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Impeach Bush--Index 45

February 4, 2007
With Rumsfeld Gone, Critics of War Look to Rice
WASHINGTON, Feb. 3 — For six years, first as national security adviser and then as secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice worked under the cover of a very effective shield: Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, who was the administration's lightning rod for criticism over its handling of Iraq.

But in recent weeks, with Mr. Rumsfeld gone, Ms. Rice has faced increased, and somewhat unfamiliar, criticism. At a Senate hearing on Jan. 11, she confronted a wall of opposition from Republicans as well as Democrats. During hearings this week on Iraq, several of her predecessors were pointed in their disapproval of her job performance.

Former Secretary of State James A. Baker III took issue with Ms. Rice's refusal to engage Syria diplomatically. Back in his day, he told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, "We practiced diplomacy full time, and it paid off."

February 4, 2007
War in Iraq Propelling A Massive Migration
Nearly 2 million Iraqis -- about 8 percent of the prewar population -- have embarked on a desperate migration, mostly to Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, according to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. The refugees include large numbers of doctors, academics and other professionals vital for Iraq's recovery. Another 1.7 million have been forced to move to safer towns and villages inside Iraq, and as many as 50,000 Iraqis a month flee their homes, the U.N. agency said in January.

Fewer than 500 have been resettled in the United States since the invasion. Aid officials and human rights activists say the United States and other Western nations are focused on reconstructing Iraq while ignoring the war's human fallout.

February 4, 2007
Brzezinski: Bush is seeking a pretext to attack Iran
Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday, Zbigniew Brzezinski, the national security adviser in the Carter administration, delivered a scathing critique of the war in Iraq and warned that the Bush administration's policy was leading inevitably to a war with Iran, with incalculable consequences for US imperialism in the Middle East and internationally.

Brzezinski, who opposed the March 2003 invasion and has publicly denounced the war as a colossal foreign policy blunder, began his remarks on what he called the "war of choice" in Iraq by characterizing it as "a historic, strategic and moral calamity."

February 4, 2007
Veterans Affairs: backlog of 400,000 case
The California Nurses Association reported that in the first quarter of 2006, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs "treated 20,638 Iraq veterans for post-traumatic stress disorder, and they have a backlog of 400,000 cases." A returning soldier has to wait an average of 165 days for a VA decision on initial disability benefits, and an appeal can take up to three years.

This is unacceptable and reprehensible.

February 4, 2007
Truck bomber kills 135 in deadliest Iraq blast
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A suicide bomber killed 135 people on Saturday in the deadliest single bombing in Iraq since the 2003 war, driving a truck laden with one tonne of explosives into a market in a mainly Shi'ite area of Baghdad.

The blast, which Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki blamed on Saddam Hussein supporters and other Sunni militants, shattered fruit and vegetable stalls, caved in shopfronts and left the smashed bodies of shoppers strewn in the street.

It came as U.S. and Iraqi troops prepared for a planned offensive seen as a last-ditch effort to stem worsening sectarian bloodshed that kills hundreds in Baghdad every week.

February 4, 2007
Ground Fire takes out four US helicopters
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - The four U.S. helicopters that have crashed in Iraq since Jan. 20 were apparently shot down, the chief American military spokesman said Sunday - the first time the U.S. command has publicly acknowledged that the aircraft were lost to enemy fire.

Maj. Gen. William Caldwell told reporters that the investigations into the crashes of three Army and one private helicopters are incomplete but "it does appear they were all the result of some kind of anti-Iraqi ground fire that did bring those helicopters down."

February 2, 2007
Poll: 55% Favor Firm Timetable for Withdrawing Troops
Most Americans (55%) favor a firm timetable for withdrawing all U.S. troops from Iraq within a year. That figure includes 37% who favor an immediate withdrawal and 18% who want a timetable that will complete the withdrawal in a year. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of 1,000 adults found that just 33% believe U.S. combat troops should remain in Iraq "until our mission is accomplished."

These results come at a time when just 33% believe the President's call for a temporary troop "surge" will succeed. Just 37% of Americans believe that the U.S. and its allies are winning the War on Terror. Only 28% give the President good or excellent marks for handling the situation in Iraq.

February 4, 2007
The Cost of the Iraq War: Can You Say $1,000,000,000,000?
Feb. 4, 2007 — The price tag for the Iraq War is now estimated at $700 billion in direct costs and perhaps twice that much when indirect expenditures are included. Cost estimates vary — Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz puts the total cost at more than $2 trillion — but let's be conservative and say it's only $1 trillion (in today's dollars).

As a number of other commentators have recently written, this number — a 1 followed by 12 zeroes — can be put into perspective in various ways. Given how large the war looms, it doesn't hurt to repeat this simple exercise with other examples and in other ways.

