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Bob Geiger - Archives
Posted by Bob Geiger in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Sat Aug 11th 2007, 08:40 AM


Please go to BobGeiger.com to see many more great cartoons from this week in politics.
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Posted by Bob Geiger in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Tue Aug 07th 2007, 08:49 AM


Democratic presidential candidate Chris Dodd sat down with a small group of Progressive bloggers on Saturday at the Yearly Kos conference and, in a 45-minute conversation, discussed Iraq, impeachment, the recent Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) vote and Bill O'Reilly's rabid attacks on liberal writers and activists.

In a conference-center meeting room, we met a friendly and relaxed Dodd who, after a brief welcome, took the entire time to answer questions that included those about his recent trashing of O'Reilly for the Fox News blowhard's ongoing hate-fest against Yearly Kos attendees.

"Had it been a one-night deal where he went after the Daily Kos, I probably would have said, alright I'm going to let it go," said the Connecticut Senator. "But it was kind of a repetition going on where all of a sudden I said they've decided this has value with them and it's resonating with people and they're getting away with describing something that's just totally fallacious."

"And you've got to answer these guys at times and it's uncomfortable and it's obvious that there's risk involved because I'm sure he'll be deciding he wants to say what he wants to say over the next coming weeks on all of this. But I'm a great believer that enabling occurs with silence… and so I thought it was important for one of us to get up and make a case and push back."

While not being willing to boycott appearing on Fox entirely -- saying, "I don't think you can leave the field to them" -- Dodd called the growing influence of Progressive blogs and their readers a threat to propaganda outfits like Rupert Murdoch's Newscorp.

"There's a lot of money involved and all of a sudden a growing percentage of people get their information from a very different set of sources," said Dodd. "One of my theories about O'Reilly… Something tells me, you scare the hell out of these guys. And I've got a feelings that a lot of what motivated that thing didn't have anything to do with Daily Kos or postings.

"You're a threat to institutions like Fox and Newscorp and others."

And Dodd, who has shown strong leadership in the Senate on ending the Iraq occupation and overturning the Military Commissions Act in its entirety, took his colleagues to task for voting on Friday to give George W. Bush extended powers for domestic spying. Dodd said that each Senator had ample time to read the legislation and that the new FISA law didn’t appear with the suddenness with which the Patriot Act originally came to lawmakers.

"This is not a Patriot Act situation. People had a very good idea of what was involved," he said. "Even though the vote occurred last evening, there was all day yesterday, there were caucuses, there was an ongoing battle -- the reason the vote took as long as it did was that they were settling on whatever the language was going to be in the various proposals -- so there was full awareness. And this isn’t a 500-page bill -- it's a relatively short two or three pages so you could read it in 30 seconds."

"This is not a question of ignorance or 'we didn’t know, it was late at night, rushing along here…' That argument should not be accepted as a legitimate argument at all. This is again, lacking, in my view, a sense of conviction about this stuff."

Dodd refused to be critical of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) on the outcome of the FISA vote or the overall priorities so far in the 110th Congress, except to say that he believes Iraq should continue to be front and center on the Senate agenda.

I asked Senator Dodd about the outrageous obstructionism being practiced by Senate Republicans and whether he believes, if nothing else is going to get done anyway, the Senate should have continued debating the recent Defense Authorization bill (and the withdrawal provisions) and should go forward by making the Senate business about Iraq every single day after the August recess.

"I don’t disagree with that," Dodd said. "I think we walked off the Defense Department Authorization bill too quickly. I think we should have stayed right with that. Not that these other issues aren't important… The ethics stuff is important and the SCHIP for the kids is important -- I don’t want to minimize the importance of those things, but nothing is more important than the Iraq war. You've got to stick with it."

When Pachacutec of Firedoglake emphasized the need for Senate Democrats to get stronger spines and "even if you lose, pick a fight," Dodd immediately agreed.

"I think it's much more valuable to get 20 votes for something that means something than when you try to get 51 votes," Dodd said.

The biggest philosophical divergence in the room came predictably enough on the subject of impeachment. I asked Dodd whether or not the conduct of the Bush administration had become such a threat to our Democracy that there were simply no practical or political arguments left for not impeaching Bush and Cheney.

Dodd said that, while as repulsed as everyone by Team Bush, he has very real concerns that going for impeachment would cost Democrats the presidency and both Houses of Congress in 2008.

"Politically speaking, there's nothing more important to me than winning the election of '08. I don’t say that from a personal standpoint, I want a Democrat, I want someone to bring some Progressive values and ideals to this office, to be the nominee and to win," he said. "And having been the general chairman of this party in the reelection of Bill Clinton -- I'm the only chairman of the party that's actually reelected a Democrat since Franklin Roosevelt and I was looking at a guy who was 35 percent in the polls in January of 1995 -- so I have some sense of what it takes to win a national election. And my gut instinct tells me that if we go down this road of an indictment and a trial, that we will lose the national election in '08. We'll lose maybe the House and possibly the Senate in the process."

I pressed a bit more, asking Senator Dodd if that's a false choice given that Republicans are already blocking all movement, while depicting Democrats as leaders of a do-nothing Congress and that, if the GOP is successful at that positioning, the public will also be left asking why Congress didn't move to impeach Bush and Cheney or more forcefully work to end the war.

Dodd's response:
"I think people have the same reaction that they have to Congress generally: 'listen, it's about me, it's not about you and what are you doing for me?' That's the old question people ask all the time when they go to vote. 'Are you listening to me? Are you paying attention to me?' That's the ultimate question that any voter asks of any person running for office.

"It's never about the candidate in their mind -- it's about them. They want to know if you're paying attention to them, if you're listening to them. 'Do you know what I'm going through? Do you know what I worry about? And here you are again worried about yourselves. My kid's in a crappy school, I've got no health care, some son of a bitch just closed the shop and moved to South America with my plant and you're farting around with this thing? What the hell's the matter with you?' And that's a very common reaction from people and to try to make the subtleties of these other arguments becomes very hard to get resonance with them.

"And this sounds like -- other than to a particular audience that cares deeply about it -- the general audience that's out there struggling every day and wondering if government cares at all about what's happening in their lives, this appears to not be focused on them… And that's the worry I have with it and why I think this is dangerous."
While it was clear that most in the room disagreed with him on that subject, Dodd also said that the subject of impeachment becomes very different when talking about Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

"I would agree if you're taking about Gonzales I think that it's much more plausible because I think there it would be obviously a huge story and it would be a dominating story but I think there would be the notion that this is not the legislative branch seeking a coup of the executive branch, but rather dealing specifically with a Constitutional officer. So I don’t disagree with that analysis."

