Friday, November 25, 2005


AP: Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan returns to Texas for war protest

By ANGELA K. BROWN, Associated Press Writer
Friday, November 25, 2005 - 8:35 PST

Crawford, Texas (AP) -- The mother of a fallen soldier who led a vigil against the war in Iraq outside President Bush's ranch returned to Texas, saying she is "heartbroken" that the troops are not home.

When Cindy Sheehan arrived at the Waco airport Thursday, three dozen supporters erupted into cheers and tears and grabbed her for lengthy embraces. Before they whisked her back to Crawford, the group chanted, "Stop the war! Bring them home now!"

"I feel happy to be back here with all my friends ... but I'm heartbroken that we have to be here again," said Sheehan, who hoped to arrive earlier in the week, but was delayed by a family emergency. "We will keep pressing and we won't give up until our troops are brought home."

Sheehan asked protesters to return to Crawford this week during Bush's family Thanksgiving gathering. She was unknown when she set up camp outside Bush's ranch during his August vacation, but as the vigil drew thousands, she attracted national attention.

Friday, Sheehan's itinerary included attending a dedication of a garden at the Crawford Peace House in honor of her 24-year-old son, Casey, who died in Iraq last year. An anti-war rally was scheduled at a downtown park Saturday.

A few miles away in a field beside the main road leading to Bush's ranch, a Bush supporter set up camp Thursday with a tent and signs saying "A Noble Cause" showing pictures of smiling Iraqi children.

The war protesters' camp this week is at the same 1-acre private lot that a landowner let them use in August when Sheehan's original campsite became too crowded. The grassy lot is about a mile from Bush's ranch.

Before Sheehan's arrival, more than 100 protesters at the camp ate a traditional Iraqi meal for Thanksgiving — salmon, lentils, rice with almonds and a salad of parsley, tomatoes, cucumbers and bulgur wheat. They said they wanted to call attention to the innocent Iraqi victims in addition to the more than 2,100 U.S. soldiers killed since the war began in March 2003.

"It's significant because the people of Iraq are suffering under our occupation, and for people in America it's business as usual stuffing themselves on fat turkeys," said Tammara Rosenleaf, whose husband is an Army soldier to be deployed in a few weeks.

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Reuters: Abramoff probe broader than thought

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department's probe of Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff, below left, is broader than previously thought, examining his dealings with four lawmakers, former and current congressional aides and two former Bush administration officials, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

Prosecutors in the department's public integrity and fraud divisions are looking into Abramoff's dealings with four Republicans -- former House of Representatives Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas, Rep. Bob Ney of Ohio, Rep. John Doolittle of California and Sen. Conrad Burns of Montana, the paper said, citing several people close to the investigation.

Click here to read entire article.

Terry's Comment: It's getting to be a situation you can only describe as "What Republican knew what, accepted what funds, did what, when, and, how high up in government ranks did it go." By handing out cash, Native American Tribes may, back-handedly, cause a bigger defeat and more important casualties of government officials than any of their forebearers.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2005


Spier: Following the Woodward Story

There is considerable and thoughtful blogging on the Net regarding Bob Woodward’s betrayal of the responsibilities of a free press. I think some of it can be distilled down to this:

Is it not now obvious that Bob Woodward, right, serves the powerful? As a recipient of classified information, did he not think for one moment why he was the recipient of it? If this was just idle chat with a high up buddy, what else do you know, Bob? What kind of excuse can a reporter make for not revealing that he or she was being used to smear someone?

If a government official leaks classified information in order to further an agenda, the press has the responsibility to be all over the story. Woodward said nothing. Just idle gossip, huh, Bob? Not an abuse of power, no clue, nada? As Paul Sperry said on antiwar.com, “Since when do red-blooded journalists in Washington get in the 'habit' of keeping dirty political secrets secret?” Come to think of it, why did Len Downie sit on the information when he heard it from Woodward—11 days before Fitzgerald’s indictment of Scooter Libby? Power suck-up, and egomaniac Woodward sat on it because if he did not, he would have to become a journalist—like Carl Bernstein - and no doubt lose his comfy position within the regime. With his conservative credentials though, he could have blown a big hole in this administration in June, 2003. He kept quiet.

