Saturday, January 21, 2006
What the Bush Regime Looks Like to Others
Bizarre ideological battles from the past, disdain for international law, claiming political opponents and moderates are traitors - is Karl Rove moonlighting in Iran?
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has steered his country of 70 million people on a sharply confrontational course with much of the outside world after only six months in office.It appears Iran's current president is as unpopular with the iranian public as the Bush regime is with US voters:
Tehran this month restarted activities that Western experts believe could lead Iran to acquire a nuclear bomb in coming years.
The nuclear drive has garnered the headlines and diplomatic attention, but "the problem is broader," U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Fried said in a Jan. 18 speech. "Not only is the regime in Tehran determined to develop nuclear weapons, it also supports terrorism. Not only does it support terrorism, the regime is hostile to democracy in principle. Ahmadinejad's bizarre remarks about destroying Israel remind one of another era."
(Source: Knight Ridder News Iran presents a pressing new challenge for the U.S.,Jan. 20, 2006)
Instead, the administration's policy review, led by Rice, is considering new ways of reaching out to the Iranian people - many of whom despise the regime - through increased broadcasting into Iran and more cultural exchanges, a senior U.S. official said recently. He requested anonymity because the review isn't complete.
(Iran presents a pressing new challenge for the U.S.)
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Massive NSA Wiretapping Both Illegal and Ineffective
Why is it that W and his Bush League minions feel that if an action is morally repugnant and/or flat-out illegal, it must by necessity be highly effective? First, they went on a torture binge that yielded a bunch of bogus data. Now, it seems that their illegal wiretapping was a massive and expensive waste of time and resources, too:
Spy Agency Data After Sept. 11 Led F.B.I. to Dead EndsIt appears the only reason W and his Bush League minions pushed this policy was to roll back the post-Watergate restrictions on the Imperial Presidency. The Bush regime cares nothing about our country, our beliefs, or our freedoms. They only care about maintaining and increasing their own power.
By LOWELL BERGMAN, ERIC LICHTBLAU, SCOTT SHANE and DON VAN NATTA Jr.
WASHINGTON, Jan. 16 - In the anxious months after the Sept. 11 attacks, the National Security Agency began sending a steady stream of telephone numbers, e-mail addresses and names to the F.B.I. in search of terrorists. The stream soon became a flood, requiring hundreds of agents to check out thousands of tips a month.
But virtually all of them, current and former officials say, led to dead ends or innocent Americans.
President Bush has characterized the eavesdropping program, which focused on the international communications of some Americans and others in the United States, as a "vital tool" against terrorism; Vice President Dick Cheney has said it has saved "thousands of lives."
But the results of the program looked very different to some officials charged with tracking terrorism in the United States. More than a dozen current and former law enforcement and counterterrorism officials, including some in the small circle who knew of the secret eavesdropping program and how it played out at the F.B.I., said the torrent of tips led them to few potential terrorists inside the country they did not know of from other sources and diverted agents from counterterrorism work they viewed as more productive.
"We'd chase a number, find it's a school teacher with no indication they've ever been involved in international terrorism - case closed," said one former FBI official, who was aware of the program and the data it generated for the bureau. "After you get a thousand numbers and not one is turning up anything, you get some frustration."
(Source: New York Times Jan 17, 2005 [emphasis added.])
Bush Urges Foxes to Do a Better Job Guarding Chickens
After having the pharmaceutical industry write their dream "Medicare Drug Coverage" plan, and tricking the Republican Congress into enacting Big Pharma's dream, W is shocked, SHOCKED to discover it isn't working well:
President Tells Insurers to Aid Ailing Medicare Drug PlanWow, a Republican plan that enriches large corporations while harming the poor - whoever would have guessed?
By ROBERT PEAR
With tens of thousands of people unable to get medicines promised by Medicare, the Bush administration has told insurers that they must provide a 30-day supply of any drug that a beneficiary was previously taking, and it said that poor people must not be charged more than $5 for a covered drug.
The actions came after several states declared public health emergencies, and many states announced that they would step in to pay for prescriptions that should have been covered by the federal Medicare program.
Republicans have joined Democrats in asserting that the federal government botched the beginning of the prescription drug program, which started on Jan. 1. People who had signed up for coverage found that they were not on the government's list of subscribers. Insurers said they had no way to identify poor people entitled to extra help with their drug costs. Pharmacists spent hours on the telephone trying to reach insurance companies that administer the drug benefit under contract to Medicare.
Many of the problems involve low-income people entitled to both Medicare and Medicaid.
The Senate Democratic leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, said the mismanagement of the program had had "devastating consequences for seniors." In a letter signed by 34 other Democrats, Mr. Reid said, "We want to know why so many of our constituents have fallen through the cracks." Democrats had predicted many of the problems, he said.
The concern was bipartisan. Senator Judd Gregg, Republican of New Hampshire, said many people had been "turned away at their pharmacies or told that they must purchase the drugs up front and seek reimbursement later."
"These are very vulnerable people who do not have the means to pay for their prescriptions and who cannot go without their medications," Mr. Gregg said.
(Source: New York Times Jan. 16, 2006)