Saturday, February 16, 2008

Straight Talk? John McCain Not So Straight When It Comes To Matching Funds And Banks

    This could be another reason that Senator McCain wants Senator Obama to only run on federal matching campaign funds. It seems as if McCain might have fucked himself a little while back in the primaries

    From DailyKos:

Did McCain Inadvertently Commit Himself to Public Funding?

by DHinMI
Sat Feb 16, 2008 at 11:29:27 AM PST

The day of the Florida primary I wrote about John McCain's financial dilemma:

Some months back McCain's campaign applied for federal matching campaign funds.  (The money comes from individual taxpayers who voluntarily check off a $3 contribution on their income tax return.)  In December seven campaigns were officially notified that they qualified for matching funds.  However, because of a funding shortfall, none of the federal matching funds have been released.  Apparently the fund reserves the money needed for the general election before it starts to pay out matching funds for the primary, and until monies arrive from this year's tax returns, the fund doesn't have enough money to deliver money for the primary.  John Edwards secured a bank loan against the federal funds, so he is officially locked in to abiding by the spending limits in the event he gets the nomination.

McCain qualified for $5.8 million in matching funds.  He could do as Edwards has done, and get the money now by securing a bank loan against the eventual payment from the US Treasury.  But McCain has been anything but "straight talking" regarding his money; until he receives the money from the Treasury or borrows against it, he's not locked in to the system.  Thus, he's currently trying to evade the federal spending limits if he can raise enough money to stay viable, but holding out the option of taking the federal funds if he can't survive through tonight.  

Here's McCain's problem.  Accepting federal matching funds would limit him to spending no more than $53-$55 million during the primary period.  (The exact figure will be adjusted based on the campaign's fundraising expenses and other expenditures.).  If McCain wins the nomination and accepts the matching funds, the $53-$55 million limit would constrain his spending all the way until the beginning of September, when the Republicans nominate their candidate at their national convention in Minneapolis.

McCain never spent any money borrowed by using his certification for federal matching funds as collateral.  However, he may have committed himself to the spending caps—which would be disastrous for his campaign—by promising to enter the federal matching funds program in order to secure a $1 million loan he ended up not using:

John McCain's cash-strapped campaign borrowed $1 million from a Bethesda bank two weeks before the New Hampshire primary by pledging to enter the public financing system if his bid for the presidency faltered, newly disclosed records show.

McCain had already taken a $3 million bank loan in November to keep his campaign afloat, and he sought from the same bank $1 million more shortly before this month's Super Tuesday contests, this time pledging incoming but unprocessed contributions as collateral. He never used the funds of the most recent loan, because his win in the South Carolina primary helped him raise enough money to compete in Florida, his campaign aides said last night...

McCain's campaign filed the modification to his initial $3 million loan on Dec. 17, seeking an additional $1 million. The bank asked him to produce something more than his campaign's assets as collateral.

"They said, 'You've explained how you can afford to borrow more, and how you can pay us back if things go well. What happens if things go badly?' " said Trevor Potter, a McCain attorney.

The campaign's response, Potter said, was that McCain could reapply in the future for federal matching funds, and would agree to use the FEC certifications for those funds as collateral.

Under the agreement, McCain promised that if his campaign began to falter, he would commit to keeping his campaign alive and to entering the federal financing system so the money he had raised could be used to gain an infusion of matching funds. Had that happened, he would have been forced to abide by strict federal spending caps before the Republican National Convention in September.

Under FEC rules, a candidate who uses a certification for federal funds as collateral for a loan is obligated to remain within the public financing system. "We very carefully did not do that," Potter said.

Cleta Mitchell, a veteran campaign finance lawyer and a McCain critic, said she has never encountered a similar agreement.

"They've clearly got a sweetheart deal with this bank," Mitchell said. "This bank is just a cash register for them."

Think of it like this.  John McCain secured a personal loan by using his home as collateral.  He requested more money be added to the loan, but the bank said it was more than he had collateral to pay back.  McCain countered by telling the bank that his neighbor failed to salt his icy sidewalk, and McCain slipped on it.  McCain got a doctor to say the slip-and-fall hurt McCain's back, he sued the neighbor, and he expects to win a big settlement.  The bank said "sure, OK, that's what happens if you win your court case.  But what if you lose?"  In response McCain said "oh, I suppose I'll have to get a job," and the bank then said "OH, OK, that's good enough for us!" and authorized the loan.  

If McCain used the certification for matching funds as collateral he would have definitely been locked in to the matching funds scheme, including the spending caps.  What happened here is that the bank didn't require him to offer up the certificate as collateral.  The bank simply accepted McCain's word that he had it and would enter the federal system if necessary, and the bank took him at his word.  

The question that needs to be answered is whether this sweetheart deal with the bank, which gave him the funds based on his word that he would use the matching funds if necessary, amounts to a de facto use of the qualifying certificate to secure the loan.

  I wonder if this is even legal? any bank that I've ever done business with has always wanted collateral.

McCain Says Obama Should Except Public Campaign Funds

  Of course wannabe president McCain would say something like this, especially since Barack Obama can draw more money into his coffers just by yawning than McCain can between now and November.

"I made the commitment to the American people that if I were the nominee of my party, I would accept public financing," the likely GOP presidential nominee said Friday in Oshkosh, Wis. "I expect Senator Obama to keep his word to the American people as well. This is all about a commitment that we made to the American people.

"I am going to keep my commitment," he said. "The American people have every reason to expect him to keep his commitment."

  McCain is to old to even remember his word, much less keep it. Further on down in the article which this comes from:
    McCain said that if Obama becomes the nominee and decides against taking public money, he might do the same.   Source ( emphasis mine )

   He might do the same? Then again, he might not.

McCain earlier this week turned down government matching funds for the primary to free him to spend more money as he prepares for a general election contest.

Last summer, McCain had asked to participate in the public system when his campaign, his fundraising and his poll numbers hit a low point that threatened to unravel his candidacy.

