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Impeach Bush--Index 66
August 9, 2007

Bush on track to become the vacation president

On Thursday, Bush left for a weekend in Kennebunkport, Maine, and his family's summer compound, Walker's Point. On Monday, he heads to his Crawford retreat, where he has spent all or part of 418 days of his presidency, according to Mark Knoller, a CBS News White House correspondent and meticulous record-keeper.

The presidential vacation-time record holder is the late Ronald Reagan, who tallied 436 days in his two terms. At 418 days, and with 17 months to go in his presidency, Bush is going to beat that easily.

Even so, this year's August vacation for Bush is a contrast to previous years such as 2005, when he dragged out vacation in Texas to five weeks. That was also the year Bush remained on vacation immediately after Hurricane Katrina hit.

An Impeachable Offense
August 12, 2007

U.S. Pays Millions In Cost Overruns For Security in Iraq

The private security industry has surged in Iraq because of troop shortages and growing violence. After the March 2003 invasion, hundreds of foreign and Iraqi companies, many of them new, signed contracts with the U.S. and British militaries, the State Department, the Iraqi government, media and humanitarian organizations and other private companies.

The size of this force and its cost have never been documented. The Pentagon has said that about 20,000 security contractors operate in Iraq, although some estimates are considerably higher. Private security contractors have been used in previous wars, but not on this scale, according to military experts. Several lawmakers have recently sought to regulate the private security industry and account for billions of dollars spent on outsourcing military and intelligence tasks that once were handled exclusively by the government.

Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), a member of the House Appropriations defense subcommittee who was briefed by Aegis and the Corps of Engineers during a February visit to Iraq, said lawmakers are only now realizing the scope of private security there. "We're in the wake of this speedboat. We can't even catch up to the contracts," said Kaptur, who opposes the use of private forces and initiated an audit of Aegis by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, the second the agency has conducted.

August 11, 2007

Superpower that can't tie its shoes

In a 2005 report, the Federal Highway Administration rated 77,000 U.S. bridges, about an eighth of the total, as "structurally deficient." While we'll learn more about the specific causes of the collapse in coming weeks, it has been clear for a while that our aging national infrastructure network - bridges, roads, dams, levees - isn't standing up well to intensifying levels of stress.

But the bridge disaster also reflects a broader and more troubling problem. The United States seems to have become the superpower that can't tie its own shoelaces. America is a nation of vast ingenuity and technological capabilities. Its bridges shouldn't fall down.

And it's not just bridges. Has there ever been a period in our history when so many American plans and projects have, literally or figuratively, collapsed? In both grand and humble endeavors, the United States can no longer be relied upon to succeed or even muddle through. We can't remake the Middle East. We can't protect one of our own cities from a natural disaster or, it seems, rebuild after one. We can't rescue our citizens when they're on TV begging for help. We can't even give our wounded veterans decent medical care.

August 10, 2007

GAO: Army deployment data flawed

The Marine Corps and Army lack proper tools for tracking the number of days troops are deployed, an oversight that could affect deploying members' pay or operational tempo, according to a Government Accountability Office report.

A July 17 report said that while the Defense Department has submitted personnel tempo data to Congress since 2001, the Corps and Army don't have the ability to identify faulty data, and they lack quality-control procedures for ensuring accuracy of the data.

Such information is used to determine a Marine's eligibility for extra leave days if he is deployed or mobilized beyond Pentagon goals. It also would be used to pin down eligibility for high-tempo deployment pay, if such compensation was reinstated by the Defense Department.

An Impeachable Offense
August 11, 2007

"Intentional Manipulation Of The Facts" To Get Surveillance Act Passed

WASHINGTON, Aug. 10 — At a closed-door briefing in mid-July, senior intelligence officials startled lawmakers with some troubling news. American eavesdroppers were collecting just 25 percent of the foreign-based communications they had been receiving a few months earlier.

"There was an intentional manipulation of the facts to get this legislation through," said Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, a Democrat on the Intelligence Committee who voted against the plan.

"There was an intentional manipulation of the facts to get this legislation through," said Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, a Democrat on the Intelligence Committee who voted against the plan.

The US healthcare system is rated 37th by the World Health Organization.

August 12, 2007

US Life Expectancy Drops to 42

WASHINGTON -- Americans are living longer than ever, but not as long as people in 41 other countries.

For decades, the United States has been slipping in international rankings of life expectancy, as other countries improve health care, nutrition and lifestyles.

Policymakers also should focus on ways to reduce cancer, heart disease and lung disease, said Murray. He advocates stepped-up efforts to reduce tobacco use, control blood pressure, reduce cholesterol and regulate blood sugar.

"Even if we focused only on those four things, we would go along way toward improving health care in the United States," Murray said. "The starting point is the recognition that the U.S. does not have the best health care system. There are still an awful lot of people who think it does."

Republican Criminals
August 10, 2007

GOP Leaders Leaking State Secrets

In an opinion article published in the New York Post Thursday, Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., reported the top-secret budget for human spying had decreased -- the type of detail normally kept under wraps for national security reasons.

"The 2008 Intelligence Authorization bill cut human-intelligence programs," Hoekstra wrote in the piece, in which he also criticized "leaks to the news media."

