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A True American Hero
 
“The first Republican I knew was my father and he is still the Republican I most admire. He joined our party because the Democrats inJim Crow Alabama of 1952 would not register him to vote. The Republicans did. My father has never forgotten that day, and neither have I.

“I joined for different reasons. I found a party that sees me as an individual, not as part of a group. I found a party that puts family first. I found a party that has love of liberty at its core. And I found a party that believes that peace begins with strength.”

“It’s that expression of the individual and a willingness to put the educational opportunities before me that led to who I am. Who you are is who you are as an individual.”

Condoleezza Rice
National Security Advisor

President Bush lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery

AP

 PHOTOS

TAXES AND INCOME
The Real Story of President Bush’s tax cuts 

Editorial
The Wall Street Journal

Every Democrat running for President wants to raise taxes on "the rich," but they will have to do something miraculous to outtax President Bush. Based on the latest available tax data, no Administration in modern history has done more to pry tax revenue from the wealthy.

Last week the Congressional Budget Office joined the IRS in releasing tax numbers for 2005, and part of the news is that the richest 1% paid about 39% of all income taxes that year. The richest 5% paid a tad less than 60%, and the richest 10% paid 70%. These tax shares are all up substantially since 1990, and even somewhat since 2000. Meanwhile, Americans with an income below the median -- half of all households -- paid a mere 3% of all income taxes in 2005. The richest 1.3 million tax-filers -- those Americans with adjusted gross incomes of more than $365,000 in 2005 -- paid more income tax than all of the 66 million American tax filers below the median in income. Ten times more.

For the political left and most of the media, this means only that the rich are getting richer, so of course they're paying more taxes. And it is true that the top earners have increased their share of total income. Yet, as the nearby table shows, the rich showed more rapid gains in reported income shares in the 1990s than in the first half of this decade. The share of the richest 1% jumped to 20.8% of total income in 2000, from 14% in 1990, but increased only slightly to 21.2% in 2005. This makes it hard to pin their claim of "rising inequality" on the Bush tax cuts, though the income redistributionists are trying. By this measure, the Clinton years were far worse for "inequality."

Notably, however, the share of taxes paid by the top 1% has kept climbing this decade -- to 39.4% in 2005, from 37.4% in 2000. The share paid by the top 5% has increased even more rapidly. In other words, despite the tax reductions of 2001 and 2003, the rich saw their share of taxes paid rise at a faster rate than their share of income. How could this be?

One explanation is that the Bush tax cuts reduced the income tax liability of middle and lower income households by more proportionately than the rich. The average family of four with an income of $40,000 saw its income tax liability fall by about $2,052 a year from the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts.

The IRS statistics also tell a more complicated economic story than the media claim. First, America continues to be a society of upward income mobility. Over the past decade, millions of Americans have joined the once highly exclusive club of six- and seven-figure earners. Some 304,000 Americans earned $1 million or more in annual income in 2005, compared to 110,000 in 1996 and 176,000 in 2000. Because there is no cap on the top income share, this increase in millionaires pushes the top income (and taxes paid) share higher. The number of millionaire households in net worth also increased to nine million in 2006, up from six million in 2001, according to TNS, a global market research firm.

Liberals decry this as proof of a new "gilded age." But we'd say these gains are a sign that more Americans are joining the ranks of the truly affluent. More than 13 million American households, or about one in 10, had an income of more than $100,000 a year in 2005. This is the kind of upward mobility that a dynamic society should want because it means that incomes aren't stagnant and opportunity continues to exist. …

We hate to break up the media's egalitarian chorus with these details, but facts are facts. If Democrats really want to soak the rich, they'll keep tax rates where they are, or, better, lower them some more.

AP
Sept. 10: President Bush and his wife Laura lay a wreath in the footprint of the World Trade Center.

Anbar Province government dedicates success vs. Al Qaeda to 9/11 victims 


The letter, which was obtained by the Daily News, was signed by Anbar Governor Mamoun Sami Rashid, Provincial Council Chairman Abdul-Salam Abdullah, and Sheik Sattar abu Risha, the sheik credited with beginning the Anbar Awakening.

"In the month when the terrorists attacked the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, we dedicate the victory of Anbar Province to the families of the victims who suffred that criminal act," the letter said, which was addressed directly to Bush.

"With the help of the president of the United States, we pledge to continue to cooperate and communicate with you to continue to get good results," the letter said.

Bush traveled to Anbar Province to highlight the dramatic decrease in violence there, just days ahead of the progress report that Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker presented to Congress Monday.

 
U.S. Temperature Highlights
The average June-August 2006 temperature for the contiguous United States (based on preliminary data) was 2.4 degrees F (1.3 degrees C) above the 20th century average of 72.1 degrees F (22.3 degrees C). This was the second warmest summer on record, slightly cooler than the record of 74.7 degrees F set in 1936 during the Dust Bowl era. This summer's average was 74.5 degrees F.

  NRO FINANCIAL
The Deficit, Jobs, Etc.

PHIL KERPEN: The deficit is lower than it was every single year between 1980 and 1996. How did this happen? The Deficit Is Smaller . . .

THOMAS E. NUGENT: The economic data favors Republicans heading into Nov. 7 — if they’ll only use it. Have Jobs, Will Travel

Army Sees New Turnaround in Recruiting 


BAGHDAD, Iraq — U.S. forces seized hundreds of mortar rounds and rockets in a Sunni neighborhood of Baghdad and detained two suspected terrorists Friday. Jordan became the first Arab country to send a fully accredited ambassador to Iraq.

Authorities ordered all vehicles off the roads starting Friday night for two days in more than a dozen Baghdad neighborhoods to forestall violence during a mass rally commemorating the death of an 8th-century Shiite saint.

Jordan's Ambassador Ahmed al-Lozi presented his credentials to Iraqi President Jalal Talabani on Thursday, said a statement by the president's office.

Al-Lozi arrived Tuesday with Jordanian Prime Minister Marouf al-Bakhit, who was on a three-day visit, and stayed behind to take up his duties, Talabani's aide, Hiwa Othman, told The Associated Press.

CountryWatch: Iraq

Al-Lozi is the first fully accredited Arab ambassador in Iraq. Egypt sent an ambassador, Ihab al-Sherif, last year but he was kidnapped and killed in July 2005 before he could present his credentials.

Despite U.S. pressure, Arab countries have dragged their feet on sending ambassadors to Iraq because of the violence raging in the country since the March 2003 ouster of Saddam Hussein in the U.S.-led invasion.

Click headline link above to read the whole story

Report: Hundreds of WMDs Found in Iraq 

WASHINGTON — The United States has found 500 chemical weapons in Iraq since 2003, and more weapons of mass destruction are likely to be uncovered, two Republican lawmakers said Wednesday.

"We have found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, chemical weapons," Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., said in a quickly called press conference late Wednesday afternoon.

Reading from a declassified portion of a report by the National Ground Intelligence Center, a Defense Department intelligence unit, Santorum said: "Since 2003, coalition forces have recovered approximately 500 weapons munitions which contain degraded mustard or sarin nerve agent. Despite many efforts to locate and destroy Iraq's pre-Gulf War chemical munitions, filled and unfilled pre-Gulf War chemical munitions are assessed to still exist."

Click here to read the declassified portion of the NGIC report.

He added that the report warns about the hazards that the chemical weapons could still pose to coalition troops in Iraq.

"The purity of the agents inside the munitions depends on many factors, including the manufacturing process, potential additives and environmental storage conditions. While agents degrade over time, chemical warfare agents remain hazardous and potentially lethal," Santorum read from the document.

Click headline link to read the rest of story

AL-QAEDA HAD PLANS TO RELEASE POISONOUS GAS IN NEW YORK CITY SUBWAYS

From FOXNews.com - Breaking News, Video News, World News, Entertainment News, Health News & More
 
Al Qaeda in Iraq renews allegiance to bin Laden, says it's still powerful following Zarqawi's death, statement says

From Neal Boortz, The Talk Master: ZARQAWI DEAD, DEMOCRATS DEPRESSED 


View the complete Deck of Weasels

Make no mistake: Democrats are depressed. They're down in the dumps because they have been counting on the war in Iraq to go badly so that they can use that to pick up enough seats in this fall's election to take back control of the House. With Zarqawi getting clipped yesterday [WARNING: Fox News photos of Zarqawi's dead body] , this throws a wrench in things. What is going to happen to their aspirations if this marks a turning point in Iraq and we defeat the insurgency? Worse than that .. what happens if Bush gets the opportunity to display the bloated and bloodied face of that slime Osama bin Laden between now and the election? You can bet the ranch that in that event there will be Democrats who will swear that it was all staged ... that Bush knew where Osama was all along, and just waited until the most opportune time to make his move.

