Thursday, January 18, 2007

Where's Cheney's Apology?

Does Dick Cheney owe anyone an apology? After The New York Times disclosed in late 2005 that the Bush administration was conducting a warrantless wiretapping program targeting Americans and others within the United States communicating with alleged terrorists overseas, Cheney viciously lashed out at critics of the program. These critics--which included some conservatives--argued not that surveilling such persons was wrong but that such spying had to be conducted within the confines of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which calls for secret court authorization for this sort of wiretapping. Nevertheless, Cheney defended the use of warrantless wiretaps and accused the detractors--who were raising legal and constitutional issues--of opposing the active pursuit of anti-American terrorists. He was suggesting that they were putting the country in danger. Here's a a sampling of his remarks:

* "The actions we've taken are totally appropriate and consistent with the Constitution authority of the President."

* "Watergate and a lot of the things around Watergate and Vietnam during the 1970s, served, I think, to erode the authority I think the president needs to be effective, especially in the national security area....Especially in the day and age we live in...the president of the United States needs to have his constitutional powers unimpaired, if you will, in terms of the conduct of national security policy."

* "The president and I believe very deeply that there is a hell of a threat....If there's a backlash pending, I think the backlash is going to be against those who are suggesting somehow we shouldn't take these steps in order to defend the country."

* "After 9/11, the 9/11 Commission that criticized everybody in the government because 'You couldn't connect the dots.' Now we're connecting the dots and they're still complaining. So seems to me you can't have it both ways. The fact of the matter is this [the domestic wiretap program] is a good solid program. It has saved thousands of lives. We're doing exactly the right thing. We're doing it in accordance with the Constitution and the laws of the United States. And it ought to be supported. This is not about violating civil liberties because we're not. This is about defending the country against further terrorist attacks. That's exactly what we're sworn to do."

Well, now what? The Bush administration on Thursday announced that it would give up its warrantless surveillance program and replace it with a similar effort that will be overseen by the secret FISA court--which is what critics wanted. There are still some questions whether there will be sufficient oversight of the program. But this is a retreat for the White House.

So will Cheney say he's sorry to the critics, whom he fiercely accused of undermining the programs needed for the defense of the nation? That's a rhetorical question. Yet once again the president-as-king partisans have lost a battle. Which makes this (another) bad week for the vice president.

Posted by David Corn at January 18, 2007 02:15 PM


kathleen said...

Saladin and others go back and read some of the articles that I posted. Israel seems to be cracking a bit.

Firedoglack blogging from the Libby Trial

Rory O'Connor is also blogging from the Libby trial

Micheal Moore wrote a very funny letter to Bush. At the last post

Talk of the Nation seems to be focusing on some odd topics, as the Bush administration and Israel inch towards a military strike in Iran. You would think that Neil Conan would want to inform people about Iran and the Iaea. How Un weapons inspectors Scott Ritter and David Kay along with Iaea El Baradei have said that there is no "hard evidence" to support the claims being repeated about Irans "alleged" nuclear weapons program

You might think Talk of the Nation would invite some of these people on his program. Or what about Flynt Leverett who has not been able to get coverage of his report about Irans nuclear program.

Is Neil Conan avoiding relevant and critical topics in the middle east.

Sure seems like it

kathleen said...

We will never get an apology. How about a resignation?

kathleen said...

sorry firedoglake is blogging from the Libby trial

Gerald said...

People, please do not wait for an apology from a Nazi. It's not going to happen.

Federal Workers Owe Billions in Unpaid Taxes
Mark Segraves
WTOP Radio

Wednesday 17 January 2007

Washington - As the 2006 tax season approaches, the federal government is still trying to recover nearly $3 billion from its own employees who failed to file income tax returns for 2005.

More than 450,000 active and retired federal employees did not voluntarily comply with federal income tax requirements for the 2005 tax year, according to documents obtained by WTOP through the Freedom of Information Act.

The total balance owed is $2,799,950,165.

The documents show that every federal agency has employees who failed to comply with federal tax laws.

