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Impeach Bush--Index 41

The GOP and some in the press would have you believe WMD was all a mistake. Poppycock. Bush supported putting UN inspectors in Iraq and then ignored the FACT that they couldn't verify a single word of his worthless intelligence.

December 16, 2006
An Impeachable Offense

Bush accused of gagging critic of Iran policy
John Bolton when he served as Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security was famous for pounding intelligence officials hard until they coughed up intel reports and "frames" that fit the political objectives he had in mind.

The practice of politicizing intelligence in the Bush White House seems to be continuing with "friends lists" and "enemies lists" determining who should be rewarded or punished in the "secrets-clearing process" in cases where former government officials publish materials on U.S. foreign policy debates.

In an unprecedented case, the White House National Security Council staff has insinuated itself into a "secrets-clearing" process normally overseen by the CIA Publications Review Board which screens the written work of former government officials to make sure that state secrets don't find their way into the op-ed pages of the New York Times, Washington Post, or in other of the nation's leading papers, journals, and books.

All of my publications on Iran -- and, indeed, on any other policy matter on which I have written since leaving government -- were cleared beforehand by the CIA's Publication Review Board to confirm that I would not be disclosing classified information.

Until last week, the Publication Review Board had never sought to remove or change a single word in any of my drafts, including in all of my publications about the Bush administration's handling of Iran policy. However, last week, the White House inserted itself into the prepublication review process for an op-ed on the administration's bungling of the Iran portfolio that I had prepared for the New York Times, blocking publication of the piece on the grounds that it would reveal classified information.

This claim is false and, I have come to believe, fabricated by White House officials to silence an established critic of the administration's foreign policy incompetence at a moment when the White House is working hard to fend off political pressure to take a different approach to Iran and the Middle East more generally.

Dems may just as well concede control of the Senate to the GOP. Dems can't buy votes (and souls) of senators like the GOP can. With the GOP conservative spending spree and the largest accumulation of debt in US history finally coming to an end, it's best to stay with the party that panders. Lieberman would rather side with those who govern irresponsibly - so be it. Let him go!

Lieberman faces two problems; first, there's no way he can win reelection as a Democrat and Reid recently said the filibuster is coming back, which means Reid undercut the Gang of 14. Lieberman was a member of the Gang of 14 - a group dedicated to giving republicans whatever they wanted. Two GOP members of the Gang of 14 were defeated and Lieberman was forced to become an Independent to stay in congress.

December 18, 2006
Lieberman drops Centrist Coalition for more conservative company
Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut has decided to end his co-chairmanship of the Centrist Coalition in the Senate and will partner with a more conservative senator in a new grouping, according to a story published yesterday by Roll Call.

Senator Lieberman has for some time partnered with Republican Olympia Snowe of Maine in a bipartisan Centrist Coalition to work on legislation. But Roll Call's Emily Pierce reports that the two had parted ways after having a difference of opinion on how the group should cooperate across party lines to forge compromises.

Lieberman is now forming a new bipartisan grouping with Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee. Alexander sought the Republican presidential nomination in both 1996 and 2000, when he became known for campaign appearances in a red flannel shirt. Lieberman's spokesman Marshall Wittman stated that the purpose of his work with Alexander was "to create as many venues for bipartisan discussion as possible."

December 18, 2006
CNN Poll: Only 11% Back Call to Send More Troops to Iraq
NEW YORK President Bush, according to reports, is strongly considering sending a "surge" of troops to Iraq in the new year -- 20,000 or more. Sen. John McCain and Sen. Joe Lieberman have already backed such a plan. But a new poll for CNN released Monday found that this idea draws the support of only 11 percent of Americans.

Fewer than a third of Americans still support the war in Iraq, and more than half say they want U.S. troops out of the country within a year, according to the CNN poll. This 31 percent support marked a new low in the Opinion Research survey.

"Nearly three-quarters said Bush administration policy needs a complete overhaul or major changes. But only 11 percent of those polled backed calls to send more American troops to Iraq, as President Bush is said to be considering," CNN said.

December 19, 2006
Producer Price Index: Highest Increase in 32 Years
Wholesale prices shot upward in November, the Labor Department reported today, offering a stark reminder that inflation remains a threat to the economy.

The producer price index, which measures what businesses charge one another for everything from iron ore and diesel fuel to cases of soda pop, was 2 percent higher in November than in October, seasonally adjusted. The index had not risen by that much in a single month in more than 32 years, since the energy and stagflation crises of the mid-1970s.

Any other class of people would have been fired. Why does the military keep known criminals?

December 17, 2006
Recruiters Caught in Drug Probe - Remain on the Job
TUCSON, Ariz. -- A dozen Army and Marine recruiters who visited high schools were among the personnel caught in a major FBI cocaine investigation, and some were allowed to keep working while under suspicion, a newspaper reported Sunday.

The Arizona Daily Star reviewed the investigation and court documents and found that the FBI allowed many recruiters to stay on the job even though they were targeted by the investigation. Some were still recruiting three years after they were photographed running drugs in uniform, the newspaper said.

December 14, 2006
More Americans hungry, homeless in 2006
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - More Americans went homeless and hungry in 2006 than the year before and children made up almost a quarter of those in emergency shelters, said a report released on Thursday by the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

"The face of hunger and homelessness right now ... is young children, young families," said the conference's president, Douglas Palmer, the mayor of Trenton, New Jersey.

The survey of 23 cities found civic and government groups received, on average, 7 percent more requests for food aid in 2006 than in 2005, following a 12 percent jump in 2005.

December 18, 2006
An Impeachable Offense

Former U.S. Detainee in Iraq Recalls Torment
Detainee 200343 was among thousands of people who have been held and released by the American military in Iraq, and his account of his ordeal has provided one of the few detailed views of the Pentagon's detention operations since the abuse scandals at Abu Ghraib. Yet in many respects his case is unusual.