Secrets are apparently hard to keep these days. On July 31, House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, allegedly disclosed a secret court ruling during a television interview with Fox News' Neil Cavuto.

This site can verify that Frum has taken credit for the "axis of hatred" line which was later turned into "axis of evil" so we'd appear to be in holy war. Ex-Speechwriter Recounts 'Axis of Evil' dated January 14, 2003, from the Washington Post and End of the Neo-Cons dated November 5, 2006, from the Toronto Star.

August 11, 2007

Bush's Speechwriter Accused of Taking Credit for Speeches That Weren't His

Scully's blistering portrait of one of the president's most prominent former advisers in the new issue of the Atlantic touched off an intense pushback by the White House yesterday as top Bush aides jumped to defend Gerson as the victim of a jealous associate. But the internecine feuding may signal something broader than pride of authorship. Scully's 10-page indictment represents the sort of classic Washington tell-all once rare in an administration known for discipline and loyalty.

"The narrative that Mike Gerson presented to the world is a story of extravagant falsehood," Scully writes. "He has been held up for us in six years' worth of coddling profiles as the great, inspiring, and idealistic exception of the Bush White House. In reality, Mike's conduct is just the most familiar and depressing of Washington stories -- a history of self-seeking and media manipulation that is only more distasteful for being cast in such lofty terms."

Another very disappointing article from the Times. They say the war in Afghanistan was a "good war" but never say how they came to this conclusion. The Taliban didn't attack the US and even the FBI's most wanted list information on bin Laden doesn't say a word about him being responsible for 911. So, why was this war a good war and why was fighting a war without first using diplomacy is reasonable approach?

When the Times gets their nose out of Bush's ass they'll see everything he did in Afghanistan was wrong. Attacking countries for the acts of individuals within that country is insane. Using that logic, the US should have attacked the state of Florida because the terrorists who hit us on 911 trained in Florida (ie: Florida harbored terrorists).

August 12, 2007

How a "Good War" in Afghanistan Went Bad

Statements from the White House, including from the president, in support of Afghanistan were resolute, but behind them was a halting, sometimes reluctant commitment to solving Afghanistan's myriad problems, according to dozens of interviews in the United States, at NATO headquarters in Brussels and in Kabul, the Afghan capital.

At critical moments in the fight for Afghanistan, the Bush administration diverted scarce intelligence and reconstruction resources to Iraq, including elite C.I.A. teams and Special Forces units involved in the search for terrorists. As sophisticated Predator drone spy planes rolled off assembly lines in the United States, they were shipped to Iraq, undercutting the search for Taliban and terrorist leaders, according to senior military and intelligence officials.

An Impeachable Offense
August 11, 2007

Iraq contractors avoid legal restraints

There are now nearly as many private contractors in Iraq as there are U.S. soldiers — and about half of them are private security guards equipped with automatic weapons, body armor, helicopters and bullet-proof trucks.

They operate with little or no supervision, accountable only to the firms employing them. And as the country has plummeted toward anarchy and civil war, this private army has been accused of indiscriminately firing at American and Iraqi troops, and of shooting to death an unknown number of Iraqi citizens who got too close to their heavily armed convoys.

Not one has faced charges or prosecution.

The Economist nails it. Conservatism failed because they got what they wanted and it didn't work and/or Americans rejected it. The same can't be said about 1994 when liberals wanted health care reform and Democrats ignored us.

August 9, 2007

The Conservative Implosion

The obvious cause of the right's implosion is the implosion of the Bush presidency. Mr Bush has the worst approval ratings since Jimmy Carter—29% according to Newsweek and 31% according to NBC News. Only 19% of Americans think that America is headed in the right direction under Mr Bush. An astonishing 45% of Americans, including 13% of Republicans, support impeaching Mr Bush, according to the American Research Group.

The most obvious cause of the implosion of the Bush presidency is the disaster in Iraq. The Republican Party's biggest advantage over the Democrats has long been on foreign and defence policy. You voted Democratic if you cared about schools and hospitals. But you voted Republican if you cared more about keeping America safe in a dangerous world. September 11th 2001 turbo-charged that advantage. The Republicans used the "war on terror" to roll over the Democrats in elections in 2002 and again in 2004.

Nor can conservatives claim that Mr Bush is a country-club Republican like his father. He has devoted his energies to giving "the movement" what it wants: the invasion of Iraq for the neoconservatives (who had championed it long before September 11th); tax cuts for business and the small-government conservatives; restricting federal funding for stem-cell research for the social conservatives; and conservative judges to please every faction.

This desire to pander to the conservative movement is partly to blame for the administration's practical incompetence. Mr Bush outdid previous Republican presidents in recruiting his personnel from the conservative counter-establishment. But this often meant choosing people for their ideological purity rather than their competence or intelligence. Some 150 Bush administration officials were graduates of Pat Robertson's Regent University, including Monica Goodling, who put on such a lamentable performance before a House inquiry into the firing of nine US attorneys. A more pragmatic president would surely have sacked many of the neoconservative ideologues who have made a hash of American foreign policy

August 9, 2007

Internet News Audience Highly Critical of News Organizations

FigureThe American public continues to fault news organizations for a number of perceived failures, with solid majorities criticizing them for political bias, inaccuracy and failing to acknowledge mistakes. But some of the harshest indictments of the press now come from the growing segment that relies on the internet as its main source for national and international news.

