October 27, 2007
I know what we need to do. We need a health care system, something like Canada has. The only way to get this is to tell the politicians that they are going to be on the same health care plan we the people have. No exceptions! Give them 90 days to fix the health care system. If they don’t get it fixed in 90 days all their past, present and future benefits Freeze and a 10% cut in pay after the 90 days. To me, they are not Democrats or Republicans, they are corrupt politicians. I bet if we give this problem to an independent think tank they can get this fixed.
I know what we need to do. We need a Social Security system that works. The only way to get this is to tell the politicians that they are going to be on the same Social Security plan we the people have. No exceptions! Give them 90 days to fix the Social Security system. If they don’t get it fixed in 90 days all their past, present and future benefits Freeze and a 10% cut in pay after the 90 days. To me, they are not Democrats or Republicans, they are corrupt politicians. I bet if we give this problem to an independent think tank they can get this fixed.
The same with Education. 90 days or we give it to an independent think tank.
The same with Immigration. 90 days or we give it to an independent think tank.
Where do we get the money to pay the independent think tanks? From the corrupt politicians. Fine them. Take a way their benefits. Fire them.
Can you see you and your child in a doctor’s office waiting to see the doctor and H. Clinton and her kid sitting next to you waiting to see the doctor?
If the politicians don’t fix are problem we can make it their problem to.
October 13, 2007
Suddenly cool Al Gore looks like a good choice.
Al Gore could become the only man to win an Oscar, a Nobel Prize and his party's presidential nomination.
He already has collected an Oscar for his global-warming documentary "An Inconvenient Truth." (Actually, that's two Oscars, if you count best song.) He's Won the Nobel Peace Prize.
We hope he goes for it.
Gore has said repeatedly that he's happy doing what he's doing, while not irrevocably ruling out a run. Friends and former aides are hedging bets.
The first President Bush mocked him as "ozone man." Now, corporations seek his counsel on global warming.
"An Inconvenient Truth" has made environmental activism - and Gore, in all his woodenness - cool again. Thousands flock to his lectures on campuses. Rock stars go gaga over him.
But more important, international leaders, who turned against America when Bush scoffed at treaties and rejected diplomacy, respect and admire Gore.
However much he has achieved in the past seven years, President Gore could achieve what citizen Gore cannot. So bide your time, Al Gore, as Bobby Kennedy did in 68. But don't waver when the moment comes.
August 28, 2007
Don’t let the door hit you in the anus on your way OUT!
United States Attorney General Alberto Gonzales announces his resignation, after several controversies over his actions.
Document is publicly viewable
July 04, 2007
Lie to cover up misdeeds and you will be protected is the message sent to those in the administration. And the president's action tells the American people that there are different sets of laws and punishments for the politically powerful and the common person.
Those are terrible messages to send on the week the nation celebrates its Declaration of Independence from a tyrannical king, also named George.
The day cannot come soon enough when the nation gains its independence from this George as well.
July 03, 2007
Or perhaps the commutation will serve as a disturbing reminder of how the administration regularly lies with impunity in Washington. President Bush famously promised, in serious tones at a televised White House meeting, to both fire and punish anyone involved in the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame. Instead, he retained all the senior officials embroiled in the scandal, even after their roles were exposed in trial testimony and news reports, with no visible consequences. Now the President is using his clemency power to protect the one official convicted on related crimes. In his surreal statement about that choice, Bush volunteered his belief that "if a person does not tell the truth, particularly if he serves in government and holds the public trust, he must be held accountable."
But it would be wrong to criticize Bush's decision as one more hypocritical or deceitful maneuver, because it is actually far more profound.
The commutation of the 30-month prison sentence for Lewis Libby, the highest-ranking White House official convicted of a felony since Iran-Contra, fits into a larger, systemic assault on American rule of law by the Bush Administration.
In fact, Libby's special treatment is a microcosm of current U.S. policy. Libby is basically receiving a post-conviction protection that the Bush Administration now routinely extends to many potential criminals in the U.S. government. The administration successfully pushed legislation last year granting immunity to officials who might someday be prosecuted for war crimes or torture. It is a policy that embodies the administration's distinctly un-American view that powerful government officials should operate above the law.
As Americans gather for July 4th celebrations, talk will likely turn to two convicted criminals who embody Bush's approach to the rule of law: Lewis Libby and Paris Hilton. So powerful and rich, they can live above the law, and they make no apologies for it. Americans overwhelmingly opposed a pardon for Libby, and initial polling suggests they oppose the commutation. The question for politicians is not whether they agree with the public on this fundamental matter of law and order, but what are they going to do about it?