Seventy-one employees in the Executive Office of the President, which includes the White House, owe $664,527 in taxes for 2005. About 20 of those employees have entered into an IRS payment plan, bringing the EOP balance down to $455,881owed by 50 employees.

The White House did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

In fact, about one third of the delinquent employees, or 149,500, entered into a payment plan, but the total owed is still more than $2 billion.

At the IRS, employees can be fired for failure to pay federal income taxes. But an IRS spokesperson tells WTOP it's no easier to collect from federal employees than it is to collect from the general public.

In the past, IRS officials have been quick to compare the federal workers' rate of compliance with the general public's. But this year, the IRS is not able to track the compliance rate for the general public. The percentage of federal employees who still owe back taxes for the 2005 year is 3.3 percent of the workforce including retirees.

The federal agency with the highest number of delinquent taxpayers is the United States Postal Service, where 56,652 employees owe more than $320 million. So far, about 22,000 of those employees have agreed to a payment plan.

A spokesperson for the Postal Service says the agency hopes all of its employees follow the law, but will leave enforcement to the IRS.

The agency with the best compliance rate is the Department of Treasury, which includes the IRS. Fewer than 2 percent of Treasury employees failed to pay their taxes. About 3,000 Treasury employees owed $13,489,683 -- 1,437 of those feds also have made payment plans.

The IRS tracks the compliance rate of federal employees each year in an effort to increase compliance. Agency directors are made aware of their department's compliance rate and then memos are sent to staff encouraging them to file their taxes.


Get a federal job to avoid paying taxes!!!!

Gerald said...

Incompetent Decisions

Gerald said...

Psychologically, President Bush has received support for so long because many have thought of him as "one of us." Most of us feel inadequate in some way, and watching him we can feel his inadequacies and sense his uncertainties, so we admire him for "pulling it off." His model tells us, "If you act like you're confident and competent, then you are." We are the culture that values the power of positive thinking and seeks assertiveness training. We believe that the right attitude can sometimes be more important than brains or hard work. He's bullied us, too. We don't dare to really confront the scale of his incompetent behavior, because then we would have to face what it means to have such an incompetent and psychologically disabled decision-maker as our president. It raises everyone's uncertainty. And that is, in fact, happening now.

Gerald said...

Snubbed Iranian Offer Kills and Maims Thousands of American Soldiers

Gerald said...

Give'em hell George (McGovern)

Gerald said...

Perhaps, Mr. President, you should ponder the words of a genuine conservative - England's nineteenth-century member of Parliament, Edmund Burke: "A conscientious man would be cautious how he dealt in blood".

Gerald said...

Failure Is Bush's Model

Gerald said...

Failure is not an option. Failure is the condition. Failure is what they’ve done. Failure is where we are. The question is what can we do about their failures.

Gerald said...

Can WW III Be Prevented?

David B. Benson said...

David Corn --- President-as-king?

Emmm, Peach!

Saladin said...

9/11, 9/11, 9/11, BLAH BLAH BLAH. Guess he hasn't seen the most recent polls, that sorry excuse isn't cutting it anymore. You're more likely to get a face full of shot then get an apology from that lunatic!

Saladin said...

"The safest road to Hell is the gradual one — the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts."

- C.S. Lewis

David B. Benson said...

Saladin --- That is a good quote. But also, it is paved with good intentions.

kathleen said...

Retired Generals Criticize Bush’s Plan for Iraq
Published: January 18, 2007
A panel of retired generals told a United States Senate committee today that sending 21,500 additional troops to Iraq will do little to solve the underlying political problems in the country.

Skip to next paragraph
The Reach of War
Go to Complete Coverage » “Too little and too late,” is the way Gen. Joseph P. Hoar, a former chief of the Central Command, described the effort to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The additional troops are intended to help pacify Baghdad and a restive province, but General Hoar said American leaders had failed to understand the political forces at work in the country. “The solution is political, not military,” he said.

