Saturday, December 31, 2005

The Incredible Bush Double-Standard on Classified Leaks

Here's the scenario: our over-zealous, corrupt president flicks the switch some three-dozen times since 2001, authorizing the National Security Agency to use illegal wiretaps and other surveillance tactics on American citizens to supposedly intercept terrorist chatter and protect the nation from acts of terrorism. And when news of this flagrant violation of Congressional law finds its way to the front pages, as it did Dec. 16 in the NY Times, Bush's ire is raised and a special prosecutor is soon named to investigate the leak. Why? Because as we all know, Bush hates leaks and the leakers who leak them. Except of course when they're card-carrying Busheviks, in which case leaks are just fine. The hypocrisy is mind-blowing.

As reported in the Times Saturday, the Justice Department announced Friday that it had opened a criminal investigation into the leak about Bush's secret eavesdropping scheme. Incredulously, the DOJ finds it more appropriate to legally pursue the whistle-blowers than those who may have committed the original crime.

And further, where is Bush's outrage over his administration's reprehensible leaking of classified information in the form of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity back in 2003? How is it that Karl Rove is still allowed to stink up the halls of the White House given his boss's disdain for leakers?

Like everything else in this administration, it's "do as I say, not as I do." The hypocrisy is not only incredible, it's downright disgusting, especially when it involves breaching the safety of covert agents and the rights and civil liberties of American citizens everywhere.

Friday, December 30, 2005

As Rhinebeck N.Y. Goes, So Goes The Nation?

Something astonishing happened in last month's local government election in the sleepy little upstate New York town of Rhinebeck. Voters, by a solid 15% margin, elected the first Democrat Town Supervisor since 1904. That's 101 years, folks, of Republican rule in this largely blue-collar and lower-middle class community of 2725 whose median household income falls just shy of $30,000.

Steven Block, who'll be paid $14,175 annually to preside over Rhinebeck's political system, may be just a small town legislator, but he symbolizes what could be a sweeping victory for Democrats in next year's Congressional mid-term elections fueled by a hugely frustrated and disenfranchised national electorate.

Democrats swept Rhinebeck's races, with party candidates winning town supervisor, town council and highway superintendent seats. Block had defeated two-term incumbent supervisor Dennis McGuire. After his victory, Block said, "Never before have the Democrats enjoyed this much responsibility" in town government.

And it is precisely these types of small town elections across America that could be a tell-tale sign of major trouble for the Republican party. The GOP has been rocked by scandal and failed policy, and has lost the trust and faith of Americans nationwide. Poll after poll has shown for a year now that voters want change, and want to see the Democrats take control of Congress next year. Combine that with Bush's abysmal approval ratings and you have a political perfect storm on the horizon. A storm that conservative pundit John Podhoretz wisely acknowledged in his column this week, but shot down in true delusional partisan form.

While the pundits may be spinning the party's talking points, Republican leaders, especially those up for re-election, are plenty worried. That's why staunch conservatives like Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (TN) have been distancing themselves from the Bushies. It's called survival. The SS Bush is sinking, and Republicans on the hill are hellbent not to go down with it. They know how America feels, are shifting gears in order to stay alive, but it may just be a little too late.

So while Steven Block enjoys his success in Rhinebeck and few attach any national significance to it, this writer's radar is blinking wildly from the foreboding sense of doom facing Republicans next year.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Unbelievable: Bush's Illegal Spying Could Free the Very Terror Suspects It's Jailed and Hopes to Convict

As reported in the NY Times Wednesday, several captured terror suspects with ties to Al Qaeda are planning to challenge their cases and sue the government claiming the Bush administration used illegal wiretapping in criminal prosecutions that resulted in conviction. The challenges are being mounted in Ohio, Virginia, Florida and Oregon, and including cases involving Iyman Faris, who plotted to blow up the Brooklyn Bridge.

At issue is the Busheviks' skirting of the courts and Congress in its post-911 power-grab under the guise of protecting America from the terrorist threat. Since 911, Bush, through the National Security Agency, has authorized some three dozen instances of illegal surveillance of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of U.S. and foreign citizens, both abroad and here at home. In order to have pursued his extreme terrorism and espionage spying, Bush was and is required by law to obtain warrants from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which was established by Congress in 1978 to uphold and protect civil liberties. But Bush has defiantly thumbed his nose at FISC, declaring that his aggressive spying tactics are "fully consistent with my constitutional responsibilities and authorities."

"The activities I have authorized make it more likely that killers like these 9/11 hijackers will be identified and located in time," Bush said. "And the activities conducted under this authorization have helped detect and prevent possible terrorist attacks in the United States and abroad."

But here's the rub: the very terrorists that sit in U.S. jails right now could be freed if their legal challenges are successful in claiming they've been denied due process and have been victims of illegal wiretapping. Incredulously, the Bushies' flagrant circumvention of the law could result in people like Faris back on the street to plot another NYC catastrophe. All because Bush refused to seek the warrants every legal scholar in America agrees he could've easily, and quickly, obtained.

So what we have is an administration run amok. There have been more requests for FISC warrants under Bush than in the last four presidential administrations before him. And most of them have been either amended or denied. So what do the Bushies do as a result? They say, 'screw you, courts, we'll just do whatever we want without you.'

One has to seriously question the ultimate motivations and intent of Bush, who willfully circumvented the legal process which he knew would not support his imperialistic pursuits. This is a very serious matter if the president intentionally broke the laws designed to protect U.S. citizens from undue search and seizure, invasion of privacy, and illegal government intrusion. We live in a society based on the rule of law; of checks and balances. In their quest to achieve supreme, unlimited power and create the first totalitarian regime in American history, the Busheviks blatantly disregard these sacred governing principles, and in the process, have actually made our nation less safe and secure, not more.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Bush Spews More Irresponsible Rhetoric as Senate Extends Patriot Act for Six Months

For weeks, President Bush declared he would not accept a short-term extension of the Patriot Act. Then in a bi-partisan manner last week, prompted by the startling front-page news that Bush repeatedly authorized illegal NSA spying on Americans domestically, the Senate filibustered to prevent the legislation from being renewed. The Senate pushed for an extension, allowing lawmakers time to negotiate stricter civil liberties protections, but the Bushies rejected, and instead went on the PR warpath against Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (NV), Sen. Hillary Clinton (NY) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA).

But Wednesday Bush backpedaled, as he's had to do so many times lately (Harriet Miers, McCain/torture, war mistakes). He blasted the Democratic leadership, choosing to deceive Americans yet again by ignoring the fact that this was a bi-partisan action.

"I appreciate the Senate for working to keep the existing Patriot Act in law through next July, despite boasts last week by the Democratic leader that he had blocked the Act," Bush said in a statement. "No one should be allowed to block the Patriot Act to score political points, and I am grateful the Senate rejected that approach."

But what's most appalling here is the fact that Bush has politicized this issue more than anyone, as evidenced by the above statement. The filibuster, and now the extension, is not about politics, at least to the Democrats. It's about stripping this president of the unlimited, unchecked power that the Busheviks so crave, and worse, have abused. It's about protecting Americans and foreigners from the political tyranny of this White House, which has co-opted the 9-11 tragedy to further its power/war-mongering self-interests.

Even as the Senate voted to literally save his ass on this issue, Bush hammered home the scare tactics and propaganda: "The senators obstructing the Patriot Act need to understand that the expiration of this vital law will endanger America and will leave us in a weaker position in the fight against brutal killers." The last time Bush peddled this extremist rhetoric we invaded a sovereign nation and killed tens of thousands of people, including 2100+ U.S. soldiers. And the killing continues.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

It's Time to Impeach Bush for These Blatant Violations of the Law

Back in December of 1998, a highly partisan U.S. House of Representatives voted to impeach President Bill Clinton, making him just the second U.S. president in history to be impeached since Andrew Johnson in 1868 following the Civil War. Clinton's offense? Lying under oath about his unimpressive high-school-quality sexual dalliances with intern Monica Lewinsky. Pretty tame stuff, and not quite a threat to anyone or anything except a flimsy red dress and a Rhodes Scholar's dignity.

But what about President George W. Bush? Surely, as compared to Clinton, not only should he face a similar political fate for his war crimes and law violations here at home, but he should be thrown in an 8 x 10 jail cell and be forced to listen to an endless loop of Howard Dean's 2004 campaign speeches.

Bush surely is deserving of impeachment. Here's a partial list of what should be ample ammunition for the House and Senate to serve justice on one of the most corrupt, tyrannical and treasonous presidents in history:

1. Falsifying intelligence and providing false information to Congress to unjustly and illegally invade Iraq, a sovereign nation.
2. Lying about Niger/Iraq uranium connection in 2003 State of the Union speech.
3. Diverting money appropriated by Congress for Afghanistan to planning the Iraq war.
4. Authorizing the use of taxpayer funds to pay for war-propaganda campaign in Iraq.
5. Authorizing of torture and Geneva Convention violations at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo.
6. Inhumane, illegal treatment of detainees in the "War on Terror"
7. Leaking a covert CIA agent's identity as retaliation against a political enemy.
8. Illegally spying on Americans within the United States.
9. Illegal use of taxpayer funds to pay for Armstrong Anderson/No Child Left behind propaganda.