Well ... at least the Democrats have that "culture of corruption" thing to run on. But wait! ... there's $90,000 in William Jefferson's freezer that says that won't work. Plus .. the Congressional Black Caucus is defending him? Corruption? Clean the green fuzz out of your own refrigerator first. Gas prices? People are actually starting to realize that there are market forces at work here that Bush has, and should have no control over. No, if the Bush Administration rights the ship in Iraq, the Democrats are done...and they know it.

So they responded accordingly yesterday. Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader and Speaker-in-waiting, said yesterday Zarqawi's death changes nothing. In fact, she responded with a quote that could have come right off an Islamic hate website: "Several hours after Zarqawi's death, 19 Iraqis were killed and 40 were wounded in a roadside bombing in Baghdad." Pelosi, along with most of her kook leftist buddies, are banking on American defeat in Iraq.

Some Democrats are so upset that Bush is getting some positive help from al-Zarqawi's death that they're actually claiming that the whole thing was nothing but a stunt.  Congressman Pete Stark from California said that Bush had al-Zarqawi killed to cover for the deaths of civilians in Iraq and to boost his poll numbers.  I guess we could laugh at Stark, if he wasn't so completely pathetic.  If al-Zarqawi remains free Bush takes the heat for not being able to find him.  If al-Zarqawi is killed, Bush takes the heat for trying to divert attention from his sagging poll numbers.  This just goes to show the depths to which Democrats and the left will sink to feed their hatred of George Bush .. hatred fueled by the election of 2000.

And as for whether or not Zarqawi was an important hit....absolutely he was. This is the guy who ran Al-Qaeda's operations in Iraq. Yet here are Democrats...downplaying it as symbolic. They call rubbing out Zarqawi symbolism, yet whine about how Osama Bin Laden hasn't been caught. This despite the fact that Osama is sitting in a cave somewhere in Pakistan doing absolutely nothing. Which one is it, fellas? Make up your minds already.

Any more good news from Iraq, and Democrats may get really desperate. Maybe they'll strap on an AK-47 and join the insurgency.

 
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Army said Friday it surpassed its recruiting goal for May, marking the 12th consecutive month of meeting or exceeding its target.

Before it began the streak in June 2005, the active Army had missed its target four consecutive months. And even though results improved during the summer months, it missed its full-year target for the first time since 1999. The Army National Guard and Army Reserve also fell short of their 2005 goals but are doing better now.

The regular Army signed up 5,806 new recruits last month, compared with its target of 5,400, and the Army National Guard and Army Reserve also exceeded their May goals, according to statistics released by the Pentagon.

Job Report Sends Dow to 6-Year High

Associated Press 

NEW YORK, May 5 -- The Dow Jones industrial average closed at a six-year high after a report of modest job growth bolstered hopes that the Federal Reserve will stop raising interest rates.

Investors saw a slowdown in April employment growth as the latest sign of a softening economy, a reason for the Fed to stop raising interest rates. That countered worries over rising wages following an upswing in employers' labor costs on Thursday.

Falling oil prices also helped stocks to their gains, although some believe higher gasoline prices will pressure consumer spending and keep the economy from overheating.

The Dow rose 138.88, or 1.21 percent, to 11,577.74, its best showing since reaching an all-time high of 11,722.98 on Jan. 14, 2000. The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index rose 13.51, or 1.03 percent, to 1325.76, its highest level since Feb. 15, 2001. The Nasdaq composite index rose 18.67, or 0.8 percent, to 2342.57.

Evidence of a tapering economy in this week's economic data fueled optimism that the Fed will soon stop its rate increases and gave the major indexes a strong boost. For the week, the Dow was up 1.85 percent, the S&P rose 1.16 percent and the Nasdaq rose 0.86 percent.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 5.10 percent, from 5.15 percent late Thursday. The U.S. dollar fell against the Japanese yen and was flat against European currencies. Gold and crude oil futures rose.

Libby lawyers finger top State Dept. leaders for CIA leak 
Attorneys for former Vice President Chief of Staff Lewis “Scooter” Libby say one of three senior State Department officials was the source of a leak that exposed CIA agent Valerie Plame. They say the officials are: former Secretary of State Colin Powell, former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and then-Undersecretary of State Marc Grossman. The attorneys plan to argue that a senior official in the State Department leaked Mrs. Plame's identity amid the administration's defense of the U.S. failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

From Neal Boortz:
 
SADDAM AND AL-QAEDA

To this day, liberals like to tell us that there was no connection between Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden, and thus no reason for the Bush administration to invade Iraq.  But as time goes on, there is more evidence to the contrary.  More proof came yesterday of a relationship between Saddam and Al-Qaeda.

The Pentagon posted a document [pdf] online that was a letter from somebody at Saddam's intelligence agency indicating not only Al-Qaeda was cozy with Saddam, but also the Taliban. But it gets better.

The letter says Osama Bin Laden was in contact with Baghdad, and even mentions he may have visited.  The documents also make mention and show a picture of our good buddy Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, leading Al-Qaeda terrorist in Baghdad.

So what does all of this prove?  What some have said all along: there was an active link between Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.  Oh, and Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, too.  Of course, Osama Bin Laden could be captured in Iraq and Democrats still would never concede Bush was right to invade.

 

March 16, 2006 — Following are the ABC News Investigative Unit's summaries of four of the nine Iraqi documents from Saddam Hussein's government, which were released by the U.S. government Wednesday.

The documents discuss Osama bin Laden, weapons of mass destruction, al Qaeda and more.

The full documents can be found on the U.S. Army Foreign Military Studies Office Web site: http://fmso.leavenworth.army.mil/products-docex.htm.

Note: Document titles were added by ABC News.

"Osama bin Laden and the Taliban"

Document dated Sept. 15, 2001

An Iraqi intelligence service document saying that their Afghani informant, who's only identified by a number, told them that the Afghani Consul Ahmed Dahastani claimed the following in front of him:

That OBL and the Taliban are in contact with Iraq and that a group of Taliban and bin Laden group members visited Iraq.
That the U.S. has proof the Iraqi government and "bin Laden's group" agreed to cooperate to attack targets inside America.
That in case the Taliban and bin Laden's group turn out to be involved in "these destructive operations," the U.S. may strike Iraq and Afghanistan.
That the Afghani consul heard about the issue of Iraq's relationship with "bin Laden's group" while he was in Iran.

At the end, the writer recommends informing "the committee of intentions" about the above-mentioned items. The signature on the document is unclear.

"Election Campaign Laws in France"

Documents dated July-August 1999

Correspondence regarding election campaigns in France. This includes a document from the Iraqi intelligence service classified as "secret," ordering the translation of important parts of a 1997 report about campaign financing laws in France. It also includes a document from the foreign minister's office indicating the report was attached. The attached translated report included very detailed information about all the regulations regarding financing of election campaigns in France. Translation was done by someone called "Salam Abdul Karim Mohammed."

WASHINGTON — As controversy raged over the United Arab Emirates' terrorism record, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met Thursday with UAE officials in Abu Dhabi and discussed ways to improve U.S.-UAE cooperation in combating terrorism.

"The UAE reaffirmed its stance against terrorism and its commitment to continue to support and cooperate with the international community in this endeavor," the two countries said in a joint statement released by the State Department.

The uproar in Washington concerns a contract the Bush administration gave to a UAE government-owned business — Dubai Ports World — to run significant operations at six of the nation's largest seaports: Baltimore, Philadelphia, Miami, New Orleans, Houston, and Newark, N.J.

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., the senior Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, had suggested the UAE could not be trusted to fight terrorism because of its past backing for the Taliban and its role in facilitating flows of financial support for the Al Qaeda.

A State Department official said he was not aware of anything in Rice's discussions with UAE Vice President Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid that would affect the ongoing battle in Washington over the ports deal.

The official asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to speak on the record.

Rice's discussions also touched on U.S.-UAE free trade negotiations, the joint statement said.

It noted that the UAE is the third largest trading partner of the United States in the Middle East.

Rice stopped in Abu Dhabi after visits to Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon.

WASHINGTON — Despite a presidential veto threat, Republicans and Democrats continued Wednesday to make loud noises over blocking a controversial port deal that has President Bush in the hotseat.

House Republicans are forging ahead with legislation that would block an administration-approved plan to hand over terminal operations at six U.S. ports to a UAE-owned company, Dubai Ports World. A British company, Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Co., currently operates the terminals in question.

President Bush, however, signaled Wednesday that despite the opposition from even members of his own party over the deal, he still wants it to go through.

"The president's position is unchanged," White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters on Air Force One while traveling with the president to New Orleans. "We're continuing to work closely with Congress. We recognize that some members have concerns. The lines of communication are open. ... There are a lot of conversations going on between the company and Congress and the administration."

And we hapless Americans -- already desperately trying to mediate, pacify and baby-sit the ruins of Churchill's Empire: Iraq, Palestine, India/Pakistan, Yemen, even (Anglo-Egyptian) Sudan -- would not be in the midst of a mini-firestorm over the sale of the venerable P&O, which manages six American ports, to the UAE.