Though the FEC declared him eligible to receive $5.8 million in December, the money would not have become available until next month. By accepting the money, moreover, McCain would have been required to limit his spending for the primary to about $54 million — an amount the campaign was close to reaching now.

By not taking the money, McCain is free to raise more and to promote his presidential candidacy until the Republican nominating convention in September.

McCain would be the obvious beneficiary if he and Obama take the federal money for the general election because they would have to return money already collected. Obama has raised $6.1 million for the general, nearly three times as much as McCain's $2.2 million.

If the candidates reject public funds it would be historic rejection of the public financing system. No major party candidate rejected public funds for the general election since the system was put in place in the 1970s after the Watergate scandal.

Candidates who accept public funding are eligible for about $85 million, which is paid for by a $3 checkoff on IRS tax return forms.

         Yahoo News

  If Obama is half as smart as everyone seems to think that he is, then he'll tell John McCain to go and fuck himself. You do not make deals with the competitor, you stomp the crap out of them. This seems to be a major problem with the Democrats in general. We do not need to play nice and by Republican rules. We need to just go out and and rip the GOP to pieces, starting with their throats!

The Republican's Fear Machine Running On Fumes

The shaking in our boots that this country has been doing for the last eight years is beneath a great nation.

From my discussions with Republicans and Republican-leaning individuals in my home town it is obvious that they are scared shitless of their shadows... and proclaim themselves to be the Big Daddy Party all day long.  In fact, they are cowards who shiver and cower behind the cloak of Bush and Cheney who they proclaim to be Big Brave Men.  The Texas National Guard AWOL story tells you everything you need to know about Mr. Bush and tells you quite a bit about what you need to know about the rest of the Republican Party.

I have no respect for fearful, whiny people who crave a despotic tyrant to protect their tiny little existences and who scurry toward tyranny at the first sign of a crisis. That is exactly what the Republican party represents. Our present administration is nothing if not an embarrassment to anyone who believes in freedom, open government and democracy.

Ironically, it is those who are not sufficiently afraid of terrorism who are called cowards by the Scaredy Pants Rightwing. If you are not shitting in your pants in fear of the taliban coming to your local school board, then you are unpatriotic!  

Those who view the taliban and their ilk as a bunch of piss-ants who should not be accorded the status of soldiers in a war but merely criminals are viewed as Un-American. Those who believe the 'war on terror' is a power-grab orchestrated by the Republican/military industrial complex are called cowards!  Those who are insufficiently hyperventilating are sissy-pants!

It's long past time to throw this whole sack of nonsense back in their faces.

I am not averse to telling people to their faces that they are more likely to be struck by lightning than a taliban boogeyman.  I try to make people think about it, but I am not above making fun of their fear.

Bush repealed Godwin's Law with a Signing Statement.

by Mad Kossack on Fri Feb 15, 2008 at 02:42:24 PM PST

    This comment was in response to a diary by  leftneck at DailyKos.

   Read the subject matter Here

Friday, February 15, 2008

GOP Swiftboating Begins?

  The Republican gutter-crawlers seem to be gearing up for more records bullshit. Are we really surprised about it? They have no issues to run on and the best that they can produce for a presidential nominee is John McPain, McCain.

  Check this one out from DailyKos

by Brandon Friedman
Fri Feb 15, 2008 at 01:17:24 PM PST

[from the diaries - BarbinMD]

This is hilarious.

The Republican Party of Texas, acting on behalf of chickenhawk Senator John Cornyn, has formally requested to review the military records of Senate candidate Rick Noriega.  Lt. Col. Noriega announced this publicly this afternoon on his website and on VetVoice.

Hmmm.  Now why would the Texas GOP need access to this decorated Afghanistan veteran’s military record?  I wonder where this could be going.  

Let’s see what the Noriega campaign thinks:

We know where this is going.

The Republican Party of Texas, and by extension, Senator John Cornyn, has requested that I release my military records to them. I am astounded and outraged at the implications of this request.  Over the past few years, some Republicans have conducted the most dishonest and disreputable attacks on veterans that our nation has ever seen.
In 2002, we saw the National Republican Senatorial Committee smear Senator Max Cleland of Georgia, a triple-amputee Vietnam veteran, as being in league with Osama bin Laden. This was shameful and goes against every Texas value.

Texans will not stand for this.

   Not only should Texans stand for this shit, but the rest of the country shouldn't either.

       Lt. Col. Noriega had this to say in written reply:

I welcome honest scrutiny of every aspect of my service.  It's been my privilege to serve our nation for nearly 27 years in places like Afghanistan, and on the Texas border, and I fully intend to release my military records, subject to security review and updating of my most recent training and commendations, to the public. As I am currently serving as the Commander of the 1-141 Infantry, 36th Infantry Division and potentially subject to redeployment, I am not going to allow my family, my soldiers or my country to be put at risk as a result of your political games.  You are welcome to view my military records at the same time as the citizens of Texas.

Noriega goes on to state:

These attacks on individuals who have put their bodies and lives on the line for their country are an outrage to all veterans, and they have to stop.

My record of service includes not only my years in the National Guard and Reserves, but also legislating to aid members of the Texas National Guard and all Texas veterans.  Among my legislative accomplishments are obtaining health services for Veterans, including a screening for metal traces after exposure to munitions, educational benefits for those who have served Texas and our nation, and spearheading legislation to create a database of medical, social and economic resources for military personnel seeking benefits they have been promised by the government.  I also am proud to have authored and supported free hunting/fishing licenses for all Texas guardsman and active duty personnel.

I look forward to discussing with Senator Cornyn why he twice rejected responsible troop deployment limits, twice voted against increased funding for veteran health care, voted against funding for armored vehicles, against increased funding for TRICARE but for allowing TRICARE fees to triple, and against protecting soldiers' civilian salaries while they're serving in Iraq.  This is the conversation that we should be having.    Full Article

John McCain Votes For Torture

  I guess that is just fine with some people if they toss their morals out the window with the hopes that they might become the next president of the United State, as Senator John McCain has done

John McCain has sold the last piece of his soul to the right-wing extremists in this country. He just voted to allow waterboarding by the CIA, acting against everything he has ever said or backed in his life up until now. This is not the man I voted for in 2000. This is a sad, sad remnant of that man. AOL

    John McCain  in December 15, 2005?

