Archive for July 16th, 2007

July 16, 2007

GOP senator to Rove: Bush legacy on the line in Iraq

WASHINGTON (CNN) — A Republican senator says he warned top White House aide Karl Rove that President Bush quickly needs to craft a workable plan to withdraw U.S. troops fom Iraq in order to salvage his legacy.

White House spokesman Tony Snow insisted last week that Bush’s GOP allies in Congress are not breaking with Bush over the war. But Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, told CNN that he warned Rove last week that “The president is a young man and should think about his legacy.”

He should know history will not be kind unless he can come up with a plan that protects the troops and stabilizes the region,” Voinovich said he told Karl Rove, whom Bush dubbed “the architect” of his 2004 re-election.

Voinovich added that other Republicans are close to speaking out against the President’s current strategy.

“I won’t mention anyone’s name. But I have every reason to believe that the fur is going to start to fly, perhaps sooner than what they may have wanted.”

In private, Voinovich is more blunt, using a profanity to describe the White House’s handling of Iraq by charging the administration “f—ed up” the war.

Voinovich stressed he expressed his views to Rove as a positive “opportunity” for the president to come together with Democrats and Republicans on an exit strategy that will be good for the country.

A White House spokeswoman confirmed to CNN that Rove, who speaks with Voinovich frequently, had the phone conversation with the senator last week and they did discuss the President’s legacy. But the spokeswoman declined to provide further details, citing Rove’s desire to keep phone conversations with senators private.

“I got into this to get them to move, and they’re moving,” said Voinovich, who is pushing for the president to put together a workable plan for withdrawing U.S. troops that will be ready in time for a September progress report on the military surge from Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq.

“I really think that they understand,” said Voinovich. “We’ll see by September what they put together. But the main thing is were running out of time — we should take advantage of this time.”

And while Voinovich is giving the White House some breathing space until September to receive the progress report from Gen. Petraeus, the senator is privately warning if there’s not a dramatic new strategy ready to be unveiled in the fall, he will endorse a Democratic plan mandating a timeline for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq within 120 days.

In June, Voinovich urged Bush to take a new tack in Iraq — one he dubbed “Plan E,” for exit. Voinovich called for a decrease in U.S. military engagement, coupled with a “surge” in diplomatic engagement.

His break with the White House came one day after another senior Republican, Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, delivered a dramatic Senate floor speech declaring the president’s current strategy was not working.

Since then, Voinovich said he has spoken to both Rove and National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley and is expressing some satisfaction that in the short term, the White House has heard his concerns.

– CNN’s Ed Henry and Dana Bash

 

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From The Existentialist Cowboy:

The headline I had written was straight news stuff: House Dems Approve Iraq Pullout. The second headline was closer to reality: GOP Plan to Shuck the Iraq Tar Baby Before Elections is Pure Politics. Neither tell the whole story: Bush cannot stay in Iraq, nor can he pull out.

It’s too long for me to post – read it all here 

by Larisa Alexandrovna

A good investigative journalist, if needed, can hide aboard a cruise full of white supremacists and manage not only to escape without punching someone and thereby blowing their cover, but also get out with one hell of a story. That is exactly what Johann Hari did when he joined the National Review cruise and their motley of hate. The result is breathtaking and incredibly frightening. One has to wonder how Jewish travlers aboard this hate vessel did not recognize the rhetoric and make way directly to the nearest inflatable device.

From the masterful Hari article, I give you The Ship of Fools: (read the report at this link)

Read the blog for clips

What a fabulous read!!!  Here’s from the July 14 entry:

Okay, so Democratic Senate candidate Mikal Watts figured I wasn’t using my freedom of choice anyway, so he’d solicited me for an endorsement.  I got the letter today.

I’ve read it twice.  The second time I read it out loud just so I wouldn’t miss anything.
It seems to me that he’s trying to say two things:
1. He is for what is good and against what is bad.
2. He has a lot of rich friends.
No, seriously, that’s about it.  He “will demand change in Iraq.”  Well, boy howdy, that statement takes about the same courage as showering nakkid.  I think the latest polls show that 17% of Americans think we should continue to get out butts handed to us on a platter in Iraq.

Read the rest here

Say “When.”

Because of the posts we’ve made detailing the rantings of Chertoff, Santorum, and Milligan, it has been suggested that we think the United States is not in danger of another 9/11-style event.  Quite the contrary – we think there is every indication that something is in the works.  We just want to make certain that you understand where the threat is actually coming from and why.

Please keep an eye on the poll numbers, the continuing desertion of Republican Senators and Congress-persons, and an escalation of claims of increased al Qaeda activity.  Make note of whether there appears to be a correlation between them.

Don’t allow yourselves to be swept up in the fear – but be aware of what is happening.  We are thinking the line this administration is looking for is “See…we told you.”

Say “When.”

