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Impeach Bush--Index 50
March 19, 2007

Iraq poll 2007: In graphics


How do you rate conditions where you live?


All

North

Central

South

Baghdad

Shia

Sunni

Security situation

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Very good 17 34 1 24 0 17 1
Quite good 30 28 20 45 20 45 6
Quite bad 21 16 26 19 23 24 23
Very bad 32 22 53 12 57 14 70

Availability of jobs


Very good 3 13 0 0 0 0 0
Quite good 17 28 11 17 15 20 4
Quite bad 44 31 50 46 47 45 50
Very bad 35 28 38 37 38 35 46

Electricity supply


Very good 2 3 0 2 0 1 0
Quite good 11 12 2 21 0 15 3
Quite bad 37 36 36 39 38 41 30
Very bad 51 49 61 37 62 42 66

Clean water supply


Very good 9 22 1 8 0 6 2
Quite good 22 35 8 31 0 22 12
Quite bad 35 22 45 32 49 38 39
Very bad 34 21 46 29 51 33 47

Local government


Very good 12 23 2 18 0 14 1
Quite good 31 32 27 34 38 45 8
Quite bad 31 25 35 30 31 27 41
Very bad 26 19 36 18 31 14 51

Freedom to live where choose


Very good 8 15 0 13 0 9 0
Quite good 15 26 3 24 0 17 4
Quite bad 39 32 44 37 43 40 42
Very bad 38 27 53 25 57 33 54

Source: BBC/ABC poll

All these made-for-tv wars aren't doing anything to help us lead the world. Instead, we lost the wars and we lost our technological and competitive edge. The era of endless war is over. It's time to get back to work and rebuild America and put it where it was before conservatives destroyed it.

March 29, 2007

US 'no longer technology king'

NETWORKED READINESS INDEX RANKINGS 2006 (2005)
  1. Denmark (3)
  2. Sweden (8)
  3. Singapore (2)
  4. Finland (5)
  5. Switzerland (9)
  6. Netherlands (12)
  7. US (1)
  8. Iceland (4)
  9. UK (10)
  10. 10: Norway (13)
Source: WEF

The US has lost its position as the world's primary engine of technology innovation, according to a report by the World Economic Forum.

The US is now ranked seventh in the body's league table measuring the impact of technology on the development of nations.

A deterioration of the political and regulatory environment in the US prompted the fall, the report said.

The top spot went for the first time to Denmark, followed by Sweden.

Bush and the GOP turned Guantanamo Bay into another Abu Ghraib. It didn't have to be this way...they could have followed the Geneva Conventions and none of this would be necessary. POWs have rights...and some people think they don't. It's too bad we have people on both sides of the aisles who think we can detain POWs for the rest of time...even without trial.

March 29, 2007

Gates: Congress should close Guantanamo Bay

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Congress should explore with the White House ways to close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay while not releasing its most dangerous detainees, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Thursday.

Gates, speaking at the hearing on defense spending, said he favored closing Guantanamo, but that some detainees there "based on their confessions, should never be released."

"Is there a way statutorily to address the concerns about some of these people who really need to be incarcerated forever but that doesn't get them involved in a judicial system where there is the potential of them being released, frankly?" Gates said.

An Impeachable Offense
March 29, 2007

Bush's long history of tilting Justice

THE SCANDAL unfolding around the firing of eight U.S. attorneys compels the conclusion that the Bush administration has rewarded loyalty over all else. A destructive pattern of partisan political actions at the Justice Department started long before this incident, however, as those of us who worked in its civil rights division can attest.

Under the Bush administration, however, all that changed. Over the last six years, this Justice Department has ignored the advice of its staff and skewed aspects of law enforcement in ways that clearly were intended to influence the outcome of elections.

It has notably shirked its legal responsibility to protect voting rights. From 2001 to 2006, no voting discrimination cases were brought on behalf of African American or Native American voters. U.S. attorneys were told instead to give priority to voter fraud cases, which, when coupled with the strong support for voter ID laws, indicated an intent to depress voter turnout in minority and poor communities.

We already know this White House is incompetent and corrupt but if you needed added proof that GOP members are congress are equally incompetent and corrupt, here it is. Hide the facts, hide the truth...protect Bush from Bush.

March 30, 2007

Testimony that got so embarrassing for the White House that the Republicans tried to cut it off

In his Senate testimony yesterday, Kyle Sampson, the former chief of staff to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, tried to be a "loyal Bushie," a term Mr. Sampson used in his infamous e-mail message to describe what he was looking for in United States attorneys. But if Mr. Sampson was trying to fall on his sword, he had horrible aim. In testimony that got so embarrassing for the White House that the Republicans tried to cut it off, Mr. Sampson simply ended up making it clearer than ever that the eight prosecutors were fired for political reasons.

He provided more evidence, also, that the attorney general and other top Justice Department officials were dishonest in their initial statements about the firings.

