Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Uniter Not a Divider

Bush blasts Congress on several fronts

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush attacked Congress on Wednesday, ripping the new Democratic leadership for failing to achieve much in their first nine months of power.

President Bush speaks at a White House press conference on Wednesday.

Bush used his opening statement to list areas where he said "Congress has work to do": health care; security; the budget; education; housing; trade; help for military veterans; law enforcement and the judiciary.

He complained about progress on a number of bills before Congress, including children's health insurance, spending plans and internal surveillance legislation, saying Congress has wasted much of the past nine months.

"Now the clock is winding down. In some key areas, Congress is just getting started," Bush said.

"One of Congress' basic duties is to fund the day-to-day operations of the federal government. Yet Congress has not sent me a single appropriations bill," Bush said.

Bush said congressional Democrats are wasting time with proposed legislation calling the actions of Ottoman Turks against Armenians during World War I "genocide."

"With all these pressing responsibilities, one thing Congress should not be doing is sorting out the historical record of the Ottoman Empire," Bush said. "The resolution on the mass killings of Armenians beginning in 1915 is counterproductive. ...
"Congress has more important work to do than antagonizing a democratic ally in the Muslim world, especially one that's providing vital support for our military every day," Bush said.

U.S.-Turkey relations were strained further Wednesday as the Turkish parliament overwhelmingly approved military action against Kurdish separatists based in Iraq. Turkey has massed 60,000 troops along its border with Iraq.

Bush said Wednesday the U.S. is asking the Turkish government for restraint.

"We are making it very clear to Turkey that we don't think it is in their interests to send troops into Iraq," he said while acknowledging that some Turkish troops have crossed the border.

On the war on terror, Bush said it was important that Congress act on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act so that progress can continue to be made against al Qaeda.

"Al Qaeda's still dangerous. They're dangerous in Iraq. They're dangerous elsewhere. Al Qaeda's not going to go away any time," Bush said. "That's why it's important for us to be listening -- you know, finding out what their intentions are and what are their plans, so we can respond to them."

On children's health care, Bush earlier this month vetoed legislation that would increase spending for the State Children's Health Insurance Program by $35 billion over five years. Bush has called for a $5 billion increase. Congressional Democrats are trying to gather enough votes for to override a veto.

It's Bush's 20th press conference this year.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Bush veto for child health bill

US President George W Bush has vetoed a bill to expand a children's health care insurance scheme, after it was passed with a large majority in the Senate.

Mr Bush argues it takes the programme beyond its original purpose of insuring children from low-income families.

The vetoed bill proposed higher tobacco taxes to provide an extra $35bn (£17bn) to insure some 10 million children.

Children's health insurance is set to be a campaign issue in next year's elections, analysts say.

Eighteen Republican senators joined Democrats last week in passing the legislation by a 67-29 vote.
But the House of Representatives, which approved the bill by 265-159, was well short of the two-thirds majority needed to override a veto.

It is only the fourth time Mr Bush has used his veto power in the course of his presidency.

Public support

The State Children's Health Insurance Programme (SCHIP) currently subsidises health care for some 6.6 million people, most of them children.

Mr Bush had said he wanted only a $5bn increase in funding for the scheme.

He argued that expanding its coverage further would encourage people currently covered in the private sector to switch to government coverage - and that was too costly.

His decision to veto the bill is likely to prove unpopular with many people, however, correspondents say.

A Washington Post/ABC News poll suggested that more than seven in 10 Americans supported the $35bn increase proposed in the bill.

Democrats in the House say they will seek to persuade sufficient Republican congressmen to change sides to be able to override Mr Bush's veto.

But House Republican leader Roy Blunt said he was "absolutely confident" that he would be able to prevent that happening.

Many Republicans are likely to feel the pressure of public opinion ahead of congressional elections in November next year.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Zeitgeist: the movie

Ok, first of all I do not intend for this site to be a crazy conspiratorial blog run by a left wing nut job. I may be left wing but I do not like to think of myself as a "nut job." At least on most days. Second, I was sent this video by friend of mine and finding myself with a bit of free time, I watched it. On the whole, it is quite terrifying. The conclusions the film draws about Christianity are, to a large extent, views I've held for several years now. With any knowledge of the history of the world, the views that the Bible is simply borrowed from many long established religions - most pagan - is easy to see. Approach the next part of the film with caution. I find all the facts very interesting and easy to buy in to. However, I'm sure I could also view a film with exactly the opposite viewpoint and believe that too. I also have done absolutely no research for myself. I simply present this to you to hear your comments on this. Truth? Fiction? Crazy? You decide.


It seems that much like the Iraqi congress I have decided to take some time off lately. I didn't want to be that blog with this kind of post on it but it seems I have. And some new comments have been added (thanks ted) so it seems their is at least someone out there who actually reads this. I am notoriously busy but always find time to rant about this administration and will begin to continue to do so again. Keep commenting all!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Iowa Straw Poll Results

This really says nothing since Giuliani and McCain didn't participate for some reason but I feel it should be posted here anyways. Here's the results:

Mitt Romney: 31.5%
Mike Huckabee: 18.1%
Sam Brownback: 15.3%
Tom Tancredo: 13.7%
Ron Paul: 9.1%
Tommy Thompson: 7.3%
Fred Thompson: 1.4%
Rudy Giuliani: 1.3%
Duncan Hunter: 1.2%
John McCain: 1%
John Cox: .1%

Saturday, August 11, 2007


Iraq war czar: Consider a draft

I think it's important that we all become aware of this. If this concerns you like it should, please let others know about General Lute's comments. THIS IS NOT OKAY!

