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Impeach Bush--Index 67
An Impeachable Offense
August 20, 2007

How lawyer navigates sea of secrecy in bizarre case

But in the Al-Haramain case, the Treasury Department inadvertently disclosed National Security Agency call logs stamped "top secret" indicating that the charity and two of its attorneys had been surveilled. Last year, U.S. District Judge Garr King ruled that the logs -- referred to in the court papers as "The Document" — gave the charity standing to sue in federal court.

Today, Eisenberg and Justice Department lawyer Thomas Bondy will each have 20 minutes to argue over King's decision before a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Although the argument will be conducted in public, much of the information in the case, including what was in "the Document," remains veiled in mystery.

Many of the government's motions have been filed under seal, and those lodged publicly contain gaps; one government brief reads: "REDACTED TEXT. PUBLIC TEXT CONTINUES ON PAGE 6."

Some of Eisenberg's briefs have been redacted as well, because they are considered too sensitive for the public to see. But although Justice Department lawyers can see Eisenberg's redactions, he isn't allowed to see theirs.

In the Al-Haramain case, Eisenberg has had to respond to a government filing he was not allowed to see.

August 16, 2007

Court likely to allow suit against AT&T, reject wiretap case

Members of the three-judge panel seemed frustrated by the government's insistence that judges must defer to intelligence officials' assessment of the need for secrecy and dismiss the lawsuits without deciding whether the surveillance program was legal.

Judge Margaret McKeown paraphrased the government's position as, "We don't do it, trust us, and you can't ask about it."

Judge Harry Pregerson offered his own paraphrase: "Once the executive declares that certain activity is a state secret, that's the end of it. ... The king can do no wrong."

But the court appeared to be ready to draw a distinction between the AT&T suit, which claims the company colluded illegally with government eavesdropping and data-mining, and a suit by the now-defunct Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, which is a direct challenge to the surveillance program.

August 20, 2007

Bush is now the embarrassing uncle the Republicans just can't hide

For unlike Thatcher or Reagan he sought to achieve his ends not by exploiting division in order to forge a new, more rightwing consensus but rather to exploit new divisions in order to crush a growing consensus. The majority of the country was, for example, pro-choice and in favour of granting equal rights to gay couples in almost all areas. So the Bush administration chose to leverage gay marriage and late-term abortion - two issues that could act as a wedge - to rally his base. Crude in execution and majoritarian in impulse, it sought not to win over new converts but simply to mobilise dormant constituencies. His legacy will be rightwing policies - but not a more rightwing political culture.

That his agenda should have failed so completely should come as no surprise. The project was always, at root, a faith-based initiative. Following the Republican congressional victory in 2002 Rove was asked to comment on the fact that the nation seemed evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats. "Something else is going on out there," he said. "Something else more fundamental ... But we will only know it retrospectively. In two years, or four years or six years, [we may] look back and say the dam began to break in 2002."

An Impeachable Offense
August 17, 2007

Military Interrogators are Posing as Lawyers at Gitmo

Military interrogators posing as "lawyers" are attempting to trick Guantanamo prisoners into providing them with information, The Catholic Worker (TCW) reports.

This incredible and illegal practice contributes "to the prisoners' suspicions that the (real) lawyers are not to be trusted and could be aiding the government," TCW says in its July issue.

This subterfuge is only one of the many treacherous tactics the government is employing to sabotage the efforts of lawyers to represent their clients.

After meeting with their clients at Guantanamo, Newsday reported, lawyers must turn their interview notes over to guards, who send them on to the Pentagon facility in Virginia that is the only place lawyers can go to write their motions. There, the military tries to edit out detainees' claims of mistreatment from the public record.

Some military lawyers have been gagged from speaking to the media after they made allegation that guards are routinely beating Guantanamo prisoners. Australian Broadcasting reported defense lawyer Lt. Col. Colby Vokey and legal aide Sgt. Heather Cerveny, who represent a Gitmo prisoner, were ordered not to talk to reporters after they filed a formal complaint to the Pentagon about the beatings.