The internet news audience – roughly a quarter of all Americans – tends to be younger and better educated than the public as a whole. People who rely on the internet as their main news source express relatively unfavorable opinions of mainstream news sources and are among the most critical of press performance. As many as 38% of those who rely mostly on the internet for news say they have an unfavorable opinion of cable news networks such as CNN, Fox News Channel and MSNBC, compared with 25% of the public overall, and just 17% of television news viewers.

August 10, 2007

Credit Crunch In U.S. Upends Global Markets

NEW YORK, Aug. 9 -- The turmoil in the U.S. credit markets turned global Thursday, prompting central banks in Europe and the United States to pump more than $150 billion into the financial system to keep it operating smoothly.

U.S. stocks suffered their second-worst decline of the year as the cost of borrowing for corporations continued to rise and some investors urged policymakers to help.

Some economists predicted that the tightening credit market would be a drag on the economy, but others said the impact would be minimal. Yet signs were emerging that the nation's credit problems were spreading in unpredicted ways.

In most US courts, if you're present during a crime you're an accomplice. In the military, you can coverup the crime and still go free.

August 9, 2007

Charges for 2 Marines dropped in Haditha case

LOS ANGELES - All charges have been dismissed against two Marines accused in the killings of 24 Iraqi civilians in Haditha, the Marine Corps announced Thursday.

Lance Cpl. Justin L. Sharratt, 22, of Canonsburg, Pa., was charged with murdering three brothers and Capt. Randy Stone, 35, a battalion lawyer from Dunkirk, Md., was charged with failing to adequately report and investigate the Nov. 19, 2005, combat action in which women and children were among the dead.

In his decision to dismiss charges, Lt. Gen. James Mattis, the commanding general with jurisdiction in the case, said he was sympathetic to the challenges Marines on the ground face in Iraq.

Is there anyone left at Guantanamo? Are any of them guilty?

An Impeachable Offense
August 9, 2007

British resident cleared to leave Guantanamo

MIAMI (Reuters) - One of the five British residents London wants freed from the Guantanamo prison camp has already been cleared for release but will not be sent to his native land because of fears he would be abused there, a Pentagon official said on Thursday.

The detainees in question are Shaker Aamer, a Saudi national; Jamil el-Banna, who is Jordanian; Omar Deghayes, a Libyan; Binyam Mohamed from Ethiopia; and Abdennour Sameur, an Algerian.

Just about everyone who knows anything about American politics knows our finances came into disrepair after the Reagan tax cut which created more than $1.6 trillion of debt - more than all his predecessors combined. Blaming Congress is acceptable only in that they passed the tax cuts that have bankrupted us.

August 10, 2007

Bush Rejects Gas Tax To Fund Bridge Repair

President Bush yesterday rejected a gasoline tax increase to repair thousands of structurally deficient bridges such as the one that collapsed in Minneapolis, pointing the finger instead at Congress for what he called misguided spending policies that have neglected high priorities in favor of pork politics.

The president's broadside triggered a furious reaction from congressional Democrats, who said he is in no position to lecture anyone on priorities. The heated exchange suggested the issue of infrastructure safety, dramatized as cars plunged into the Mississippi River last week, has become one more front in a broader battle between the White House and Congress over national goals.

I'm listing this an impeachable offense because it proves once again that Bush is simply lying to us. The UN has been in Iraq since 2003 and now the violence is so bad they're forced to leave.

Two pro war reporters recently came back from Iraq and said things are going well and we can win the war. They have shit for brains.

An Impeachable Offense
August 8, 2007

UN urged to withdraw Iraq staff

The United Nations should withdraw all of its workers from Iraq until the security situation improves, the body's staff union has said.

The union believes UN personnel will not be properly protected by US-led forces in the country.

The call comes as UN officials prepare to pass a draft resolution giving the organization an expanded role in Iraq.

The UN has had a low-key presence there since a truck bomb devastated its Baghdad headquarters in August 2003.

An Impeachable Offense
August 7, 2007

Kill Or Convert, Brought To You By the Pentagon

"The constitution has been assaulted and brutalized," Mikey Weinstein, former Reagan Administration White House counsel, ex-Air Force judge advocate (JAG), and founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, told me. "Thanks to the influence of extreme Christian fundamentalism, the wall separating church and state is nothing but smoke and debris. And OSU is the IED that exploded the wall separating church and state in the Pentagon and throughout our military." Weinstein continued: "The fact that they would even consider taking their crusade to a Muslim country shows the threat to our national security and to the constitution and everyone that loves it."

August 8, 2007

Labor Dept: 1,001 contractors have died in Iraq

WASHINGTON — More than 1,000 civilian contractors have been killed in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion more than four years ago, according to Labor Department records made available Tuesday.

In response to a request from Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., the Labor Department revealed that 1,001 civilian contractors had died in Iraq as of June 30, including 84 during the second quarter of the year.

So far in 2007, at least 231 contractors working for U.S. firms have died in Iraq.

August 8, 2007

Poll: Iraqis Oppose Oil Privatization

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug 8 (OneWorld) - A new public opinion poll has found nearly two thirds of Iraqis oppose plans to open the country's oilfields to foreign companies.