Also, here is a link to the interview with General Lute on NPR. I am concerned that more people are not aware of this current situation. Do not let this slide by you. Take action now!

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Frequent tours for U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan have stressed the all-volunteer force and made it worth considering a return to a military draft, President Bush's new war adviser said Friday.

"I think it makes sense to certainly consider it," Army Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute said in an interview with National Public Radio's "All Things Considered."

"And I can tell you, this has always been an option on the table. But ultimately, this is a policy matter between meeting the demands for the nation's security by one means or another," said Lute, who is sometimes referred to as the "Iraq war czar." It was his first interview since he was confirmed by the Senate in June.

President Nixon abolished the draft in 1973. Restoring it, Lute said, would be a "major policy shift" and Bush has made it clear that he doesn't think it's necessary.

"The president's position is that the
all-volunteer military meets the needs of the country and there is no discussion of a draft. Gen. Lute made that point as well," National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said.

In the interview, Lute also said that "Today, the current means of the all-volunteer force is serving us exceptionally well."

Still, he said the repeated deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan affect not only the troops but their families, who can influence whether a service member decides to stay in the military.

"There's both a personal dimension of this, where this kind of stress plays out across dinner tables and in living room conversations within these families," he said. "And ultimately, the health of the all-volunteer force is going to rest on those sorts of personal family decisions."

The military conducted a draft during the Civil War and both world wars and between 1948 and 1973. The Selective Service System, re-established in 1980, maintains a registry of 18-year-old men.

Rep. Charles Rangel, D-New York, has called for reinstating the draft as a way to end the Iraq war.

Bush picked Lute in mid-May as a deputy national security adviser with responsibility for ensuring efforts in
Iraq and Afghanistan are coordinated with policymakers in Washington. Lute, an active-duty general, was chosen after several retired generals turned down the job.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Logo "Debate" Review

I don't imagine a lot of people caught the Presidential Forum on Logo. I don't have the channel either but was able to get it online as a live feed. I encourage you to pull it up because it was very well done. Though I was under the impression that it was a debate and it indeed was not. It really was just a talk show featuring most of the Democratic candidates and only questions regarding issues important to LGBT community. And I think I liked it. I would be interested in seeing more of this type of program with a focus on a certain issue. And shame on the Republicans for not managing to show up here and state their views. But I imagine they think all gays have AIDS and AIDS apparently can be spread through handshakes so I guess the logic works out.

Clearly their were two types of candidates at this forum - those that have potential to be elected and those that don't. The former are Clinton, Obama, Edwards, and Richardson, the latter are Kucinich and Gravel. The difference lies in semantics. Is it marriage or civil union? Does it matter? Aren't both better than know?

And all the legitimate candidates were on pins and needles at this thing because one wrong move could be used against them severely in the future. The worst played moment came in Richardson's answer to, "Is homosexuality a choice?" I never even knew what his answer was. I don't think he answered a single question for the entire twenty minutes. I have been know to proclaim by admiration of Richardson but tonight was not his night.

By far the most uncomfortable person in the room that evening was John Edwards who has given a few indications that he is not comfortable with equal gay rights. Wow, that straight boy was sweating like he was in a gay bar during happy hour. He just needed to relax.

Kucinich really connected with the studio audience and he said some pretty amazing things, I will admit. But there is that little thing in my head that knows he is striving for an unachievable utopia. And I think he's amazing for running for president now two times to get his voice out there. Anf who knows, maybe one day he will be listened to more and actually get somewhere. (He admitted that he ran five times before getting elected to Congress. How cute.)

This was the first "debate" that Obama actually worked for me. Quiet conviction. And Hillary really didn't do well. Melissa Etheridge (YEAH!) really got emotional with her and Clinton became very cold in her response. Throughout the night I heard, "You are all great people but not great enough to be equal in every way to a straight person." And that's sad. But it is hard to tell if the candidates actually believe that statement or they are just trying to get elected. Perhaps naively, I choose to believe the latter. It says something that they at least showed up, right?

Even though it really wasn't a debate here are some awards:

Winner (with the gays): Dennis Kucinich
Winner (for everyone else): Barack Obama
Loser: Bill Richardson (but rather disqualified for not answering any questions)
Straightest: John Edwards
Best Host: MELISSA ETHERIDGE! Yeah! How great is she? (Though they were all much better than any of the previous debate moderators.)
Candidate Who Has No Idea What LGBT Means: Mike Gravel

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Logo Presidential Debate

How this debate plays out could be something very interesting to watch. How will John Edwards dodge questions? How uncomfortable will Hillary get? How cool will Obama try to play it?

Apparently you can watch the debate online at Thursday, August 9th at 9 PM ET / 6 PM PT. I'll be sure to catch it.