   And I would like to also repeat, we've sent a message to the world that the United States is not like the terrorists. We have no brief for them, but what we are is a nation that upholds values and standards of behavior and treatment of all people, no matter how evil or bad they are. And I think that this will help us enormously in winning the war for the hearts and minds of people throughout the world in the war on terror.  Source

  Of course, Bush issued a signing statement after the deal with McCain, so it became, what deal? This was nothing but a play for the American people to get us to believe that McCain had accomplished something.

  But wait, there's more !

DesMoinesRegister October 25, 2007

Waterboarding is a form of torture no matter how it is done and should be a prohibited among U.S. military interrogation practices, Republican presidential candidate John McCain said today, taking issue with GOP rival Rudy Giuliani’s recent remarks.
“Anyone who knows what waterboarding is could not be unsure. It is a horrible torture technique used by Pol Pot and being used on Buddhist monks as we speak,” said McCain after a campaign stop at Dordt College here.
“People who have worn the uniform and had the experience know that this is a terrible and odious practice and should never be condoned in the U.S. We are a better nation than that.”

“When I was imprisoned, I took heart from the fact that I knew my North Vietnamese captors would never be treated like I was treated by them,” McCain said, who has pointed out that his opposition to torture among Republican presidential candidates is based on military experience not shared by his opponents. “There are much better and more effective ways to get information. You torture someone long enough, he’ll tell whatever he thinks you want to know.”


Arianna Huffington

Has there ever been a more repugnant example of political pandering than John McCain's decision to vote against a bill banning waterboarding, putting hoods on prisoners, forcing them to perform sex acts, subjecting them to mock executions, or depriving them of food, water, and medical treatment?

That's right, John McCain, the former POW who has long been an outspoken critic of the Bush administration's disturbing embrace of extreme interrogation techniques.

But that was before his desperate attempt to win over the lunatic fringe that is running the Grand Old Party.

  This is what happens after you are a Republican for any length of time. Your morals and beliefs go out the window and you become a " Lock-in-step Lackey ".

Soul is sold to the highest bidder!

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Michael Bloomberg Praises Obama Idea. Rips Government

    First off, Mayor Bloomberg said that the United States "has a balance sheet that's starting to look more and more like a third-world country." Source

   He should have made the point that our government is acting more like a corrupt, third world entity while he was at it.

    On the presidential candidates:

His tirade against the candidates and the economic stimulus package on Thursday began when he was asked how that experiment is going.
In his answer, he praised Democrat Barack Obama for the plan the Illinois senator outlined on Wednesday that would create a National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank to rebuild highways, bridges, airports and other public projects. Obama projects it could generate nearly 2 million jobs.
"I don't know whether Senator Obama looked to see what I've been advocating, or not -- you'll have to ask him -- but he's doing the right thing," Bloomberg said.

  Yet, the press and others say that Barack Obama has no solid ideas? Go figure. No idea is more ideas than George Bush has had, or any other Republican for that matter.

    On those rebate checks coming to a mailbox near you, Bloomberg said

   "Nobody wants to sit there and say, 'Well there's no easy solution,"' Bloomberg said. "They want to send out a check to everybody to stimulate the economy. I suppose it won't hurt the economy but it's in many senses like giving a drink to an alcoholic."

  Read the full story at WCBSTV

President Bush's Proposed 2009 Budget

  I'm not going to get into the budget in this post. the following are just a few of the comments from citizens about this sloppy budget and the increases in military spending at the expense of the less fortunate. Under Bush guidelines, that would be anyone not as wealthy as his crime family is.

  All comments from Here

Adding insult to injury

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 02/07/2008 - 14:59.

The Republican fleecing of America. Mr. Bush is shamefully shameless. The only protection Americans really need are protection from Bush and Cheney. Of course Bush want's to give all our money to the defense industry, he and Cheney own it all. Hence the lies for war so they could rob us blind. Every day the Bush regime avoid jail is another day of injustice for all Americans. It is hard to find words that express the frustration and contempt I have for this Federal government. Any man that can take from children and the elderly to pad his pockets is the lowest of low soul's. 

So much for system of checks and balances

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 02/12/2008 - 18:53.

"In addition to proposed war funding, the non-war military budget will increase by nearly 5%...This includes funding for nuclear weapons under the Department of Energy budget."

First off, how is this legal? This money should be going towards research in alternative energy sources to ensure a better, cleaner future, instead of creating WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION.

  The following is a comment from Rep. John D. Dingell (D-MI), Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce

“Today I read with disappointment President Bush’s $3 trillion budget.  Yet again, the President has managed to put together a spending plan that continues to produce record deficits over the next two years.  In order to focus our resources on the President’s failed Iraq war strategy, he continues to ignore the domestic priorities back home and his budget is particularly hard on Michigan’s working families.  Among the cuts the budget proposes: $200 billion over five years from Medicare and Medicaid, $900 million from Community Development Block Grant Program, $570 million from theLow Income Home Heating Assistance Program, $59 million from the Migration and Refugee Assistance and draconian cuts to the Manufacturing Extension Partnership.  The President proposes freezing spending for the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the National Institutes of Health.  Also, despite his talk of fiscal discipline, it is clear from the budget released today that the President plans to use yet another budgetary gimmick to fund his wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

“Frankly I am tired of seeing such dismal budget announcements.  In his last and final year in the White House, this President has once again shown what he truly cares about.   We cannot continue to neglect Michigan families who need help heating their homes, assistance while searching for a new job and access to quality health care.  The American people deserve better.  I intend to work with my colleagues here in the House and Senate to draft a Democratic budget that shows that our working families are our first priority.”

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Protect America Act will expire on Saturday

    After getting no-where with the Republicans on this bill, the House has adjourned for Presidents' Day weekend. This version of the bill goes D.O.A. and guess what? contrary to President Bush's statements, we are all still going to be safe. That is unless the Bush Crime Syndicate comes up with some sort of terrorist threat after Saturday just so that he can blame the Democrats. I wouldn't put it past this idiot.