Democracy is in jeopardy when reporters shield public officials so those officials can deceive the public and avoid reprisals for their lies, moral corruption, and treachery. Maybe Woodward didn't want to take himself off the shortlist to be Bush's biographer. My, oh my.

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John Kerry Elected ... Jury Foreman

Wed Nov 23, 9:15 AM ET

John Kerry's public profile and prosecutorial past didn't spare him from performing that most mundane of civic responsibilities — jury duty.

Kerry was not only chosen this week to sit on a jury in Suffolk Superior Court, but also was elected foreman.

The case involved two men who sued the city for injuries suffered in a 2000 car accident involving a school principal. The Kerry-led jury rejected their claim Tuesday, and his fellow jurors said the state's junior senator was a natural leader.

"I just found him to be a knowledgeable, normal person," said Cynthia Lovell, a nurse and registered Republican who says she now regrets voting for
President Bush in last year's election. "He kept us focused. He wanted us all to have our own say."

The former Democratic presidential candidate reported for duty Monday and none of the lawyers in the case objected to putting him on the jury.

"I was a little surprised," Kerry said of being selected for jury duty.

"I enjoyed it," he said. "It was very, very interesting and very instructive."

Posted By Terry D. Barhorst Sr.

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Sheehan activists in court and ditches today

By Tommy Witherspoon, Tribune-Herald staff writer - Wednesday, November 23, 2005

An anti-war group led by the California woman known as "Peace Mom" will be in court this morning, seeking to block enforcement of new county ordinances banning parking and residing along roads leading to President Bush's ranch.

U.S. District Judge Walter S. Smith Jr. has scheduled a hearing for this morning to consider a request for a temporary restraining order from anti-war protesters challenging the constitutionality of the new ordinances.

McLennan County commissioners passed two ordinances in September banning parking along 23 miles of county roads surrounding Bush's Crawford-area ranch and prohibiting camping and placing sewage receptacles along all county roads.

The ordinances were passed less than a month after Cindy Sheehan and her growing ranks of supporters ended their monthlong peace vigil near Crawford. County officials said the ordinances are designed to prevent traffic snarls and health and safety concerns and are not intended to prevent Sheehan from delivering her message that U.S. troops should come home from Iraq now.

However, in a statement, Sheehan's fellow protesters – some of whom plan to openly defy the ordinances near the Bush ranch this morning – say the county commissioners' action is "a violation of our constitutional rights to free speech and free assembly."

Jim Harrington, director of the Texas Civil Rights Project, filed a federal lawsuit against the county Monday that challenges the new ordinances and requests the temporary restraining order.

"Our position clearly is that if people are going to be arrested, they need to be arrested for the right reasons," Harrington said. "I think the folks around the Bush ranch are bound and determined that they are not going to have any First Amendment activity around there. Certainly, the county is entitled to reasonable regulation, but you can't use regulation to suppress speech."

McLennan County Judge Jim Lewis said the lawsuit has not changed his position about the need for or legality of the ordinances.

"I still don't think anybody should be able to put a porta-potty in a bar ditch or live in a bar ditch," Lewis said. "It's just that simple."

Mike Dixon, a Waco attorney who represents the county, said the protesters will have difficulty proving that they'll suffer irreparable harm because of the ordinances, a standard for injunctive relief.

"We certainly don't understand how their First Amendment rights are being violated by parking regulations or by rules that they can't set up residence and sewage receptacles in county ditches," Dixon said.

Harrington alleges that the wording in the ordinances, particularly that limiting camping, is vague.

"We don't want to leave them open to ad hoc interpretation by the law enforcement people," Harrington said. "That is the big flaw in all of these. They are all over the place in terms of not being very precise."

