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Impeach Bush--Index 50

Now that the era of conservatism is behind us, much like communism in the former USSR, we can look forward and see if we can fix what they did. The debt created by their tax cuts will the hardest pill to swallow. How do we explain to Americans the simple fact that $8.8 trillion of borrowed money was not a tax cut and every penny of it has to be paid back?

March 22, 2007

The Republican Party is among the war's victims

For a moment the 2004 election seemed to justify this vision, with an improved Republican performance among blacks, Hispanics and, particularly, women. But by 2007 the Democrats were back in control of both chambers of Congress and itching to retake the White House. Fully 40% of Republicans believe that the Democrats will capture the presidency in 2008, compared with 12% of Democrats who think the Republicans will hang on to it. Ken Mehlman, the party chairman who oversaw the 2004 triumph, is now advising hedge funds on how to deal with a Democratic-leaning world. The Republicans may well be left with nothing except the solid South and a few patches of the Midwest, just as the Democrats were at the end of the 19th century.

Stephen Bainbridge, a conservative academic at the University of California, Los Angeles, has argued that Mr Bush's decision to go to war has "pissed away the conservative moment by pursuing a war of choice via policies that border on the criminally incompetent." William Buckley, the pope of the conservative movement, says that if Mr Bush were the leader of a parliamentary system, "it would be expected that he would retire or resign". Richard Viguerie, another conservative veteran, says that "I've never seen conservatives so downright fed-up as they are today."

The war has eviscerated the administration's reputation for competence—and with it the idea that the Republicans have an inherent advantage as the "Daddy" party. An administration that once boasted about its clutch of CEOs will forever be remembered for phrases such as "slam dunk" (of WMD intelligence) and "Mission Accomplished", or for disasters such as the failure to prepare Walter Reed and other military hospitals to deal with casualties. The same CBS News/New York Times poll found that only 28% of people approved of Mr Bush's handling of the situation in Iraq.

The US says it wants a stable Middle East but we're constantly overthrowing governments. Does anyone still believe the US cares about stability in the region?

March 23, 2007

Washington's Covert War inside Iran

The provision of aid to anti-government forces offers certain advantages to the Bush Administration. No effort needs to be expended in winning support for the policy. Operations can be conducted away from the public eye during a time of growing domestic opposition to the war in Iraq, and international opinion is simply irrelevant where the facts are not well known. In terms of expenditures, covert operations are a cost-effective means for destabilizing a nation, relative to waging war.

According to a former CIA official, funding for armed separatist groups operating in Iran is paid from the CIA's classified budget. The aim, claims Fred Burton, an ex-State Department counter-terrorism agent, is "to supply and train" these groups "to destabilize the Iranian regime." (1)

The largest and most well known of the anti-government organizations is Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), operating out of Iraq. For years MEQ had launched cross-border attacks and terrorist acts against Iran with the support of Saddam Hussein. Officially designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department in 1997, and disarmed of heavy weaponry by the U.S. military six years later, Washington has since come to view MEK in a different light. Three years ago, U.S. intelligence officials suggested looking the other way as the MEK rearmed and to use the organization to destabilize Iran, a recommendation that clearly has been accepted. (2)

March 22, 2007

US struggles to avert Turkish intervention in northern Iraq

The US is scrambling to head off a "disastrous" Turkish military intervention in Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq that threatens to derail the Baghdad security surge and open up a third front in the battle to save Iraq from disintegration.

Senior Bush administration officials have assured Turkey in recent days that US forces will increase efforts to root out Kurdistan Workers' party (PKK) guerrillas enjoying safe haven in the Qandil mountains, on the Iraq-Iran-Turkey border.

The firm Turkish belief that the US is playing a double game in northern Iraq. Officials say the CIA is covertly funding and arming the PKK's sister organisation, the Iran-based Kurdistan Free Life party, to destabilise the Iranian government.

Conservative Jews and Episcopalians now support gay civil unions and gay ministers/rabbis. The era of hate is slowly coming to an end.

March 22, 2007

Episcopals Support Gay Rights

Responding to an ultimatum from the leaders of the worldwide Anglican Communion, bishops of the Episcopal Church have rejected a key demand to create a parallel leadership structure to serve the conservative minority of Episcopalians who oppose their church's liberal stand on homosexuality.

"We cannot accept what would be injurious to this church and could well lead to its permanent division," the bishops said in their statement, a set of three resolutions addressed to the church's executive council.

March 22, 2007

Dems, It's Time To Go Fox Huntin'

Looking forward, the victory in Nevada sends a powerful message to Fox: You're not going to be able to use Democratic debates to whitewash your right-wing bias the way Exxon green washes its reputation by buying off academics and PR flacks.

For Democrats, it sends an equally powerful message: Fight back; you can win. From its first days on the air, Fox News has smeared Bill and Hillary Clinton. And when President Clinton finally called Fox on it, the effect was electric. Across America, progressives were galvanized into action.

March 20, 2007

Hounding Fox News coverage

As former Fox reporter/anchor Jon Du Pre put it in the documentary "Outfoxed," "We weren't necessarily, as it was told to us, a newsgathering organization so much as we were a proponent of a point of view … we were there to reinforce a constituency."