Finally, Dodd discussed the greater influence of Progressive blogs on Capitol Hill and his disdain for the varying degrees of status given to different presidential candidates by the Corporate Media. When asked about the media's tendency to assign presidential candidates to first-tier or second-tier status based on polling and fundraising, Dodd said that some status should come from decades of fighting for the right causes.

"I may not be as well known, but damn it after 26 years of fighting a lot of these freakin' battles, when people weren't even around this stuff, I think I at least deserve to be taken seriously about this," he said. "And I don’t deserve to be relegated to some status because I don’t have numbers that are breaking through the ceiling financially."

And Dodd, who most Americans don’t know authored the popular Family and Medical Leave Act and fought for years for its passage, said that it's obvious to him that blogs have gained major traction in the halls of Congress.

"I think most offices today are certainly very much aware and have hired people in their offices to either have blogs or to engage or pay attention to what is being said so there's clearly a lot more of that and it's growing all the time," said Dodd, while also acknowledging the Netroots' fundraising prowess as was illustrated last quarter with blog money coming into Tom Allen's challenge of Republican Senator Susan Collins in Maine.

Quipped Dodd: "That will get their attention -- very quickly, I think."

You can read more from Bob at BobGeiger.com.
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Posted by Bob Geiger in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Mon Jul 30th 2007, 12:28 PM
One of the most frustrating things about beating back Republican lies, smears and spin can be that the underlying issues are often very complex and nuanced and explaining exactly how the GOP is intentionally misleading people is a task that Democrats have yet to master. That's why the silly refrain from Republicans about the low Congressional approval ratings that have continued since Democrats took control just six months ago is so amazingly easy to obliterate.

Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Robert "Mike" Duncan was at it again last week, sending an e-mail to supporters on Friday that used that transparent line of reasoning and did so by almost comically touting how well George W. Bush is doing with the American people.

"Republicans on the Rise!" screamed the e-mail from Duncan in which he all at once celebrated Bush's "rising" job approval ratings, slammed Congressional Democrats and implied that most of us actually believe the Iraq occupation is going just swell. (Bold type on the following is from Duncan's e-mail.)
"The eight most recent public polls show the President's job approval is rising while approval of Congress is plummeting. The four polls that measured job approval for both the President and Congress show the President's ratings are higher.

"… As voters see signs that the surge is working in Baghdad and Anbar, optimism is increasing with more people believing the war was the right thing to do and that the war is going better. "
"The more people see the clear differences between the policies of Republicans and Democrats, the stronger our position," proclaims Delusional Duncan.

We'll take these one at a time.

Duncan clearly got the title of his e-mail from the White Star Line's last newsletter before their luxury flagship sailed, in which they announced "Titanic on the Rise!" OK, I'm making that up, but it's just about as ridiculous as bragging about a statistically-insignificant uptick in Bush's dismal approval rating and using the following graphic to illustrate it:



What really tells the story is the following graph from Pollster.com in which you would need an electron microscope to see whatever incidental Bush improvement the RNC is so excited about:



A picture's worth a thousand words, huh?

Indeed, a July 25, Washington Post analysis of Bush's approval ratings concluded that "with 18 months left in office, he is in the running for most unpopular president in the history of modern polling."

Now, about that Congressional approval rating that Republicans are trying to ride as far as stupidity will allow them… Yes, the Congress has a lousy approval rating, but a cursory look at recent history shows that it's a continuation of how the GOP, do-nothing Congresses tanked those numbers beginning back in 2002.



Not a pretty picture to be sure, but you would never know from their strident rhetoric that it's Republicans that held the House of Representatives for the five years ending in January and that they had the Senate for all but one year (2002-2003) during that lengthy period. So that downward slide belongs almost entirely to the Republican party and the Democrats simply have not yet reversed that long-term decline.

One could argue that a more aggressive stance on Iraq on the part of Congressional Democrats might have caused the bad GOP approval ratings they inherited to go up fast but, even on that score, Republicans have been a massive roadblock every step of the way on keeping faith with the American people and ending the Iraq occupation.

And if you want to see the real kicker on the gall shown by Republicans in this positioning, there's two talking points you need to remember. One is that the current set of Congressional approval numbers under Democratic leadership look about the same -- if not a tad better -- than what the Republican Congress had in October, before the 2006 elections.

Here's Congress recently:



And here's what it looked like in October under GOP rule:



And for real chutzpah, have a look at the fact that Republicans as a group currently have a lower approval rating than do Congressional Democrats, by a six-point margin.



Finally, the RNC saying that Americans believe "the war was the right thing to do and that the war is going better" is just a flat-out lie. Every single poll that's been done in the last two years reflects diminishing support for the Iraq occupation and the vast majority of Americans believe going into Iraq was a mistake and want our troops out now.



That graph, which reflects Americans being asked if they think we did the right thing going into Iraq, doesn't tell you anything you didn’t already know, does it?

But the notion that Bush's popularity is skyrocketing, that the Democrats are responsible for a 5 1/2-year slide in Congressional approval ratings and Americans are beginning to appreciate the merits of the Iraq quagmire is the current Republican story -- and damn it, they're sticking with it.

We're fortunate that the truth on this is easy to point out and explain.

So, to wrap up: No matter what they say, George W. Bush remains about as popular as Mark Foley at a Congressional Page weenie roast. Blaming the Democrats for the bad Congressional approval rating doesn’t work when Republicans own 90 percent of that recent track record. And, of course, the number of American parents willing to send their sons and daughters to Iraq is not on the rise.

Say it and repeat as necessary.

You can read more from Bob at BobGeiger.com.
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Posted by Bob Geiger in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Sat Jul 28th 2007, 02:39 AM


Please go to BobGeiger.com to see many more great cartoons from this week in politics.
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Posted by Bob Geiger in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Thu Jul 26th 2007, 11:02 AM


White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, like Scott "The Lyin' King" McClellan before him, does a great job serving up lies every day on behalf of George W. Bush. If the president or Dick Cheney told Snow to go before the media and say that today is actually Christmas, he would do it and treat everyone in the room like idiots for being unaware of that altered reality.

So there was Snow yesterday sounding a lot like a Democrat and detailing the amount of Congressional investigation that's been necessary on the corrupt administration for which he is the mouthpiece, but actually using it to illustrate how the current Congress doesn’t understand the view from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on their role -- that they only exist to rubber stamp King George's policies.