Mr. Sampson flatly contradicted the attorney general's claim that he did not participate in the selection of the prosecutors to be fired and never had a conversation about "where things stood." Mr. Sampson testified that Mr. Gonzales was "aware of this process from the beginning," and that the two men regularly discussed where things stood. Mr. Sampson also confirmed that Mr. Gonzales was at the Nov. 27 meeting where the selected prosecutors' fates were sealed.

March 29, 2007

The deadliest days in Iraq

The deadliest days in Iraq since the war began in March 2003. Totals include people known to have died on that day as well as bodies found that day:

-August 31, 2005: At least 1,000 Shiite pilgrims are killed in a bridge stampede caused when somebody claimed there was a suicide bomber in their midst.

-Nov. 23, 2006: Mortar rounds and five car bombs kill 215 people in the Shiite neighborhood of Sadr City.

-March 6, 2007: Officials report 194 deaths, including 120 by two suicide bombers in a crowd of Shiite pilgrims in Hillah, about 60 miles south of Baghdad.

-March 2, 2004: Coordinated blasts from suicide bombers, mortars and planted explosives strike Shiite Muslim shrines in Karbala and Baghdad, killing at least 181 people.

-March 29, 2007: At least 179 people are killed, including 104 by multiple suicide bombers in the town of Khalis, north of Baghdad, and in predominantly Shiite markets in the capital.

March 29, 2007

Sampson Says Gonzales Made False Statement

Specter asked about Gonzales' "candor" in saying earlier this month that he was not a part of any discussions on the firings. He asked about the November 27, 2006 meeting "where there were discussions" and Gonzales allegedly attended. Was Gonzales' statement about taking part in no discussions accurate?

"I don't think it's accurate," Sampson replied. "I think he's recently clarified it. But I remember discussing with him this process of asking certain U.S. attorneys to resign, and I believe that he was present at the meeting on Nov. 27."

"So he was involved in discussions in contrast to his statement" this month? Specter asked.

"Yes," Sampson replied.

Another "fog of war" moment. Lying to Congress and the American people.

An Impeachable Offense
March 28, 2007

General McCaffrey: "The population is in despair"

An influential retired Army general released a dire assessment of the situation in Iraq, based on a recent round of meetings there with Gen. David H. Petraeus and 16 other senior U.S. commanders.

"The population is in despair," retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey wrote in an eight-page document compiled in his capacity as a professor at West Point. "Life in many of the urban areas is now desperate."

McCaffrey is widely respected in the military, having fought in the Vietnam War, commanded a division in the 1991 Persian Gulf War, and later served as the commander for U.S. military operations in Central America and South America. After retiring, he became President Bill Clinton's director of drug policy.

McCaffrey, who has met twice with President Bush to discuss the war, most recently in December, was scheduled to brief White House officials on his conclusions late yesterday.

MARCH 29 - APRIL 4, 2007

CIA and torture

When the world trade center crumbled in 2001, so did America's commitment to the Geneva Convention and its pledge not to use torture against its enemies.

Following that horrible fall day six years ago, CIA planes began delivering suspected al Qaeda operatives to countries that use torture as an everyday investigative tool.

The story of how the United States began ferrying prisoners to totalitarian regimes, including Syria, which it says has ties to international terrorism itself, is brilliantly told in Stephen Grey's Ghost Plane.

This is is a tough call. US law forbids sending a person to a country where they know they'll be tortured and repeatedly that's what's happened. At some point, it's not a mistake - it become a pattern.

An Impeachable Offense
March 27, 2007

US Sent Guantanamo Detainees Home to Torture in Russia

Former Guantanamo detainees who were sent home to Russia in 2004 experienced torture and other abuse despite Moscow's pledge to the US government that they would be treated humanely, Human Rights Watch said in a new report released today.

The Russian prisoners' experience illustrates why the United States should stop relying on "diplomatic assurances" of fair treatment to justify sending prisoners from Guantanamo Bay to countries where they are at risk of torture.

The seven Russians were all detained soon after the US invasion of Afghanistan and eventually spent about two years in Guantanamo. Although they complained of mistreatment by the Americans, all of the detainees repeatedly asked authorities at Guantanamo not to be returned to Russia because they expected to be treated worse there. And indeed, three of them experienced serious torture and ill-treatment after being arrested in Russia. Two of them were convicted at unfair trials, and all of them have been harassed and hounded by Russian law enforcement.

An Impeachable Offense
March 28, 2007

Justice Department Says Letter on Firings Inaccurate

March 28 (Bloomberg) -- The Justice Department said it provided inaccurate information to members of Congress in a February letter about the firings of eight U.S. attorneys.

Writing today to lawmakers investigating the terminations, the agency's acting head of legislative affairs, Richard Hertling, said that "certain statements" in the Feb. 23 letter were contradicted by documents that the department provided to Congress this month. Hertling didn't specify what the misstatements were.

