Thursday, February 02, 2006

Other Items

In this morning's New York Times, David S. Cloud's "Pentagon Review Calls for No Big Changes" proves that the supposed fiscal conservative doesn't serve in the Bully Boy administration. (But really who does serve in the Bully Boy administration? They're all on permanent vacation which is why Condi can get off another variation of her "No one could have guessed . . ." statements -- most recently that no one could have guessed Hamas could win in the Palestinian elections -- and no one blinks. When you're on permanent vacation, no one guesses or second guesses. No one does anything.)

Rumsfeld, supposedly busy focusing on the Iraq war, wasn't 'hands on' for this "comprehensive military strategy review." As schools, public services and infrastructure go down the toilet, once again, the defense contract industry has no reason to worry. The National Guard rallied with some numbers recently to stop cuts in their levels. No one's checked out the numbers (though the press has trumpted them). But that's about as serious as any questions got -- can we eliminate man power? (Human power?) In any other industry, the White House would have said "Yes!" as they always do. But between the drain on the Guard due to our two wars (only one's noted in Cloud's article -- Afghanistan truly has fallen off the map) and the fact that it's the military, they'll do okay. Contractors will clean up on weapons, as they always do, that aren't proven to be effective (let alone cost effective) and we'll all pretend that the huge amount of monies that can never go to the public good actually do some good in the defense industry . . .
at least until/unless we face another attack. At which point, we'll all scratch our heads and blame it on some non-existant "wall" as opposed to asking any serious questions. (In fact, next time, let's not even waste money for a commission. If they're going to refuse to do their job, which the 9-11 Commission did do, let's just hand the task over to the Cokie Roberts crowd with their conventional 'wisdoms' and save the money since the 'analysis' will go no deeper than that as everyone rushes to avoid taking testimony that might ask the hard questions.)

Too harsh? The Rummy-less plan "eliminates no major weapon systems and calls for only incremental change in other priorities, according to Pentagon officials, outside advisers and independent analysts."

But never fear, Bully Boy will cut programs, people programs, as is noted in Sheryl Gay Stolberg's "House Approves Budget Cutbacks of $39.5 Billion:"

House Republicans eked out a victory on a $39.5 billion budget-cutting package on Wednesday, with a handful of skittish Republicans switching their votes at the last minute in opposition to reductions in spending on health and education programs.
The vote helped President Bush deliver on his promise to rein in federal spending while underscoring deep anxiety within his party over cutting social welfare programs in an election year.
The measure represents the first major effort by lawmakers since 1997 to cut the growth of so-called entitlement programs, including student loans, crop subsidies and Medicaid, in which spending is determined by eligibility criteria.

Lloyd notes Matthew Rothschild's "Rep. Lynn Woolsey Denounces Arrest of Cindy Sheehan, Who Vows to Sue" (McCarthyism Watch, The Progressive):

Capitol police dragged Sheehan out of the gallery for wearing a shirt that said: "2245 Dead. How many more." She was arrested for "unlawful conduct," and was held for four hours, Sheehan says.
"Cindy Sheehan, who gave her own flesh and blood for this disastrous war, did not violate any rules of the House of Representatives. She merely wore a shirt that highlighted the human cost of the Iraq War and expressed a view different than that of the President," Rep. Woolsey said. "Free speech and the First Amendment exist to protect dissenting statements like Ms. Sheehan's." (Woolsey italicized the word "exist" in her press release.)
Here is Cindy Sheehan’s account of what happened, after she had already passed through security twice: "My ticket was in the 5th gallery, front row, fourth seat in," she wrote on buzzflash. "The person who in a few minutes was to arrest me helped me to my seat. I had just sat down and I was warm from climbing three flights of stairs back up from the bathroom so I unzipped my jacket. I turned to the right to take my left arm out, when the same officer saw my shirt and yelled: 'Protester!' He then ran over to me, hauled me out of my seat, and roughly (with my hands behind my back) shoved me up the stairs."
Sgt. Kimberly Schneider in the public information office of the Capitol Police did not provide direct comment to The Progressive, but she told the AP that Sheehan was warned that that she could not wear such a display "but did not respond."
Sheehan denies that. "I was never told that I couldn't wear that shirt into the Congress," she said. "I was never asked to take it off or zip my jacket back up."

Use the link to find out about the wife of House Representative who also was apparently judged a 'terrorist with intent to t-shirt.'

Lloyd also notes Matthew Rothschild's "More Dishonesty from Bush in State of Union" (This Just In, The Progressive):

On the NSA spying scandal, Bush was even more dishonest.
He said: "If there are people inside our country who are talking with Al Qaeda, we want to know about it because we will not sit back and wait to be hit again."
But no one is suggesting that the United States "sit back."
All critics want is for Bush to follow the law and to go to the FISA court to get a warrant to wiretap that call. The FISA court has granted 99.997 percent of Bush’s requests for such warrants. What’s so hard about asking for a warrant?
But Bush pretended in his speech, just as he has in his actions, that the FISA law doesn't even exist. He didn’t mention it at all. He did say his actions are justified both by the Constitution and by "statute," but the only statute that explicitly deals with wiretapping specifies that a FISA warrant is the "exclusive means" by which domestic wiretapping can occur. (Bush's lawyers cite Congress’s authorization of military force against Al Qaeda, but that is a specious argument, since Bush wanted to include in that authorization some language that would have given him the power to do warrantless wiretapping, and Congress refused to go along with that, as former Senator Tom Daschle has noted.)
Bush also said that "appropriate members of Congress have been kept informed," but the
Congressional Research Service studied this question and concluded that Bush did not fully inform the intelligence committees and thus acted in a way "inconsistent with the law."

If I'd seen this earlier, it would have been in the previous entry that focused on the NSA, apologies to Lloyd. And KeShawn has e-mailed about the earlier post this morning, asking that we note Joan Mellen's "HOW THE FAILURE TO IDENTIFY, PROSECUTE AND CONVICT PRESIDENT KENNEDY’S ASSASSINS HAS LED TO TODAY’S CRISIS OF DEMOCRACY" again (which is at the Law & Disorder website). (KeShawn also points out it's "Mellen" -- thank you, corrected in previous post.)

Remember, Democracy Now! today, Amy Goodman broadcasting from Qatar, listen, watch or read.

The e-mail address for this site is