.

Friday, September 15, 2006

 

Bush wants 'clarity' on interrogations


By TERENCE HUNT, AP White House Correspondent
14 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - Facing a GOP revolt in the Senate,President Bush urged Congress on Friday to join in backing legislation to spell out strategies for interrogating and trying terror suspects, saying "the enemy wants to attack us again."

"Time is running out," Bush said in a Rose Garden news conference. "Congress needs to act wisely and promptly."

Bush denied the U.S. might lose the moral high ground in the war on terror in the eyes of world opinion, as former Secretary of State Colin Powell suggested.

Click here to read entire article.

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For a self-proclaimed Christian who is leading this country into what he states is the third awakening, George Bush, claiming he is the "picked by God for the Presidency," is not a follower of one of the paramount tenents of God.

"So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets." Matthew 7:12

Has Bush forgotten the Golden Rule or just disgarded it along with ethics and a constistancy in the telling of truth?

Terry D. Barhorst Sr.
Moderator: Lone_Star_Democrats.

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Common Dreams * Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community.

Buzzflash News.

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

 

Bush has Epiphany

Quoting Digby—quoting Bush, A lot of people in America see this as a confrontation between good and evil, including me," Bush said during a 1 1/2 -hour Oval Office conversation on cultural changes and a battle with terrorists that he sees lasting decades. "There was a stark change between the culture of the '50s and the '60s -- boom -- and I think there's change happening here," he added. "It seems to me that there's a Third Awakening."

Faith? Third Awakening of religious devotion? Folks, with the looting of the national treasury by wealthy corporate-affiliated Americans; the squandering of what was left; the Chinese holding most of the mortgages on our houses; civil liberties curtailed; the decline of American influence in the world; extreme U.S. violence on Iraq; not to mention no money for Medicaid nursing beds, no health insurance for millions, no new schools, falling wages and a standard of living tumbling like lava down a volcano-- in the words of Lou Reed, “you’re going to need a busload of faith to get by.”

I don’t know about all the evil knowing and newly awakened faithful; but I for one believe that I’ve seen the evil and it us. I came to this epiphany without a religious awakening.

William Spier
New York City 9/15/06


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Common Dreams * Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

 

Ex-Texas Gov. Ann Richards dies



By KELLEY SHANNON, Associated Press Writer 6 minutes ago

AUSTIN, Texas - Former Gov. Ann Richards, the witty and flamboyant Democrat who went from homemaker to national political celebrity, died Wednesday night after a battle with cancer, a family spokeswoman said. She was 73.

She died at home surrounded by her family, the spokeswoman said. Richards was found to have esophageal cancer in March and underwent chemotherapy treatments.

The silver-haired, silver-tongued Richards said she entered politics to help others — especially women and minorities who were often ignored by Texas' male-dominated establishment.

"I did not want my tombstone to read, 'She kept a really clean house.' I think I'd like them to remember me by saying, 'She opened government to everyone,'" Richards said shortly before leaving office in January 1995.

She was governor for one term, losing her re-election bid to Republican George W. Bush.

Her four adult children spent Wednesday with her, said family spokeswoman Cathy Bonner, a longtime family friend.

"They're a strong group of people but they're broken-hearted, of course," Bonner said.

Her family said as governor she was most proud of two actions that probably cost her re-election. She vetoed legislation that would allow people to carry concealed handguns, automatic weapons and so-called "cop-killer bullets."

She also vetoed a bill that critics said would have allowed the destruction of the Edwards Aquifer, a major underground water system that now serves 1.7 million in people in south central Texas, including the city of San Antonio.

Republican Gov. Rick Perry described Richards as "the epitome of Texas politics: a figure larger than life who had a gift for captivating the public with her great wit."

Former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk said that with Richards' death, "We've lost a little bit of that mystique and that wonderfulness that so captivates the rest of this country about Texas."

She grabbed the national spotlight with her keynote address at the 1988 Democratic National Convention when she was the Texas state treasurer. Richards won cheers from delegates when she reminded them that Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, "only backwards and in high heels."