The poll found a majority of every Iraqi ethnic and religious group believe their oil should remain nationalized. Some 66 percent of Shi'ites and 62 percent of Sunnis support government control of the oil sector, along with 52 percent of Kurds.

Eric Leaver, of the Washington, DC-based Institute for Policy Studies, a non-profit think tank that helped pay for the poll, said it was the first time ordinary Iraqis have been asked their views about an oil law geared towards privatizing Iraq's most lucrative natural resource.

We already know republicans hate the US and now we know democrats hate it just as much.

August 7, 2007

Democrats are Cowards

But Congress looked Bush's insatiable quest for power squarely in the eye, unlocked the chicken coop, and said to the fox "here–take anything you want." The changes that were made were subtle, but arguably they gave the Bush Administration even more than it asked for. And from this point forward, any conversation any American has with a foreigner or a person overseas may be snooped upon, no warrants necessary.

Those who expected the Democrats to stand up to this may have gotten a shock. I wasn't shocked at all. Many see a Democrat-Republican divide over the rise of the National Surveillance State, but that's foolish. In Britain, the Labour Party has introduced legislation which arguably did more than even Bush to erode civil liberties (and of course, the Britons had fewer liberties to start with. The American Revolution was about something, after all). What we're witnessing is another demonstration of Lord Acton's famous maxim: those who hold power tend to seek to extend it. At this point, Democrats are nearly giddy with the prospects of recapturing the White House and resuming rule with a solid power base in the Executive and the Legislature. And with this prospect, suddenly the specter of intrusive big government seems somehow far more palatable to them, and America's constitutional system and the rights of the individual citizens are less of a concern.

This is by far the most incompetent White House operation in US history and since republicans reward failure (Bush was rewarded with reelection after he failed) it seems logical that others who fail should also receive rewards and bonuses. It's what conservatism is all about - rewarding failure.

Besides, what will democrats do about it? This is by far the most pathetic congress is US history.

August 6, 2007

Bonuses for Government Brass

Senior lawmakers want a closer look at bonuses for government bigwigs, after a recent study showed two out of three federal executives were awarded hefty bonuses last year.

"This is beginning to look a lot like Garrison Keillor's Lake Wobegon, where all the children are above average," said Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D.

Dorgan and Sens. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, and George Voinovich, R-Ohio, have asked the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to examine the awards, which averaged more than $13,000 per executive.

By comparison, the average bonus for a non-senior executive service government employee was $969 last year, according to a government spokesman.

The bipartisan trio asked GAO to see what safeguards protect the executive bonus award system from "politicization and/or mismanagement."

With each passing day we see the script the media's been reading from is falling apart. Both the military and political solution is Iraq has fallen apart. They need a new script or a new lie.

August 7, 2007

U.S. troop deaths up

BAGHDAD - Four more U.S. troops and a British soldier have died in attacks, military officials said Tuesday, in a possible sign that extremists are regrouping after a drop in American deaths last month.

The spate of recent U.S. deaths — 19 so far in August — seems certain to intensify the debate over U.S. progress to calm Iraq and gain ground against militants ahead of a key September report to Congress.

But U.S. commanders say rogue Shiite militias have stepped into the gap left as Sunni insurgents have been pushed back, and are now responsible for most attacks on Americans in Baghdad and surrounding districts. Such a trend would elevate fears that Iraqi forces are not yet able to maintain security even when insurgents are beaten back. Large numbers of Iraqi police are believed also to hold allegiances to Shiite militia groups.

The spike in deaths comes as the overall number of U.S. troops in Iraq has temporarily peaked at its all-time high — nearly 162,000 — as new units arrive to replace those on the way out, the Pentagon said.

US military commanders couldn't defend the homeland on 911 and they can't win a war against a defenseless country (Iraq). We're damn lucky we don't have a Soviet threat to deal with or they're get their asses kicked on that front also.

August 9, 2007

Russian strategic bombers resume Cold War sorties

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's strategic bombers have resumed their Cold War practice of flying long-haul missions to areas patrolled by NATO and the United States, a Russian general said on Thursday.

A Russian bomber flew on Wednesday over a U.S. military base on the Pacific island of Guam and "exchanged smiles" with U.S. pilots scrambled to track it, said Major-General Pavel Androsov, head of long-range aviation in the Russian air force.

Russia is growing more assertive on the international stage and has been trying to project its military power far beyond its borders. Its navy said this week it wanted to revive its Soviet-era presence in the Mediterranean Sea.

By now you know the script. When the political solution is falling apart they claim the military solution is working. When the military solution is falling apart they claim the political solution is working. They think we're that dumb.

August 6, 2007

Iraqi political crisis grows

BAGHDAD - Iraq's political crisis worsened Monday as five more ministers announced a boycott of Cabinet meetings — leaving the embattled prime minister's unity government with no members affiliated with Sunni political factions.

Meanwhile, a suicide bomber killed at least 28 people in a northern city, including 19 children, some playing hopscotch and marbles in front of their homes. And the American military reported five new U.S. deaths: Four soldiers were killed in a combat explosion in restive Diyala province north of the capital Monday, and a soldier was killed and two were wounded during fighting in eastern Baghdad on Sunday.

