Chimpy would rather deny workers their rightsthan protect this country. President George W. Bush may veto legislation to adopt many of the remaining recommendations of the Sept. 11 Commission unless Senate Democrats drop a plan to allow airport screeners to join unions, a Bush administration official said. A provision in the security legislation now before the Senate would give government-employed airport security screeners the right to bargain collectively for union contracts and whistle-blower protections. [snip] Bush’s senior advisers would recommend a veto of the legislation, which authorizes more than $9.3 billion over three years in security grants to states, if … Continue reading Opposition to Unions More Important Than Security
Chimpy proposes a massive tax increase. President George W. Bush’s plan to revamp the health-care system would increase taxes on Americans by $526.2 billion over the next decade, according to a congressional estimate that calls into question administration claims of cost and tax savings. A “very preliminary” unreleased report by the staff of the non-partisan congressional Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that Bush’s proposal would begin imposing higher taxes by 2011. The estimate, which covers the next 10 years, suggests health care costs may not fall under the White House plan. The Bush administration said the change would reduce health-care … Continue reading Read My Lips
Thiscomes from Bush on a day when we learn that the DoD has cracked down on troops at Walter Reed for talking to the media. The hypocrisy is downright profane… THE PRESIDENT: One of the most enjoyable things I do as the President is to hear stories of my fellow citizens — stories of compassion, stories of care. I just talked to social entrepreneurs who have decided to help improve the lives of our servicemen and women and their families. There are some remarkable acts of kindness by people who have taken it upon themselves to serve their country by … Continue reading Bush profanity
Intoday’s gaggle Pony Blow claims that Osama bin Laden is no longer leading al Qaeda.
Q Tony, yesterday the President’s new Director of National Intelligence testified on Capitol Hill for the first time, and said, U.S. intelligence believes that Osama bin Laden and his number two are alive in Pakistan and reestablishing training camps. If you really have bin Laden on the run, how is he reestablishing training camps?
MR. SNOW: Well, that’s a question — that’s an intelligence matter that I’m not going to be able to go into.
Q But how can you continually say the leadership is on the run and —
MR. SNOW: Well, you take a look also at statements that have been made by generals in recent days — General Schoomaker the other day had a comment that I was asked about, which is he thought bin Laden had been marginalized. The question is whether al Qaeda — I think the bin Laden question may be separable from the al Qaeda question. It’s clear that al Qaeda is trying to gain strength —
Q But isn’t he the leader of al Qaeda?
MR. SNOW: Well, I don’t know. It’s a real question about who assumes operational command.
No Training? No Problem!
Q There was also a report this morning that two Army combat brigades are being sent to Iraq without desert training — the Associated Press has a story out today — and that it’s because they’re being rushed to Iraq to help get the surge in place.
MR. SNOW: Again, let me stress, what happens is, a lot of times you will also do training in theaters, as well as equipping in theater. The generals have made it very clear, and military commanders have made it clear, nobody is going to go into combat activity without proper equipment and training. Period. So if things —
Q But the story flatly says that two brigades are going in without desert training in California. So that doesn’t sound like —
MR. SNOW: All right, I understand.
Q — they’re getting the training.
MR. SNOW: Well, but they can get desert training elsewhere, like in Iraq.