Harrington said he's unsure if today's hearing will change protesters' plans to test the ordinances by getting arrested near the Bush ranch.

However, a protest coordinator insisted the demonstration will not be delayed to accommodate the court review.

"We are going forward regardless," said Tammara Rosenleaf, of Military Families Speak Out. "What we're doing (Wednesday) is challenging this law on its faith and asking the people who put this into place to put their money where their mouth is."

Chief Deputy Randy Plemons of the McLennan County Sheriff's Office said his deputies will "play it by ear" when enforcing the ordinances, saying it depends on how the judge rules and how the peace group behaves.

"We will enforce the ordinances or ask them to comply with them," Plemons said.

Although Sheehan had initially planned to join other peace activists near the Bush ranch this morning and defy the ordinances, she is now not expected to return to Central Texas till Thursday night, said Dede Miller, Sheehan's sister.

Miller, who is in Crawford, said the peace icon's delay will not inhibit other anti-war protesters, who resolved to gather in Crawford during President Bush's Thanksgiving break at his nearby Prairie Chapel Ranch.

"It's not just her protest," Miller said of her sister. "There's probably 60 people here right now who feel the same way she does. This is a movement."

Posted by Terry D. Barhorst Sr.

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AP: Protesters Arrested Near Bush's Ranch

By ANGELA K. BROWN, Associated Press Writer - 43 minutes ago

CRAWFORD, Texas - A dozen war protesters were arrested Wednesday for setting up camp near President Bush's ranch in defiance of new local bans on roadside camping and parking. The arrests were led by McLennan County Sheriffs Capt. Kenneth Vanek, below left, seen talking with anti-war protestors Tammara Rosenleaf and Charlie Anderson, right.

About four hours after the group pitched six tents and huddled in sleeping bags and blankets, sheriff's deputies arrested them for criminal trespassing.

Another dozen or so demonstrators left the public right of way after deputies warned them they would be arrested.

The protest was set to coincide with Bush's Thanksgiving ranch visit.

The arrests were made by more than two dozen deputies who calmly approached the demonstrators in their tents and asked if they wanted to walk out on their own or be carried. Two chose to be carried. They were to be taken to jail for booking.

Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan wasn't among the protesters Wednesday because of a family emergency in California, but she planned to be at the camp later in the week.

"We are proud to be here," Dede Miller, Sheehan's sister, said hours before her arrest as she huddled in a blanket at the campsite. "This is just so important. What we did in August really moved us forward, and this is just a continuation of it."

In August, hundreds of demonstrators camped off the road during a 26-day protest led by Sheehan, whose 24-year-old soldier son Casey was killed in
Iraq last year. But a month later, county commissioners banned camping in any county ditch and parking within 7 miles of the ranch, citing safety and traffic congestion issues.

Earlier this week, three demonstrators filed a federal lawsuit against McLennan County over the two local bans.

During the last several weeks of their summer protest, the activists had camped on a private 1-acre lot that a sympathetic landowner let them use. That land is about a mile from Bush's ranch.

Posted by Terry D. Barhorst

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AFP: Bush informed in 2001 of lack of Iraq-Qaeda ties

Wed Nov 23, 2:59 AM ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) - US President George W. Bush (shown at right carrying his dog as he steps off Air Force One as they arrive in Waco, Texas) was informed 10 days after the September 11, 2001 attacks that US intelligence had no proof of links between Iraq and that act of terror, The National Journal reported.

Citing government documents as well as past and present Bush administration officials, the magazine said the president was briefed on September 21, 2001 that evidence of cooperation between Iraq and the Al-Qaeda terror network was insufficient.

Bush was also informed that there was some credible information about contacts between Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaeda that showed that the Iraqi dictator had tried to establish surveillance over the group, according to the report.

Saddam Hussein believed the radical Islamic network represented a threat for his secular regime.