Richards sealed her partisan reputation with a blast at George H. Bush, a fellow Texan who was vice president at the time: "Poor George, he can't help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth."

Four years later, she was chairwoman of the Democratic convention that nominated
Bill for president.

Richards rose to the governorship with a come-from-behind victory over millionaire cowboy Clayton Williams in 1990. She cracked a half-century male grip on the governor's mansion and celebrated by holding up a T-shirt that showed the state Capitol and read: "A woman's place is in the dome."

In four years as governor, Richards championed what she called the "New Texas," appointing more women and more minorities to state posts than any of her predecessors.

She appointed the first black University of Texas regent; the first crime victim to join the state Criminal Justice Board; the first disabled person to serve on the human services board; and the first teacher to lead the State Board of Education. Under Richards, the fabled Texas Rangers pinned stars on their first black and female officers.

She polished Texas' image, courted movie producers, championed the North American Free Trade Agreement, oversaw an expansion of the state prison system, and presided over rising student achievement scores and plunging dropout rates.

She took time out to celebrate her 60th birthday by earning her motorcycle driver's license.

Throughout her years in office, her personal popularity remained high. One poll put it at more than 60 percent the year she lost to Bush.

"I may have lost the race," Richards said after the defeat. "But I don't think I lost the good feelings that people have about me in this state. That's tremendously reassuring to me."

Richards went on to give speeches, work as a commentator for CNN and serve as a senior adviser in the New York office of Public Strategies Inc., an Austin-based consulting firm.

In her last 10 years, Richards worked for many social causes and helped develop the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders, scheduled to open in Austin in 2007.

"She had a political instinct," said Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison R-Texas. "I wrote her a note when I heard about her cancer and she wrote me back a wonderful letter. She was upbeat and positive and I think she was going to go out with guns blazing. She's a person that never stopped enjoying whatever there was in life that she could enjoy."

Born in Lakeview, Texas, in 1933, Richards grew up near Waco, married civil rights lawyer David Richards and spent her early adulthood volunteering in campaigns and raising four children. She often said the hardest job she ever had was as a public school teacher at Fulmore Junior High School in Austin.

Richards served on the Travis County Commissioners Court in Austin for six years before jumping to a bigger arena in 1982. Her election as state treasurer made her the first woman elected statewide in nearly 50 years.

But politics took a toll. It helped break up her marriage. And public life forced her to be remarkably candid about her 1980 treatment for alcoholism.

"I had seen the very bottom of life," she once recalled. "I was so afraid I wouldn't be funny anymore. I just knew that I would lose my zaniness and my sense of humor. But I didn't. Recovery turned out to be a wonderful thing."

The 1990 election was rough. Her Democratic primary opponent, then-Attorney General Jim Mattox, accused her of using illegal drugs. Williams, an oilman, banker and rancher, spent millions of his own money on the race she narrowly won.

After her unsuccessful re-election campaign against Bush, Richards said she never missed being in public office.

Asked once what she might have done differently had she known she was going to be a one-term governor, Richards grinned.
"Oh, I would probably have raised more hell."

Survivors include her children, Cecile Richards, Daniel Richards, Clark Richards and Ellen Richards; their spouses; and eight grandchildren.

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Common Dreams * Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community.

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Dems criticize NSA over talking points


By KATHERINE SHRADER, Associated Press Writer Tue Sep 12, 9:02 PM ET


WASHINGTON - Democrats want the National Security Agency to stick to snooping, not politicking.
The spy agency recently sent the Senate Intelligence Committee a list of approved talking points about its warrantless eavesdropping program. But the panel's seven Democrats bridled, saying in a letter to the agency's director that the document was riddled with "subjective statements that appear intended to advance a particular policy view and present certain facts in the best possible light."
They are accusing the agency of inappropriately engaging in policy debate. Intelligence agencies are supposed to stay out of politics.

The Democrats also say the Bush administration is failing to keep its promise to give the committee all the information it needs to oversee the terrorism surveillance program.