February 4, 2007
Fox Viewership of State of the Union Falls Dramatically
Perhaps drawn by the drama of watching President Bush address a newly Democratic Congress, more than 45 million Americans tuned into the State of the Union speech, a number that was up 9 percent from 2006, according to Nielsen ratings.

But interestingly enough, while the overall audience for the speech grew substantially, the number of Americans who watched the speech on the Fox News dropped dramatically. Hmmm. Wonder why? Maybe folks have lost the stomach for the kind of baloney served by the Fox apologists and propagandists.

February 2, 2007
All England schools to see Al Gore climate film
LONDON (Reuters) - The government will distribute Al Gore's dramatic global warming film to all secondary schools in England in its fight to tackle the climate crisis, Environment Minister David Miliband said on Friday.

The announcement came as a panel of the world's top scientists issued a new report blaming mankind for the crisis and predicting that average temperatures would rise by between 1.8 and 4.0 degrees Celsius this century as a result.

"The debate over the science of climate change is well and truly over, as demonstrated by the publication of today's report," Miliband said.

"I was struck by the visual evidence the film provides, making clear that the changing climate is already having an impact on our world today, from Mount Kilimanjaro to the Himalayan mountains," he added.

Will republicans support a tax increase to pay this bill? Not a chance.

February 2, 2007
Care for U.S. veterans could cost $662 bln
BOSTON (Reuters) - Medical costs for U.S. veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could range from $350 billion to $662 billion over the next 40 years, as soldiers survive injuries that would have killed them in past conflicts, according to a Harvard University study.

Due to improvements in battlefield medicine and equipment, there are now about 16 "nonmortally wounded" soldiers for every death, far more than the 2.6 soldiers wounded per death in Vietnam, the study said, citing Department of Veterans' Affairs data.

February 4, 2007
Iraqi Interior Ministry estimates 1,000 killed in one week
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- The Iraqi Interior Ministry estimates that about 1,000 people have been killed throughout Iraq in the past week due to gunbattles, drive-by shootings and bomb attacks, a ministry official said Sunday.

The figure includes members of militia and terrorist groups, civilians and Iraqi security forces. The official said the data was gathered by Iraq's Interior, Health and Defense ministries.

February 2, 2007
Pentagon official resigns over detainee remark
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon official who criticized law firms for defending detainees held at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has resigned due to the backlash over his remarks, a Defense Department spokesman said on Friday.

Charles "Cully" Stimson, deputy assistant secretary for detainee affairs, last month called it "shocking" that major U.S. law firms represented Guantanamo detainees for free and said they would likely suffer financially after their corporate clients learned of the work.

February 6, 2007 (issue)
Mainline Churches oppose troop surge
Mainline church leaders are expressing opposition to President Bush's plan to escalate U.S. troop presence in Iraq. Some clergy drew parallels to Martin Luther King's impassioned pleas decades ago against the ultimately fruitless American war in Vietnam.

"Congress should provide funding only to bring U.S. troops home and to aid in rebuilding Iraq," said Winkler, general secretary of the United Methodist Board of Church and Society. The denomination, like most mainline churches, has opposed the U.S.-led invasion and occupation since its prelude four years ago when the administration argued that the Iraq regime had weapons of mass destruction—a claim found to be false.

February 2, 2007
Soaring war funding raises concerns about scope of spending
WASHINGTON — Next week, the Bush administration is expected to send Congress what could be one of the largest supplemental spending requests in history — $100 billion or more, primarily for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It's supposed to cover basic costs, including personnel, equipment repairs and replacement, ammunition and other directly related operating expenses not covered by the Pentagon's regular annual budget for fiscal year 2007.

But military budget analysts and tax watchdogs say if the past is any indicator, the Pentagon and the Congress will try to load this off-budget shopping cart with expensive new weapons and pork for the voters that has nothing to do with defense or any of the disaster relief that emergency spending bills sometimes fund as well.

February 2, 2007
Global Warming Will 'Continue For Centuries'
(CBS News) PARIS The warning from a top panel of international scientists was blunt and dire: "warming of the climate system is unequivocal," the cause is "very likely" man-made, and the menace will "continue for centuries."

Authors of the 21-page report released Friday on why the planet is warming by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change placed the onus on governments to stop prevaricating and take action.

The report highlighted "increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global mean sea level," the report said.

February 2, 2007
Intelligence estimate cites increasing peril in Iraq
WASHINGTON - A new National Intelligence Estimate paints a grim view of the violence and political situation facing the United States in Iraq, according to officials familiar with a much-anticipated, collaborative analysis from all 16 U.S. spy agencies.

The Office of the National Intelligence Director was releasing an unclassified summary of the document - entitled "Prospects for Iraq's Stability: A Challenging Road Ahead" - on Friday. President Bush was briefed on its conclusions on Thursday.