Let's hope the Democrats win back the House next November, which would enable them to commence impeachment hearings. Until then, perhaps some Rove-like covert liberal operative should just arrange to have a hooker sent into the Oval Office so we can catch the prez with his proverbial pants down. Maybe that'll motivate this Republican leadership to go after Bush, since the current laundry list of impeachable offenses doesn't seem to be enough for them.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Bush's "I Screwed Up Tour" Continues its Mission of Duping America

Never one to let the Democrats out-maneuver him, President Bush has decided that he can criticize the Iraq war better than his detractors. And thus we have the brand-new Rovian strategy: eating crow with a humble-pie chaser. For the fifth time in three weeks, Bush went before the cameras to sell his bungled war to the masses. But this time it should be called "The I screwed Up Tour."

Doing a political 180, Bush has finally admitted that the pre-war intelligence was all wrong and that he as president must take responsibility for sending the troops to war. No WMD, no AL Qaeda connections, so no threat to America, right? Guess again. Just when you'd think the president would make that very logical conclusion and admit the war was a mistake, he utters the same infuriating rhetoric we've heard ad nauseum since 2002:

"My decision to remove Saddam Hussein was the right decision," the newly humbled one said this week. "Saddam was a threat and the American people, and the world is better off because he is no longer in power."

How can this be? How could the intelligence--the same intel used to justify the war--be wrong and yet the war still justified? Why offer a mea culpa if you completely negate it's impact by staying on message about this non-existent threat? I'll tell you why. Because Americans, at best temporarily, believe this crap. A new CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll shows that 48% of the country believes the war was a mistake, as opposed to 54 percent of those polled last month. And, Bush's approval rating is 42 percent, up 4 percent from November.

But like all the other Bush bounces, this one will be short-lived, especially as the violence in Iraq continues to escalate and the fragile Democracy faces severe challenges, as many experts fear.

The Bushies' new strategy is to put some humility into their usually cocky, infallible president. To show that he is able to admit mistakes. Able to admit things are not going as planned. Able to admit the war has killed tens of thousands. But in true Bush fashion, none of this detracts from his rhetoric that the war is still a success and there's progress everywhere.

But what these masterful political operatives arrogantly keep failing to realize is that they'll eventually pay the price of lying and deceiving Americans. They already are. They're currently embroiled in a veritable litany of controversy, scandal and criminal charges. And it's only going to get worse.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Democrats Can Win in '06 on an Anti-Corruption Message. Here's Our top 15 GOP Scandals to Remind Voters

No matter how bad it gets for Republicans; no matter how blatantly corrupt they've become; no matter how miserably they seem to fail at almost every turn, their main rallying cry is that the Democrats are no better because they don't have a solid, unified platform. Well, I think the Democrats have a sure-fire winner in playing the morality card. Let's drill it home to America that the Busheviks are the most unethical, corrupt administration in modern history.

In an effort to win back the House in 2006, let's remind Americans of the Bushies' 2000 campaign promise "to restore honesty and integrity" to Washington, and of all the moral and ethical transgressions and criminal behavior that followed instead. We can relentlessly remind voters of the various scandals that have rocked and socked the GOP, including:

1-The indictment of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay
2-The SEC investigation of Senate Majority Bill Frist
3-The obstruction/perjury/false statements indictment of Cheney Chief Scooter Libby
4-The wire fraud/conspiracy indictment of top GOP lobbyist and crony Jack Abramson
5-The conspiracy indictment of Abramoff partner and DeLay aide Michael Scanlon
6-The bribery indictment of California Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham
7-The criminal indictment of Ohio Gov. Bob Taft
8-The ongoing Federal investigation (and hopefully soon-to-be indictment) of Bush guru Karl Rove in the CIA leak case
9-Bush's disastrous appointment of crony Michael "Brownie" Brown to head FEMA
10-Halliburton's no-bid contracts windfall, and VP Cheney's profiting from it
11-The Armstrong Williams paid propaganda campaign for No Child Left Behind
12-The Pentagon pay-for-positive-Iraq news propaganda scheme
13-The Geneva Convention violations at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo
14-The willful misuse and manipulation of pre-war intelligence to justify the war
15-Bush's authorization of illegal NSA spying on American citizens

And keep in mind, this is just the short list. Kind of makes Bill Clinton's lapses in Oval Office morality seem quite benign by comparison, no?

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Bush Still Regurgitating His 2002 Nonsense Over the Need to Invade Iraq

"We removed Saddam Hussein from power because he was a threat to our security. He had pursued and used weapons of mass destruction. He sponsored terrorists. He ordered his military to shoot at American and British pilots patrolling the "no-fly" zones. He invaded his neighbors. He fought a war against the United States and a broad coalition. He had declared that the United States of America was his enemy."

If you're thinking this is 2003-era Bush arguing his case for war, think again. This was the president on Wednesday in his address from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington. As Yogi Berra used to say, "it's Deja Vu all over again."

How can this president stand before the American people with any shred of integrity and self-respect and hold firm on his 2002/03 war justifications, all of which have been proven either unfounded or outdated. The coalition forces (I'm being kind here) found no WMD. There's been not one iota of evidence linking Saddam and Iraq to Al Qaeda or any other terrorist organization. He invaded Kuwait 16 years ago. He used chemical weapons against the Kurds in 1988. He was essentially neutered by the U.S. and the U.N. in the 90's and posed no direct credible threat to America's security. Mere facts, you say? Never stopped the Bushies before, and probably never will. The political posse that promised "to restore honesty and integrity to the White House" continues to operate instead as the most deceptive and corrupt in modern history.

But the Bush lies and deception hasn't worked in some time. In fact, Americans are not only wise to the misrepresentations, they're quite fed up. This week's CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll shows that 58% of Americans "said they do not believe President Bush has a plan that will achieve victory in Iraq." And only 42% approve of the president's overall performance. Furthermore, a recent ABC/Washington Post poll found 58% believe the Bushies intentionally misled the American public in order to justify the war. So, all the spinning just makes the Busheviks appear even more underhanded. Let's hope Americans take out their frustration and mistrust next November.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Bushies' Lie About the Islamic 'Caliphate' Threat

To most scholars of Western civilization, the re-establishment of an 'Islamic caliphate' would have calamitous consequences, essentially ushering in a return of seventh-century type radical fundamentalist Islamic domination over the Muslim world. The sort of rule associated with the Wahabist movement and sought by such violent regimes as the Afghanistan Taliban and terror organizations such as Al Qaeda. It reigned for over 500 years and spanned the Middle East, spread to Southwest Asia, North Africa and Spain. Needless to say, as a potential political weapon, throwing the term 'caliphate' around is akin to making unfounded threats about WMD and mushroom clouds. Which is exactly what the Bush administration is now doing in its desperate attempts to once again justify its colossal military blunder in Iraq.

As the NY Times reported this week, the caliphate bomb has been dropped repeatedly in speeches by various members of the Bush war cabal including Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld; Eric S. Edelman, the under secretary of defense for policy; Stephen J. Hadley, the national security adviser; Gen. John P. Abizaid, the top American commander in the Middle East; and VP Dick Cheney. And while Bush himself has not actually used the term caliphate, he's essentially described it last week when declaring that the terrorists are seeking to establish "a totalitarian Islamic empire that reaches from Indonesia to Spain."

Also consider the following hyperbole and deception:

Cheney on Al Qaeda: "They talk about wanting to re-establish what you could refer to as the seventh-century caliphate...governed by Sharia law, the most rigid interpretation of the Koran."

Rumsfeld: "Iraq would serve as the base of a new Islamic caliphate to extend throughout the Middle East, and which would threaten legitimate governments in Europe, Africa and Asia."

Gen. Abizaid: "They will try to re-establish a caliphate throughout the entire Muslim world." He's also told the House Armed Services Committee in September that the caliphate's goals include the destruction of Israel. "Just as we had the opportunity to learn what the Nazis were going to do, from Hitler's world in 'Mein Kampf,' we need to learn what these people intend to do from their own words."

This sort of gloom and doom spinning is both irresponsible and reprehensible, and as usual, is right out of the Rovian playbook. But the Bushies' number-one Weapon of Mass Deception has always been truth-stretching and exaggerated threats. While re-establishing a caliphate is certainly a priority of Islamic radicals, there's virtually no chance of it ever happening, according to scholars and government foreign policy experts. There is a difference, they say, between the attacks that small bands of terrorists commit around the world and achieving large-scale global domination.

"It is certainly correct to say that these people have a global design, but the administration ought to frame it realistically," said John L. Esposito, an Islamic studies professor at Georgetown University and founding director of the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding. "Otherwise they can actually be playing into the hands of the Osama bin Ladens of the world because they raise this to a threat that is exponentially beyond anything that Osama bin Laden can deliver."

And Shibley Telhami, the Anwar Sadat professor for peace and development at the University of Maryland, scoffed at the notion of an Al Qaeda-based worldwide Muslim domination. "There's no chance in the world that they'll succeed. It's a silly threat." He cited a recent Zogby poll of 3,900 people in six Arab countries which found just 6% supported Al Qaeda's goal of creating an Islamic state.

Reality and facts. You can bet neither will preclude the Bushies from further sounding the caliphate alarm.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Lieberman's Dangerous Gamble on Bush's Fraying Coattails

Sen. Joe "Zell" Lieberman, the delusional Democratic hawk from Connecticut, has confidently walked up to the political roulette wheel and placed all his chips on the ever-fraying coattails of our historically unpopular president. In emphatically supporting the Bushies' dreadful Iraq military policy, he must be thinking this will either curry him favor with this bankrupt administration and/or with hardline voters next November. To the contrary, as the NY Times reported over the weekend, members of his own party are growing increasingly frustrated and angry with Lieberman. The backlash from his home-state constituents could soon follow.