The Feb. 23 letter to Democratic lawmakers discussed the appointment of Timothy Griffin, a former aide to White House political adviser Karl Rove, to a U.S. attorney position in Arkansas. The letter said Rove had no role in the decision to appoint Griffin and that nobody "inside or outside of the administration" lobbied for Griffin's appointment.

Notice how the media still can't take responsibility for allowing the Swift Boat Lies to be spread on their networks and newspapers. When will this insanity and incompetence end?

March 26, 2007

Bush Withdraws Swift Boat Liar Nomination

President George W. Bush has withdrawn his nomination of Sam Fox, head of Clayton-based Harbour Group, as ambassador to Belgium, according to a White House release Wednesday.

Democrats have criticized Fox for donating $50,000 to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, a group accused of distorting the military record of Kerry, D-Mass., during his 2004 presidential bid.

Even if we assume the military screwed up in its initial assessment, why weren't they able to adapt? In other words, they had plans for a best case scenario and when that didn't happen, all hell broke lose. The incompetence must be shared by Bush, Rumsfeld, the generals, members of Congress and the media (in that order).

March 23, 2007

GAO Faults U.S. Military Over Munitions in Iraq

The U.S. military's faulty war plans and insufficient troops in Iraq left thousands and possibly millions of tons of conventional munitions unsecured or in the hands of insurgent groups after the 2003 invasion -- allowing widespread looting of weapons and explosives used to make roadside bombs that cause the bulk of U.S. casualties, according to a government report released yesterday.

Some weapons sites remained vulnerable as recently as October 2006, according to the Government Accountability Office report, which said the unguarded sites "will likely continue to support terrorist attacks throughout the region." For example, it said hundreds of tons of explosives at the Al Qa Qaa facility in Iraq that had been documented by the International Atomic Energy Agency were lost to theft and looting after April 9, 2003.

The agency charged with prosecuting law breakers broke the law - now they want us to let them keep the power we gave them. I don't think so.

March 27, 2007

Senators Grill FBI Chief On Laws Being Broken by FBI

WASHINGTON -- FBI Director Robert Mueller labored Tuesday to persuade skeptical senators that the FBI can properly use its Patriot Act authority to gather telephone, e-mail and financial records of Americans and foreigners while pursuing terrorists.

He appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee after the Justice Department inspector general revealed abuses in the FBI's use of documents called national security letters to gather such data without approval from a judge.

"We're going to be re-examining the broad authorities we granted the FBI in the Patriot Act," Committee Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., told Mueller.

Mueller urged the panel not to revise the law.

"The statute did not cause the errors," Mueller said. "The FBI's implementation did."

March 27, 2007

Dismiss US Army Recruiter Who Sent Anti-Gay and Racist Email

WASHINGTON, March 27, 2007 – Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) today strongly condemned the anti-gay and racist emails sent by Army Recruiter Sergeant Marcia Ramode to Corey Andrew, a potential recruit.

In her emails with Andrew, Ramode said, among other things, that Andrew, an openly gay African American man, should "go back to Africa and do your gay voodoo limbo tango and wango dance and jump around and prance and run all over the place half naked there and practice your gay morals over there..."

The government and the courts are now saying laws against torture, the Geneva Conventions and the War Crimes Act are irrelevant. Poppycock. When laws are broken, and laws were broken, lawbreakers must pay for their misdeeds.

An Impeachable Offense
March 28, 2007

Torture Lawsuit Against Rumsfeld Dropped

WASHINGTON (AP) - Former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld cannot be tried on allegations of torture in overseas military prisons, a federal judge said Tuesday in a case he described as "lamentable."

U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan threw out a lawsuit brought on behalf of nine former prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan. He said Rumsfeld cannot be held personally responsible for actions taken in connection with his government job.

The lawsuit contends the prisoners were beaten, suspended upside down from the ceiling by chains, urinated on, shocked, sexually humiliated, burned, locked inside boxes and subjected to mock executions.

No matter how appealing it might seem to use the courts to correct allegations of severe abuses of power, Hogan wrote, government officials are immune from such lawsuits. Additionally, foreigners held overseas are not normally afforded U.S. constitutional rights.

An Impeachable Offense
March 26, 2007

White House Aides Tried to Hide E-mails, Lawmaker Charges

White House staff are using non-governmental e-mail addresses to avoid leaving a paper trail of their communications, a senior congressman charged Monday.

In a pair of letters Monday, House Oversight and Investigations Committee Chairman Henry A. Waxman, D.-Calif., asked the Republican National Committee and the Bush-Cheney '04 Campaign to preserve e-mails sent and received by White House officials using domains controlled by the two groups.

Waxman also asked the two to meet with his staff to explain how they handle e-mail accounts for government officials.

"Such e-mails written in the conduct of White House business would appear to be governmental records subject to preservation and eventual public disclosure," Waxman wrote.

