July 23, 2007 -- The next big GOP defections on war will come from the South
Recently, Senate Democrats could only muster up four Republicans to vote with them on cloture on a Republican filibuster on the Iraq troop withdrawal bill.
However, according to our Senate sources, that situation will change drastically in September, which was the original date for General David Petreaus' report on the effectiveness of George Bush's "surge" strategy in Iraq.
A number of Senate Republicans, particularly those from the South -- long Bush's base of support -- will break ranks and vote to bring U.S. troops home on a definite timetable. One Republican we are told has given notice that September is his final deadline for the "surge," is Mississippi's Trent Lott.
It is expected that Lott will be joined by other southern Republicans who are growing weary of Bush's Iraq strategy. They include Lott's fellow Mississippian Thad Cochran, Alabama's Richard Shelby, Georgia's Johnny Isakson, Florida's Mel Martinez, North Carolina's Elizabeth Dole, Tennessee's Lamar Alexander, and Virginia's John Warner.
New Hampshire's John Sununu, Ohio's George Voinovich, Indiana's Richard Lugar, and Minnesota's Norm Coleman are also expected to jump ship on Bush. That would give the Democratic troop withdrawal bill well over the 60 votes needed to break any GOP filibuster and override Bush's veto.
In a gentle reminder to Lott and Cochran, the Jackson Clarion-Ledger ran an editorial on July 20 reminding the two Republicans that time is up on Iraq in September: "Mississippi's Republican U.S. Sens. Thad Cochran and Trent Lott were good George Bush soldiers when they voted to torpedo legislation Wednesday to force the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq. The Defense Authorization Bill vote allowed them to side with the president under cover of 'supporting the troops,' but they won't have that luxury in September, when it's either put up or shut up time for the administration."
July 23, 2007 -- America's "Big Brother" network
In yet another sign that privacy in America is dead as we once knew it, a series of intelligence "fusion centers" are being created across the United States. The purpose of these fusion centers is to combine intelligence on groups and individuals from a variety of sources, including local and tate police, federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies, commercial personal and financial information databases, "open source" material, and even foreign intelligence sources.
The Congressional Research Service (CRS) recently published a report on these fusion centers. CRS also created a map of the locations of these centers across the country.
After 9/11, the privacy advocacy community in the United States failed to grasp the dangers faced as the Bush administration rolled back thirty years of privacy and freedom of information legislation. These groups also failed to take precautions against being infiltrated by government moles and plants intent on neutering the influence of these organizations.