Conservatives retort that other media project a liberal bias, while Fox presents a needed counterweight. The liberal bias of network news is debatable; that Fox regularly reports false and inaccurate stories designed to drum up support for their candidates and causes is beyond serious dispute.

Can you imagine other networks allowing, let alone encouraging, their anchors to utter statements like "John Kerry has Kim Jong Il on his side ... North Korea loves John Kerry" as part of a newscast?

A study by a University of Maryland center concluded, "Those who receive most of their news from Fox News are more likely than average to have misperceptions" about Iraq. For example, in 2003, 67 percent of those who relied primarily on Fox wrongly believed the U.S. "found clear evidence in Iraq that Saddam Hussein was working closely with the al Qaeda terrorist organization." Only 40 percent of those who relied on print media harbored this illusion, debunked thoroughly by the 9/11 Commission.

Instead of providing "fair and balanced" reporting, Fox has created an audience ignorant of the facts, but fully supportive of management's ideology.

March 22, 2007
Political Landscape More Favorable To Democrats

Trends in Political Values and Core Attitudes: 1987-2007

party_trend (6K)

Even more striking than the changes in some core political and social values is the dramatic shift in party identification that has occurred during the past five years. In 2002, the country was equally divided along partisan lines: 43% identified with the Republican Party or leaned to the GOP, while an identical proportion said they were Democrats. Today, half of the public (50%) either identifies as a Democrat or says they lean to the Democratic Party, compared with 35% who align with the GOP.

Yet the Democrats' growing advantage in party identification is tempered by the fact that the Democratic Party's overall standing with the public is no better than it was when President Bush was first inaugurated in 2001. Instead, it is the Republican Party that has rapidly lost public support, particularly among political independents. Faced with an unpopular president who is waging an increasingly unpopular war, the proportion of Americans who hold a favorable view of the Republican Party stands at 41%, down 15 points since January 2001. But during that same period, the proportion expressing a positive view of Democrats has declined by six points, to 54%.

March 14, 2007

Poll: Gonzales Approval Rating at 26%

Public opinion of the Attorney General is declining. The current survey, completed Tuesday night March 20, finds that just 26% have a favorable opinion of Gonzales. That's down six points from a survey conducted five days earlier. At the same time, the number with an unfavorable opinion of Gonzales has climbed to 52%. Last week, 49% had an unfavorable view, a figure that had already jumped up from 41% a month ago.

The number with a Very Unfavorable opinion of Gonzales is up to 28%. That's a 3-point increase over the past week and a ten-point increase over the past month. Just 8% have a Very Favorable opinion, down from 11% last week.

March 14, 2007

Congress Challenges Network Execs: Bring Balance to Sunday Shows

Washington, DC - Reps. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) have formally asks the executive producers of ABC's This Week, CBS' Face the Nation, NBC's Meet the Press, and Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday to end the conservative domination of the Sunday morning talk shows.

Their letter follows a comprehensive study recently released by Media Matters for America, titled "If It's Sunday, it's Still Conservative," which uses empirical data to demonstrate that the networks have largely provided a significant advantage to Republican and conservative voices on their prominent Sunday shows.

An Impeachable Offense
March 19, 2007

Scientist accuses White House of 'Nazi' tactics

WASHINGTON -- A government scientist, under sharp questioning by a federal panel for his outspoken views on global warming, stood by his view today that the Bush administration's information policies smacked of Nazi Germany.

James Hansen, director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, took particular issue with the administration's rule that a government information officer listen in on his interviews with reporters and its refusal to allow him to be interviewed by National Public Radio.

"This is the United States," Hansen told the House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee. "We do have freedom of speech here."

But Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista) said it was reasonable for Hansen's employer to ask him not to state views publicly that contradicted administration policy.

"I am concerned that many scientists are increasingly engaging in political advocacy and that some issues of science have become increasingly partisan as some politicians sense that there is a political gain to be found on issues like stem cells, teaching evolution and climate change," Issa said.

March 22, 2007

Uk Poll: 60% Say War Was Wrong

Polling Data

Do you think the United States and Britain were right or wrong to take military action against Iraq in 2003?


Mar. 2007

Mar. 2006

Right thing

29%

31%

Wrong thing

60%

60%

Don't know

9%

9%

Do you think the result of the war in Iraq is that Britain is now a safer place, less safe or is there no real difference one way or the other?

Safer place

3%

No real difference

43%

Less safe

52%

Don't know

2%

It's becoming clear the 2004 presidential election was won because the GOP employed criminals to help them rig the election. Very few news organizations will cover this story, so that why I have it.

March 21, 2007

Forced resignations and stiff prison sentences intensify the escalating blowback from Ohio's 2004 stolen election

In a bold move "to restore trust to elections in Ohio," Ohio's newly-elected Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner has requested the resignation of all four members of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections. The two Democrats and two Republicans were formally asked to resign by the close of business on March 21. Cuyahoga County includes the heavily Democratic city of Cleveland. Brunner is a Democrat who was elected, last November, to be Ohio's Secretary of State.