June 29, 2007
His decision was denounced as ``Nixonian stonewalling'' by the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Bush rejected subpoenas for documents from former presidential counsel Harriet Miers and former political director Sara Taylor. The White House made clear neither one would testify next month, as directed by the subpoenas.
Document is publicly viewable
June 27, 2007
Ohio Sen. George Voinovich sent a letter to the president today, stressing the need for a "comprehensive plan for our country's gradual military disengagement from Iraq."
And Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar, the widely respected former chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Monday evening went to the floor of the Senate to call on the president "to downsize the U.S. military's role in Iraq."
"Our course in Iraq has lost contact with our vital national security interests in the Middle East and beyond," Lugar said in an anguished address that expressed deep reservations about the president's policy as well as disappointment with the highly partisan debate over the war in Washington.
J. Steven Griles was the department's deputy secretary and is the highest administration official sentenced in the probe. He pleaded guilty to obstructing a congressional investigation, but on Tuesday his lawyers tried to deflect blame for his faulty testimony.
U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle was not pleased.
"Even now you continue to minimize and try to excuse your conduct," she told Griles before doubling the five-month prison term he and prosecutors had agreed on.
Document is publicly viewable
June 23, 2007
Dick Cheney's refusal to comply with a presidential order regulating the handling of classified information might be scary were it not so ludicrous.
Cheney's rejection of mandatory inspections required of all federal offices to make sure they are properly protecting top secret documents defies basic standards of good government and common sense. And his argument that he needn't comply because his office isn't part of the executive branch is specious. Moreover, after clashing with the National Archives' Information Security Oversight Office, which conducts the routine inspections, Cheney's vindictive staff reportedly tried to abolish the unit. That's like trying to disband the Internal Revenue Service for demanding a tax audit. Has the veep taken leave of his senses?
READ THE FULL STORY:
Cheney, who do think you are? You don’t work for big oil, (or do you) you work for me, YOUR FIRED!
June 12, 2007
Thank you Democrats, Republicans and Independent for voting YES on S.J.RES.14, Good Job.
Not Voting, Obama, and you want to be President? You can’t do your job now.
Not Voting – 7
Republicans voting yes on S.J.RES.14, Coleman, Collins, Hagel, Smith, Snowe, Specter, Sununu and Sanders.
Independent voting No, Lieberman
Lieberman, you are not an Independent, you are a Republican. Find another job.
READ THE FULL STORY
June 08, 2007
lawyer said on Wednesday.
Italia Federici also will plead guilty to tax evasion at a court hearing on Friday, lawyer Jonathan Rosen said.
Federici had close ties to senior Interior Department officials as head of the Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy, or CREA, a nonprofit
group founded by former Interior Secretary Gale Norton.
According to criminal charges filed by the government, Federici in 2001 introduced Abramoff to her sometime boyfriend, ex-Deputy Interior Secretary
June 04, 2007
The FBI's Uniform Crime Report will show an increase of about 1.3 percent in violent offenses last year, including a 6 percent rise in robberies and a slight rise in homicides, according to law enforcement officials, who described key findings in advance of the report's release. That follows an increase of 2.3 percent in 2005, which was the first significant increase in violent crime in 15 years.
May 31, 2007
The danger arises because there is, in most markets, a very small number of broadband network operators. These operators have the structural capacity to determine the way in which information is transmitted over the Internet and the speed with which it is delivered. And the present Internet network operators—principally large telephone and cable companies—have an economic incentive to extend their control over the physical infrastructure of the network to leverage control of Internet content. If they went about it in the wrong way, these companies could institute changes that have the effect of limiting the free flow of information over the Internet in a number of troubling ways.
The democratization of knowledge by the print medium brought the Enlightenment. Now, broadband interconnection is supporting decentralized processes that reinvigorate democracy. We can see it happening before our eyes: As a society, we are getting smarter. Networked democracy is taking hold. You can feel it. We the people—as Lincoln put it, "even we here"—are collectively still the key to the survival of America's democracy.
~ Al Gore: The Assault on Reason
Edited by WestTexasBliss
Al Gore - The Assault on Reason (Full Speech)
"I have to say we were in error when we supported him to begin with," said Brent Wilkes, executive director of the League of United Latin American Citizens. Gonzales, Wilkes said, has not aggressively pursued hate crimes and cases of police profiling of Hispanics. "We hoped for better. Instead it looks like he's done the bidding of the White House."
Janet Murguia, president and chief executive of the National Council of La Raza, the nation's largest Hispanic rights group, called Gonzales "a follower, not a leader." In the Hispanic community, she said, "people are conflicted. They are excited that a Latino had a chance to serve as the attorney general." But, she added, "I think we've been disappointed with his record so far."