The detainee was Donald Vance, a 29-year-old Navy veteran from Chicago who went to Iraq as a security contractor. He wound up as a whistle-blower, passing information to the F.B.I. about suspicious activities at the Iraqi security firm where he worked, including what he said was possible illegal weapons trading.

On May 7, the Camp Cropper detention board met again, without either man present, and determined that Mr. Ertel was "an innocent civilian," according to the spokeswoman for detention operations. It took authorities 18 more days to release him.

December 18, 2006
U.S. trade deficit hits all-time high
The United States' deficit in the broadest measure of trade shot up to an all-time high in the summer, reflecting the huge jump in the country's foreign oil bill.

The U.S. Commerce Department reported Monday that the current-account trade deficit increased 3.9 per cent to a record $225.6 billion US in the July-September quarter.

December 19, 2006
Attacks in Iraq Hit Record High
WASHINGTON, Dec. 18 — A Pentagon assessment of security conditions in Iraq concluded Monday that attacks against American and Iraqi targets had surged this summer and autumn to their highest level, and called violence by Shiite militants the most significant threat in Baghdad.

The report, which covers the period from early August to early November, found an average of almost 960 attacks against Americans and Iraqis every week, the highest level recorded since the Pentagon began issuing the quarterly reports in 2005, with the biggest surge in attacks against American-led forces. That was an increase of 22 percent from the level for early May to early August, the report said.

December 12, 2006
Incoming U.S. Defense Secretary tells Senate panel Israel has nuclear weapons
Experts played down the importance of Gates' "outing" of the Israeli nuclear weapons program. Defense analyst Shlomo Brom, a retired Israel Defense Forces general who was once in charge of strategic planning for the military, said similar statements came out of Washington during the first Gulf War in 1991 and did not lead to a change in Israeli policy. "This is nothing really new," he said. "It doesn't change anything."

What has changed over the years is the perception of Israel's nuclear capabilities. In 1986, Mordechai Vanunu, a former technician at Israel's main nuclear reactor, gave pictures and documents to the London Sunday Times that led experts to conclude that Israel has a sizable nuclear weapons arsenal, ranking it sixth in the world. Vanunu served an 18-year prison term for his disclosures.

Big time losers: Harry Reid, Bush, and John McCain.

December 19, 2006
White House, Joint Chiefs At Odds on Adding Troops
But the Joint Chiefs think the White House, after a month of talks, still does not have a defined mission and is latching on to the surge idea in part because of limited alternatives, despite warnings about the potential disadvantages for the military, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the White House review is not public.

The chiefs have taken a firm stand, the sources say, because they believe the strategy review will be the most important decision on Iraq to be made since the March 2003 invasion.

December 18, 2006
An Impeachable Offense

EPA relaxes rules on reporting of release of toxic chemicals
The Environmental Protection Agency approved new rules today that will quadruple the amount of some toxic pollutants that companies can release before they have to reveal the amounts to the public.

Federal officials originally proposed a 10-fold increase in the trigger for public reports on most chemicals covered by the the 20-year-old "Toxic Release Inventory" program. EPA Deputy Administrator Marcus Peacock said the revised limits will ease regulatory burdens on industry while giving companies an incentive to recycle or better manage toxic compounds.

Dobson is a known liar. What more needs to be said?

December 14, 2006
An advocate for gay families says James Dobson misuses science
Within his commentary, Dobson directly attributes some of the points of his argument to prominent psychologist and social researcher Dr. Carol Gilligan. However, when asked about his use of her research, Dr. Gilligan stated emphatically that its inclusion constitutes "a complete distortion of my work" and went on to say that there is nothing in her research that would support Dobson's stated conclusions.

It is true that there is 30 years of research about families headed by lesbian and gay parents. However, Dobson claims that the resulting data shows that "children do best on every measure of well-being when raised by their married mother and father." To say that Dobson is misinformed here would be inaccurate. He is simply lying. The people who are misinformed by these untruths are the readers of his material and those who publish his work without appropriately verifying his assertions. The fact is that research findings on these issues overwhelmingly testify to the success of gay families as nurturing environments for children's growth and development.

My opinion of Powell remains unchanged. After the UN inspectors proved US intelligence was worthless, Powell remained Bush's biggest cheerleader. An honorable man would have resigned and hopefully stopped the war before it started. It's safe for Powell to be against the war now. How courageous is that?

December 18, 2006
Powell says U.S. losing Iraq 'civil war'
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell said Sunday that the United States is losing what he described as a "civil war" in Iraq and that he is not convinced that an increase in U.S. troops there would reverse the situation. Instead, he called for a new strategy that would relinquish responsibility for Iraqi security to the government in Baghdad sooner rather than later, with a U.S. drawdown to begin by the middle of next year.

"I agree with the assessment of Mr. Baker and Mr. Hamilton," Powell said, referring to the study group's leaders, former Secretary of State James Baker and former Indiana Rep. Lee Hamilton. The situation in Iraq is "grave and deteriorating, and we're not winning, we are losing. We haven't lost. And this is the time, now, to start to put in place the kinds of strategies that will turn this situation around."

The odd part is some uninformed people still think Reagan was a conservative. He created $1.6 trillion of debt - more than all the previous presidents before him combined and he never balanced the budget once. Reagan was an LBJ conservative - a big spender.

November 12, 2006
Just how bad a President is George W Bush?s
But the record on the economy is mixed. Federal spending has soared during the Bush administration, reaching $2.65 trillion this year (or more than one-fifth of GDP). Mr Bush inherited a budget surplus from his predecessor, Bill Clinton, but swiftly moved into deficit. As a result, national debt has gone from $5.7 trillion to $8.6 trillion, its highest level in history.