To begin with, let's look at the likelihood of Lieberman amassing any real political capital from the White House as payback for his inexplicable support of what almost everyone else in D.C., as well as a majority of Americans, deems a colossal military failure. As they did with Zell Miller, they'll showcase his self-loathing Democratic tirades in the near-term until they don't need him anymore, or until he implodes, whichever comes first. Case in point: where are Miller's GOP friends today? After a near psychotic meltdown at the Republican convention this Summer, Miller became the butt of late-night TV jokedom, and a political pariah. With his impassioned support of the unpopular war and his risky embracing of the Bushies, Lieberman could soon face a similar fate.

But for now, the love affair is a two-way street. The Bushies have welcomed Lieberman into their dangerous cult with open arms. The president, vp Cheney, and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld have publicly praised him in recent speeches.

"He is entirely correct," Cheney said. "On this, both Republicans and Democrats should be able to agree. The only way the terrorists can win is if we lose our nerve and abandon our mission."

However, this unyielding public support of the Iraq war coupled with his Bush-like morphing of Al Qaeda, terrorism and the Iraqi insurgency, has aroused the ire of key Democrats such as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA) and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (NV). He's quickly becoming an outcast in his own party over these radical views.

As for whether or not he's alienating himself from the voters back home in Connecticut, it's probably unwise for any Democrat to think that an endorsement from Bush, Cheney and Rummy, especially when it comes to the war, will score them any points at the polls. Why Lieberman fails to recognize this shows just how out of touch he is with reality.

He's at the Roulette wheel, alright. The Russian kind.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Another Week of Lies and Spin in the Bush Oligarchy

The Bush spin machine was on overdrive this week, spreading more of its oligarchic gospel. Spreading more lies and deception, that is. And the Republican-controlled Congress lent its usual helping hand. Let's recap, in no special order, some of the more notable accomplishments this week in the Kingdom of Corruption and Cronyism:

Iraq: Despite mounting Sunni unrest which resulted in 66 Iraqi deaths and 100+ injuries from suicide bombings; despite mounting tensions and a possible splintering among the Shiites; despite the kidnapping of a Westerner; Defense Secretary Rumsfeld continued to sound the "progress" drum, even blaming the media for focusing too much on the negative news coming out of Iraq. Rummy also denied any senior Pentagon knowledge of the pay-for-news propaganda campaign.

War on Terror: The Bushies received an overall failing report card from the 911 Commission regarding protecting the nation against acts of terror. There were 17 F's and D's.

Pre-War Intelligence: The House GOP did its best to defeat the Democrats' request for White House documents concerning pre-war intelligence on Iraq's WMD. The Committee on International Relations vote ended in a 24-24 tie. For an administration that claims to have done everything by the book, it sure has a hard time allowing a public review of these actions. Democrat Gary Ackerman (NY) referred to "the president that lied" and "the lying administration." He was quickly rebuked by Chairman Henry Hyde (R-IL), who read Ackerman's October 2002 remarks before voting to authorize Bush to use force: "We cannot simply hope that U.N. inspections will rout out Saddam Hussein's weapons of terror." Can you believe the arrogance of the Bushies? First they lie to Congress to get its support for the war, and then criticize these same lawmakers three years later for having trusted them on the pre-war intel.

Joe Lieberman: Congratulations to the Bushies for brainwashing the new Zell Miller, who's been sounding more pro-war than anyone in the White House these days.

Donald Rumsfeld: Asserted that he has no plans to take an early retirement. And why should he? He has the full support of the president, and besides, the war's going so well.

Torture: Despite loads of evidence to the contrary, including serious, multiple human rights violations at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, Secretary of State Rice declared "the United States does not permit, tolerate or condone torture under any circumstances." There. She said it, so it must be true.

Howard Dean: Vilified once again by the Bushies and the GOP for having the nerve to say we can't win the war in Iraq, even though everything leading up to this point, and history (can you say "Vietnam?"), are proving him more prescient than not. They can say what they want about Dean, but the simple fact is, unlike the Bushies, when it comes to the war he obviously knows what he's talking about.

USA Patriot Act: The Bushies saw House and Senate negotiators reach a "compromise" on an extension of its signature anti-terrorism law, but even Republicans like Sen. Arlen Specter (PA) say it falls way short of safeguarding civil liberties. A bi-partisan group of six Senators also denounced the compromise and said they were "gravely disappointed." Oh, and by the way, the deal drew lots of praise from Mr. Torture himself, Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, who said the "comprehensive" bill should be passed quickly. What a surprise.

Air Marshals' Shooting: Two Miami marshals unloaded six bullets into American citizen and suspected bomber Rigoberto Alpizar as he ran off a plane into the jetway. No gun. No knife. No bomb. A little bit of an overreaction, perhaps? Hey, ya know what they say about the Patriot Act..."if you don't use it, ya lose it."

The Economy: Listening to Bush, one would believe the robust growth and prosperity of the 1990's is here once again, despite record gas and oil prices; record trade and budget deficits; rising interest rates; rising inflation; rising health-care costs; stagnant wages; weak job growth; declining consumer confidence; declining retail sales; and airline, steel and manufacturing bankruptcies. "The best days are yet to come for the American economy," Bush said. On that we couldn't agree more. But how long will we have to wait, and how much more fiscal damage will the Bushies do before then?

Tax Cuts: Thumbing its nose at future increases in the already historically high deficit, House Republicans decided that the nation's wealthiest Americans need another $95 billion in tax cuts even if at the expense of programs that help the poor: student loans, food stamps, child support, etc. Nothing like a little fiscal irresponsibility, I say. And Bush has expressed an intention to veto any bill that includes a provision to levy a $5 billion windfall profit tax on major oil companies, as well as one that calls for a penalty on tax-shelter abusers. Nothing like taking care of your own, I guess.

Dick Cheney's Defense of Tom DeLay: Despite embattled former House Majority Leader Tom Delay (TX) being one of the most crooked, unethical pol's to hit Washington in decades, VP Cheney managed to find his way to a Houston fundraiser and serve as the keynote in support of the little thief. Nothing like sticking to your guns on "restoring honor and integrity to the White House."

Post-Katrina Clean-up: As the NY Times' Paul Krugman wrote Friday, Bush has been woefully delinquent in living up to his post-hurricane promise to make the Gulf clean-up "one of the largest reconstruction efforts the world has ever seen." This guy makes Pinochio seem downright honest.

Lastly, I thought it fitting to end on yet another little piece of Republican hypocrisy: the outing of former Spokane, WA Mayor Jim West--one of the state's most conservative, anti-gay Republicans--for using his city computer to troll chat rooms in search of high-school-aged males to have sex with. The disgraced mayor was ousted this week in a rare recall election. Our naughty little internet surfer has a history of aggressive opposition to gay rights. When will these glass-house dwelling Republicans learn to stop throwing stones?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

DeLay's Poll Numbers Sink to Lowest Levels

Coming off his Monday night fundraiser with VP Dick Cheney, and just a day after a Texas judge upheld two of the three charges against him, embattled former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's poll numbers have dropped to their lowest levels yet.

In a brand new poll of DeLay's District 22 constituents, USA Today/Gallup asked voters: In the 2006 midterm election, are you more likely to vote to re-elect DeLay or vote for the Democratic Party's candidate for Congress?

Tom DeLay -- 36%
The Democrat -- 49%

It is worthy to note that DeLay was re-elected to Congress last year by a 55%-41% margin.

As for DeLay's new approval numbers:

Favorable -- 37%
Unfavorable -- 52%

Voters were also asked about the DeLay indictments, and whether they believe the charges are true:

Definitely or Probably True -- 55%
Definitely or Probably False -- 34%

Needless to say, DeLay continues to be in big trouble, facing mounting pressure and challenges from the House Ethics Committee and the judicial system. And now in his hometown, voters are increasingly voicing their disapproval of him as well. He is extremely vulnerable, giving Democratic challenger Nick Lampson a real opportunity to pull out a victory next year.

Friday, December 02, 2005

DeLay Refuses to Return Dirty "Duke" Money

Former Majority Leader Tom DeLay has refused to state that he'll return over $30,000 in campaign contributions from several of Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham's (R-CA) co-conspirators. Cunningham, who resigned on Monday after admitting guilt in a $2.4 million conspiracy and tax evasion scandal involving defense contractors who lined his pockets in return for special treatment in D.C, named four co-conspirators, a few of whom have been large DeLay donors.

Speaking on behalf of DeLay, Jim Ellis, the indicted head of DeLay's Americans for a Republican Majority PAC (ARMPAC), when asked by The Hill newspaper, refused to say that DeLay would return the dirty money.

DeLay's Democratic challenger in his Texas District 22, Nick Lampson, said "It seems like every week someone connected to Tom DeLay is indicted or pleads guilty to corruption or bribery. Southeast Texans are getting tired of the same old tune from Tom DeLay and his cronies. We need someone who can spend their time making decisions on how this country can work to cut our record deficits and trade gap and keep our borders secure rather than spending time deciding whether or not to return funds from criminals and cronies."

DeLay himself has recently been indicted on conspiracy and for illegal campaign finance schemes. He has a 51% disapproval rating, and 42% of Texas voters think he should resign from Congress.

"It's just amazing," said Lampson. "You have the indicted head of Tom DeLay's PAC refusing on behalf of indicted Tom DeLay to return tens of thousands of dollars in tainted money from people named as co-conspirators in a bribery plea agreement. You couldn't make this stuff up if you wanted to. It sends a terrible message to Southeast Texans and shows once again that whoever Tom Delay is working for, it isn't them."