February 2, 2007
Bush Seeks Big Medicare and Medicaid Saving
WASHINGTON, Feb. 1 — President Bush will ask Congress in his budget next week to squeeze more than $70 billion of savings from Medicare and Medicaid over the next five years, administration officials and health care lobbyists said Thursday.

Mr. Bush is also expected to propose changes in the Children's Health Insurance Program to sharpen its focus on low-income families. The changes could reduce federal payments to states that cover children with family incomes exceeding twice the poverty level. Under federal guidelines, a family of four is considered poor if its annual income is less than $20,650.

One measure of the political difficulty facing the president's plan for Medicare and Medicaid is that he sought $20 billion less in savings from the two programs last year, when Republicans controlled Congress, and few of those proposals were adopted.

February 2, 2007
U.S. Reconfigures the Way Casualty Totals Are Given
Statistics on a Pentagon Web site have been reorganized in a way that lowers the published totals of American nonfatal casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan.

On Monday, the bottom line of the Defense Department's Web page on casualties in Iraq listed a total of 47,657 "nonmortal casualties."

By Tuesday, the same page no longer showed a total for nonmortal casualties. The bottom line is now "total — medical air transported," and the figure is 31,493.

The new total excludes 16,164 troops who were wounded but did not require medical air transport because their injuries were minor. The total does include combat wounds, nonhostile injuries and diseases serious enough for medical transport.

February 1, 2007
Guantanamo inmates shown Saddam hanging photos
In an attempt to intimidate inmates, the lead American lawyer for Australian detainee David Hicks said, pictures of Saddam's trial were also shown to detainees, along with articles about executions carried out by extremists.

"Displaying photos of condemned men to those who may be facing capital charges can only be interpreted as an attempt to intimidate and compel submission under a threat of death and mentally torture an already abused detainee population," Joshua Dratel said in a statement to media in Australia.

February 1, 2007
US lags far behind wealthy countries family-oriented workplace policies
NEW YORK - The United States lags far behind virtually all wealthy countries with regard to family-oriented workplace policies such as maternity leave, paid sick days and support for breast-feeding, a new study by Harvard and McGill University researchers says.

The new data comes as politicians and lobbyists wrangle over whether to scale back the existing federal law providing unpaid family leaves or to push new legislation allowing paid leaves.

January 30, 2007
Religious zealot jails rape victim for two days
TAMPA - First, police say, a 21-year-old woman was raped at Gasparilla. Then, she was handcuffed and jailed - for two nights and two days.

A jail worker with religious objections blocked her from ingesting a morning-after pill to prevent pregnancy, her attorney says, keeping her from taking the required second dose for more than 24 hours longer than recommended.

February 2, 2007
Scientists, economists offered cash to dispute climate study
Scientists and economists have been offered $10 000 each by a lobby group funded by one of the world's largest oil companies to undermine a major climate change report due to be published on Friday.

Letters sent by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), an ExxonMobil-funded think tank with close links to the Bush administration, offered the payments for articles that emphasise the shortcomings of a report from the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

February 2, 2007
As US power fades, it can't find friends to take on Iran
The safest conclusion is that Washington remains confused about what Iran is doing, and frustrated by its own inability to find allies to support a response. All options are being prepared, along with their "justifications". The International Institute for Strategic Studies' annual survey rightly pointed out this week that US power is fading. It can shape an agenda but not implement it globally.

An Impeachable Offense

February 1, 2007
13 CIA operatives charged
BERLIN - The CIA's clandestine program of abducting terror suspects and taking them to secret sites for interrogation unraveled further Wednesday as German prosecutors issued arrest warrants for 13 agency operatives in the kidnapping of a German citizen in the Balkans in December 2003.

The case is the second in which European prosecutors have filed charges against CIA employees involved in counterterrorism operations. Italian prosecutors have charged 25 CIA operatives and a U.S. Air Force officer with kidnapping a radical cleric on a Milan street in 2003 and taking him to Cairo, where he claims he was tortured.

The Bush White House commits a crime, then withholds the information from congress, then classifies their crimes so no one can talk about it. Is this how a democracy is supposed to work?

An Impeachable Offense

February 1, 2007
Justice releases domestic spying papers
Staffers said the push for access was driven by Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-El Paso, and Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va. — the heads of the House and Senate intelligence panels, respectively — who warned Justice Department officials they would face congressional subpoenas if they did not turn over the records.

Reyes and other lawmakers said they would push for other documents the administration has refused to turn over, including the order creating the NSA program in October 2001.

An Impeachable Offense

January 30, 2007
Former Abu Ghraib Guard Discussed Gang Rape
....girl, she was probably like 15 years old. Yeah, she was hot dude. The body on that girl, yeah, really tight. You know, hadn't been touched yet. She was fucking prime. So....

One of the guys started pimping her out for 50 bucks a shot. I think at the end of the day, you know, he'd made like 500 bucks before she hung herself.