     Cong. Steny Hoyer


Chairman Reyes Writes to President Bush: “Put partisanship aside” on FISA

  Finally! Someone is taking Preznit Bush to task for his fear mongering bullshit!  Well worth reading. 

           The Gavel

President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

The Preamble to our Constitution states that one of our highest duties as public officials is to “provide for the common defence.” As an elected Member of Congress, a senior Member of the House Armed Services Committee, and Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, I work everyday to ensure that our defense and intelligence capabilities remain strong in the face of serious threats to our national security.

Because I care so deeply about protecting our country, I take strong offense to your suggestion in recent days that the country will be vulnerable to terrorist attack unless Congress immediately enacts legislation giving you broader powers to conduct warrantless surveillance of Americans’ communications and provides legal immunity for telecommunications companies that participated in the Administration’s warrantless surveillance program.

Today, the National Security Agency (NSA) has authority to conduct surveillance in at least three different ways, all of which provide strong capability to monitor the communications of possible terrorists.

First, NSA can use its authority under Executive Order 12333 to conduct surveillance abroad of any known or suspected terrorist. There is no requirement for a warrant. There is no requirement for probable cause. Most of NSA’s collection occurs under this authority.

Second, NSA can use its authority under the Protect America Act, enacted last August, to conduct surveillance here in the U.S of any foreign target. This authority does not “expire” on Saturday, as you have stated. Under the PAA, orders authorizing surveillance may last for one year – until at least August 2008. These orders may cover every terrorist group without limitation. If a new member of the group is identified, or if a new phone number or email address is identified, the NSA may add it to the existing orders, and surveillance can begin immediately. We will not “go dark.”

Third, in the remote possibility that a new terrorist organization emerges that we have never previously identified, the NSA could use existing authority under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to monitor those communications. Since its establishment nearly 30 years ago, the FISA Court has approved nearly every application for a warrant from the Department of Justice. In an emergency, NSA or the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) may begin surveillance immediately, and a FISA Court order does not have to be obtained for three days. The former head of FISA operations for the Department of Justice has testified publicly that emergency authorization may be granted in a matter of minutes.

As you know, the 1978 FISA law, which has been modernized and updated numerous times since 9/11, was instrumental in disrupting the terrorist plot in Germany last summer. Those who say that FISA is outdated do not understand the strength of this important tool.

If our nation is left vulnerable in the coming months, it will not be because we don’t have enough domestic spying powers. It will be because your Administration has not done enough to defeat terrorist organizations – including al Qaeda — that have gained strength since 9/11. We do not have nearly enough linguists to translate the reams of information we currently collect. We do not have enough intelligence officers who can penetrate the hardest targets, such as al Qaeda. We have surged so many intelligence resources into Iraq that we have taken our eye off the ball in Afghanistan and Pakistan. As a result, you have allowed al Qaeda to reconstitute itself on your watch.

You have also suggested that Congress must grant retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies. As someone who has been briefed on our most sensitive intelligence programs, I can see no argument why the future security of our country depends on whether past actions of telecommunications companies are immunized.

The issue of telecom liability should be carefully considered based on a full review of the documents that your Administration withheld from Congress for eight months. However, it is an insult to the intelligence of the American people to say that we will be vulnerable unless we grant immunity for actions that happened years ago.

Congress has not been sitting on its hands. Last November, the House passed responsible legislation to authorize the NSA to conduct surveillance of foreign terrorists and to provide clarity and legal protection to our private sector partners who assist in that surveillance.

The proper course is now to conference the House bill with the Senate bill that was passed on Tuesday. There are significant differences between these two bills and a conference, in regular order, is the appropriate mechanism to resolve the differences between these two bills. I urge you, Mr. President, to put partisanship aside and allow Republicans in Congress to arrive at a compromise that will protect America and protect our Constitution.

I, for one, do not intend to back down – not to the terrorists and not to anyone, including a President, who wants Americans to cower in fear.

We are a strong nation. We cannot allow ourselves to be scared into suspending the Constitution. If we do that, we might as well call the terrorists and tell them that they have won.


Silvestre Reyes
Member of Congress
Chairman, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

FISA and The Bush Veto Threat

     Bush says that if there is no retroactive immunity ( amnesty ) for the telecoms, that he will veto the FISA bill. So, Bush is then willing to let Americans die ( won't happen if FISA bill expires ) if ATT and others aren't let off the hook for spying on us?

  Ted Kennedy summed it up on the Senate floor on Monday, before the Senate voted and this still holds true for the House.

  The President has said that American lives will be sacrificed if Congress does not change FISA.  But he has also said that he will veto any FISA bill that does not grant retro-active immunity.  No immunity, no FISA bill.  So if we take the President at his word, he's willing to let Americans die to protect the phone companies.  Source

  Different day, same shit for Bush. He's making the amnesty issue the issue. Forget about the terrorist! More solid proof that this FISA version has nothing to do with monitoring terrorist and more to do with monitoring you and I.

Bush Tells The House: Pass FISA Bill Or Terrorist Will Kill Us, Again! Please Pass the Tums!

   Let me tell you something. After reading Crime Boss Bush's little press gathering, I had to reach for the Pepto-Bismol! This punk is so sickening that someone in the medical research establishment needs to come up with some kind of a vaccine for him.

  Some of Bush's comments:

   At this moment, somewhere in the world, terrorists are planning new attacks on our country. Their goal is to bring destruction to our shores that will make September the 11th pale by comparison. To carry out their plans, they must communicate with each other, they must recruit operatives, and they must share information.

  It's a safe bet that Bush's terrorist are not emailing or using the phone system to let each other know the next stage of their plans. Bush's comment here is beyond ludicrous.

     The lives of countless Americans depend on our ability to monitor these communications.

  In that case Preznit Bush, bring forth the 5 million or so emails that the Bush Crime Syndicate has misplaced.  I'd like to read those terrorist emails.