Others lawmakers facing similar scrutiny for funds donated by scandal-plagued lawmakers and lobbyists have given back money. These include Sen. Jim Talent (R-Mo), who returned contributions received from indicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff; and Rep. Jeb Bradley (R-NH), Rep. Kenny Hulshof (R-Mo), Rep. Heather Wilson (R-NM) and Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-OH), all of whom returned money given by DeLay after he was indicted in September.

More Bush War "Progress:" Explosive Kills 10 U.S. Marines in Iraq

The Pentagon has just reported that a massive roadside booby-trap explosion yesterday outside Fallujah has killed 10 U.S Marines and wounded 11. The death count continues to climb, the insurgency appears to be consistently gaining strength, and the Bush administration continues to falsely cite tremendous progress. Any more progress like this and we soon won't have a military.

It's time Congress and the American people demand that Bush issue an honest and realistic assessment of the war and a timetable for a troop withdrawal. As Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) continues to stress, the war is a losing proposition and keeping our troops there to face death is the most dishonorable thing we can do.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Ron Reagan Jr. Blasts Bush's Propaganda Campaign as a Threat to Iraqi Democracy and to U.S. Troops

Just when you thought the Bush administration couldn't possibly appear any more corrupt, another scandal surfaces that further demonstrates the unethical and possibly criminal lengths this unsavory bunch will go to to promote and protect its selfish interests. The latest controversy involves the Pentagon's $100 million classified contract awarded to Washington, D.C. public relations firm The Lincoln Group to write pro-war propaganda articles, translate them into Arabic and have them published in Iraqi newspapers, appearing to be written by legitimate reporters of the mainstream Iraqi press.

Appearing on MSNBC's Hardball Thursday, correspondent Ron Reagan Jr., a truly solid citizen, called this campaign of deception "a disaster," saying it undermines the entire mission in Iraq at this point to create a legitimate Democracy and a free and independent press. "We're supposed to be setting an example for these people. They've lived under a dictator for years who tortured people; for whom the news was whatever he said it was. These people are looking to us for something better, and what do we give them? We give them Abu Ghraib and this kind of nonsense."

Late Thursday Sen. John Warner (R-VA), chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said an inquiry will begin Friday into the Pentagon's campaign to covertly plant stories and pay reporters for the bogus news. Warner issued a statement that said "A free and independent press is critical to the functioning of a Democracy." Exactly. Up to now we have the president, who's sent 160,000 troops into battle under the new justification of spreading Democracy (2100 of them to die), secretly undercutting his own mission by manufacturing and buying his own press coverage, and in the process severely undermining the goal of creating a legitimate, credible mainstream press in Iraq.

In his speech Wednesday at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD, Bush said: "We will help the Iraqi people lay the foundations of a strong Democracy that can govern itself, sustain itself and defend itself." Apparently, Bush's idea of a strong Democracy is one where its citizens have little trust in the garbage they read in the so-called free press because its crammed with American propaganda.

What this administration is doing here is reprehensible, and adversarial to what we say we're doing in Iraq. And as Reagan Jr. pointed out, it's further inciting the insurgents, which ultimately places our troops in greater danger. "If you were part of the insurgency right now you couldn't have asked for a better story to undercut what the president was saying Wednesday, and you couldn't have asked for a better story to say to your constituency, 'I told you so.'

Additionally, editors of Iraqi newspapers that have published the Pentagon propaganda have been receiving death threats for appearing to be too close to, and controlled by, America. This will also hamper Iraq's ability to build a free and independent press. If editors are not safe, or if they cannot be trusted, and if the Iraqi people have little faith in the integrity and independence of its media, there's little hope for a legitimate press thriving in that country.

So far, senior Pentagon officials are saying little and denying involvement in the propaganda scandal. But it's hard to imagine that a $100 million classified contract's been doled out and the higher-ups don't know about it. Further, anything war-related that's released to the media must first be cleared by the Pentagon's Office of Public Affairs. This is not the sort of project that could've squeaked by unnoticed at the top.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Wednesday attributed the positive news to Iraq's burgeoning legitimate press, citing its 100+ newspapers, 72 radio stations and 44 television stations. "The country has a free media; it's a relief valve. They're debating things and talking and arguing and discussing." Sure. And Armstrong Williams was simply speaking his own mind too. Liars, liars, liars! Man, will it ever stop?

Regarding the alleged progress we're making in Iraq, the most salient point comes again from Reagan Jr.: "If there's so much good news coming out of Iraq, why do we have to pay Iraqi journalists to report it? They should be doing it on their own. Maybe there just isn't a lot of good news over there to report."

As for the Bush culture of corruption and cronyism, the head of The Lincoln Group, 30-year-old Christian Bailey, is a former hedgefund operator who's previously run four companies and is a director and NYC co-chair of Lead 21, an organization of young, affluent Republicans. Apparently his GOP connections helped bag him a nice fat $100 million contract.

The stench of corruption emanating from the White House is enough to make you sick.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Sen. "Zell" Lieberman is Drunk on the Bush/Cheney Kool-Aid

"Terrorists...terrorists...terrorists. Gotta fight 'em in Iraq before they strike us again here." Sound like President Bush? Guess again. It's Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman (CT), this year's winner of the Zell Miller Republican Wannabe Award, whose Wall Street Journal Op-Ed this week will surely earn him a seat at the Friday night White House Iraq Group poker table.

The hawkish Lieberman seems more pro-war than the Bushies, if that seems possible. In his WSJ piece he used the term "terrorist" nine times and fires off Cheney-quality hyperbole and red flags concerning the war:

"I can report real progress in Iraq; progress is visible and practical"

"It is a war between 27 million people and 10,000 terrorists"

"If the terrorists win, they will be emboldened to strike us directly again"

"None of these remarkable changes would have happened without the coalition forces led by the U.S."

"I am disappointed by Democrats who are more focused on how President Bush took America into war in Iraq almost 3 years ago...than they are concerned about how we continue the progress in Iraq in the months and years ahead"

"Does America have a good plan for doing this, a strategy for victory in Iraq? Yes we do."

"Nationwide, American military leaders estimate that about one-third of the approximately 100,000 members of the Iraqi military are able to lead the fight themselves"

I'm not exactly sure what Lieberman's motivation is, and what he has to gain by vociferously promoting the Bush war message. But he appears wildly out of touch with reality, and out of synch with many of his Senate peers with stellar military expertise, including John Murtha (D-PA), Carl Levin (D-MI), Joe Biden (D-DE), Susan Collins (R-ME), Chuck Hagel (NEB) and Richard Lugar (D-IN), all of whom have been critical of the administration's planning and execution of the war, the absence of real progress, and the lack of a coherent exit strategy.

Lieberman also irresponsibly lobs the Bush/Cheney Weapon of Mass Deception by blatantly connecting the "terrorists" we're fighting in Iraq with those who attacked us on 9-11. Consider the president's own words in his Annapolis speech Wednesday in describing the significance of the various factions of the enemy: "The rejectionists are by far the largest group. These are ordinary Iraqis, mostly Sunni Arabs, who miss the privileged status they had under the regime of Saddam Hussein. And they reject an Iraq in which they're no longer the dominant group...The second group that makes up the enemy in Iraq is smaller but more determined. It contains former regime loyalists who held positions of power under Saddam Hussein, people who still harbor dreams of returning to power...The third group is the smallest but the most lethal: the terrorists affiliated with or inspired by al-Qaida."

But even his own analysis of the enemy doesn't stop him from regurgitating his standard alarm-sounding rhetoric: "Yet the terrorists have made it clear that Iraq is the central front in their war against humanity. And so we must recognize Iraq as the central front in the war on terror." What the Bushies, and now Zell Lieberman, have been shamelessly trying to convince America is that the war in Iraq is a war against our 9-11 enemies. And this clearly is not the case. It's both irresponsible and reprehensible for Lieberman to now be echoing the Bush lies.

As far as the alleged "progress" being made in Iraq, electricity and oil production is at pre-war levels, and unemployment stands at 60%. And regarding military progress, specifically in terms of independent Iraqi battalions, consider the September 29th testimony of Gen. John P. Abizaid, commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, before the Senate Armed Services Committee when pressed by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ):

McCAIN: General Abizaid, there was a report sent over, I think last June, that three of the hundred Iraqi battalions were fully trained and equipped, capable of operating independently. What is that number now?
ABIZAID: The number now is, if you're talking about level-one trained --
McCAIN: Yeah.
ABIZAID: It's one.
McCAIN: At one battalion?

So in Bushspeak, three becoming one equals progress. And Sen. Lieberman appears all too happy, for whatever reasons, to break party ranks, perpetuate the lies, and pound the table in support of Bush's war and the president himself.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Is Bush Set to Do an About-Face on His Misguided "Stay the Course" Policy By Withdrawing Troops In Time For '06 Midterms?

With political pressure mounting on President Bush from both Democrats and Republicans to create a viable and imminent exit strategy for the troops in Iraq, the key question is if the withdrawal will coincide with next year's midterm elections, and if so, will the Bushies and the GOP be reversing course, selling out Iraq in the process.

The latest Harris Poll reports that 63 percent of Americans want most of the troops home within the next year. A majority also no longer trust Bush, and believe the administration misused intelligence to make its case for war. With Bush's and Cheney's approval ratings at 35% and 28% respectively, none of this bodes well for Republican incumbents seeking re-election next November.

But where exactly does that leave Bush's repeated promise to "stay the course?" As the New York Times reports Monday, the Bushies are quietly reacting to the growing unpopularity of the war by privately laying the groundwork for an '06 draw-down. Administration and Pentagon officials have plans in place to reduce to under 100,000 by next Spring the amount of troops in the region. But simultaneous contingency plans also call for a possible speedier withdrawal to meet the demands of the new Iraqi government, as well as for a possible increase in troop strength should the insurgency gain momentum.