The nice thing about being a conservative these days is opinion is supreme, which also means they never bother themselves with the facts. WMD, Whitewater, deficits, debt etc. In fact, the average GOP voter will vote for a republican no matter how many times that republican lies to his face. Reagan promised to balance the budget, but in eight years never proposed a single balanced budget. GOP voters still think that liar is worthy of their adulation.

August 6, 2007

Bill Clinton: The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board Is Even More Right Wing And Irrational Than Fox News

In a weekend conversation with wealthy supporters that was closed to reporters, Bill Clinton was asked about Rupert Murdoch's takeover of the Wall Street Journal.

"With regard to media consolidation, the rules were relaxed too much," Clinton said during his Million Dollar Hamptons fundraising marathon this last weekend.

"Anti-trust law should apply. I think we shouldn't have abandoned the fairness law; if a media outlet were pushing a particular political point of view...then you had a right to demand the opposite point of view. The airwaves belong to the public, not to anybody, particularly not to Fox News.

Democrats raced to pass a piece of "Bill of Rights" busting legislation which gave Bush more power but they won't race to impeach or censure the SOB because they're just as bad as he is. Dems need new leaders. This pathetic group of democrats is just right of Hitler.

August 6, 2007

Democrats Introduce Censure Resolutions Aimed at Bush, Cheney and Gonzales

Democrats have introduced resolutions in the House and Senate that would censure President Bush, Vice President Cheney and Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales.

Russ Feingold, D-Wis., introduced the censure resolutions in the Senate on Aug. 4; New York Democrat Maurice D. Hinchey introduced them in the House a day later.

One resolution (S Res 302, H Res. 625), would censure Bush and Cheney for "misleading the American people" about the need to invade and occupy Iraq, as well as for poor planning and conduct of the war.

The same delusion that led to republicans voting for GOP candidates who were wrong about the war is now in play with democratic voters. The democrats are just as bad as republicans and are unworthy of our respect or a big "D."

August 6, 2007

Congress is stampeded into another compromise of Americans' rights

THE DEMOCRATIC-led Congress, more concerned with protecting its political backside than with safeguarding the privacy of American citizens, left town early yesterday after caving in to administration demands that it allow warrantless surveillance of the phone calls and e-mails of American citizens, with scant judicial supervision and no reporting to Congress about how many communications are being intercepted. To call this legislation ill-considered is to give it too much credit: It was scarcely considered at all. Instead, it was strong-armed through both chambers by an administration that seized the opportunity to write its warrantless wiretapping program into law -- or, more precisely, to write it out from under any real legal restrictions.

August 5, 2007

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: We're all fed up

In a gesture that says more to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and the Bush administration that a million suicide bomb attacks could, the Sunni bloc quit the Iraqi Cabinet on Wednesday. That would be the same day that about 70 people died and 60 were injured in three attacks around Baghdad. Think about it -- the Sunnis walked away from the process, taking away with them any hope of quelling sectarian violence any time in the near future, no matter how many troops we send over. That's how fed up they are.

The message is loud and clear: Take your benchmarks and ... well you know the rest.

So we had the tools to track weapons we give to other countries and Bush got rid of those tools. Now the weapons are being used against US soldiers.

An Impeachable Offense
August 6, 2007

Lost Iraqi weapons came from private contractors

During the Bosnian conflict, the United States provided about $100 million in defense equipment to the Bosnian Federation Army, and the GAO found no problems in accounting for those weapons.

Much of the equipment provided to Iraqi troops, including the AK-47s, originates from countries in the former Soviet bloc. In a report last year, Amnesty International said that in 2004 and 2005 more than 350,000 AK-47 rifles and similar weapons were taken out of Bosnia and Serbia, for use in Iraq, by private contractors working for the Pentagon and with the approval of NATO and European security forces in Bosnia.

I have an easy solution. Every pro torture pundit, every pro torture CIA agent, every pro torture journalist and congressman and politician should be subjected to torture for at least a few months. They should be denied reprive and access to lawyers, family and the all rights under the Geneva Conventions. Then they should be put to death.

An Impeachable Offense
August 13, 2007

A rare look inside the C.I.A.'s secret interrogation program

A surprising number of people close to the case are dubious of Mohammed's confession. A longtime friend of Pearl's, the former Journal reporter Asra Nomani, said, "The release of the confession came right in the midst of the U.S. Attorney scandal. There was a drumbeat for Gonzales's resignation. It seemed like a calculated strategy to change the subject. Why now? They'd had the confession for years." Mariane and Daniel Pearl were staying in Nomani's Karachi house at the time of his murder, and Nomani has followed the case meticulously; this fall, she plans to teach a course on the topic at Georgetown University. She said, "I don't think this confession resolves the case. You can't have justice from one person's confession, especially under such unusual circumstances. To me, it's not convincing." She added, "I called all the investigators. They weren't just skeptical—they didn't believe it."

Nevertheless, the SERE experts' theories were apparently put into practice with Zubaydah's interrogation. Zubaydah told the Red Cross that he was not only waterboarded, as has been previously reported; he was also kept for a prolonged period in a cage, known as a "dog box," which was so small that he could not stand. According to an eyewitness, one psychologist advising on the treatment of Zubaydah, James Mitchell, argued that he needed to be reduced to a state of "learned helplessness." (Mitchell disputes this characterization.)

