran's oil industry.

Leopold also reported that in 2004 and 2005, Halliburton had a close business relationship with Cyrus Nasseri, an Oriental Oil Kish official who the Iranian government subsequently accused of receiving up to $1M from Halliburton for giving them Iran's Nuclear secrets.

Source: Global Research dot ca, August 5, 2005. Title: "Halliburton Secretly Doing Business With Key Member of Iran's Nuclear Team." Author: Jason Leopold.


3. World oceans in extreme danger

Rising sea levels. A melting Arctic. Governments denying global warming is happening as they rush to map the ocean floor in hopes of claiming rights to oil, gas, gold, diamonds, copper, zinc and the planet's last pristine fishing grounds. This is the sobering picture author Julia Whitty painted in a beautifully crafted piece that makes the point that "there is only one ocean on Earth...a Mobiuslike ribbon windng through all the ocean basins, rising and falling, and stirring the waters of the world."

The problem is that if this world ocean, which encompasses 70.78% of our planet, is in peril, then we're all screwed. As Whitty reported in Mother Jones magazine, researchers at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory in 2005 found "the first clear evidence that the world ocean is growing warmer," including the discovery "that the top half-mile of the ocean has warmed dramatically in the past 40 years as the result of human-induced greenhouse gases." While a Scripps researcher recommended that "the Bush administration convene a Manhattan-style project" to see if mitigations are still possible, the U.S. government has yet to lift a finger toward addressing the problem.

Source: Mother Jones, March/April 2006. Title: "The Fate of the Ocean." Author: Julia Whitty.


4. Hunger and homelessness increasing in the United States

As hunger and homelessness rise in the United States, the Bush administration plans to get rid of a source of much of the data that supports this embarrassing reality---a survey that's been used to improve state and federal programs for retired and low-income Americans.

President Bush's proposed budget for fiscal year 2007 includes an effort to eliminate the Census Bureau's Survey of Income and Program Participation. Founded in 1984, the survey tracks American families' use of Social Security, Medicaid, unemployment insurance, child care and temporary assistance for needy families.

With legislators and researchers trying to prevent the cut, author Abid Aslam argued that this isn't just an isolated budget matter, but the Bush administration's third attempt in as many years to remove funding from politically embarrassing research. In 2003, it tried to whack the Bureau of Labor Statistics mass-layoff report, and in 2004 and 2005, it attempted to drop the bureau's questions on the hiring and firing of women from its employment data.

Sources: The NewStandard, December 2005. Title: "New Report Shows Increase in Urban Hunger, Homelessness." Author: Brendan Coyne; one world dot net, March 2006. Title: "U.S. Plan to Eliminate Survey of Needy Families Draws Fire." Author: Abid Aslam.


5. High-tech genocide in Congo

If you believe the corporate media, then the ongoing genocide in the Congo is all just a case of ugly tribal warfare. But that, according to stories published in Z Magazine and the Earth First! Journal, and heard on radio program The Taylor Report, is a superficial, simplisitc explanation that fails to connect the dots between this terrible suffering and the immense fortunes that stand to be made from manufacturing cell phones, laptop computers and other high-tech equipment.

What's really at stake in this bloodbath is control of natural resources such as diamonds, tin and copper, as well as cobalt, which is essential for the nuclear, chemical, aerospace and defense industries---and most importantly for the high-tech industry, coltan and niobum. These disturbing reports concluded that a meaningful analysis of Congolese geopolitics requires a knowledge and understanding of the organized crime perpetuated by multinationals.

Sources: The Taylor Report, March 28, 2005. Title: "The World's Most Neglected Emergency: Phil Taylor Talks to Keith Harmon Snow;" Earth First! Journal, August 2005. Title: "High-Tech Genocide." Author: Sprocket; Z Magazine, March 1, 2006. Title: "Behind the Numbers: Untold Suffering in the Congo." Authors: Keith Harmon Snow and David Barouski.


6. Federal whistleblower protection in jeopardy

Though record numbers of federal workers have been sounding the alarm on waste, fraud and abuse since Bush became President, the agency charged with defending government whistleblowers has reportedly been throwing out hundreds of cases---and advancing almost none. Statistics released at the end of 2005 by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility led to claims that Special Counsel Scott Bloch, who was appointed by Bush in 2004, is overseeing the systematic elimination of whistleblower rights.

What makes this development particularly troubling is that, thanks to a decline in congressional oversight and hard-hitting investigative journalism, the role of the Office of Special Counsel in advancing governmental transparency is more vital than ever.

Ironically, Bloch has now decided not to disclose the number of whistleblower complaints in which an employee obtained a favorable outcome, such as re-instatement or reversal of a disciplinary action, making it hard to tell who, if anyone, is being helped by the agency.

