Friday, May 21, 2004

Somebody's gotta save us kids...

Kerry Calls on Bush to Save Jobs in Ohio
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry on Thursday asked President Bush to step into a contract dispute that threatens to close an Ohio bearings plant where the president promoted his tax-cut plan last year.

Kerry said Bush should urge the Timken Co. and the United Steelworkers of America to accept a federal mediator to help settle their disagreement.

Timken said last week it plans to close three bearings plants in the Canton, Ohio, area that employ 1,300 workers because of declining production. Workers claimed the company's management failed to negotiate with their union to lower costs and make the plants more competitive.

"The administration should exhaust every potential solution to prevent these jobs from being lost," Kerry said in a statement. "Federal mediation was created to help resolve situations exactly like the impending crisis in Canton."
And of course, Kerry will be accused of playing politics by the White House. How stupid do they think we are? These charlatans take credit for things they didn't do, while absolutely refusing to accept one iota of blame for things that are entirely their fault. When you're as self-absorbed and selfish as this administration, I guess it's hard to imagine that people like John Kerry might actually care about their fellow man.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Can't buy me love...

Bush Campaign Spending Reaches $126M
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush's campaign set fund-raising and spending records last month, breaking the $201 million mark in money raised and reaching $126 million in cash spent for his re-election effort.

So here's where we stand at the moment: It's only May and Bush has already broken every fundraising and spending record, but has nothing to show for it. In almost every poll, he's either trailing or even with Kerry.

I think more and more people are growing tired of his credibility gap and negative advertising already. He has nothing to offer except fear-mongering and spurious attacks on his opponent. Repeat after me: "Bush doesn't have a record to run on. He has a record to run away from."

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Tell me again. Who's a flip-flopper?

White House Is Trumpeting Programs It Tried to Cut
WASHINGTON — Like many of its predecessors, the Bush White House has used the machinery of government to promote the re-election of the president by awarding federal grants to strategically important states. But in a twist this election season, many administration officials are taking credit for spreading largess through programs that President Bush tried to eliminate or to cut sharply.

For example, Justice Department officials recently announced that they were awarding $47 million to scores of local law enforcement agencies for the hiring of police officers. Mr. Bush had just proposed cutting the budget for the program, known as Community Oriented Policing Services, by 87 percent, to $97 million next year, from $756 million. [...]

The administration has been particularly energetic in publicizing health programs, even ones that had been scheduled for cuts or elimination.

Tommy G. Thompson, the secretary of health and human services, announced recently that the administration was awarding $11.7 million in grants to help 30 states plan and provide coverage for people without health insurance. Mr. Bush had proposed ending the program in each of the last three years. [...]

The contrast between politics and policy is particularly striking when the administration takes credit for spending money appropriated by Congress against the president's wishes.

In April, Secretary Thompson announced that the administration was awarding $3.1 million in grants to improve health care in rural areas of Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, New Mexico and New York. He did not mention that the administration was trying to cut the same rural health program by 72 percent, to $11.1 million next year, from $39.6 million.
If you've been paying attention at all the last 3-1/2 years, this article shouldn't surprise. It's just the latest installment of "Say One Thing & Do Another."

Here's a few high profile flip-flops (or waffles, if you prefer) from the unelected moron [via the Center for American Progress]:
1. Department of Homeland Security

BUSH OPPOSES THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY..."So, creating a Cabinet office doesn't solve the problem. You still will have agencies within the federal government that have to be coordinated. So the answer is that creating a Cabinet post doesn't solve anything." [White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, 3/19/02]

...BUSH SUPPORTS THE DEPARTMENT  OF HOMELAND SECURITY "So tonight, I ask the Congress to join me in creating a single, permanent department with an overriding and urgent mission: securing the homeland of America and protecting the American people." [President Bush, Address to the Nation, 6/6/02]

2. Weapons of Mass Destruction

BUSH SAYS WE FOUND THE WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION..."We found the weapons of mass destruction. We found biological laboratories…for those who say we haven't found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they're wrong, we found them." [President Bush, Interview in Poland, 5/29/03]