Roy Moore, a former Alabama chief justice who became a hero of the religious Right when he refused to take down the Ten Commandments from his courtroom, spoke for many disillusioned Christian conservatives when he assessed last month's Republican defeat.

Former president Ronald Reagan's "adherence to conservative principles and moral virtue helped the Republican Party end nearly 40 years of Democratic control of Congress," he said, "But those ideals have virtually been abandoned by Republican leadership today."

It's time for the bible nuts to stop lying. Every marriage in the entire bible was a civil ceremony, yet religious bigots say marriage was created by God. If marriage was so sacred in biblical times, why didn't Jesus marry anyone? Why didn't other rabbis?

December 14, 2006
NJ lawmakers approve civil unions
TRENTON, N.J. - Ordered by New Jersey's highest court to offer marriage or its equivalent to gay couples, the Legislature voted Thursday to make New Jersey the third state to allow civil unions.

But Republican Assemblyman Ronald S. Dancer said: "It's my personal belief, faith and religious practice that marriage has been defined in the Bible. And this is one time that I cannot compromise my personal beliefs and faiths."

December 14, 2006
Poll: Arab attitudes toward U.S. more negatives
WASHINGTON - A new survey shows Arab attitudes toward American people, products and culture grew increasingly negative last year, a finding that underscores the need for a change in U.S. Mideast policy, a leading expert on the region said on Thursday.

James Zogby, the head of the Arab American Institute, said the annual survey of opinion in five Arab countries found that U.S. policy toward Iraq and the Palestinian conflict were the main issues driving deteriorating Arab opinion.

80 percent have negative opinions
The survey released by the Arab American Institute found that more than 80 percent of people in Saudi Arabia and Egypt had negative opinions of the United States, similar to previous years, but attitudes worsened in Morocco, Jordan and Lebanon.

The biggest increases were in Jordan, where negative U.S. ratings climbed to 90 percent from 62 percent and Morocco, where they grew to 87 percent from 64 percent.

Attitudes toward American people, movies and democracy were more negative than positive in most of the five countries.

The GOP consistently believes in bankrupting our future so the current generation can have all it wants. Their solution to every problem is to pass the buck and the debt to the next generation.

December 16, 2006
Doctors' Medicare pay cuts killed without providing money to cover the $1.8 billion cost
For the fifth time in four years, Congress has erased a pay cut for physicians, without providing money to cover the $1.8 billion cost.

The move will force Medicare to raid a dwindling reserve fund that the government tapped after each of the four previous pay-cut reversals.

It seems like only yesterday when I supported Israel 100%. Never again.

In the US, the UK and Israel, slaughtering innocent civilians is ok as long as you get weak-mined people to think it has something to do with terrorism. Israel, the UK and the US are their own worst enemies - creating more terrorism in the name of fighting terrorism. When will these children put away their war toys and start acting like men?

December 17, 2006
Jimmy Carter's Mideast book polarizes opinion
ATLANTA (Reuters) - A new book by Jimmy Carter in which he compares Israel's treatment of Palestinians to South Africa's Apartheid system has sparked a bitter debate over the former U.S. president's reputation as a peacemaker.

Jewish groups have expressed outrage at the book "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid," arguing its comparison of Israel to the racist South African regime could undermine the perception of Israel's legitimacy.

We live in a very strange time. In 2004, US voters were forced to choose between a pro war republican and a pro war democrat. Not much of a choice if you ask me. UK voters are in the same predicament. UK conservatives strongly supported the Iraq war and now they're going to be rewarded for being wrong. What's a voter to do? No matter how we cut it, history will damn the US and the UK for the war in Iraq. So, we need to move on with new leaders - leaders who didn't support the war.

December 16, 2006
UK Memo: Blair Government Will Be Defeated
Labour has no chance of winning the next Election because voters think the Government is a shambles - and there is little Gordon Brown can do to stop David Cameron becoming Prime Minister.

That is the devastating verdict of a secret Downing Street memo drawn up for Tony Blair by his senior advisers and obtained by The Mail on Sunday.

The confidential document states:

- Labour's standing is so low that the party's only hope of recovering may be to abandon Mr Brown and 'move to a new generation' by picking a much younger new leader - though it warns of the perils of being 'disloyal' to the 'greatly respected' Chancellor.

Two quick points; Mr. Minns lied when he said the breakup was sanctioned by the Anglican hierarchy. Why do people follow known liars?

IMO, people who need to believe known lies and follow known liars should be allowed to leave their Church. Who wants them?

December 17, 2006
Episcopalians Are Reaching Point of Revolt
In Virginia, the two large churches are voting on whether they want to report to the powerful archbishop of Nigeria, Peter Akinola, an outspoken opponent of homosexuality who supports legislation in his country that would make it illegal for gay men and lesbians to form organizations, read gay literature or eat together in a restaurant. Archbishop Akinola presides over the largest province in the 77-million-member Anglican Communion; it has more than 17 million members, dwarfing the Episcopal Church, with 2.3 million.

Mr. Minns and other advocates of secession have suggested to the voters that the convocation arrangement has the blessing of the Anglican hierarchy. But on Friday, the Anglican Communion office in London issued a terse statement saying the convocation had not been granted "any official status within the communion's structures, nor has the archbishop of Canterbury indicated any support for its establishment."

McCain can't even get the easy stuff right. McCain is both for and against torturing POWs, for and against the war in Iraq, for and against the Baker report. Whatever position you have, McCain has it too, no matter what you believe.

We don't need another spinless, intellectually weak nut who panders to the right wing. We need a president.