Bush then goes on to say that the Senate did a wonderful thing in passing the Protect America Act in a " bipartisan majority. "  Here comes my favorite part.

The Senate bill also provides fair and just liability protections for companies that did the right thing and assisted in defending America after the attacks of September the 11th.

  Funny how Bush leaves out the part about him going to those same telecoms before 9/11 happened, and wanting our private records. He also didn't mention that the phone companies stopped assisting  in America's defense when the government wouldn't pay their phone bills.

In order to be able to discover enemy -- the enemy's plans, we need the cooperation of telecommunication companies. If these companies are subjected to lawsuits that could cost them billions of dollars, they won't participate; they won't help us; they won't help protect America. Liability protection is critical to securing the private sector's cooperation with our intelligence efforts.

  They won't help in an illegal manner if their asses are put to the fire! they sure as fuck will not cover for Bush if they have to go into a courtroom. Bush is only concerned with us finding out just how much of a gutter crawling scab he really is.

The House's failure to pass the bipartisan Senate bill would jeopardize the security of our citizens. As Director McConnell has told me, without this law, our ability to prevent new attacks will be weakened. And it will become harder for us to uncover terrorist plots.  

  This line of bullshit has been laid to rest Here.

It is time for Congress to pass a law that provides a long-term foundation to protect our country. And they must do so immediately.

  Better hurry up House before Bush's next telecom bribe gets withheld from him!

   Would somebody please pass me some more Tums? I feel sick again.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Facts about FISA

  We have all heard that if the FISA bill isn't passed by the House before February 15, that the government will have a harder time tracking our dreaded terrorist.

  You may know that the house wanted more time ( 21 day extension )  so that a House/Senate conference on a FISA modernization bill could be drawn up and agreed to. but dear old Bush and the rest of the communist Republicans will not have that! They do not want time for a legitimate discussing of this bill and the amnesty for the phone companies and Bush. Pathetic bunch of fucks!

   From The Gavel

Surveillance will continue should Protect America Act
expire on February 15

The refusal by President Bush and House Republicans to support an extension of last summer’s Protect America Act for twenty one days so that a House/Senate conference on a FISA modernization bill could be completed does not mean that surveillance activities will cease.

Richard Clarke, Former Chief National Security Council Counterterrorism Advisor: “On one issue in particular - FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) - the president misconstrued the truth and manipulated the facts… Simply put, it was wrong for the president to suggest that warrants issued in compliance with FISA would suddenly evaporate with congressional inaction.” [Philadelphia Inquirer, February 1, 2008]

Mort Halperin, Director of U.S. Advocacy for the Open Society Institute: “Even if the President permits the PAA to temporarily lapse, the intelligence community will have the authority not only to continue on-going surveillances for a year but to add other surveillances as long as they are consistent with the existing procedures.” [2/7/08]

Kenneth L. Wainstein, assistant attorney general for national security, said in an interview that if the August bill was allowed to expire in 10 days, intelligence officials would still be able to continue eavesdropping on already approved targets for another year under the law.” [New York Times, 1/23/08]

Kate Martin, Director of the Center for National Security Studies: “If the government learns of new individuals apparently plotting terrorist activities, it can immediately surveil such individuals — whether they are here or calling here from abroad — by obtaining a FISA court order… As officials have confirmed to the Congress, the court can issue an order within literally minutes of being asked and such order can be implemented within minutes. Or the government can start surveillance without a court order under the always existing FISA emergency authority.” [2/7/08]

On the House Vote on FISA

February 13th, 2008 by Speaker Pelosi

All Members of Congress fully understand and support our responsibility to protect the American people and the need for the President, the Congress, and policymakers to have the best possible intelligence to fight terrorism.

On Friday, a surveillance law insisted upon by the President last August will expire. Today, an overwhelming majority of House Democrats voted to extend that law for three weeks so that agreement could be reached with the Senate on a better version of that law. The President and House Republicans refused to support the extension and therefore will bear the responsibility should any adverse national consequences result.

However, even if the Protect America Act expires later this week, the American people can be confident that our country remains safe and strong. Every order entered under the law can remain in effect for 12 months from the date it was issued.

Furthermore, the underlying Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which provides for the surveillance of terrorists and provides that in emergencies surveillance can begin without warrant, remains intact and available to our intelligence agencies. Unlike last August, the FISA court has no backlog of cases, and thus can issue necessary court orders for surveillance immediately.


Bush and Telecoms Get Amnesty In FISA Bill: Here's Why

  All of the illegal spying that President Bush has been doing since he was appointed President of the United States and all of the information that AT&T, Verizon, and others have turned over to the Bush Crime Syndicate has all been swept under the rug, never to see the light of day.

   This is a slap in the face to both you and myself. Every law-abiding citizen in this country should be up in arms and raising all kinds of hell with our elected Senate representatives who voted to let all of these crooks get a " get out of jail free " card! I expected this kind of voting from the GOP pieces of shit in the Senate, but I am deeply disappointed in the so-called Democrats who voted in favor of this bullshit!

   Those who voted for amnesty in the FISA bill ( democrats ):

Bayh (D-IN), Carper (D-DE), Conrad (D-ND), Feinstein (D-CA), Inouye (D-HI),

Johnson (D-SD), Kohl (D-WI), Landrieu (D-LA), McCaskill (D-MO), Mikulski (D-MD), Nelson (D-FL), Nelson (D-NE), Pryor (D-AR), Rockefeller (D-WV), Salazar (D-CO), Stabenow (D-MI), Webb (D-VA), and let us not forget one other traitor, Lieberman (ID-CT)     Source

  Next up I guess that I will be posting the names out of this group who are up for re-election this year. They all need to be targeted for defeat!

  This is personal and it should be for you! I am hostile and you should be also!