FIB FACTORY RUNNING FULL TILT

White House tells some whoppers in bid to depict wars as battles against al-Qaida

Eric Margolis – the Toronto Sun

The latest whoppers from the White House’s fib factory came this week as President George W. Bush (A) claimed U.S. forces in Iraq are fighting “the same people” who staged 9/11, and, (B) withdrawing U.S. forces means “surrendering Iraq to al-Qaida.”

These absurd assertions mark the latest steps in the administration’s evolving efforts to depict the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as battles against al-Qaida.

When marketers want to change the name of an existing product, they first place a new name in small type below the existing one. They gradually shrink the old name, and enlarge the new one until the original name vanishes.

That’s what’s been happening in Iraq. When the U.S. invaded, Iraqis who resisted were branded “Saddam loyalists, die-hard Ba’athists, or dead-enders.” Next, the Pentagon and U.S. media called them “terrorists.” Then, a tiny, previously unknown Iraqi group appropriated the name, “al-Qaida in Mesopotamia.”

This was such a convenient gift to the Bush administration, cynics suspected a false-flag operation created by CIA and Britain’s wily MI6. Soon after, the White House and Pentagon began calling all Iraq’s 22-plus resistance groups, “al-Qaida.”

The U.S. media eagerly joined this deception, even though 95% of Iraq’s resistance groups had nothing to do with Osama bin Laden’s movement. Watch any U.S. network TV news report on Iraq and you will inevitably hear reporters parroting Pentagon handouts about U.S. forces “launching a new offensive against al-Qaida.”

Al-Qaida in Iraq didn’t even exist before 9/11, but that didn’t stop the president from trying to gull credulous voters. Polls show that in spite of a mountain of evidence to the contrary, White House disinformation strategy has worked. Today, an amazing 60% of Americans still believe Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11.

FAUX WAR

This faux war is now costing a mind-boggling $12 billion US monthly, reports the non-partisan Congressional Research Service. The Bush administration has spent $610 billion since 2001 on its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, making them the second most expensive conflict in U.S. history after the Second World War.

This week, U.S. Homeland Security czar Michael Chertoff allowed he had a “gut feel” that an al-Qaida attack was imminent this summer. The 16 U.S. intelligence agencies spend $40 billion annually, with another $15-20 billion in their hidden “black budgets.” Homeland Security spends $44.6 billion.

After these gargantuan expenditures, the best intelligence czar Chertoff can come up with is “gut feel?”

One suspects Chertoff’s worried innards and leaks that al-Qaida has returned to full strength have far more to do with the growing Republican Party revolt against the president’s Iraq war than nebulous threats from Osama bin Laden’s loud but tiny group.

Polls show the only area where Republicans still command popular support is the “war on terror.”

SCARE TACTIC

So Bush/Cheney & Co are trying to use al-Qaida to scare Americans to vote Republican, just as they did prior to 2004 elections. It worked well last time and got Bush re-elected.

But Americans are increasingly leery of the White House’s crying wolf.

Many are also asking how Bush could claim “steady progress” was being made in his wars while U.S. intelligence was reporting al-Qaida movement is back to pre-2001 strength and Iraq is a bloody mess.

After six years of conflict, 3,600 dead and 25,000 wounded American soldiers, expenditure of $610 billion, tens of thousands of dead Iraqis and Afghans, collapse of Mideast peace efforts, and a Muslim World enraged against the U.S., nothing positive seems to have been accomplished.

As the White House ponders an attack on Iran, recall the famed words of King Pyrrhus of Epirus, “one more such victory and we are ruined.”

Say “When.”

July 15th, 2007 11:12 pm
Hospital group rejects system and cashes in

A Southland doctor’s company prospers by canceling insurance contracts and, some say, shortchanging patients.

By Daniel Costello / Los Angeles Times

As he piloted his new, $1.4-million helicopter from his Apple Valley home to Orange County one recent morning, Dr. Prem Reddy enjoyed a cloudless view of his growing empire.

Today, the five-seat Eurocopter EC120 whisks him to Anaheim, where he recently agreed to buy two hospitals. On other days, he sweeps over endless miles of gridlock to his facilities in Sherman Oaks, Huntington Beach and San Diego.

The 58-year-old cardiologist has scooped up six of his eight hospitals in the last two years and could take over as many as six more in the coming months.

The buying spree is making his company one of the largest hospital owners in the state, placing it in a position to challenge industry leaders including Kaiser Permanente and Catholic Healthcare West.

“There’s a lot of sacrifice in a doctor’s life,” Reddy said, over the whir of the chopper’s blades. “But there are many rewards.”

Read the rest – you won’t believe your eyes!

Say “When.”

Saturday, July 14th, 2007

Dear CNN,

Well, the week is over — and still no apology, no retraction, no correction of your glaring mistakes.

I bet you thought my dust-up with Wolf Blitzer was just a cool ratings coup, that you really wouldn’t have to correct the false statements you made about “Sicko.” I bet you thought I was just going to go quietly away.

Think again. I’m about to become your worst nightmare. ‘Cause I ain’t ever going away. Not until you set the record straight, and apologize to your viewers. “The Most Trusted Name in News?” I think it’s safe to say you can retire that slogan.