December 17, 2006
John McCain and Mary Cheney's Bundle of Joy
"Are you against civil unions for gay couples?" he asked the senator, who replied, "No, I'm not." When Mr. Stephanopoulos reiterated the question seconds later — "So you're for civil unions?" — Mr. McCain answered, "No." In other words, he was not against civil unions before he was against them.

December 16, 2006
Iraqi Army Recruiting Saddam's Officers
BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Iraq's army has "opened its doors," the prime minister said Saturday, appealing to troops who served under Saddam Hussein for help in curbing the rampant violence.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki reached out to the officers and soldiers who lost their posts after the U.S.-led invasion that ousted Saddam nearly four years ago.

He imposed few conditions on the return of former military personnel, only cautioning that those allowed to serve in the new army should be loyal to the country and conduct themselves professionally.

When the Pentagon speaks about national security issues, it's safe to say we can ignore them because they lie.

December 16, 2006
Some Gitmo detainees freed elsewhere
The Pentagon called them "among the most dangerous, best-trained, vicious killers on the face of the earth," sweeping them up after Sept. 11 and hauling them in chains to a U.S. military prison in southeastern Cuba. Since then, hundreds of the men have been transferred from Guantanamo Bay to other countries, many of them for "continued detention." And then set free.

_Once the detainees arrived in other countries, 205 of the 245 were either freed without being charged or were cleared of charges related to their detention at Guantanamo. Forty either stand charged with crimes or continue to be detained.

_Only a tiny fraction of transferred detainees have been put on trial. The AP identified 14 trials, in which eight men were acquitted and six are awaiting verdicts. Two of the cases involving acquittals — one in Kuwait, one in Spain — initially resulted in convictions that were overturned on appeal.

The UK was certain Saddam had no WMD, which means the US was certain. They shared intelligence and they lied to us.

There will be elections in two years and politicians who don't support impeachment and removal have to be removed from office with our votes. History must show that we don't reward liars and cowards.

December 15, 2006
Diplomat's suppressed document lays bare the lies behind Iraq war
The Government's case for going to war in Iraq has been torn apart by the publication of previously suppressed evidence that Tony Blair lied over Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction.

A devastating attack on Mr Blair's justification for military action by Carne Ross, Britain's key negotiator at the UN, has been kept under wraps until now because he was threatened with being charged with breaching the Official Secrets Act.

In the testimony revealed today Mr Ross, 40, who helped negotiate several UN security resolutions on Iraq, makes it clear that Mr Blair must have known Saddam Hussein possessed no weapons of mass destruction. He said that during his posting to the UN, "at no time did HMG [Her Majesty's Government] assess that Iraq's WMD (or any other capability) posed a threat to the UK or its interests."

Mr Ross revealed it was a commonly held view among British officials dealing with Iraq that any threat by Saddam Hussein had been "effectively contained".

"At the same time, we would frequently argue when the US raised the subject, that 'regime change' was inadvisable, primarily on the grounds that Iraq would collapse into chaos."

December 15, 2006
This do-nothing Congress did all the wrong things
What this Congress did not do is more striking than what this Congress did. It took no action on real immigration reform. It did not enact a budget. It produced no basic reform in Social Security or Medicare.

It did, however, have spirited debates on matters such as flag burning, gay marriage, and Terry Shiavo's feeding tube, an issue that seemed to absorb Senator Frist.

What Congress also left undone was any serious effort at ethics reform. What we got instead was retiring speaker Dennis Hastert's swan song, saying, "We promised to protect this nation from further attack and, by grace of God and with the leadership of President Bush, we have been successful."

December 15, 2006
Americans Want Congress Hearings on Iraq War
53 per cent of respondents think Congress should hold hearings on how the Bush administration handled pre-war intelligence, war planning, and related issues in the war in Iraq.

December 12, 2006
Defending the Constitution
For those under that suspicion, he claims the right to wiretap them without warrants, arrest them with charges, detain them without lawyers, torture them without judicial review, and hold them until the war ends. He also says that neither the Congress nor the public has any right to review his decisions, or to gain access to the papers that he chooses to keep secret. Since Bush himself says the war on terror will last for decades, this scope of this assertion is staggering.

America has suffered from this attitude. The president and his men drove us into the war of choice in Iraq, clearly distorting intelligence to gain public support, and undermining our credibility across the world. His policies led directly to the global disgraces of Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib, undermining America's reputation. His assertions have trampled the rights of American citizens, as well as those from other countries. Lack of accountability has squandered billions in taxpayer dollars on the waste, fraud and abuse of major contractors in Iraq. The list can go on.

What if they deny access to all documents, refuse to testify, issue "signing statements" stating that the president will not abide by the laws the Congress passes? Then the Constitution offers only two options. Vote the president out of office, and Bush is due to depart in 2009. Or impeach the president for high crimes and misdemeanors. In my own view, it should not come to that – but Congress must act to defend the Constitution before America turns completely into an elected dictatorship.

I can't imagine a republican politician doing the right thing so clearly they won't remove Bush from office. But the House can impeach him and tarnish his already failed legacy further. Allowing this criminal to go unpunished in not an option.

December 15, 2006
John Dean: Refocusing the Impeachment Movement
Realistically Refocusing the Impeachment Movement

The Constitution's Impeachment Clause applies to all "civil officers of the United States" - not to mention the president, vice president and federal judges. It is not clear who, precisely, is among those considered "civil officers," but the group certainly includes a president's cabinet and sub-cabinet, as well as the senior department officials and the White House staff (those who are issued commissions by the president and serve the President and Vice President).

Quite obviously, Bush and Cheney have not acted alone in committing "high crimes and misdemeanors." Take a hypothetical (and there are many): Strong arguments have been made that many members of the Bush Administration - not merely Bush and Cheney -- have engaged in war crimes. If war crimes are not "high crimes and misdemeanors," it is difficult to imagine what might be. Jordan Paust, a well-know expert on the laws of war and a professor at University of Houston Law Center, has written a number of scholarly essays that mince few words about the war crimes of Bush's subordinates. For example, many of their names are on the "torture memos."