   Right to Privacy? R.I.P. 2008

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Senate Sold Our Rights To Verizon And AT&T By Way Of FISA/Amnesty Bill

     From Senator Russ Feingold

    “The Senate passage of this FISA bill, while not surprising, is extremely disappointing. The Senate missed a golden opportunity to pass a bill that would give our intelligence officials the tools they need to go after suspected terrorists while also safeguarding the privacy of law-abiding Americans. Instead the Senate, with the help of too many Democrats, is yet again giving the administration sweeping new powers – and letting it off the hook for its illegal wiretapping program. I hope that our House colleagues will hold a stronger line, and refuse to accept the deeply flawed Senate bill. The calls from Americans tired of having their rights and their Constitution trampled on by this administration are only growing louder. Congress should stand up for the American people, and the Constitution, by opposing such a badly flawed bill.”

   Once again, the citizens of America have been fucked up the ass by our so-called elected Representatives in the Senate. I do include Senator Harry Reid as one who stabbed us in the heart even though he voted " nay " on cloture. Mr. Reid could have solved this problem with FISA and telecom amnesty simply by using the House version of FISA. All of this bullshit could have been averted from the start, but I guess that all of that cash from the telecom industry was just to much to pass on.

   I'll have much more on this subject later in the evening and certainly on tomorrow!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Telecom's Ready to Enjoy Amnesty For Criminal Acts: There Will Be No Filibuster By Chris Dodd

    Time for a little update on the FISA bill and amnesty for criminals who gave our personal records ( calls, emails,ect. ) to the Bush Crime Syndicate ( NSA ).

    As we all know, the vote on this junk FISA bill is tomorrow and this is looking as if the Democrats in the Senate ( Harry Reid, Jay Rockefeller, and others ) are going to get on their collective knees and suck Bush's dick once again and give him and the telecom's the amnesty that he needs to avoid possible prosecution for felony acts of lawbreaking for spying on United States citizens.

   Glenn Greenwald on what will happen in the Senate tomorrow.

What the Senate is about to do tomorrow is very simple: it will (a) vest vast new powers in the President to spy on the calls and emails of American citizens, inside the U.S., with no warrants, and (b) grant amnesty to telecoms that broke multiple federal laws. In sum, it will legalize the "Terrorist Surveillance Program" that the President ordered for years in violation of the law -- a program aimed at eavesdropping on U.S. citizens, inside the U.S.

   So what about Chris Dodd's threat of a filibuster?

     Contrary to the emphatic promise Dodd repeatedly made during his presidential campaign to lead a filibuster on the floor of the Senate to stop any bill that has telecom immunity in it (a promise which, incidentally, led to hundreds of thousands of dollars being donated to his campaign), there isn't going to be any actual filibuster tomorrow. Under the Unanimous Consent framework agreed to by all Senators (including Dodd), there will be a 60-vote requirement to invoke cloture on the FISA bill and for ultimate passage, followed by an allotted 4 hours of post-cloture "debate," but there will not be any real filibuster to prevent cloture. When Leahy says that he will "join" Dodd's filibuster, what he means is that he will merely cast a vote against cloture.

Dodd's efforts against this bill have been quite commendable, and the UC Agreement isn't completely worthless. It means that Democrats do not need 60 votes, or even 50 votes, to stop this bill. Rather, they only need 41 Senators willing to oppose cloture (which everyone knows they're not going to get).

Still, Dodd is not, after all, going to lead an actual filibuster on the floor of the Senate to stop the bill. Worse, the Republicans are going to be permitted to impose 60-vote requirements on key Democratic amendments without actually having to filibuster at all -- exactly the situation which Harry Reid vowed just two weeks ago he would not permit.    Salon

   So once again, bend-over Harry is going to kiss George Bush's ass to score what he thinks are brownie points for later on. Is this man to old to handle his job or is he just totally dumb, stupid, and ignorant? I guess that he could be all of them. Either way, he needs to either find himself a nice quiet place to retire to, or fired from his position in government.

   One question? Do We The People even have any real Democrats in the Senate?

FISA And The Filibuster

  Back to the important matters, FISA being one of them.

  First off, Sen. Patrick Leahy has said that he will support Chris Dodd, Russ Feingold, and the others in opposing the Senate version of the FISA bill. One more joining the good guys for a change. Senator Leahy is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee so this means a lot as he can now look over at Jay Rockefeller, another chairman, to let him know what a piece of shit that he is in supporting amnesty for the telecoms.

  Sen.  Leahy's Office:

Tuesday is a critical day in our fight to stand up for American values and preserve our freedoms while protecting our national security.

Tomorrow the Senate will vote on amendments to FISA, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the law governing the use of wiretaps and other means to conduct surveillance of foreign threats.

Unfortunately, the new FISA bill we'll be voting on Tuesday still has many problems.  I will do everything in my power -- including joining my colleague Chris Dodd in a filibuster against this legislation -- to fix it. 

Now I need your help to encourage more of our House and Senate colleagues to stand with us. 

Tell Congress that any new FISA bill must both protect our national security and preserve our civil liberties. Please email your home state Senators and Member of Congress now!

I strongly support surveillance targeting foreign threats and terrorists who wish to do us harm -- but we must take care to protect Americans' liberties in the process.  That's what the FISA amendments we passed through the Judiciary Committee would have done. 

Our Judiciary Committee amendments also would have given the existing FISA Court a more meaningful role in overseeing law enforcement's expanded surveillance activities, providing a crucial independent check on potential government excess.  We must not forget that earlier abuses of power are the reason FISA was enacted in the first place.

Unfortunately, the Bush-Cheney Administration and its allies oppose these safeguards.  They are voting in lockstep to kill all of our efforts to improve the new FISA bill, basically telling Senate Democrats to "take it or leave it."

Here's what they need to know: Passing legislation through the U.S. Senate isn't a "take it or leave it" enterprise.  Not when they want to park Americans' civil liberties in a blind trust.  They lost their credibility on "just trust us" long ago.  Will you help convince Senators and Members of Congress to agree to our common-sense changes to improve this bill and protect the rights of all Americans?

In addition, the Bush-Cheney Administration is trying to avoid any and all accountability for conducting illegal, warrantless surveillance for the past 5 years.  They are insisting on granting blanket retroactive immunity to phone companies for their warrantless surveillance activities beginning in 2001, activities which explicitly violated existing FISA law and violated the privacy rights of Americans.