Many in Washington suspect that the Bushies will cave under the increasing political pressure, compromise its goal of fighting "until the mission is completed," and prematurely withdraw the troops. Many prominent lawmakers on both sides of the aisle including Sen. John Murtha (D-PA), Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) and Sen. Richard Lugar (D-IN) have been highly critical of the war and Bush's lack of an exit strategy, and have turned the screws, demanding such a plan. Whether or not Bush can stave off the pressure and stick to his original--albeit misguided and delusional--indefinite timetable or whether GOP survival-politics will win out remains to be seen. But if the recent week or two is any indication of which way the White House wind will blow, the easy money is on a Bush about-face.

The set-up will continue this Wednesday, when Bush will speak in Annapolis, MD about the military "progress" in Iraq and the ongoing war on terrorism. What we're sure to get then, and in the days, weeks and months to come, is more of the same lies and deception from the president and VP Cheney. All in the name of justifying what is soon to be their policy reversal regarding troop withdrawal.

Friday, November 25, 2005

It's Thanksgiving Week, and Time to Thank President Bush For All He's Done For America

What would Thanksgiving be without acknowledging the monumental accomplishments of President Bush, and to show our appreciation for all he's done to help tarnish America's great reputation and make our nation a most difficult place in which to live in 2005. So, without further adieu:

Thank you President Bush for:

-Allowing Osama bin Laden to remain free;
-Squandering America's post-911 currency;
-Lying about WMD, mushroom clouds, Uranium in Niger, and our need to invade Iraq;
-Lying about Saddam's Al Qaeda connection;
-Sending thousands of our men and women to die in an unjust war;
-Not adequately arming these brave soldiers;
-Alienating the U.S. from its most trusted allies;
-Turning the entire world against us;
-Firing Gen. Shinseki, who said we didn't have enough troops to fight the war;
-Not firing Donald Rumsfeld, whose strategy Shinseki proved wrong;
-Turning Iraq into a terrorist breeding ground;
-Lying about how you won't nation build;
-Opposing the 911 commission and the Dept. of Homeland Security;
-The torture and human rights abuses at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo;
-Lining the pockets of Halliburton with fat no-bid contracts;
-Ignoring the nuclear build-up in Iran and N. Korea;
-Blowing off the Kyoto Treaty
-Lying about Social Security's insolvency;
-The huge tax cuts for the wealthiest 1% of America;
-Lying about the true cost of the health care bill;
-Being a real divider not a uniter;
-Stellar appointments like Michael "Brownie" Brown, Harriet Miers and other cronies;
-The record gas and oil prices;
-The largest debt in U.S. history;
-Failing miserably in the Hurricane Katrina rescue and relief effort;
-Fostering the most blatant culture of corruption in U.S. history;

Yes, thank you George for being such a wonderful president.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The Real Tragedy of Bush & Cheney's Iraq Lies: Americans Are Turned Off to Fighting Terrorism

The war in Iraq has caused the death of 2100 U.S. soldiers and has maimed or wounded another 20,000. The financial cost has topped $400 billion, and our standing in the world has taken a huge blow since the invasion in March 2003. But the gravest consequence of all has been how the Bush/Cheney deception campaign over Iraq has sapped Americans' will to wage war on what is the real enemy, Al Qaeda, and the various terrorist cells hidden throughout the world. As Frank Rich pointed out Sunday in his NY Times column, polls show that the percentage of Americans who view fighting terrorism as a top priority have dropped precipitously to only single digits or low double digits. And that is one very scary statistic.

The Bushies' Wag the Dog strategy has backfired big time, and has put our nation at much greater risk than before the September 11 attacks. Americans have been running a political and military marathon, and they're exhausted. The Bush/Cheney cabal has shamelessly deceived them, sending 130,000 troops to fight an enemy that wasn't, and searching for WMD that didn't exist. They were duped into believing, albeit temporarily, that we were fighting terrorists; the same terrorists that attacked us on 9-11. This fairly tale that the Bushies concocted and perpetuated over the past four years was its own deadly WMD: weapon of mass distraction. While they were lying to us about Saddam and the imminent mushroom clouds, the sadistic murderer of 3000 Americans, Osama bin Laden, was making his getaway in the hills of Tora Bora, perhaps forever to elude our grasp.

And now a rapidly growing majority of Americans not only are saying the war was a mistake and want a withdrawal of the troops, a majority of them also now believe that the Bushies misled them into battle by manipulating and exaggerating pre-war intelligence. Bush and Cheney lied, and everyone now knows it. But this entire ordeal has sadly taken its emotional, physical and financial toll on the populace. Americans have become apathetic and indifferent to the overall struggle against the terrorist threat. What the Bush and Cheney lie machine has accomplished is to desensitize and demoralize our citizenry. They want an end to the death in Iraq, but their will to fight terror has been shattered. We can only hope that the will of the terrorists, the real enemy, has been depleted as well.

Draft Al Gore Petition Tops 2100 Signatures

The petition to draft Al Gore for president in the 2008 election is going strong, garnering over 2100 signatures since last month. To sign the petition, click here. AOL users should open the petition using Internet Explorer.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Cheney Can't Stop Lying and Distorting the Truth About Iraq War...Even as He's Lecturing Democrats About Honesty and Integrity

Vice president Dick Cheney is on a sanctimonious mission extolling the virtues of honest and responsible debate over the war in Iraq. He's highly criticized Democrats for their attacks on President Bush, declaring that those who accuse the president of lying about pre-war intelligence in order to justify the invasion are engaging in "revisionism of the most corrupt and shameless variety." Cheney's self-righteous lecturing on truth-telling gives new meaning to hypocrisy. After all, Cheney knows quite a few things about lying. He's been more 'corrupt and shameless' in perpetrating this unjust war than anyone.

What's more, Cheney can't stop the lying and distortion. In commenting early this week about Rep. Jack Murtha's (D-PA) proposal to immediately begin withdrawing our troops, Cheney said such an early exit would be a "terrible blow" to America's security and would empower the insurgents in Iraq:

"The terrorists believe that by controlling an entire country they will be able to target and overthrow other governments in the region, and to establish a radical Islamic empire that encompasses a region from Spain, across North Africa, through the Middle East and South Asia, all the way to Indonesia. They have made clear, as well, their ultimate ambitions: to arm themselves with weapons of mass destruction, to destroy Israel, to intimidate all Western countries and to cause mass death in the United States."

Can you believe Cheney's audacity and arrogance? Even as he's chastising the Democrats for a lack of honesty and integrity, even as his original reasons for invading Iraq have now been proven unfounded, he's still sounding the WMD alarm and the grave threat posed to the United States by the "terrorists." The last time Cheney lied to us about WMD we embarked on an unjust war that's now killed 2100 U.S. soldiers, maimed and wounded 20,000, and cost $400 billion. Perhaps if we stop listening to the lies we just might be able to get out of this quagmire.

Cheney lambasted the left as "dishonest and reprehensible" for claiming that the Bushies manipulated pre-war intelligence to make their case for war. But the laundry list of Bush's and Cheney's lies and deception over WMD and terrorists' ties to Saddam is well documented. This includes Bush's 2002 State of the Union claim about Iraq's Niger/uranium connections despite proof a year earlier by Joe Wilson to the contrary; and Cheney's claim that 9-11 hijacker Mohammed Atta met in Prague with officials of Al Qaeda and then lied about it when confronted by MSNBC reporter Gloria Borger.

Cheney's also steadfast in maintaining that the Democrats and Congress had access to the same pre-war intelligence documents as the White House. Leading Democrats including Ted Kennedy, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi have refuted this assertion, as has Republican Pat Roberts, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Said Kennedy: "It defies belief that the vice president can continue to say with a straight face that Congress had the same intelligence as the president and vice president had."

Monday, November 21, 2005

Bush & Cheney Look Tired, Old and Feeble. Their Leadership is Pathetic

The strain of several failed policies and mounting scandals is starting to take its physical and emotional toll on the president and vice president, who lately seem more anxious for retirement than they do enthused about tackling the legion of domestic and foreign challenges facing America today.

Take Bush for example, who in this picture seems befuddled and totally embarrassed as he searched for an open door that doesn't exist after trying to escape a reporter's dogged war questioning following a press conference in China over the weekend. This is a guy who can't find a successful exit strategy out of a press room and we expect him to come up with one for Iraq? The look on Bush's face could fittingly have a caption above it that reads, "Yes, I am the leader of the free world, can ya believe it? Me neither!"

And how about Cheney, pictured here with Bush while holding onto a cane, the result of knee surgery. Between his knees, his heart and the perpetual scowl on his face, Cheney now seems more cold, disgusted and angrier than ever. When you throw in Bush's recent crustiness during a Latin America trip over having to eat dinner at 10pm and stay up until 2am, and his early exit from his summit the day next because of it, these two don't exactly exude confidence and capability. If they happen to look old, tired and sick of their jobs, it's because they are.

And it doesn't stop there. The fallout from the war, Katrina, Harriet Miers, PlameGate and other botched administration strategies has put a strain on the Bush/Cheney relationship as well. Are they drifting apart? As the NY Times' Elizabeth Bumiller wrote Monday, "Has the senior partner taken the junior partner to the woodshed?" And more importantly she asked, "who is the senior partner, anyway?"

