Perspectives, insight and news from AlterNet.
Repeat after me: cronyism, corruption, and incompetence
Posted by Rachel Neumann on October 6, 2005 at 11:22 AM.
The perfect talking point about the Bush administration has to be accurate, cut across party and class lines, and stay simple. So here it is:
The Bush administration is corrupt and incompetent. The cronies who run the government are more interested in rewarding their friends and patting themselves on the back then getting a single thing done.
Here's my recipe for putting the last five years behind us:
1. Use these three words "cronyism, corruption, and incompetence" in every paragraph, t-shirt, sign, bumper sticker, and article about the Bush administration.
2. Fight like hell in the 2006 elections.
3. Get us out of Iraq.
Stir, rinse, repeat.
Flim-Flam and Hoo-Hah
By Molly Ivins, AlterNet. Posted October 7, 2005.
Everybody and his dog in the political commentating trade now agrees the Bush administration is experiencing hard times -- the going is getting tough, and Bush is getting testy. Tools
Sometimes it helps to draw back from what's going on, to see if any patterns emerge from the chaos of daily events. In the news biz, attempts to see the Big Picture are known as thumbsuckers and regarded with appropriate contempt.
On the famous other hand, it's also sometimes the only way to see the much bigger stories that seep and creep all around us without anyone ever calling a press conference, or issuing talking points, or having gong-show debate over them.
Published on Thursday, October 6, 2005 by the Progressive
By Matthew Rothschild
Selina Jarvis is the chair of the social studies department at Currituck County High School in North Carolina, and she is not used to having the Secret Service question her or one of her students.
But that’s what happened on September 20.
Jarvis had assigned her senior civics and economics class “to take photographs to illustrate their rights in the Bill of Rights,
Bush will veto anti-torture law after Senate revolt
By Francis Harris in Washington
The Bush administration pledged yesterday to veto legislation banning the torture of prisoners by US troops after an overwhelming and almost unprecedented revolt by loyalist congressmen.
The mutiny was the latest setback for an administration facing an increasingly independent and bloody-minded legislature. But it also marked a key moment in Congress's campaign to curtail the huge powers it has granted the White House since 2001 in its war against terrorism.
The late-night Senate vote saw the measure forbidding torture passed by 90 to nine, with most Republicans backing the measure. Most senators said the Abu Ghraib abuse scandal and similar allegations at the Guantanamo Bay prison rendered the result a foregone conclusion.
Analysis: Training Iraqi army a slow process
By Roland Flamini
UPI Chief International Correspondent
Published October 6, 2005
(Editor's note: Similar to the false facts determined to being the war, "How far the Iraqis are from achieving the second depends on who you listen to." The weapons inspectors said, "No WMD." Joe Wilson said, "No Niger..." and General Shinseki, the Army chief of staff, said, "You're going to need several hundred thousand [troops in Iraq]." Yes...definately! Truth does depend on who you listen to, and so far facts prove George Bush isn't the one telling the truth!)
WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration's Iraq exit strategy is that the coming elections will produce a democratic government, and that a sizeable portion of Iraq's security forces reaches Level One, defined as the ability to plan and carry out operations and sustain itself without support from U.S. or allied troops. With enough protection to encourage Iraqis to go to the polls, the parliamentary elections in January should take care of the first part. How far the Iraqis are from achieving the second depends on who you listen to.
U.S. general in Iraq: Growing disconnect with Washington
By Pamela Hess
UPI Pentagon Correspondent
Published October 5, 2005
BAGHDAD -- "I don't know if I have the moral authority to send troops into combat anymore," a senior American general recently told United Press International.
He knows what his power means -- that on his word hundreds or thousands of young men would step into danger.
"I'm no longer sure I can look (a soldier or a Marine) in the eye and say: 'This is something worth dying for.'"
He doesn't mean Iraq. There are plenty of bad people here to fight, and plenty of innocents worth protecting.
Feingold says Democrats will announce intentions for Iraq
Democrat takes swipe at Secretary of State Rice
WASHINGTON -- Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) says Senate Democrats will soon introduce more elements of their party’s plan to resolve foreign policy with regard to Iraq. “You’ll see more evidence of that coming out of the Democratic caucus this week,
The President's approval ratings are at their lowest point ever. (CBS)
President George W. Bush's overall job approval rating has reached the lowest ever measured in this poll, and evaluations of his handling of Iraq, the economy and even his signature issue, terrorism, are also at all-time lows.