Anyone Else?

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

No Comment

U.S. Troop Deaths in Iraq on the Rise in August, August 7, 2007 · Four U.S. soldiers have been killed by roadside bombs in the Baghdad area, the military said Tuesday, raising to at least 19 the number of troop deaths in the first week of August.

The latest casualty figures could signal a resurgence in attacks after July's eight-month low.

Meanwhile, Iraq's political crisis worsened, with five more ministers boycotting Cabinet meetings - leaving Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's unity government without a Sunni political bloc.

The new cracks in al-Maliki's government appeared even as U.S. military officials sounded cautious notes of progress on security, citing strides against insurgents linked to al-Qaida in Iraq but also new threats from Iranian-backed Shiite militias.

Three Task Force Marne soldiers were killed Saturday when a roadside bomb struck their convoy south of Baghdad, the military said.

One coalition soldier was killed and another wounded Monday when their vehicle was hit by an armor-piercing explosively formed penetrator, or EFP, in a western section of the capital, according to a separate statement.

Washington has accused Iran of supplying Shiite extremists with EFPs to step up attacks against American forces. Tehran denies the allegations.

The military also said earlier that four soldiers were killed in a powerful combat explosion in restive Diyala province north of the capital on Monday.

U.S. commanders have warned they expect militants to try to upstage a September report on military and economic progress in Iraq.

The deaths raised to at least 19 members of the U.S. military who have died this month, or a rate of about three per day, putting August on track for a heavier toll after a drop in July.

Seventy-nine American troop deaths were reported, the lowest number since 70 killed in November.

More than 100 American forces died each month in the April-to-June period as the incoming U.S. troops were deployed with the Iraqi army in Baghdad's dangerous streets and security outposts.

Despite the relatively low number in July, Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno, the U.S. second-in-command, has blamed nearly three-quarters of the attacks on rogue Shiite militias the military believes are being armed and trained by Iran, which he said was increasing its support ahead of the pivotal report to be delivered to Congress in September.

The U.S. and Iranian ambassadors met Monday for their third round of talks in just over two months. The U.S. Embassy called the talks between Ambassador Ryan Crocker and his counterpart, Hassan Kazemi Qomi, "frank and serious."

But it was al-Maliki's troubles that seized the most attention. The Cabinet boycott of five ministers loyal to former Iraqi leader Ayad Allawi left the government, at least temporarily, without participants who were members of the Sunni political apparatus - a deep blow to the prime minister's attempt to craft reconciliation among the country's majority Shiites and minority Sunnis and Kurds.

The defense minister is from a Sunni background but has no political ties and was chosen by al-Maliki.

The Allawi bloc, a mixture of Sunnis and Shiites, cited al-Maliki's failure to respond to its demands for political reform.

The top Sunni political bloc already had pulled its six ministers from the 40-member Cabinet of al-Maliki, a Shiite, last week.

From NPR reports and The Associated Press

Monday, August 6, 2007

Debate Review: Republicans in Iowa, August 5th

I was able to get the whole video of the Republican debate on YouTube. I just love that site. As always, it is hard for me to sit and watch the Republicans debate issues to hear one sexist, closeminded answer after another. But I still find in necessary to watch. Someone may surprise me. And a few did.

I want to point out first of all that anyone who supports anything Tom Tancredo says is no friend of mine. His view that the holy sites of Islam, Mecca and Medina, could be bombed as a means of achieving victory is the most ridiculous, misunderstood comment of the debate. We are NOT at war with Islam, we are at war with al-Qaeda which represents a very small, extremist sect of fundamentalist Islam. I could not believe Tancredo would say something like this and I wish Stephanopoulos would have elaborated on that more and allowed other candidates to respond. I wonder how many other Republicans would support the destruction of Islamic holy sites. I would hope the others are not as uneducated on those matters as Tancredo.

Mitt Romney just seems like the poster child for Republicans. He's masculine, tall, attractive, and carries around a pretty hefty conservative agenda. He's the father of middle/upper class white America. And reminds me a little bit of Stan from American Dad. Anyone else? These people really get under my skin. But it seems only natural that he would be leading in the Republican polls.

And it was nice to see that Anderson Cooper's prediction that future debates would see voter generated questions came true. There were just a few video questions and I believe one emailed question. Anderson you are my hero.

One thing I can say in the Republican candidates favor is that they are not afraid to dissent with their fellow candidates and party. They represent more diverse opinions than the Democratic candidates strangely enough. There's cute, little Ron Paul, that racist mother-fucker Tancredo, that lovable Rudy Giuliani, and the quietly resigned John McCain. And that makes their debates somewhat watchable.

But let's get to the awards shall we?

Winner: Mike Huckabee
Runner-up: Mitt Romney
Most interesting and likely to recieve my vote (but not really): Rudy Giuliani
Most racist (and this was a toughy): Bomb Tancredo
Democratic pincushion of the evening: Barack Obama
Candidate that looks most like a toad or other amphibian-like creature: Tommy Thompson
Best Response: Rudy Giuliani when given 30 seconds to describe his mistakes in life. Watch it. It was classic.