The use of e-mail addresses from domains like "gwb43.com" by White House aides surfaced in the news earlier this month when the Justice Department released hundreds of e-mails between political appointees discussing the firing of several U.S. attorneys. E-mails from Scott Jennings, a deputy to White House political adviser Karl Rove, came from an address featuring the gwb43.com domain.

An Impeachable Offense
March 27, 2007

Report Charges Broad White House Efforts to Stifle Climate Research

Bush administration officials throughout the government have engaged in White House-directed efforts to stifle, delay or dampen the release of climate change research that casts the White House or its policies in a bad light, says a new report that purports to be the most comprehensive assessment to date of the subject.

Researchers for the non-profit watchdog Government Accountability Project reviewed thousands of e-mails, memos and other documents obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests and from government whistle-blowers and conducted dozens of interviews with public affairs staff, scientists, reporters and others.

The group says it has identified hundreds of instances where White House-appointed officials interfered with government scientists' efforts to convey their research findings to the public, at the behest of top administration officials.

March 28, 2007

Senate approves a pullout date in Iraq bill

WASHINGTON — Citing the mounting casualties and lack of tangible progress in Iraq, a sharply divided Senate voted Tuesday in favor of setting a timetable that would give President Bush four months to begin withdrawing American troops.

The Senate withdrawal provision, which sets a March 31, 2008, target for ending combat operations, is tucked into a $122 billion package to finance U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, a must-pass bill that Democrats view as their best shot at forcing Bush to change direction in Iraq.

The withdrawal language, which was narrowly upheld on a 50-48 vote Tuesday, was nearly identical to a Senate resolution that had failed by a 50-48 vote two weeks ago.

March 27, 2007

Tillman's mom: Congressional hearings on son's death needed

The meeting began civilly enough, she said, when the family - including Tillman's mother and father, his widow, Marie, and his younger brother, Kevin - agreed they would not interject until the investigators completed their presentation.

"It became obvious that they were giving a one-sided account," she said, focusing on the statements of the soldiers doing the shooting in the Afghanistan canyon instead of the soldiers on the ridgeline near where her son was killed.

"What about the other point of view?" she said she asked them. "They just stared at us."

Tempers flared.

"They told us that we were being very abusive to them," she said. "I said, 'You've lied to us for three years and that is a form of abuse."'

"We got very angry," she said.

She hopes congressional hearings, where witnesses would be subpoenaed to testify under oath, will get to the truth.

March 27, 2007

Gonzales Walks Out of News Conference

A scheduled 15-minute news conference with Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales was quickly cut short in Chicago on Tuesday, with Gonzales leaving the room after just three questions about the controversial dismissal of a group of U.S. attorneys.

Gonzales was at the Dirksen Federal Building to talk about a national campaign to promote the safety of children on the Internet. Instead, he again found himself defending his actions in the firings, which some say were politically motivated.

Gallup's headline for this story was 100% republican. "Giuliani Lead in GOP Field Shrinks as Thompson Makes Solid Debut." They don't even try to mask their preference and/or bias anymore.

March 28, 2007

Poll: Giuliani, Clinton Lead

PRINCETON, NJ -- A new USA Today/Gallup poll suggests actor and former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson could be a factor in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, should he decide to enter. Included for the first time in this poll, Thompson places third behind front-runner Rudy Giuliani and second-place John McCain. There has been little change in the Democratic ballot in recent weeks, other than a slight improvement for John Edwards. Hillary Rodham Clinton remains the Democratic leader, with Barack Obama, Al Gore, and Edwards also getting significant support.

It's amazing how fast Americans will follow the Democratic Party when they stand for something. They pushed for a time table and now it's supported by a majority of Americans. We need more good leaders in Congress so let's look forward to 2008 and replace those who tried to stop this vote.

March 28, 2007

Poll: Most Feel 'Surge' Not Working Or Making Things Worse in Iraq

NEW YORK A new USA Today/Gallup poll finds nearly two in three Americans believing the current escalation of U.S. troops in Baghdad "has not made much difference or has actually made the situation there worse," Gallup reports today. And more than half also say that, once we begin to remove troops from the region, "insurgents will step up their attacks in Baghdad and Iraqi security forces will not be able to control the violence."

The public also supports s setting a timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq by fall 2008.

It seems the editorial writers of the Post (like the Wall Street Journal) don't have to read their own newspapers. Which brings us to wonder why anyone should.

March 27, 2007

Ignoring Post's own reporting, Wash. Post editorial found no underlying misconduct in U.S. attorney firings

The implication that Gonzalez attempted to cover up what "didn't need covering" suggests that there is no evidence of underlying impropriety in the U.S. attorneys' dismissals. As Media Matters for America documented, Iglesias, the former U.S. attorney in New Mexico, has alleged that Domenici and Wilson "attempted to pressure him to speed up a probe of Democrats just before the November elections" -- both Domenici and Wilson have since acknowledged contacting Iglesias about his corruption investigations. In a March 5 article on Domenici's statement, the Post reported: "Legal experts say it violates congressional ethics rules for a senator or House member to communicate with a federal prosecutor regarding an ongoing criminal investigation."