(CBS) This CBS News Poll finds an American public increasingly pessimistic about the economy, the war in Iraq, the overall direction of the country, and the President. Americans' outlook for the economy is the worst it has been in four years. Most expect the price of gas to rise even further in the next few months.
OSLO (Reuters) - The U.N. nuclear watchdog and its head, Mohamed ElBaradei, won the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for their efforts to limit the spread of atomic weapons.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee picked the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and ElBaradei, an Egyptian, from a record field of 199 candidates.
It praised ElBaradei as an "unafraid advocate" of measures to strengthen non-proliferation efforts.
The two had been among favourites for the award on the 60th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombings of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945.
RENO -- A Washington state woman was bounced from a Southwest Airlines flight in Reno for wearing a T-shirt with the pictures of President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney and the F-word.
The shirt was a play on words taken from the movie "Meet the Fockers." It had the title of the movie, with the last word changed to a curse word, according to KRNV-TV in Reno.
Lorrie Heasley said she plans to press a civil-rights complaint against the airline over Tuesday's action at Reno-Tahoe International Airport. Heasley said the airline offered to let her continue her flight if she were to change her shirt, which she refused to do.
Automatic enrollment in ROTC provokes protest at high school
By MARK SOMMER
News Staff Reporter
Wendy Van Scoter, a Lovejoy area resident, says her 14-year-old daughter, Jennifer Brown, was placed in Junior ROTC without her knowledge. She said she never received a letter from the school.
Unless they opted out, freshmen at Hutchinson-Central Technical High School were automatically enrolled this fall in Junior ROTC.
About 300 parents of freshmen received letters in August, informing them their children would be enrolled in the daily, 42-minute program unless they objected before the start of school. About 190 students at the school on South Elmwood Avenue were in the program when classes began. The number dropped to 157 following objections by parents and students, who were reassigned to study hall.
The Associated Press
Washington - Federal prosecutors have accepted an offer from presidential adviser Karl Rove to give 11th-hour testimony in the case of a CIA officer's leaked identity and have warned they cannot guarantee he won't be indicted, according to people directly familiar with the investigation.
The people, who spoke only on condition of anonymity because of grand jury secrecy, said Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has not made any decision yet on whether to file criminal charges against the longtime confidant of President Bush or anyone else.
The US attorney's manual requires that prosecutors not bring witnesses before a grand jury if there is a possibility of future criminal charges unless the witnesses are notified in advance that their testimony can be used against them in a later indictment.
By Steve Cobble
Tomorrow (10/7/05) marks the 3-year anniversary of George W. Bush's mendacious speech to the VFW in Cincinnati. This was the speech that ratcheted up the hype to such a level that half the Senate Democrats and 2/5 of the House Democrats blithely handed over their Constitutional obligation to declare war to a President who had been itching to invade Iraq since he was Governor of Texas.
3 years. 2,000 dead Americans. Uncounted dead Iraqis. $300 B dollars not spent on schools, levees, Medicaid--or security here at home--or even chasing Osama bin Laden.
Yet the Republicans in Congress, who totally control Washington, have yet to seriously investigate any of it, from the missing WMDs to the Downing Street Minutes to the Valerie Plame outing to 9-11. Shame, shame.
Text of Radio BC audio commentary
October 6 2005
The corporate media in the United States can hardly claim to fill a journalistic role, anymore. The first duty of a real newsperson is to ask questions. But the corporate press can’t bring itself to ask even the most obvious questions, including on issues that are important to a high proportion of the public. When we refer to the corporate media, we’re also talking about the major polling organizations, that work hand in glove with the leading newspapers and broadcast outfits.
Thursday October 6, 2005
BUSH in Washington DC: President Bush this week will be his remarks on the war on terror at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, DC on Thursday morning. [ABCNews, 10/3/05]
BUSH in Washington DC: The President will participate in a tribute to National Review and William Buckley on Thursday. [ABCNews, 10/3/05]
GINGRICH in Burlington, VT: Newt Gingrich will attend UVM and give a speech on the subject of the pursuit of opportunity and happiness. The speech will be on October sixth at 7pm in the Ira Allen Chapel. [Vermont Cynic, 9/27/05]
NEW* PAWLENTY in New Ulm, MN: Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty will be the keynote speaker at a ribbon-cutting ceremony to be held Thursday,
By John Brown
John Brown, a former Foreign Service officer who practiced public diplomacy for over twenty years, now compiles the "Public Diplomacy Press Review," which can be obtained free by e-mail by clicking here.