May 21, 2007
Gonzales is the Texas pal of President Bush who led the Justice Department into political and legal trouble, then blamed subordinates and a bad memory. Wolfowitz is the unyielding conservative who underestimated the difficulty of bringing Iraq to heel, and was rewarded with a job at the World Bank that he quickly jeopardized with an ethical lapse.
Their heads may finally roll, but the public wants more than the dismissal of two failed leaders. People want an entirely new brand of leadership in Washington -- and they currently don't see it in either major party.
"Does anybody run anything any more? Does anybody hold anybody accountable for anything?" asked Republican consultant Joe Gaylord. He is one of a growing number of Democratic and Republican officials in Washington worried about the health of their parties because of a bipartisan failure of leadership. "It's a mystery to me as to why someone hasn't come down with a two-by-four and said,
May 16, 2007
Former Deputy Attorney General James Comey testified that he and other Justice Department officials planned to resign after the visit to Ashcroft's hospital bed by Gonzales, then White House counsel, and White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card. Comey was acting attorney general because of Ashcroft's illness. He wouldn't specify the program at issue, though panel members said it apparently was secret wiretapping of suspected terrorists.
``I was concerned that this was an effort to do an end-run around the acting attorney general and to get a very sick man to approve something'' that the Justice Department had concluded ``was unable to be certified as to its legality,'' Comey told the Senate panel in Washington. Comey said Vice President Dick Cheney also had told him he disagreed with the department's stance.
Comey was called before the committee today to testify about the firings of eight U.S. attorneys that have led to calls for Gonzales's resignation by Democrats and some Republicans. President George W. Bush has continued to support his attorney general.
May 07, 2007
But the veterans of the nation's last unpopular war follow the debate closely with a strong sense of déjà vu. Vietnam veterans have always been controversial for their willingness to speak out candidly about their own military service, and the state's veterans are no different.
The Republic asked seven Arizona Vietnam vets for their reactions to the legislation that President Bush vetoed last week. They stressed their support for the men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan and they questioned the intent of the war - just as they had questioned the war they fought more than 30 years ago
But they differed on whether to pull out the troops, harking back to memories of their own arguably unwinnable mission of the 1960s and '70s.
May 06, 2007
They are accused of accepting bribes and the promise of future work to benefit an oil services company, which was NOT named. They are accused of assisting the unnamed company during discussions last year of the petroleum profits tax. The combined trial was set for July 9th in Anchorage. They face up to 55 years in prison and a million-dollar fine if convicted of all charges.
Both were to be released on 20,000-dollars bail.
Kott is accused of accepting nearly nine-thousand dollars in payments, more than 2,700 dollars in campaign polling expenses and a future contract as a lobbyist in exchange for his support of a new tax structure and of helping to get a contract signed for a natural gas pipeline.
The production tax passed but the contract for the pipeline negotiated by former Governor Frank Murkowski and BP PLC, ConocoPhillips and Exxon Mobil was never approved. Weyhrauch is charged with helping advance the oil service company's cause in exchange for the promise of future legal work for the company.
FBI spokesman Eric Gonzalez says the arrests stemmed from an investigation that led federal agents last summer to raid the offices of at least six lawmakers, including Kott and Weyhrauch. Kott served in the state House for seven terms, starting in 1992. He lost his bid for re-election to Anna Fairclough in the August primary. Weyhrauch -- a Juneau attorney -- was first elected in 2002. He served two terms and did not run for re-election in November.
May 04, 2007
A former deputy attorney general lavished praise yesterday on most of the eight U.S. attorneys who were fired after he left the job, testifying that only one of them had serious performance problems.
James B. Comey, the Justice Department's second in command from 2003 until August 2005, also told a House Judiciary subcommittee that although he was the "direct supervisor" of all U.S attorneys, he was never informed about an effort by Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and his aides to remove a large group of prosecutors that began in early 2005.
"My experience with the U.S. attorneys just listed was very positive," Comey said, referring to six of the former prosecutors who testified in Congress in March. He added that the reasons given for their firings "have not been consistent with my experience" and that "I had very positive encounters with these folks."
The testimony from Comey, a highly regarded former prosecutor who is now general counsel for Lockheed Martin, further undermines assertions by Gonzales and his aides that dissatisfaction with the prosecutors' work led to their dismissals. It also underscores the extent to which the firings, which originated in the White House, were handled outside the normal chain of command at Justice.
Document is publicly viewable
May 03, 2007
The Justice Department said Wednesday that it had launched an internal probe into whether a chief figure in the U.S. attorneys affair had violated policy — and possibly federal law — by injecting party politics into the selection of career prosecutors.
The investigation of Monica M. Goodling, once the Justice Department's White House liaison, widens the probe into allegations of partisan hiring and firing at the agency and complicates the Bush administration's efforts to weather the scandal.