Felony convictions have also resulted in 18-month prison sentences for two employees of the Cuyahoga BOE as a result of what the county prosecutor in the case calls the "rigging" of the outcome in the recount following the 2004 presidential election. Further problems surfaced in the conduct of Cuyahoga County's May, 2006 primary, in the wake of which Michel Vu, Executive Director of the county's Board of Elections recently resigned.

Reagan broke US laws when he funded the Contras, he lied to the American people about not dealing with terrorists (he was selling them weapons) and he created more debt than any previous president. How the media fell in love with Reagan is beyond me, but it exemplifies why the simple fact that they admire failure and hate success. The same media that drools over Reagan, hated Clinton - the guy who gave us four years of surpluses.

March 19, 2007

Don't Cry for Reagan

As the Bush administration sinks deeper into its multiple quagmires, the personality cult the G.O.P. once built around President Bush has given way to nostalgia for the good old days. The current cover of Time magazine shows a weeping Ronald Reagan, and declares that Republicans "need to reclaim the Reagan legacy."

But Republicans shouldn't cry for Ronald Reagan; the truth is, he never left them. There's no need to reclaim the Reagan legacy: Mr. Bush is what Mr. Reagan would have been given the opportunity.

Not mentioned in Mr. Cohn's article, but equally reminiscent of current events, was the state of the Justice Department under Ed Meese, a man who gives Alberto Gonzales and John Mitchell serious competition for the title of worst attorney general ever. The politicization of Justice got so bad that in 1988 six senior officials, all Republicans, including the deputy attorney general and the chief of the criminal division, resigned in protest.

Why is there such a strong family resemblance between the Reagan years and recent events? Mr. Reagan's administration, like Mr. Bush's, was run by movement conservatives - people who built their careers by serving the alliance of wealthy individuals, corporate interests and the religious right that took shape in the 1960s and 1970s. And both cronyism and abuse of power are part of the movement conservative package.

March 22, 2007

US soldier gets 27 months for Iraq atrocity

WASHINGTON: A US soldier has been sentenced to 27 months in prison for being an accessory to the rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl in Iraq and the killing of her family, the US military said.

Private First Class Bryan Howard, 19, was sentenced at Fort Campbell, Kentucky on Wednesday after he pleaded guilty to the accessory charge as well as conspiracy to obstruct justice, the military said in a statement.

Murder and rape charges against Howard were dropped 'based on his limited role in the crimes,' the military said.

The court concluded that Howard had overheard his friends planning the crime and then lied to protect them, the Houston Chronicle reported.

There are many flaws in this report. Take for example "shock and awe;" while it was nice TV, it was a lousy military strategy. We destroyed their roads, bridges, hospitals, clinics, waste water treatment plants and their power grids. In other words, "shock and awe" was an act of terrorism against the people of Iraq. If anyone thought we could destroy an entire country and then expect them to welcome us with open arms, they're delusional.

The second problem is the US military. It can't adapt. Is this because they were lied to, or is it because they're incompetent? Polls showed US military personnel had no clue why were we over there. Blame the generals, blame the media, blame the commander in chief, but when you don't know why you're at war, how can you win.?

March 19, 2007

Pre-War Assumptions Led to Flawed Iraq Plan, U.S. Report Says

March 22 (Bloomberg) -- The Bush administration's rosy pre- war assumptions about the speed at which Iraq would stabilize led to poorly coordinated, haphazard planning for post-war reconstruction that's brought waste and inefficiency, according to a new report by the Special Inspector General for Iraq.

Pre-war planning that assumed a small reconstruction effort was so poor that Congress should consider passing legislation similar to a 1986 law that reorganized the military to better perform joint military operations, Inspector General Stuart Bowen said in the report.

"There was an assumption that the Iraqi infrastructure was in reasonably good shape. It wasn't," Bowen said in an interview yesterday. "There was an assumption that the Iraqi government would be able to pick up and sustain itself. That didn't happen. There was an assumption that the Iraqi oil and gas production would provide revenue sufficient to fund recovery. That also did not pan out."

March 20, 2007

Crisis looms for entire economy

If Washington doesn't address the rapidly building multi-trillion-dollar crisis in residential mortgage defaults, its paralysis will help trigger a national economic recession that could touch every homeowner.

The crisis has been building for months - if not years. Experts agree it is a result of banks and other lenders' granting home loans to people who were not truly able to afford the payments. Now, with the national economy in a slide, the number of mortgage defaults is rising at an alarming rate.

Before we engage in the usual finger-pointing over how we got into this mess, let's agree on an aggressive course of action to mitigate it. Our nation must recognize there will be economic pain if the problem goes unaddressed; there will be residential foreclosures and billions of dollars in write-offs as auditors discover that many of these mortgages can never be fully paid down. Many families will find that they may have to consolidate their living space if they hope to hold on to at least one viable residential dwelling.

March 21, 2007

Veterans boost Democrats' Iraq war exit plan

Murphy, a former paratrooper who went to Iraq shortly after the 2003 invasion, is in his third month on Capitol Hill. But as the only Iraq war veteran in Congress, the 33-year-old freshman has become a central player in the most intense lobbying effort since Democrats assumed the majority in January.