Bush must be livid with "Vice," who, along with his own personal "Cheney,"
Scooter Libby, took it upon themselves to concoct an unjust war and then lied to cover their skeevy tracks, and in the process sent the president's popularity receding faster than Karl Rove's hairline (this is not to suggest Bush's innocence; he himself ultimately lied through his teeth to scare Americans into war). But what did we expect? Everyone joked for years how Cheney was the real president to Bush's veep--as evidenced on 9-11 and in the ensuing days and weeks, when the more important guy was sequestered in a safehouse where Osama bin Laden (remember him?) wouldn't find him. Well, Osama morphed into Saddam, Cheney came out of hiding, and the rest as they say is history. That's what happens when a totally inept, in-over-his-head president hands over the joystick to a war-mongering maniac.

As if they weren't already, the world's leaders must be looking at us and incredulously shaking their heads in amazement as to what's become of the greatest nation in the world.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Here's Why the Democrats Didn't "Win" Last Night

Many Democrats are running around today believing they actually stood up to the GOP last night and won a battle. Am I missing something? Perhaps I'm just too myopic to see and enjoy the spoils of this 'victory.' I guess I have a whole different take on what went down in the House last night.

The Republican-sponsored non-binding resolution was defeated 403-3 (just three Democrats voted for it). The measure was crafted as a means of proving that there's little support for Rep. John Murtha's (D-PA) call Thursday to quickly bring the troops home and end the war in Iraq. This is a huge Republican win.

Granted, the precise wording of the Republicans' bill was different than the exact plan Murtha outlined this week, but that's secondary to the main point. Is there really a difference in true government time between "immediately" and "six months?" And besides, the typical American will not read the fine print of either proposal. To them, it's simply an issue of ending the war or perpetuating it. Sadly, they'll see ours as a vote for the latter.

The real bravery, the real excitement, would've been with each and every Democrat taking the podium and giving a spirited, impassioned plea to their colleagues across the aisle to join them in a yes vote and heed the request of the American majority that now wants us out of this quagmire. They could've voted yes on this non-binding measure and demanded that Republicans work out the subsequent details with them. Put the pressure on the Republicans. Force them to respond to America. The Democrats could've used this unbelievable opportunity in the national spotlight to stress how it was more important for them last night to vote with America than to play political games with the GOP. It would've been a major public-relations coup for the left and a major embarrassment for the right had only Democrats voted for a Republican-sponsored bill. The Dem's would've shown character, integrity and resolve, while the Republicans would've looked like manipulating partisan thugs playing political games with the lives of America's sons and daughters. Instead, we took a seat at the game table. And the attack machine will use our votes against us in the future in the most underhanded way as always. And the war goes on. And that's my point.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Democrats Blow Opportunity to Stand for Something By Voting No On Iraq Withdrawal

Call it the "cover your ass" vote. Only three House Democrats have voted to support the resolution calling for the immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq, a measure which Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) controversially called for Thursday. Falling into the Republicans' crafty trap to force them to go on record in support of the war, the Democrats failed to back Murtha, who put his admirable bi-partisan hawkish reputation on the line (finally, a politician who's not afraid to speak the truth), for fear that doing so will hurt their re-election chances next year.

This is going to backfire. House Democrats are now chained to this quagmire right alongside the Bushies, which is exactly what the GOP wanted. Once again, the left's been outmaneuvered by the right. Until this stops, until we stop being so politically calculating, until the Dem's grow some balls--and I'm not talking momentary tough-guy talk by Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer--we're going to be running uphill come election time. What do we stand for? When will we speak up for these beliefs like Murtha did? Why can't our party speak up for the majority of Americans who oppose and want out of this war?

I think the left made a very, very big mistake tonight.

Sleazy GOP Attack Machine Kicks Into High Gear to Tear Down and Smear John Murtha

Rep. Jack Murtha (PA) came out this week with a headline-grabbing stand which calls for the immediate withdrawal of our troops from Iraq. His statements resulted in a hailstorm of harsh criticism from the right. In fact, much of the reaction has been standard attack and smear tactics by a despicable bevy of Republican chickenhawks. The mud and sleaze that has become the Republican weapon of choice has been fully unleashed.

What's ironic is that Murtha's been one of those political untouchables. A hawkish Democrat war hero with a highly decorated 37-year career in the U.S. Marine Corps. He volunteered for Vietnam in '66-'67 and received two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star with Combat "V". Retired from the Marine Corps Reserve as a colonel in 1990. Awarded the Navy Distinguished Service Medal by the Marine Corps Commandant when he retired. Well-respected by both parties for his first-hand knowledge of military and defense issues, of which he has dutifully served and advised both Republican and Democratic presidents. One of the most effective advocates for a strong national defense. A ranking member and former chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. This rare combination of experience enables him to understand defense and military operations from every perspective. So when Murtha opens his mouth to speak, everyone listens intently.

Which is why Murtha's become the man of the week by saying "Our military's done everything that has been asked of them. The U.S. cannot accomplish anything further in Iraq militarily. It's time to bring the troops home." Murtha believes that the longer we stay in Iraq the worse we make the situation: "It is evident that continued military action in Iraq is not in the best interest of the United States of America, the Iraqi people, or the Persian Gulf region." Critical of Bush and Cheney, he claimed the war was "not going as advertised," and said the U.S. should make it clear to the transitional Iraqi government before the December 15 elections that our troops will be departing.

Murtha's been a key Bush ally on the Iraq war, serves as a de facto spokesman for the Pentagon, and has very close relationships with many top generals. One can only imagine what they've been telling him privately that they're too afraid to say directly to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

As expected, Murtha's comments have mobilized the sleazebags in the GOP to quickly begin its Rovian Swift Boat smear campaign, tearing Murtha down personally and attacking his patriotism. White House press secretary Scott McClellan said: "Congressman Murtha is a respected veteran and politician who has a record of supporting a strong America. So it is baffling that he is endorsing the policy positions of Michael Moore and the extreme liberal wing of the Democratic party." (McClellan has never served in the military)

Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (Ill) essentially called Murtha a coward and said he was delivering "the highest insult" to the troops," and that "Murtha and other Democrats want us to retreat. They want us to wave the white flag of surrender to the terrorists of the world." (Hastert never served in the military)

VP Dick "Five-Deferments" Cheney said: "The president and I cannot prevent certain politicians from losing their memory or their backbone. But we are not going to sit by and let them rewrite history." (Cheney never served in the military)

Rep. David Dreier (R-CA): "It would be an absolute mistake and a real insult to the lives that have been lost." (Dreier never served in the military)

Majority Leader Roy Blunt (MS) said Murtha's views "only embolden our enemies." (Blunt never served in the military)

Rep. John Carter (TX) said Murtha wants to take "the cowardly way out and say we're going to surrender." (Carter never served in the military)

What Murtha has bravely done in Congress is simply voice what a majority of Americans feel about the military failure in Iraq and their desire to put an end to the death of U.S. soldiers. We hope his actions strongly urge Democrats to take his side, and convince some Republicans as well that it's time to start demanding of President Bush that he outline a coherent and imminent exit strategy. Perhaps this is the tipping point on Iraq that we've been waiting for.

And we also hope once and for all that the GOP's attack and smear tactics backfire and cause even further damage to an already struggling and scandal-scarred party in which voters have lost faith. It is reprehensible and bordering on treasonous to attack for political purposes the bravery, patriotism and military service of distinguished war heroes like John Kerry, Max Cleland, John McCain and John Murtha. It's even more despicable when it's done by a bunch of draft-dodging Republican cowards who've never stepped into a military uniform.

"I like guys who've never been there that criticize us who've been there," Murtha said. "I like that. I like guys who got five deferments and never been there and send people to war, and then don't like to hear suggestions about what needs to be done. I resent the fact, on Veterans Day, he (Bush) criticized Democrats for criticizing them."

The Bushies' bully-pulpit attack and smear campaign against anyone who disagrees with them is both un-American and ammoral. The tragic irony is that the neocons have our men and women dying in Iraq to spread Democracy and protect personal freedoms yet they are utterly clueless on how to promote the same liberties, freedom of speech, and right of dissent here at home.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Christine Cegelis Got 44% Against Henry Hyde in '04; So Why is DCCC Head Rahm Emanuel Undermining Her '06 Campaign?

Rep. Henry Hyde, the 81-year-old hypocrite Republican blowhard who led the House impeachment effort against President Bill Clinton in the 1990's and subsequently faced humiliation and embarrassment when news of his 5-year adulterous affair became public, will be vacating the 6th Congressional District seat he's held for almost 30 years. In the '04 election, his Democratic challenger, Christine Cegelis, commanded 44% of the vote, more than any challenger since his first run for Congress in 1974. In their effort to hang onto Hyde's seat, the GOP is pushing state Sen. Peter Roskam (R-Wheaton), a Tom Delay protege, who'll likely face the winner of the Democratic primary to be held in March. Head-to-head against Roskam, you'd think Cegelis would stand a terrific shot of capturing another 7% and winning the election, right? Apparently, Rep. Rahm Emanuel (ILL), head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, doesn't think so.

Yesterday I wrote about Emanuel, his progress at the DCCC, and his rough and tumble qualities that the party desperately needs right now in battling the Republicans. But today I write about something quite puzzling about Emanuel. Rather than throw his political muscle and DCCC money behind Cegelis--a 51 year old single mother and businesswoman--Emanuel is instead recruiting Army Maj. Ladda "Tammy" Duckworth, a Hofffman Estates resident, who lost both her legs in Iraq. She has not yet accepted his invitation to run for Hyde's seat. "She expressed her interest. That's where it is," he said. Duckworth is undergoing physical therapy and faces many medical challenges as a result of her injuries. With no political experience, and having serious health issues, it's a mystery why Duckworth appeals more to Emanuel than the candidate who almost whipped Hyde's philandering ass last year.

