Bushwhacking in America

The George W. Bush administration has done things to America that I believed were only possible under Nixon, Stalin or Hitler. He likely stole TWO presidential elections. He put us into a war under false pretenses instead of capturing or killing bin Laden, or whomever attacked and killed almost 3000 souls on OUR soil. By his actions, Bush has infuriated and energized terrorists worldwide. This is dedicated to Mr. Bush, "W" as he's known to many.

Monday, June 25, 2007

The Cincinnai Post on Bush and Stem Cells

A Rear-Guard Action

Politically, President Bush is on the losing side of federally financed stem-cell research. The public supports it and so, increasingly, does Congress.

The Republican Congress passed a stem-cell-research bill last year and Bush vetoed it, the first veto of his presidency. This year, the Democratic Congress passed a similar bill and last week Bush used just his third veto.

Indicative of the growing support, the second attempt at a bill passed by greater margins than the first, 63-34 in the Senate, just four votes shy of the margin needed to override a veto.

Broadly, these bills would have permitted federally funded research into cells obtained, with the donors' permission, from surplus embryos that fertility clinics would otherwise destroy.

Bush argues, defensibly, that he and others are deeply, morally opposed to the destruction of embryos, even if only a few days old and no bigger than a pencil point, for research purposes and they should not have to see their tax money pay for it.

There is no ban on the research. States and private institutions are free to carry out the research. California voters have approved $3 billion in state funding for such research.

In 2001, Bush did issue an executive order allowing research on pre-existing stem-cell lines, but none on embryos created after the date of the order. But scientists said those lines were either inadequate or tainted, and even though the final outcome is far from a certainty, evidence continued to grow that the all-purpose embryonic stem cell was the most effective replacement for nerves and tissue destroyed by diseases like diabetes, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

Following his veto, the president issued another order directing the government to encourage the search for non-embryonic cells, from amniotic fluid or umbilical cords or by reprogramming adult cells. And perhaps one day that will make this whole debate moot, but the beneficiaries of a cure for wasting diseases and their allies are not inclined to wait.

In what's likely to be a wave of such efforts, the Senate Appropriations Committee came right back and, by a vote of 26-3, attached a rider effectively overturning the ban to a must-pass funding bill for the departments of Labor and Health and Human Services.

Bush can go on fighting this, even as his own party begins deserting him on the issue, but one day he will almost certainly lose and he may find that the strength of his convictions has left him with no say in how this research will ultimately be conducted.

(Unfortunately, by then, Bush, and his administration, will have been responsible for setting back stem cell research six-plus years, and killing and/or sickening millions of Americans. Add to this his non-response to the 9/11/01 attacks, his horrible response to natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina, and his Iraq "war", and he has cost the people of this country a tremendous human toll. His "moral" compass is so far off that he -- and Cheney, the real "decider" -- daily prove how far out of touch with the American populace they are --the people they are supposed to protect and serve.

Make no mistake about it. The Bush administration has clearly charted a course which cares for the wealthy and corporations at the expense of middle America, poor folks, the aging and the infirm.

~ Applejack)

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Cheney's claims he's neither fish nor fowl, but something smells

Agency Is Target in Cheney Fight on Secrecy Data

Published: June 22, 2007
New York Times

For four years, Vice President Dick Cheney has resisted routine oversight of his office’s handling of classified information, and when the National Archives unit that monitors classification in the executive branch objected, the vice president’s office suggested abolishing the oversight unit, according to documents released yesterday by a Democratic congressman.

The Information Security Oversight Office, a unit of the National Archives, appealed the issue to the Justice Department, which has not yet ruled on the matter.

Representative Henry A. Waxman, Democrat of California and chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, disclosed Mr. Cheney’s effort to shut down the oversight office. Mr. Waxman, who has had a leading role in the stepped-up efforts by Democrats to investigate the Bush administration, outlined the matter in an eight-page letter sent Thursday to the vice president and posted, along with other documentation, on the committee’s Web site.

Officials at the National Archives and the Justice Department confirmed the basic chronology of events cited in Mr. Waxman’s letter.

The letter said that after repeatedly refusing to comply with a routine annual request from the archives for data on his staff’s classification of internal documents, the vice president’s office in 2004 blocked an on-site inspection of records that other agencies of the executive branch regularly go through.

But the National Archives is an executive branch department headed by a presidential appointee, and it is assigned to collect the data on classified documents under a presidential executive order. Its Information Security Oversight Office is the archives division that oversees classification and declassification.

“I know the vice president wants to operate with unprecedented secrecy,” Mr. Waxman said in an interview. “But this is absurd. This order is designed to keep classified information safe. His argument is really that he’s not part of the executive branch, so he doesn’t have to comply.”

A spokeswoman for Mr. Cheney, Megan McGinn, said, “We’re confident that we’re conducting the office properly under the law.” She declined to elaborate.

Other officials familiar with Mr. Cheney’s view said that he and his legal adviser, David S. Addington, did not believe that the executive order applied to the vice president’s office because it had a legislative as well as an executive status in the Constitution. Other White House offices, including the National Security Council, routinely comply with the oversight requirements, according to Mr. Waxman’s office and outside experts.

Tony Fratto, a White House spokesman, said last night, “The White House complies with the executive order, including the National Security Council.”

The dispute is far from the first to pit Mr. Cheney and Mr. Addington against outsiders seeking information, usually members of Congress or advocacy groups. Their position is generally based on strong assertions of presidential power and the importance of confidentiality, which Mr. Cheney has often argued was eroded by post-Watergate laws and the prying press.