Little additional evidence has emerged over the past four years that could contradict the CIA conclusion about a lack of a collaborative relationship between Al-Qaeda and Iraq, the Journal quotes a high-level government official as saying.

The magazine believes the evidence raises yet more questions about the administration's use of intelligence in the run-up to the war in Iraq.

TDB: The Bush administration lies. Then they deny the lies. Then they say the lies are the truth. Then they start wars using the lies they say are truths because "God wanted me to get rid of Saddam Hussien." Kinda sick, isn't it?

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Slate-Papers: New Way Jose - Nov. 23

By Eric Umansky - Posted Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2005, at 3:46 AM ET

The Washington Post's lead says the Pentagon is tentatively planning to drawn down "as many as" three of the 18 U.S.'s brigades in Iraq early next year. Citing "several senior military officers," the Post says the Pentagon has several scenarios outlined for next year and in the "moderately optimistic" option, about 40 percent of the troops will head home by the end of next year. The Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal world-wide newsbox, and New York Times all lead with once-suspected "dirty bomber" Jose Padilla, who has been held without charges as an enemy combatant for three years, being indicted on charges of conspiracy to support terrorism overseas. USA Today fronts Padilla and leads with an exegesis on Thanksgiving gas prices.

While the Post plays the potential Iraq drawdown as news, commanders have been talking about it for months. In fact the NYT floated the same percentages in August. Still, there is something of note in the WP's piece: It's not the numbers bandied about, it's that military officers are talking about them, especially now. After all, isn't it interesting that "several senior military officers" decided to flag a potential draw down of forces just days after the White House went ballistic against those it accuses of wanting to "cut and run"? (That, of course, assumes the Post isn't just cherry-picking the officers' assessments.)

To continue reading, click here.

Eric Umansky (www.ericumansky.com) writes "Today's Papers" for Slate. He can be reached at todayspapers@slate.com.
D.H.: Becky & I are on vacation in S.C. with limited internet access; so posts here for the next few days may be from others.

Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
lawfirm webpage: www.haigler.info
political blog: http://demlog.blogspot.com

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


Lone Star Project: Texas State Office Picking Up Tab for DeLay Friends

From Matt Angle - LONE STAR PROJECT - (202) 547-7610 - FAX (202) 547-8258

Texas Taxpayers Gave Over $400,000 to DeLay’s Crony Contributors

Texas taxpayers weren’t formal hosts at last night’s lavish Washington fundraiser for indicted former Republican House Leader, Tom DeLay, below left. However, a group of high-dollar lobbyists who collect big fees from Texas taxpayers did play a key role in the event. GOP lobbyists Drew Maloney, Wayne Berman, Chris Giblin and James Jay Baker, all close Tom DeLay allies, are members of the Federalist Group, the lobbying firm that represents Texas. All served as hosts for last night’s Delay campaign fundraiser. (Source: Roll Call, 11/17/2005)

Texas Office of State and Federal Relations Gutted to Make Room for DeLay Friends

• The Texas Office of State and Federal Relations (OSFR) is a state agency with offices in Austin and Washington, D.C. The agency is funded by Texas taxpayers with funds appropriated by the Texas Legislature. The Governor, Lt. Governor and House Speaker sit as an Advisory Policy Board. (Source: OSFR website)

• In 2003, the Texas OSFR, eliminated ten non-partisan staff members and replaced them with a Washington lobbying firm, The Federalist Group. (Source: Houston Chronicle, 4/08/2005)

• Drew Maloney, a former senior staff member for Tom DeLay, serves as the Federalist Group’s principal OSFR lobbyist. (Source: Houston Chronicle 5/9/2003) [D.H. note: Maloney lists as
a bio credential that he "helped conduct the interview of Monica Lewinsky and managed the impeachment proceedings."]