One explanation is that Emanuel has not been happy with Cegelis's fundraising efforts. Between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30, Cegelis raised $159,885 and has $48,973 cash on hand. That's not good enough for Emanuel, so he's begun looking for an alternative. What's troubling is that Emanuel's main function as DCCC head is to raise funds for viable candidates who are struggling financially, and Cegelis is about as viable as they come in the 6th District race. Again, she captured 44% against a 31-year, 16-term Republican legend; in my book that makes her the Democrats' best shot and Emanuel should embrace her with everything he's got.

Emanuel also seems hellbent on recruiting fantasy candidates who fit a certain high profile: military vets, law enforcement, athletes. In doing so, he seems to be chasing what he believes to be a winning Republican strategy. Is he onto something here? Perhaps. But these backgrounds don't in and of themselves make one fit for public service. It's quite possibly style over substance, and that would be a disaster for our side.

Winning Hyde's seat is very much within reach for the Democrats. Roskam, a former legislative assistant to scandal-plagued former House Leader Tom Delay, was himself investigated in 1992 by the Illinois Attorney general and the IRS for possible campaign finance abuses. Like his former boss, he's no pillar of morality. It's shouldn't be too hard to mount an effective campaign against him.

Let's hope that Emanuel, rather than possibly chasing down a fantasy, puts his immense clout and financial support behind candidates who have experience and can win, and not just those who look good in uniform. Until I see otherwise, Christine Cegelis, who was endorsed by Howard Dean and Sen. Richard Durbin (ILL) in her '04 bid, seems very worthy of that support.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Will Rahm Emanuel, the Scrappy Head of the DCCC, Win Back the House For the Democrats?

"People aren't happy with Washington! Look, we should be the party outside of Washington coming to goddamn kick ass out there." So says smack-talkin' Rep. Rahm Emanuel, the firebrand Illinois Congressman, former Clinton strategist and head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), a post he assumed last January. In his new role, it's Emanuel's responsibility, and his personal mission, to win back the House next November. And if history is any indicator, Emanuel will do anything, anything, to make this happen. But can he succeed?

The biggest challenge facing Democrats next year is the congressional redistricting pushed through by the Republican majority that, on the surface, will make it very difficult for the left to win an appreciable number of races. Out of 435 seats in the House, Democrats need just a net gain of 15 seats to regain control. Sound like a paltry sum? Sure. But the Republicans' craftiness in redrawing districts has reduced the number of seats in play to about 30, versus about 90 this same time before the 1994 election, according to the Cook Political Report, an independent campaign handicapper. In short, both Democratic and Republican districts were reinforced, but the all-important, highly coveted swing districts have all been erased. To say that winning 15 out of 30 seats is a fantasy would be an understatement. Emanuel certainly has his work cut out for him.

But there is hope. Emanuel has been getting lots of help from the right. The president's approval rating is at an abysmal 35%. A majority of Americans are dissatisfied with the Republican-controlled Congress. The GOP is weighed down by the quagmire in Iraq, the Katrina and Rita failures, a struggling economy racked with rising interest rates, massive debt and a possible bursting of the housing bubble, and mounting scandal. Bush looks and is tired and beaten. His political currency is depleted, and he's become a pariah to incumbents. The GOP is a party in trouble. And it only seems to be getting worse. History has shown that under such extraordinary circumstances, where the populace grows so unhappy with its leaders, the typical rules of thumb go out the window. That's when 30 seats in play could become 89 fairly quickly.

Emanuel is highly respected in Democratic circles for his tenacity and tireless work ethic. "I've known Rahm for more than 20 years and he has always been a fighter for Democratic values, even before he was first elected to Congress," said former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe earlier in the year. "With Rahm now using his talents to help Democratic candidates across the country, I know we will take back the House in 2006."

To get there, Emanuel's main task is to raise funds and build a bigger war chest than the GOP. He was a cash cow for Bill Clinton back in the early 90's when he was a young, brash, relentless fundraiser. He still has his mojo, and has already raised a record-breaking $32-million. But if the Democrats are going to win next year they'll need more than money. They need viable, engaging candidates and a solid platform with a clear message that will resonate well with voters, especially moderate Republicans and Independents. Emanuel leans toward the center, and favors a range of benefits to help the middle class such as college tax breaks; retirement savings incentives; and the importing of lower-cost prescription drugs.

But the Democrats need much more than that. We need to lay out a creative exit strategy for the war. We need to develop a universal health plan that makes good political, social and economic sense. We need to improve our educational system. We need an intelligent alternative energy and fuel plan. We need a sound economic policy designed to drastically reduce our national debt, create new jobs and stave off inflation. And, in what was the cornerstone of the Bushies' main political appeal, we need to demonstrate to voters that they can entrust us with national security and the protection of our borders. We need our version of the Contract With America, Newt Gingrich's and the GOP's very potent weapon used back in '94 to take control of Congress.

The dark tunnel that has been the Democratic Party for years has started to show some light. The Democrats have a true warrior in Emanuel, whose take-no-prisoners political muscling should bode well for the party between now and the midterms. He's a streetfighter, not afraid to pummel the enemy. He is someone the left desperately needs swinging in its corner. In case you haven't noticed, we don't have many tough guys in our party. And he's already making serious progress. He's put 41 districts in play and he's been recruiting uniquely exciting new candidates including military vets, FBI agents, a pastor, a sheriff and former NFL quarterback Heath Shuler. And the more the GOP struggles, the quicker Emanuel will pounce.

"This is about winning campaigns. I come from the Vince Lombardi school: 'Winning is everything,'" he said.

Lt. Bush Heads the GOP Hero-Wannabe Unit

There's this myth that's been perpetuated for years in conservative Washington and among the right wing press that the Republican Party is the party of strong, courageous, heroic defenders of America, while the Democrats are namby-pamby sissy-boys that cannot and should not be entrusted with the nation's security. How and when this started--although I'll give much of the credit to Karl Rove--I'm not exactly sure. But a simple look into the military service, or lack thereof, of prominent politicians and spin monkeys offers a not so surprising revelation into who the real tough guys are in Washington:


* Richard Gephardt: Air National Guard, 1965-71.
* David Bonior: Staff Sgt., Air Force 1968-72.
* Tom Daschle: 1st Lt., Air Force SAC 1969-72.
* Al Gore: enlisted Aug. 1969; sent to Vietnam Jan. 1971 as an army journalist in 20th Engineer Brigade.
* Bob Kerrey: Lt. J.G. Navy 1966-69; Medal of Honor, Vietnam.
* Daniel Inouye: Army 1943-47; Medal of Honor, WWII.
* John Kerry: Lt., Navy 1966-70; Silver Star, Bronze Star with Combat V, Purple Hearts.
* Charles Rangel: Staff Sgt., Army 1948-52; Bronze Star, Korea.
* Max Cleland: Captain, Army 1965-68; Silver Star & Bronze Star, Vietnam.
* Ted Kennedy: Army, 1951-53.
* Tom Harkin: Lt., Navy, 1962-67; Naval Reserve, 1968-74.
* Jack Reed: Army Ranger, 1971-1979; Captain, Army Reserve 1979-91.
* Fritz Hollings: Army officer in WWII; Bronze Star and seven campaign ribbons.
* Leonard Boswell: Lt. Col., Army 1956-76; Vietnam, DFCs, Bronze Stars, and Soldier's Medal.
* Pete Peterson: Air Force Captain, POW. Purple Heart, Silver Star and Legion of Merit.
* Mike Thompson: Staff sergeant, 173rd Airborne, and Purple Heart.
* Bill McBride: Candidate for Fla. Governor. Marine in Vietnam; Bronze Star with Combat V.
* Gray Davis: Army Captain in Vietnam, Bronze Star.
* Pete Stark: Air Force 1955-57
* Chuck Robb: Vietnam
* Howell Heflin: Silver Star
* George McGovern: Silver Star & DFC during WWII.
* Bill Clinton: Did not serve. Student deferments. Entered draft but received #311.
* Jimmy Carter: Seven years in the Navy.
* Walter Mondale: Army 1951-1953
* John Glenn: WWII and Korea; six DFCs and AirMedal with 18 Clusters.
* Tom Lantos: Served in Hungarian underground in WWII. Saved by Raoul Wallenberg.


