Republican Senator on DC Madam List!

10 07 2007

Ha! Wonderful!

Senator’s Number on Escort Service List

Jul 9, 10:31 PM (ET)

WASHINGTON (AP) – Sen. David Vitter, R-La., apologized Monday night for “a very serious sin in my past” after his telephone number appeared among those associated with an escort service operated by the so-called “D.C. Madam.”
Vitter’s spokesman, Joel Digrado, confirmed the statement in an e-mail sent to The Associated Press.
“This was a very serious sin in my past for which I am, of course, completely responsible,” Vitter said in the statement. “Several years ago, I asked for and received forgiveness from God and my wife in confession and marriage counseling. Out of respect for my family, I will keep my discussion of the matter there – with God and them. But I certainly offer my deep and sincere apologies to all I have disappointed and let down in any way.”

Advertisements




Poll Numbers on Impeachment

7 07 2007

From Politicalwire.com:

July 06, 2007

Public Split on Impeachment

From a new American Research Group poll:
45% of Americans favor the House of Representatives beginning impeachment proceedings against President Bush, while 46% are opposed.

54% of Americans favor the House of Representatives beginning impeachment proceedings against Vice President Cheney, while 40% are opposed.





Idiot President is Lonely

2 07 2007

An excerpt from The Washington Post:

A President Besieged and Isolated, Yet at Ease
Bush, Grasping for Answers and Fixated on Iraq, Remains Resolute
By Peter Baker
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, July 2, 2007; Page A01

At the nadir of his presidency, George W. Bush is looking for answers. One at a time or in small groups, he summons leading authors, historians, philosophers and theologians to the White House to join him in the search.
Over sodas and sparkling water, he asks his questions: What is the nature of good and evil in the post-Sept. 11 world? What lessons does history have for a president facing the turmoil I’m facing? How will history judge what we’ve done? Why does the rest of the world seem to hate America? Or is it just me they hate?

These are the questions of a president who has endured the most drastic political collapse in a generation. Not generally known for intellectual curiosity, Bush is seeking out those who are, engaging in a philosophical exploration of the currents of history that have swept up his administration. For all the setbacks, he remains unflinching, rarely expressing doubt in his direction, yet trying to understand how he got off course.

These sessions, usually held in the Oval Office or the elegant living areas of the executive mansion, are never listed on the president’s public schedule and remain largely unknown even to many on his staff. To some of those invited to talk, Bush seems alone, isolated by events beyond his control, with trusted advisers taking their leave and erstwhile friends turning on him.

“You think about prime ministers and presidents being surrounded by cabinet officials and aides and so forth,” said Alistair Horne, a British historian who met with Bush recently. “But at the end of the day, they’re alone. They’re lonely. And that’s what occurred to me as I was at the White House. It must be quite difficult for him to get out and about.”

Friends worry about that as well. Burdened by an unrelenting war, challenged by an opposition Congress, defeated just last week on immigration, his last major domestic priority, Bush remains largely locked inside the fortress of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. in the seventh year of a presidency turned sour. He still travels, making speeches to friendly audiences and attending summit meetings, such as this weekend’s Kennebunkport talks with President Vladimir Putin of Russia. But he rarely goes out to dinner, and he no longer plays golf, except occasionally chipping at Camp David, where, as at his Texas ranch, he can find refuge.

“I don’t know how he copes with it,” said Donald Burnham Ensenat, a friend for 43 years who just stepped down as State Department protocol officer. Rep. K. Michael Conaway (R-Tex.), another longtime friend who once worked for Bush, said he looks worn down. “It’s a marked difference in his physical appearance,” Conaway said. “It’s an incredibly heavy load. When you ask men and women to take risks, to send them into war knowing they might not come home, that’s got to be an incredible burden to have on your shoulders.”