Here's Snow in his opening statement for the Wednesday press briefing:
"As you probably know, the House Judiciary Committee has just voted along partisan lines to have a criminal contempt of Congress referral against White House legal counsel and the White House Chief of Staff. For our view, this is pathetic. What you have right now is partisanship on Capitol Hill that quite often boils down to insults, insinuations, inquisitions and investigations rather than pursuing the normal business of trying to pass major pieces of legislation, such as appropriations bills, and to try to work in such a way as to demonstrate to the American people that Congress and the White House can work together.

"In any event, it's worth putting this in perspective in terms of the accomplishments of the present Congress. If you take a look at the 110th Congress right now, which had promised to have all of its appropriations bills done this month, here's what we have seen since the beginning of the Congress: More than 300 executive branch investigations or inquiries; 400 requests for documents, interviews, or testimony; we've had more than 550 officials testify; we've had more than 600 oversight hearings; 87,000-plus hours spent responding to oversight requests; and 430,000 pages made available to Congress for oversight. That's pretty significant."
"That's pretty significant," he says.

But what he means is that Congress is wasting their time doing the oversight inherent to that body -- because, as far as Snow is concerned, Congress represents the White House and not the American people -- and that they should spend more time helping Bush in his failed national agenda or, like their GOP predecessors, focusing on issues like Terri Schiavo or flag burning.

And then one intrepid reporter tries to remind Snow of that boring old checks-and-balances thing:
Q: Tony, this country -- if I'm correct from our history books, wasn't this country based on the system of checks and balances? You say they're not doing the people's business, but isn't that the people's business? If there is something in question -- granted, there might have been 400 investigations, but if there was something in question, isn't that the people's business?

Snow: That's a very good question. But what if there isn't anything in question and somebody is going on a --

Q: There are things in question.
Snow then goes on to explain how Congress is only on a partisan "fishing expedition" and that Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are guilty of creating "a toxic atmosphere" in Washington.

I see… We have a Supreme Court-appointed president who has done everything but go up to Capitol Hill and urinate on the Senate floor and has systematically shredded our Constitution, but it's the people in the legislative branch who have polluted the political atmosphere.

And Snow wrapped up soon after one reporter expressed why Congress might be issuing contempt citations -- "you haven't made everybody available. You've made them available if they go without the oath, if they go without the transcript, and if they go in private" -- and another asked about Alberto Gonzales and whether Bush is "troubled by senators questioning his truthfulness and by Specter saying that he doesn't think he has any credibility."

Snow said the president "stands by the Attorney General" and, perhaps to lighten things up, "the president is bothered sometimes by the tone of debate in Washington."

Well, at least he ended on a comic note.

You can read more from Bob at BobGeiger.com.
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Posted by Bob Geiger in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Wed Jul 25th 2007, 12:41 PM

Given the group of unprincipled, lying hacks who sit atop the Republican leadership, either in government or in the GOP's infrastructure, it's not surprising that they would send out an e-mail yesterday attacking Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to high heaven for -- gasp! -- telling the truth.

As Attorney General Alberto Gonzales showed while testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, Republicans can find more ways to lie than David Vitter has hookers' cell phone numbers so naturally they find it incredibly offensive when a Democrat speaks truth that makes them and their sorry excuse for a president look as horrible as they really are.

So here's the Republican National Committee's (RNC) Chief Smearmeister Robert M. (Mike) Duncan, sending out an e-mail to his lemming-like followers yesterday and accusing Reid of what Republicans would consider unpardonable truth-telling. Specifically, they call him on the following statements about George W. Bush:
  • "Reid Called The President A 'Liar.' CBS' Bob Schieffer: 'You like him just fine, but you think he's a liar?' Sen. Reid: 'is policies--well, Bob, if you--I don't think we need to dwell on that, but I call them the way I see them.'"
  • "Reid: 'He's violated the rights of the Constitution in many different ways. He's been here as part of a culture of corruption. ... e's spying on Americans. ... he Justice Department is now a hiss and a byword.'"
  • "Reid Previously Called President Bush A Loser.' 'Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid called President Bush 'a loser' during a civics discussion with a group of teenagers at a high school on Friday. ... 'I think this guy is a loser.'"
OK, and all of this is a problem why? Anyone who still thinks Bush is anything but the worst president in U.S. history is probably so jacked up on thorazine that they can barely stand, so the judgment that Bush is a "loser" is probably a mild way to express the way most Americans feel.

And, he's leading the most corrupt government in most people's lifetimes, has spied on Americans without required warrants and has debased the Constitution in so many ways the Founding Fathers must be spinning in their graves. And is Bush a liar? Please. Americans came to that realization many times over, a long time ago.

Indeed, an April 2007 USA Today/Gallup poll, showed that just 41 percent of Americans thought President Bush was honest and trustworthy, while a June 2007 L.A. Times/Bloomberg poll, had 51 percent of respondents saying they thought Bush's credibility had decreased while in office.

Next.
  • "Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Called Marine Gen. Peter Pace, The Outgoing Chairman Of The Joint Chiefs Of Staff, 'Incompetent' During An Interview ... With A Group Of Liberal Bloggers ..."
Well, kinda, sorta, he did. I was on that call and, as I've written before, Reid was describing a private conversation he had with Pace, one-on-one in his office and he told us he had questioned Pace's leadership to his face and said his performance was incompetent.

And who is ready to stand up and give anyone in the military hierarchy praise for how amazingly well the Iraq occupation is going and how expertly it's been executed? It can't be the 70 percent of Americans who now believe the Iraq debacle is a lost cause and should be abandoned -- I guess we're all as bad as Reid in the RNC's glazed, beady little eyes.

Hitting on the continued low approval ratings for the Congress, the RNC slime message included this:
  • "Americans' Confidence In The Dem Congress Hit An All-Time Low Of Only 14 Percent. 'According to Gallup, just 14% of people express confidence in the current Congress. That's the lowest measure in the 34 years Gallup has been tracking government institutions.'"
The reality is that when it comes to the major issue confronting the nation -- the Iraq quagmire -- the Washington Post reported Tuesday that 55 percent of respondents to a recent poll said they trust Congressional Democrats on the war, compared with 32 percent who said they trust Bush. And by 2 to 1, Americans said Congress, rather than the president, should make the final decision about when to withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq.

