Archive for the ‘Bush’ Category

Romney says US is less safe now

May 16, 2009

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney joined Bush administration officials, including the former vice president, Dick Cheney, yesterday in arguing that President Obama’s approach to combating terrorism had left the country less safe.

By Sasha Issenberg
Boston Globe Correspondent 

“It’s the very kind of thinking that left America vulnerable to the attacks of Sept. 11th,” Romney told the National Rifle Association’s annual gathering. “And the approval of left-wing law professors and editorial boards won’t be worth much if this country lets down its guard and suffers an attack.”

Even while declaring an end to interrogation practices he calls “torture,” Obama has alienated many in his own party with a cautious approach to the issue. He has rebuffed calls to investigate Bush administration policymakers and release photographs that military leaders have said would be unnecessarily provocative.

Yesterday, the White House announced it would resume the use of military commissions to try those in American custody, a practice that Obama had criticized as a candidate.

“I’m glad he’s continuing to hold military tribunals for terrorists,” said Romney, who also said he approved of Obama’s hawkish approach to ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. “In fact, whenever he adopts the policies of John McCain and George W. Bush like this, I’m glad.”

Romney, who ran for president in 2008, was the closing speaker on an agenda that included Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele and McCain, last year’s Republican presidential nominee. The stop was Romney’s latest on a circuit of conservative interest groups that many Republicans see as the opening lap in a prospective 2012 campaign.

Despite Romney’s solidarity with their priorities, gun owners were slow to rally behind him as a candidate. Romney joined the National Rifle Association only shortly before becoming a national candidate and did not own a gun. He reluctantly acknowledged that he had only been hunting twice in his life and had focused on prey such as rodents and rabbits. “Small varmints, if you will,” he said then.

Yesterday Romney was warmly received as he paid tribute to gun rights. Most of his speech, however, was devoted to the day’s broadest critique of a Democratic agenda he said amounted to “the greatest federal power-grab in American history.”

Romney took issue with Obama’s plans to change the healthcare system, which is based partially on the plan Romney helped enact in Massachusetts: mandating that citizens carry insurance.

“The best path to healthcare reform is to let the American people make their own decisions, not have those decisions forced on them by government,” Romney said. “Let Washington choose the stamps for the Post Office, but let the American people choose who we want for our doctor.”

Prosecutors to Question Rove on U.S. Attorney Firings

May 14, 2009

Former top White House official Karl Rove will be interviewed tomorrow as part of an ongoing criminal investigation into the firing of U.S. attorneys during the Bush administration, according to two sources familiar with the appointment.

Rove has remained in the news as a commentator and political analyst since departing the White House. In an essay in today’s Wall Street Journal, he criticized  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), arguing that she may have misled the public about her knowledge of detainee interrogation tactics that critics assert are torture.

As a senior adviser to President George W. Bush, Rove emerged at the center of numerous policy and political debates. He will be questioned tomorrow by Connecticut prosecutor Nora R. Dannehy, who was named last year to examine whether any former senior Justice Department and White House officials lied or obstructed justice in connection with the dismissal of federal prosecutors in 2006.

From the Washington Post:

ACLU: Obama Now Complicit in Bush Torture

May 14, 2009

Lawyers of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) who have fought in court for the release of the detainee abuse photos now say President Barack Obama is complicit in torture with the Bush administration.

The ACLU says it will continue to fight in court for the release of these photos….
Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, was brutal in blasting the decision to fight the release, saying Mr. Obama may “betray” both his campaign promises and his commitment to American principles.
“The Obama administration’s adoption of the stonewalling tactics and opaque policies of the Bush administration flies in the face of the president’s stated desire to restore the rule of law, to revive our moral standing in the world and to lead a transparent government,” he said.

Obama Backs Off Promise to Release Abuse Photos

Obama Gets It Both Ways: Detainee Abuse Photos Likely To Be Released Anyway

Republicans Determined to Lose?

May 13, 2009

Of the two main American political parties, Republicans are now clearly distinguished by their driving desire to lose. Every faction seems determined to rule the kingdom of irrelevance.