Steve Kleinman, a reserve Air Force colonel and an experienced interrogator who has known Mitchell professionally for years, said that "learned helplessness was his whole paradigm." Mitchell, he said, "draws a diagram showing what he says is the whole cycle. It starts with isolation. Then they eliminate the prisoners' ability to forecast the future—when their next meal is, when they can go to the bathroom. It creates dread and dependency. It was the K.G.B. model. But the K.G.B. used it to get people who had turned against the state to confess falsely. The K.G.B. wasn't after intelligence."

We've endured decades of politicians saying they can balance the budget, cut taxes and run the government efficiently. They're all liars. Americans have to stop voting for liars. It's that simple.

August 2, 2007

Broken Bridges, Lost Levees and a Brutal Culture of Neglect

But there is simply no question that the steady neglect of the crying need for repair and improvement of bridges, levees and other vital pieces of the nation's infrastructure, and the resolute stinginess of a federal government that is much better at finding money to repair the Middle East than the middle west, makes disasters more likely to occur and more extreme in their consequences.

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobucher is right when she says, "Bridges in America should not be falling down."

They will continue to fall, however, just as aging levies will continue to crumble, until the federal government gets serious about investing in the updating, improvement and replacement of decaying infrastructure. The point here is not to absolve state officials, who in Minnesota -- as in Louisiana two years ago -- could and should have done more. But an "interstate highway system" is, by its nature and by the intents of the founders of the American experiment and their wisest successors, a federal priority.

Our heroes - and defenders of the Constitution.

August 1, 2007

34 Congress Members for Impeachment

Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D., Wisconsin) and Congressman Donald Payne (D., N.J.) have signed on as cosponsors of H. Res. 333, a bill proposing articles of impeachment against Vice President Dick Cheney, according to Congressman Dennis Kucinich's office. Kucinich is the original sponsor of the bill. Baldwin is the fourth member of the House Judiciary Committee to have added her name to the bill. A fifth Judiciary Committee member, Steve Cohen, has thus far signed on only to a bill proposing the impeachment of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

H Res 333 cosponsors include, in addition to Baldwin, Payne, and Kucinich: Jan Schakowsky, Maxine Waters, Hank Johnson, Keith Ellison, Lynn Woolsey, Barbara Lee, Albert Wynn, William Lacy Clay, Yvette Clarke, Jim McDermott, Jim Moran, Bob Filner, Sam Farr, Robert Brady.

That bill, H. Res. 589 sponsored by Congressman Jay Inslee, has 15 cosponsors in addition to Inslee: Xavier Becerra, Michael Arcuri, Ben Chandler, Dennis Moore, Bruce Braley, Tom Udall, Earl Blumenauer, Peter DeFazio, Hank Johnson, Steve Cohen, Keith Ellison, David Wu, Yvette Clarke, Darlene Hooley, Betty McCollum.

Johnson, Ellison, and Clarke are backing both bills.

Even the courts say Bush is a criminal. What more do we need?

An Impeachable Offense
August 3, 2007

Ruling Limited Spying Efforts

A federal intelligence court judge earlier this year secretly declared a key element of the Bush administration's wiretapping efforts illegal, according to a lawmaker and government sources, providing a previously unstated rationale for fevered efforts by congressional lawmakers this week to expand the president's spying powers.

The judge, whose name could not be learned, concluded early this year that the government had overstepped its authority in attempting to broadly surveil communications between two locations overseas that are passed through routing stations in the United States, according to two other government sources familiar with the decision.

During the past 26 years we went from having $900 billion debt (before Reagan) to almost $9 trillion of debt today. And Wall Street thinks it needs a tax break?

August 3, 2007

Wall Street's Lucrative Tax Break Is Under Fire

The most controversial tax break on Wall Street, known simply as the Carry, is not authorized by any law and was never approved by Congress.

Instead, it grew quietly over several decades, hinted at but never directly addressed in obscure court cases and arcane regulations issued by the Internal Revenue Service.

Unchallenged by lawmakers, it swelled into a benefit that, by one back-of-the-envelope estimate, spares a small band of the country's richest and most powerful financiers $6 billion a year in personal income taxes.

Let's face it. The war in Iraq is good for Israel and Lieberman is the Senator from Israel.

August 1, 2007

Lieberman's Losing Bid for Influence

The junior Senator from Connecticut, who was elected as an independent last year after losing the faith of his home state's Democratic Party, continues to flaunt his tie-breaking status, all but calling his former partisan colleagues terrorist coddlers and daring them to do something – anything – about it.

Never mind that Mr. Lieberman has been every bit the partisan that he accuses Democrats of being on the Iraq question: There hasn't been a single consequential vote on which he's strayed from the G.O.P. line.

August 3, 2007

US Marine guilty of murdering innocent Iraqi

A US Marine was facing life in prison today after murdering an innocent man in Iraq and then trying to frame him as an insurgent.

Sergeant Lawrence G. Hutchins III shot the civilian after the squad he was leading failed to find the rebel fighter they were hunting. They took their frustration out on one of his neighbours, believed to be Hashim Ibrahim Awad, a 52-year-old grandfather.