...BUSH SAYS WE HAVEN'T FOUND WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION "David Kay has found the capacity to produce weapons. And when David Kay goes in and says we haven't found stockpiles yet, and there's theories as to where the weapons went. They could have been destroyed during the war. Saddam and his henchmen could have destroyed them as we entered into Iraq. They could be hidden. They could have been transported to another country, and we'll find out." [President Bush, Meet the Press, 2/7/04]

3. Free Trade

BUSH SUPPORTS FREE TRADE... "I believe strongly that if we promote trade, and when we promote trade, it will help workers on both sides of this issue." [President Bush in Peru, 3/23/02]

...BUSH SUPPORTS RESTRICTIONS ON TRADE "In a decision largely driven by his political advisers, President Bush set aside his free-trade principles last year and imposed heavy tariffs on imported steel to help out struggling mills in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, two states crucial for his reelection." [Washington Post, 9/19/03]

4. Osama Bin Laden

BUSH WANTS OSAMA DEAD OR ALIVE... "I want justice. And there's an old poster out West, I recall, that says, 'Wanted: Dead or Alive.'" [President Bush, on Osama Bin Laden, 09/17/01]

...BUSH DOESN'T CARE ABOUT OSAMA "I don't know where he is. I have no idea and I really don't care. It's not that important." [President Bush, Press Conference, 3/13/02]

5. The Environment

BUSH SUPPORTS MANDATORY CAPS ON CARBON DIOXIDE... "[If elected], Governor Bush will work to…establish mandatory reduction targets for emissions of four main pollutants: sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, mercury and carbon dioxide." [Bush Environmental Plan, 9/29/00]

...BUSH OPPOSES MANDATORY CAPS ON CARBON DIOXIDE "I do not believe, however, that the government should impose on power plants mandatory emissions reductions for carbon dioxide, which is not a 'pollutant' under the Clean Air Act." [President Bush, Letter to Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE), 3/13/03]

6. WMD Commission

BUSH RESISTS AN OUTSIDE INVESTIGATION ON WMD INTELLIGENCE FAILURE... "The White House immediately turned aside the calls from Kay and many Democrats for an immediate outside investigation, seeking to head off any new wide-ranging election-year inquiry that might go beyond reports already being assembled by congressional committees and the Central Intelligence Agency." [NY Times, 1/29/04]

...BUSH SUPPORTS AN OUTSIDE INVESTIGATION ON WMD INTELLIGENCE FAILURE  "Today, by executive order, I am creating an independent commission, chaired by Governor and former Senator Chuck Robb, Judge Laurence Silberman, to look at American intelligence capabilities, especially our intelligence about weapons of mass destruction." [President Bush, 2/6/04]

7. Creation of the 9/11 Commission

BUSH OPPOSES CREATION OF INDEPENDENT 9/11 COMMISSION... "President Bush took a few minutes during his trip to Europe Thursday to voice his opposition to establishing a special commission to probe how the government dealt with terror warnings before Sept. 11." [CBS News, 5/23/02]

...BUSH SUPPORTS CREATION OF INDEPENDENT 9/11 COMMISSION "President Bush said today he now supports establishing an independent commission to investigate the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks." [ABC News, 09/20/02]

8. Time Extension for 9/11 Commission

BUSH OPPOSES TIME EXTENSION FOR 9/11 COMMISSION... "President Bush and House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) have decided to oppose granting more time to an independent commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks." [Washington Post, 1/19/04]

...BUSH SUPPORTS TIME EXTENSION FOR 9/11 COMMISSION "The White House announced Wednesday its support for a request from the commission investigating the September 11, 2001 attacks for more time to complete its work." [CNN, 2/4/04]

9. One Hour Limit for 9/11 Commission Testimony

BUSH LIMITS TESTIMONY IN FRONT OF 9/11 COMMISSION TO ONE HOUR... "President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have placed strict limits on the private interviews they will grant to the federal commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks, saying that they will meet only with the panel's top two officials and that Mr. Bush will submit to only a single hour of questioning, commission members said Wednesday."  [NY Times, 2/26/04]