Mr. Waxman asserted in his letter and the interview that Mr. Cheney’s office should take the efforts of the National Archives especially seriously because it has had problems protecting secrets.

He noted that I. Lewis Libby Jr., the vice president’s former chief of staff, was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice for lying to a grand jury and the F.B.I. during an investigation of the leak of classified information — the secret status of Valerie Wilson, the wife of a Bush administration critic, as a Central Intelligence Agency officer.

Mr. Waxman added that in May 2006, a former aide in Mr. Cheney’s office, Leandro Aragoncillo, pleaded guilty to passing classified information to plotters trying to overthrow the president of the Philippines.

“Your office may have the worst record in the executive branch for safeguarding classified information,” Mr. Waxman wrote to Mr. Cheney.

In the tradition of Washington’s semantic dust-ups, this one might be described as a fight over what an “entity” is. The executive order, last updated in 2003 and currently under revision, states that it applies to any “entity within the executive branch that comes into the possession of classified information.”

J. William Leonard, director of the oversight office, has argued in a series of letters to Mr. Addington that the vice president’s office is indeed such an entity. He noted that previous vice presidents had complied with the request for data on documents classified and declassified, and that Mr. Cheney did so in 2001 and 2002.

But starting in 2003, the vice president’s office began refusing to supply the information. In 2004, it blocked an on-site inspection by Mr. Leonard’s office that was routinely carried out across the government to check whether documents were being properly labeled and safely stored.

Mr. Addington did not reply in writing to Mr. Leonard’s letters, according to officials familiar with their exchanges. But Mr. Addington stated in conversations that the vice president’s office was not an “entity within the executive branch” because, under the Constitution, the vice president also plays a role in the legislative branch, as president of the Senate, able to cast a vote in the event of a tie.

Mr. Waxman rejected that argument. “He doesn’t have classified information because of his legislative function,” Mr. Waxman said of Mr. Cheney. “It’s because of his executive function.”

Mr. Cheney’s general resistance to complying with the oversight request was first reported last year by The Chicago Tribune.

In January, Mr. Leonard wrote to Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales asking that he resolve the question. Erik Ablin, a Justice Department spokesman, said last night, “This matter is currently under review in the department.”

Whatever the ultimate ruling, according to Mr. Waxman’s letter, the vice president’s office has already carried out “possible retaliation” against the oversight office.

As part of an interagency review of Executive Order 12958, Mr. Cheney’s office proposed eliminating appeals to the attorney general — precisely the avenue Mr. Leonard was taking. According to Mr. Waxman’s investigation, the vice president’s staff also proposed abolishing the Information Security Oversight Office.

The interagency group revising the executive order has rejected those proposals, according to Mr. Waxman. Ms. McGinn, Mr. Cheney’s spokeswoman, declined to comment.

Mr. Cheney’s penchant for secrecy has long been a striking feature of the Bush administration, beginning with his fight to keep confidential the identities of the energy industry officials who advised his task force on national energy policy in 2001. Mr. Cheney took that dispute to the Supreme Court and won.

Steven Aftergood, who tracks government secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists and last year filed a complaint with the oversight office about Mr. Cheney’s noncompliance, said, “This illustrates just how far the vice president will go to evade external oversight.”

But David B. Rivkin, a Washington lawyer who served in Justice Department and White House posts in earlier Republican administrations, said Mr. Cheney had a valid point about the unusual status of the office he holds.

“The office of the vice president really is unique,” Mr. Rivkin said. “It’s not an agency. It’s an extension of the vice president himself.”

Thursday, June 21, 2007

George says:

"I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we're really talking about peace."
George W, Bush
June 18, 2002

"War is Peace"
Big Brother in
George Orwell's 1984


Wednesday, June 20, 2007


The current administration has not learned from the Nixon lessons.

Bush, Cheney, Rove, Rumsfeld, Rice and whomever else was responsible for manipulating the 2000 and 2004 elections are guilty of more impeachable offenses than any administration in US history.

They have not identified, found, or brought to justice, whomever was responsible for the horrific attacks of 9/11/01 -- the worst attacks on US soil in recent memory. It is now over 5 1/2 years later. There has never been a clearer dereliction of duty in US history.
They have compounded that failure by using faulty intelligence and outright lies to start and wage a war in Iraq. That "war" has caused the deaths and maimings of thousands of US military personnel and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. Rather than making the world safer FROM terrorists, it has enflamed and emboldened terrorists worldwide, resulting in more attacks on US and allied citizenry.

Thousands of Americans died or were displaced by Hurricane Katrina and other natural disasters. Administration appointees failed to respond in a timely and appropriate manner to the devastation. The National Guard, who should have been the "first responders", was suffering from severe personnel shortages since they were deployed to fight the Iraq "war". Many of those dislodged Americans are still homeless, and they may never be able to return to their communities.

Despite mounting, overwhelming, contrary evidence, the Bush administration has steadfastly denied the existence of global warming and other environmental threats, instead cozying up to their business cronies. Despite a mounting national debt caused by the Iraq "war", the administration has lavished huge tax breaks upon those corporate supporters, and upon the wealthiest of Americans.

Most recently, Mr. Bush has again arrogantly vetoed a bill to fund stem cell research in the US. Over 70% of Americans favor the bill, and as many as 100 MILLION Americans -- one third of the populace -- suffer from the 70+ diseases and afflictions which may well be helped, or cured by, stem cell applications.

Members of the Bush administration daily take actions which add to the impeachment case. However, whether or not Bush, Cheney et al are impeached, their actions in Iraq certainly merit trial for war crimes before an international tribunal.