The fact is that the aggregate Congressional approval rating has been falling since 2002 under Republican leadership and it's unreasonable to expect that Democrats can reverse that trend in just six months.

The RNC even had the nerve to cite the opinion of one writer, Washington Post columnist David Broder, who earlier this year called Reid "an embarrassment to the Democrats."

Of course, the truly embarrassing thing the GOP doesn’t want to mention is that following Broder's silly column, all 50 of Reid's colleagues in the Senate Democratic Caucus signed a letter rebutting Broder's nonsense, saying "In contrast to Mr. Broder's insinuations, we believe Mr. Reid is an extraordinary leader who has effectively guided the new Democratic majority through these first few months with skill and aplomb."

And, by the way, even Joe Lieberman, who opposes Reid at every level on the Iraq occupation, signed that letter.

But those facts don’t play into the Republican narrative on Reid, which would be like the smears they used on John Kerry in 2004, Max Cleland in 2002 and their own, John McCain in 2000 except that they mostly cite things that Reid actually said -- what a concept for them.

The truth may hurt them at the RNC, but it doesn’t make Reid wrong for telling it.

I predict next week, they'll say Majority Leader Reid called Tom DeLay, Duke Cunningham and Bob Ney criminals, declared Scooter Libby a liar and accused Mark Foley of chasing teenagers around the halls of Congress.

The RNC will then fire off a really indignant e-mail asking how Harry Reid could say such things.

You can read more from Bob at BobGeiger.com.
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Posted by Bob Geiger in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Tue Jul 24th 2007, 08:56 AM


If Missouri really does pride itself on being "the show-me state," you have to wonder how long it's going to be before Missourians demand that Senator Kit Bond (R-MO) show them the truth.

Bond, who has been one of George W. Bush's most ardent rubber-stampers ever since the Supreme Court handed Bush the presidency, has shown repeatedly that he's not beyond bending or breaking the truth for any White House cause. After all, it was just last month that Bond went public with glowing and demonstrably false statements about how well the troops surge is going in Iraq. It seems like his staff must hope they can distribute disingenuous press releases to the Missouri media and get some unchecked local ink without any meddling bloggers getting in the way.

I guess I'll be the fly in the Bond ointment again.

The latest example of Fibber Bond blatantly misleading his constituents came last week when the Director of National Intelligence released key findings from the latest National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), updating the country on prevailing terrorist threats to America.

The 'Key Judgments' section of the NIE document (PDF), which is produced collaboratively by the nation's 16 Intelligence agencies, declares that America is in as much danger or more than before 9/11 and that al-Qaeda's efforts to base an attack on U.S. soil will continue.

"Although we have discovered only a handful of individuals in the United States with ties to al-Qaeda senior leadership since 9/11, we judge that al-Qaeda will intensify its efforts to put operatives here," said the NIE. "As a result, we judge that the United States currently is in a heightened threat environment."

"We assess that al-Qaeda will continue to enhance its capabilities to attack the Homeland through greater cooperation with regional terrorist groups. Of note, we assess that al-Qaeda will probably seek to leverage the contacts and capabilities of al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), its most visible and capable affiliate and the only one known to have expressed a desire to attack the Homeland. In addition, we assess that its association with AQI helps al-Qaeda to energize the broader Sunni extremist community, raise resources, and to recruit and indoctrinate operatives, including for Homeland attacks."

In other words, the strength of the al-Qaeda operation we've engendered in Iraq has boosted Osama bin Laden's global capabilities to harm our country.

The Christian Science Monitor didn’t think the report was good news, running a headline that said " National Intelligence Estimate: Al Qaeda stronger and a threat to US homeland" while the New York Times called the NIE a "bleak new assessment" and a "dreary judgment" under the headline "Six Years After 9/11, the Same Threat."

"The summary of the latest National Intelligence Estimate, which was released Tuesday by the White House, tells Americans, in effect, that they are less safe now than they were after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, almost six years ago," read the lead editorial in the July 19 Pittsburgh Post Gazette, under the headline "Four years into Iraq, America is no safer."



But what did the big happy press release issued by Bond last Wednesday tell people in the Show-Me State? "Intelligence report confirms America is safer since September 11th."

“Today’s report confirms that our terror fighting tools and efforts are working. We must continue to use everything in our arsenal to protect Americans from another terrorist attack,” said Bond.

But he urged caution and used the happy news to warn that we still need to curtail the Constitution and "give law enforcement and the intelligence community the tools needed to track, interrogate and prosecute terrorist like the Patriot Act and modernization of the 1979 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act."

Joe Biden (D-DE), the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee -- and a guy who knows his way around such reports -- disagrees with Bond, calling the latest NIE a "devastating indictment of Bush Administration failures."

“The NIE now confirms what was reported last week: the al-Qaeda we failed to finish off in Afghanistan and Pakistan has 'regenerated' and remains intent on attacking us at home," said Biden. "That should put to rest once and for all this Administration’s false refrain that we’re fighting them over there in Iraq so they won’t hit us here."

Senate Intelligence Committee member Russ Feingold (D-WI), who has been warning for two years about the fact that the Iraq war has allowed al-Qaeda to gain strength worldwide, reiterated his message that the Iraq occupation is a deadly, expensive distraction from the real challenges America should be meeting.

“The NIE confirms that al-Qaeda is the most serious threat to the United States, and that key elements of that threat have been regenerated or even enhanced," said Feingold last week. "The Administration's policies in Iraq have also allowed the emergence of an al-Qaeda affiliate that didn't exist before the war. According to the NIE, al-Qaeda's association with this group helps it raise resources and recruit and indoctrinate operatives, including for attacks against the U.S. The sooner we redeploy from Iraq, the sooner we can develop policies that deny al-Qaeda these advantages and allow us to effectively combat this terrorist network and its affiliates worldwide.”

And even military newspapers like The Army Times concluded from the NIE that the Iraq war has created a new and massive branch office for al-Qaeda -- and one that now poses a threat that did not exist before.

"The report makes clear that al-Qaeda in Iraq, which has not yet posed a direct threat to U.S. soil, could become a problem here," wrote The Army Times last Tuesday. “Of note, the analysts said, 'we assess that al-Qaeda will probably seek to leverage the contacts and capabilities of al-Qaeda in Iraq, its most visible and capable affiliate and the only one known to have expressed a desire to attack the homeland.'"