The editors of the AP seem to think that lying about another Democratic candidate for president is in their best financial interest. Maybe someone should tell them otherwise.

March 27, 2007

AP falsely claimed Obama has "delivered no policy speeches"

A March 27 Associated Press article -- headlined "Is Obama All Style and Little Substance?" -- falsely claimed that Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) has "delivered no policy speeches" while campaigning "and provided few details about how he would lead the country." In fact, on March 2, Obama delivered what the Chicago Tribune described as a "major policy speech on U.S.-Israel policy," and news reports indicate that in campaign speeches across the country, Obama has offered policy proposals on Iraq, education, the environment, energy, and health care.

Contrary to Pickler's assertion that Obama has "delivered no policy speeches," on March 2 he delivered a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in which Obama offered specific policy proposals for dealing with Iraq and the Middle East. In the speech, Obama asserted that the Iraq "war has fueled terrorism and helped galvanize terrorist organizations. And it has made the world less safe." Continuing, Obama detailed his proposal for ending the war in Iraq:

March 24, 2007

Texas, Addressing Sexual Abuse Scandal, May Free Thousands of Its Jailed Youths

HOUSTON, March 23 — Battered by a sexual abuse scandal in its juvenile justice system, Texas may soon free most of the 4,000 jailed youths who have served their minimum sentences but who are still being held, in many cases for reasons that are undetermined.

Under plans announced Friday by the special master whom Gov. Rick Perry appointed to supervise the tarnished Texas Youth Commission, the cases of all juveniles who have served more than the nine-month minimum — 93 percent, by some accounts — will be reviewed by a panel of civil rights advocates, prosecutors and a youth official, reporting to a state judge. Unless the Youth Commission, which runs the state's youth detention centers, can demonstrate that such juveniles pose a danger to the community, they will be released.

I can't verify anything relating this to Gonzales so take it with a grain of salt. The abuse scandal took place in Gonzales County so that may be part of the confusion, but we'll have to wait and see if major news outlets tie it to the Justice Department and the AG.

March 27, 2007

Teen sex scandal ignored by AG

The Texas juvenile justice sexual abuse scandal – in which Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton are accused of failing to take action – is a broader scandal that was covered up for two years, involving hundreds of serious complaints and investigations against dozens of staff members, according to officials.

The Texas Youth Commission scandal went unnoticed, says Texas Ranger Brian Burzynski, despite his numerous attempts, beginning in early 2005, to get local, state and federal prosecutors to investigate allegations teachers, administrators and guards had sex with minor male inmates.

Burzynski exposed the situation March 8 in testimony to the Texas legislature's Joint Committee on Operation and Management of the TYC. He stated he began his investigation Feb. 23, 2005, after a phone call from a teacher at the West Texas state school in Pyote, Texas, alleging another teacher at the school was involved in sexual misconduct with boy inmates.

March 26, 2007

A President All Alone

Republicans in Congress do not trust their president to protect them. That alone is sufficient reason to withhold statements of support for Gonzales, because such a gesture could be quickly followed by his resignation under pressure. Rep. Adam Putnam (Fla.), the highly regarded young chairman of the House Republican Conference, praised Donald Rumsfeld in November only to see him sacked shortly thereafter.

But not many Republican lawmakers would speak up for Gonzales even if they were sure Bush would stick with him. He is the least popular Cabinet member on Capitol Hill, even more disliked than Rumsfeld was. The word most often used by Republicans to describe the management of the Justice Department under Gonzales is "incompetent."

March 27, 2007

Gonzales aide refuses to testify in prosecutors' firings

WASHINGTON — A senior aide to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has decided against testifying before lawmakers about her role in the ousters of eight federal prosecutors, the latest flare-up in the controversy surrounding the Justice Department.

Monica Goodling's announcement that she would take the Fifth Amendment to avoid possibly incriminating herself came as the embattled attorney general cast himself as misunderstood in his conflicting accounts of his involvement in the firings. Goodling is the Justice Department's liaison to the White House.

March 26, 2007

Foreclosure Activity Seen Rising 33 Pct

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Foreclosure activity across the United States will rise by 33 percent this year as lenders tighten standards amid a jump in defaults on subprime mortgages, according to a RealtyTrac Inc. report released on Monday.

"Based on our numbers for the first two months of 2007, foreclosure activity is running at a rate that would project to a 33 percent increase over 2006," RealtyTrac Chief Executive James Saccacio said, adding that "we're going to continue to see a spike in the number of homeowners facing foreclosure."

Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Tennessee, Ohio, Texas, Arizona and Indiana followed Nevada on the list of states with 10 highest foreclosure rates in February.

It's always about choice. According to conservative theory we can cut state and federal taxes and all should be fine, but in the real world, needed programs go unfunded. Blame republicans, tax cuts, or the voter...there's plenty of blame to go around.

With any luck, the era of tax cuts is over for the rest of time.