Dick’s Trailer… This is the Airstream that was parked in the bay of the C-17 which carried Cheney into war zones. Inside, its gray-leather seating and paneled walls provided a comfortable shelter within the loud bay of the transport jet.[via Correntewire] Little people’s trailer… (photo from today’s Times Picayune) From today’s Times Picayune… A 21-year-old woman was badly burned Tuesday morning when her FEMA trailer caught fire, Kenner authorities said. […] The investigator is looking at the gas-powered stove as a possible cause, Michel said. Witnesses on the scene said the woman had told them that she lit a cigarette … Continue reading Trailers of the have mores and have nots
Oy. A car bomb killed at least 10 people in a crowded Baghdad market Wednesday, police said, while an Iraqi government spokesman praised a decrease in attacks during a new security plan in the capital. [snip] Later Wednesday, police said guards outside the Bab al-Sheik police station in central Baghdad fired on a suicide truck bomber as he approached them. The bomber changed course and crashed into a cement barrier, detonating his explosives. Two civilians were killed and two policemen and another civilian were wounded in the blast and exchange of gunfire, police said. The attacks came two weeks into … Continue reading Irony Thrives On Blood in Baghdad
I am imagining increasingly hilarious scenarios in which Angelina talks rings around Our Preznit while he stares, mouth open, making the occasional “oog oog” noise. I love this woman and I don’t care who knows it. A. Continue reading Help Us, Mrs. Smith, You’re Our Only Hope
Via Dan Froomkin, it’s now officially a civil war. The nation’s spy chief said Tuesday that the violence in Iraq resembles a civil war and the Iraqi government has the “close to impossible” job of trying to end the violence. The “term ‘civil war’ accurately describes key elements of the Iraqi conflict,” Mike McConnell, the new director of national intelligence, said in a statement to the Senate Armed Services Committee. Continue reading OK, So Now It’s A Civil War
From the influential former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani reported today in the Kuwait Times… “The Americans brought their troops with high spending to Iraq and Afghanistan.The only thing they did was to remove Iran’s enemies, Saddam Hussein and the Taliban,” said Rafsanjani, president from 1989 to 1997. “They explicitly admit that their attempts ended up by serving Iran’s interests,” the Iranian press quoted him as saying. “Therefore they are angry. So we must be more alert. They are like a wounded tiger and we must not ignore this.” (my emphasis) The smarty pants neo-conservatives haven’t been right yet. It’s … Continue reading Wounded…paper…tigers
The Electronic Frontier Foundationis doing its best to find out more about Chimpy’s unconstitutional eavesdropping. A privacy rights group sued the Justice Department on Tuesday to try to pry loose a ruling by a secret court that the Bush administration says approved its clandestine wiretapping program. The suit, if it succeeds, should answer an important question about the future of the program: whether the court will require individual warrants, with specific evidence, before allowing the government to intercept phone calls and e-mails between Americans and alleged terrorists in foreign countries. [snip] A federal judge in Detroit declared the program unconstitutional … Continue reading Secret Decision By A Secret Court
George W. Bush, January 31, 2007:
Just today, we learned that America’s economy grew at an annual rate of 3.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2006. That means our economy grew at 3.4 percent last year, which is up from 3.1 percent in 2005. Ladies and gentlemen: The state of our economy is strong.
The U.S. economy was cooler than thought as last year drew to a close.
The Commerce Department says fourth-quarter growth has been revised to an annual gain of 2.2 percent. That’s a downward revision from the previous estimate of Gross Domestic Product put at 3.5 percent.
The downgrading of fourth-quarter growth means the economy for all of 2006 grew just 3.3 percent.
Let’s starttoday’s gaggle with Pony Blow’s standard dodge.
Q How was the suicide bomber able to get within range of the base where Vice President Cheney was?
MR. SNOW: I don’t know. I refer it to DOD. I think at this point people are still investigating what happened, so we don’t have a firm answer for you.
I Assume Cheney’s Death Would Be Just Another Comma
Q What does this attack say about the strength of the Taliban in Afghanistan?
MR. SNOW: I’m not sure it says anything.
MR. SNOW: Because you’ve got an isolated attack. As we’ve often said about acts of terror, an individual who wants to commit an act of violence or kill him or herself, very difficult to stop. But I’m not sure that you can draw larger conclusions about any organization based on an incident such as this. And in this case, we have a claim of responsibility, but I’m not sure, as I said in answer to Terry’s question, that we have a full picture of precisely what took place. I think it will take a while before we get that picture.
Q Tony, no matter who was responsible for this, to what extent does it underscore the very reason that the Vice President was sent there to begin with?
MR. SNOW: I’m not sure — again, it’s — I don’t think — Peter, I don’t know. It’s an interesting — again, the Vice President was there to consult with allies in the war on terror. Now, to the extent that there are elements within the war on terror that depend on isolated acts of violence that are designed to kill indiscriminately and attract worldwide media attention, I suppose it is reflective of that. But on the other hand, you also do have organized elements of Taliban and al Qaeda that one needs to deal with. So I don’t know exactly how you — I don’t even know a good metric for figuring out precisely how that fits into the equation.