Why impeach lower-level officials, rather than the "big enchilada," as Nixon used to say?

There are multiple reasons.

Many of these men (and a few women) are young enough that it is very likely that they will return to other posts in future Republican Administrations, and based on their experience in the Bush/Cheney Administration, they can be expected to make the offensive conduct of this presidency the baseline for the next president they serve. Impeachment, however, would prevent that from happening.

It will be recalled that Article I, Section 3 of the Constitution states: "Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States." (Emphasis added.) After any civil officer has been impeached, under the rules of the Senate, it requires only a simple majority vote to add the disqualification from holding future office.

With a criminal in the White House, we're making a list, checking it twice to see who naughty and who's nice. Reporters and politicians won't poo-poo impeachment must receive our wrath.

December 14, 2006
Let Things Ripen Some on Impeachment: Patience Will Be Rewarded
If ever any president and vice president in American history deserved impeachment, I would certainly agree, Bush and Cheney deserve it most richly. And more. And if ever there were a need in America to defend the Constitution and the rule of law by rebuking some would-be tyrants, now is the time.

Soon it will be possible for the Democrats to start conducting hearings to further educate the American people on just how we got into this mess in Iraq, and on various other dimensions of the dishonesty and criminality and incompetence of this regime. This will shrink the Bushites still further.

Not only will the regime become weakened by its loss of stature and respect, but there's a good chance that the American people will also have developed a strong impulse to load onto the Bushites all their frustration and shame and anger at this disaster in Iraq (and at the other parts of the picture fleshed out in the hearings), and cry out for impeachment. Or at least support it when, at the ripe moment, the process is initiated.

How do you take a solution and turn it into a problem? Vote for republicans. I voted for my last republican a couple years ago. I hope everyone has learned their lesion too.

December 14, 2006
Democrats inherent "financial mess"
"Unlike the Bush administration, which inherited historic budget surpluses when it took office in 2001, the Democratic 110th Congress will inherit a Republican budget legacy that will not be easy to reverse," said Rep. John Spratt, D-S.D., who will head the House Budget Committee.

"Over the last six years, Republicans have created historic budget deficits and a mountain of debt," he said.

The Bush debt stands at $2.9 trillion, a hair shy of three trillion dollars over six years. No previous president or previous congress has been this inept.

December 14, 2006
2006 Fiscal Year Budget Deficit 247.7 billion. First two months of 2007, 124.91 billion
For the first two months of fiscal 2007, the budget deficit totaled $US124.91 billion, narrowing $US5.44 billion or 4.2 per cent from the $US130.35 billion gap a year earlier, which the Treasury spokeswoman said was the record for the first two months of a fiscal year.

The Congressional Budget Office has not updated its August estimate for a fiscal 2007 deficit of $US286 billion. The United States ended fiscal 2006 on Sept 30 with a deficit of $US247.7 billion.

I don't have to be reminded Bush failed as commander in chief. We knew that on 9/11. A president is finished when his spokesman has to remind you he's commander in chief six years after he's elected. It would be better if this White House closed up shop and went home for the next two years.

December 13, 2006
Who Cares What You Think?
"MR. SNOW: No, no, no. The President is the Commander-in-Chief; he issues orders. He decided, frankly, that it's not ready yet. . . .

"Q So some might infer that the delay means he doesn't know what to do.

"MR. SNOW: No, well, that would be the wrong inference to draw. . . .

"Q So just to get this clear, the reason for the delay is, number one, the complexity of the Iraq issue, and not because the President learned something in the last week that changed his mind?

"MR. SNOW: That is correct. . . .

"Q Is it possible that the President does not want to announce the deployment of thousands of more U.S. troops to Iraq before the holidays?

Since Bush wants more money, Democrats should force him to raise taxes and pay for it. Imagine for a minute a $2 trillion tax increase. What little support there is for the war would end over night. If you support war, support tax increases - otherwise, shut up.

December 15, 2006
Pentagon Request of $99.7 Sets New Record - More than Vietnam
The military's request for $99.7 billion more in funding comes on top of the $70 billion that Congress approved in September and is 45 percent higher than the $117 billion in supplemental funding approved last year.

The annual cost of the war in Iraq now exceeds that of the Vietnam War at its height. Adjusted for inflation, the U.S. in 1968 spent $121 billion in Vietnam and a total of $631 billion for the duration of the war, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service.

The Iraq Study Group, in the report it released Dec. 6, estimated the cost of the war in Iraq and postwar reconstruction will soar to $2 trillion, about 20 times the Bush administration estimate ahead of the March 2003 invasion.

If I were a betting man, I'd bet Obama is going to run and he's going to win the presidency. The hapless wonders who took us to war for no reason have to value.

December 14, 2006
George Will: Run Now, Obama
First, one can be an intriguing novelty only once. If he waits to run, the past half-century suggests that the wait could be eight years (see reason four, below). In 2016 he will be only 55, but there will be many fresher faces.

Second, if you get the girl up on her tiptoes, you should kiss her. The electorate is on its tiptoes because Obama has collaborated with the creation of a tsunami of excitement about him. He is nearing the point when a decision against running would brand him as a tease who ungallantly toyed with the electorate's affections.

The US military appears to be fighting two unarmed countries and losing. The need for more troops isn't the answer. Instead, the answer lies in better men running the military. Recent polls said 90% of soldiers fighting in Iraq believe Saddam had something to do with 9/11. Obviously this is incorrect. We have a bunch of brain-washed idiots in the military.