March 26, 2007

Governor strips VA director of nursing home oversight

Gov. Janet Napolitano on Monday removed the director of the State Department of Veterans Services from running a veterans' nursing home that was fined this month for patient neglect.

Patrick Chorpenning will stay on as director, but will not have any responsibility over the Arizona State Veterans Home in Phoenix where some of the state's oldest veterans are cared for, said Jeanine L'Ecuyer, a spokeswoman for the governor.

The nursing home is the department's top priority, accounting for $12 million of the department's $18 million budget and offering long-term care for as many as 200 patients, most of whom are World War II and Korean War veterans.

March 27, 2007

VA hospital in New England: mice, bugs and leaks

A review by the Department of Veterans Affairs in the wake of the scandal at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center has cited scores of substandard conditions in its New England hospitals and clinics, including the presence of rodents and bugs, chronic leaks, and dilapidated furniture.

The nationwide review, ordered by Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson, reported mice at the VA Medical Center in Providence, recurring reports of flies at an outpatient clinic in Hyannis, and mismatched, stained, and broken furniture in Manchester, N.H.

"This report highlights conditions that are unacceptable, and we must fix these problems immediately," Kennedy said. "The findings are just one more reason why the Veterans Administration needs additional funding and increased oversight. Our veterans and soldiers deserve medical facilities that match their enormous sacrifices."

Confronted with this fiscal disaster what did conservatives do? They cut taxes and created another $3.1 trillion of debt...and they want more tax cuts.

March 18, 2007

Unchecked federal deficit prompts comptroller general to bypass elected officials

Don't blame the nearly $500 billion spent on the war in Iraq or the $125 billion to rebuild after Katrina, Walker says. These expenses don't help, but the culprits he names are the large federal entitlement programs — Social Security and Medicare — in combination with demographic forces and political irresponsibility. It also doesn't help that there are no meaningful budget controls in place.

And don't be lulled by the recent reduction in the deficit over last year at this time, as tax collections surpass growth in expenditures. Walker claims even an optimistic projection of economic growth over the long term won't fix the underlying budget issues.

What would really make the nation's chief accountant a happy man is for Congress to address the much-needed revamping of Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare — important stabilizing programs that are unsustainable in their current form. He believes lawmakers can maintain the integrity of the programs while realistically addressing the demographic challenge of the aging baby boomers.

The worst-case scenario for Walker would be failing to address these issues and defaulting on the debt, as did Argentina.

March 24, 2007

Gonzales should be impeached

THE HOUSE of Representatives should begin impeachment proceedings against Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

Gonzales, the nation's highest legal officer, has been point man for serial assaults against the rule of law, most recently in the crude attempt to politicize criminal prosecutions. Obstruction of a prosecution is a felony, even when committed by the attorney general.

The firings of US attorneys had multiple political motives, all contrary to longstanding practice. In some cases, Republican politicians and the White House were angry that prosecutors were not going after Democrats with sufficient zeal. In other cases, they wanted the prosecutors to lighten up on Republicans. In still others, exemplary prosecutors were shoved aside to make room for rising Republican politicians being groomed for higher office.

Another military coverup, much like Pat Tillman.

March 23, 2007

Marine unit ordered out of Afghanistan because of corruption

WASHINGTON - Marines accused of shooting and killing civilians after a suicide bombing in Afghanistan are under U.S. investigation, and their entire unit has been ordered to leave the country, officials said Friday.

Army Maj. Gen. Francis H. Kearney III, head of Special Operations Command Central, ordered the unit of about 120 Marines out of Afghanistan and initiated an investigation into the March 4 incident, said Lt. Col. Lou Leto, spokesman at Kearney's command headquarters in Tampa, Fla.

Leto, the spokesman at Special Operations Command Central headquarters, said the Marines, after being ambushed, responded in a way that created "perceptions (that) have really damaged the relationship between the local population and this unit."

Therefore, he said, "the general felt it was best to move them out of that area."

March 26, 2007

Ex-Prosecutor Says He Faced Partisan Questions Before Firing

One of the eight former U.S. attorneys fired by the Bush administration said yesterday that White House officials questioned his performance in highly partisan political terms at a meeting in Washington in September, three months before his dismissal.

John McKay of Washington state, who had decided two years earlier not to bring voter fraud charges that could have undermined a Democratic victory in a closely fought gubernatorial race, said White House counsel Harriet Miers and her deputy, William Kelley, "asked me why Republicans in the state of Washington would be angry with me."

March 25, 2007

More Veterans Calling The Streets Home

When he got out, Hassam became one of many homeless veterans.

"We have no inkling of the full scope of the problem," said Roy Kearse, vice president of Samaritan Village, a state-funded homeless shelter for veterans with addictions.

At Samaritan Village, Hassam found men who understood his downward spiral.

"They're returning home, they're running into obstacles and problems and all of the mechanisms aren't in place to get to them," said Kearse.

One in three homeless Americans is a veteran.