Bush confidant Karen Hughes , the newly appointed, "relentlessly upbeat" Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, has returned from her recent five-day mission to Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Marketed as a "listening tour," Hurricane Karen's foray into the volatile region turned into a near feeding frenzy directed at her by the western media, despite the State Department's best efforts to win over the press —which included providing seats to 16 reporters aboard the Under Secretary's Air Force jet.
By Larry Johnson
Larry Johnson worked as a CIA intelligence analyst and State Department counter-terrorism official. He is a member of the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).
The investigation into who in the Bush administration leaked the fact that Valerie Plame, wife of former US Ambassador Joseph Wilson, was a CIA undercover operative, is nearing completion. Virtually lost in the recent spurt of press reporting is the fact that the compromise of Ms. Plame (and, as night follows the day her carefully cultivated network of spies) was unconscionable. Ms. Plame, a very gifted case officer, was a close colleague of mine at CIA. Her dedication and courage were clear in her willingness to assume the risks of an agent under non-official cover—meaning that if you get caught, too bad, you’re on your own; the US government never heard of you.
Have you read Bush's speech from earlier today? Where would he be without Bin Laden? With no evidence, Bush ties together numerous actions around the world and unites them under the name of Bin Laden, whom he quotes to define his enemy in the "war on terror" and whom he guarantees would run Iraq if the United States ended its occupation. I don't know if Bush has ever really tried to capture Bin Laden, but it's hard to imagine he would want to.
In today's disturbing rant about evil and the civilized world, Bush lists some actual reasons for people's anger at the United States: "Over the years, these extremists have used a litany of excuses for violence: Israeli presence on the West Bank or the U.S. military presence in Saudi Arabia...." But then he asserts that those reasons do not actually exist: "In fact, we're not facing a set of grievances that can be soothed and addressed. We're facing a radical ideology with unalterable objectives: to enslave whole nations and intimidate the world. No act of ours invited the rage of the killers, and no concession, bribe or act of appeasement would change or limit their plans for murder."
BBC will report Bush told Palestinian leaders that God
told him to end tyranny in Iraq
President George W. Bush allegedly told Palestinian ministers that God had told him to invade Afghanistan and Iraq - and create a Palestinian State, the BBC will report in a program slotted to run Oct. 17, RAW STORY can reveal.
The BBC errantly posted a press release link on their website early, revealing the documentary's contents.
In Elusive Peace: Israel and the Arabs, a major three-part series on BBC TWO (at 9.00pm on Monday Oct. 10, Monday Oct. 17 and Monday Oct. 24 British time), Abu Mazen, Palestinian Prime Minister, and Nabil Shaath, his Foreign Minister, describe their first meeting with President Bush in June 2003 to BBC reporters.
By David Sirota
The Washington Post reports that Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA), one of the most outspoken Democrats pushing the Iraq War, is now setting up a Political Action Committee (PAC) to help Democratic candidates "hone the party's message on defense-related matters." Hang on a sec...sorry, let me stop laughing uncontrollably...
Ok. Let's repeat that, just because its so snarf-your-drink-through-your-nose hilarious: the same congresswoman who, as a ranking Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, helped emasculate the party's ability to speak credibly on the most pressing national security issue of our time is now setting up an organization to "help" Democrats "hone" their message on defense issues.
The March in DC - a Report
By Virginia Moran
Wednesday 05 October 2005
I went with my friend, Kim and her friends. We left from the West Carrollton Station and took the Metro. From the moment we entered the parking lot at the Metro station until midnight that night, we were surrounded by incredibly determined, kind, funny, angry, sincere, interesting, opinionated, strong, discouraged, depressed, desperate, sad, fearful like-minded souls and it felt great. Not in a misery loves company kind of way - but in finding a sane home for awhile. Separately, we tear our hair and wring our hands. Collectively, we change the world.
ZNet | Criminal Justice System
By Harvey Wasserman
An angry groundswell has risen against the appointment of George W. Bush's personal attorney to the US Supreme Court. One key question must be asked: as a Justice, would she soon be asked to rule on a conspiracy conviction against her present boss?
In light of the new indictments against former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, the question may not be so far fetched.
DeLay was originally indicted on charges of violating campaign finance law. His lawyers have quickly raised serious technical challenges.
But now two additional charges have been filed by a second grand jury. Conspiracy is involved, taking things to a whole other level, including the possibility of jail time. The prospect of "The Hammer" duck-walking in orange polyester to a Texas prison cell may warm progressive hearts everywhere. But there's a much deeper message here about the case of Valerie Plame.