All of this adds up, as it often does with Senator Bond, to a scenario where we are forced to conclude that he is either the dumbest man ever to serve as ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, or such a compulsive liar that he'll tell his constituents anything, under the assumption that at least the percentage who watch Fox News will be none the wiser.

And lest you think that the Senate's collective stance on this was a strictly partisan affair-- with all Democrats reading the NIE with dread, while the GOP side of the aisle uniformly hailed the good news -- you need simply look at how many Republican Senators joined Bond in shouting the NIE's good news to the folks back home.

Despite the fact that any legitimate good news on Iraq and the bogus "war on terror" would be greeted with a press release tsunami from every GOP member of the House or Senate, do you know how many Republican Senators issued any statement at all last week about the NIE?

One. Kit Bond.

In a party famous for standing together on the most transparent spin and carefully-crafted lies on behalf of the Bush White House, Bond stood alone even among Republicans in offering up this bunch of feel-good nonsense.

And Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) unloaded on the Senate floor Friday, taking to task Bush, Cheney, Bond and the whole White House cabal who let Osama bin Laden run free, while saying how great things are going in Iraq.

"Now we have a report that says Osama bin Laden and his top deputies are in a safe haven," said Dorgan. "Six years after they murdered thousands of Americans, they are in a safe haven. There ought not be one square inch of ground on this planet that ought to be a safe haven for the leaders of al-Qaeda."

That all makes perfect sense -- unless you're on Senator Bond's planet.

You can read more from Bob at BobGeiger.com.
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Posted by Bob Geiger in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Mon Jul 23rd 2007, 09:11 AM


Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), weary of fighting to get honest answers out of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales in the political firings of eight federal prosecutors, took the unexpected step last week of sending Gonzales a list of the questions he should expect when he appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

Leahy, the committee's Chairman, sent a letter to Gonzales on July 17 pointing out the number of times the embattled Attorney General said he could "not recall" in response to previous direct questioning on his department's operations and saying that he "would like to avoid a repeat of that performance."

"When you last testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on April 19, 2007, you often responded to questions from Senators on both sides of the aisle that you could 'not recall,'" wrote Leahy in his letter to Gonzales. "By some counts, you failed to answer more than 100 questions, by other counts more than 70, and the most conservative count had you failing to provide answers well over 60 times. As a result, the Committee’s efforts to conduct oversight were hampered."

So Leahy sent questions in advance hoping to give Gonzales a week to think about some better responses to the questions surrounding the U.S. Attorney firings, National Security Letter abuses and the White House's warrantless domestic spying program.

According to Leahy's office, the Judiciary Chairman "put the Attorney General on notice that the Committee would expect answers on inconsistencies in the Attorney General’s public statements and testimony involving the firing of several U.S. Attorneys as well as the President’s warrantless wiretapping program" including the following:
  • "On April 19, you testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee that you had not spoken with anyone involved in the firings about that process because you did not want to interfere with the investigation. Again, on May 10, you testified to the House Judiciary Committee that you had not spoken with anyone involved in order to protect the integrity of the investigation. Then on May 23, Monica Goodling testified under oath before the House Judiciary Committee that she had an 'uncomfortable' conversation with you during which you outlined your recollection of what happened and asked her for her reaction to your version. Is Ms. Goodling’s testimony accurate, and if so, how do you account for your previous, uncorrected testimony to this Committee?"
  • "On April 19 you testified before this Committee that your former Chief of Staff Kyle Sampson was responsible for putting together the list of U.S. Attorneys to be fired. But on May 15, the day after Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty announced his intention to resign, you said that the firings were largely Mr. McNulty’s responsibility. Mr. McNulty has said that he had very limited involvement in the decision of which U.S. Attorneys to fire. Please describe all of your interactions with Mr. McNulty related to the replacement of the nine U.S. Attorneys and your understanding of his role in deciding which U.S. Attorneys would be fired. Why has your description of who made the decisions, and who was most involved in the decision-making process, changed over time?"
  • "When you were asked on February 6, 2006 if any senior Justice Department officials, including your former deputy, James Comey, expressed concerns about the Bush Administration’s warrantless electronic surveillance program, you testified: 'I do not believe that these DOJ officials . . . had concerns about this program.' Mr. Comey subsequently testified on May 15, 2007 that on March 9, 2004, he informed you, as White House counsel, and others including the Vice President, that the Justice Department had concluded that the Administration’s warrantless electronic surveillance program did not have a legal basis. He testified that you and former White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card tried to circumvent him, in his role as Acting Attorney General, by rushing to the hospital bedside of ailing former Attorney General John Ashcroft to try to persuade him to certify the program. Please provide a full explanation for the legal authorization for the President’s warrantless electronic surveillance program in March and April 2004."
You can also expect some tough questioning from Russ Feingold (D-WI) who has long been in Gonzales's face about the illegal domestic spying program and was a leader in trying to secure a no-confidence vote on the Attorney General last month.

"I voted against Alberto Gonzales to be the Attorney General because I was not convinced he would put the rule of law, and the interests of the country, above those of the President and the Administration," said Feingold in June. "Unfortunately, those concerns have been realized over and over. He has failed in a very significant way. He should resign."

We'll see if the hearings on Tuesday move us closer to that point.

You can read more from Bob at BobGeiger.com.
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Posted by Bob Geiger in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Sat Jul 21st 2007, 09:21 AM


Please go to BobGeiger.com to see many more great cartoons from this week in politics.
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Posted by Bob Geiger in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Wed Jul 18th 2007, 02:09 PM


The last 24 hours have been a wild ride in the United States Senate with Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) forcing the Republicans to stand before the American people and openly explain why they believe it's a good idea to keep U.S. troops in Iraq indefinitely. While Republicans managed to again block a Democratic measure to end the war -- this time, the Levin-Reed amendment -- the outpouring of support for the extended and up-front dialog has been amazing.

I have some numbers to help quantify that for you, along with some sad figures that show the true cost of Republicans caring too much about George W. Bush's legacy and not enough about the troops or national security.