As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) and her top lieutenants work to rally Democrats behind a bill to force President Bush to begin bringing troops home no later than next March, they are relying on lawmakers like Murphy who have served in the military.

March 21, 2007

Drug Company Payments Still a Public Secret

March 21, 2007 — Despite laws created to specifically identify the financial gifts doctors receive from pharmaceutical companies, major obstacles remain in providing that information to the public.

In a first of its kind study from the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers looked at the records from these two states from 2002 to 2004 to examine how their laws have been executed.

Surprisingly, their findings reveal these payments often involve substantial sums, and the details of the transactions remain vague or unavailable.

"What we really found was laws aren't working," says study author Joseph Ross, an instructor in the department of geriatrics at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York.

"We knew there would be substantial sums of money changing hands between doctors and companies," he says. "What was surprising was how poorly information was made available to the public, to researchers, to anyone."

How many senators voted for the Patriot Act and had NO IDEA what was in it? 99%. During the next election cycle we need to get rid of a lot of senators and house members. They're too lazy to govern responsibly. Democrats need to find new candidates and they need to do it fast.

March 20, 2007

Senate limits Gonzales' hiring authority

WASHINGTON - The Senate voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to end the Bush administration's ability to unilaterally fill U.S. attorney vacancies as a backlash to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' firing of eight federal prosecutors.

Also, the Senate by a 94-2 vote passed a bill that would cancel the attorney general's power to appoint U.S. attorneys without Senate confirmation. Democrats say the Bush administration abused that authority when it fired the eight prosecutors and proposed replacing some with White House loyalists.

March 19, 2007

Four Years Later: Iraq By the Numbers

29,100: Number of additional troops President Bush and his generals have officially requested to send to Iraq as part of an escalation strategy

Up to 50,000: Likely number of additional combat and support troops that will actually have to be deployed for the escalation, according to a Congressional Budget Office report

59: Percentage of Americans who think the Iraq war was a mistake

13: Percentage of Americans who prefer the option of sending more troops to options involving some form of withdrawal

50: Percentage of troops more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder if they serve more than one tour

50,000: Number of troops on whom "stop-loss" has been imposed, meaning they are prevented from leaving the Army when their enlistment end date arrives

March 19, 2007

Israel accused of using Palestinian children as human shields

The Israeli army is investigating whether its troops used two Palestinian children as human shields during a house search operation in the West Bank following claims by the Israeli human rights organisation B'Tselem.

The use of human shields to deter gunmen from opening fire on soldiers was banned by Israel's supreme court and forbidden by the army. However the practice, in which soldiers force Palestinians to approach, enter and search buildings where they believe gunmen may be hiding, remains common.

March 19, 2007

Military Is Ill-Prepared For Other Conflicts

Four years after the invasion of Iraq, the high and growing demand for U.S. troops there and in Afghanistan has left ground forces in the United States short of the training, personnel and equipment that would be vital to fight a major ground conflict elsewhere, senior U.S. military and government officials acknowledge.

More troubling, the officials say, is that it will take years for the Army and Marine Corps to recover from what some officials privately have called a "death spiral," in which the ever more rapid pace of war-zone rotations has consumed 40 percent of their total gear, wearied troops and left no time to train to fight anything other than the insurgencies now at hand.

Every Democrat who voted for right wing judges must be held accountable. These appointees were loyal to the party in power, not the constitution. Serious research needs to be done on the appointments of Alito and Roberts to the Supreme Court. Democrats will try to run away from their votes (as Hillary has with her war vote) but we can't let them. They voted for corrupt people and they're just as responsible.

March 20, 2007

Fitzgerald Ranked During Leak Case

The ranking placed Fitzgerald below "strong U.S. Attorneys . . . who exhibited loyalty" to the administration but above "weak U.S. Attorneys who . . . chafed against Administration initiatives, etc.," according to Justice documents.

The chart was the first step in an effort to identify U.S. attorneys who should be removed. Two prosecutors who received the same ranking as Fitzgerald were later fired, documents show.

The Congress uses science when it makes policy. When the science is based on political ideology, it's closer to communism than democracy. Using government money to deceive the Congress and the American people has be an impeachable offense.

An Impeachable Offense
March 21, 2007

The Bush administration diluted scientific evidence of global warming

THE Bush administration diluted scientific evidence of global warming, one of its former high-ranking officials has admitted.

Philip Cooney, an oil industry lobbyist now working for Exxon Mobil, conceded during a congressional hearing yesterday that while he was chief of staff of the White House Council on Environmental Quality he watered down reports on the adverse effects of man-made emissions on the planet's climate.

"My sole loyalty was to the President and advancing the policies of his administration," Mr Cooney told the house government reform committee. He defended aligning supposedly independent scientific reports with the White House political view on the environment by saying the changes reflected a comprehensive 2001 National Research Council report on the issue.