Goodling has become a focus of congressional investigators because she played a central role in identifying eight U.S. attorneys who were fired last year. The latest disclosure that she also was involved in the hiring of assistant U.S. attorneys shed new light on her clout at the Justice Department and raised more questions about how the agency has operated under Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales.
"This is a troubling assertion that, if true, suggests politics infected the most basic operations at the Justice Department," said Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. "This only underscores our commitment to hear directly from Ms. Goodling about her role in this process, and at the Justice Department, to establish who should be held accountable."
Gonzales will have to appear before the committee if the Department of Justice does not respond to the subpoena for Karl Rove's e-mails by May 15.
Justice Department Spokesman Dean Boyd said the department had received the subpoena and was reviewing it. (Read the subpoena, PDF:
"The Justice Department has already turned over more than 6,000 pages of documents and e-mails to House and Senate committees and voluntarily provided Congress with hours of interviews of several senior Justice Department officials," Boyd said. "Furthermore, the attorney general last month provided six hours of testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee."
In a letter to Gonzales, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, said he had asked Gonzales twice for the e-mails -- once at an April 19 hearing where the attorney general testified about the dismissals and again in an April 25 letter to the Cabinet member.
Rove's attorney said publicly that the e-mails -- many of which were reported to be "lost" -- had been turned over to U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, according to Leahy.
Fitzgerald was using them in his investigation into the leak of the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame, Rove's lawyer said. That probe led to the conviction of Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the former chief of staff for Vice President Dick Cheney.
May 02, 2007
On Nov. 10, 2005, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales sent a letter to a federal judge in Montana, assuring him that the U.S. attorney there, William W. Mercer, was not violating federal law by spending most of his time in Washington as a senior Justice Department official.
That same day, Mercer had a GOP Senate staffer insert into a bill a provision that would change the rules so that federal prosecutors could live outside their districts to serve in other jobs, according to documents and interviews
Congress passed the provision several months later as part of the USA Patriot Act reauthorization bill, retroactively benefiting Mercer and a handful of other senior Justice officials who pull double duty as U.S. attorneys and headquarters officials. Justice officials say the measure was a necessary clarification to ensure that prosecutors could fill temporary postings in Washington, Iraq and elsewhere, and that it also applies to assistant U.S. attorneys.
But the episode, which received little notice at the time, provides another example in which Gonzales's statements appear to conflict with simultaneous actions by his aides in connection with U.S. attorney policies. Lawmakers investigating the department's handling of the dismissal of eight U.S. attorneys have repeatedly accused Gonzales of being less than truthful about the roles played by himself and the White House.
April 22, 2007
Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee grilled Gonzales for hours Thursday about the dismissals.
The attorney general has been roundly criticized for his handling of the shakeup and for the shifting explanations Justice Department officials have given for the changes.
Gonzales said more than 60 times that he "couldn't recall" certain incidents. His former chief of staff, Kyle Sampson, used that explanation 122 times during his testimony weeks ago.
Detractors say the Justice Department has not been straightforward about the reasons the attorneys were dismissed. The controversy has led to allegations of political interference with pending investigations.
April 20, 2007
Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales, told by President Bush to repair relations with Congress over his handling of the U.S. attorneys affair, instead suffered new and withering criticism from senators of both parties Thursday, including questions about his judgment, candor and fitness to serve.
Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee in what one lawmaker called a "reconfirmation hearing," Gonzales apologized for what he described as a flawed process in which a group of young political appointees at the Justice Department led a review that resulted in the firings of eight U.S. attorneys last year.
But his credibility took a fresh hit when he tried to downplay his involvement in the dismissals even as documents and testimony from top aides in recent weeks have shown that he played a central role. His inability to recall basic facts at the hearing — he answered "I don't recall" more than 50 times — also often baffled and bewildered lawmakers.
"Your characterization of your participation is significantly, if not totally, at variance with the facts," said Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), the ranking Republican on the committee.
Document is publicly viewable at:
April 12, 2007
Openly questioning if the White House wants the American people to learn "the truth about these matters," Leahy argued e-mails cannot be eliminated on a federal computer system. "These things stay forever," he said.
April 11, 2007
Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, indicating they think there is more to learn about the firings of eight federal prosecutors last year, asked Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales on Monday to turn over additional documents on the terminations and threatened to issue subpoenas if the materials were not forthcoming.
Specifically, the four senators want the internal rankings that the Justice Department made of all 93 U.S. attorneys over the years, as well as employment charts that Monica M. Goodling, a top aide to Gonzales, provided to Justice officials as they decided which prosecutors to fire.
