Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Watchdog Group: "Depth of Bush failures surprised even us."

With the Bush administration about to leave office after reaching record-setting disapproval ratings, the nation might be in the mood for some New Year's resolutions pinpointing mistakes of the last eight years that it never, ever wants to make again.

For example, the country might want to do something about its massive backlogs in various essential government functions -- including 730,000 backlogged patent applications, 760,000 Social Security disability claims, and 806,000 Veterans Affairs disability claims.

The nation might also resolve to avoid a recurrence of the recent losses of hundreds of laptops containing sensitive law enforcement information, or to rethink the decision to keep plowing $12.5 billion into a joint civilian-military weather satellite system that is still incomplete and may leave gaps in crucial climate monitoring as older satellites fail.

The most comprehensive guide to these and other Bush administration failures is a new list compiled by the Center for Public Integrity (CPI), a non-profit investigative journalism group which recently "set out to document just how off-track things have gone," assigning thirteen reporters to document the worst failures of the last eight years.

Working from government investigations, news stories, and suggestions from experts and government employees, the team compiled a list of 250 failures, which it then narrowed down to just 128 "that attracted bipartisan criticism and had major impacts on the lives of ordinary Americans."

The results of the investigation, which are summarized at CPI's PaperTrail blog and presented in full at its Broken Government project, are stunning in their scope even for those who have been following the scandals of the last eight years.

According to the CPI, "Some of these problems were in place well before George W. Bush’s inauguration, but were exacerbated by his policies or worsened by his administration’s actions (or inactions). Many of the failings are tied to Bush appointees who appear to have been selected primarily on the basis of ideology and loyalty, rather than competence."

Many of the numbers which leap out from the summary are dollar figures -- such as the $300 billion over budget for Defense Department weapons acquisitions or the $100 billion lost every year to corporate offshore tax shelters.

There are also examples of ineffective planning, such as the faulty National Security Administration computer system, which carries a price tag of $4 billion, or the complete failure of a $100 million attempt to create a new system of internal information-sharing for the FBI in the wake of 9/11.

Items which speak to the obsessions of the Bush administration appear in the list, as well, ranging from the record $9.91 billion spent on government secrecy in 2007 to the dismissal of all but 17 out of the 1273 whistleblower complaints filed from 2002 to 2008.

However, the most haunting entries may be those which document the toll taken on the American people over the last eight years, including pollution that causes 20,000 deaths a year and puts 60,000 newborns at risk of neurological problems., a two-thirds dropoff in the cleanup of toxic waste sites, and 2.5 million toxic toys recalled in the summer of 2007.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Big Oil Stockpiles Supplies and Pockets Profits

The Truth About America's Energy:
Big Oil Stockpiles Supplies and Pockets Profits
A Special Report by the Committee on Natural Resources
Majority Staff
June 2008

In the last four years, the Bureau of Land Management has issued
28,776 permits to drill on public land; yet, in that same time, 18,954 wells were
actually drilled. That means that companies have stockpiled nearly 10,000
extra permits to drill that they are not using to increase domestic production.

Further, despite the federal government=s willingness to make public
lands and waters available to energy developers, of the 47.5 million acres of
on-shore federal lands that are currently being leased by oil and gas
companies, only about 13 million acres are actually Ain production@, or
producing oil and gas (Figure 2). Similar trends are evident offshore as well
(Figure 3), where only 10.5 million of the 44 million leased acres are currently
producing oil or gas.

Combined, oil and gas companies hold leases to nearly 68 million acres
of federal land and waters that they are not producing oil and gas (Figure 4).
Oil and gas companies would not buy leases to this land without believing oil
and gas can be produced there, yet these same companies are not producing
oil or gas from these areas already under their control.

Committee On Natural Resources

Rahall to Big Oil: Use It or Lose It

Thursday, March 27, 2008


IAVA is a nonpartisan organization for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Please take a moment to read their Press Release below!! Thanx ;)

02/28/08: GI Bill Momentum in Senate

Thursday, February 28, 2008
CONTACT: Kara Horowitz, IAVA (212) 982-9699 or

Major Victory in the Fight for New GI Bill: Reintroduced on Senate Floor
Senators Webb, Hagel, Lautenberg and Warner Introduce Improved Version of S.22

NEW YORK -Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the nation’s first and largest nonpartisan organization for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, applauds today’s introduction of an improved version of the"Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act," or S.22, on the Senate floor. A bipartisan coalition of Senators including Jim Webb (D-VA), Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) reintroduced the bill. They also announced Senator John Warner (R-VA) as one of four lead co-sponsors of the legislation. Senator Warner is a World War II and Korean War veteran and beneficiary of the original GI bill. He joins 32 other Senators in support of S.22. The House companion bill (H.R. 2702) was introduced by Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) and currently has 96 cosponsors.

"Our country’s newest generation of veterans deserves a World War II-style GI Bill, and today’s reintroduction of S.22 is a major step toward achieving that," said Paul Rieckhoff, Executive Director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA). "IAVA is grateful to Senators Webb, Hagel, Lautenberg and Warner, themselves combat veterans and GI Bill beneficiaries, for their leadership on this critical issue. We’ve seen great momentum behind a new GI Bill, and we urge Congress to act quickly to pass this crucial legislation this year."

Click here to see who has signed onto the new GI Bill.

To download IAVA’s new in-depth report on the GI Bill and corresponding Quick Facts, please visit

For more information, please visit

Read the Newsweek article by Anna Quindlen, "Because It’s Right"

Sunday, March 9, 2008

John.He.Is "Like Hope, but Different"

McCain '08

"Like HOPE, but Different"

Friday, February 29, 2008

It's All About the Telecoms, Stupid!

It's all about Liability protection
By: John Amato on Monday, February 18th, 2008 at 9:00 AM - PST Yep, it's not that we're in danger if the PAA isn't extended, it's that the Telecoms would be mad, 'mkay? BUSH: Failure to act would harm our ability to monitor new terrorist activities, and could re-open dangerous gaps in our intelligence. NPR: Mr. McConnell, the Bush administration says that if the Protect America Act isn't made permanent, it will tie your hands, intelligence hands, especially when it comes to new threats. But isn't it true that any surveillance underway does not expire, even if this law isn't renewed by tomorrow? MCCONNELL: Well, Renee it's a very complex issue. It's true that some of the authorities would carry over to the period they were established for one year. That would put us into the August, September time-frame. However, that's not the real issue. The issue is liability protection for the private sector. The fearmongers of the GOP base have been saying we'll all die if the PAA isn't extended and now you have McConnell saying it's all about the poor Telecoms. I think we have our answer.

Crooks and Liars