March 19, 2007

GOP Memo: "Grovel to senators, be nice to civil servants, and learn how to leak"

A note on "leaking": All administrations hate leaks, which are unauthorized information given to the press. In practice, however, leaks seldom do any real harm. The main objection to them is that higher-ups in the chain of command lose the opportunity to divulge the information themselves to their favored reporters, who often repay such generosity with "puff pieces" in their papers.

Leaks can also be a very powerful way to get an administration's story through a hostile media. Thought of as exclusive news items, leaks can force reporters to run with stories they would never publish if sent out as a press release. Especially if the information comes to them close to a deadline, they have little choice but to run the item with your "spin" on it. They don't have time to check it and cannot afford to risk losing the story to a competitor. During the Reagan years, master leakers like James Baker and David Gergen were notorious for getting good press in liberal papers through the skillful use of this method.

Bush is still doesn't have what it takes to ask all Americans to share the sacrifice and ask for a tax increase. In the mean time the US military becomes more hollow than it already is.

An Impeachable Offense
March 18, 2007

Bush's War Has Put the Army in Grave Danger

Four years after the invasion of Iraq, the high and growing demand for U.S. troops there and in Afghanistan has left ground forces in the United States short of the training, personnel and equipment that would be vital to fight a major ground conflict elsewhere, senior U.S. military and government officials acknowledge.

More troubling, the officials say, is that it will take years for the Army and Marine Corps to recover from what some officials privately have called a "death spiral," in which the ever more rapid pace of war-zone rotations has consumed 40 percent of their total gear, wearied troops and left no time to train to fight anything other than the insurgencies now at hand.

March 20, 2007

Poll: 69% of Iraqis Think US Forces Makes the Security Situation Worse

Fifty-one percent said they thought it was "acceptable" for "other people" to attack coalition forces. In the 2004 survey, 17 percent said such attacks were acceptable.

Despite U.S. efforts to promote the emergence of a free-standing Iraqi government and political system, 59 percent of the Iraqis polled said the U.S. government "controls things in our country," up from 24 percent in 2005. The percentage of those who said that the Iraqi government is in control dropped from 44 percent in 2005 to 34 percent in the current poll.

March 19, 2007

Inflation is eating US wage gains

Food, housing, and healthcare costs rose at a 6 percent yearly rate in the past three months.

Consumers are being buffeted from several directions. The resurgence of inflation comes even as homeowners face a dip in property values and as the stock market has sagged from a recent peak. All this dragged consumer confidence down a notch in an index released Friday by the University of Michigan.

An Impeachable Offense
March 18, 2007

Release of Guantanamo Prisoners Undermines U.S. Claims of Threat

The analysis, based on government case files for Saudi detainees sent home over the past three years, shows inmates being systematically freed from custody within weeks of their return. It also raises questions on how detainees are selected for release: While some of the repatriated Saudis were accused of lesser offenses -- such as working for charitable organizations with alleged ties to al-Qaeda -- others were released in spite of standing accusations that they belonged to al-Qaeda or the Taliban, or even fought against U.S. or coalition forces in Afghanistan, records show.

The case files also offer insight into the nature of U.S. evidence against the detainees. For example, in half the cases studied, the detainees were turned over to U.S. forces by Pakistani police or troops in return for financial rewards. Many others were accused of terrorism connections in part because their Arab nicknames matched those found in a computer database of al-Qaeda members, documents show.

"The credibility of many of these accusations is highly questionable," co-authors Anant Raut and Jill M. Friedman write in "The Saudi Repatriates Report," scheduled for release tomorrow. The report is a statistical analysis of the cases of 24 repatriated Saudis, a group representing nearly half of the 53 Saudi nationals released from Guantanamo Bay as of Feb. 1. The authors are members of the Washington office of Weil, Gotshal & Manges, a law firm that has provided pro-bono representation for five Saudis detained at Guantanamo Bay. The law firm provided copies of the supporting documents to The Washington Post.

March 18, 2007

Iraqis yearn for the prewar days when Shiites and Sunnis coexisted

BAGHDAD, Iraq | Meshajjar Street once was known as the street of trees. The trees are only memories now.

Just like the practice of Sunni and Shiite Muslims mixing and intermarrying. That practice, too, is gone, along with any sense of safety for much of a city that once had nearly 6 million residents.

As the fourth anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion arrives Tuesday, once-pleasant neighborhoods like Ghazaliyah have become a civil war's battle-weary front lines. Despite a significant drop in violence since a new Baghdad security plan began Feb. 15, many Iraqis express nostalgia for prewar days — even when Saddam Hussein steered the state.

"Ghazaliyah is now a cemetery," said Adil al-Qaisi, 28. "The streets are empty, and we live in our house like dead people."

March 17, 2007

Wilson: Leak severely hurt U.S. intelligence

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Valerie Plame Wilson told Congress Friday the leak of her identity as a CIA covert operative "has jeopardized and even destroyed entire networks of foreign agents."

She told a House committee that Bush administration officials had "carelessly and recklessly" released her status as a CIA employee, which was first reported by columnist Robert Novak.

"I felt like I had been hit in the gut," Plame Wilson told the panel.