Really?

Yeah.

She hung herself? How's come she hung herself?

I don't know. She wasn't happy.

In their culture, it's really shunned upon if you get raped. I guess she would have been stoned to death anyways by her people, you know. It's fucked up.

An Impeachable Offense

January 30, 2007
FBI turns to broad new wiretap method
One reason why the full-pipe technique raises novel legal questions is that under federal law, the FBI must perform what's called "minimization."

Federal law says that agents must "minimize the interception of communications not otherwise subject to interception" and keep the supervising judge informed of what's happening. Minimization is designed to provide at least a modicum of privacy by limiting police eavesdropping on innocuous conversations.

EFF's Bankston disagrees. He said that the FBI is "collecting and apparently storing indefinitely the communications of thousands--if not hundreds of thousands--of innocent Americans in violation of the Wiretap Act and the 4th Amendment to the Constitution."

January 31, 2007
War Profiteering Cost 10's of Millions in Iraq Reconstruction
The quarterly audit released Wednesday by Stuart Bowen Jr., the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, found the $300 billion U.S. war and reconstruction effort continues to be plagued with waste, spiraling violence and corruption.

According to Bowen's report, the State Department paid $43.8 million to contractor DynCorp International for the residential camp for police training personnel outside of Baghdad's Adnan Palace grounds that has stood empty for months. About $4.2 million of the money was improperly spent on 20 VIP trailers and an Olympic-size pool, all ordered by the Iraqi Ministry of Interior but never authorized by the U.S.

U.S. officials spent another $36.4 million for weapons such as armored vehicles, body armor and communications equipment that can't be accounted for. DynCorp also may have prematurely billed $18 million in other potentially unjustified costs, the report said.

This White House is losing case after case in court - most recently the EPA lost a case in which they decided it was ok for business to pollute. Since this WH can't be trusted with faithfully executing our laws, there's only one recourse - impeachment and removal from office.

January 31, 2007
White House Order Tightens Grip On Policy
WASHINGTON -- A White House move to tighten its control over federal regulations is providing fresh evidence of the Bush administration's intent to leave its conservative imprint on government over the next two years.

The White House action, in the form of an executive order, is a reminder that despite Democrats' success in November's congressional elections, Mr. Bush retains control of the basic machinery of government that often decides how corporations and citizens go about their business. It is a power that Congress has limited ability to affect.

Fake war intelligence, now more fake science. It's time to call these neocons what they are - fascists.

An Impeachable Offense

January 30, 2007
Seven government agencies allege pressure on global warming
WASHINGTON - Two private advocacy groups told a congressional hearing Tuesday that climate scientists at seven government agencies say they have been subjected to political pressure aimed at downplaying the threat of global warming.

Nearly half of the 279 said in response to another question that at some point they had been told to delete reference to "global warming" or "climate change" from a report.

January 29, 2007
White House Falsely Claims Iraq Study Group Supports Escalation Strategy
The Iraq Study Group did say a "short-term redeployment" of more troops into Baghdad could be part of a larger military, economic, and diplomatic plan. But both American Enterprise Institute's Fred Kagan — the architect of the escalation plan — and Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno — the new U.S. ground commander in Iraq — have said the escalation could last anywhere between 18 months and 3 years. That's hardly "short-term."

An Impeachable Offense

January 30, 2007
Troops going to Iraq face shortage of supplies
Trucks are in particularly short supply. For example, the Army would need 1,500 specially outfitted - known as "up-armored" - 2 1/2-ton and five-ton trucks in Iraq for the incoming units, said Lt. Gen. Stephen Speakes, the Army's deputy chief of staff for force development.

"We don't have the (armor) kits and we don't have the trucks," Speakes said in an interview. He said it will take the Army months, probably until summer, to supply and outfit the additional trucks.

Still, U.S. commanders privately expressed doubts that Iraq-bound units would receive a full complement of Humvees. "It's inevitable that that has to happen, unless five brigades of up-armored Humvees fall out of the sky," one senior Army official said of the feared shortfall.

January 30, 2007
Fleischer Recalls Discussion About Plame
Four other government witnesses also have said they discussed Plame with Libby before July 10, and the discrepancy between those accounts and what Libby told the FBI and a grand jury are a major component of the perjury and obstruction of justice charges against Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff.

Libby now says his memory failed him when he spoke to Russert.

January 29, 2007
Ari Fleischer contradicts Libby in court
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former White House spokesman Ari Fleischer on Monday contradicted the story former vice presidential aide Lewis "Scooter" Libby has told about when he first learned the identity of a CIA operative whose cover was blown in the press.

Fleischer testified in Libby's perjury trial that the former vice presidential aide first told him the CIA operative's identity over lunch on July 7, 2003, three days before Libby has told prosecutors he first learned her name.