Responding to a growing public debate about government surveillance of international communications, members of Congress asked the NSA what they could say publicly without running afoul of secrecy laws. In July, the agency suggested comments, including:

_"I have personally met the dedicated men and women of the NSA. The country owes them an enormous debt of gratitude for their superb efforts to keep us all secure."

_"I can say that the program must continue. It has detected plots that could have resulted in death or injury to Americans both at home and abroad."

_"It is being run in a highly disciplined way that takes great pains to protect U.S. privacy rights. There is strict oversight in place, both at the NSA and outside, now including the full congressional intelligence committees."

The letter and the NSA's talking points were obtained by The Associated Press.

Lawmakers have been trying to pin down details about the eavesdropping program, including the number of terrorists who have been identified or potential attacks that have been averted.
"I find it outrageous that the administration is encouraging senators to say that the NSA program has been effective in detecting plots in the U.S. and saving lives, while refusing to provide the committee with sufficient evidence to back up that claim," West Virginia Sen. Jay Rockefeller, the intelligence panel's top Democrat, said in a statement Tuesday.

The seven senators said they haven't been given documents and other basic information, despite an administration promise in May to give the committee complete access. At the time, the White House was trying to secure Senate approval of Gen. Michael Hayden's nomination to be
CIA director. Hayden headed the NSA in 2001 and has been one of the eavesdropping program's chief defenders.

After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, President Bush ordered the NSA to monitor communications potentially related to al-Qaida between people in the U.S. and overseas. He bypassed normal requirements for court approval of such eavesdropping, and the program came under harsh criticism after it was disclosed in December.

The NSA defended the talking points, which were approved by its director, Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander.
"The talking points were intended to be informative and supportive of all the members of our oversight committees in the House and the Senate," said NSA spokesman Don Weber. "They were provided as suggestions as to what could be said in an unclassified forum."

Jim Hensler, the Senate Intelligence Committee's Republican staff director, said members often ask for talking points about highly sensitive programs in the news. He called them an "important mechanism for protecting classified information."

"In this instance, several members of the committee requested the help of the National Security Agency," Hensler said. "As is always the case, members are free to use or not use any part of the NSA's suggested talking points."

William Nolte, a recently retired intelligence veteran who served as the NSA's chief of legislative affairs, said some of the talking points provide "perfectly appropriate" judgments. The NSA, he noted, should provide Congress with technical advice on potential legislative changes.
Yet, "I can understand why the Congress would get annoyed at what it sees as being lectured at on doing its job," said Nolte, a professor at the University of Maryland. Mixing that with substantive legislative issues "may have not been a good thing to do."

In the letter to the NSA, the senators said they were troubled by one statement that argued "current law is not agile enough to handle the threat posed by sophisticated international terrorist organizations, such as al-Qaida."

With Congress engaged in a debate over whether to update the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the future of the warrantless surveillance program, "we believe that it is inappropriate for the NSA to insert itself into this policy debate," the Democrats wrote.


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Texas court to reconsider DeLay charge



By APRIL CASTRO, Associated Press Writer Wed Sep 13, 11:14 AM ET

AUSTIN, Texas - The state's highest criminal appeals court said Wednesday it would consider reinstating a conspiracy charge against former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

A Travis County grand jury indicted DeLay and two political consultants last year on charges stemming from Republican fundraising during the 2002 legislative races.

A state district court judge later threw out one of two conspiracy charges. Prosecutors asked the appeals court to reinstate the dropped charge, and the court said Wednesday that it would consider that request.

Judge Pat Priest said he would proceed with DeLay's trial when the appeals process has ended.

DeLay stepped down as majority leader after the charges were filed and announced his resignation from Congress a few months later. He and other Texas Republicans have accused prosecutor Ronnie Earle, a Democrat, of conducting a political vendetta.

"It's just another bump in the road," DeLay's attorney, Dick DeGuerin, said Wednesday. "I thought they would just refuse to get involved but at the same time, I'm not really shocked by it."
Earle did not immediately return a phone call from The Associated Press.