Updated March 19, 2007

Major New Problems At Walter Reed

A worried quality control inspector, Mark Cordell, finally quit last week in frustration, and brought his fears to 9NEWS NOW.

"I won't sit back and watch someone get killed," he says while running through 81 pictures of the problems on a laptop computer.

Cordell points to a picture showing the terrible decay inside the building and says, "The water is actually on the ground floor here. There is water halfway across the ground floor. And there's electricity too. There's high voltage that goes to this building. Two thirteen thousand volt transformers. Through the basement filled with water."

March 16, 2007

Dems look to expand congressional probe of CIA leak

House Democrats on Friday vowed to expand their investigation into the Valerie Plame leak scandal in order to hold the Bush administration accountable and find out how "future abuses" can be prevented.

"We are going to continue this investigation," said Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) as he called for recess at the end of the former CIA agent's testimony.

"It is not our job to determine criminal culpability. But it is our job to understand what went wrong, to insist on accountability and to make recommendations to prevent future abuses," said Waxman. The lawmaker described the committee's role as "fundamentally different" to special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's criminal investigation into the leak.

March 17, 2007

Media Reviews Plame's Wardrobe -- But Not White House Coverup

In their rush to cover the long-awaited testimony of Valerie Plame, few reporters apparently bothered to stick around the Capitol Hill hearing room yesterday to witness the just as shocking testimony of a much less heralded (and not so attractive) insider named James Knodell.

Knodell, director of the Office of Security at the White House -- whose appearance was opposed by the Bush team until Waxman threatened a subpoena -- revealed that his records showed absolutely no interest or questioning about the leak after the outing occurred in July 2003, and none since (he became chief in August 2004).

March 17, 2007

Bush's War Has Put the Army in Grave Danger

You do not have to look very hard these days to see the grave damage the Bush administration's mismanagement of the Iraq conflict has inflicted on the United States Army. Consider the moral waivers for violent offenders, to meet recruitment targets. Or the rapid rotation of exhausted units back to the battlefield. Or the scandalous shortages of protective armor. Or the warnings from generals that there are not enough troops available to sustain increased force levels for more than a few months.

March 16, 2007

Arctic could have iceless summers by 2100

A review of existing computer climate models suggests that global warming could transform the North Pole into an ice-free expanse of ocean at the end of each summer by 2100, scientists reported today.

The researchers said that out of the 15 models they looked at, about half forecast that the sea-ice cover — a continent-sized expanse that shrinks and grows with the seasons — would seasonally vanish by the turn of the century.

"That may be conservative," said lead author Mark Serreze, a senior research scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo.

One model predicted the Arctic would be ice-free each September as early as 2040, according to the article in the journal Science.

March 17, 2007

KSM "Confessed" To Targeting Bank Founded After His Arrest

Khalid Shaikh Mohammed's alleged confession testimony has been thoroughly discredited after it emerged that one of the targets he identified, the Plaza Bank, was not founded until 2006, four years after the alleged Al-Qaeda mastermind's arrest.

In his confession, KSM claims, "I was responsible for planning, training, surveying, and financing for the New (or Second) Wave of attacks against the following skyscrapers after 9/11: ...Plaza Bank, Washington state."

KSM was arrested in March 2003. According to the Plaza Bank's website, the organization was founded in early 2006, making it impossible for KSM to have even known of the bank's existence before 2003, never mind plotted against it.

March 18, 2007

Poll: Most Iraqis live in fear of violence 4 years after invasion

Four years after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, nearly 9 of 10 Iraqis say they live in fear that the violence ravaging their country will strike themselves and the people with whom they live.

"There is no life at all," Solaf Mohamed Ali, 38, a Shiite woman who works in a bank. USA TODAY interviewed Ali and other Baghdad residents to supplement the poll findings. "We are eating, drinking and sleeping like animals, but animals are lucky because they are not scared all the time like we are. They don't think that they might be killed at any moment, so I think even the animals are much happier than us."

March 17, 2007

Sergeant convicted of three counts of negligent homicide, obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice

FT. CAMPBELL, KY. — An Army squad leader accused of ordering his soldiers to kill three unarmed Iraqi detainees in May was acquitted Friday of premeditated murder and murder conspiracy. A court-martial panel convicted him of three counts of negligent homicide as well as obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

Staff Sgt. Raymond L. Girouard, 24, had faced a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole if convicted on the murder charges. His attorney said he now faced a maximum of 21 years in prison, with the opportunity to argue for a lower penalty at a sentencing hearing scheduled for Monday.

The evidence is overwhelming - the US tortures POWs.

An Impeachable Offense
March 17, 2007

Probe of Al-Qaeda Leader's Handling Sought

Two senators who observed last week's closed military proceedings against al-Qaeda leader Khalid Sheik Mohammed called for an investigation into allegations that the accused planner of the Sept. 11 attacks was physically abused while in CIA custody.

Mohammed told the tribunal last Saturday that he had been mistreated during three years in CIA custody before his transfer to Guantanamo Bay, and he submitted a written description of the alleged abuse. The military panel immediately classified the submission and redacted from transcripts details of Mohammed's treatment in the CIA's secret prison program.