Eight Marines dragged the man from his house to a nearby hole last year. He was shot sometime later before the soldiers placed an AK-47 and a shovel near his body to give the impression he had been planting a bomb, a court martial in California heard.

July 31, 2007

Pentagon Lost $19.2 billion of Iraqi Equipment

WASHINGTON (AP)  -- The Pentagon cannot fully account for $19.2 billion worth of equipment provided to Iraqi security forces, government auditors said Tuesday.

"GAO's review of the January 2007 property books found continuing problems with missing and incomplete records," the report said.

The GAO found a discrepancy of at least 190,000 weapons between the data reported by the unit charged with implementing the program to train and equip Iraqi forces and the property books where such details are supposed to be kept.

The GAO says the Defense Department and components of the Multinational Force-Iraq were responsible.

In addition to the $19.2 billion used, the Defense Department recently requested another $2 billion for the program.

A SP takes years to do his job. We already know what we need to know and even if a SP is appointed Bush will refuse to let his aides testify.

Where was the media when Bush's numbers were at 70% - when we needed them?

July 31, 2007

Baltimore Sun: Congress Must Stop Bush

A politically weakened, lame duck president may not be able to bring competing forces together to shape new policies or lasting achievements, but he can stubbornly protect a stooge of an attorney general almost indefinitely.

If consequences to his party are not a concern - nor the morale of a Justice Department widely viewed as dysfunctional - President Bush's refusal to fire the incompetent, prevaricating Alberto R. Gonzales serves Mr. Bush by drawing attention away from his own shortcomings.

Ideally, Senate Republicans, who have much to lose by this tawdry spectacle dragging out further, will prevail upon Mr. Gonzales, Mr. Bush or both to clear the way so the post of top law enforcement officer can be filled with someone who commands the nation's respect - instead of a political flunky concerned only with shielding his patron.

Should the GOP senators falter, the best of the remaining options appears to be naming a special prosecutor to investigate Mr. Gonzales to determine whether his many misstatements can be prosecuted for perjury.

July 31, 2007

Grand Jury Investigating Afghanistan POW Deaths

EL PASO, Texas - A civilian grand jury is investigating the deaths of two detainees at a U.S. jail in Afghanistan nearly 5 years ago, according to current and former service members who said they've testified.

The rare federal court inquiry follows the convictions in courts-martial of six soldiers on charges of abusing detainees, including the two men who died. Nine other servicemen were charged by military prosecutors, but they were either acquitted or the charges against them were dropped.

It's unclear who the targets of the new investigation are or what may have prompted it now; federal prosecutors declined Monday to even confirm it.

July 31, 2007

Retired General Censured in Tillman Case

_ The Army on Tuesday censured a retired three-star general for the chain of errors that followed the friendly-fire death in 2004 of Army Ranger Pat Tillman.

It referred to a special panel whether retired Army Lt. Gen. Philip Kensinger should also have his rank reduced.

Army Secretary Pete Geren told a Pentagon news conference that Kensinger was "guilty of deception" and had deceived investigators.

"It's a perfect storm of mistakes, misjudgments and a failure of leadership," said Geren in announcing his decision after an investigation into the death of the former pro football player.

Kensinger headed Army special operations.

July 30, 2007

Foreclosures Continue to Skyrocket

The number of people struggling to pay their mortgages has skyrocketed in the first half of 2007, according to new data released today by RealtyTrac.

During that time period there were 925,986 foreclosure filings -- default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions -- on 573,397 properties nationwide, up more than 30 percent from the previous six-month period and up more than 55 percent from the first six months of 2006.

July 28, 2007

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: The people have a right to know what Bush is doing

The attempts of the Congress to obtain information from the White House are worthy of respect and, if subpoenas or stronger measures are necessary to achieve testimony or documents, they should be used and enforced.

This matter is thus about a whisker away from becoming a constitutional crisis. Apart from the fact that White House officials work for the American government the same as any other civil servant does and are thus accountable to America's elected officials and the American people, this kind of "We are above the law" lack of accountability on the part of Mr. Bush and his administration has now gone far enough.

Even the "executive privilege" argument that the president has a right to the confidential counsel of his advisers doesn't wash in this matter: some of those being protected from Congressional questioning are relatively low-ranking and, at least in the case of the district attorney firings issue, Mr. Bush's subordinates have claimed all along that he himself was not involved in the firings.

July 30, 2007

8 million Iraqis need urgent aid

One third of the Iraqi population needs emergency aid because of the humanitarian crisis caused by war and ongoing violence, according to a new report.

Around 8 million Iraqis are in urgent need of water, sanitation, food and shelter, a joint report (pdf) released today by Oxfam and the NGO Coordination Committee in Iraq said.

The document said that although armed violence is the greatest threat facing Iraqis, the population is also experiencing another crisis of "an alarming scale and severity".

Researchers found that 15% of Iraqis cannot regularly afford to eat, 70% do not have adequate water supplies (up from 50% in 2003), 28% of children are malnourished (compared with 19% before the invasion), and 92% of children suffer learning problems.

The report also said more than 2 million people - mostly women and children - have been displaced within Iraq and have no reliable income, while another 2 million Iraqis have fled the country as refugees, mostly to neighbouring Syria and Jordan.