December 14, 2006
Top general: Army 'will break' without more troop
WASHINGTON — As President Bush weighs new strategies for Iraq, the Army's top general warned today that his force "will break" without thousands more active duty troops and greater use of the reserves.

Noting the strain put on the force by operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere in the global war on terrorism, Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker said he wants to grow his half-million-member Army beyond the 30,000 troops already added in recent years.

December 14, 2006
JAMES DOBSON SLAMMED BY PROFESSOR FOR DISTORTING HER RESEARCH IN TIME MAGAZINE ARTICLE
Miami Beach, FLA. - New York University educational psychologist Carol Gilligan, PhD, today slammed Focus on the Family leader, James C. Dobson, for "twisting" and "distorting" her research in a guest column he wrote in this week's issue of Time Magazine. Dobson misrepresented her work in an effort to smear gay families while discussing Mary Cheney's pregnancy. In a pointed letter to Dobson, Gilligan demanded that he apologize and "cease and desist" from quoting her work in the future.

How do republicans remain republicans in the face of so much failure - I don't know. Snow comes fro Fox News where not knowing what you're talking about is a prerequisite.

December 13, 2006
Just Call Him Tony 'I Don't Know' Snow
To paraphrase Howard Baker's immortal question: What didn't Tony Snow know, and when didn't he know it?

The answer: A lot, and frequently.

When will President Bush roll out his new Iraq policy? "We do not know," Snow said at yesterday's White House briefing.

When did Bush decide to postpone the speech? "I don't know exactly when," the president's press secretary said again.

Has everyone working on the policy read the Iraq Study Group report? "I don't know," came the refrain. "I'm assuming -- but I don't know."

After Snow spoke multiple times of the "urgency" surrounding Iraq, CNN's Elaine Quijano asked him, innocently, "Tony, what does 'urgency' mean?"

"Well, I don't know," he said. "You guys keep using the term."

When Snow took over as White House press secretary earlier this year, reporters found it refreshing that he was willing to admit when he didn't know something. This has become rather less refreshing as Snow, while claiming access to Bush's sanctum sanctorum, continues to use the phrase -- more than 400 times so far in televised briefings and interviews. Sometimes, it seems more of a tic than a response; usually, it's a brushoff.

December 13, 2006
New Publishing Rules Restrict Scientists
The agency's director, Mark Myers, and its communications office also must be told — prior to any submission for publication — "of findings or data that may be especially news worthy, have an impact on government policy, or contradict previous public understanding to ensure that proper officials are notified and that communication strategies are developed."

At the Environmental Protection Agency, scientists and advocacy groups alike are worried about closing libraries that contain tens of thousands of agency documents and research studies. "It now appears that EPA officials are dismantling what it likely one of our country's comprehensive and accessible collections of environmental materials," four Democrats who are in line to head House committees wrote EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson two weeks ago.

The Bush White House has a long history of censuring the truth. If the past is any guide science will continue to deuterate under the new rules.

December 13, 2006
New Publishing Rules Restrict Scientists
The agency's director, Mark Myers, and its communications office also must be told — prior to any submission for publication — "of findings or data that may be especially news worthy, have an impact on government policy, or contradict previous public understanding to ensure that proper officials are notified and that communication strategies are developed."

At the Environmental Protection Agency, scientists and advocacy groups alike are worried about closing libraries that contain tens of thousands of agency documents and research studies. "It now appears that EPA officials are dismantling what it likely one of our country's comprehensive and accessible collections of environmental materials," four Democrats who are in line to head House committees wrote EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson two weeks ago.

No more marines should be sent to Iraq until they figure out why so many of them are corrupt. Almost all the scandal in Iraq involved marines. Coincidence? I don't think so. There's something wrong with the Marine Corps.

December 13, 2006
Army, Marine Corps To Ask for More Troops
The Army and Marine Corps are planning to ask incoming Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Congress to approve permanent increases in personnel, as senior officials in both services assert that the nation's global military strategy has outstripped their resources.

In addition, the Army will press hard for "full access" to the 346,000-strong Army National Guard and the 196,000-strong Army Reserves by asking Gates to take the politically sensitive step of easing the Pentagon restrictions on the frequency and duration of involuntary call-ups for reservists, according to two senior Army officials.

The push for more ground troops comes as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have sharply decreased the readiness of Army and Marine Corps units rotating back to the United States, compromising the ability of U.S. ground forces to respond to other potential conflicts around the world.

One of our biggest problems is the unwiliness of the media to report the lies put out by the right wing lie machine, including Rush Limbaugh and Fox. Pathetic reporters give Limbaugh a voice on their shows on top the endless hours of hate he spews. Good reporters destroy him.

December 12, 2006
Anchor Olbermann counts on commentary to boost MSNBC's ratings
Rush Limbaugh, too, gets smacked in the kisser on "Countdown." When the conservative radio host apologized for mocking actor and liberal activist Michael J. Fox's symptoms of Parkinson's disease, Olbermann wasn't buying it.

"Rush, your lies used to be slightly entertaining, but no more," and added: "Please, go back on the drugs!"

It hard to tell which is worse, the US becoming more like the former USSR or the USSR becoming more like the US.

December 12, 2006
$20bn gas project seized by Russia
Shell is being forced by the Russian government to hand over its controlling stake in the world's biggest liquefied gas project, provoking fresh fears about the Kremlin's willingness to use the country's growing strength in natural resources as a political weapon.

After months of relentless pressure from Moscow, the Anglo-Dutch company has to cut its stake in the $20bn Sakhalin-2 scheme in the far east of Russia in favour of the state-owned energy group Gazprom.

Which law did Congress pass that allows the government to decide which American can travel outside the US? We're sounding more and more like the former USSR than the US.