IN THESE TIMES
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A federal court decision forces Voices in the Wilderness to disband
By Erin Polgreen October 4, 2005
After 10 years of delegations, peace activism and non-violent protest, Chicago-based Voices in the Wilderness (VitW) was silenced on August 12, when a federal judge ordered the group to pay a $20,000 civil penalty for delivering medical supplies to Iraq without a permit.
By Larry Johnson
The investigation into who in the Bush Administration leaked the name of CIA non-official cover case officer, Valerie Plame aka Mrs. Joseph Wilson, is winding down. Unfortunately the media is primed to paint the outing of Valerie as a non-issue if no indictments are forthcoming. Regardless of whether anyone in the Bush Administration is indicted, what was done to Valerie Plame Wilson was wrong and morally reprehensible. Rather than hold members of his Administration to the highest ethical and moral standards, President George W. Bush has not only lowered lowered the standard of acceptable conduct by members of his Administration, his actions and inactions have weakened the CIA and its ability to accomplish its various national security missions.
C.I.A. Chief Refuses to Seek Discipline for 9/11 Officials
The New York Times
by DOUGLAS JEHL
WASHINGTON, Oct. 5 -- The C.I.A. will not pursue disciplinary action against George J. Tenet, a former director, or anyone else among current or former officials singled out by an inspector general for poor performance on counterterrorism before Sept. 11, 2001, the agency said today.
The decision by the agency's current director, Porter J. Goss, signifies an end to nearly four years of inquiries into the agency's performance before the Sept. 11 attacks. It means that no current or former officer will be reprimanded for his performance, despite what the inspector general, John L. Helgerson, concluded were serious shortcomings in advance of the attacks.
By David Phinney
Jing Soliman left his family in the Philippines for what sounded like a sure thing - a job as a warehouse worker at Camp Anaconda in Iraq. His new employer, Prime Projects International (PPI) of Dubai, is a major, but low-profile, subcontractor to Halliburton's multi-billion-dollar deal with the Pentagon to provide support services to US forces.
But Soliman wouldn't be making anything near the salaries - starting $80,000 a year and often topping $100,000 - that Halliburton's engineering and construction unit, Kellogg, Brown & Root (KBR) pays to the truck drivers, construction workers, office workers, and other laborers it recruits from the United States. Instead, the 35-year-old father of two anticipated $615 a month - including overtime. For a 40-hour work week, that would be just over $3 an hour. But for the 12-hour day, seven-day week that Soliman says was standard for him and many contractor employees in Iraq, he actually earned $1.56 an hour.
The group that is leading the fight for answers from President George W. Bush about the Iraq war wants to hear your opinions. After Downing Street has raised over $7,900 as of Wednesday afternoon to finance Polling on Impeachment. According to thier website, the group wants to raise $10,000 to pay public opinion pollsters to ask questions about impeaching George Bush.
A Zogby International poll done in June showed that 42 percent of American voters favored impeaching Bush if he lied about his reasons for going to war with Iraq. Zogby has not asked impeachment questions in its presidential approval rating surveys since then.
By JOSEPH L. GALLOWAY
Knight Ridder Newspapers
WASHINGTON - A truly horrible summer that seemed unending is finally fading away, and the cold winds of reality are blowing down the collars of a president and the key players in his administration. Those winds could foretell an even more terrible winter ahead.
The folks who prided themselves on sticking to the message like grass-burrs on a hairy dog suddenly are all over the map on everything that counts when you are a lame-duck president whose party is going into a critical midterm congressional election next year.
The president's second-term "piece de resistance," Social Security reform, is dead on arrival. His cherished tax breaks for rich Americans are on life support. His generals are saying we need to reduce the American presence in Iraq because just by being there we are infuriating the typical Iraqi and thus fanning the flames of the insurgency we are trying to defeat.
Editor and Publisher
By E&P Staff
NEW YORK -- Is it the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning? Whatever way you look at it, it seems clear to many in Washington right now that indictments in the Valerie Plame affair will likely be announced soon, possibly on Thursday.
Note to editors and reporters: As the aspens turn, don't stray too far from your desks, cells or Blackberries.
Rumors surged all day Wednesday, though reports of 22 indictments did seem a bit farfetched. But late Wednesday, Reuters suggested that indeed the end--or beginning--was near, "within days," and added one major clue: Karl Rove's lawyer, who has always stated that his client was not a target in the probe, now refused to comment on that one way or the other.