Patriot Act Renewal Gets Green Light


 

 
Quote

"I think (changes in the bill) were enough to make sure we can protect the American people,"

House Speaker Dennis Hastert.


(AP) It looks like smooth sailing for renewing the Patriot Act.

Legislation to renew the anti-terror measure was cleared for final congressional passage when the speaker of the House of Representatives blessed a day-old compromise between the White House and Senate Republicans.

The legislation accepted Friday by Speaker Dennis Hastert would expand the powers of federal agents in investigations of suspected terrorists in the United States. That, President George W. Bush's administration says, is one of the key weapons in the fight against terror.

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid also indicated he will vote for the bill. Voting on the bill could be scheduled as early as next week.

"I think (changes in the bill) were enough to make sure we can protect the American people," Hastert told reporters on an out-of-Washington trip. The changes are three revisions that the white House and Senate Republican holdouts announced Thursday.

From Powerlineblog.com

One of the important federal court decisions recognizing the president's inherent authority to order warrantless foreign intelligenc surveillance is the Truong case, discussed in John's analysis of the legality of the NSA surveillance program. John noted that the Fourth Circuit decided United States v. Truong in 1980 and that the case involved a criminal prosecution arising out of the defendant’s spying on behalf of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. The case squarely presented the issue of the executive branch’s inherent power to conduct warrantless surveillance for national security purposes:

The defendants raise a substantial challenge to their convictions by arguing that the surveillance conducted by the FBI violated the Fourth Amendment and that all the evidence uncovered through that surveillance must consequently be suppressed. As has been stated, the government did not seek a warrant for the eavesdropping on Truong’s phone conversations or the bugging of his apartment. Instead, it relied upon a “foreign intelligence” exception to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement. In the area of foreign intelligence, the government contends, the President may authorize surveillance without seeking a judicial warrant because of his constitutional prerogatives in the area of foreign affairs.

The court agreed with the government’s position:

For several reasons, the needs of the executive are so compelling in the area of foreign intelligence, unlike the area of domestic security, that a uniform warrant requirement would, following [United States v. United States District Court, 407 U.S. 297 (1972)], “unduly frustrate” the President in carrying out his foreign affairs responsibilities. First of all, attempts to counter foreign threats to the national security require the utmost stealth, speed and secrecy. A warrant requirement would add a procedural hurdle that would reduce the flexibility of executive foreign intelligence activities, in some cases delay executive response to foreign intelligence threats, and increase the chance of leaks regarding sensitive executive operations.

The court held that warrantless searches for foreign intelligence purposes are constitutional, as long as the “object of the search or the surveillance is a foreign power, its agent or collaborators,” and the search is conducted “primarily” for foreign intelligence reasons.

In his performance at Mrs. King's funeral this week, the execrable Jimmy Carter obviously chided President Bush by reference to the "secret government wiretapping" of Martin Luther King. In today's Washington Times, Charles Hurt recalls that it was of course Jimmy Carter himself (and Attorney General Bell) who authorized the warrantless surveillance involved in the Truong case.

 
The federal government posted the first budget surplus for December in three years as corporate tax payments hit an all-time high, helping offset a record level for spending, the Treasury Department reported Thursday.

The department said in its monthly budget report that government receipts surpassed spending by $10.98 billion last month. A year ago, the government ran a deficit of $2.85 billion in December.

The improvement reflected the fact that government receipts were up 12.1 percent from a year ago to $241.88 billion while government spending rose by a slower 5.6 percent to $230.9 billion. The figure for outlays still represented an all-time high for spending for any month.

Corporate income tax collections totaled a record $73.5 billion last month, surpassing the old record of $72 billion set in September.

Even with December's surplus, experts are predicting that the budget deficit for this year could well surge above $400 billion, reflecting increased government spending to help with reconstruction efforts in hurricane-ravaged states along the Gulf Coast.

The largest deficit in dollar terms was an imbalance of $413 billion in 2004. Last year, the deficit narrowed to $377 billion as a surge of tax revenues from an improving economy helped offset rising government spending.

President Bush has vowed to cut the deficit in half by 2009 and still preserve the tax cuts he pushed through Congress in his first term.

Treasury Secretary John Snow said this week that the administration plans to lower the deficit through stringent controls on spending, which he said would be evident in the budget proposal for 2007 that Bush will send to Congress in early February.

However, budget experts are already predicting that Congress will balk at making sharp cuts in the growth of popular government programs, especially in an election year.

Through the first three months of the current budget year, which began on Oct. 1, government tax receipts have totaled $530.2 billion, up 8.8 percent from the same period a year ago.

Government spending totals $649.52 billion, a 7.2 percent increase from the same period a year ago. That resulted in a deficit for the first three months of the government's budget year of $119.31 billion, up 1.1 percent from the same period a year ago.

The December surplus marked the first surplus for that month since December 2002.

 
In a Thursday speech billed by the Young Democrats as an early Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day event, the Rev. Al Sharpton wasted no time in delivering his attacks against the Bush administration, criticizing its response to Hurricane Katrina, defense of domestic wire-tapping and the nomination of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court.
 
Once again we find Democrats connecting events with MLK celebrations, when MLK was a NON-PARTISAN civil rights leader who was over-whelmingly supported by Republicans during the time he was fighting for a 'color-blind' society.

"The irony for me is that George Bush, after spending the week lobbying for Alito, justifying wiretaps and explaining for the thousandth time why he did not respond to Katrina, will stand somewhere on Monday and piously act as though he remembers Dr. King, when in fact, he has stood against everything Dr. King represented and is probably the most renowned Dr. King dream-buster that we've seen in the last 20 years."

And yet, Bill Clinton used the same authority as President Bush so Clinton's administration could spy on african-American playgrounds based on worries over drugs and gangs.

Sharpton drew parallels between the Bush administration's anti-terrorism domestic wire-tapping and the FBI's wiretapping of King during the civil rights movement.

Teachers' Pets 
The NEA gave $65 million in its members' dues to left-liberal groups last year.

If we told you that an organization gave away more than $65 million last year to Jesse Jackson's Rainbow PUSH Coalition, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, Amnesty International, AIDS Walk Washington and dozens of other such advocacy groups, you'd probably assume we were describing a liberal philanthropy. In fact, those expenditures have all turned up on the financial disclosure report of the National Education Association, the country's largest teachers union.

Dean: US Won't Win in Iraq
(SAN ANTONIO) -- Saying the "idea that we're going to win the war in Iraq is an idea which is just plain wrong," Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean predicted today that the Democratic Party will come together on a proposal to withdraw National Guard and Reserve troops immediately, and all US forces within two years.

From

Associated Press/USA Today Focus on the Negatives in New Poll From Iraq  

Posted by Noel Sheppard

As reported yesterday by NewsBusters, a brand new ABC News/TIME poll depicted Iraqis as being very optimistic about themselves and the future of their country. The Associated Press via USA Today is sharing this information with its readers by focusing attention on the negatives first. The article, entitled “Most Iraqis Oppose U.S. Troops, Poll Says,” began:

“Most Iraqis disapprove of the presence of U.S. forces in their country, yet they are optimistic about Iraq's future and their own personal lives, according to a new poll.

“More than two-thirds of those surveyed oppose the presence of troops from the United States and its coalition partners and less than half, 44%, say their country is better off now than it was before the war, according to an ABC News poll conducted with Time magazine and other media partners.”

Then the article addressed the positives:

“But Iraqis are surprisingly upbeat on many fronts, the poll suggests. 

“Three-quarters say they are confident about the parliamentary elections scheduled for this week. More than two-thirds expect things in their country to get better in the coming months.”

Furthermore, when you get deep into the article, you find that more than half of those polled don’t want American troops to leave immediately:

“A fourth of those surveyed, 26%, say U.S. forces should leave now, and another 19% say troops should leave after those chosen in this week's election take office. The other half say U.S. troops should stay until security is restored, 31%, until Iraqi forces can operate independently, 16%, or longer, 5%.

When press reports on Iraq typically begin with the negatives, is there any wonder the American people think things are going poorly there? By contrast, United Press International is reporting this same news with a headline “Poll: Iraqis Feel More Optimistic,” and a lede:

“A poll of Iraqis by ABC News shows seven out of 10 feel their lives are going well, and two thirds believe life in Iraq will improve in the next year.

"With the country's parliamentary elections scheduled Thursday, 76 percent of Iraqis said they were ‘confident’ the vote would produce a ‘stable government,’ despite sectarian divisions among Sunni and Shiite Muslims. Few Iraqis expressed concern about civil war.”

Which report is more likely to engender a positive feeling about Iraq that resembles the way Iraqis themselves appear to feel about their own situation?

Who Is Lying About Iraq?  
A campaign of distortion aims to discredit the liberation.

BY NORMAN PODHORETZ

Among the many distortions, misrepresentations and outright falsifications that have emerged from the debate over Iraq, one in particular stands out above all others. This is the charge that George W. Bush misled us into an immoral or unnecessary war in Iraq by telling a series of lies that have now been definitively exposed.