Support across the country for changing course in Iraq
  • 59,603 - Faxes (and still counting) sent to Senators in support of Levin-Reed Amendment
  • 10 – Iraq Veterans who spent the day lobbying Senators for a change of course in Iraq.
  • 155 - Events held around the country hosted by Americans Against Escalation, Moveon.org, and the “Iraq Summer Campaign” in support of changing course in Iraq.
  • 450 – People who attended a Call to Action by Candlelight in Upper Senate Park.
  • 21 – Democratic Senators who attended a Call to Action by Candlelight in Upper Senate Park.
  • 57 – Democratic House members who attended Call to Action by Candlelight in Upper Senate Park.
  • 33 – Democratic Senators who spoke on the floor in favor of a change of course in Iraq.
  • 2 – New Senators to vote for a change of course in Iraq.
Costs of war in Iraq continue to rise
  • 168 - Iraqis reported killed on July 17. 7/17/07>
  • 86 – Iraqis reported wounded on July 17. 7/17/07>
  • $322 Million – Amount of taxpayer dollars spent in Iraq on July 17.
Grand Obstruction Party blocks efforts to change course in Iraq
  • 8 – Number of times Republicans obstructed giving the Levin-Reed amendment a majority vote.
  • 7 – Number of Republican Senators who have recently spoken out against escalation and for redeployment, but who voted against changing course in Iraq. Senate Vote 252, HR 1585, 7/18/07]
I guess we'll hold off on the Desperate Buzzphrase Count, showing how many times Republicans took to the floor and said "cut and run," "precipitous withdrawal," and "retreat and defeat" over the last two days.

The numbers above tell the story just fine.

You can read more from Bob at BobGeiger.com.
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Posted by Bob Geiger in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Tue Jul 17th 2007, 07:37 AM


When I interviewed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in December, one of the things I was struck by is that, despite his understated way of speaking, you can tell that he is a legitimately tough guy who, when push comes to shove, will fight back and stand his ground. We're seldom totally satisfied with how the leaders on our side of the political aisle stand up to the people we hold in so much disdain, but legislative politics is about far more gray than black and white and just because we don’t always understand why Reid does what he does, doesn’t mean he lacks a strong spine.

And, while Reid's surprise move to hold the Senate in session all night tonight if Republicans block yet another Iraq-redeployment bill certainly took the political world by storm yesterday, Senate watchers know that Reid is no stranger to holding the Senate open to take a stand and make a point.

On November 10, 2003, when Reid was Assistant Minority Leader to then Majority Leader Tom Daschle, the Nevada Senator single-handedly held the Senate floor for almost nine hours in a one-man protest over GOP leader Bill Frist's scheme to have the Senate spend 30 consecutive hours that week on Bush administration judicial nominations that Democrats had blocked.

I don’t know if you recall that judicial Rogues Gallery of Estrada, Owen, Pickering, and Pryor, but they were the only four of 172 Bush judicial nominations that the Democrats objected to and, in Frist's characteristically uncompromising way, he was prepared to hijack the entire Senate agenda to shove them through.

And Reid used the prerogative held by every Senator to take the floor for as long as desired, provided he followed Senate rules and did not sit down or stop talking except to field questions from colleagues.

Saying, "you can only be slapped around so many times," Reid took very careful sips of water to avoid having to hit the men's room, leaned on his desk from time to time, but remained standing and held the floor for over 8 1/2 hours, effectively controlling Senate business for the entire day.

"The Senate is a body where one person can throw a monkey wrench into it, and a monkey wrench is being thrown today by the senator from Nevada," Reid said that November 10.

He then went on to talk about a host of issues including global warming, the minimum wage, the Bush economy and energy exploration. But he saved much of his bile for the spectacle of Republicans willing to hold the Senate hostage for the sake of four wealthy judges, while refusing time and time again to raise the minimum wage or deal with massive national job losses.
"What a ridiculous thing to have 30 hours -- a week before trying to get out of here -- spent on the jobs of 4 people, when there are over 3 million people who have lost their jobs and more than that are unemployed. We are going to spend 30 hours on the lives of four judges. That just doesn't seem right to me. If people are wondering why we are not moving along, you can do all the name calling you want, but I think the history books will reflect how the leadership has been -- at least during the past few days when you interrupt the ending days of a session to spend 30 hours on a wasteful exercise.

"Why don't we spend 30 hours talking about why we haven't increased the minimum wage? That would help commerce in this country. That would work within the confines of this legislation. The minimum wage is now $5.15 an hour. Take that math and figure out how tough it is.

"Let's spend 30 hours talking about people who are working two jobs at $5.15 an hour, who have no benefits, no medical benefits, no retirement benefits. We should spend a little time on them, on the minimum wage. I think that would be something that would be very beneficial.

"Mr. President, 7.5 million Americans worked two or more jobs in October, up from 7.3 million just a year ago. That is an increase of 200,000. The percentage of people for part-time jobs increased from 1.7 million to 1.8 million over the same course of the year.

"I want to look at where some more of these jobs have been lost."
Reid then spent more time listing towns throughout America and the number of jobs they had lost under the reign of George W. Bush.

After hours talking about the irresponsibility of the Republican majority and how beholden they were to Bush and his judicial nominees, Reid changed course and read many chapters from the book he authored about his tiny hometown: "Searchlight: The Camp That Didn't Fail."

"I am a soldier with a mission," Reid said with a smile to a near-empty Senate chamber. "That mission is to tell people around the world, C-SPAN and people within the breadth and width of my voice, about Searchlight and how it got its name."

And so it went -- except when Republican Judd Gregg of New Hampshire tried to interrupt Reid. Here's the actual Congressional Record entry:
Mr. GREGG. Will the Senator yield for a question?

Mr. REID. No. I will in half an hour or so.

Mr. GREGG. My question was going to be as to how much time the Senator is going to take?

Mr. REID. When the Senator was off the floor -- and I will repeat -- I indicated my great respect and admiration for someone with a record of accomplishment that certainly is significant -- Governor, Member of the House of Representatives, Senator, and I indicated publicly, and I will say again, my speaking today for an extended period of time has nothing to do with my regard for the Senator from New Hampshire. I am going to talk for probably 4 or 5 hours today.

Mr. GREGG. Will the Senator yield for a question? That is not a problem for myself. I would just like to know the approximate time.

Mr. REID. I have answered the Senator's questions, and I would appreciate it if he would not interrupt.
And so Harry Reid does it again today and tonight and into tomorrow morning and my money is on him to outlast Bush's boys on the other side of the aisle.

After all, The Democratic Leader has been there before.

You can read more from Bob at BobGeiger.com.
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Posted by Bob Geiger in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Mon Jul 16th 2007, 09:51 AM


I wrote on Sunday about the status of Senator Arlen Specter's (R-PA) Habeas Corpus Restoration Act of 2007, which will likely come to a vote in the U.S. Senate this week and that will restore the fundamental right of due process under the law to those in American custody. I listed the Senators who had stepped up to the plate to cosponsor such an important piece of legislation and urged readers to contact the offices of Democrats not yet cosponsoring the bill to give them a push in the right direction.