Fleischer, who agreed to testify in exchange for a guarantee of immunity, said Libby told him about Plame the day after Wilson publicly charged the Bush administration with ignoring his findings that Saddam Hussein had not sought uranium from Niger.

January 29, 2007
Congress, the Constitution and War: The Limits on Presidential Power
There is little question that Congress could use its power of the purse to end a war. But cutting off financing is a drastic step, and one that members of Congress are understandably reluctant to take, because it can look like a refusal to support the troops. The Constitution's text, Supreme Court cases and history show, however, that Congress can instead pass laws that set the terms of military engagement. Whether it would be wise for Congress to adopt such limits is debatable; whether it has the authority to do so should not be.

January 25, 2007
John Conyers Puts Presidential Abuse of Power Back 'On the Table'
The congressman, a veteran of the Nixon impeachment hearings who recently published a book on Bush's crimes, today announced plans to have his Judiciary Committee hold hearings on Bush's rampant use of so-called "signing statements." These are the documents the president has claimed give him the power, as a commander-in-chief, to ignore laws duly passed by the Congress.

Bush has used this bogus claim to ignore all or parts of some 1200 laws passed by Congress. He has done it willfully, and he has done it deceptively, often adding the signing statement saying he will be ignoring a law after having first hosted a friendly photo-op signing session at which he offer no indication that he had any problem with a measure.

An Impeachable Offense

January 28, 2007
Why It Is a Bad Day For The Constitution Whenever Gonzales Testifies
In the history of U.S. Attorney Generals, Alberto Gonzales is constantly reaching for new lows. So dubious is his testimony that he is not afforded the courtesy given most cabinet officers when appearing on Capitol Hill: Congress insists he testify under oath. Even under oath, Gonzales's purported understanding of the Constitution is historically and legally inaccurate, far beyond the bounds of partisan interpretation.

So at the January 18th hearing, Senator Specter asked the Attorney General to explain the betrayal of their agreement. He pointed out that the agreement was that Congress would have "additional safeguards on oversight." And he noted that, nevertheless, the President's signing statement "reserved what he calls his right to disregard those oversight provisions." He then asked Gonzales, "In a context where the chairman of the committee and the attorney general negotiate an arrangement, is it appropriate for the president to put a signing statement which negates the oversight which had been bargained for, which has been bargained for?"

Gonzales simply cited the legal proposition that "a signing statement cannot give to the president any authority that he doesn't already have under the Constitution." But Specter responded adeptly that "if [the President] thinks those provisions inappropriately take away his constitutional authority and the Act's unconstitutional, then he ought to veto it. Or at least not to bargain it away." Gonzales had little to say in response, except to reiterate that the President wanted the Act reauthorized, and had the power not to honor the deal Gonzales had made.

This kind of practice might be common on used car lots, but should not be common in our government. Gonzales missed the bottom line: The President had rendered Gonzales's word worthless, and since a person is only as good as his or her word, he had thus dishonored Gonzales. Therefore, Gonzales ought to have resigned - as I believe many Attorneys General before him would have done.

Now that a majority of Americans wish the Bush presidency were over, Senator Clinton attacks him. I prefer leaders, not followers.

January 29, 2007
Clinton To Bush: Clean Up Your Mess
(CBS/AP) Hillary Rodham Clinton said Sunday that President Bush has made a mess of Iraq and it is his responsibility to "extricate" the United States from the situation before he leaves office.

It would be "the height of irresponsibility" to pass the war along to the next commander in chief, she said.

"This was his decision to go to war with an ill-conceived plan and an incompetently executed strategy," the Democratic senator from New York said in her initial campaign swing through the early-bird caucus state of Iowa.

McCain is a classic conservative; big spending, war-mongering, liar and hypocrite. He should be the prefect candidate for the religious right.

January 27, 2007
The myth of McCain
McCain positioned himself as consistently belligerent, even to Bush's right: in favour of bombing Iran and North Korea. He also proposed a "surge" of troops into Iraq, an idea gleaned from the neocons. If Bush had adopted the Iraq Study Group approach of diplomacy and redeployment, which McCain had assailed as "dispiriting", the right would have hailed McCain as a prophet with honour. However, importuned by the same neocons who had sold it to McCain, Bush seized upon the "surge".

McCain had trapped himself. He is now chained to Bush. As Bush's war has escalated, McCain's popularity has nose dived. Still the frontrunner for the Republican nomination, he might have made himself more acceptable to the base, but his political strategy has shattered his myth. Bearing the burden of Bush, he may have become unelectable.

January 12, 2007
Israel Looking for an Extreme Makeover
As part of its "re-branding" strategy, according to a report in the Washington Times, Israel is turning to "the wisdom of Madison Avenue".

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has "met with public relations executives, branding specialists and diplomats à in Tel Aviv to brainstorm about improving the country's image by using the marketing insights first developed to sell peanut butter and Pontiacs," the newspaper reported.