“A fool’s errand,” was the judgment of Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, who commanded troops in the first Gulf War. He said other countries had concluded that the effort in Iraq was not succeeding, noting that “our allies are leaving us and will be gone by summer.”

Describing the situation in Iraq as “desperate but not terminal,” he said Iraqis had to try to make political deals domestically and negotiate for stability with neighboring nations, particularly Syria and Iran.

The American effort in Iraq has gone badly because the United States did not understand the consequences of deposing Saddam Hussein, said Lt. Gen. William E. Odom, a former director of the National Security Agency. He said the principal beneficiary of the war was Iran and Al Qaeda, not the United States.

“There is no way to win a war that is not in your interests,” he said.

In statements and in questioning, senators were skeptical about the increased commitment of troops and the likely outcome of the deployment. Senator Richard Lugar, a Republican from Indiana, noted that he had raised questions about the effort in Iraq as long ago as 2003, and said, “Today, I don’t have an understanding about how it will work militarily.”

One general warned that even a plan to start withdrawing American forces from the country carried the risk that the armed Iraqi population will step up the level of attacks. “We will be shot at as we are going out.” said Gen. Jack Keane, a former vice chief of staff of the Army.

kathleen said...

David do not hold your breath waiting for that apology..Cheney would just as soon as die! That is written all over his face!

Saladin, Israel is throwing out some bones, naming of the first Arab Minister to the Israeli cabinet, (@JTA) Israel releasing "some" Palestinian money. (@ Al Jazeera) There is a small windshift.

kathleen said...

@Wayne Madsen

January 18, 2007 -- Iranians did have links with Bin Ladens.

According to our confidential sources, Reza Cyrus Pahlavi, the deposed Shah's oldest son and claimant to the Iranian throne, lived in Houston after the ouster of his father in 1979 and during the early 1980s. Pahlavi reportedly worked out of the Houston offices of James Bath & Associates, the authorized agents for Salem Bin Laden and Bin Laden family interests in the United States. Salem Bin Laden was Osama Bin Laden's older brother. Salem died in a suspicious plane crash outside of San Antonio in 1988. James Bath was also George W. Bush's colleague in AWOL status in the Texas Air National Guard in the early 1970s.

Pahlavi enjoyed full U.S. Secret Service protection while working in the Bin Laden company-financed Houston offices.The Iranian royal pretender worked under cover as an aircraft salesman with James Bath & Associates. In reality, Pahlavi was working with CIA-backed Iranian monarchy supporters who were working to overthrow the Ayatollah Khomeini regime and restore him to the Peacock Throne in Tehran. In 1978, Pahlavi trained as a fighter pilot at Reese Air Force Base in Lubbock, Texas.

The Iran-Bin Laden link the neo-cons don't want you to know about: Son of Shah hung out at Bin Laden family agent's (and George W. Bush's buddy) office in early 1980s.

This arrangement was fully known to then-Vice President George H. W. Bush who had, in 1980, engaged in treasonous negotiations with the Iranian Revolutionary Government to ensure that the U.S. Embassy hostages were not released until after the 1980 presidential election. As Vice President, Bush, Sr. re-engaged the same Iranian interlocutors in swapping arms for U.S. hostages being held in Lebanon in what became known as the Iran-contra scandal.

Reza Pahlavi now lives in Potomac, Maryland and maintains a political exile organization with headquarters in Falls Church, Virginia. He has been tied to various neo-con activities designed to foment dissension among Iran's youth, including the U.S.-government-funded Radio Farda.

Saladin said...

Kathleen, I always read the blog where I left off. I saw all your good articles. The only thing I would disagree with was your comment about the right-wing's control of Israel, I really think the tables have been turned. Israel has been under immense pressure recently because of the slaughter in Lebanon and the genocide of the Palestinian people. I also think Carter has drawn some much needed attention to that hellish situation. They may show a crack here and there but they still have the upper hand on most of our reps, whether thru bribery, blackmail or whatever. Something is not right, but thank God for the internet, at least we have a clue!

kathleen said...