Bush is fixated on Iraq, according to friends and advisers. One former aide went to see him recently to discuss various matters, only to find Bush turning the conversation back to Iraq again and again. He recognizes that his presidency hinges on whether Iraq can be turned around in 18 months. “Nothing matters except the war,” said one person close to Bush. “That’s all that matters. The whole thing rides on that.”

And yet Bush does not come across like a man lamenting his plight. In public and in private, according to intimates, he exhibits an inexorable upbeat energy that defies the political storms. Even when he convenes philosophical discussions with scholars, he avoids second-guessing his actions. He still acts as if he were master of the universe, even if the rest of Washington no longer sees him that way.

“You don’t get any feeling of somebody crouching down in the bunker,” said Irwin M. Stelzer, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute who was part of one group of scholars who met with Bush. “This is either extraordinary self-confidence or out of touch with reality. I can’t tell you which.”

A Parade of Setbacks

The reality has been daunting by any account. No modern president has experienced such a sustained rejection by the American public. Bush’s approval rating slipped below 50 percent in Washington Post-ABC News polls in January 2005 and has not topped that level in the 30 months since. The last president mired under 50 percent so long was Harry S. Truman. Even Richard M. Nixon did not fall below 50 percent until April 1973, 16 months before he resigned.

The polls reflect the events of Bush’s second term, an unyielding sequence of bad news. Social Security. Hurricane Katrina. Harriet E. Miers. Dubai Ports World. Vice President Cheney’s hunting accident. Jack Abramoff, Tom DeLay and Mark Foley. The midterm elections. I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Alberto R. Gonzales and Paul D. Wolfowitz. Immigration. And overshadowing it all, the Iraq war, now longer than the U.S. fight in World War II.





GOP Stalls House over Earmarks

15 06 2007

The “grand old party” — no longer so grand — has stalled operations in the House of Representatives in a bid to insert more wasteful spending into the budget. Such pork spending exploded since the Republicans took control of Congress in 1994, and was one factor in their electoral defeat in 2006. Nevertheless, these crazy fascists have decided to derail the Congress rather than give up their pet projects. Such earmarks are simply a way to by themselves another term in office, a shameful and degrading act that violates the spirit of their individual mandates. For shame! For shame!

An excerpt from the •San Francisco Chronicle•:

House grinds to a halt in rift over earmarks

Republicans stall Homeland Security spending bill

Edward Epstein, Chronicle Washington Bureau
Thursday, June 14, 2007
(06-14) 04:00 PDT Washington — For the second straight day, minority House Republicans ground the House to a standstill Wednesday as they drove home their objections to a Democratic plan to deny a floor vote on lawmakers’ thousands of pet projects.

Public anger over the surging number of special member projects called earmarks — derided as pork barrel spending — was a factor in the Republicans’ loss of House control last November, GOP members concede, and now they say they’ve gotten religion on the need for openness in government.

Charges of hypocrisy flew in floor speeches as House leaders huddled behind closed doors to seek a way out of a dispute that Republicans said showed Democrats led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi had backed down on promises of openness and disclosure made when they took power last January.
Democrats had hoped this week to pass four of the 12 annual bills that pay for federal operations beginning Oct. 1. Instead, Republicans have offered 116 amendments to a $37.4 billion Homeland Security spending bill — the first of the bills on the floor — in a bid to stall it. And on Tuesday they offered repeated motions to adjourn the House, each requiring a vote, keeping a wary House in session until 2:10 a.m. Wednesday.

Democrats argued Republicans were engaging in partisan attacks to try to embarrass Pelosi. They charged the GOP lawmakers lacked credibility on earmarks, the number of which exploded during their 12 years of House rule.
But Republicans cried foul over a plan by Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey, D-Wis., for the House to pass all of the dozen spending bills without any earmarks.

Obey said House members from both parties — even while expressing concern about rising government spending — had inundated his committee with 33,000 earmark requests. He said it would take the committee’s staff four weeks to study all those pork barrel requests and pare them to a manageable level.