By Michael Gerson
The Washington Post

Witness the reaction to the National Council for a New America — an anodyne “listening tour” by Republican officials recently kicked off at a pizza parlor in Northern Virginia. Social conservatives attacked this forum on education and the economy for the offense of not being a forum on abortion and the traditional family. Neo-Reaganites searched the transcript for nonexistent slights: How dare former Florida governor Jeb Bush criticize “nostalgia” for the “good old days”? Why didn’t he just spit on Ronald Reagan’s grave? Other conservatives criticized the very idea of a listening tour, asking, “What’s to hear?”

During a recent conversation, Bush described himself as “dumbfounded by the reaction.” He added: “I don’t think listening is a weakness. People are yearning to be heard. Perhaps we should begin with a little humility.”

Read the rest:

“Obama Inherited Debt!” White House Budget Director Says, As U.S. Now Borrows 50 Cents of Every Dollar

May 11, 2009

Almost halfway through May 2009, this “inherited” line is getting a little stale, especially given the stimulus spending, omnibus and the budget.  Obama hasn’t even yet fixed health care, education and the environment and he’s borrowing 50 cents of every dollar spent…

U.S. Government Borrowing 50 Cents on Every Dollar Spent; Interest Likely To Rise

On his blog, CBO director Douglas Elmendorf blames “enactment of recent legislation” for some of the huge differences between predictions and the reality.

Makes one ask: if the January and February government economic predictions on debt and deficit are $600 billion too low by May 11: what else is wrong and how bad can it get?


From Jake Tapper, ABC News

The director of the Congressional Budget Office today updated his projections for the budget and economic outlook and is now anticipating a $1.8 trillion deficit this year, and $1.4 trillion in 2010.

This is up from CBO director Douglas W. Elmendorf’s January 2009 projection of a $1.2 trillion deficit this year. In short, the US government is borrowing 50 cents for every dollar it spends.

The new projected deficit is four times the 2008 deficit, which was a record high for its time.

Read it all:


Reuters — High U.S. budget deficits are being driven by an economic crisis that President Barack Obama inherited, White House Budget Director Peter Orszag said on Monday.

Orszag, writing in a blog posting, also said that the administration’s latest budget deficit estimates — which were revised upward by $89 billion and $87 billion for this year and next, respectively — reflect the latest data on tax receipts, federal bailouts and other government costs.

Freedom Watch Says Obama’s Promise of Transparency Really Only Partial Promise, Partial Transparency — “Worse Than Bush”

May 8, 2009

Freedom Watch founder Larry Klayman said this afternoon that “President Obama is worse than President Bush” and the Obama Administration’s promise of transparency “Is really only selective transparency.”

“They released the records of the Gitmo interrogations but they refused to releases the photo of Air Force Once over New York until forced to do so now,” Klayman said.

The photo of Air Force One over New York, released today by the White House, was made public because Klaman submitted a Freedom of Information request to the government.

In this photograph released by the White House, Air Force One ...

In this photograph released by the White House, Air Force One flies over the Statue of Liberty in New York, April 27, 2009.

(AP Photo/The White House)

Klayman, who has gone to court a number of times in his fights with government officials, questions an administration that “thinks It OK to release “Torture documents” from the past administration but won’t account for its own actions — his words.

“”President Obama thinks it “cool” to release national intelligence documents concerning American intelligence gathering techniques of terrorists,” Klayman suggests, “but ironically terrorizes the people of Manhattan, who have the tragedy of September 11 emblazoned in their emotional psyches, but then refuses to release benign video of his own incompetence and lack of national security common sense.”

Earlier Klayman insisted that his Freedom Watch “will not rest until the truth about this episode is fully exposed.”

The man Obama picked to run the White House Office of Military Liaison, Louis Caldera, was a civilian.  He resigned today.  Most former presidents have had a military officer in this job.

The White House asked Mr. Louis Caldera why he scheduled the New York fly-over without informing the right people.

“When asked why he failed to do so, he did not offer a coherent explanation. He stated that it was not a conscious decision — he did not intend not to notify them,” it said. “Instead, he suggested that it may have been an oversight.”


George W. Bush White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said, “This will not go away.  It is President Obama’s.”