"When the word 'Israel' is said outside its borders, we want it to invoke not fighting or soldiers, but a place that is desirable to visit and invest in, a place that preserves democratic ideals while struggling to exist," Livni was quoted as saying by Reuters.

An Impeachable Offense

January 28, 2007
Libby case witness details art of media manipulation
WASHINGTON -- A smorgasbord of Washington insider details emerged during the perjury trial of I. Lewis Libby, the vice president's former chief of staff.

No one served up spicier morsels than Cathie Martin, Vice President Dick Cheney's former top press assistant . Martin described the craft of media manipulation -- under oath and in blunter terms than politicians like to hear in public.

Most of the techniques were candidly described: the uses of leaks and exclusives, when to hide in anonymity, which news medium was seen as more susceptible to control, and what timing was most propitious.

Even the rating of certain journalists as friends to favor and critics to shun -- a faint echo of the enemies list drawn up in Richard Nixon's White House more than 30 years ago.

The Canadian Government has confirmed the US sent Arrar to Syria to be tortured in violation of the Geneva Conventions and the War Crimes Act of 1996. For all practical purposes Bush is now a war criminal.

An Impeachable Offense

January 26, 2007
Prime minister announces $10.5-million compensation for Maher Arar

Arar, a Syrian-born Canadian citizen who worked in Ottawa as a computer specialist, was detained by U.S. authorities in New York in 2002 and deported to Syria on the basis of unsubstantiated RCMP suspicions.

An independent fact-finder concluded Arar was tortured by Syrian officials before being released from a Damascus prison in late 2003. While behind bars, he was forced to make false confessions about involvement with the al-Qaida terrorist network.

January 28, 2007
Biden: No more than 20 senators will support surge
WASHINGTON, Jan. 28 — Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, predicted today that no more than 20 senators would voice support for the president's troop increase in Iraq when the Senate debates resolutions opposing that plan.

Mr. Biden and other Democrats also angrily contested the Bush administration's suggestion that their criticism of the war was emboldening the nation's enemies.

January 29, 2007
770 civilian contractors died in Iraq
Laboring in a war with no discernible front line, more than 770 civilian contractors have died in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion began in March 2003.

Statistics kept by the Labor Department indicate fatalities among civilian contractors working for American firms escalated rapidly late last year, with at least 301 dying in Iraq in 2006 -- including 124 in the final three months.

We desperately need uniform national gun laws. The State of Florida is breaking its own laws. What does that say to criminals (and our children)?

January 28, 2007
Florida gives gun permits to felons
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Hundreds of criminals were able to obtain concealed weapons permits in Florida because of loopholes, errors and miscommunication, a newspaper reported Sunday.

An analysis of state records show the roughly 410,000 Floridians licensed to carry hidden guns included 1,400 who had pleaded guilty or no contest to felonies, 216 with outstanding warrants, 128 named in active domestic violence injunctions and six registered sex offenders, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported.

January 24, 2007
Could CA And U.S. Debt Be A Security Risk?
The federal and state debt figures are staggering and difficult to comprehend. But to make it more understandable, let's put it this way: to retire the federal debt would take 303 years, the California debt, 84 years.

However, bond debt and deficit budgets alarm Haas Business School Dean Tom Campbell. He told the Commonwealth Club today that the federal debt is now $6.3 trillion dollars and California's debt is $63 billion dollars. What that means is that for every $10 dollars in the federal and state budgets, $6 dollars goes toward debt payments and social programs -- fixed expenses -- leaving only $4 dollars to pay for everything else.

-- 16 percent is held by Japan
-- 10 percent by China
-- 9 percent by the United Kingdom
-- 15 percent by other nations

Israel reminds me a lot of the Bush White House. No matter how many times they get caught lying, breaking the law or just thumbing their noses at us, the Congress looks the other way.

January 28, 2007
Israel May Have Violated Arms Pact, U.S. Says
WASHINGTON, Jan 27 — The Bush administration will inform Congress on Monday that Israel may have violated agreements with the United States when it fired American-supplied cluster munitions into southern Lebanon during its fight with Hezbollah last summer, the State Department said Saturday.

The finding, though preliminary, has prompted a contentious debate within the administration over whether the United States should penalize Israel for its use of cluster munitions against towns and villages where Hezbollah had placed its rocket launchers.

The Bush White House swore to faithfully execute the laws of the land. Instead, they've become criminals - breaking laws faster than courts can stop them.

Where in the hell is Congress?

An Impeachable Offense

January 26, 2007
Federal court rules against EPA
The decision late Thursday by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that it was improper for the EPA to let power plants circumvent environmental laws - for instance, restocking polluted water with new fish instead of paying to upgrade their technology.

It said the EPA's decisions must "be driven by technology, not cost," unless two technologies produce essentially the same benefits but have much different costs.