Obey proposed to put the earmarks into the bill as the House prepares to confer with the Senate to reconcile the two chambers’ different versions of the spending bills. Obey promised to disclose the list of the earmarks a month before such a conference, which Democrats hope to hold by late summer, so members and the public will have time to scrutinize and react to the projects.





Powell: Close Guantanamo!

10 06 2007

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell spoke out about closing Guantanamo Bay prison on “Meet the Press” today. Good for him, but I wish he would speak out more often about his feelings about this administration. After the ways in which they used and abused him during his tenure, one would think that he would have lots to say. The best way for the former secretary to rehabilitate his reputation in the nation, and distance himself from the crimes of this bumbling administration, is to speak out more often.

You can find the video •at Thinkprogress.org•.





Enemy of the People

25 05 2007

My recent hatemail got me to thinking about the need to write a broader explanation for the underlying reasons why I both despise and fear President Bush and his administration so much, so here goes.

I never gave the future much thought, either my own or the world’s, until the birth of my nephew in 2002. Since that time, I have focused on little else. As a historian, I see much about America today which frightens me. Let me begin by saying that I believe very strongly that there is no power on Earth great enough to destroy a free people — except those people themselves. By giving into the fear-mongering of this administration and of the Republican Party (now nothing more than a mouth-piece for the bizarre alliance between corporate and evangelical fascists), by accepting their blatantly false accusations and connections, and by coming to believe that dissent always equals disloyalty, many Americans have allowed this administration to undermine our democracy. In this way, George W. Bush has done more damage to the American republic than Al Qaeda, the Communists, the fascists, the Nazis, the German imperialists, the Spanish, the French, or the British ever could or did. He is, in fact, the worst president in United States history.

The Americans that revolted against the oppression of Great Britain feared the growth of executive power the most, and so both the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution of 1787 sought to limit executive authority to avoid tyranny. President Bush has effected the greatest executive power grab in the history of the United States, and exceeded those limits thanks to a frightened electorate and a Congress controlled by his own party which abrogated every responsibility for oversight of such a reckless administration.

The attacks of September 11th, 2001, were quite simply an atrocity. President Bush’s decision to invade Afghanistan to hunt down Al Qaeda and overthrow the Taliban remains the single good policy of his entire six years in office. Both the attacks and the initial outcomes of this invasion earned the United States enormous good will, and put Al Qaeda on the run. Then, in pursuit of the policies of his neo-conservative advisors, Bush lurched off-course and sent the United States into the disastrous invasion of Iraq. All the while, he has ignored U.S. law and expanded the powers of the presidency like no other chief executive: his signing statements which indicated he would refuse to enforce sections of laws he disagreed with; warrant-less wire-tapping; the use of off-shore detention camps; taking over control of the National Guard through the John Warner Defense Act of 2006; the creation of NorthCom; the use of military tribunals; the secret contract given to Haliburton subsidiary KBR to build a string of detention camps across the country … the list is seemingly endless. Congress did nothing, and Americans caved in to the blatant fear-mongering of Vice President Cheney and others.

The policies of this administration have made the United States less safe, and the American people less free. By tying us down in Iraq, and his stubborn refusal to admit defeat, he has allowed the rise of Iran and utterly failed to protect the borders and the ports. He has stretched our resources so thin we find ourselves unable to deal with national crises like Hurricane Katrina and the recent tornadoes in the midwest. Many of our traditional allies have deserted us, and he has lost he chance to improve relations with the Russian Federation.