According to one portion of the transcript made public earlier this week, however, Mohammed told the panel of three unnamed military officers that his children had been held for four months and abused during his incarceration.

"Allegations of prisoner mistreatment must be taken seriously and properly investigated. To do otherwise would reflect poorly on our nation," Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.), the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), a committee member, said in a statement issued yesterday.

March 17, 2007

GI Guilty in Iraqi Detainees' Deaths

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. - A military panel found a 101st Airborne Soldier guilty of three counts of negligent homicide but not guilty of premeditated murder in the deaths of three Iraqi detainees.

Staff Sgt. Ray Girouard, 24, smiled as he hugged his defense lawyer and family members after the verdict was read. He faced up to life in prison had he been found guilty of premeditated murder.

The panel, which deliberated for four hours, also found Girouard guilty of obstruction of justice for lying to investigators, of conspiracy for trying to conceal the crime and of failure to obey a general order.

March 16, 2007

Plame testifies, lashes out at White House

WASHINGTON — Valerie Plame, the former CIA officer at the heart of a four-year political furor over the Bush administration's leak of her identity, lashed out Friday at the White House, testifying in Congress that the president's aides destroyed a career she loved and slipped her name to reporters for "purely political motives."

Plame, speaking publicly about the case for the first time, contended that her name and job "were carelessly and recklessly abused" by the government. Although she and her colleagues knew that "we might be exposed and threatened by foreign enemies," she said, "it was a terrible irony that administration officials were the ones who destroyed my cover."

When KSM is found guilty is Bush's kangaroo court TIME will put him on their cover - and forget the trial is a farce. It's what they do.

March 15, 2007

Why KSM's Confession Rings False

Just as importantly, there is an absence of collateral evidence that would support KSM's story. KSM claims he was "responsible for the 9/11 operation from A-Z." Yet he has omitted details that would support his role. For instance, one of the more intriguing mysteries is who recruited and vetted the fifteen Saudi hijackers, the so-called "muscle." The well-founded suspicion is that Qaeda was running a cell inside the Kingdom that spotted these young men and forwarded them to al-Qaeda. KSM and al-Qaeda often appear bumbling, but they would never have accepted recruits they couldn't count on. KSM does not offer us an answer as to how this worked.

The Reagan Revolution is still going strong; since the days of Reagan our national debt has grown from less than $1 trillion to over $8.8 trillion, GOP spending is out of control and the Executive Branch thinks it's above the law.

In 1981 the US budget was around $679 billion. Today, the budget is around $2.9 trillion. This massive increase in government came from people who promised less government.

If Reagan or any of the republicans were right about these issue, we wouldn't have created 8x more debt than all the previous generations combined.

Reagan created more debt than all the presidents before him combined and Bush has already created almost twice as much debt as Reagan. Where did the GOP go wrong? They still thinks it can bankrupt us into prosperity.

March 15, 2007

How the Right Went Wrong

These are gloomy and uncertain days for conservatives, who — except for the eight-year Clinton interregnum — have dominated political power and thought in this country since Reagan rode in from the West. Their tradition goes back even further, to Founding Fathers who believed that people should do things for themselves and who shook off a monarchy in their conviction that Big Government is more to be feared than encouraged. The Boston Tea Party, as Reagan used to point out, was an antitax initiative.

March 15, 2007

E-Mails Show Rove's Role in U.S. Attorney Firings

March 15, 2007 — New unreleased e-mails from top administration officials show that the idea of firing all 93 U.S. attorneys was raised by White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove in early January 2005, indicating Rove was more involved in the plan than the White House previously acknowledged. The e-mails also show how Alberto Gonzales discussed the idea of firing the attorneys en masse while he was still White House counsel — weeks before he was confirmed as attorney general.

The e-mails put Rove at the epicenter of the imbroglio and raise questions about Gonzales' explanations of the matter.

March 15, 2007

Kucinich: 'Impeachment may well be the only remedy

During a speech on the House floor on Thursday, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) declared that "impeachment may well be the only remedy which remains to stop a war of aggression against Iran." The 2004 presidential candidate, who is running again in 2008, told RAW STORY that his House floor statement "speaks for itself."

"This House cannot avoid its constitutionally authorized responsibility to restrain the abuse of Executive power," Kucinich said on the floor today. "The Administration has been preparing for an aggressive war against Iran. There is no solid, direct evidence that Iran has the intention of attacking the United States or its allies."

What the media fails to mention is Bush's order violates The Presidential Papers Act signed by Ronald Reagan. The article should plainly say Bush is violating the law but we too many in the media who are either uninformed or too lazy to do their jobs. Reuters needs to fire most of its reporters. They're either very lazy and very dumb.

An Impeachable Offense
March 14, 2007

House overturns Bush order on papers secrecy

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Brushing aside a veto threat, the House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to overturn a 2001 order by President George W. Bush that lets former presidents keep their papers secret indefinitely.

The measure, which drew bipartisan support and passed by a veto-busting 333-93 margin, was among White House-opposed bills the House passed that would widen access to government information and protect government whistleblowers.

Mistakes happen. Hiding those mistakes from a legal inquiry is a crime.