You have an occasional segment called “Keeping Them Honest.” But who keeps you honest? After what the public saw with your report on “Sicko,” and how many inaccuracies that report contained, how can anyone believe anything you say on your network? In the old days, before the Internet, you could get away with it. Your victims had no way to set the record straight, to show the viewers how you had misrepresented the truth. But now, we can post the truth — and back it up with evidence and facts — on the web, for all to see. And boy, judging from the mail both you and I have been receiving, the evidence I have posted on my site about your “Sicko” piece has led millions now to question your honesty.

I won’t waste your time rehashing your errors. You know what they are. What I want to do is help you come clean. Admit you were wrong. What is the shame in that? We all make mistakes. I know it’s hard to admit it when you’ve screwed up, but it’s also liberating and cathartic. It not only makes you a better person, it helps prevent you from screwing up again. Imagine how many people will be drawn to a network that says, “We made a mistake. We’re human. We’re sorry. We will make mistakes in the future — but we will always correct them so that you know you can trust us.” Now, how hard would that really be?

As you know, I hold no personal animosity against you or any of your staff. You and your parent company have been very good to me over the years. You distributed my first film, “Roger & Me” and you published “Dude, Where’s My Country?” Larry King has had me on twice in the last two weeks. I couldn’t ask for better treatment.

That’s why I was so stunned when you let a doctor who knows a lot about brain surgery — but apparently very little about public policy — do a “fact check” story, not on the medical issues in “Sicko,” but rather on the economic and political information in the film. Is this why there has been a delay in your apology, because you are trying to get a DOCTOR to say he was wrong? Please tell him not to worry, no one is filing a malpractice claim against him. Dr. Gupta does excellent and compassionate stories on CNN about people’s health and how we can take better care of ourselves. But when it came time to discuss universal health care, he rushed together a bunch of sloppy — and old — research. When his producer called us about his report the day before it aired, we sent to her, in an email, all the evidence so that he wouldn’t make any mistakes on air. He chose to ignore ALL the evidence, and ran with all his falsehoods — even though he had been given the facts a full day before! How could that happen? And now, for 5 days, I have posted on my website, for all to see, every mistake and error he made.

You, on the other hand, in the face of this overwhelming evidence and a huge public backlash, have chosen to remain silent, probably praying and hoping this will all go away.

Well it isn’t. We are now going to start looking into the veracity of other reports you have aired on other topics. Nothing you say now can be believed. In 2002, the New York Times busted you for bringing celebrities on your shows and not telling your viewers they were paid spokespeople for the pharmaceutical companies. You promised never to do it again. But there you were, in 2005, talking to Joe Theismann, on air, as he pushed some drug company-sponsored website on prostate health. You said nothing about about his affiliation with GlaxoSmithKline.

Clearly, no one is keeping you honest, so I guess I’m going to have to do that job, too. $1.5 billion is spent each year by the drug companies on ads on CNN and the other four networks. I’m sure that has nothing to do with any of this. After all, if someone gave me $1.5 billion, I have to admit, I might say a kind word or two about them. Who wouldn’t?!

I expect CNN to put this matter to rest. Say you’re sorry and correct your story — like any good journalist would.

Then we can get back to more important things. Like a REAL discussion about our broken health care system. Everything else is a distraction from what really matters.

Yours,
Michael Moore
mmflint@aol.com
www.michaelmoore.com

P.S. If you also want to apologize for not doing your job at the start of the Iraq War, I’m sure most Americans would be very happy to accept your apology. You and the other networks were willing partners with Bush, flying flags all over the TV screens and never asking the hard questions that you should have asked. You might have prevented a war. You might have saved the lives of those 3,610 soldiers who are no longer with us. Instead, you blew air kisses at a commander in chief who clearly was making it all up. Millions of us knew that — why didn’t you? I think you did. And, in my opinion, that makes you responsible for this war. Instead of doing the job the founding fathers wanted you to do — keeping those in power honest (that’s why they made it the FIRST amendment) — you and much of the media went on the attack against the few public figures like myself who dared to question the nightmare we were about to enter. You’ve never thanked me or the Dixie Chicks or Al Gore for doing your job for you. That’s OK. Just tell the truth from this point on.

In case you haven’t seen Michael “chatting” with Wolf Blitzer – click here.

By Kim Ridley

One of the biggest myths about health care is that more is always better. Perhaps nowhere is this more evident than in the United States, which offers a cautionary tale for other countries seeking health care reform — including those in Europe looking across the Atlantic for inspiration. The American people spent nearly $2.1 trillion on health care in 2006 — more than was spent on food — yet Americans aren’t exceptionally healthy or long-lived as a result. They have shorter life expectancies than people in Western Europe, Canada and Japan and are no less hindered by disease than their counterparts in other developed countries.

Please read the rest of the article here.

Please also read what the San Francisco Chronicle has to say: We spend far more, but our health care is falling behind
Say “When.”