The senators have also asked for the department's ratings of all 93 prosecutors in December, when seven of the eight were fired, including explanations why officials decided that certain prosecutors "might be on his or her way out" and why others were allowed to remain.
Three Democrats on the committee — Chairman Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, Dianne Feinstein of California and Charles E. Schumer of New York — and the panel's top Republican, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, asked that the documents be turned over by Wednesday so committee investigators could review them before Gonzales' scheduled testimony next Tuesday.
"We hope subpoenas will not be necessary to compel cooperation with the committee's investigation," the senators said in their letter to Gonzales.
The Justice Department had no immediate response.
April 09, 2007
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich on Sunday urged Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales to resign, saying the "self-created mess" over the firings of eight U.S. attorneys last year had hampered his ability to do his job.
"I cannot imagine how he is going to be effective for the rest of this administration," Gingrich said on "Fox News Sunday." "They're going to be involved in endless hearings, which is going to take up an immense amount of time and effort.
"I think the country, in fact, would be much better served to have a new team at the Justice Department, across the board," he said.
Monica Goodling, the latest official to quit, was senior counsel to Mr. Gonzales and the main liaison between the department of justice and the White House, making her a key target of Democratic lawmakers seeking to prove the sackings were politically motivated.
The resignation came two weeks after Ms Goodling told Congress she would not testify about her role in the firings, asserting her constitutional right to avoid self-incrimination.
Her departure leaves Mr. Gonzales, a close ally and confidant of President George W. Bush, looking increasingly exposed, as he prepares to testify to Congress about the controversy in less than two weeks.
Read the full story:
Document is publicly viewable at:
March 19, 2007
But less than three months into a Congress controlled by Democrats, top administration officials are being subpoenaed to testify, grilled before multiple committees or fired to contain the damage from recent scandals. Even Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is fighting to save his job.
To Democrats, it's a sign that checks and balances have returned after six years of one-party rule in the nation's capital.
"We have decided to turn the Congress from an accountability-free zone into a place where we hold the executive branch, the Congress and the federal government accountable," said Rep. Chris Van Hollen, a Maryland Democrat who's leading the party's re-election efforts.
The shift in power has made it impossible for the White House to control a series of scandals in recent weeks, from the mistreatment of injured soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center to the controversial firings of eight federal prosecutors.
Read the Full Story:
March 13, 2007
01. Six of the eight recently fired United States Attorneys told Congressional committees that they believed they lost their jobs because they wouldn't play partisan politics in their handling of high profile political corruption cases. Some also claimed they'd been threatened by the Justice Department not to go public with their complaints.
02. Nine American servicemen were killed in action Iraq.
03. More than 100 Iraqi Shiites making a religious pilgrimage were killed by suicide bombers. At least 200 were injured.
04. Seriously wounded soldiers told Congress about the neglect, bad housing and bureaucratic nightmares they suffered as outpatients at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington while two top army generals accepted responsibility and apologized to the soldiers and their families.
05. According to a new USA Today/Gallup Poll, six in 10 Americans want Congress to set a time table to withdraw all American troops from Iraq by the end of 2008.
06. And, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney and a national security aide to President George W. Bush, was found guilty of perjury and obstruction of justice in the case of the leak of the identity of a CIA operative in the summer of 2003.
Any one of these stories would have been bad news for the Bush White House. As a group they represent a devastating political "perfect storm" because they paint a vivid picture of corruption, neglect and incompetence even while things continue to go badly in a war that a significant majority of Americans no longer supports and wants to end. It was enough to make the White House spokesman want to hide from the press, which Tony Snow tried to do by taking the day off. But neither he nor his boss can hide from the reality that Bush administration policies have created at home and abroad – a reality that seems about as bad as it can be but promises to get worse.
March 11, 2007
Edited By WestTexasBliss
Read the Full Story: Document is publicly viewable
March 07, 2007
I. Lewis Libby Jr., the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, was convicted Tuesday of lying to FBI agents and grand jurors who were investigating the unmasking of a CIA operative amid a burning dispute over the war in Iraq.
The jurors rejected Libby's claims of memory lapses as they convicted him of obstruction of justice, giving false statements to the FBI and perjuring himself, charges embodied in four of the five counts of the indictment. The jury acquitted him on an additional count of making false statements to the FBI.
The verdict brought to a dramatic conclusion what has been among the most politically charged criminal trials in the capital since the Iran-contra affair in the 1980s and the Watergate prosecutions of the 1970s. The trial involved some of the most powerful figures in the White House and in Washington journalism.
A juror who met afterward with reporters, Denis Collins, said there was some sympathy on the jury for Libby. Indeed, several jurors agreed with defense lawyers that Libby was in effect a "fall guy" for more senior members of the administration.