January 25, 2007
US Debt Held By Foreign Countries: $1.785 Trillion
The Fed said its holdings of Treasury and agency debt kept for overseas central banks rose by $11.48 billion in the week ended Jan. 24, to stand at a total of $1.785 trillion.

Overseas central banks, particularly those in Asia, have been huge buyers of U.S. debt in recent years, and own over a quarter of marketable Treasuries.

In my opinion the biggest mistake was blowing up the entire country in what was fondly called "Shock and Awe." When a country isn't capable of functioning anymore, civil war becomes more likely. Shock and Awe was a made for TV war and was waged for the sole purpose of terrorizing the Iraqi people into US submission.

January 25, 2007
Iraq VP: Iraqi occupation was idiotic
DAVOS, Switzerland - The US-led occupation of Iraq after Saddam Hussein was toppled was an "idiot" decision, Iraqi Vice President Adel Abdel Mahdi said Thursday during the World Economic Forum here.

However, Mahdi cautioned that winning the "war" in Baghdad, where US troop levels have recently been reinforced, would be crucial to ending the spiral of violence in the country.

Americans are simply tired of all the excuses for war and excuses for why we're losing. Democrats have to stop enabling Bush and stop his war.

January 27, 2007
Post State of the Union: A Sorry State
Jan. 27, 2007 - President George W. Bush concluded his annual State of the Union address this week with the words "the State of our Union is strong … our cause in the world is right … and tonight that cause goes on." Maybe so, but the state of the Bush administration is at its worst yet, according to the latest NEWSWEEK Poll. The president's approval ratings are at their lowest point in the poll's history—30 percent—and more than half the country (58 percent) say they wish the Bush presidency were simply over, a sentiment that is almost unanimous among Democrats (86 percent), and is shared by a clear majority (59 percent) of independents and even one in five (21 percent) Republicans. Half (49 percent) of all registered voters would rather see a Democrat elected president in 2008, compared to just 28 percent who'd prefer the GOP to remain in the White House.

Public fatigue over the war in the Iraq is not reflected solely in the president's numbers, however. Congress is criticized by nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of Americans for not being assertive enough in challenging the Bush administration's conduct of the war. Even a third (31 percent) of rank-and-file Republicans say the previous Congress, controlled by their party, didn't do enough to challenge the administration on the war.

January 25, 2007
Impeachment: The Case in Favor
Our country's Founders provided the power of impeachment to prevent the subversion of the Constitution. President Bush has subverted and defied the Constitution in many ways. His defiance and his subversion continue.

Failure to impeach Bush would condone his actions. It would allow him to assume he can simply continue to violate the laws on wiretapping and torture and violate other laws as well without fear of punishment. He could keep the Iraq War going or expand it even further than he just has on the basis of more lies, deceptions and exaggerations. Remember, as recently as October 26, Bush said, "Absolutely, we are winning" the war in Iraq--a blatant falsehood. Worse still, if Congress fails to act, Bush might be emboldened to believe he may start another war, perhaps against Iran, again on the basis of lies, deceptions and exaggerations.

January 27, 2007
Lawyers probe Fleischer's immunity deal'
Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald says that in early 2004, as his investigation was heating up into who revealed CIA operative Valerie Plame's name to reporters, Fleischer stepped forward with an offer to prosecutors: Promise no prosecution and he would help their case.

Fleischer acknowledged being one of the leakers, but he wouldn't say a word without a promise of immunity.

Once the deal was struck in February 2004, Fleischer revealed that he had discussed Plame with reporters in July 2003, days before leaving his job at the White House. He also said he learned about Plame from Libby, who was the chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney.

Fleischer's testimony is significant because he says he talked to Libby about Plame days before Libby told the FBI he was surprised to learn it from a reporter.

An Impeachable Offense

January 27, 2007
The Bait-and-Switch White House
All of that was distressing enough. But in Friday's Times, Adam Liptak gave an account of the way the administration — after grandly announcing that it was finally going to obey the law on wiretapping — is trying to quash lawsuits over Mr. Bush's outlaw eavesdropping operations by imposing outrageous secrecy and control over the courts.

Justice Department lawyers are withholding evidence from plaintiffs and even restricting the access of judges to documents in cases involving Mr. Bush's decision to authorize the warrantless interception of e-mail and phone calls. In one suit, Justice Department lawyers tried to seize computers from the plaintiffs' lawyers to remove a document central to their case against the government.

In response to these and other serious concerns, the Justice Department offered only the most twisted excuses, which a federal judge rightly compared to "Alice in Wonderland."

Regardless of which side you fall on, it's worth remembering the media follows the polls more than any other group of people in the country. When Bush's numbers were high, they treated him like a god. Now . . . .