...BUSH SETS NO TIMELIMIT FOR TESTIMONY "The president's going to answer all of the questions they want to raise. Nobody's watching the clock." [White House spokesman Scott McClellan, 3/10/04]

10. Gay Marriage

BUSH SAYS GAY MARRIAGE IS A STATE ISSUE... "The state can do what they want to do. Don't try to trap me in this state's issue like you're trying to get me into." [Gov. George W. Bush on Gay Marriage, Larry King Live, 2/15/00]

...BUSH SUPPORTS CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT BANNING GAY MARRIAGE "Today I call upon the Congress to promptly pass, and to send to the states for ratification, an amendment to our Constitution defining and protecting marriage as a union of man and woman as husband and wife." [President Bush, 2/24/04]

11. Nation Building

BUSH OPPOSES NATION BUILDING... "If we don't stop extending our troops all around the world in nation-building missions, then we're going to have a serious problem coming down the road." [Gov. George W. Bush, 10/3/00]

...BUSH SUPPORTS NATION BUILDING "We will be changing the regime of Iraq, for the good of the Iraqi people." [President Bush, 3/6/03]

12. Saddam/al Qaeda Link

BUSH SAYS IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO DISTINGUISH BETWEEEN AL QAEDA AND SADDAM... "You can't distinguish between al Qaeda and Saddam when you talk about the war on terror." [President Bush, 9/25/02]

...BUSH SAYS SADDAM HAD NO ROLE IN AL QAEDA PLOT "We've had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved in Sept. 11." [President Bush, 9/17/03]

13. U.N. Resolution

BUSH VOWS TO HAVE A UN VOTE NO MATTER WHAT... "No matter what the whip count is, we're calling for the vote. We want to see people stand up and say what their opinion is about Saddam Hussein and the utility of the United Nations Security Council. And so, you bet. It's time for people to show their cards, to let the world know where they stand when it comes to Saddam." [President Bush 3/6/03]

...BUSH WITHDRAWS REQUEST FOR VOTE "At a National Security Council meeting convened at the White House at 8:55 a.m., Bush finalized the decision to withdraw the resolution from consideration and prepared to deliver an address to the nation that had already been written." [Washington Post, 3/18/03]

14. Involvement in the Palestinian Conflict

BUSH OPPOSES SUMMITS... "Well, we've tried summits in the past, as you may remember. It wasn't all that long ago where a summit was called and nothing happened, and as a result we had significant intifada in the area." [President Bush, 04/05/02]

...BUSH SUPPORTS SUMMITS "If a meeting advances progress toward two states living side by side in peace, I will strongly consider such a meeting.  I'm committed to working toward peace in the Middle East." [President Bush, 5/23/03]

15. Campaign Finance

BUSH OPPOSES MCCAIN-FEINGOLD... "George W. Bush opposes McCain-Feingold...as an infringement on free expression." [Washington Post, 3/28/2000]

...BUSH SIGNS MCCAIN-FEINGOLD INTO LAW  "[T]his bill improves the current system of financing for Federal campaigns, and therefore I have signed it into law." [President Bush, at the McCain-Feingold singing ceremony, 03/27/02]
Stinkin' hypocrites.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Anti-Midas strikes again...

Oil Prices Surge; Gas Prices Hit Record
LONDON (AP) -- Oil prices surged to near $42 a barrel and the U.S. Energy Department said the country's average retail price of a gallon of gasoline had passed $2 for the first time.

Pressure is building on OPEC to dip into some of its spare production capacity to boost actual output - not just its target. Markets are stretched by unexpectedly strong demand and spooked by turmoil in Iraq and uncertainty elsewhere in the oil-rich Middle East.

The assassination Monday of the head of the Iraqi Governing Council underscored the political instability in that country, which has the second-largest proven crude reserves after Saudi Arabia. Izzadine Saleem was the second and highest-ranking member of Iraq's U.S.-appointed council to be assassinated.
Compare this news to coverage from the Drumbeat to War®:
A U.S.-led ouster of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein could open a bonanza for American oil companies long banished from Iraq, scuttling oil deals between Baghdad and Russia, France and other countries, and reshuffling world petroleum markets, according to industry officials and leaders of the Iraqi opposition.