Clearly, the Bush-Cheney Administration does not want their law-breaking to be exposed.  Retroactive immunity would assure that they get their wish.

When the public found out that the Bush-Cheney Administration was violating FISA and spying illegally on Americans without warrants, the Administration and phone companies were sued by citizens whose privacy rights were violated.  These lawsuits may be the only way that the Bush-Cheney Administration is truly held accountable for its flagrant disrespect for the rule of law.

Well, no one -- no citizen, no company, no Senator, and no President -- is above the law.  By offering blanket immunity to telecom companies, the Administration is trying to avoid accountability -- and that is unacceptable.

Tell Congress that any new FISA bill cannot grant blanket retroactive immunity to phone companies. Please email your home state Senators and Member of Congress now!

I'm going to do everything I can to fix the FISA bill on Tuesday -- but I need your help to do it.

Thank you for your support.

Patrick Leahy
U.S. Senator

       All of you know what to do, so go to those phones and emails and let's get to it. This is an important bill and the amnesty for BUSH and the rest of his Crime Syndicate needs to be stopped! NOW!

Bush's 2009 Military Budget

  I am having to actually for today, for a change, so I am bringing this article to you from Common Dreams. This was originally posted at The Independent/UK.

The official Pentagon budget for 2009 runs to $515bn (£265bn), or around 4 per cent of America’s total economy (the equivalent figure for Britain is 2.5 per cent), and about the same size as the entire output of the Netherlands. Throw in an expected $150bn of supplementary outlays and you’ve got defence spending larger than Australia’s entire gross domestic product.

Even that may be an understatement. Add in various “black items”, such as military spending tucked away in other parts of government, and some claim that America’s total annual spending on the military now exceeds a trillion dollars - roughly half the entire British economy.     More Here

  Lots of cash going to Lockheed Martin and others.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Bush Ad Infinitum...

by Devilstower @ Daily Kos
Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 11:33:47 AM PST

While most calendars start on January 1 and end on December 31, I think I'm not alone in saying that the X's on my fridge are counting down toward January 20, 2009.  I might mention the alarm set to go off at the stroke of noon, but that would seem obsessive.  Still, while I may give a hearty cheer (and I'm trying to select between a set of appropriate quips) the truth is, we won't be shed of George W. Bush on that wondrous day.

He's not leaving.  He's never leaving.

By that I don't mean that Bush has a nefarious plot to exercise the Poppa Doc President for Life clause.  I mean that the Bush legacy will not be restricted to that "the less said, the better" note he'll receive in future history books.  The evil that presidents' do lives after them; the good is left as a target for the next conservative president.  Bush hasn't left much good behind him, but what he has left is a set of policies and decisions that may cripple whichever of our Democratic candidates is so unfortunate as to succeed Bush.

First up in the things we may have to live with for a long, long time is the gift of a radicalized Supreme Court.  While it's easy to say that it will take a generation to mend, the truth is a generation might not be enough.  Of the sitting Supreme Court justices, two of them are Reagan appointees from the mid-80s.  One of them is an appointee of Gerry Ford who has been in his robe since 1975 (thank you, Justice Stephens, and hang in there).  That means that we could still be dealing with Alito's snarling rants when Malia Obama is facing off against senior senator Hillary Duff.  Even a couple of back to back Democratic administrations might not be enough to patch the tears put into the Constitution by the "strict constructionists," as the three youngest members of the court are Roberts, Alito, and Thomas.

Moving beyond the court, there's the perennial target of the Republicans: the people, their pocketbooks, and the planet.

There's a popular theory of a "business cycle" in which the economy goes up and down in somewhat regular waves.  I can't help but view it as a political cycle, one in which a decade or so is enough to make people forget that conservatism does not work.  Watch the folks around you for the next few years.  As the Iraq Recession cuts into their lives, they'll momentarily get that splash of cold water awareness that the Laffer Curve has absolutely no evidence, that trickle down economics is a joke, and that the Magical Invisible Hand of Greed only ends up bankrupting the nation to the benefit of a chosen few.  Then, as Democrats gradually put the world back together again, eyelids will droop, and the siren song of "you can have your cake and eat it too" will once more ring out across the land.

The only thing that might prevent this cycle from repeating again over the next few years is how spectacularly conservatism has failed during this spin of the wheel.  Having presided over seven years of the spendthrift's ball, wrecked most every fundamental of the economy, invested a couple of trillion as a downpayment on the new Hundred Years War, and cheered an "expansion" in which the average American went backwards, you might think that the public would be in no hurry to trust Republicans with the check book again.  Don't bet on it.  After all Saint Ronald of Death Valley Days reversed thirty years of saving in a single decade while taking the national debt from 30% to 60% of the GDP.  The expanded spending under Reagan so outpaced economic growth that a plot of it looks steeper than the Nepalese approach to Everest.  Yet Ronnie is now regarded as a champion of sound economic practices.  Why are we that stupid?  Well, there are at least three television networks completely dedicated to spreading the "go greed!" message 24/7 (for every other TV network, promoting greed is only on 23 hours out of 24).  Wake me when the Sustainability Network gets on the air.

In casting his inky-red shadow across coming administrations, Bush is still insisting that his tax cuts for the wealthy be extended -- right now, today -- even though they don't run out until 2010.  Expect that theme to be a part of the race next fall and, no matter who wins, expect any effort to allow these cuts to expire to be portrayed as a "massive tax increase."  In fact, I'll give you 10:1 odds it's called "the greatest tax increase in American history" before we get to pull the lever in November.  This will be done by using revenue projections that run from now until the entropy death of the sun.  

A great deal will be made of how, after seven years of residing over skyrocketing Republican graft and record setting corporate handouts, Bush has decided to play fiscal hardball when it comes to "earmarks."  Except, of course he hasn't.  He's only threatened to put into effect an executive order that would limit the number of earmarks to something greater than that ever passed by a Democratic president.  And that limit starts in fiscal 2009.  So any program cuts resulting from this new flowering of restraint won't come due under Bush's watch, they'll only affect the next president.  And yet, should our next president rescind this order, you'll have to cover your ears to keep from being deafened by the howls of Republicans who are suddenly dead set against anyone doing what they've been doing for a decade.