During the trial, Wells tried to show that his client was being made a scapegoat to protect Rove, who was considered vital to Bush's re-election campaign in 2004.
March 04, 2007
Although opposed to the Vietnam War, on August 7, 1969, Gore enlisted in the United States Army in order to participate in the war. After basic training at Fort Dix, Gore was assigned as a military journalist writing for The Army Flier, the base newspaper at Fort Rucker. With seven months remaining in his enlistment, he was shipped to Vietnam, arriving January 2, 1971. He served for four months with the 20th Engineer Brigade in Bien Hoa and for another month at the Army Engineer Command in Long Binh. As his unit was standing down, he applied for and received a non-essential personnel discharge two months early in order to attend divinity school at Vanderbilt University.
The chronology of Gore's military service is:
August 1969: Enlisted at the Newark, New Jersey recruiting office.
August to October 1969: Eight weeks of basic training at Fort Dix, New Jersey.
Late October 1969 to December 1970: writer for the Army Flier newspaper at Fort Rucker, Alabama.
January 2, 1971 to May 22, 1971: field reporter in Vietnam, part of the 20th Engineer Brigade, stationed primarily at Bien Hoa Air Base northeast of Saigon.
May 24, 1971: Given an honorable discharge, after his early discharge request was granted. Gore opposed the Vietnam War, but chose to volunteer anyway though he could have avoided serving in Vietnam in a number of ways. A friend of the Gore family reserved a spot for him in the National Guard, which he turned down. Gore has stated that his sense of civic duty compelled him to serve.
Vietnam War: Bush
In May 1968, at the height of the ongoing Vietnam War, Bush was accepted into the Texas Air National Guard. After training, he was assigned to duty in Houston, flying Convair F-102s out of Ellington Air Force Base. Critics have alleged that Bush was favorably treated during his time of service due to his father's political standing, and that he was irregular in attendance. Bush took a transfer to the Alabama Air National Guard in 1972 to work on a Republican senate campaign, and in 1974 he obtained permission to end his six-year service obligation six months early to attend Harvard Business School, receiving an honorable discharge.
There are a number of accounts of substance abuse and otherwise disorderly conduct by Bush from this time. Bush has admitted to drinking "too much" in those years and described this period of his life as his "nomadic" period of "irresponsible youth". On September 4, 1976, at the age of 30, Bush was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol near his family's summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine. He pleaded guilty, was fined $150, and had his driver's license suspended until 1978 in Maine.
February 27, 2007
The plea agreement by William Heaton revealed for the first time that Ney kept some of his ill-gotten gains -- $5,000 in British pounds -- in a safe in his congressional office. Heaton, who worked for Ney from 2001 until last year, admitted that he helped the congressman stash the money and periodically opened the safe at Ney's request so he could get to the cash, prosecutors said.
Ney, who resigned last year, pleaded guilty and was sentenced last month to 30 months in prison.
February 24, 2007
March 16, 2006
Document is publicly viewable
Published on February 24, 2007
January 19, 2007
Senate OKs ethics, lobbying reforms
APPROVAL FULFILLS DEMOCRATS' PROMISE OF RAPID ACTION
The Senate on Thursday overwhelmingly passed sweeping changes to ethics and lobbying rules, overcoming bipartisan reluctance to ban many of the favors that lobbyists do for lawmakers and to illuminate the shadowy legislative practice of earmarking money for special projects.
Interpreting the results of the Nov. 7 election as a reaction to corruption scandals when Congress was under Republican control, the Senate has joined the House in adopting broad new rules that go beyond the proposals Republicans introduced last year, or the ones that Democrats campaigned on.
The measure passed around 9 p.m. by a vote of 96-2.
Wednesday, Senate Republicans nearly derailed the bill in a dispute over when the Democrats would agree to vote on a Republican proposal, a version of the line-item veto.
Like the new House rules, the Senate proposal would bar members from accepting gifts, meals or trips from lobbyists or the organizations that employ them. It would end senators' use of borrowed corporate jets at discount rates. It would prohibit departing senators from negotiating with prospective new employers until after their successors had been elected and would restrict them from directly or indirectly lobbying the Senate for two years.
Also like the House rules, the Senate measure would require disclosure of the sponsors, the purpose and the cost of earmarks, the pet projects that lawmakers have been able to tuck anonymously into complicated spending bills.
Senate Democrats also have incorporated into the bill a provision to require for the first time that lobbyists disclose the most valuable favors they do for lawmakers: holding campaign fundraisers, soliciting campaign contributions and bundling checks from clients and friends.
In the House on Thursday, as the new Democratic majority celebrated the completion of its populist 100-hour agenda, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, unveiled the party's next legislative target: an ambitious plan to wean the United States from foreign oil and slow global warming.