What makes this charge so special is the amazing success it has enjoyed in getting itself established as a self-evident truth even though it has been refuted and discredited over and over again by evidence and argument alike. In this it resembles nothing so much as those animated cartoon characters who, after being flattened, blown up or pushed over a cliff, always spring back to life with their bodies perfectly intact. Perhaps, like those cartoon characters, this allegation simply cannot be killed off, no matter what.

Nevertheless, I want to take one more shot at exposing it for the lie that it itself really is. Although doing so will require going over ground that I and many others have covered before, I hope that revisiting this well-trodden terrain may also serve to refresh memories that have grown dim, to clarify thoughts that have grown confused, and to revive outrage that has grown commensurately dulled.

Commentary continues...

Bush Fires Back at Critics of Iraq War 

By Warren Vieth and James Gerstenzang, Times Staff Writers

TOBYHANNA, Pa. -- Knocked on the defensive over allegations that he launched the Iraq war based on faulty intelligence, President Bush accused his critics today of trying to rewrite the history of how and why the war began.

Launching a White House offensive to counter growing criticism of the war effort, Bush told soldiers and civilians that Democrats should reassure American troops that the nation stands behind them rather than revive a divisive debate over the war's origins.
 
"While it is perfectly legitimate to criticize my decision or the conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the story of how that war began," Bush said in a Veterans Day address inside a military warehouse at Tobyhanna Army Depot in northeast Pennsylvania.

In his speech, Bush cited his Democratic opponent in the 2004 presidential election, Sen. John F. Kerry of Massachusetts, "who explained his position to support the resolution [on the use of force in Iraq] in Congress this way: 'When I vote to give the president of the United States the authority to use force, if necessary, to disarm Saddam Hussein, it is because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a threat and a grave threat to our society.'"

Bush added: "That's why more than 100 Democrats in the House and the Senate, who had access to the same intelligence, voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power.

"The stakes in the global war on terror are too high and the national interest is too important for politicians to throw out false charges," Bush said. "These baseless attacks send the wrong signal to our troops and to an enemy that is questioning America's will."

In a written statement, Kerry said the administration "misled a nation into war by cherry-picking intelligence and stretching the truth beyond recognition."

He pointed to the effort to discredit a leading critic of the administration, former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV in which Cheney's then-chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby Jr., played a central role, and said: "That's why Scooter Libby has been indicted…. It's a dangerous day for our national security when an administration's word is no good."

Cheney hits Democrats on war tack / Bill Sammon
Vice President Dick Cheney yesterday accused Democrats of "corrupt and shameless" revisionism on the Iraq war and called their demands for a pullout "self-defeating pessimism."
 
War foes' 'cheap talk' may bring new vote / Stephen Dinan
The Republican who initiated last week's overwhelming House vote to keep U.S. troops in Iraq said he will do it again if Democrats don't cease their calls for withdrawal.
 
Bush hits call for pullout / Joseph Curl
President Bush yesterday weighed in from half a world away on Congress' debate over the Iraq war, calling Rep. John P. Murtha a "good man" who served America with honor, but saying his proposal to immediately withdraw troops "does not make sense."
 
Military fears critics will hurt morale / Rowan Scarborough
Pentagon officials say they are increasingly worried that Washington's political fight over the Iraq war will dampen what has been high morale among troops fighting a tenacious and deadly enemy.

Recruits join armed forces seeking war / W. Thomas Smith Jr. Marine Corps recruit Steven Levine, 17, wants to be a sniper or a member of a "Force Recon" team, one of the Corps' special operations units.

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate returned to its daily work late Tuesday after Democrats enacted a rare parliamentary rule forcing a private session of the chamber so senators could speak in secret about the lead-up to the war in Iraq.

Bush officials have done such a poor job defending themselves against charges they lied about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction that even their supporters seem to have forgotten about some of the most compelling WMD evidence.

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, for instance, keeps apologizing for his speech to the United Nations on the eve of the Iraq war. But at least one chilling bit of evidence he introduced there has never been refuted.

Hundreds of Jordanian demonstrators flash V signs and wave Jordanian flags during an anti-terrorism rally in Amman, Jordan, yesterday.  (AP)
AMMAN, Jordan -- Thousands of Jordanians rallied in the capital and other cities, shouting "Burn in hell, Abu Musab Zarqawi" a day after three deadly hotel bombings that killed at least 59 persons. Officials suspected Iraqi involvement in the attacks, which were claimed by al Qaeda's Iraq branch.
    Protesters in Jordan and elsewhere in the Arab world denounced the Jordanian-born leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, Zarqawi. 
  

 

According to Ms. Tritch, our tax system should serve one purpose and one purpose only—to soak the rich.  Any reduction in tax rates, especially on saving and investment, has nothing to do with raising growth, but is nothing but a give-away to the ultra-wealthy.  One can see now why she was hired by the Times despite a paucity of knowledge or experience in the field of economics.

Interestingly, the latest Internal Revenue Service data on distribution of the tax burden were released the same day Ms. Tritch’s tirade appeared.  They show that the top one percent of taxpayers paid 34.3 percent of all federal income taxes in 2003, although they earned just 16.8 percent of the adjusted gross income.  The top five percent of taxpayers paid more than half of all federal income taxes, the top 10 percent paid two-thirds, and the top half of taxpayers paid 96.5 percent, meaning that the bottom half paid just 3.5 percent.

BAGHDAD, Iraq — Iraq's constitution was adopted by a majority in a fair vote during the Oct. 15 referendum, as Sunni Arab opponents failed to muster enough support to defeat it, election officials said Tuesday. A prominent Sunni politician called the balloting "a farce."

 
BAGHDAD, Iraq — The speaker of Iraq's parliament said Wednesday that lawmakers had approved a last-minute compromise on the draft constitution aimed at gaining Sunni support just days before a nationwide referendum on the charter.

In ongoing violence aimed at thwarting approval of the document, a suicide bomber killed 30 Iraqis at an army recruiting center in a northwestern town.

The lawmakers gathered for about an hour at a special session of the National Assembly to hear a set of amendments to the constitution that are at the heart of the compromise, which was reached Tuesday night.

The session, attended by 157 of the body's 275 members, ended without a vote on the measure. Parliament speaker Hajim al-Hassani said a vote was not necessary and that the amendments were approved.

"Today with the presence of the National Assembly members, it is considered to be adopted," al-Hassani told The Associated Press. The deal had already been accepted by the main parties in parliament.

White House Praises Sunni Arab Support for Iraqi Constitution

WASHINGTON — The White House welcomed a last-minute agreement to gain Sunni Arab support on a new Iraqi constitution as a positive step on Wednesday but cautioned that it likely would do little to quell violence directed at Saturday's vote. President Bush urged Syria to do more to seal its borders against Iraq-bound militants.

"We have always emphasized the importance of encouraging as broad a participation in the political process as possible. We believe the political process should be inclusive," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said of the deal on the constitution.

But, McClellan added, "The more the Iraqi people move forward on the political process, the more desperate the terrorists become. We expect to see continued violence because the terrorists understand how high the stakes are in Iraq."

He spoke as Iraqi lawmakers met to consider a compromise to gain Sunni support on the draft constitution. The speaker of Iraq's parliament said the compromise had been approved. The special session of parliament was called after Shiite, Sunni Arab and Kurdish powerbrokers reached the breakthrough on the charter, reviving hopes of winning Sunni approval of the document in Saturday's nationwide referendum.

The conservatives whining about the Miers nomination are a petulant bunch

The Washington Times reports that Karl Rove was "very involved" in President Bush's selection of Harriet Miers to be an associate justice of the Supreme Court. This should put to rest the notion that Mr. Rove is a political genius.

Bennett, a former U.S. education secretary and national drug policy director, is under fire from Democrats, civil rights leaders, black conservatives and, as of yesterday, the White House and the Republican Party for saying Wednesday that "you could abort every black baby in this country and your crime rate would go down."

He added immediately that such a thing would be "an impossible, ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do."

"Anyone paying attention to this debate should be offended by those who have selectively quoted me, distorted my meaning, and taken out of context the dialogue I engaged in this week," his statement said.

HUD chief foresees a 'whiter' Big Easy

Alphonso R. Jackson, secretary of housing and urban development, during a visit with hurricane victims in Houston, said New Orleans would not reach its pre-Katrina population of "500,000 people for a long time," and "it's not going to be as black as it was for a long time, if ever again."

Rep. Danny K. Davis, Illinois Democrat and a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, quickly took issue. "Anybody who can make that kind of projection with some degree of certainty or accuracy must have a crystal ball that I can't see or maybe they are more prophetic than any of us can imagine," he said.