Access to Iraqi oil and profits will depend on the nature and intentions of a new government. Whether Iraq remains a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, for example, or seeks an independent role, free of the OPEC cartel's quotas, will have an impact on oil prices and the flow of investments to competitors such as Russia, Venezuela and Angola.

While Russian oil companies such as Lukoil have a major financial interest in developing Iraqi fields, the low prices that could result from a flood of Iraqi oil into world markets could set back Russian government efforts to attract foreign investment in its untapped domestic fields.
This is yet another aspect of this failed excursion. Sadly, there were plenty of voices out there saying this very thing, but they were drowned out by this administration's "Bonham-esque" Drums of War solo.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Don't bite the hand that feeds you...

Senators to Press Scandal
For congressional leaders to get into such questions when a president from their party faces a tough reelection campaign isn't the way the game is meant to be played in Washington.

These days, politicians tend to march in lock-step with their party leadership, always "on message" and quick to deny their opponents even the smallest opportunity to exploit a weakness. That's partly because the political climate is highly polarized and partly because elected officials have become dependent on ideological constituencies that demand total loyalty.

As a senator, [Armed Services Chairman] Warner is also a child of an earlier era. He grew up when chairmen and senior members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, such as former Sen. Sam Nunn (D-Ga.), were powerful players in military affairs, courted and consulted by presidents and senior defense officials regardless of party.

"Warner is a man of the Senate. He revels in the institution's traditions, and he knows that oversight is an essential part of the Senate's work," said a veteran congressional analyst.

Warner and his committee believe they have been treated cavalierly by Rumsfeld and his senior aides, which they find personally and institutionally offensive. For example, committee members are quick to recall that Rumsfeld appeared before Armed Services the day CBS News reported on the Abu Ghraib scandal — without notifying any of them.

"The entire Senate was shocked that they were not given any notice or even a whiff of this imploding scandal," a Senate GOP aide said.
Apparently, some Republican senators are finally going to do something to counter the current administration's obsession with secrecy and duplicity. And it only took 3-1/2 years!

It's not hard to see why they're ticked, either. They've been faithfully carrying water and toeing the party line for these criminals without question and have received little, if any, acknowledgement. I wouldn't want to tangle with a roomful of Senators with bruised egos in an election year. You reap what you sow, Dubya.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Feces, meet Fan.

Pentagon Denies Rumsfeld OK'd Prison Plan

The Pentagon says:
"No responsible official of the Department of Defense approved any program that could conceivably have been intended to result in such abuses as witnessed in the recent photos and videos," Di Rita said in his statement. "This story seems to reflect the fevered insights of those with little, if any, connection to the activities in the Department of Defense."
Sy Hersh and his sources say:
The program got approval from President Bush's national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, and Bush was informed of its existence, the officials told Hersh.

Under the program, Hersh wrote, commandos carried out instant interrogations - using force if necessary - at secret CIA detention centers scattered around the world. The intelligence would be relayed to the commanders at the Pentagon.

The intelligence sources told the magazine photos of the sexual abuse were used to intimidate prisoners and detainees into providing information on the insurgency. It was thought that some prisoners would do anything - including spying on their associates - to avoid dissemination of the shameful photos to family and friends.

One intelligence official said the CIA ended its involvement with the program at Abu Ghraib prison by last fall.

"They said, 'No way. We signed up for the core program in Afghanistan - pre-approved for operations against the high-value terrorist targets - and now you want to use it for cabdrivers, brothers-in-law, and people pulled off the streets,'" the source said.
Looks like we're about to witness a high stakes game of everybody's favorite game, "He Said, He Said." I'm not betting against Hersh's anonymous intelligence sources. Methinks the CIA is more than a little pissed about the Plame outing and the fact that they've been dumped on by Bush and his cronies for everything from 9/11 to the failure to find WMD in Iraq.

Will some semblance of "the Truth" come out in the press this time? Will this be the scandal that finally dooms Bush? I'm not counting on it, but one would think that all of these scandals will eventually catch up to him. Too optimistic?