White House Man Most Responsible For Air Force One Scare of NY Resigns; Investigation Ongoing, Photo Released

White House to Release Photo From New York Flyover
Air Force One Over NYC Sent By Political White House Hack — Pentagon Had No Say
Obama Terrific On Teleprompter; Bad On Planning
Administration Has No Sense of Accountability, Buck Stops Here

It’s All On Obama Now — Forget Blaming Bush

May 3, 2009
Political observers say that with the events of the last week, accountability for the nation and its current problems has clearly shifted from Bush.
By Peter Nicholas
The Los Angeles Times
May 3, 2009
Reporting from Washington — In the span of a single week — from the day Arlen Specter turned Democratic to the moment Congress passed the White House’s budget blueprint and on through the opening of a spot on the Supreme Court — President Obama crossed a fateful line: From now on, it’s his country.

Every president inherits a tangle of problems from his predecessor. War and recession, natural disaster and foreign crises. And for some undefined interval, new presidents argue that they should not be accountable for the troubles that arose on another’s watch.
But inevitably, responsibility shifts. And for Obama, that time came last week, bringing both greater opportunities and greater risks.

Read the rset:

Obama’s Presidential Poison: Invitation to Indict Bush Officials will Haunt Obama’s Presidency

April 24, 2009

Mark down the date. Tuesday, April 21, 2009, is the moment that any chance of a new era of bipartisan respect in Washington ended. By inviting the prosecution of Bush officials for their antiterror legal advice, President Obama has injected a poison into our politics that he and the country will live to regret.

The Wall Street Journal

Policy disputes, often bitter, are the stuff of democratic politics. Elections settle those battles, at least for a time, and Mr. Obama’s victory in November has given him the right to change policies on interrogations, Guantanamo, or anything on which he can muster enough support. But at least until now, the U.S. political system has avoided the spectacle of a new Administration prosecuting its predecessor for policy disagreements. This is what happens in Argentina, Malaysia or Peru, countries where the law is treated merely as an extension of political power.

If this analogy seems excessive, consider how Mr. Obama has framed the issue. He has absolved CIA operatives of any legal jeopardy, no doubt because his intelligence advisers told him how damaging that would be to CIA morale when Mr. Obama needs the agency to protect the country. But he has pointedly invited investigations against Republican legal advisers who offered their best advice at the request of CIA officials.

“Your intelligence indicates that there is currently a level of ‘chatter’ equal to that which preceded the September 11 attacks,” wrote Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee, in his August 1, 2002 memo. “In light of the information you believe [detainee Abu] Zubaydah has and the high level of threat you believe now exists, you wish to move the interrogations into what you have described as an ‘increased pressure phase.'”

So the CIA requests a legal review at a moment of heightened danger, the Justice Department obliges with an exceedingly detailed analysis of the law and interrogation practices — and, seven years later, Mr. Obama says only the legal advisers who are no longer in government should be investigated. The political convenience of this distinction for Mr. Obama betrays its basic injustice. And by the way, everyone agrees that senior officials, including President Bush, approved these interrogations. Is this President going to put his predecessor in the dock too?

Mr. Obama seemed to understand the peril of such an exercise when he said, before his inauguration, that he wanted to “look forward” and beyond the antiterror debates of the Bush years. As recently as Sunday, Rahm Emanuel said no prosecutions were contemplated and now is not a time for “anger and retribution.” Two days later the President disavowed his own chief of staff. Yet nothing had changed except that Mr. Obama’s decision last week to release the interrogation memos unleashed a revenge lust on the political left that he refuses to resist.

Just as with the AIG bonuses, he is trying to co-opt his left-wing base by playing to it — only to encourage it more. Within hours of Mr. Obama’s Tuesday comments, Senator Carl Levin piled on with his own accusatory Intelligence Committee report. The demands for a “special counsel” at Justice and a Congressional show trial are louder than ever, and both Europe’s left and the U.N. are signaling their desire to file their own charges against former U.S. officials.