The "brain drain" that Iraq is experiencing is further stretching already inadequate public services as thousands of medical staff, teachers, water engineers and other professionals are forced to leave the country, the report warned. At the end of 2006, an estimated 40% had left.

July 29, 2007

US braced for bloody pull-out

AT THE Army College in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, Major Daniel Morgan is studying the lessons for Iraq of the Soviets' chaotic exit from Afghanistan in the late 1980s. The roads were choked with tanks and heavy weaponry, making the demoralised soldiers easy prey for guerillas.

"The Soviet Army actually had to fight out of certain areas," said Morgan, who has served twice in Iraq.

There is no easy exit from Iraq, but defence secretary Robert Gates has admitted for the first time that the Pentagon is poring over the options. Under pressure from Hillary Clinton, the senator for New York, defence officials are to give a "closed door" briefing to the Senate Armed Services Committee this week about US troop withdrawals.

Excellent article. If you only have time to read on article, read this one.

July 22, 2007

Al-Sadr builds secret power base

AFTER months of lying low, the anti-American Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has re-emerged with a shrewd two-tiered strategy that reaches out to Iraqis on the street and distances him from the increasingly unpopular government.

Al-Sadr and his political allies have largely disengaged from government, thus contributing to a political paralysis. His outsider status has enhanced al-Sadr's appeal to Iraqis, who consider politics less and less relevant to their daily lives.

Al-Sadr has been working tirelessly to build support at the grass roots, opening new shopfront offices across Baghdad and southern Iraq which dispense services not being provided by the government. In this he seems to be following the model established by Hezbollah, the radical Lebanese Shi'ite group, as well as Hamas in Gaza, with entwined social and military wings that serve as a parallel government.

July 30, 2007

Defense Earnings Continue To Soar

Several of Washington's largest defense contractors said last week that they continue to benefit from a boom in spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as sustained government demand for information technology, defying predictions that the sector's expansion would begin to slow.

Profit reports from Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin showed particularly strong results in operations in the region. Though the wars have started to reduce the Pentagon's appetite for large, futuristic weapons that traditionally drive these companies' bottom lines, the shift in defense spending hasn't hurt profits.

"These are companies that don't turn on a dime," said Jon B. Kutler, founder of Admiralty Partners, an investment firm. "Even if you turned off the spending spigot tomorrow, defense companies would still have great cash flows for many years to come."

More proof the US engaged in illegal torture. All these abuses took place because the US Supreme Court closed its eyes.

An Impeachable Offense
July 29, 2007

MI5's role in torture flight hell

An Iraqi who was a key source of intelligence for MI5 has given the first ever full insider's account of being seized by the CIA and bundled on to an illegal 'torture flight' under the programme known as extraordinary rendition.

He was thrown into the CIA's 'Dark Prison,' deprived of all light 24 hours a day in temperatures so low that ice formed on his food and water. He was taken to Guantanamo in March 2003 and released after being cleared of any involvement in terrorism by a tribunal.

July 28, 2007

Bush civil rights nominee under fire

July 28, 2007 | A deal that would see David Palmer, a Bush administration nominee, quietly confirmed to the powerful Equal Employment Opportunity Commission appears to be faltering. Momentum against Palmer's confirmation has been building since former Department of Justice employees took the unprecedented step of formally accusing him of having an abysmal professional and personal record on workplace discrimination issues.

And Thursday, in a letter to Sen. Ted Kennedy, Sen. Barack Obama joined the chorus of those calling for an investigation into Palmer's fitness to serve on the EEOC, the agency tasked with protecting employees from discrimination based on race, gender and religion under the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

July 28, 2007

Iraq government refuses to take control of American-financed reconstruction projects

The conclusions, detailed in a report released Friday by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, a federal oversight agency, include the finding that of 2,797 completed projects costing $5.8 billion, Iraq's national government had, by the spring of this year, accepted only 435 projects valued at $501 million. Few transfers to Iraqi national government control have taken place since the current Iraqi government, which is frequently criticized for inaction on matters relating to the American intervention, took office in 2006.

July 28, 2007

Gangs Spreading In The Military

Evidence of gang culture and gang activity in the military is increasing so much an FBI report calls it "a threat to law enforcement and national security." The signs are chilling: Marines in gang attire on Parris Island; paratroopers flashing gang hand signs at a nightclub near Ft. Bragg; infantrymen showing-off gang tattoos at Ft. Hood.

"If we weren't in the middle of fighting a war, yes, I think the military would have a lot more control over this issue," Glass said. "But with a war going on, I think it's very difficult to do."

American tax dollars have been subverted to push a conservative ideology which seems intent eliminating truth and the expansion of government propaganda. We can't trust government intelligence or scientific reports because they're tainted by ideology.

An Impeachable Offense
July 29, 2007

Global Health Draft In 2006 Rejected for Not Being Political

A surgeon general's report in 2006 that called on Americans to help tackle global health problems has been kept from the public by a Bush political appointee without any background or expertise in medicine or public health, chiefly because the report did not promote the administration's policy accomplishments, according to current and former public health officials.

The report described the link between poverty and poor health, urged the U.S. government to help combat widespread diseases as a key aim of its foreign policy, and called on corporations to help improve health conditions in the countries where they operate. A copy of the report was obtained by The Washington Post.