March 30, 2004

Let's Hope The US Elections Follow Suit and Dump Bush


BBC NEWS | Europe | French voters dump Chirac party

French voters dump Chirac party

It was a night for celebration for the left


President Jacques Chirac's party has been humiliated in French regional polls, amid speculation that PM Jean-Pierre Raffarin could be sacked.

The socialists and their allies won 50% of the second-round votes, leaving Mr Chirac's centre-right governing UMP party trailing on 36.9%.

Posted by gh at 09:55 AM | Comments (147)

Caught Lying Again. So What Else Is New

9/11 Panel Wants Rice Under Oath in Any Testimony

9/11 Panel Wants Rice Under Oath in Any Testimony
By PHILIP SHENON and RICHARD W. STEVENSON

Published: March 30, 2004

ASHINGTON, March 29 — The chairman and vice chairman of the independent commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks said on Monday that they would ask Condoleezza Rice to testify under oath in any future questioning because of discrepancies between her statements and those made in sworn testimony by President Bush's former counterterrorism chief.

Posted by gh at 09:37 AM | Comments (173)

March 29, 2004

Fun with the Fascists

Demonstrators Swarm Around Rove's Home (washingtonpost.com)

Demonstrators Swarm Around Rove's Home


By Steven Ginsberg
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, March 29, 2004; Page B01

I love this. This is the type of free speech that Bush and Ashcroft want to get rid of.

Posted by gh at 11:27 AM | Comments (172)

I didn't Know It Wasn't Mine

News Analysis: Criminal Intent Seems the Focus of Juror’s Doubt in Tyco Trial


Criminal Intent Seems the Focus of Juror's Doubt in Tyco Trial
By ANDREW ROSS SORKIN and JONATHAN D. GLATER

Published: March 29, 2004

Do you believe that two Chief Executive officers of a multi-million dollar company didn't know that when they were spending company money for their private parties and redecorating their apartments to the tune of $600,000,000 yes that's $600,000,000 million dollars, not a small, little crime like steal some office supplies from the company but a REALLY REALLY BIG CRIME that they didn't think they were doing anything wrong. I mean really.

Posted by gh at 10:41 AM | Comments (76)

March 26, 2004

Neither Silent Nor a Public Witness Neither Silent Nor a Public Witness Neither Silent Nor a Public Witness

Neither Silent Nor a Public Witness (washingtonpost.com)

Neither Silent Nor a Public Witness
Presidential Adviser Rice Becomes a 9/11 Focal Point as Contradictions Appear

By Walter Pincus and Dana Milbank
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, March 26, 2004; Page A08

This week's testimony and media blitz by former White House counterterrorism chief Richard A. Clarke has returned unwanted attention to his former boss, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice.


The refusal by President Bush's top security aide to testify publicly before the commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks elicited rebukes by commission members as they held public hearings without her this week. Thomas H. Kean (R), the former New Jersey governor Bush named to be chairman of the commission, observed: "I think this administration shot itself in the foot by not letting her testify in public."


At the same time, some of Rice's rebuttals of Clarke's broadside against Bush, which she delivered in a flurry of media interviews and statements rather than in testimony, contradicted other administration officials and her own previous statements.


Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage contradicted Rice's claim that the White House had a strategy before 9/11 for military operations against al Qaeda and the Taliban; the CIA contradicted Rice's earlier assertion that Bush had requested a CIA briefing in the summer of 2001 because of elevated terrorist threats; and Rice's assertion this week that Bush told her on Sept. 16, 2001, that "Iraq is to the side" appeared to be contradicted by an order signed by Bush on Sept. 17 directing the Pentagon to begin planning military options for an invasion of Iraq.


Rice, in turn, has contradicted Vice President Cheney's assertion that Clarke was "out of the loop" and his intimation that Clarke had been demoted. Rice has also given various conflicting accounts. She criticized Clarke for being the architect of failed Clinton administration policies, but also said she retained Clarke so the Bush administration could continue to pursue Clinton's terrorism policies.


National Security Council spokesman Sean McCormack defended many of Rice's assertions, saying that she has been more consistent than Clarke.


This is not the first time in her tenure that Rice has been questioned over disputed national security claims by the administration. Making the case about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction in September 2002, she said that aluminum tubes the United States intercepted on their way to Iraq were "only suited for nuclear weapons programs." But at the time, the U.S. intelligence community was split over the use of the tubes, and today the majority view is that the tubes were for antiaircraft rockets.


Rice so far has refused to provide testimony under oath to the commission that could possibly resolve the contradictions. On Wednesday night, she told reporters, "I would like nothing better in a sense than to be able to go up and do this, but I have a responsibility to maintain what is a long-standing constitutional separation between the executive and the legislative branch."


Other presidential aides have waived their immunity; President Jimmy Carter's national security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, did, as did President Bill Clinton's national security adviser, Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger. McCormack said the comparisons are not applicable because Berger did not testify in public about policy matters.