That's the Bush economic goal at this point: lay mines around the gravy train they've built, pretend that they left something less than the worst fiscal catastrophe since the Big Bang, and scream if anyone touches their cheese.  We had better hope we can land 60 Democrats in the Senate, because otherwise everything the next president attempts to do will be filibustered in support of the "economic discipline" Republicans were never able to practice when they had control.

Of course the Bush legacy will include Iraq.  Not just the unsustainable deployment of troops, but the shotgun marriage to the dysfunctional Iraqi government.  And then there are the permanent enduring bases in Iraq.  At this moment, the Bush administration is negotiating a treaty that will "maintain our current level of authority to conduct operations in Iraq" indefinitely and secure those permanent enduring bases.  You can bet that any attempt to move a single soldier from Iraq will bring cries of "retreat" and closing those bases will be "surrender."  Oh, and expect the same Republicans who have spent the Bush administration sneering at any international treaty, to suddenly discover that any treaties negotiated by Bush deserve a reverence somewhere between mom and apple pie.

But as bad is the situation in Iraq is and will be, perhaps the worst thing Bush can still stick us with in this final year is something less visible in the short term, but vitally important in the long term.  Having started his administration destroying the environment through executive orders bearing laughable names like "Clear Skies," Bush is ending his official tenure by systematically dismantling out last wild places.

In the last month, Bush has placed a giant "for sale" sign on America's largest national forest, the Tongass rainforest in Alaska.  58 million acres there have been opened up to development.  The same thing has happened recently in Idaho and Colorado.  It's not just the trees that are threatened.  Last week the Bush administration auctioned off oil drilling rights in the Chukchi Sea, just off Alaska's northwest shore, despite the fact that it's an environmentally fragile area where polar bears are struggling to hang on.  You'll be happy to know that Shell and ConncoPhillips now hold the rights to drill an area about the size of the state of Pennsylvania.

It may not seem like it, but on many fronts the now Democratic congress can act as a check on the Bush administration and stifle their worst impulses, but when it comes to the lands held in public trust, the president's authority is expansive.  And where recovering from the foolish economic voodoo of conservatism can take decades, public lands surrendered to private greed is forever.  Wilderness squandered is wilderness lost.

Repairing the damage that Bush has done is going to be an enormous task.  Before the next president can move the nation forward, that president will first have to fill in the massive hole dug during this administration.  Education.  Our right to privacy.  Trade policies.  The tarnished reputation of the United States around the world.  Even locating all the damage Bush has started rolling could take the next President most of her/his tenure.

To save time, I suggest the next president start with Executive Order #1: Every executive order issued by George W. Bush is hereby rescinded.  Effective immediately.

Bush Lies To Troop's Families Again

  This creature is so pathetic that it is not funny.

   Remember Bush's State of the Union speech back in January when he urged Congress to allow the U.S. troops to move their unused education benefits to other members if their families? That was the good part, the bad part is that President Bush forgot to add any funding in his 2009 budget request for this initiative. The government people say that this proposal will cost somewhere around $1 billion to $2 billion annually. this is a $3.1 trillion budget request, in case you have forgotten.   Source

  Think about this ploy for a minute. Bush says that he wants Congress to pass this initiative for the military families, but, he doesn't leave any funding for it. this would then leave it up to the next president to figure out all of the details unless Bush throws the funding in with his next request for more Iraq war funds.

  His handlers say that Bush threw this idea in at the last minute after having spoke to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, and it would seem that even many of the Republicans were caught off guard by the Minion in Chief. I guess that President Bush's mouth got ahead of his brain once again. I am shocked!

George Bush's 2009 Budget And His Permanent Tax Cuts

  President Bush must be getting paid very well by the Military War Machine and its corporate sponsors and by his rich friends. You all know about Mr. Bush and his tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 which he wants to make permanent. With all of the money that the Bush Crime Syndicate has looted from the treasury and stolen from the taxpayers, they need all of these tax cuts made permanent in order to keep a much, much bigger slice of the pie!  Here is a breakdown based on percentages.

  According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the wealthiest 1 percent would receive 31 percent of the windfall over the next 10 years, the top 20 percent would receive 74 percent, and those in the lowest 60 percent of households would receive only 12 percent.    Source

  Between this and the increased military spending, we add to the deficit some $407 billion in 2009, and $410 billion in fiscal year 2008

  They call Republicans "conservatives "? I have not met one yet in this lifetime. Maybe by  " conservative " they mean that you and I could have been robbed even more if they had wanted to do it.

  You are aware that many domestic programs will be reduced in funding in order to pay for this " conservative " bullshit.

John McCain: Other Son Of George Bush?


   Resident Bush did a taped interview for " Fox News Sunday " and had a few things to say about his other son, Senator John McCain.

   First, Bush had the nerve to say that McCain is a "true conservative."

   Yes he is. another one of those conservative's who will spend this country even further down into oblivion just so that he can line his corporate master's pockets and bankrupt the country.

  President Bush:"He is tough fiscally. He believes the tax cuts ought to be permanent. He is pro-life. His principles are sound and solid as far as I'm concerned."

  As if Bush would know anything about sound principals or any kind of principal.

     "I think that if John is the nominee, he has got some convincing to do to convince people that he is a solid conservative and I'll be glad to help him if he is the nominee."

  More quotes from Bush interview:

    "I think the experts would tell you we are not in recession. ... But I will tell you that the signs are troubling enough that we all came together and got a robust (economic stimulus) package out."

"Whatever we have done was legal, and whatever decision I will make will be reviewed by the Justice Department to determine whether or not the legality is there."    concerning waterboarding

"We will be there at the invitation of the Iraqi government. ... We won't have permanent bases. I do believe it is in our interests and the interests of the Iraqi people that we do enter into an agreement on how we are going to conduct ourselves over the next years."    concerning our visit to Iraq

Do we really need another Bush in the White House? I think not.