* Dick Cheney: did not serve. Several deferments, the last by marriage.
* Dennis Hastert: did not serve.
* Tom Delay: did not serve.
* Roy Blunt: did not serve.
* Bill Frist: did not serve.
* Mitch McConnell: did not serve.
* Rick Santorum: did not serve.
* Trent Lott: did not serve.
* John Ashcroft: did not serve. Seven deferments to teach business.
* Jeb Bush: did not serve.
* Karl Rove: did not serve.
* Saxby Chambliss: did not serve. "Bad knee." The man who attacked Max Cleland's patriotism.
* Paul Wolfowitz: did not serve.
* Vin Weber: did not serve.
* Richard Perle: did not serve.
* Douglas Feith: did not serve.
* Eliot Abrams: did not serve.
* Richard Shelby: did not serve.
* Jon Kyl: did not serve.
* Tim Hutchison: did not serve.
* Christopher Cox: did not serve.
* Newt Gingrich: did not serve.
* Don Rumsfeld: served in Navy (1954-57) as flight instructor.
* George W. Bush: failed to complete his six-year National Guard; got assigned to Alabama so he could campaign for family friend running for U.S. Senate; failed to show up for required medical exam, disappeared from duty.
* Ronald Reagan: due to poor eyesight, served in a non-combat role making movies.
* B-1 Bob Dornan: Consciously enlisted after fighting was over in Korea.
* Phil Gramm: did not serve.
* John McCain: Vietnam POW, Silver Star, Bronze Star, Legion of Merit, Purple Heart and Distinguished Flying Cross.
* Dana Rohrabacher: did not serve.
* John M. McHugh: did not serve.
* JC Watts: did not serve.
* Jack Kemp: did not serve. "Knee problem, " although continued in NFL for 8 years.
* Dan Quayle: Journalism unit of the Indiana National Guard.
* Rudy Giuliani: did not serve.
* George Pataki: did not serve.
* Spencer Abraham: did not serve.
* John Engler: did not serve.
* Lindsey Graham: National Guard lawyer.
* Arnold Schwarzenegger: AWOL from Austrian army base.
* Sean Hannity: did not serve.
* Rush Limbaugh: did not serve (4-F with a 'pilonidal cyst.')
* Bill O'Reilly: did not serve.
* Michael Savage: did not serve.
* George Will: did not serve.
* Chris Matthews: did not serve.
* Paul Gigot: did not serve.
* Bill Bennett: did not serve.
* Pat Buchanan: did not serve.
* John Wayne: did not serve.
* Bill Kristol: did not serve.
* Kenneth Starr: did not serve.
* Antonin Scalia: did not serve.
* Clarence Thomas: did not serve.
* Ralph Reed: did not serve.

Many of these conservatives did everything in their power--including using their family's wealth and political connections--to avoid military service. No wonder then that they over-compensate for this lack of bravery by attempting to tear down the real heroes at every turn.

Entrust our security to these jokers? Puhleeeeze. I'll jump in a trench with Kerry, Cleland, Kennedy, Daschle and Gore any day of the week over Bush, Cheney, DeLay, Frist and Limbaugh. At least our guys don't have to play dress up.

Forrester Blames Bush for New Jersey Loss

Fresh on the heels of his devastating loss last week to Jon Corzine in New Jersey's gubernatorial race, Douglas Forrester knows where the blame lies: squarely with President Bush and his abysmal approval rating (Republican incumbents take note). In comments made to the Newark Star Ledger, the nine-point loser believes he'd be the state's new governor-elect had he not nosedived off of Bush's coattails.

"If Bush's numbers were where they were a year ago, or even six months ago, I think we would have won on Tuesday," Forrester said. "I don't think that there's any candidate that has ever received such a pounding...Election night was emotionally much more difficult because we came in quite confident we were going to win."

With the economy sagging, the war spiraling our of control, the embarrassment over Hurricane Katrina and the mounting GOP scandals, the best Bush can do these days to shore up support in an attempt to get the party back on track is to blame Democrats for the debacle in Iraq. If that's all he's got, the GOP's in serious trouble, and there'll be many more Forrester's blaming the president this time next year.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Tucker Carlson Admits There's No "Liberal Media"

Over the past several years and through two presidential elections we've heard prominent conservative lawmakers and spin monkeys such as Tom Delay, Ken Mehlman, Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly lament the mighty powers of the so-called left wing media. To hear it from them, the liberal media machine is a giant behemoth which dominates the mainstream press. Of course, those of us on the left know the truth; that it is the right wing that has a chokehold on the media. The Republicans have never been afraid of classic psychological projection. They're quite good at accusing us of everything they're blatantly guilty of.

Which is why it's so surprising to learn that MSNBC conservative talking head Tucker Carlson, while interviewing his boss, NBC Universal President Bob Wright, at a symposium last week, admitted the absence of the mythical dreaded lefty media beast. Speaking at a media gathering in New York City, Wright said he longed for the days when networks offered more balanced, "down the middle,” news coverage, and cited the over-the-top tone increasingly embraced by the cable-news channels, in particular Fox News. Rather than don his conservative hat and take his boss to task, Carlson suggested that Wright start a channel devoted to the left. "There’s tons of liberals out there," Carlson said. Obviously, Carlson believes this is an untapped market.

Targeting liberals would prove futile, Wright said. “For some strange, probably genetic, reasons (whatever the heck that means), they don’t listen to a lot of radio and they don’t watch a lot of television.”

So much for the big bad left wing media beast.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

The List of Bush and Cheney's WMD & Iraq Lies

With his approval rating an anemic 35% and a majority of Americans believing he misled the nation in his rush to war with Iraq, President Bush, propped up by a re-energized Karl Rove, is blasting Democrats for their "baseless attacks" amid charges that his administration misused pre-war intelligence. With the familiar swagger reminiscent of his 2004 campaign days, Bush came out swinging at a Veteran's Day speech at an army base in Tobyhanna, Pa, blaming Democrats for undermining the war effort. Yet the president consistently chooses to ignore his and VP Dick Cheney's lengthy trail of lies and deception which support the left's accusations.

Despite the obvious--that the war has been a colossal failure and that the country, according to every major poll, believes he was duplicitous in his march to Baghdad--Bush still believes the best path to political resurgence is to blame others and maintain that the pre-war planning was judicious; that the invasion was justified; and that significant progress is being made. I'm not sure what's worse: if he actually believes his own rhetoric and is thus delusional, or if he's blatantly lying.

On the central charge of whether Bush and his administration lied about the need to go to war, about WMD, and if they twisted and manipulated pre-war intelligence, we only need look at the statements made by Bush and VP Dick Cheney in the months, weeks and days leading up to the invasion. It paints a clear picture of a calculated campaign to mislead the nation.

Let's start with the president's statements:

To the United Nations, Sept. 12, 2002: "Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons."

Radio Address, Oct. 5, 2002: "Iraq has stockpiled biological and chemical weapons, and is rebuilding the facilities used to make more of those weapons. We have sources that tell us that Saddam Hussein recently authorized Iraqi field commanders to use chemical weapons -- the very weapons the dictator tells us he does not have."

Cincinnati, Ohio Speech, Oct. 7, 2002: "The Iraqi regime... possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons. It is seeking nuclear weapons. We know that the regime has produced thousands of tons of chemical agents, including mustard gas, sarin nerve gas, VX nerve gas....The evidence indicates that Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program. Iraq has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes and other equipment needed for gas centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons....The Iraqi dictator must not be permitted to threaten America and the world with horrible poisons and diseases and gases and atomic weapons....We've learned that Iraq has trained al-Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases ... Alliance with terrorists could allow the Iraqi regime to attack America without leaving any fingerprints."

State of the Union Address, Jan. 28, 3003: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." (the infamous "16 words" Bush chose to speak despite the fact he knew for a year that they weren't true. Fmr. Ambassador Joseph Wilson, after a CIA-sponsored Feb. 2002 trip to Niger to investigate the allegation, reported finding no such uranium connection between Saddam and Africa).

State of the Union Address, Jan. 28, 2003: "Our intelligence officials estimate that Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent."

Address to the Nation, March 17, 2003: "Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised."

Remarks made in Poland, June 1, 2003: "Yes, we found a biological laboratory in Iraq which the UN prohibited."

The vice president was just as deceptive when describing Saddam's WMD build-up on NBC's Meet the Press March 16, 2003: "We know that based on intelligence that he has been very, very good at hiding these kinds of efforts. He's had years to get good at it and we know he has been absolutely devoted to trying to acquire nuclear weapons. And we believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons."

And Cheney's lies get even bolder. In '01, discussing the alleged connection between 9-11 and Saddam, Cheney said of highjack leader Mohammed Atta on the Meet The Press: "It's been pretty well confirmed that he did go to Prague and he did meet with a senior official of the Iraqi intelligence service in Czechoslovakia last April. "

But three years later, June 19, 2004 speaking to reporter Gloria Borger on CNBC, Cheney blatantly lied.

BORGER: You have said in the past that it was, quote, pretty well confirmed.
CHENEY: No, I never said that.
CHENEY: I never said that.
BORGER: I think that is...
CHENEY: Absolutely not.

Bush also roped Secretary of State Colin Powell into the act. Powell, on Feb. 5, 2003, presented a very compelling case for war before the U.N. Security Council: "Our conservative estimate is that Iraq today has a stockpile of between 100 and 500 tons of chemical weapons agent. That is enough to fill 16,000 battlefield rockets."

And who can forget the incredulously over-confident declaration made on March 30, 2003 by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld: "We know where [Iraq's WMD] are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south, and north somewhat."

Now, 2 1/2 years and 2000 dead U.S. soldiers later, rather than accept responsibility and offer a mea culpa as so many presidents before him have done in the face of failure, Bush's strategy is to keep lying and shifting blame even though evidence such as Britain's Downing Street Memo proves that the Bushies manipulated intelligence to support its case for war.

"The stakes in the global war on terror are too high, and the national interest is too important, for politicians to throw out false charges," Bush said. "These baseless attacks send the wrong signal to our troops and to an enemy that is questioning America's will. As our troops fight a ruthless enemy determined to destroy our way of life, they deserve to know that their elected leaders who voted to send them to war continue to stand behind them."

Sorry George, you don't get to lie to Congress and then attack lawmakers as unpatriotic once the lies are eventually exposed and they subsequently oppose your unjust war. The failure of this war rests squarely on your shoulders and your over-zealous, war-mongering cabinet, not the Democrats, the media or anyone else.

The other GOP talking point being regurgitated ad infinitum is that 'everyone including the Clinton administration, our European allies and the U.N. believed Saddam had WMD.' True. But the key difference here is that none of them believed the intelligence was actionable. Which is why they chose not to go to war. Only someone with the supreme arrogance of President Bush would attempt to blame his irresponsibility and poor judgment on the responsibility and good judgment of others.