Pelosi said Thursday that she intends to create a panel to help craft the party's environmental agenda and has asked committee chairmen with jurisdiction over the issue to pass legislation ``to truly declare our energy independence'' by July 4.
The announcement came as Democrats completed their 100-hour agenda with passage of a bill that would repeal oil industry tax breaks and put the estimated $14 billion in revenue over 10 years toward research on energy conservation and alternative fuels.
The legislation was the last of six bills the Democrats have plowed through the House in two weeks, including measures to increase the minimum wage, expand stem-cell research, implement Sept. 11 commission recommendations, authorize Medicare negotiations for lower drug prices and cut interest rates on student loans.
Although House Democrats backed the 100-hour agenda almost unanimously, cracks in the caucus might appear as Democrats turn to energy, health care and immigration, among other issues.
The bill to repeal oil industry tax breaks was approved by a 264-123 vote, but that and the other 100-hour measures still are far from becoming law.
President Bush has threatened to veto the stem-cell legislation, which would expand funding for research using embryonic stem cells, and the Medicare legislation. Though Democrats also control the Senate, by a 51-49 majority, Republicans can use the filibuster, which requires 60 votes to overcome, to kill House-passed bills.
Mercury News Wire Services
109th U.S. Congress
Republican Ney sentenced to a former Republican congressman linked to disgraced former lobbyist Jack Abramoff has been sentenced to 30 months in prison for corruption.
Bob Ney's sentence was longer than the prosecution had recommended, the judge said, because the former lawmaker had violated the public trust.
He will be on probation for two years after his term. He must pay a $6,000 (£3,000) fine and undergo counselling.
Ney had pleaded guilty to trading political favours for money and gifts.
He also admitted conspiracy and making false statements.
On Friday, he apologised to his family, friends and former constituents.
He reiterated his dependence on alcohol, saying he had battled "the demons of addiction".
Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle said his alcoholism was no excuse.
She barred him from drinking alcohol during his probation and ordered him to follow an alcohol rehabilitation programme while he serves his sentence in federal prison.
Ney is the first lawmaker to be prosecuted in connection with the Abramoff scandal, which helped the Democrats seize control of Congress in November.
He resigned his seat in Congress days before the elections.
Before the Abramoff scandal erupted, Ney was perhaps best known internationally for his role in renaming French fries "freedom fries" in the Congressional cafeteria due to US anger at Paris's refusal to support the invasion of Iraq.
January 12, 2007
"What they really want is to cut off funding for the troops," Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said Thursday.
It was a claim that Democrats rebutted in advance.
"The Congress and the American people will continue to support them and provide them with every resource they need," the top four Democrats in Congress pledged Wednesday night as they attacked President Bush's plans to deploy an additional 21,500 troops.
"Our military forces deserve a policy commensurate with the sacrifices they have been asked to make. Regrettably, the president has not provided that tonight," added Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, as well as Reps. Steny Hoyer of Maryland and Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois.
For the first time since the war began, Democrats have public opinion on their side _ and know it for sure.
The midterm elections that swept Republicans from power in both the House and Senate demonstrated that, and comments by one-time Republican supporters of the president's war policy confirm it daily.
Other Republicans are following.
READ THE FULL STORY
January 11, 2007
January 09, 2007
To many mistakes.
To many lies.
January 07, 2007
January 05, 2007
I saw on TV the other day the Republicans crying about how the 110th Congress is not willing to work in a bipartisan way. This is a lie! The Republicans are already trying to put a spin on the 110th Congress, but they are not going to get away with it. You can see Karl Rove’s finger prints all over it. The Republicans think we Americans are nothing but a bunch of couch potatoes and all they have to do is lie to us and they think they can get away with it. No more! The 110th Congress will do more in one hundred hours then the 109th Congress did in its full term. The 110th Congress is willing to work in a bipartisan way with the Republicans. The Republicans should thank god the Democrats are willing to work in a bipartisan way with them. After what the Republicans did to the Democrats in the 109th Congress. I would not give the Republicans the time of day!
January 04, 2007
The Democratic takeover arrives with congressional leaders and President Bush stressing bipartisanship -- but with indications emerging of the partisan fights to come.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, is slated to become the new speaker of the House -- the first woman to hold that post -- and Sen. Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, is scheduled to take over as Senate majority leader.
New members of Congress will also take their oaths in ceremonies on Thursday.
Exit polls showed that rising discontent over the war in Iraq and a spate of corruption scandals helped drive voters in November to hand Democrats control of both houses of Congress for the first time since 1994.
And a national poll released this week showed Democrats have strong support for nearly all the measures they want to pass in their first days in charge.