The White House, reacting to the public relations difficulties caused by the refusal to allow Rice's testimony, yesterday asked the commission to give Rice another opportunity to speak privately with panel members to address "mischaracterizations of Dr. Rice's statements and positions."


Democratic commission member Richard Ben-Veniste disclosed this week that Rice had asked, in her private meetings with the commission, to revise a statement she made publicly that "I don't think anybody could have predicted that those people could have taken an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center . . . that they would try to use an airplane as a missile." Rice told the commission that she misspoke; the commission has received information that prior to Sept. 11, U.S. intelligence agencies and Clarke had talked about terrorists using airplanes as missiles.


In an op-ed published Monday in The Washington Post, Rice wrote that "through the spring and summer of 2001, the national security team developed a strategy to eliminate al Qaeda" that included "sufficient military options to remove the Taliban regime" including the use of ground forces. But Armitage, testifying this week as the White House representative, said the military part was not in the plan before Sept. 11. "I think that was amended after the horror of 9/11," he said. McCormack said Rice's statement is accurate because the team discussed including orders for such military plans to be drawn up.


In the same article, Rice belittled Clarke's proposals by writing: "The president wanted more than a laundry list of ideas simply to contain al Qaeda or 'roll back' the threat. Once in office, we quickly began crafting a comprehensive new strategy to 'eliminate' the al Qaeda network." Rice asserted that while Clarke and others provided ideas, "No al Qaeda plan was turned over to the new administration." That same day, she said most of Clarke's ideas "had been already tried or rejected in the Clinton administration."


But in her interview with NBC two days later, Rice appeared to take a different view of Clarke's proposals. "He sent us a set of ideas that would perhaps help to roll back al Qaeda over a three- to five-year period; we acted on those ideas very quickly. And what's very interesting is that . . . Dick Clarke now says that we ignored his ideas or we didn't follow them up."


Asked about this apparent discrepancy, McCormack pointed a reporter to a Clarke background briefing in 2002 in which the then-White House aide was defending the president's efforts in fighting terrorism.


Similarly, Rice implicitly criticized Clarke on CNN on Monday, saying that "he was the counterterrorism czar for a period of the '90s when al Qaeda was strengthening and when the plots that ended up September 11 were being hatched." But in a White House briefing two days later, she said she kept Clarke on the job because "I wanted somebody experienced in that area precisely to carry on the Clinton administration policy." McCormack said Clarke was kept on for continuity.


Among the most serious discrepancies in Rice's claims to emerge this week is about a briefing on terrorism Bush received on Aug. 6, 2001.


Rice had said on May 12, 2002, that the briefing was produced because Bush had asked about dangers of al Qaeda attacking the United States. But at the commission hearing, Ben-Veniste said that the CIA informed the 9/11 panel last week that the author of the briefing does not recall such a request from Bush and that the idea to compile the briefing came from within the CIA.


McCormack said that when the CIA briefer presented the paper, he said it was in response to the president's questions.

Posted by gh at 02:04 PM | Comments (44)

George Bush, Entertainer In Chief (www.washingtonpost.com)

At the 60th annual Radio & Television Correspondents' Association dinner the administration -- at least its leader -- was in the mood to have a little fun. And mostly at its own expense. By Jennifer Frey.

George Bush, Entertainer In Chief
At Radio-TV Dinner, President Competes With Trump's Show

By Jennifer Frey
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, March 25, 2004; Page C01


...

President Bush opened his 10-minute remarks to the gathering with a reference to what he referred to as Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's "favorite show" on television. Those anticipating an "Apprentice" punch line -- the Donald, after all, was only a few yards away -- guessed wrong.


"Queer Eye for the Straight Guy," Bush said, generating a roomful of laughter. "My Cabinet could take some pointers from watching that show. In fact, I'm going to have the Fab Five do a makeover on [Attorney General John] Ashcroft."


From there, Bush went on to poke at his own malapropisms before unveiling a slide show titled "White House Election Year Album" that had the crowd chuckling. Yes, there were a few jabs at the Democrats, including a couple of shots taken at Democratic challenger John Kerry. Bush described a picture of himself doing what looked like the shuffle in the Oval Office in front of Condoleezza Rice as "here I'm trying to explain John Kerry's foreign policy to Condi." He also faked a phone conversation between Kerry and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il. "Hey, John," he said. "Kim Jong Il here. Just wanted to let you know, you're my guy."


Mostly, though, he put up dorky-looking pictures of himself. A recurring joke involved photos of the president in awkward positions -- bent over as if he's looking under a table, leaning to look out a window -- accompanied by remarks such as "Those weapons of mass destruction must be somewhere!" and "Nope, no weapons over there!" and "Maybe under here?"

...

Posted by gh at 10:04 AM