November 30, 2006
An Impeachable Offense

Feds rate travelers for terrorism
WASHINGTON (AP) — Without notifying the public, federal agents for the past four years have assigned millions of international travelers, including Americans, computer-generated scores rating the risk they pose of being terrorists or criminals.

The travelers are not allowed to see or directly challenge these risk assessments, which the government intends to keep on file for 40 years.

Fiscal conservatives in the GOP over the past six years gave us the largest accumulation of debt in US history - $2.9 trillion and counting.

December 11, 2006
Dems Plan to Clean Up Spending Bills
WASHINGTON (AP) - Democrats taking power in January have settled on a plan to clean up $463 billion worth of GOP budget leftovers, but they're not happy about it - and neither is the White House.

The plan by the incoming chairmen of the House and Senate Appropriations committees would kill thousands of hometown projects, called "earmarks," that lawmakers add to spending bills. Staying within President Bush's thrifty budgets for domestic agencies like the Agriculture and Education departments is part of their proposal.

"There will be no congressional earmarks," Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., and Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., said Monday in a statement announcing their plans, which were endorsed by incoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and soon-to-be Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

December 13, 2006
Israel's nukes
Israel's prime minister, Ehud Olmert, was yesterday trying to fend off accusations of ineptitude and calls for his resignation after he accidentally acknowledged for the first time that Israel had nuclear weapons.

After decades in which Israel has stuck to a doctrine of nuclear ambiguity, Mr Olmert let slip during an interview in Germany that Israel did indeed have weapons of mass destruction.

He told Germany's Sat.1 channel on Monday evening: "Iran, openly, explicitly and publicly, threatens to wipe Israel off the map. Can you say that this is the same level, when they are aspiring to have nuclear weapons, as America, France, Israel and Russia?"

December 14, 2006
OPEC Plans to Cut Oil Supply in Bid to Bolster Price
Dec. 14 (Bloomberg) -- OPEC, the producer of 40 percent of the world's oil, plans to reduce supplies on concern that rising inventories will cause prices to drop.

The producer group is discussing a cut of 500,000 barrels a day as of Feb. 1, Qatari Oil Minister Abdullah bin Hamad al- Attiyah said today in Abuja, Nigeria, where the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is meeting. OPEC has yet to reach a formal agreement, he said.

Dems hold more seats than the Republicans since the 1943-1945 congress (246 republican - 188 democrats). Clerk of the House

December 13, 2006
Dems Pick Up Another House Seat - 233-202
This was an interesting race for several reasons. Mr. Rodriguez had garnered only 22 percent of the vote in the Nov. 7 election. But he may have benefited in the runoff against Mr. Bonilla, who had received just shy of the required 50 percent in November, by campaigning on the idea that if elected, he would be joining the new Democratic majority in the House. (The Democrats picked up 30 seats, including the 23rd District on Tuesday, for a 233-202 majority, including a few independents usually voting Democratic.)

In 1991 the US went to war with Iraq over Kuwait. The central reason being Saddam would invade Saudi Arabia after Kuwait and then control a majority of the oil in the Middle East. Now we learn the Saudis support Saddam's Sunni - which leads us to believe Saudi Arabia was never afraid of Saddam in 1991 and that war was a joke - a joke until it caused 9/11.

December 13, 2006
Saudis to back Sunnis if U.S. leaves Iraq
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has warned Vice President Dick Cheney that Saudi Arabia would back the Sunnis if the United States pulls out of Iraq, according to a senior American official.

The official said the king "read the riot act" to the vice president when the two met last month in the Saudi capital, Riyadh.

The New York Times first reported the conversation Wednesday, saying Saudi support would include financial backing for minority Sunnis in the event of a civil war between them and Iraq's Shiite majority.

December 11, 2006
Taliban Create Mini State in Pakistan
PESHAWAR, Pakistan — Islamic militants are using a recent peace deal with the government to consolidate their hold in northern Pakistan, vastly expanding their training of suicide bombers and other recruits and fortifying alliances with Al Qaeda and foreign fighters, diplomats and intelligence officials from several nations say. The result, they say, is virtually a Taliban mini-state.

You can read Senator Smith's comments on the war here.

December 11, 2006
Tony Snow on GOP Senator Who Hit White House on War
Q Republican Senator Smith is challenging the strategy. What he basically said yesterday, as well, was, when you do the same thing over and over again without a clear strategy for victory, that is dereliction, that is deeply immoral. Such is the dispute. He's saying what the President is doing is immoral.

MR. SNOW: Well, then we disagree.

Q You're just going to blow it off? A Republican senator is saying the President's policy may be criminal and it's immoral, and you're just saying, we just disagree?

December 12, 2006
Poll: 7 of 10 Americans Disapprove of Handling of Iraq War
In a new Post-ABC News poll, seven in 10 Americans disapprove of the way the president is handling the situation in Iraq -- the highest percentage since the March 2003 invasion. Six in 10 say the war was not worth fighting.

December 11, 2006
Poll: 21% Approve of Bush in Iraq
(CBS) Americans believe the war in Iraq is going badly and getting worse, and think it's time for the U.S. either to change its strategy or start getting out, according to a CBS News poll.

Forty-three percent say the U.S. should keep fighting, but with new tactics, while 50 percent say the U.S. should begin to end its involvement altogether. Only 4 percent say the U.S. should keep fighting as it is doing now.

Just 21 percent approve of President Bush's handling of the war, the lowest number he's ever received, and an 8-point drop from just a month ago. Most of that drop has been among Republicans and conservatives. Three-quarters of Americans disapprove of how the president is handling Iraq.

December 12, 2006
Arctic Ocean Will Be Ice Free by 2040
New research from the US suggests that the Arctic Ocean will be almost ice-free in summer by 2040. Ironically, the ability to sail across the North Pole may open up new shipping lanes for oil tankers.