There's a bit of confusion about the actual bill number and I wanted to quickly clear that up today.

S. 185, which I've been writing about, and which currently has 29 cosponsors -- 28 Democrats and Independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont -- has been the operative version of the Habeas Corpus Restoration Act of 2007 since it was introduced by Specter and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) on the first day of the new Congress in January.

What people will see come to the Senate floor this week as an amendment to the Department of Defense (DoD) authorizations bill is S. Amdt. 2022, which is simply S. 185 renumbered as an amendment to the DoD legislation. In fact, the text of S. 185 and S. Amdt. 2022 are identical as follows:
RESTORATION OF HABEAS CORPUS FOR THOSE DETAINED BY THE UNITED STATES.

(a) In General.--Section 2241 of title 28, United States Code, is amended by striking subsection (e).

(b) Title 10.--Section 950j of title 10, United States Code, is amended by striking subsection (b) and inserting the following:

"(b) Limited Review of Military Commission Procedures and Actions.--Except as otherwise provided in this chapter or in section 2241 of title 28 or any other habeas corpus provision, and notwithstanding any other provision of law, no court, justice, or judge shall have jurisdiction to hear or consider any claim or cause of action whatsoever, including any action pending on or filed after the date of the enactment of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, relating to the prosecution, trial, or judgment of a military commission under this chapter, including challenges to the lawfulness of procedures of military commissions under this chapter.''.

(c) Effective Date and Applicability.--The amendments made by this section shall--

(1) take effect on the date of the enactment of this Act; and

(2) apply to any case that is pending on or after the date of enactment of this Act.
While it's short and sweet, it can still look to some like legal gobbledygook, so here's where the rubber meets the road: It's the part up top that says "Section 2241 of title 28, United States Code, is amended by striking subsection (e)."

From the Military Commissions Act, here's subsection (e):
"No court, justice, or judge shall have jurisdiction to hear or consider an application for a writ of habeas corpus filed by or on behalf of an alien detained by the United States who has been determined by the United States to have been properly detained as an enemy combatant or is awaiting such determination."
That's the downright un-American nonsense the Specter-Leahy bill will get rid of.

So it doesn’t matter whether it's called S. 185 or S. Amdt. 2022 as it does the exact same thing of, as Senator Leahy said last week, "restoring basic American values and the rule of law, while making our Nation stronger."

"I don't think that there's a more important issue to come before this body," said Specter on the Senate floor. "What happens in Iraq obviously is of enormous importance, but if we lose the basic fundamental rights to require evidence before somebody is held in detention, if we lose the right of habeas corpus, it is a very sad day in America."

In terms of what Democratic Senators are stepping up and cosponsoring the legislation, our count remains the same. Twenty-eight Democrats had signed up to cosponsor the original S. 185 and the 14 current cosponsors of the new S. Amdt. 2022 also have their names attached to S. 185.

Which leaves us with the following Democrats who haven't signed on to support either one:
  • Daniel Akaka (D-HI)
  • Max Baucus (D-MT)
  • Evan Bayh (D-IN)
  • Robert Casey (D-PA)
  • Kent Conrad (D-ND)
  • Byron Dorgan (D-ND)
  • Daniel Inouye (D-HI)
  • Tim Johnson (D-SD)
  • Herb Kohl (D-WI)
  • Mary Landrieu (D-LA)
  • Blanche Lincoln (D-AR)
  • Barbara Mikulski (D-MD)
  • Patty Murray (D-WA)
  • Ben Nelson (D-NE)
  • Mark Pryor (D-AR)
  • Jack Reed (D-RI)
  • Charles Schumer (D-NY)
  • Jon Tester (D-MT)
  • James Webb (D-VA)
  • Ron Wyden (D-OR)
Does it matter if they sign on as cosponsors to the Habeas Corpus Restoration Act of 2007? Yes, it does. For one, it tells us what our running vote count is and gives us some sense of who's going to ultimately vote for it. While the Senators listed above may very well intend on voting for the bill's passage, we don’t know that at the moment -- and for something this fundamental to American values, they need to stand up and be counted. Cosponsoring the bill also demonstrates leadership on this vital issue and that's what we want to see.

So get on the phone today and call the Senators still not committed to cosponsoring this critical legislation as they may still need a nudge to sign on that dotted line.

Here's the toll-free number to dial at the U.S. Capitol: 800-862-5530. Just call and ask to be connected to your Senator's office. If you get a chronic busy signal you can see a directory of direct lines to Senate offices here (PDF).

A vote on this should occur by Thursday.

You can read more from Bob at BobGeiger.com.

Update: I neglected to mention that Tim Johnson is still recovering from health problems and may not be able to cosponsor this legislation. I've noted that so many times in the last six months that I assumed it was common knowledge, but regret the omission. That said, Johnson is updating press statements on his web site on a regular basis and could state his support for restoring Habeas Corpus were he so moved.
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Posted by Bob Geiger in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Sun Jul 15th 2007, 08:43 AM


It's been almost three weeks since I last wrote about the status of cosponsorship on the Habeas Corpus Restoration Act of 2007, a bill by Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) that would "…restore habeas corpus for those detained by the United States." At that point, the legislation had 23 cosponsors -- 22 Democrats and Independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont -- and I thought I would check back in today and see who has stepped up to show leadership on this issue since then.

With the addition over the last couple of weeks of Senators Byrd, Carper, Klobuchar, McCaskill, Menendez and Nelson (Bill), there are 28 Democratic Senators, along with Sanders, cosponsoring Specter's S. 185, which could very well come up for a vote next week as an amendment to the Defense Department authorization bill.

Here's the cosponsor list:
  • Joe Biden (D-DE)
  • Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)
  • Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
  • Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
  • Robert Byrd (D-WV)
  • Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
  • Ben Cardin (D-MD)
  • Thomas Carper (D-DE)
  • Hillary Clinton (D-NY)
  • Chris Dodd (D-CT)
  • Dick Durbin (D-IL)
  • Russ Feingold (D-WI)
  • Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
  • Tom Harkin (D-IA)
  • Ted Kennedy (D-MA)
  • John Kerry (D-MA)
  • Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
  • Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)
  • Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
  • Carl Levin (D-MI)
  • Claire McCaskill (D-MO)
  • Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
  • Bill Nelson (D-FL)
  • Barack Obama (D-IL)
  • Jay Rockefeller (D-WV)
  • Ken Salazar (D-CO)
  • Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
  • Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
  • Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
So I again raise the question: Where are the other Democrats?