Incoming House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat, told reporters that Democrats would move quickly on rules changes.
"On Thursday and Friday, we're going to adopt rules that will change the way the people's house operates to ensure its integrity, to ensure its openness and to ensure its transparency," Hoyer said Wednesday.
Tighter restrictions on spending earmarks, lobbying, gifts and travel will be proposed, Democratic House leaders said.
A $2.10 hourly increase in the minimum wage is among six bills Democrats pledged to advance in their first 100 hours of making new laws next week, after members are seated and committees are organized.
The minimum wage was last increased in 1997. Democrats want to raise it to $7.25, in steps over two years, a proposal that has drawn conditional support from President Bush.
But they may face a tougher hurdle in efforts to repeal Bush's ban on federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research. In the only veto of his presidency to date, Bush killed a similar bill that passed with bipartisan support last year -- and White House spokesman Tony Snow said Wednesday that the president's position has not changed.
Other bills Democrats want to move in their 100 legislative hours would roll back tax breaks for the oil industry and redirect the revenue to alternative energy research; implement the homeland security recommendations of the 9/11 commission; cut interest rates for student loans; and allow administrators of the Medicare prescription drug program to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies for discount prices.
The schedule for the 100 legislative hours stretches from Tuesday through January 18, five days ahead of Bush's State of the Union address.
Bush: Avoid 'stalemate'.
In a statement in the White House Rose Garden on Wednesday, Bush urged Congress to make the tax cuts passed during his administration permanent and grant him line-item veto power, which would allow the president to cut specific spending from a bill without killing the entire measure.
And in an opinion piece published in Wednesday's Wall Street Journal, Bush wrote that Democrats now have a responsibility to avoid creating a "stalemate" by passing bills "that are simply political statements."
"If a different approach is taken, the next two years can be fruitful ones for our nation," Bush wrote.
The Supreme Court killed a previous law giving the president line-item veto power in 1998, and Hoyer said he opposes renewing it.
Reid defended the Democrats' legislative agenda.
"There is nothing political about finding a policy to end the war in Iraq, raising the minimum wage, achieving energy independence or helping kids afford college," Reid told The Associated Press.
House Republicans, now facing life in the minority for the first time since 1994, complained that the Democrats are cutting them out of setting House rules. They urged Pelosi and other Democratic leaders to adopt the same "minority bill of rights" that Democrats had urged in 2004.
Though Republicans rejected that call at the time, Rep. Adam Putnam, a Florida Republican, said Democrats promised Americans "a new way of doing business" during last year's campaigns.
Republicans want guarantees that they will be able to offer substitute legislation and amendments to bills as they move through the chamber. Hoyer said Democrats would adopt such rules after their 100-hour package passes.
The revived talk of a minority bill of rights, said Rep. Louise Slaughter, shows Republicans are "terrified we're going to treat them the way they treated us."
"But we will not. We're going to treat them much better," said Slaughter, a New York Democrat and the incoming Rules Committee chairwoman.
Democrats also promise to beef up oversight of the Bush administration.
The new head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Vermont Democrat Patrick Leahy, is already butting heads with the Justice Department over documents relating to the interrogation of suspected terrorists. And the incoming chairmen of the Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees have already announced plans to hold hearings on the war in Iraq.
Party leaders got a dramatic show of pressure from anti-war protesters Wednesday, as peace activist Cindy Sheehan and others interrupted Hoyer's news conference with chants of "De-escalate, investigate, troops home now."
Poll finds strong support.
Hoyer said he believes the Democrats' first six bills "are overwhelmingly supported by the American people." The poll conducted for CNN by Opinion Research Corp. found strong support for five of the six.
"We see the first 100 hours as a mandate from the American people," Hoyer said. "We told the American public, 'If you elect us, this is what we will do immediately.'"
Eighty-seven percent of those polled said they want to allow Medicare, the federal health insurance program for seniors, to negotiate for lower drug prices. Only 12 percent opposed the idea.
An increase in the minimum wage drew 85 percent support. And 84 percent supported cutting student loan interest rates.
Implementing the 9/11 commission's recommendations had the support of 64 percent of those polled. Sixty-two percent favored funding embryonic stem-cell research. But the public was split 49-49 on the wisdom of cutting tax breaks for oil companies.
The CNN poll found 75 percent support for a crackdown on lobbyists' influence. And 79 percent said they would favor establishing an independent panel to enforce ethics rules.
In addition, 77 percent said they want to see "significant changes" to U.S. policy in Iraq.
Pollsters interviewed 1,019 American adults on December 15-17. The survey has a sampling error of 4.5 percentage points.
CNN - POSTED: 4:34 a.m. EST, January 4, 2007