Q Well, wasn’t one of the main reasons he was sent there because of the concern about the spring offensive, about the already ongoing upsurge in violence, and this is emblematic of it?
MR. SNOW: Well, perhaps, again, everybody is leaping to conclusions — and I can see how you would do it. I’m just being more cautious, because at this point we don’t have a whole lot of detail on the whys and wherefores of what took place today.
Human Righs Watch calls for an accounting. Several dozen terrorism suspects believed to have been held at secret CIA prisons are still missing without trace, and the United States should reveal what has happened to them, a leading rights group said on Tuesday. Human Rights Watch (HRW) urged President George W. Bush in an open letter to disclose the identity, fate and whereabouts of all prisoners held at secret CIA facilities since 2001. “As you may know, the CIA’s detention program has inflicted great harm on the reputation, moral standing and integrity of the United States,” … Continue reading The Disappeared
“Goddamn, Condi!” REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque “What did you have for dinner last night, a roadkill burrito?” REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque Continue reading She Learned from the Master
REUTERS/Jim Young Continue reading A Bit Light in the Presidential Loafers
CNN reporting a sudden stock sell off. DOW down 500.46 points right now. More here Continue reading Breaking: Stock Selloff
Senator Boxer in New Orleans for a field hearing announced plans to fast track a bill containing levee and wetlands projects. She also questioned why Bush refuses to ask for the $1.3 billion needed to continue levee construction on NOLA’s east bank (background post here)… In a field hearing in New Orleans on Monday, Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer announced plans to complete by the end of March the writing of the 2007 Water Resources Development Act, which contains hundreds of levee, wetlands and navigation projects, including many in Louisiana. The water projects authorization bill, normally … Continue reading Boxer to speed levee bill
Just don’t train them. Rushed by President Bush’s decision to reinforce Baghdad with thousands more U.S. troops, two Army combat brigades are skipping their usual session at the Army’s premier training range in California and instead are making final preparations at their home bases. Some in Congress and others outside the Army are beginning to question the switch, which is not widely known. They wonder whether it means the Army is cutting corners in preparing soldiers for combat, since they are forgoing training in a desert setting that was designed specially to prepare them for the challenges of Iraq. Continue reading Support Our Troops!
In Afghanistan… Q What do you think the symbolism is there for the — for whoever carried this out? They said publicly that this was aimed at you. What does that — THE VICE PRESIDENT: Who said that? Q The Taliban — THE VICE PRESIDENT: I hadn’t heard that. Q It was a Taliban spokesman quoted, saying that the attack was trying to get you. Q What we’re quoting them as saying is that they took responsibility for it, and they said they were aware that you were there. THE VICE PRESIDENT: I hadn’t heard that. Continue reading Cheney Shits A Brick
The National Governors Association has been meeting and find they are on the losing end with the Bush administration on children’s health care… In the session at the White House, when President Bush reported on progress of the war, governors pressed him to provide more money so they could guarantee health insurance for children. In response, administration officials said states should make better use of the money they already had. SNIP Governors said the Clinton and Bush administrations had encouraged them to expand children’s coverage and had granted waivers allowing them to cover parents and even some childless adults. Having … Continue reading Governors have issues
Via Juan Cole: Also in Basra, al-Hayat reported that Muqtada al-Sadr’s representative in that city, Baha’ al-A’raji, read a statement from him that said, “The decision of the British to withdraw is a sign of the victory of the Resistance there.” He added, “The partial withdrawal of the British forces from the city constitutes a defeat for the forces of Occupation, and is the fruit of the struggle and jihad of the sons of the city.” Continue reading Muqtada Says Cheney Is Full Of Shit
Gallup. More Americans today say they are dissatisfied with the United States’ position in the world, believe that other nations have an unfavorable view of the country, and believe other world leaders do not respect George W. Bush than have said this in any previous Gallup Poll. [snip] The Feb. 1-4, 2007 Gallup Poll finds just 37% of Americans saying they are satisfied with the position of the United States in the world today — the lowest reading Gallup has recorded on this measure, which dates back to 1962. [snip] Most Americans, 54%, now think the United States rates unfavorably … Continue reading Americans Know We’re Screwed