Those officials won’t be the only ones who suffer if all of this goes forward. Congress will face questions about what the Members knew and when, especially Nancy Pelosi when she was on the House Intelligence Committee in 2002. The Speaker now says she remembers hearing about waterboarding, though not that it would actually be used. Does anyone believe that? Porter Goss, her GOP counterpart at the time, says he knew exactly what he was hearing and that, if anything, Ms. Pelosi worried the CIA wasn’t doing enough to stop another attack. By all means, put her under oath.

Mr. Obama may think he can soar above all of this, but he’ll soon learn otherwise. The Beltway’s political energy will focus more on the spectacle of revenge, and less on his agenda. The CIA will have its reputation smeared, and its agents second-guessing themselves. And if there is another terror attack against Americans, Mr. Obama will have set himself up for the argument that his campaign against the Bush policies is partly to blame.

Above all, the exercise will only embitter Republicans, including the moderates and national-security hawks Mr. Obama may need in the next four years. As patriotic officials who acted in good faith are indicted, smeared, impeached from judgeships or stripped of their academic tenure, the partisan anger and backlash will grow. And speaking of which, when will the GOP Members of Congress begin to denounce this partisan scapegoating? Senior Republicans like Mitch McConnell, Richard Lugar, John McCain, Orrin Hatch, Pat Roberts and Arlen Specter have hardly been profiles in courage.

Mr. Obama is more popular than his policies, due in part to his personal charm and his seeming goodwill. By indulging his party’s desire to criminalize policy advice, he has unleashed furies that will haunt his Presidency.

Obama, Reid Oppose Investigation of Interrogation Methods; Pelosi Wants to Go Ahead

April 23, 2009

Fox News reported late on Thursday that Senator Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, joined President Obama in opposing any “truth commisssion” or further investigation of the so called “tortue” of prisoners by the Bush Administration.

Nancy Pelosi, however, wants to hold hearings and conduct some sort of investigation. 

Pelosi is likely trying to appease her party’s left which widely favors hearings into the Bush “torture” situation.

This could be dangerous ground for Pelosi who took some heat over her crafting of the stimulus earlier this year.  She has said she will also spearhead health care reform.

This looks like the biggest split thus far between president Obama and Democrat leaders in congress….


From AFP

The White House and its top US Senate ally poured cold water Thursday on hopes of creating an independent commission to probe harsh Bush-era interrogation techniques widely seen as torture.

Lawmakers escalated their feud over who knew what, and when, and where, as well as what to do about the people who planned, justified and used tactics like the near-drowning known as waterboarding on suspected terrorists.

And there was fighting over whether the methods approved by then-president George W. Bush had produced intelligence that helped foil plots, or whether information could have been obtained with traditional questioning.

The White House pointed to increasing hostility between Obama‘s Democratic allies and his Republican critics as evidence that the president was right to say Tuesday that he would not champion the creation of a special commission.

“I think the last few days might well be evidence of why something like this would likely just become a political back and forth,” said spokesman Robert Gibbs, who stopped shy of flatly opposing assembling such a panel.

“By (definition), an independent commission would probably not be something that I would weigh in on if Congress were to create one of those,” he told reporters.

He spoke after Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he opposed talk of an independent probe at least until the Senate Intelligence Committee concludes its investigation into the interrogations and produces a public report, perhaps “sometime late this year.”

“I think it would be very unwise, from my perspective, to start having commissions, boards, tribunals, until we find out what the facts are. And I don’t know a better way of getting the facts than through the Intelligence Committee,” said Reid, senator from Nevada.

He spoke as Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who reportedly favors creating a special commission, said lawmakers briefed on CIA interrogations were never told the agency was using the harsh methods.

“We were not, I repeat, were not told that waterboarding or any of these other enhanced interrogation methods were used,” said Pelosi, one of the eight senior lawmakers who attended the classified briefings.

Pelosi said the briefers told lawmakers in the highly secret sessions that they had legal advice that the methods “could be used, but not that they would.”

Read the rest:

Obama and The Politics of Distraction

April 22, 2009

Barack Obama so fills the media there is little time and space left for anythig else.  Republicans?  Where?  They are gone.  The budget, debt and spending?  Big issues on April 15, tax day and tea party day.  Now?  Forgotten.  Even the left is tottally distracted by the smell of Dick Cheney’s blood in the water: put there by chumming Obama……

Obama’s Interrogations Hunt: Get ‘Chimp’ Bush, Darth Cheney and Rumsfeld: Go Get Them, Hounds!