In 2006, historian Sean Wilentz wrote “The Worst President in History?” for Rolling Stone. An excerpt:

By contrast, the Bush administration — in seeking to restore what Cheney, a Nixon administration veteran, has called “the legitimate authority of the presidency” — threatens to overturn the Framers’ healthy tension in favor of presidential absolutism. Armed with legal findings by his attorney general (and personal lawyer) Alberto Gonzales, the Bush White House has declared that the president’s powers as commander in chief in wartime are limitless. No previous wartime president has come close to making so grandiose a claim. More specifically, this administration has asserted that the president is perfectly free to violate federal laws on such matters as domestic surveillance and the torture of detainees. When Congress has passed legislation to limit those assertions, Bush has resorted to issuing constitutionally dubious “signing statements,” which declare, by fiat, how he will interpret and execute the law in question, even when that interpretation flagrantly violates the will of Congress. Earlier presidents, including Jackson, raised hackles by offering their own view of the Constitution in order to justify vetoing congressional acts. Bush doesn’t bother with that: He signs the legislation (eliminating any risk that Congress will overturn a veto), and then governs how he pleases — using the signing statements as if they were line-item vetoes. In those instances when Bush’s violations of federal law have come to light, as over domestic surveillance, the White House has devised a novel solution: Stonewall any investigation into the violations and bid a compliant Congress simply to rewrite the laws.

Anyone with even a passing knowledge of world history will recognize the term “enemy of the people.” It was the main charge used by Josef Stalin against his perceived enemies during his long, brutal and destructive reign (and earned him his place in history as the world’s second greatest mass murderer, right behind Mao Zedong and ahead of Adolf Hitler). Most of the accused were completely innocent; some, perhaps, were not enemies of the people, but enemies of Stalin.

By undermining American democracy in so many ways, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney and their supporters are enemies of the American people. They have started this nation down the path to dictatorship.

But why, one might ask?

Simple: an empire cannot be governed by democracy.

Empires need stability, efficiency, and centralized power. Democracy is too inefficient, unwieldy, and decentralized to govern a world-wide empire.

We had a great nation once. While Americans slept, the corporate and evangelical fascists allied with President Bush and Vice President Cheney have begun to unravel it.

For further information, please see:
Kevin Phillips, “American Theocracy.”

Frank Rich, “The Greatest Story Ever Sold: The Decline and Fall of Truth from 9/11 to Katrina.”

Thomas Ricks, “Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq.”





War Memorial Runs Out of Room

6 05 2007

In a clear example of hyper-optimism and a failure to recognize reality, a memorial constructed by Republicans to honor the fallen soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq has run out room for more names!

Pathetic.

An excerpt from FortWayne.com:

Memorial honoring fallen soldiers in Iraq, Afghanistan runs out of room

By Frank Davies

San Jose Mercury News

WASHINGTON – Congress already has run out of space on a memorial created last year to honor all of the U.S. service members killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In a grim sign of the times, the “Wall of the Fallen,” set up by House Republican leaders in June, is almost full. The mounting death toll from Iraq has forced U.S. House staffers to study how to reconfigure the display in the lobby of the Rayburn Building – the largest office building for members of Congress – to squeeze in more names.

According to the Defense Department, 3,736 U.S. service members died in the two wars by the end of April. New names are added to the display every few months, but none have been added since November. The last name listed is Lance Cpl. Luke Holler, 21-year-old Marine reservist from Bulverde, Texas, killed by an explosive device on Nov. 2.

In the current format, there is space for about 130 more names, but 506 Americans have died since mid-November. In April, 104 Americans were killed in the war’s sixth-deadliest month.

With a fierce debate raging over Iraq in Congress as President Bush resists the Democrats’ push for a timetable for troop withdrawal, the wall has taken on symbolic importance to some members.

“It’s just another example of how pathetically unprepared and unrealistic the supporters of this war have been,” said Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a San Jose Democrat and member of the Administration Committee that oversees operations in House buildings.

Rep. Vernon Ehlers, the Michigan Republican who chaired the committee last summer, said members and staffers “simply wanted to do something to honor those who had made this sacrifice.”

“This is so sad,” Delahunt said. “This states so poignantly and ironically that we never thought about needing extra space. The concept of the wall is laudable, but no one wanted to think about how many more soldiers would die.”

© 2007, San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.).