August 17, 2007

Short of Purple Hearts, Navy tells vet to buy own

PEARLAND — Korean War veteran Nyles Reed, 75, opened an envelope last week to learn a Purple Heart had been approved for injuries he sustained as a Marine on June 22, 1952.

But there was no medal. Just a certificate and a form stating that the medal was "out of stock."

The form letter from the Navy Personnel Command told Reed he could wait 90 days and resubmit an application, or buy his own medal.

After waiting 55 years, however, Reed decided to pay $42 for his own Purple Heart and accompanying ribbon — plus state sales taxes — at a military surplus store.

When the war was popular the media covered it. Now that it's not they don't. The war has always been about ratings, not a threat to our national security. The media is so transparently corrupt.

August 20, 2007

U.S. media curtail Iraq war coverage

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. media reporting of the war in Iraq fell sharply in the second quarter of 2007, largely due to a drop in coverage of the Washington-based policy debate, a study released Monday said.

Taken together, the war's three major story lines -- the U.S. policy debate, events in Iraq and their impact on the U.S. homefront -- slipped roughly a third, to 15 percent of an index of total news coverage, down from 22 percent in the first three months of the year.

The study by the Project for Excellence in Journalism examined 18,010 stories that appeared between April 1 and June 29. Its "News Coverage Index" encompasses 48 outlets, including newspapers, radio, online, cable and network television.

August 13, 2007

Poll: 73% Oppose Warrantless Wiretapping

By a 73%-22% margin, Americans overwhelmingly oppose George Bush's efforts to wiretap Americans' phone calls and emails without a search warrant, according to a Democrats.com telephone poll of 1,006 adults conducted from August 8-12, 2007 by ICR.

This is the first national poll since September 2006 asking Americans about warrantless wiretapping of Americans, which has been ignored by corporate media polls despite headline coverage. Democrats.com has also conducted several polls about impeachment, another topic corporate media pollsters refuse to touch because of opposition from the Bush Administration.

August 15, 2007

80% of Dems Oppose the Congress Run by Their Party

Meanwhile, Congress wins just 18% positive approval from Democrats, while 80% of Dems give them negative marks for their performance so far. Republicans watching the performance of the Democratic-controlled Congress are more harsh - just 12% give it good marks, while 86% said they are doing only a "fair" or "poor" job in Washington. Political independents appear to agree with Republicans on this count - just 16% give Congress positive marks, while the balance give it a negative rating.

It seems the military has found a way to keep the death toll of US soldiers down. Farm out the hard stuff to private contractors and then bury the number who die. Ingenious.

An Impeachable Offense
August 20, 2007

Contractors in Iraq Have Become U.S. Crutch

When years from now historians and government officials reexamine precedents set by the U.S. experience in Iraq, many "firsts" are likely to pop up.

One still playing out is the extraordinarily wide use of private contractors. A Congressional Research Service report published last month titled "Private Security Contractors in Iraq: Background, Legal Status, and Other Issues," puts it this way: "Iraq appears to be the first case where the U.S. government has used private contractors extensively for protecting persons and property in potentially hostile or hostile situations where host country security forces are absent or deficient."

It quotes U.S. Army Corps of Engineers data that show "an increasing proportion of registered supply convoys has been attacked." In the first 18 weeks of 2007, 14.7 percent of the convoys were struck, according to the data, while only 5.5 percent were hit in 2005. Earlier this month, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) reported that Labor Department figures show 1,001 civilian contractors had died in Iraq as of June 30, 2007.

August 17, 2007

Army Reports Brass, Not Bloggers, Breach Security

For years, the military has been warning that soldiers' blogs could pose a security threat by leaking sensitive wartime information. But a series of online audits, conducted by the Army, suggests that official Defense Department websites post material far more potentially harmful than anything found on a individual's blog.

The audits, performed by the Army Web Risk Assessment Cell between January 2006 and January 2007, found at least 1,813 violations of operational security policy on 878 official military websites. In contrast, the 10-man, Manassas, Virginia, unit discovered 28 breaches, at most, on 594 individual blogs during the same period.

The results were obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, after the digital rights group filed a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act.