Robert Fisk: This jargon disease is choking language
In the military sex-speak of the Pentagon, Iraq would endure a 'spike' of violence
Published: 13 January 2007
I once received an invitation to lecture at "The University of Excellence". I forget where this particular academy was located - Jordan, I think - but I recall very clearly that the suggested subject of my talk was as incomprehensible to me as it would, no doubt, have been to any audience. Invitation rejected. Only this week I received another request, this time to join "ethics practitioners" to "share evidence-based practices on dealing with current ethical practices" around the world. What on earth does this mean? Why do people write like this?

The word "excellence", of course, has long ago been devalued by the corporate world - its favourite expression has long been "Quality and Excellence", invariably accompanied by a "mission statement", that claim to self-importance dreamed up by Robin Cook when foreign secretary - swiftly ditched when he decided to go on selling jets to Indonesia - and thereafter by every export company and amateur newspaper in the world.

Robert Fisk

O'Reilly said...

Investigate handling of Katrina disaster

Sen. Joseph Lieberman

January 14, 2007

Your chairmanship of the Homeland Security Committee obligates you as a constitutional responsibility to provide oversight for agencies including FEMA. And though you won your seat in reelection as an Independent, your seniority as a Democrat was preserved and it is by this mechanism that you have become chairman of this committee. Voters have not forgotten that the rubberstamp Republican Congress of the last six years is one of the reasons our government is broken. Please do not become a rubberstamp Independent Democrat.

Your reelection campaign pledge to require the executive branch to submit documents relating to its handling of the Hurricane Katrina disaster in New Orleans is paramount to meeting your responsibilities for providing oversight. Your verbal committment to the CT voters who re-elected you, should be sufficient reason. A man is as good as his word.

If you choose to not investigate, then you should resign your chairmanship.

Americans from fifty states have the right to expect the problems at the Federal Emergency Management Adminstration have been fixed.

How will we know if they have been until we know what the problems were?

kathleen said...

Saladin, I know it is just a crack! Not only Carter's book the paper written by Mearsheimer and Walt "The Israeli Lobby", blew open the door, along with the persistence of people like Art and Peggy Gish who have been focused on this issue for 25 years. They have stood on the corner of Court and Washington in front of the Athens County Court house with their "Israel abide by UN Resolution 242" signs for all of these years. Now that is devotion!

If and when the Aipac/Rosen trial starts this will keep these issues under the spotlight. (that is if the MSM covers this trial)

Saladin I am going to D.C. this coming week. I am going to get into that Libby trial and be at the march. (they have seats for the peasants)

If you could find a cheap flight into D.C. I could provide you with a place with one of my best friends in D.C. for a few days if you want to come to the march on the 27th, lobbying on the 29th.

O'Reilly said...

January 18, 2007

Dear Friend:

Thank you for taking the time to contact me. I appreciate the opportunity to know your opinions on the pressing issues facing our nation. Regrettably, due to the huge volume of mail that I receive, I am only able to research and address comments sent to me from Connecticut residents. If you are not from Connecticut, you may want to consider sending a message to the Senators from your state of residence. You can do so by visiting for a link to the web sites of each member of the United State Senate. If you are currently residing out of state, but are still a Connecticut resident or have a connection to Connecticut, please be certain to use your Connecticut address or indicate your Connecticut connection in the first paragraph of your email.

I value having the benefit of your thoughtful concerns, since I do receive detailed weekly reports from my staff providing a sampling of comments from across the country on timely issues before Congress.

My official Senate web site is an excellent source of information about my work here. As you know, you can access the site at I encourage you to visit my web site, or if you have already done so, to return to it often. I am also pleased to let you know that I have launched an email news update service through my web site. You can sign up for that service by visiting and clicking on the "Subscribe Email News Updates" button at the bottom of the home page. I hope these are informative and useful.

Thank you again for letting me know your views and concerns.


Joseph I. Lieberman

capt said...

new thread

Saladin said...

Kathleen, I am going to look into that RIGHT now! I would love to meet you.