Mr. Jackson, [who is African-American, but not liberal] whose remarks were reported by the Houston Chronicle, said New Orleans might reach a population of 375,000 people sometime late next year with a black population of about 40 percent at the highest, down from 67 percent before Hurricane Katrina sent a storm surge that overwhelmed New Orleans levees and flooded 80 percent of the city.

To answer Danny Davis charge about not having a crystal ball:  Forty-three percent of these evacuees planned to return to New Orleans, the survey found. But just as many -- 44 percent -- said they will settle somewhere else, while the remainder were unsure. Many of those who were planning to return said they will be looking to buy or rent somewhere other than where they lived. Overall, only one in four said they plan to move back into their old homes, the poll found.

According to the poll, most of those who did not plan to go back to New Orleans are already living in their new hometown. Fully two in three of the 44 percent who will not return said they plan to permanently relocate in the Houston area, the city that now is home to about 125,000 New Orleans evacuees.

 

But the media elitists don't care what racist Congressman Charles Rangel says: RANGEL ALL TANGLED IN RACE RAGE 

REP. Charles Rangel has scored plenty of headlines in his 35 years in Congress, but lately, he's outdone himself by comparing President Bush to the revolting Southern racist "Bull" Connor, who sicced attack dogs on black protesters in 1963.

"George Bush is our 'Bull' Connor," claimed the Harlem Democrat — New York's most senior member of Congress — as he charged that the Hurricane Katrina response was slow because many victims were black.

But that's not all.

Rangel raised eyebrows by saying the Iraq war to topple Saddam Hussein was as bad as the Holocaust...

“Some Americans want us to withdraw our troops so that we can escape the violence. And I recognize their good intentions but their position is wrong,” Bush said. "For the safety and security of the American people, that's not going to happen on my watch."

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Former US president Bill Clinton sharply criticised George W. Bush for Iraq War and the handling of Hurricane Katrina, and voiced alarm at the swelling US budget deficit.

Breaking with tradition under which US presidents mute criticisms of their successors, Clinton said the Bush administration had decided to invade Iraq "virtually alone and before UN inspections were completed, with no real urgency, no evidence that there were weapons of mass destruction."

The Iraq war diverted US attention from the war on terrorism "and undermined the support that we might have had," Bush said in an interview with an ABC's "This Week" programme.

Clinton said there had been a "heroic but so far unsuccessful" effort to put together an constitution that would be universally supported in Iraq.

The US strategy of trying to develop the Iraqi military and police so that they can cope without US support "I think is the best strategy. The problem is we may not have, in the short run, enough troops to do that," said Clinton.

On Hurricane Katrina, Clinton faulted the authorities' failure to evacuate New Orleans ahead of the storm's strike on August 29.

People with cars were able to heed the evacuation order, but many of those who were poor, disabled or elderly were left behind.

"If we really wanted to do it right, we would have had lots of buses lined up to take them out," Clinton.

He agreed that some responsibility for this lay with the local and state authorities, but pointed the finger, without naming him, at the former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

FEMA boss Michael Brown quit in response to criticism of his handling of the Katrina disaster. He was viewed as a political appointee with no experience of disaster management or dealing with government officials.

"When James Lee Witt ran FEMA, because he had been both a local official and a federal official, he was always there early, and we always thought about that," Clinton said, referring to FEMA's head during his 1993-2001 presidency.

"But both of us came out of environments with a disproportionate number of poor people."

On the US budget, Clinton warned that the federal deficit may be coming untenable, driven by foreign wars, the post-hurricane recovery programme and tax cuts that benefitted just the richest one percent of the US population, himself included.

"What Americans need to understand is that ... every single day of the year, our government goes into the market and borrows money from other countries to finance Iraq, Afghanistan, Katrina, and our tax cuts," he said.

"We have never done this before. Never in the history of our republic have we ever financed a conflict, military conflict, by borrowing money from somewhere else."

Clinton added: "We depend on Japan, China, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, and Korea primarily to basically loan us money every day of the year to cover my tax cut and these conflicts and Katrina. I don't think it makes any sense."

NEW YORK (AFP) - British Prime Minister Tony Blair has complained privately to media tycoon Rupert Murdoch that the BBC's coverage of Hurricane Katrina carried an anti-American bias, Murdoch said at a conference here.

Murdoch, chairman of the media conglomerate News Corporation, recounted a conversation with the British leader at a panel discussion late Friday hosted by former president Bill Clinton. "Tony Blair -- perhaps I shouldn't repeat this conversation -- told me yesterday that he was in Delhi last week. And he turned on the BBC world service to see what was happening in New Orleans," Murdoch was quoted as saying in a transcript posted on the Clinton Global Initiative website.

"And he said it was just full of hate of America and gloating about our troubles. And that was his government. Well, his government-owned thing," he said of the publicly owned broadcaster.

Murdoch went on to say that anti-American bias was prevalent throughout Europe.

"I think we've got to do a better job at answering it. And there's a big job to do. But you're not going to ever turn it around totally," said Murdoch.

 
 Bush said. "For those of you who are concerned about whether or not we are prepared to help — don't be. We are."

He added, "We're in place, we've got equipment in place, supplies in place and once we're able to assess the damage we'll be able to move in and help those good folks in the affected areas."

Where are the Guardsmen?
Right where they ought to be.
The New York Times has called the military response “a costly game of catch up.” Catching up compared to what, one wonders. National Guard units were mobilized immediately; 7,500 troops from four states were on the ground within 24 hours of Katrina — a commendable response given the disruptions to the transportation infrastructure. The DOD response is well ahead of the 1992 Hurricane Andrew timetable. Back then, the support request took nine days to crawl through the bureaucracy. The reaction this time was less than three days officially, and DOD had been pre-staging assets in anticipation of the aid request from the moment Katrina hit. DOD cannot act independently of course; the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is the lead agency. Requests for assistance have to be routed from local officials through FEMA to U.S. Northern Command and then to the necessary components. In practice, this means state officials have to assess damage and determine relief requirements; FEMA has to come up with a plan for integrating the military into the overall effort; DOD has to begin to pack and move the appropriate materiel, and deploy sufficient forces. This has all largely been or is being accomplished. Seven thousand mostly Navy and other specialized assets are currently in the area directly supporting hurricane relief, and a much larger number of other forces are en route. The process has been functioning remarkably smoothly under the circumstances.

Greens vs. Levees
Destructive river-management philosophy.
These words may seem especially inappropriate after the breaking of the levee that caused the tragic events in New Orleans last week. But “wet and wild” has a larger significance in light of those events, and so does the group using the phrase. The national Sierra Club was one of several environmental groups who sued the Army Corps of Engineers to stop a 1996 plan to raise and fortify Mississippi River levees.

The Army Corps was planning to upgrade 303 miles of levees along the river in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas. This was needed, a Corps spokesman told the Baton Rouge, La., newspaper The Advocate, because “a failure could wreak catastrophic consequences on Louisiana and Mississippi which the states would be decades in overcoming, if they overcame them at all.”

But a suit filed by environmental groups at the U.S. District Court in New Orleans claimed the Corps had not looked at “the impact on bottomland hardwood wetlands.” The lawsuit stated, “Bottomland hardwood forests must be protected and restored if the Louisiana black bear is to survive as a species, and if we are to ensure continued support for source population of all birds breeding in the lower Mississippi River valley.” In addition to the Sierra Club, other parties to the suit were the group American Rivers, the Mississippi River Basin Alliance, and the Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi Wildlife Federations.

Money Flowed to Questionable Projects 

State Leads in Army Corps Spending, but Millions Had Nothing to Do With Floods

Before Hurricane Katrina breached a levee on the New Orleans Industrial Canal, the Army Corps of Engineers had already launched a $748 million construction project at that very location. But the project had nothing to do with flood control. The Corps was building a huge new lock for the canal, an effort to accommodate steadily increasing barge traffic.

Except that barge traffic on the canal has been steadily decreasing.

In Katrina's wake, Louisiana politicians and other critics have complained about paltry funding for the Army Corps in general and Louisiana projects in particular. But over the five years of President Bush's administration, Louisiana has received far more money for Corps civil works projects than any other state, about $1.9 billion; California was a distant second with less than $1.4 billion, even though its population is more than seven times as large.

But overall, the Bush administration's funding requests for the key New Orleans flood-control projects for the past five years were slightly higher than the Clinton administration's for its past five years. Lt. Gen. Carl Strock, the chief of the Corps, has said that in any event, more money would not have prevented the drowning of the city, since its levees were designed to protect against a Category 3 storm, and the levees that failed were already completed projects. Strock has also said that the marsh-restoration project would not have done much to diminish Katrina's storm surge, which passed east of the coastal wetlands.

FEMA Getting Assistance To Individuals 

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As the response efforts to get people out of harms way and placed in safe clean environments continues, the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency is reaching out to individuals and assisting them in the application process for disaster assistance. The registration process is one of the first steps in receiving aid through FEMA's programs, and assistance is being expedited to assist those in need.