We expect almost none of Specter's Republican colleagues to support his leadership on something so basic to our country's creed. The GOP long ago divorced itself of any commitment to our Constitution, so our standards for them have been lowered accordingly. But we expect more of Democrats and should ask why the others are not stepping up and cosponsoring this legislation along with 29 of their colleagues (including Sanders) in the Democratic caucus.

Can they support it when the roll call vote comes, but just not go all the way and sign their names as cosponsoring the bill? Yes. But that's not showing true leadership and, when it comes to one of the most basic American rights trashed by Team Bush, you've got to stand and be counted -- in other words, it's not enough to just show up for the vote.

The following Democratic Senators have still not signed up to cosponsor the Habeas Corpus Restoration Act of 2007:
  • Daniel Akaka (D-HI)
  • Max Baucus (D-MT)
  • Evan Bayh (D-IN)
  • Robert Casey (D-PA)
  • Kent Conrad (D-ND)
  • Byron Dorgan (D-ND)
  • Daniel Inouye (D-HI)
  • Tim Johnson (D-SD)
  • Herb Kohl (D-WI)
  • Mary Landrieu (D-LA)
  • Blanche Lincoln (D-AR)
  • Barbara Mikulski (D-MD)
  • Patty Murray (D-WA)
  • Ben Nelson (D-NE)
  • Mark Pryor (D-AR)
  • Jack Reed (D-RI)
  • Charles Schumer (D-NY)
  • Jon Tester (D-MT)
  • James Webb (D-VA)
  • Ron Wyden (D-OR)
In fairness, Senators Mikulski and Wyden have both signed on as cosponsors to Senator Chris Dodd's Restoring the Constitution Act of 2007, which restores habeas corpus and takes it a step further by essentially gutting the entire Military Commissions Act. While their hearts are obviously in the right place, there's no reason they can't cosponsor both bills and, to the best of my knowledge, Dodd's bill will not be coming to a vote before the August Senate recess.

In addition, Tim Johnson is still recovering from a brain hemorrhage and I'm unclear as to whether he can cosponsor legislation from afar.

"Habeas corpus was recklessly undermined in last year’s legislation. I hope that the new Senate will reconsider this historic error in judgment and set the matter right," said Patrick Leahy (D-VT) in the June 7 Judiciary Committee hearings that forwarded S. 185 to the full Senate. "Like the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, the elimination of habeas rights was an action driven by fear and another stain on America’s reputation in the world."

So get on the phone Monday and call the Senators still not committed to cosponsoring this vital legislation as they may still need a nudge to sign on that dotted line.

Here's the toll-free number to dial at the U.S. Capitol: 800-862-5530. Just call and ask to be connected to your Senator's office. If you get a chronic busy signal you can see a directory of direct lines to Senate offices here (PDF).

You'll feel good for having done it.

You can read more from Bob at BobGeiger.com.
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Posted by Bob Geiger in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Sat Jul 14th 2007, 08:46 AM


Please go to BobGeiger.com to see many more great cartoons from this week in politics.
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Posted by Bob Geiger in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Fri Jul 13th 2007, 09:07 AM


It's no secret that Republican Saxby Chambliss of Georgia is not considered one of the deepest thinkers in the United States Senate. He doesn't do a hell of a lot legislatively and, after all, he only got there by the swift-boating of highly-decorated Vietnam Veteran Max Cleland, whose Senate seat Chambliss took in 2002 by running television ads depicting Cleland with Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.

And since coming to the Senate, his tenure has been most notable to the extent that, even in a Congress characterized by Republicans who serve solely as rubber stamps for George W. Bush, he's among the most compliant even by that lot's sorry standards.

So it's no surprise that Chambliss went to the Senate floor this week to argue against Virginia Democrat Jim Webb's bill to mandate more time at home for Iraq combat troops before Bush could sent them right back into battle. What is amazing is the sheer stupidity of what he said.

"It is an unwise and harmful effort to limit the ability of the President and his military leaders and handicap their use of personnel and resources available to them," said Chambliss, in arguing for sending troops back to Iraq with insufficient rest and medical care.

Now, that's just spin and not the really dumb thing -- though one could wonder how anyone could at this point rant about how we should let a proven incompetent like Bush manage a game of Monopoly, much less the U.S. military after the mess he's made of things.

But have a look at what Chambliss said about how troops in World War II were deployed for much longer and how he tried to use that as a stick with which to beat Webb for being "out of step with history" in his efforts to keep military men and women home longer with their families:
"Senator Webb's amendment would preclude deployment of certain active and reserve forces based on the number of days they have spent at home. Keep in mind these restrictions would apply to the Nation's most experienced and capable troops during a time of war when we face an unpredictable and highly adaptive enemy.

"Keep in mind that during World War II and other wars of this country, service members participating in those wars deployed for 3 and 4 years with little or no break. With this in mind the current proposal by Senator Webb seems out of step with history and what it has taken to win the wars of this country. I can think of no way in which the Webb amendment will help our Nation succeed in Iraq."
Leave it to a Republican desperate to bail out Bush, to compare World War II and the gravity of that global conflict with Bush's war of choice about absolutely nothing.

And here's the real kicker: Chambliss cynically uses the work ethic of America's troops as a bizarre frame of reference for how Democrats really aren't supporting the troops by taking them out of the Iraqi civil war so they can spend more time with their families.

"Public approval ratings for the President and for Congress may be at all time lows, but the admiration of the American people for our military only gets higher. Why? Well, one reason is they take their responsibilities seriously and they train, prepare, and plan to win," he said. "And we should let them win -- not legislate a recipe for failure which the amendment clearly does."

I'm sure that the average soldier would have a real hard time with that "recipe for failure" when he or she is getting to sleep late with a spouse on Sunday morning or attend their child's Little League game this summer instead of being stuck in the middle of a firefight in Fallujah.

And I know you're wondering, given that both Webb and his bill's cosponsor, Republican Chuck Hagel, are Vietnam combat Veterans, about the military record of a blood-and-guts guy like good old Saxby.

You guessed it -- he didn’t do time in the military. He got a student deferment so he could attend law school and was subsequently given a medical deferment because of a bad knee.

But now, that's really no surprise, is it?

You can read more from Bob at BobGeiger.com.
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