Obama The All Knowing, All Present is All Over The Media


Corruption, Scandals Crowded Out of the Media, Public Consciousness

From Fox News

Allegations of ethics violations by a handful of Democrats in recent months reached something of a crescendo this week as two prominent members of Congress were accused of corruption.

California Rep. Jane Harman denied allegations that she offered to help seek reduced charges for two pro-Israel lobbyists suspected of espionage in exchange for help from a pro-Israel donor, also suspected Israeli agent, in lobbying House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to give Harman a key chairmanship. 

And California Sen. Dianne Feinstein denied that she devised legislation that helped her husband get a federal contract to sell foreclosed properties at compensation rates higher than the industry norms.

But the latest cases, which involve Democrats, did not make the same splash that corruption allegations did a few years ago, when Republicans were on the receiving end of the finger-pointing. 

Some Republican analysts attribute the difference to timing.

Democrats have benefited from an “Obama media cycle,” said Republican strategist Ron Bonjean, who served as an aide to former House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott.

Reporters are struggling to keep up with the Obama administration and all the crises it’s grappling with, Bonjean told

In addition, he said, the media and the public have become more desensitized to allegations of corruption against lawmakers after the ones against Republicans.

GOP consultant Joe Gaylord, who served as an aide to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, told he believes GOP values and principles played a role in garnering more attention to ethics accusations against Republican lawmakers.

“Republicans who have generally used the ethics process become much more susceptible to the hypocrisy charges because they set a high standard for how people should behave,” he said. “Then when a Republican doesn’t behave properly, it becomes a bigger story.”

A succession of reports and scandals against congressional Republicans ranging from pay-to-play schemes to salacious affairs began more than four years ago when then-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay was questioned about his overseas travel and ties to lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who was under federal investigation. Ohio Rep. Bob Ney also got entangled in the Abramoff scandal, and ended up in jail.

Another Republican, Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham, resigned his California seat in 2005 after pleading guilty to accepting $2.4 million in bribes and underreporting his income for 2004.

In 2006, Florida Rep. Mark Foley resigned when it was learned that he had exchanged raunchy e-mails with a teenage boy who was a former congressional page. In 2007, Idaho Sen. Larry Craig was arrested and pleaded guilty to an undercover sex sting in a men’s bathroom at a Minneapolis airport. All five lawmakers are gone from office now.

The cumulative effect of these incidents created a perception that Republicans were ethically challenged. Even before Craig’s “wide stance,” Democrats were able to seize on the allegations and regain control of Capitol Hill in 2006, in part by repeating the mantra that they would wipe away the “culture of corruption” in Congress.

But in recent months, Democrats have fallen victim to similar allegations of corruption. While denying wrongdoing on Tuesday, Harman called for a federal investigation into why her conversations were being recorded and why they were leaked to the media. 

The Office of Congressional Ethics, created by a House resolution on March , 11, 2008, also won’t take up the Harman investigation, according to Roll Call, because the OCE rules prevent it from looking at any cases that arose before its creation. 

Feinstein defended herself Wednesday by pointing out that her legislation to route $25 billion in taxpayer money to a government agency that reportedly awarded her husband’s real estate firm a lucrative contract never was enacted into law. 

Another Democrat, Pennsylvania Rep. Jack Murtha, is facing a federal probe for purportedly steering defense appropriations to clients of KSA Consulting, which employed his brother Robert, and the PMA Group, founded by Paul Magliocchetti, a former senior staffer on the Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Defense.

New York Rep. Charlie Rangel is being investigated by the House Ethics Committee in at least four areas, including his reported failure to properly report income taxes on a Caribbean villa in the Dominican Republic; use of four, rent-controlled apartments in Harlem; questions about an offshore firm asking Rangel for special tax exemptions; and whether Rangel improperly used House stationery to solicit donations for a school of public affairs named after him at City College of New York.

Read the rest: