In Retrospect: Who is Really Un-American??

(Charles Lemos is also worth reading on this subject: It's Time for a Special Prosecutor. - promoted by desmoinesdem)

Crossposted from Hillbilly Report.

You know, one thing I get so sick of hearing from all the right-wing loons is how Progressives like myself and many of you are un-American. We have our patriotism questioned on a daily basis. Right-Wing idiots on the radio rail about how we do not believe in the Constitution and the values this country was founded on. Well, details that have emerged in the last couple of days show that the Bush Administration and their shameless enablers in the Republican Party and the former Republican Congress are the ones who really do not believe in the Constitution, or the freedoms granted by it.

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Some Iraqi Fraud May Yet Go Punished

(I hadn't heard about this development and am pleasantly surprised. - promoted by desmoinesdem)

Crossposted from Hillbilly Report. Come join the conversation on Rural America, our issues and candidates for the 2010 elections!! City-Slickers welcome too!!

We all remember the no-bid contracts we were so opposed to under the last administration. Now, it has long appeared that all the crimes committed on all levels in this fiasco will go unpunished. Although we are still far from punishing the lies and propoganda unleashed on the American people to start this war, after a court ruling hopefully at least part of the rampant fraud that will cost Americans well over a trillion dollars will be punished.  

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How's that bailout working for us?

I wouldn’t mind Democrats passing an incredibly unpopular bill a few weeks before an election, if the bill solved a big problem.

Unfortunately, the Wall Street bailout Congressional leaders rushed to pass this fall doesn’t seem to have accomplished much, besides hand some Republican incumbents a great campaign issue.

We were told that the Bush administration needed this plan passed immediately, or else credit would dry up and the stock market would go into a tailspin.

But as it turns out, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson had no idea what to do:

The Bush administration dropped the centerpiece of its $700-billion financial rescue plan Wednesday, reflecting the remarkable extent to which senior government officials have been flying by the seat of their pants in dealing with the deepening economic crisis.

Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson said the administration would scrub plans to buy troubled mortgage-backed securities but continue to devote bailout funds to restore liquidity to credit markets.

[…]

“You’ve had a tremendous amount of improvisation here,” said Douglas W. Elmendorf, a former Federal Reserve economist and an informal advisor to Obama’s transition team. “Even smart people get things wrong when they have no models to follow and are acting quickly, so it’s natural that there’d be some reworking.”

Or as Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) put it: “When you see so many changes, you wonder if they really know what they’re doing.”

Paulson, who originally dismissed emergency government investments in financial institutions as a recipe for failure, said most of the first half of the $700 billion had already gone to making emergency investments in banks and other companies aimed at reviving the routine borrowing and lending that are crucial to the economy.

Although Paulson said those actions had helped thaw credit markets and prevent “a broad systemic event” in the global economy, he acknowledged that most financial firms are still deeply reluctant to lend.

So, Paulson has been winging it, doing what he originally opposed, but credit remains very tight.

But no problem, because Congress imposed strict accountability measures in that revised version of the bailout, right?

Not according to the Washington Post: Bailout Lacks Oversight Despite Billions Pledged

In the six weeks since lawmakers approved the Treasury’s massive bailout of financial firms, the government has poured money into the country’s largest banks, recruited smaller banks into the program and repeatedly widened its scope to cover yet other types of businesses, from insurers to consumer lenders.

Along the way, the Bush administration has committed $290 billion of the $700 billion rescue package.

Yet for all this activity, no formal action has been taken to fill the independent oversight posts established by Congress when it approved the bailout to prevent corruption and government waste. Nor has the first monitoring report required by lawmakers been completed, though the initial deadline has passed.

“It’s a mess,” said Eric M. Thorson, the Treasury Department’s inspector general, who has been working to oversee the bailout program until the newly created position of special inspector general is filled. “I don’t think anyone understands right now how we’re going to do proper oversight of this thing.”

To put that $290 billion in context, the U.S. spent about $170 billion on the war in Iraq during all of 2007. Yet the stock market is still swinging wildly and financial institutions are “still deeply reluctant to lend.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid got suckered into backing bad policy that was also bad politics. Barack Obama was eager to go along as well.

Next time leading Democrats want to pass something that expensive, could they at least make it something useful, like universal health care or high-speed rail connecting major cities?

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Action: Comment today against rule that could limit women's health care

Midnight tonight (September 25) is the deadline to submit comments on a rule proposed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. A few weeks ago Planned Parenthood Action sounded the alarm about this proposal, which would allow health care providers to refuse to provide care that goes against their personal beliefs. This diary contains a link to a pdf file of the relevant document from HHS and explains how it could affect women’s health care:

Tweaking the interpretation of existing law, ALL employees of health care organizations would be able to refuse to be associated with providing services to which they are opposed.  The administration says the new rule is targeted at abortion, but the trouble is they have made the rule so vague it could apply across the spectrum in health care, including the birth control women need to prevent abortions.

Creating a special class of employees based on personal beliefs allows everyone from the doctor to the receptionist have a say in your health care.  Any employee can deny care to a patient, and the organization is helpless to take action to correct the situation.

   * The receptionist who schedules your appointment may not do so because he or she does not agree with the type of contraception you use.

   * The doctor may not tell you about all of your options because they are opposed based on their religious beliefs.

A health care organization that ensures patients get access to necessary services may lose its ability to provide federal assistance to low-income patients because of one employee.  And they can take no corrective action.

Cecile Richards, who leads the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, sent out an e-mail yesterday urging concerned citizens to submit a public comment:

The Bush administration has issued a rule that would limit the rights of patients to receive complete and accurate reproductive health information when they visit a health care provider. It’s more of the Bush administration’s bad medicine, and this is our last chance to stop it.

This new rule could allow individual health care providers to redefine abortion to include the most common forms of birth control – and then refuse to provide these basic services. A woman’s ability to manage her own health care is at risk of being compromised by politics and ideology. We have until September 25 at midnight to voice our opposition.

If elected, the McCain/Palin ticket promises to be the most anti-choice administration ever. But first, the current president seems determined to do as much damage as he can before he leaves office. We have just one more day to voice our opposition to the Bush administration rule. Please take a moment right now to add your name to the hundreds of thousands of others who will not stand by and let this happen without a fight.

The Planned Parenthood Action Center has created a page where you can submit your comments on this proposed rule. It’s easy, so please do weigh in.

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The moral degeneracy of the Bush administration

Today John Yoo, the great legal mind who shaped the Bush administration’s policy on torture when he worked at the Department of Justice, testified before the House Judiciary Committee. Look how he evaded a simple yes-or-no question from Committee Chairman John Conyers:

Conyers: Could the President order a suspect buried alive?

Yoo: Uh, Mr. Chairman, I don’t think I’ve ever given advice that the President could order someone buried alive…

Conyers: I didn’t ask you if you ever gave him advice. I asked you thought the President could order a suspect buried alive.

Yoo: Well Chairman, my view right now is that I don’t think a President … no American President would ever have to order that or feel it necessary to order that.

Conyers: I think we understand the games that are being played.

Click the link to watch the video at TPMMuckraker.

The Bush administration’s policy on torture is an international disgrace. One of its legal architects won’t even concede that the president  can’t order a suspect to be buried alive.  

Unfortunately, John McCain has supported laws that give the president the discretion to define torture however he wants.

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Embarrassing Steve King quote of the day

Scott McClellan appeared before the House Judiciary Committee today to testify about the exposure of Valerie Plame as a CIA agent.

McClellan recently published a book called, “What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception.”

According to Dana Milbank of the Washington Post, Republicans on that committee “worked feverishly to discredit the former White House press secretary who had turned against his patron and former boss, President Bush.”

I don’t have a transcript of the hearing, but Milbank reported that Iowa’s own Congressman Steve King asked McClellan, “Couldn’t you have taken this to the grave with you and done this country a favor?”

That’s just what I try to teach my kids–when you see other people committing crimes and lying about it, do the country a favor by keeping your mouth shut.

If you are tired of King embarrassing our great state on a regular basis, please donate to Rob Hubler, the Democrat seeking to represent Iowa’s fifth Congressional district.

UPDATE: Josh Marshall put up this video clip from C-SPAN at Talking Points Memo:

SECOND UPDATE: Daily Kos user 2laneIA posted a good and funny diary about this too.

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