Just pimping the latest piece for Sirens: I wouldn’t be so skeeved by commentary like this if there had been equal treatment of Illinois Rep. Dennis Hastert while he held Pelosi’s position. It’s not like Hastert’s fashion sense isn’t a target-rich environment, either: The man is the size of a small bus, and he chose to clothe that bus in suits that looked like he’d borrowed them from somebody on the way to the Capitol. Suspenders dragging his ill-fitting blue pants toward his chin, cheap jacket left sloppily unbuttoned and flapping like bat wings, Denny spent the entirety of the … Continue reading Clothes Whores
Via Dan Froomkin, the White House apparently held a hugely important, serious terror drill yesterday. Dozens of high-level officials joined in a White House drill yesterday to see how the government would respond if several cities were attacked simultaneously with bombs similar to those used against U.S. troops in Iraq. White House homeland security adviser Frances Fragos Townsend and the Homeland Security Council that she heads mapped out in advance a massive disaster involving improvised explosive devices, or IEDs. The attack targeted 10 U.S. cities, both large and small, at the same time, said a senior administration official who spoke … Continue reading Nimrod
Cheney was at Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan for an unannounced visit when a suicide bomber attacked the main gate. From AP… BAGRAM, Afghanistan – A suicide bomber killed 19 people and wounded 11 on foot killed and wounded some two dozen people outside the main U.S. military base in Afghanistan on Tuesday during a visit by Vice President Dick Cheney, officials said.The Taliban claimed responsibility and said Cheney was the target. From BBC… The US military said the explosion did not appear to be aimed at the vice-president, who was safely inside at the time. SNIP A US spokesman described … Continue reading Suicide Bombing at US base during Cheney Visit
Gaze in delight asPony Blowdoes the Pakistani Two-Step.
Q You said this morning that you hadn’t had a chance to talk to with the Vice President or his people about what he said to General Musharraf. Have you been briefed on that?
MR. SNOW: Well, actually, what I said, too, is that the precise nature of his comments and the tenor of comments to the President would be the sort of things that would be confidential.
Q Do you think that General Musharraf is keeping his commitments to go after the Taliban —
MR. SNOW: I’d frame it in a different way, he is doing —
Q Well —
MR. SNOW: Well, I’m not sure how exactly one would — the question, “keeping commitments,” it is not something where he lays out goals and timetables, but he is committed, in fact, to trying to defeat al Qaeda.
Q Tony, results matter, as The Times indicated quoting a senior administration official anonymously today. And the bottom line is this administration is only letting Musharraf know that he could lose a very sizeable foreign aid package because he’s not producing. True?
MR. SNOW: Well, the President not so long ago — it was a couple of weeks ago, as a matter of fact — was talking about a number of recent events in which the Pakistanis, in fact, were very helpful in going after the Taliban. And he pointed out that even though there is not a Taliban spring offensive yet, there have been aggressive actions going after terrorists within Pakistan — in one case, some were chased across the Afghan border, there they met with resistance; when they came back into Pakistan they were also met by actions by the Pakistanis.
I’ll let others answer questions about what they think the political atmosphere here is in the United States.
Q If Musharraf — and this is kind of well out on the table — I mean, there’s political difficulties dealing with this part of the border region, this lawlessness — the President describes it as the “Wild West.” There’s been a deal that Musharraf made with some of the tribal leaders there. Why doesn’t the United States military, in concert with its allies, if it thinks that al Qaeda is reconstituting, take direct military action?
MR. SNOW: Well, again, I would leave that — I would let military officials answer a question like that.
Q But why — I’m sorry, just one more. Why dance around so much on this issue when you’re certainly not doing anything to knock down the idea that this administration, this White House, is sending a tough message to the Musharraf government today, correct?
MR. SNOW: Well, no, I just — I’ll let others characterize. We have not been saying it’s a tough message. What we’re saying is, we’re having — the Vice President is meeting with President Musharraf because we do understand the importance of making even greater progress against al Qaeda, against the Taliban. It is important not only for the safety and security of people within Pakistan, but obviously within Afghanistan, as well. And it’s an important element in the larger war on terror.
Q Does the President feel that President Musharraf has been aggressive enough in living up to the commitments that he made?