We'll still have refreeze of that ice. But what we're starting to see is that winter ice is not recovering anymore. What we see in 2006 is this case in point. We see that in the end of November, we have two million square kilometres less ice than we should have in a typical year.

This is telling us that that system is not recovering well anymore.

When being lazy is rewarded with reelection, congress will be lazy. It's that simple.

December 11, 2006
Congress in Session Only 109 Days in 2006
In fact, the Post has calculated that the 109th Congress will have met for 109 days this year, or seven days less than the infamous "Do Nothing" Congress of 1948. An ordinary worker, by contrast, is expected to put in 240 days on the job each year.

When did lazy become fashionable?

December 10, 2006
Supreme Court's docket is 40% lighter this term - 69 cases on one year
WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court has taken about 40 percent fewer cases so far this term than last.

The court now faces noticeable gaps in its calendar for late winter and early spring. A shortfall this month is the result of a pipeline empty of cases granted last term and carried over to this one.

The number of cases the court decided with signed opinions last term, 69, was the lowest since 1953 and fewer than half the number the court was deciding as recently as the mid-1980s.

December 9, 2006
Former Detainees Argue for Right to Sue Rumsfeld Over Torture
WASHINGTON, Dec. 8 — Lawyers for former detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan argued in federal court on Friday that Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld was personally responsible, and thus legally liable, for acts of torture inflicted on their clients by American military interrogators.

The nine plaintiffs, Iraqi and Afghan men held at American-run prisons, endured an array of physical and psychological abuse during their confinements in 2003 and 2004, including beatings, mock executions and painful physical restraints, their lawyers said in court papers. All were eventually released without being charged with crimes.

Big losers - the 26 Democrats who voted for the Military Commissions Act, all of whom should be targeted for defeat in the next election.

December 7, 2006
Senate Judiciary leaders introduce bill to restore habeas rights for detainees
This bill would restore the great writ of habeas corpus, a cornerstone of American liberty for hundreds of years that Congress and the President rolled back in an unprecedented and unnecessary way with September's Military Commissions Act.

We have the laziest congress, president and Supreme Court in history. What do they all have in common? They're all run by conservative republicans.

December 6, 2006
Culture Shock on Capitol Hill: House to Work 5 Days a Week
Forget the minimum wage. Or outsourcing jobs overseas. The labor issue most on the minds of members of Congress yesterday was their own: They will have to work five days a week starting in January.

The horror.

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer, the Maryland Democrat who will become House majority leader and is writing the schedule for the next Congress, said members should expect longer hours than the brief week they have grown accustomed to.

"I have bad news for you," Hoyer told reporters. "Those trips you had planned in January, forget 'em. We will be working almost every day in January, starting with the 4th."

Proof once again that more guns are not a solution. I wish US politicians would accept this truth. Maybe some day.

December 10, 2006
Black-Market Weapon Prices Surge in Iraq Chaos
SULAIMANIYA, Iraq, Dec. 8 — The Kurdish security contractor placed the black plastic box on the table. Inside was a new Glock 19, one of the 9-millimeter pistols that the United States issued by the tens of thousands to the Iraqi Army and police.

This pistol was no longer in the custody of the Iraqi Army or police. It had been stolen or sold, and it found its way to an open-air grocery stand that does a lively black-market business in police and infantry arms. The contractor bought it there.

Long time readers of this site knew most of what was missed by the media in the article below.

December 7, 2006
What the media aren't telling you about the Iraq Study Group report
Media Matters for America has identified six findings in the Iraq Study Group's report that major news outlets have largely overlooked. They include: that the Pentagon has significantly underreported the extent of violence in Iraq, that U.S. officials possess little knowledge about the sources of the ongoing attacks, and that the situation in Afghanistan has grown so dire that U.S. troops may need to be diverted there from Iraq.

Taking impeachment off the table is the act of a very weak Speaker.

December 11, 2006
"Impeachment is Not Optional"
With the crowd that packed an auditorium at Fordham University's law school cheering her, Sheehan declared, "If George Bush isn't impeached then we should never impeach anyone else. We should just take [the sections outlining the impeachment process] out of the Constitution. It is a meaningless clause of the Constitution." Like many of the activists across the country who rallied Sunday, Sheehan made a direct connection between impeaching Bush and ending what Lynn Kates, an organizer with the Center for Constitutional Rights who joined the New York forum identified as "an illegal, immoral, unethical war."

December 7, 2006
The Roman Empire is falling - so it turns to Iran and Syria
Just as Crassus lost his legions' banners in the deserts of Syria-Iraq, so has George W Bush. There is no Mark Antony to retrieve the honour of the empire. The policy "is not working". "Collapse" and "catastrophe" - words heard in the Roman senate many a time - were embedded in the text of the Baker report. Et tu, James?

This is also the language of the Arab world, always waiting for the collapse of empire, for the destruction of the safe Western world which has provided it with money, weapons, political support. First, the Arabs trusted the British Empire and Winston Churchill, and then they trusted the American Empire and Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the Truman and Eisenhower administrations and all the other men who would give guns to the Israelis and billions to the Arabs - Nixon, Carter, Clinton, Bush...

And now they are told that the Americans are not winning the war; that they are losing. If you were an Arab, what would you do?

The GOP created over $2.9 trillion of debt. It's safe to say there are NO fiscal conservatives in the republican party today.

December 10, 2006
GOP heaps scorn on retiring Frist
An angry Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., a fiscal conservative and Budget Committee chairman, said: "This is being done by the Republican leadership to the Republican membership.

"You just have to ask yourself how we, as a party, got to this point, where we have a leadership which is going to ram down the throats of our party the biggest budgetbuster in the history of the Congress under Republican leadership," Gregg said.