Currently, the amount of money being distributed through the expedited assistance program is $2,000 per household. This expedited assistance is made available by FEMA to those residents severely impacted by disasters from Mississippi and Louisiana who do not have the usual means of identifying damage to their property or unable to provide the immediate documentation necessary.

'Lives Would Have Been Saved' 

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin said "80 percent" of the city was evacuated before the storm hit, but Bob Williams says that's not good enough.

Williams dealt with emergency response issues as a state representative in Washington when his district was forced to deal with the eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980.

"If the plan were implemented, lives would have been saved," Williams said.

There's no question the federal government plays a major role in disaster relief. But federal officials say in order to get involved, they must first be asked to do so by state officials.

As one FEMA official told ABC News, Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco failed to submit a request for help in a timely manner.

Shortly before Katrina hit, she sent President Bush a request asking for shelter and provisions, but didn't specifically ask for help with evacuations. One aide to the governor told ABC News today Blanco thought city officials were taking care of the evacuation.

"If the city and the state are stumbling or in over their head, then it's FEMA's [Federal Emergency Management Agency's] responsibility to show some leadership," said Jerry Hauer, director of public health preparedness at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Both the president and Congress have vowed to investigate questions of blame. It may already be safe to conclude that there will be plenty of it to go around.

CNNUSATODAYGALLUP POLL:  ONLY 13% BLAME BUSH? 

A CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll of 609 adults taken September 5-6 shows:

Blame Game -- 13% said George W. Bush is "most responsible for the problems in New Orleans after the hurricane"; 18% said "federal agencies"; 25% said "state and local officials"; 38% said "no one is to blame"; 6% had no opinion. -- 29% said that "top officials in the federal agencies responsible for handling emergencies should be fired"; 63% said they should not; 8% had no opinion.

MORE

Government Performance -- 10% said George W. Bush has done a "great" job in "responding to the hurricane and subsequent flooding"; 25% said "good"; 21% said "neither good nor bad"; 18% said "bad"; 24% said "terrible"; 2% had no opinion. -- 8% said federal government agencies responsible for handling emergencies have done a "great" job in "responding to the hurricane and subsequent flooding"; 27% said "good"; 20% said "neither good nor bad"; 20% said "bad"; 22% said "terrible"; 3% had no opinion. -- 7% said state and local officials in Louisiana have done a "great" job in "responding to the hurricane and subsequent flooding"; 30% said "good"; 23% said "neither good nor bad"; 20% said "bad"; 15% said "terrible"; 5% had no opinion.

Turns out, Nagin turned his nose up at the yellow buses, demanding more comfortable Greyhound coaches instead.

"I need 500 buses, man," he told WWL. "One of the briefings we had they were talking about getting, you know, public school bus drivers to come down here and bus people out of here."

Nagin described his response:

"I'm like - you've got to be kidding me. This is a natural disaster. Get every doggone Greyhound bus line in the country and get their asses moving to New Orleans."

While Nagin was waiting for his Greyhound fleet, Katrina's floodwaters swamped his school buses, rendering them unusable.

Louisiana disaster plan, pg 13, para 5 , dated 01/00

'The primary means of hurricane evacuation will be personal vehicles. School and municipal buses, government-owned vehicles and vehicles provided by volunteer agencies may be used to provide transportation for individuals who lack transportation and require assistance in evacuating'...

Storms Vary With Cycles, Experts Say 

Because hurricanes form over warm ocean water, it is easy to assume that the recent rise in their number and ferocity is because of global warming.

But that is not the case, scientists say. Instead, the severity of hurricane seasons changes with cycles of temperatures of several decades in the Atlantic Ocean. The recent onslaught "is very much natural," said William M. Gray, a professor of atmospheric science at Colorado State University who issues forecasts for the hurricane season.

From 1970 to 1994, the Atlantic was relatively quiet, with no more than three major hurricanes in any year and none at all in three of those years. Cooler water in the North Atlantic strengthened wind shear, which tends to tear storms apart before they turn into hurricanes.

In 1995, hurricane patterns reverted to the active mode of the 1950's and 60's. From 1995 to 2003, 32 major hurricanes, with sustained winds of 111 miles per hour or greater, stormed across the Atlantic. It was chance, Dr. Gray said, that only three of them struck the United States at full strength.

Historically, the rate has been 1 in 3.

Then last year, three major hurricanes, half of the six that formed during the season, hit the United States. A fourth, Frances, weakened before striking Florida.

"We were very lucky in that eight-year period, and the luck just ran out," Dr. Gray said.

Global warming may eventually intensify hurricanes somewhat, though different climate models disagree.

In an article this month in the journal Nature, Kerry A. Emanuel, a hurricane expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, wrote that global warming might have already had some effect. The total power dissipated by tropical cyclones in the North Atlantic and North Pacific increased 70 to 80 percent in the last 30 years, he wrote.

But even that seemingly large jump is not what has been pushing the hurricanes of the last two years, Dr. Emanuel said, adding, "What we see in the Atlantic is mostly the natural swing."

 

Race was a factor in the death toll from Hurricane Katrina, Howard Dean told members of the National Baptist Convention of America on Wednesday at the group's annual meeting.

Dean, chairman of the Democratic party, made the comments to the Baptists' Political and Social Justice Commission. The Baptist Convention, with an estimated 3.5 million members, is one of the largest black religious groups in the country.

"We must ... come to terms with the ugly truth that skin color, age and economics played a deadly role in who survived and who did not," Dean said.

WASHINGTON -- A new Democratic effort to whip up indignation about the Bush administration's handling of Hurricane Katrina also tried to raise money for Democratic candidates.

Sen. Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat and the head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, issued an appeal Thursday urging people to sign an online petition to fire the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency over his handling of the Katrina response.

After an inquiry from the Associated Press, the DSCC quickly pulled down the page and said they would donate to charity any money raised by the anti-FEMA petition.

When recipients clicked on a link to the petition, the top center of the screen _ above the call to "Fire the FEMA director" _ had asked for a donation to the DSCC.

Other DSCC Web pages have the same appeal for contributions, but several do not.

Since Katrina, Democrats have charged Republicans badly botched the response, and some have called for the firing of FEMA chief Michael Brown.

In recent days, Republicans hit back by accusing Democrats of trying to use the human tragedy for political gain. The letter, the GOP said Thursday, was proof.

"It's a disgrace to exploit Hurricane Katrina to raise political funds," said Brian Nick, spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Economy looks strong going into 2nd half

 The economy is holding up well despite high energy prices. Economic activity expanded at an energetic 3.4 percent clip in the second quarter as consumers and businesses showed they were still in the mood to spend.

The latest snapshot, released by the Commerce Department on Friday, offered fresh evidence that the economy had recuperated after a brief slip in the early spring and possesses good momentum heading into the second half of the year.

The Labor Department said employers added 207,000 workers to their payrolls in July, compared with a revised 166,000 a month earlier. Economists expected 180,000 new jobs, based on the median of 73 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey.
 

207,000 Jobs Were Created In July, Making This The 26th Straight Month Of Job Growth. (Bureau Of Labor Statistics Website, www.bls.gov, Accessed 8/5/05)

  • More Than 1.3 Million Jobs Have Been Created In 2005. (Bureau Of Labor Statistics Website, www.bls.gov, Accessed 8/5/05)
  • More Than 2.2 Million Jobs Have Been Created Since July 2004. (Bureau Of Labor Statistics Website, www.bls.gov, Accessed 8/5/05)

Bush says tax cuts responsible for growing economy 

"The tax relief stimulated economic vitality and growth and it has helped increase revenues to the Treasury," Bush said, adding later, "We need to make the tax relief permanent."

What's amazing about this story as it's reported on the CNN website is they included talk about the Iraq war. What exactly does the war have to do with a story about positive economic growth? It's just another example of how the media just can't allow themselves to publish something positive about this president... when there is good news they have to add something else as an attack to attempt to weaken the good news they are reporting.  

 
"I support trade agreements when, on balance, they encourage job growth and market expansion that will benefit our local economy," Bean said in a statement released last Friday. "While not perfect, CAFTA is designed to provide such benefits, and I will vote for it for that reason."

Bean also said that expanded markets for companies in her district -- including Boeing, Kraft and Motorola -- outweighed opponents' concerns that the agreement did not adequately protect the environment and workers' rights.

CAFTA swing vote presses for US-China textile deal 

A North Carolina Republican who played a pivotal role in helping the White House narrowly win approval of a free-trade pact with Central America pressed U.S. trade officials on Friday for an agreement that would restrict textile and clothing imports from China through 2008.

"The agreement must cover products where (U.S. decisions on China import curbs) are pending or have been accepted in the past, but more importantly, where China is having a disruptive impact on our domestic market," Rep. Robin Hayes said in a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman.

Hayes switched sides during a vote on the U.S.-Central American Free Trade Agreement, or CAFTA, to help the White House eke out a 217-215 victory early on Thursday.