MR. SNOW: Again, I think — Jim, you act as if — a question like that seems to presume that everything is predictable; you do a certain amount of things, and you’ll get a predictable result. You’re dealing with an unpredictable enemy. President Musharraf certainly has been responding to a changing threat and to changing conditions, and we are going to support him on that. Do we —
Q But the question —
MR. SNOW: No, the question — I’m sorry, then I’ll let you go back at me. I think the appropriate question is, is he doing what he can, is he committed to winning? The answer is, yes.
Q The question is, is the President satisfied?
MR. SNOW: The President — as long as you have terrorists at large in the world, the President is not going to be satisfied. And I daresay President Musharraf is not satisfied.
Q The question is, Dick Cheney —
MR. SNOW: What you’re trying to do — I’m not going to answer a question —
Q I have a very simple question; there’s no trick question to this. The Vice President was in Pakistan, he was meeting with President Musharraf. There are media reports that he was saying, expressing the administration’s dissatisfaction with the way that President Musharraf has conducted incursions or overseen the border regions. Is that the message that the Vice President was delivering?
MR. SNOW: Again, I’m not going to try to convey precisely what the Vice President said. The President made it clear a couple of weeks ago, President Musharraf is committed to winning this, and we are committed to working with him in this war on terror. We’re not going to be — we’re often asked to give out report cards on other heads of state. I’m not going to play.
Q But you give out report cards on Mr. Maliki all the time.
MR. SNOW: Well, no, quite often you guys will ask us, are you satisfied with X, Y, and Z, and we talk about how we’re working with them.
Q Can you talk about the aid — part of the Vice President’s message, I know it was just referred to in David’s question, about the potential for aid being cut off by the U.S. to Pakistan?
MR. SNOW: No, because what you’re speculating about is congressional action. I’m not going to talk about that.
Q Do you believe that Congress is thinking about —
MR. SNOW: No, I’m not going to speculate about that, nor am I going to talk about the tone, tenor, or precise content of what the Vice President had to say to President Musharraf.
Rasmussen. Most Americans (54%) believe that in the long run the U.S. mission in Iraq will be judged a failure. Just 29% say it will ultimately be viewed as a success. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 36% of voters believe the U.S. and its allies are winning while 36% hold the opposite view and believe the terrorists are winning. A month ago, 37% believed the U.S. allies were winning while 32% said the terrorists are winning. These results mark the third time in four surveys that 36% have said the terrorists are winning. That matches … Continue reading The Continuing Disillusionment
The Bush Justice Department seems to be making up evidence in a prominent terror trial. When the Bush administration shut down the Holy Land Foundation five years ago, officials of the former Richardson charity denied allegations that it was linked to terrorists and insisted that a number of accusations were fabricated by the government. Now attorneys for the Holy Land Foundation say the government’s own documents provide evidence of their assertion. In recent court filings, defense lawyers disclosed discrepancies between an official summary and the verbatim transcripts of a wiretapped conversation in 1996 involving Holy Land officials. The summary attributes … Continue reading Pretend Evidence
Altas’ Juggs live-blogs the Academy Awards show — and only makes it through the first hour. I usually avoid leftarded “award” shows like the plague but my girls are insisting I watch with them so here I am checking out the brainless “leaping out of their limos.” [snip] “Alan Arkin is my idol,”Steve Carol (sp) of Little Miss Sunshine …oy [snip] Penelope Cruz is the bomb, what a dress! She still can’t talk – how many years in this country? [snip] Next train wreck, Eddie Murphy – attending with some totally hot fookin babe. Left his predilection for the little … Continue reading Oscar Night Through Vodka Goggles
Today, in Washington, speaking to our nation’s governors. What The Governor’s Got To Know First, obviously — well, I don’t know if it’s obvious to you, or not, but my biggest concern is protecting this country. You got to know something, that a lot of my thinking was defined on September the 11th. It Is The Way It Was I wish that wasn’t the way it was. But it is. Two-In-One You’ve got two governors who are active in the Guard and Reserve — Governor Blunt and Governor Sanford. He’s not here because he’s at a Air Force Reserve meeting, … Continue reading Your President Speaks!