Both sides will be given time to file their arguments with the Court of Criminal Appeals, which will then set a date for oral arguments. A ruling is not likely to come before next year, said Ed Marty, general counsel to the court.

Prosecutors accuse DeLay and the two consultants of violating state law by funneling $190,000 in illegal corporate money to the Republican National Committee,which then donated the same amount to Texas candidates. Under Texas law, corporate money can't be directly used for political campaigns.

DeLay and the consultants, Jim Ellis and John Colyandro, say the transaction was legal.
The dispute over the dismissed charge centers on whether the conspiracy statute applied to the state's election code in 2002. DeLay was accused of conspiring to violate the election code, but his attorneys say that transaction was not illegal at the time. DeGuerin says the dropped charge accuses DeLay of conspiring to violate the election code as it stood in 2003.

The other conspiracy count DeLay faces accuses him of conspiring to launder money.

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Terry's Comment: I do wish DeLay would cop a plea by telling all and on everybody involved. There probably would not be enough Republicans left in the House races to hold any kind of majority or even a good sized minority.

Terry D. Barhorst Sr.

Moderator: Lone_Star_Democrats.

Other links:

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Common Dreams * Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community.

Buzzflash News.

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Monday, September 11, 2006

 

Paper Tiger

Many years ago I heard the term "Paper Tiger " used to describe the United States of America by a very large country that did and does hold a belligerent stance toward our country on many occasions. Now, there a some very small countries, who, by their rhetoric and actions, believe America is a paper tiger.

The Bush administration is proving it by their track record of fumbling throughout the Iraq occupation. The top officials have constantly reenforced the denigrating term by making statements already proven false and shuffling our military assets around like a kindergarten student trying to figure out how to build a tower of blocks that will stand in place when a weight is placed upon the structure.

Recently a ship sailing from North Korea and on its way to Syria was stopped in Cyprus and found to carry military supplies for shooting down aircraft (Click for cite.) The very fact that this ship and its cargo existed to be found out and stopped in Cyprus proves just how unimpressed the two countries are of the "Paper Tigers" that now control the government of our country.

The only place that the Bush administration and its legislative minions who control the Congress of our country are making tough and violent inroads, successfully, is in slowly taking away the rights of Americans. In point-of-fact, this is the only area in which the Bush administration tactics appear to have any success. They are bringing our country closer and closer to the closed and totalitarian enviroments of the worst of the terrorist supporting countries while bleeding away the strength and lives of our armed forces.

Trry D. Barhorst Sr.

Moderator: Lone_Star_Democrats.

Other links:

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Common Dreams * Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community.

Buzzflash News.

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Sunday, September 10, 2006

 

Where Are They?

The Bush administration, and, all its peripheral officials, are putting forth a message anywhere they can get a group together or some free broadcasting time. As if reading from a script they state that the United States has not been attacked since 9/11. Then, they passionately go on to say that many conspiracies to do damage to our country have been thwarted by the diligence of those who work under their leadership.

At that moment, I want to scream out an advertizing phrase that became popular over a decade ago-- "Where's the beef?"

England publically arrests and investigates herds of terrorist conspirators. The Bush administration trots out four they've kept in black prisons and quite possibly tortured.

Where are the public investigations, captures, and trials in this country? They have been few and far between.

Is the Bush administration implying that there are no active terrorist groups in the United States? I would not bet my life on that implication.

However, there is no true oversight from the Republican dominated congress. The Bush administration can make these tinsel statements without any official investigation into them. Why would a Republican want to investigate the veracity of any position or statement that might garner votes in the oncoming election.

If the English "Bobbies" can haul in twenty terrorist suspects in public and start through lawful procedures publicly, why can't the Bush Administration? In my opinion they are spending more of their time investigating and snooping around the public at large, as well as whittling at the Bill of Rights, than they are pursuing terrorists.

Terry D. Barhorst Sr.

Moderator: Lone_Star_Democrats


Other links:

Media Matters for America.

Common Dreams * Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community.

Buzzflash News.

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