He said afterward he agreed to vote for the pact only after receiving Bush administration assurances on certain textile issues, including "assurances of renewed efforts to crack down on the main adversary to our domestic industry -- China."

The commission estimated that after full phase-in of the agreement, U.S. exports of textiles and clothing to the six countries will increase by $802.8 million. Machinery exports will rise by $400.6 million. Auto shipments will go up by $180.4 million. Sales of wheat and other grains will climb by $157.3 million.

Total U.S. exports to the CAFTA nations will rise by $2.7 billion, or 14.8 percent, according to the study.

 "We think it's going to be a very good thing for us," Port of Pascagoula Director Mark McAndrews told The Mississippi Press newspaper.

"About 20 percent of the cargo we handle goes to CAFTA countries, particularly the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica. We're looking at a 15 to 20 percent increase this year in the 120,000 tons that we shipped in 2004," he said.

 

We’re talking, after all, about an agreement that would open Central America and the Dominican Republic to U.S. goods and ser­vices, make investing in America more attractive, and support better, higher-paying U.S. jobs. The Senate has approved it. Who could object?

Wilson explains last-minute vote switch 

The Springdale Republican’s switch infuriated sectors of the textile industry that had fought to defeat CAFTA. Wilson on Thursday said he concluded — as two other conservative S.C. Republicans had, publicly, days before — that side agreements to the treaty would protect S.C. textile jobs.

Pro: Tuscarora Yarns Inc., headquartered in Mount Pleasant

As he spoke to Rep. Robin Hayes on Wednesday, Peter Hegarty, president of Tuscarora Yarns, was afraid his congressman wouldn't vote for CAFTA.

Tuscarora is a yarn-spinning company with 400 workers among its Mount Pleasant, Oakboro and China Grove mills in Hayes' 8th District. A privately held company with about $40 million in annual sales, Tuscarora already exports about 25 percent of its specialized yarn to Central American countries. Shipping yarn to its customers' apparel factories in the CAFTA region allows the companies to turn around their garments more quickly than if they bought them in Asia.

This was part of the argument he was making to Hayes after the Republican from Concord told him he wasn't sure he'd support CAFTA. Hegarty called as an independent voice; he said he probably voted GOP last election, but isn't a political contributor.

As Hegarty drove to work Thursday morning, he was elated when he heard the House had narrowly approved CAFTA and that Hayes had changed his mind.

Like many Carolinas companies, Tuscarora's No. 1 rival is China. With CAFTA, Hegarty thinks he'll be able to ship 20 percent more yarn to the region.

Tuscarora's yarn goes into up-market garments for brands such as Nike and Polo Ralph Lauren, and retailers such as Kohl's Corp. Hegarty says he bids against China for yarn contracts and often loses.

Besides benefiting from CAFTA-region trade, Tuscarora is buying the latest equipment and has developed products woven from bamboo fiber and camel hair, he said. A quarter of its business comes from making yarn for industrial uses, such as a product for outdoor furnishing that resists fading in sunlight.

Hegarty said he expects to continue growing his export and domestic business. "The only negative about CAFTA is the fact that it rhymes with NAFTA," Hegarty said.

"I think what's going on in Guantanamo Bay and other places is a disgrace to the U.S.A.," he told a news conference at the Baptist World Alliance's centenary conference in Birmingham, England. "I wouldn't say it's the cause of terrorism, but it has given impetus and excuses to potential terrorists to lash out at our country and justify their despicable acts." Uh, Jimmy, I don't know if you've been smokin' wacky weed with your buddy Willie (again), but you just said Gitmo is the cause of terrorism even if you deny it at the same time.

"Of course, the war coverage is slanted: The adage "If it bleeds it leads" doesn't halt at the Iraqi border. That's why when two small shells land in a barren section of city the size of Boston, CNN.com blares "Blasts rock Baghdad near coalition headquarters," whereas completing an electrification program or water main gets not a column inch. "
 
"There have been a fair number of pixels devoted to the discussion over St. Paul Pioneer Press editorialist Mark Yost’s criticism of media coverage of the Iraq war. Yost wrote:

I know the reporting’s bad because I know people in Iraq. A Marine colonel buddy just finished a stint overseeing the power grid. When’s the last time you read a story about the progress being made on the power grid? Or the new desalination plant that just came on-line, or the school that just opened, or the Iraqi policeman who died doing something heroic? No, to judge by the dispatches, all the Iraqis do is stand outside markets and government buildings waiting to be blown up.

I also get unfiltered news from Iraq through an e-mail network of military friends who aren’t so blinded by their own politics that they can’t see the real good we’re doing there. More important, they can see beyond their own navel and see the real good we’re doing to promote peace and prosperity in the world. What makes this all the more ironic is the fact that the people who are fighting and dying want to stay and the people who are merely observers want to cut and run….

Instead, we get Monday’s front-page story about a “secret” memo about “emerging U.S. plans” to withdraw troops next year. Why isn’t the focus of the story the fact that 14 of 18 Iraqi provinces are stable and the four that aren’t are primarily home to the genocidal gang of thugs who terrorized that country for 30 years?"

Three held in London, Rome after man arrested earlier this week in U.K. attacks

London Attacked Again

A

July 21: Police activity around the Hammersmith and City Underground Station at Shepherd's Bush in London. 

"He embodies the qualities America expects in a justice on its highest court: someone who is fair, intelligent, impartial and committed to faithfully interpreting the Constitution and the law," Frist said.

'We Will Not Yield'
Bush addresses London transit attacks in speech, delivers progress report on War on Terror

More than two-thirds of the news stories on ABC, NBC and CBS covering the first 100 days of Mr. Bush's second term were negative, according to an analysis released today by the District-based Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA).
    It's actually a slight improvement: During the first 100 days of his initial term in office, the coverage was 71 percent negative, according to a similar CMPA study conducted in 2001.
    In comparison, President Clinton's first-term news coverage was 59 percent negative in 1993.
    The three networks also seem to be boycotting Mr. Bush this time around. He rated 619 stories during the study period in 2001-- but just 250 stories this year, the study found.
Liberal media bias... you decide.

Supreme Court Nomination:

58% Say Senate Dems Should Confirm Qualified Conservative 

If President Bush nominates a qualified conservative to replace Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supreme Court, 58% of Likely Voters say that Senate Democrats should vote to confirm that nominee.

A Rasmussen Reports survey found that just 24% believe that Harry Reid's party should oppose a qualified conservative nominee. More...

 

Bush Job Approval at 51%

Britons wait for word on suspects


Londoners packed churches across the capital yesterday to mourn the victims of last week's terror attacks, as religious leaders sought to prevent retaliation against Muslims.

The London Aftermath: Photos 

Police officers cordon off the site in Euston, London, where a bomb exploded onboard a bus. 
Police officers cordon off the site in Euston, London, where a bomb exploded onboard a bus.  (AFP/Getty Images)

"Iraq was a war of choice, not a war of necessity,'' she said. "We have no idea, none, how long the administration plans to be in Iraq,'' she said. "When we see this next generation coming along ... we owe them everything that we have in us to leave them a better world,'' Boxer said.
 
Making Iraq a democracy and defeating terrorists is leaving the next generation a better world Senator Boxer!

Never Forget!
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Hillary Meter: 45% Liberal

The latest edition of the Hillary Meter finds that the number of Americans who say they will definitely vote against Senator Hillary Clinton has increased to 39%. More...

 

He also said Iraqis must be reassured that "America will not leave before the job is done."

(AP) Karl Rove, President Bush's top political adviser, addresses an audience of Republican supporters...
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Bush to address Americans from Fort Bragg
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush will deliver a major address to U.S. troops and the nation about Iraq on Tuesday night from the U.S. military base at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, the White House said.

"This is a critical moment in Iraq," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said on Friday in announcing the speech. "This is a real time of testing."

McClellan said the speech would be delivered at 8 p.m., and that the White House has asked U.S. television networks to air the address live.

Bush is expected to use the prime time speech to outline his strategy in Iraq amid increasing public doubts about the war.

McClellan said Bush will be "very specific about the way forward in Iraq."

McClellan said Americans have been "seeing disturbing images" of bloodshed in Iraq, but that the president was "confident that the American people understand the importance of succeeding in Iraq."

Cheney Says Downing Street Memo Is Wrong
Fri Jun 24 2005 09:43:30 ET

Vice President Dick Cheney was asked on CNN about the 'Downing Street memo' which said the Bush Administration had decided to go to war with Iraq and the intelligence would be fixed around that policy.

Asked if he disputes the memo's claim, Cheney said, "Of course. The memo was written sometime prior to when we actually got involved in Iraq.

"And remember what happened after the supposed memo was written. We went to the United Nations. We got a unanimous vote out of the Security Council for a resolution calling on Saddam Hussein to come clean and comply with the UN Security Council resolution. We did everything we could to resolve this without having to use military force. We gave him one last chance even, and asked him to step down before we launched military operations.