March 16, 2007

U.S. blocking inquest of 'friendly fire' on British

The American military won't co-operate with the inquest into the "friendly fire" killing of a British soldier by two U.S. pilots in southern Iraq, the British coroner charged Friday

"I believe that the full facts have not yet come to light," Oxfordshire Assistant Deputy Coroner Andrew Walker said, reading the verdict about whether he believed two U.S. pilots unlawfully killed 25-year-old Lance Cpl. Matty Hull.

Four other British troops were wounded, but Hull was the only soldier who died in the March 28, 2003, attack.

March 13, 2007

Sen. Pryor: Attorney General lied to the Senate

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Arkansas Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor bluntly accused Attorney General Alberto Gonzales of lying to the Senate about replacing federal prosecutors with interim appointees and joined calls for Gonzales' resignation Thursday.

"When an attorney general lies to a United States senator, I think it is time for that attorney general to go," Pryor said on the Senate floor.

"He did not only lie to me as a person, but when he lied to me, he lied to the Senate and to the people I represent."

March 14, 2007

Bush asks for 8,100 more troops on top of original 21,000

In addition, on March 10, Bush said he would send an additional 3,500 troops to Afghanistan as concerns mount about spring thaws bringing resurgent violence in the southern and eastern regions. In all last weekend, Bush announced an increase of at least 8,100 troops for both Iraq and Afghanistan.

The request for more troops, who are all to be in place by May, will bring the number in Iraq to nearly 160,000 – the highest it's been since January 2005, when there were 159,000 troops in Iraq. It's also the highest level since the invasion in March 2003.

"If you do straight-line math, it just presumes that everything is going to stay the same," says the official, who asked not to be named because he was expressing his own view and not necessarily that of the Pentagon. "Numbers are numbers: The level of effort in Iraq is going to reach 20 brigade combat teams."

It's time for Pace to retire. Besides every responsible Democratic President would fire his ass.

March 14, 2007

Gen. Peter Pace denounces gays and lesbians who are busy defending their country.

GEN. PETER PACE, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, yesterday refused to apologize for saying that homosexual acts are "immoral," explaining that he was expressing his "personal moral views." He's entitled to his opinions, of course. But when it comes to shaping public policy, he's obligated to reach a bit higher -- to consider facts and evidence and the impact of his public expressions of intolerance on the men and women he commands.

As Gen. Pace considers the uproar over his remarks on morality, he might reflect on Marine Staff Sgt. Eric Fidelis Alva, who like his father and grandfather chose to serve in the military. When he enlisted 17 years ago, he lied about his sexual orientation. Sgt. Alva was the first American wounded in the Iraq war, when he stepped on a land mine. President Bush presented him with the Purple Heart. His moral fitness for duty was unquestioned. What's immoral is that Sgt. Alva -- and thousands of other brave members of the armed forces -- had to lie or be silent for the right, the risk and the honor of serving his country.

March 14, 2007

Editorial Pages Call for Axing Attorney General

NEW YORK The New York Times got the editorial ball rolling on Monday, calling for the firing of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales due largely, if not completely, to the burgeoning scandal involving the forced departure of eight U.S. attorneys. Now the notion has spread across the country.

"We haven't seen a renegade U.S. Justice Department like this since John Mitchell ran it for President Nixon," declared the Sacramento Bee. "With a new Congress beginning to exercise serious oversight, the problems at the Justice Department and with its leader, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, are becoming clearer by the day. And what is becoming most clear is that Gonzales must go."

An Impeachable Offense
March 14, 2007

Judges Say E.P.A. Ignored Order in Setting Emission Standards

The ruling said the agency had ignored the court's order to ensure that the basis for its standards was emission levels achieved by kilns using the most effective technology currently in use in the industry.

"If the Environmental Protection Agency disagrees with the Clean Air Act's requirements for setting emission standards it should take its concerns to Congress," the judges wrote in an unusually pointed final paragraph.

"If the E.P.A. disagrees with this court's interpretation of the Clean Air Act," they continued, the agency should appeal its earlier ruling. "In the meantime, it must obey the Clean Air Act as written by Congress and interpreted by this court."

March 12, 2007

Mental illness common in returning U.S. soldiers

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - High rates of mental health disorders are being diagnosed among US military personnel soon after being released from duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to investigators in San Francisco.

They estimate that out of 103,788 returning veterans, 25 percent had a mental health diagnosis, and more than half of these patients had two or more distinct conditions.

March 13, 2007

Poll: 58 percent want U.S. troops out of Iraq by 2008

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Nearly six in ten Americans want to see U.S. troops leave Iraq either immediately or within a year, and more would rather have Congress running U.S. policy in the conflict than President Bush, according to a CNN poll out Tuesday.

Tuesday's poll found most Americans support a withdrawal from Iraq, with 21 percent wanting an immediate pullout and 37 percent saying troops should be home within a year. Another 39 percent said the troops should stay in Iraq as long as needed.

They were more closely divided on the issue of funding the president's "New Way Forward," with 52 percent saying Congress should block funds for additional troops and 43 percent opposing such a move.