• The OSFR lobby contract was completed in March 2003 and called for Maloney and the Federalist Group to receive $15,000 each month. (Source: Houston Chronicle, 4/08/2005)

• Texas taxpayers are being forced to pay out $180,000 per year to Maloney and his partners – almost $500 per day, counting weekends and holidays. Texas State Comptroller's records show that the Federalist Group has been paid over $435,000 since they cut their deal in 2003. (Source: Houston Chronicle, 4/08/2005, Texas State Comptroller)

Texas Office of State and Federal Relations Reduced from Non-partisan Texas Advocate to GOP Money Conduit

• For decades, under both GOP Governors such as Bill Clements and George W. Bush as well as Democratic Governors such as Mark White and Ann Richards, the Texas OSFR earned a reputation as an effective non-partisan advocate for Texans in Washington. The State agency worked well with both Democratic and Republican Members of Congress. The State agency itself recently stated, "We place a high value on our credibility, and conduct ourselves at all times in a manner that reflects honesty, integrity, non-partisanship, and a high level of ethics." (Source: OSFR Agency Strategic Plan for the Period 2005-2009, pg. 8)

• Since 2003, the agency has eliminated non-partisan staff positions and replaced them with special interest lobbyists beholden to Republican Members of Congress and their friends. Since signing their contract with the Texas State Office, the four Federalist Group Members hosting DeLay’s event have contributed over $21,000 to Republican Members of Congress, while contributing nothing to Texas Democrats. (Source: PoliticalMoneyLine.com)

Partisan Lobbying Not Working – Except for DeLay

• Texas Republicans, George W. Bush and Tom DeLay, are arguably the most powerful officials in Washington. Members of their party hold every statewide office in Texas as well as Speaker of the State House. Yet, Texas continues to rank near the bottom of states in federal funds received (Source: U.S. Census).

• Converting the Texas Office of State and Federal Relations into a partisan institution has not significantly improved this performance. However, it has given Tom DeLay yet another conduit to reward his friends and pad his campaign.

• Even Republican House Speaker Tom Craddick smells a rat. Commenting on the arrangement he said, “when you’ve got the people we’ve got in the Senate and the House up there, I don’t think we benefit from a State lobbyist.” (Source: Houston Chronicle 4/08/2005).

Contributions to this committee are not tax deductible. Federal law requires political committees to use our best efforts to report the name, mailing address, occupation and name of employer for each individual whose contributions exceed $200 in a calendar year. The Lone Star Fund accepts federal contributions from individuals, partnerships, and other federal political committee of up to $5,000 per calendar year.

Source: TOM BLACKWELL, PO Box 25403, Dallas, Texas 75225

Forwarded by Terry D. Barhorst Sr.

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Monday, November 21, 2005


USA Today: 'Peace Mom' Cindy Sheehan to release book

FORT WORTH (AP) — After spending scorching August days with hundreds of war protesters at her makeshift camp near President Bush's Crawford ranch, Cindy Sheehan slipped away each night to her tent or RV for a few quiet moments on her laptop.
Cindy Sheehan's writings on her 26-day vigil near President Bush's ranch in Crawford will be released Wednesday. Cindy Sheehan's writings on her 26-day vigil near President Bush's ranch in Crawford will be released Wednesday.
AP file

The words came easily as she opined about the war, U.S. leaders, her critics, her supporters. And the tears started to flow no matter how many times she wrote about her 24-year-old soldier son Casey, who died in Iraq last year.

"I miss him more every day. It seems the void in my life grows as time goes on, and I realize I am never going to see him again or hear his voice," Sheehan wrote. "I knew he was going to be a great man. I just had no idea how great he was going to be or how much it was going to hurt me."

Now those journal entries are in her book, Not One More Mother's Child, to be released Wednesday. The paperback also contains some of her speeches to peace groups earlier this year, letters to politicians and writings since leaving Crawford.

Click here for complete article.

Terry's Comment:
Now here's a book I sure want to read--and get some autographs from a few folks that were there and probably got mentioned.