"The memo is just wrong. In fact, the president of the United States took advantage of every possibility to try to resolve this without having to use military force. It wasn't possible in this case. I am convinced we did absolutely the right thing. I am convinced that history will bear that out."


WASHINGTON - Defending the treatment of prisoners at the U.S. jail in Guantanamo Bay, Vice President Dick Cheney said they are well treated, well fed and "living in the tropics."
President Bush called Amnesty's report "absurd" and last week and publicly challenged reporters to go to Guantanamo and see for themselves that detainees were being treated humanely there.
"They're very well treated down there. They're living in the tropics. They're well fed. They've got everything they could possibly want," Cheney said in a CNN interview. "There isn't any other nation in the world that would treat people who were determined to kill Americans the way we're treating these people."

What Could Be Worse Than Gitmo?
By George H. Wittman
One wonders what Durbin and the folks at Amnesty International would say if their little darlings had been forced to stand at attention in 100-degree heat for two or more hours at Fort Jackson or Camp Lejeune in full combat gear, with 60 pounds of ammo and equipment, waiting for a general inspection. "What time did you get up, soldier?" the inspecting officer invariably asks the first trooper in line. The answer is always the same. "Reveille, sir." As long as you said that, you didn't have to admit you and your buddies had been up for 36 hours straight "G I-ing" the barracks, the company street, your weapons and everything that moved or stood in the area.

20% Say Gitmo Prisoners

Treated Unfairly

A Rasmussen Reports survey found that 20% of Americans believe prisoners at Guantanamo Bay have been treated unfairly. Seven-out-of-ten adults believe the prisoners are being treated "better than they deserve" (36%) or "about right" (34%).

The survey also found that just 14% agree with those who say that prisoner treatment at Guantanamo Bay is similar to Nazi tactics. Sixty-nine percent disagree with that comparison. This helps explain why Illinois Senator Dick Durbin apologized for making such a comparison. More...

 

Widely distributed reports of Newsweek's assertion were followed by rioting in parts of the Muslim world that left at least 17 people dead. "Do you now believe that people died because of this erroneous report?" Mr. DiRita was asked.
"I do," he replied. "I absolutely do."
 

I just want to point out one thing about this NewsWeek issue and subsequent rioting in the muslim world on it's behalf. The fallcious NewsWeek story did contribute to the hysteria that caused the 17 deaths, but are not directly responsible for them.
Muslims who are already anti-American used the occasion to justify their anti-American protests. NewsWeek messed up because they were so intent on denigrading the military and the Bush Administration that they never considered that their words would be used against them by Muslims who are constantly looking for reasons to attack America.
The story was an 'attack America for free' card in the Muslim world. All the elitist media in this country needs to do is TELL THE UNBIASED TRUTH and this would have never happened. Period.

FLASH: FOXNEWS CHANNEL LEADS CABLE BUSH PRESS CONFERENCE

IN TOTAL VIEWERS
FNC -- 2,722,000 (final)
CNN -- 896,000 (final)
MSNBC -- 569,000 (final)

Keeping It Personal
The GOP won’t drop individual accounts for Social Security.
By Senator Rick Santorum
 
 
 Pigskin, Politics, and the President
The Bush approach to Social Security reform is tactically quite inspired

By Brit Hume

The filibuster (search), once decried by Democratic liberals as the anti-Democratic tool of racist politicians to block progress on civil rights, has now become their sacred cause. And former presidential candidate John Kerry (search) has emerged as one of its leaders. In a new e-mail to supporters, Kerry slams proposed changes to Senate rules, insisting, "The Republican drive to silence our voices in Washington is in high gear ... Making President Bush's judicial nominations immune to a Senate filibuster is the next step in the GOP's arrogant, out-of-control grab for power."

This as Democrats begin to plan events across the country, and buy ad space in TV, radio, and national newspapers. What's more: According to Roll Call newspaper, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid has hired Kerry's former campaign spokeswoman, Stephanie Cutter, to oversee the new effort.

 
 

Questions for the AARP
Rich Lowry

Crisis Mode
A fair and constitutional option to beat the filibuster game.
By Senator Orrin G. Hatch

Brain Dead Conservatives Get Out The Vote: The unteachable ignorance of the red states.

The Liberal religion...Politics!

The first 'Right-Wing' film festival in Texas.

Press Voted for Kerry 2-to-1 over Bush 

"60 percent of the public believe the media are biased in reporting the news." Hello, NewsWeek...CBS...and all the rest of the elitist media!

Democrats on Solving Social Security: Let's Not Save Social Security
Once it's fixed, we can't fix it again!
6. Indeed, the Democrats' solvency plans are grimmer than you'd think: "Democrats charge that Bush's proposed benefit cuts are vicious, and that they don't fix Social Security's solvency problem. But if even vicious cuts don't fix the problem, doesn't that mean the problem is a bit bigger than the Dems have been letting on? I believed Social Security wasn't in much trouble at all--just needed a few "tweaks"--until I looked at the tweaks the Two Peters were proposing. In addition to the benefit cuts outline above, Diamond and Orszag have the current 12.4 percent Social Security payroll tax rising to 15.4 percent in 2078 and continuing to rise "slowly over time thereafter." Even if the Medicare tax is kept at its current 2.9 percent (a seeming impossibility) that means total FICA  payroll taxes in excess of 18%. You want to try to finance universal health care on top of that? I don't."

From

From The Media Research Center 

Twisting Ken Starr’s Words

CBS’s Gloria Borger: “Just who gets to sit on the Supreme Court? And should we appoint Justices who want to rule on everything from abortion to gay marriage to civil rights? That’s why many conservatives consider the fight over judges their political Armageddon. But conservative icon and former federal Judge Ken Starr says it’s gotten out of control.”
Ken Starr, to Borger: “This is a radical, radical departure from our history and from our traditions, and it amounts to an assault on the judicial branch of government.”
Borger: “Starr, who investigated the Monica Lewinsky case against President Clinton, tells CBS News that the Republican plan to end the filibuster may be unwise.”
Starr: “It may prove to have the kind of long-term boomerang effect, damage on the institution of the Senate that thoughtful Senators may come to regret.”
CBS Evening News, May 9.


“Kenneth Starr — an appeals court judge on the D.C. circuit from 1983-1989 — came out against the Republican plan to ban judicial filibusters on Monday. He told CBS Evening News that it is a ‘radical, radical departure from our history and our traditions, and it amounts to an assault on the judicial branch of government.’”
— May 10 Associated Press dispatch by Jesse Holland.

vs.

“The ‘radical departure’ snippet was specifically addressed — although this is not evidenced whatever from the clip — to the practice of invoking judicial philosophy as a grounds for voting against a qualified nominee of integrity and experience....Our friends are way off base in assuming that the CBS snippets, as used, represent (a) my views, or (b) what I in fact said.”
— Ken Starr in an e-mail he sent to National Review writer Ramesh Ponnuru and posted May 12 on National Review’s “The Corner” Web log.

 

from Neal's Nuze

"A study released Sunday by the Project for Excellence in Journalism, an outfit respected by the mainstream media, determined that across broadcast network newscasts, the cable news networks and major newspapers, "campaign coverage that focused on Bush was three times as negative as coverage of Kerry (36% versus 12%). It was also less likely to be positive (20% positive Bush stories, 30% for Kerry)."

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Watch Laura Bush's
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Webmercial..Just click

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Saddam Hussein Captured

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"And I have met with parents and wives and husbands who have received a folded flag, and said a final goodbye to a soldier they loved. I am awed that so many have used those meetings to say that I am in their prayers to offer encouragement to me. Where does strength like that come from? How can people so burdened with sorrow also feel such pride? It is because they know their loved one was last seen doing good. Because they know that liberty was precious to the one they lost. And in those military families, I have seen the character of a great nation: decent, and idealistic, and strong." -- George Bush

President Bush and US Senate
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hopeful Richard Burr in Raleigh

 

CBS's Dan Rather will interview Ben Barnes on '60 Minutes' about how he supposedly got President Bush into the Air National Guard...And this is a story because? Well, of course, it's because the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth has done an overwhelming job discrediting John Kerry that Kerry and his Media saviors have decided they only have one option and that's to rehash the same tired 'Bush was AWOL' tirade.

But wait! The media claims the Swift Boat group is illegal because they are connected to President Bush..so why is CBS promoting John Kerry's 3rd largest contributor? Mr. Barnes is also listed as a Vice Chair of the Kerry campaign on the John Kerry campaign website. Can you say...conflict of interest?

The liberal media is imploding people...right before our very eyes!

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Joe Wilson's cover has been blown

Vet: Officers told Kerry to leave Vietnam

Bush pauses to comfort teen
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Kerry Purple Heart Doc Speaks Out

Kerry Was a 'Loose Cannon' While in Vietnam, Says Ex-Commander

Copyright 2016 Lee P Butler. All Rights Reserved.