January 28, 2007
Poll: Bush 30% Approval
Jan. 28 (Bloomberg) -- President George W. Bush's approval rating is at an all-time low of 30 percent following his State of the Union speech this week, a Newsweek magazine poll found.

The new poll also found that 58 percent of respondents said they "personally wish" Bush's presidency was over at this time, and 53 percent said they think history will see him as a below- average president.

The Bush legacy...

us_influence_trend (3K)

January 23, 2007
View of US's global role 'worse'
The view of the US's role in the world has deteriorated both internationally and domestically, a BBC poll suggests.

The World Service survey, conducted in 25 nations including the US, found that three in four respondents disapproved of how Washington had dealt with Iraq.

The military started investigating Abu Ghraib in May of 2003 -with only one officer being charged.

January 27, 2007
Abu Ghraib officer to be court-martialed
HAGERSTOWN, Md. - The only U.S. military officer charged with a crime in the Abu Ghraib scandal will be court-martialed on eight charges, including cruelty and maltreatment of prisoners, the Army said Friday.

Lt. Col. Steven Lee Jordan, a 50-year-old reservist from Virginia who ran the interrogation center at the Iraqi prison, was accused of failing to exert his authority as the place descended into chaos, with prisoners stripped naked, photographed in humiliating poses and intimidated by snarling dogs. He was also charged with lying to investigators.

January 25, 2007
Rockefeller: Cheney applied 'constant' pressure to stall investigation on flawed Iraq intelligence
"It was just constant," Rockefeller said of Cheney's alleged interference. He added that he knew that the vice president attended regular policy meetings in which he conveyed White House directions to Republican staffers.

Republicans "just had to go along with the administration," he said.

January 25, 2007
Senior Arms Control Official Reigns
WASHINGTON -- Robert Joseph, the State Department's senior arms control and security official, has resigned.

His departure follows that of several other top diplomatic officials, including Philip Zelikow, a close adviser to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice; Deputy Secretary Robert Zoellick; and John Bolton, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

Court documents are being deleted by the government without the consent of the court. If the Courts are too cowardly to do their job maybe the congress will step in and stop these gross violations of the separations of powers.

An Impeachable Offense

January 26, 2007
Administration employed extraordinary secrecy in defending NSA surveillance
Some cases challenging the program, which monitored international communications of people in the United States without court approval, have also involved atypical maneuvering. Soon after one suit challenging the program was filed last year in Oregon, Justice Department lawyers threatened to seize an exhibit from the court file.

This month, in the same case, the department sought to inspect and delete files from the computers on which lawyers for the plaintiffs had prepared their legal filings.

Russert is a GOP enabler. He lets them lie to the nation.

January 26, 2007
Libby trial pulls back White House curtain
Flashed on the courtroom computer screens were her notes from 2004 about how Mr. Cheney could respond to allegations that the Bush administration had played fast and loose with evidence of Iraq's nuclear ambitions. Option 1: "MTP-VP," she wrote, then listed the pros and cons of a vice presidential appearance on the Sunday NBC television show. Under the "pro" column, she wrote: "control message."

"I suggested we put the vice president on 'Meet the Press,' which was a tactic we often used," Ms. Martin testified. "It's our best format."

January 22, 2007
Bush Poll: Lowest Since Nixon
Jan. 22, 2007 — President Bush faces the nation this week more unpopular than any president on the eve of a State of the Union address since Richard Nixon in 1974.

Nixon was beleaguered by the Watergate scandal; for Bush, three decades later, it's the war in Iraq. With his unpopular troop surge on the table, his job rating matches the worst of his presidency: Thirty-three percent of Americans approve of his work in office while 65 percent disapprove, 2-1 negative, matching his career low last May.

Only three postwar presidents have gone lower — Jimmy Carter, Nixon and Harry Truman. And only one has had a higher disapproval rating, Nixon.

January 26, 2007
Military confirms 4 U.S. soldiers were abducted, killed in Karbala
BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Four American soldiers were abducted during a sophisticated sneak attack last week in the Shiite holy city of Karbala, the U.S. military confirmed Friday. It said three were shot to death and a fourth was mortally wounded with a gunshot to the head when they were found in a neighboring province, far from the compound where they were captured.

Two of the four were handcuffed together in the back seat of an SUV near the southern Iraqi town of Mahawil. A third dead soldier was on the ground nearby. The fourth soldier died on the way to the hospital, the military said in a statement issued late Friday that confirmed details reported by The Associated Press earlier.

January 25, 2007
UPI Poll: Oil seen as factor for Iraq war
A total of 32.7 percent of the 6,909 U.S. respondents to a Jan. 16-18 Zogby interactive poll said Iraq's oil was a "major" concern and 23.7 percent said it was not a factor. Participants were asked to rate the role of oil in the invasion decision on a 1-5 scale, with 1 being "not a factor" and 5 representing a "major factor."