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NYT: G.M. to Cut 30,000 Jobs and Close Some Factories

G.M. to Cut 30,000 Jobs and Close Some Factories

DETROIT, Nov. 21 - General Motors said today that it would cut up to 30,000 jobs and close all or portions of 12 automobile and parts plants in the next three years in an effort to stem the company's billion-dollar losses.

Rick Wagoner, G.M.'s embattled chief executive, announced the cuts this morning at the company's headquarters here in a televised address that was broadcast to employees, many of whom will be offered early retirement packages.

All together, the restructuring would reduce the company's costs by $7 billion a year by the end of 2006, $1 billion more than its previous target. The company's production capacity will be cut by one million cars and trucks, a reduction that comes on top of a cutback of one million automobiles from 2002 to 2005. After the latest round of cuts, G.M., the nation's biggest automaker, will have the capacity to produce 4.2 million cars and trucks in North America, down about 30 percent from 2002.

Click here for complete article.

Terry's Comment: The Bush people keep telling us that "our country's economy is doing wonderfully." It might be for the the rich, but to the blue-collar workers over forty losing good paying jobs that end up working at Walmart it's a whole other country.

Posted By Terry D. Barhorst Sr.

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AP: Murtha Says Americans Back Iraq Pullout

Murtha Says Americans Back Iraq Pullout

By DAN LOVERING, Associated Press Writer 32 minutes ago

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. - U.S. Rep. John Murtha (news, bio, voting record), a key Democrat on military issues, on Monday defended his call to pull U.S. troops from Iraq, saying he was reflecting Americans' sentiment.

"The public turned against this war before I said it," Murtha said. "The public is emotionally tied into finding a solution to this thing, and that's what I hope this administration is going to find out."

Murtha, 73, a decorated Vietnam veteran and the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations defense subcommittee, said he has received support from the public since calling for the troop pullout on Thursday. He said he has gotten e-mails from World War II veterans and parents of American soldiers in Iraq.

Murtha noted that his great-grandfather served in the Civil War, his father and three uncles in World War II, and that he and his brothers were Marines. Murtha said western Pennsylvania, where his district is located, is a "hotbed of patriotism and they've lost confidence in this effort."

He said Iraqis must take control of their own destiny.

"We cannot win this militarily. Our tactics themselves keep us from winning," Murtha said at a scheduled news conference after a speech to a civic group in his hometown of Johnstown, about 60 miles east of Pittsburgh.

House Republicans on Friday pushed for a vote on a nonbinding resolution to pull out the troops after Murtha's comments. It was rejected 403-3, but Democrats said the quick call for the vote was a political stunt designed to undermine Murtha's comments.

"The guys in Congress are scared to death to say anything because they might be vilified," Murtha said. "The soldiers can't speak for themselves. We sent them to war and, by God, we're the ones that have to speak out."

Murtha said he was unmoved by criticism he's received from
President Bush, others in Congress and the public.

U.S. Rep. Jean Schmidt, R-Ohio, spoke on the House floor Friday about a phone call she got from a Marine colonel who said, "cowards cut and run, Marines never do." Asked about it, Murtha called the comment ridiculous.

"You can't spin this. You've got to have a real solution," Murtha said. "This is not a war of words, this is a war."

Aware that his comments last week would draw fire from conservatives, Murtha said he specifically asked more liberal members of his party not to step forward to support him.

"I didn't want (the public) to think this was a Democrat position plotted from the left wing," Murtha said.

Murtha expressed confidence that terrorist bombings in Iraq would cease once U.S. troops were gone and Iraqis became solely responsible for their destiny.

"Absolutely, we're the target. We're the enemy," Murtha said. "(The Iraqis) are a proud people, they've been around a lot longer than we have. They've going to win this themselves, they're going to settle this themselves. They have to, there's no alternative."

Murtha said he believes President Bush needs to realize how citizens feel about the war.

"All of us want to support the president when he's at war," Murtha said "But you can't support him when he won't change directions, won't listen."

Posted By Terry D. Barhorst Sr.

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