March 25, 2007

GOP lawmaker says impeachment an option for Bush

WASHINGTON — With his go-it-alone approach on Iraq, President Bush is flouting Congress and the public, so angering lawmakers that some consider impeachment an option over his war policy, a senator from Bush's own party said today.

GOP Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a frequent critic of the war, stopped short of calling for Bush's impeachment. But he made clear that some lawmakers viewed that as an option should Bush choose to push ahead despite public sentiment against the war.

"Any president who says, I don't care, or I will not respond to what the people of this country are saying about Iraq or anything else, or I don't care what the Congress does, I am going to proceed — if a president really believes that, then there are — what I was pointing out, there are ways to deal with that," said Hagel, who is considering a 2008 presidential run.

March 23, 2007

U.S. House tells Bush to Leave Iraq

Canadian Press: WASHINGTON — U.S. Democrats forced a dramatic clash with President George W. Bush over his war policy today by passing a bill requiring American combat troops to come home next year.

The House of Representatives, in a close vote of 218-212, passed an emergency spending bill that funds the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan but demands most U.S. soldiers leave Iraq by Sept. 1, 2008, at the latest.

The bold move earned a swift and blunt response from Bush, who said the House "abdicated its responsibility."

March 23, 2007

On Iraq, 50% Trust Dems, 38% Prefer GOP

As the House of Representatives narrowly passed legislation requiring most U.S. troops to leave Iraq by September 2008, 50% of Americans say they trust Democrats more than Republicans to handle the situation in Iraq. A Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 38% trust Republicans more on this topic. Those figures have been relatively constant for several months. On the eve of Election 2006, 49% trusted Democrats more on Iraq while 42% placed their trust in the GOP (see history).

A separate survey found that just 30% of Americans give the President good or excellent marks for his handling of the situation in Iraq.

Men prefer Democrats on Iraq by a narrow 48% to 43% margin. Women, however, have a very strong preference for Nancy Pelosi's party. Fifty-two percent (52%) of women trust Democrats while just 35% have more confidence in Republicans.

The GOP still thinks we're over-taxed even though we have 8.8 trillion dollars of debt (unpaid taxes). These are not people who live in a real world.

March 25, 2007

Why conservatives go nuclear over global warming

LAST YEAR, the National Journal asked a group of Republican senators and House members: "Do you think it's been proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the Earth is warming because of man-made problems?" Of the respondents, 23% said yes, 77% said no. In the year since that poll, of course, global warming has seized a massive amount of public attention. The U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a study, with input from 2,000 scientists worldwide, finding that the certainty on man-made global warming had risen to 90%.

So, the magazine asked the question again last month. The results? Only 13% of Republicans agreed that global warming has been proved. As the evidence for global warming gets stronger, Republicans are actually getting more skeptical. Al Gore's recent congressional testimony on the subject, and the chilly reception he received from GOP members, suggest the discouraging conclusion that skepticism on global warming is hardening into party dogma. Like the notion that tax cuts are always good or that President Bush is a brave war leader, it's something you almost have to believe if you're an elected Republican.

Bush says give the generals what they ask for and all will be well. They've gotten what they've asked for and they can't even keep the peace much less win the war.

March 24, 2007

Nearly 70 Violent Deaths in Iraq

(Baghdad) — A suicide truck bomber struck a police station in a mainly Sunni area in Baghdad on Saturday, killing at least 20 people, police said, as insurgents apparently step up their campaign against Iraqis seen as collaborating with the U.S. and the Iraqi government.

The blast in Baghdad, which could be heard across the city and sent up a plume of black smoke over the skyline, came a day after Deputy Prime Minister Salam al-Zubaie was seriously wounded in a suicide bombing during prayers at his home in Baghdad. Nine other people were killed, including al-Zubaie's brother and an aide.

Al-Zubaie was moved out of the intensive care unit Saturday morning and was in good condition, Sunni lawmaker Dhafer al-Ani said, adding that the deputy prime minister had received visitors at the U.S.-run hospital in the heavily guarded Green Zone.

March 23, 2007

Former Interior deputy pleads guilty to obstructing justice in Abramoff probe

WASHINGTON - Former Deputy Interior Secretary J. Steven Griles pleaded guilty Friday to obstruction of justice in a Senate committee's investigation, becoming the highest-ranking Bush administration official convicted in the Jack Abramoff corruption scandal.

The former No. 2 official in the Interior Department admitted in federal court that he lied to the Senate about his relationship with convicted lobbyist Abramoff, who repeatedly sought Griles' intervention at the agency on behalf of Abramoff's Indian tribal clients.

Griles pleaded guilty to a felony charge for testifying falsely before the Senate Indian Affairs Committee on Nov. 2, 2005, and during an earlier deposition with the panel's investigators on October 20, 2005.

Instead of changing laws, change US attorneys so your side can get away with election fraud.