Source: Public Employyes for Environmental Responsibility Web site. Titles: "Whistleblowers Get Help from Bush Administration," Dec. 5, 2005; "Long-Delayed Investigation of Special Counsel Finally Begins," Oct. 18, 2005; "Back Door Rollback of Federal Whistleblower Protections," Sept. 22m 2005. Author: Jeff Ruch


7. U.S. Operatives torture detainees to death in Afghanastan and Iraq

Hooded. Gagged. Strangled. Asphyxiated. Beaten with blunt objects. Subjected to sleep deprivation and hot and cold environmental conditions. These are just some of the forms of torture that detainees held in U.S. facilities in Iraq and Afghanastan have been subjected to, according to an American Civil Liberties Union analysis of autopsy and death reports that were made public in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

While reports of torture aren't new, the documents are evidence of torture as a policy, begging a whole bunch of uncomfortable questions, such as: Who authorized such techniques? And why have the resulting deaths been covered up?

Of the 44 death reports released under ACLUs FOIA request, 21 were homicides, and 8 appeared to have resulted from these abusive torture techniques.

Source: American Civil Liberties Web site, October 24, 2005. Title: "U.S. Operatives Killed Detainees During Interrogations in Afghanastan and Iraq;" tom dispatch dot com, March 5, 2006. Title: "Tracing the Trail of Torture: Embedding Torture as Policy From Guantanamo to Iraq." Author: Dahr Jamail.


8. Pentagon exempt from Freedom of Information Act

In 2005, the Department of Defense pushed for and was granted exemption from Freedom of Information Act requests, a crucial law that allows journalists and watchdogs access to federal documents. The stated reason for this dramatic and dangerous move? The FOIA is a hindrance to protecting national security. The ruling could hamper the efforts of groups like the ACLU, which relied on FOIA to uncover more than 30,000 documents on the U.S. military's torture of detainees in Afghanastan, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, including the Abu Ghraib torture scandal. (See story No. 7)

With ACLU lawyers predicting that the end result of this ruling is likely to be more abuse, and with Americans becoming increasingly concerned about the federal government's illegal intelligence gathering activities, Congress has imposed a 2-year sunset on this FOIA exemption, ending December 2007---which is cold comfort to anyone currently rotting in a U.S. overseas military facility or a CIA secret prison.

Sources: The NewStandard, May 6, 2005. Title: "Pentagon Seeks Greater Immunity from Freedom of Information." Author: Michelle Chen; Newspaper Association of America Web site, posted December 2005. Title: "FOIA Exemption Granted to Federal Agency."


9. World Bank funds Israel-Palestine well

In 2004, the International Court of Justice ruled that the wall Israel is building deep into Palestinian territory should be torn down. Instead, construction of this cement barrier, which annexes Israeli settlements and breaks the continuity of Palestinian territory, has accelerated. In the Interim, the World Bank has come up with a framework for a Middle Eastern Trade Area, which will be financed by the World Bank and built on Palestinian land around the wall to encourage export-oriented economic development. But with Israel ineligible for World Bank loans, the plan seems to translate into Palestinians paying for the modernization of checkpoints around a wall they've always opposed that help lock in and exploit their labor.

Sources: Left Turn Issue No. 18. Title: "Cementing Israeli Apartheid: The Role of World Bank." Author: Janal Huma; Al-Jazeera, March 9, 2005. Title: "U.S. Free Trade Agreements Split Arab Opinion." Author: Linda Heard


10. Expanded air war in Iraq kills more civilians

At the end of 2005, U.S. Central Command Air Force statistics showed an increase in American air missions, a trend that was accompanied by a rise in civilian deaths, thanks to the increased bombing of Iraqi cities. But with U.S. bombings and the killing of innocent civilians acting as a highly effective recruiting tool among Iraqi militants, the U.S. war on Iraq seemed to increasingly be following that of the war on Vietnam. As Seymour Hersh reported in The New Yorker at the end of 2005, a key component in the federal government's troop-reduction plan was the replacement of departing U.S. troops with U.S. airpower.

Meanwhile, Hersh's sources within the military have expressed fears that if Iraqis are allowed to call in the targets of these aerial strikes, they could abuse that power to settle old scores. With Iraq devolving into a full-blown Sunni-Shiite civil war, and the United States increasingly drawn into the sectarian violence, reporters like Hersh and Dahr Jamail fear that the only way out for the United States is to increase the air power even more as they pull out, causing the cycle of sectarian violence to escalate even further.

Sources: The New Yorker, December 2005. Title: "Up in the Air." Author: Seymour M. Hersh; tom dispatch dot com, December 2005, Title: "An Increasingly Aerial Occupation." Author: Dahr Jamial.