March 23, 2007

New U.S. attorneys seem to have partisan records

WASHINGTON - Under President Bush, the Justice Department has backed laws that narrow minority voting rights and pressed U.S. attorneys to investigate voter fraud - policies that critics say have been intended to suppress Democratic votes.

Since 2005, McClatchy Newspapers has found, Bush has appointed at least three U.S. attorneys who had worked in the Justice Department's civil rights division when it was rolling back longstanding voting-rights policies aimed at protecting predominantly poor, minority voters.

Another newly installed U.S. attorney, Tim Griffin in Little Rock, Ark., was accused of participating in efforts to suppress Democratic votes in Florida during the 2004 presidential election while he was a research director for the Republican National Committee. He's denied any wrongdoing.

How did the military become populated with so many corrupt and lying generals? Was it because they helped generate conservative lies that created fake support for Bush's war?

March 23, 2007

Four Generals blamed for Pat Tillman Lies

WASHINGTON (KCBS) -- CBS News has learned that an investigation by the Pentagon inspector-general into the "friendly fire" death of San Jose's own football-star-turned-soldier, Pat Tillman, will blame nine officers, including four generals, for failing to follow regulations and using poor judgment in a series of missteps that kept the truth of how he died from his family for more than a month.

From her home in San Jose, Tillman's mother, Mary, told KCBS that the Pentagon has not contacted her, and that the investigation's conclusions were "absolute news to me." She declined further comment. Pat Tillman, a San Jose native, graduated from Leland High School.

March 23, 2007

'Tsunami of foreclosures' seen

WASHINGTON -- Charges of blame were flying Thursday for the meltdown of the high-risk mortgage market as pressure mounted for Congress to do something about rising foreclosures among homeowners unable to meet high payments.

"What we're looking at is a tsunami of foreclosures that is on the horizon," Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., declared at a hearing of the Senate Banking Committee. Most heavily affected, he said, will be black and Hispanic homeowners who were pressured into taking out mortgages at rates they cannot afford.

Under fire from lawmakers, federal regulators said they lacked full authority to prevent the crisis spawned during the soaring housing boom of 2003-2005.

March 24, 2007

Ohio to Sell Bonds to Avert Home Foreclosures

Ohio, which had the highest foreclosure rate in the nation at the end of last year, plans to issue $100 million in taxable municipal bonds next month to help homeowners refinance mortgages.

Proceeds of the bond issue by the Ohio Housing Finance Agency will finance 1,000 loans with a fixed rate of 6.75 percent, said Robert Connell, director of debt management at the agency.

"We believe that it is incumbent on this agency to do something to assist these folks to enable them to keep their homes," Mr. Connell said. "A $100 million bond from this agency is not going to solve Ohio's foreclosure problem. We hope to at least make a dent."

March 23, 2007

Foreclosures Force Suburbs to Fight Blight

SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio — In a sign of the spreading economic fallout of mortgage foreclosures, several suburbs of Cleveland, one of the nation's hardest-hit cities, are spending millions of dollars to maintain vacant houses as they try to contain blight and real-estate panic.

In suburbs like this one, officials are installing alarms, fixing broken windows and mowing lawns at the vacant houses in hopes of preventing a snowball effect, in which surrounding property values suffer and worried neighbors move away. The officials are also working with financially troubled homeowners to renegotiate debts or, when eviction is unavoidable, to find apartments.

"It's a tragedy and it's just beginning," Mayor Judith H. Rawson of Shaker Heights, a mostly affluent suburb, said of the evictions and vacancies, a problem fueled by a rapid increase in high-interest, subprime loans.

"All those shaky loans are out there, and the foreclosures are coming," Ms. Rawson said. "Managing the damage to our communities will take years."

The biggest change average Americans will notice is the end of fake news. Most journalists depended on GOP spin for stories and those fake news isn't selling anymore. Journalism, like the US reputation around the world and the GOP reputation here at home is in the toilet because they've spent the past 30 years lying to us about everything from WMD to Whitewater, from tax cuts to balanced budgets. The journalists who understand they must distance themselves from all things conservative will most likely survive. The rest will go the way of the dinosaur.

March 20, 2007

The situation in Iraq may structurally damage the GOP beyond the '08 vote

The congressional and presidential campaigns will continue to unfold amid the ever-changing economic and political situation.

What we know now is that the situation today in Iraq is, politically speaking, devastating for the Republican Party. It has begun to structurally damage the GOP and that damage might have consequences that go beyond just the 2008 general election.

Just take a look at shifts in party identification numbers over the last three years, as measured by Gallup. People identifying themselves as Democrats have opened up an advantage over those identifying themselves as Republicans. And when independents who lean toward one party or another are mixed in, the lead Democrats have over Republicans grows to its widest margin since Gallup started measuring party identification in 1991.

If things in Iraq remain as they are today, it's hard to see how Republicans can hold the White House, regardless of their nominee for president. Furthermore, it would be a steep uphill battle for Republicans to recapture the congressional majorities they lost in 2006.