August 20, 2007

U.S. foreign policy experts oppose Bush's surge

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - More than half of top U.S. foreign policy experts oppose President George W. Bush's troop increase as a strategy for stabilizing Baghdad, saying the plan has harmed U.S. national security, according to a new survey.

As Congress and the White House await the September release of a key progress report on Iraq, 53 percent of the experts polled by Foreign Policy magazine and the Center for American Progress said they now oppose Bush's troop build-up.

That is a 22 percentage point jump since the strategy was announced early this year.

August 17, 2007

Heroism and the language of fascism

But it's a big mistake to mix up the idea of service -- or the idea of sacrifice and suffering -- with the idea of heroism.

Take Jason Dunham, a 22-year-old Marine corporal who, in 2004, threw his helmet and then his body on top of an Iraqi insurgent's grenade, saving the lives of the Marines around him. Dunham died of his wounds and became one of only two soldiers in the Iraq war to be awarded the Medal of Honor, the highest military decoration in the United States. But in a world where every service member is a "hero," how many Americans have heard of Dunham's fatal courage?

For a chilling account of another society in which "the devaluation of the concept of heroism" was "proportional to the frequency of its use and abuse," check out Ilya Zemtsov's "The Encyclopedia of Soviet Life." In 1938, Zemtsov notes, the Soviet Union instituted "the title 'Hero of Socialist Labor'. . . . Thousands of those heroes emerged. . . . The hero was supposed to die in the name of Stalin during wartime [and] give his or her all in labor on communist constructions. . . . [But] a person upon whom the title 'hero' is bestowed has often performed no heroic deed whatsoever, but may receive the title . . . merely in return for displaying loyalty and/or diligence. . . . With time, the awarding of the title came to be used as a token to be disbursed or withheld according to political considerations. . . . "

August 19, 2007

UK Military commanders tell Brown to withdraw from Iraq without delay

Senior military commanders have told the Government that Britain can achieve "nothing more" in south-east Iraq, and that the 5,500 British troops still deployed there should move towards withdrawal without further delay.

Two generals told The Independent on Sunday last week that the military advice given to the Prime Minister was, "We've done what we can in the south [of Iraq]". Commanders want to hand over Basra Palace – where 500 British troops are subjected to up to 60 rocket and mortar strikes a day, and resupply convoys have been described as "nightly suicide missions" – by the end of August. The withdrawal of 500 soldiers has already been announced by the Government. The Army is drawing up plans to "reposture" the 5,000 that will be left at Basra airport, and aims to bring the bulk of them home in the next few months.

August 17, 2007

The Enormous Cost of War

$456 billion has now been appropriated for the war through September 30, and that's a difficult number to get a handle on. But as I've written previously, NPP spells out exactly what every state and district has paid towards this catastrophe and describes the spending priorities that could have been met with those same resources.

For example, $456 billion could have provided over 48 million children with health care coverage for the length of the War; built 3.5 million affordable housing units; 45,800 elementary schools; hired 8 million additional public school teachers for a year; paid for nearly 60 million kids to attend Head Start; or awarded 22 million 4-year scholarships at public universities. Instead, we find our nation speeding towards what Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz estimated as a final price tag – somewhere between $1 trillion and $2 trillion.

August 17, 2007

Secret court to decide on unprecedented request to unseal terrorist surveillance records

WASHINGTON: The government must answer a watchdog group's demands to release records about the United States' classified terrorist spying program, the chief judge of a secretive national security court has ruled.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which announced the order Friday, said it was the first time the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court had responded to a request filed by the public.

In her 2-page order, dated Aug. 16, presiding Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly called the ACLU's demand "an unprecedented request that warrants further briefing."

August 19, 2007

Concerns Raised on Wider Spying Under New Law

These new powers include the collection of business records, physical searches and so-called "trap and trace" operations, analyzing specific calling patterns.

For instance, the legislation would allow the government, under certain circumstances, to demand the business records of an American in Chicago without a warrant if it asserts that the search concerns its surveillance of a person who is in Paris, experts said.

It is possible that some of the changes were the unintended consequences of the rushed legislative process just before this month's Congressional recess, rather than a purposeful effort by the administration to enhance its ability to spy on Americans.

An Impeachable Offense
August 19, 2007

Defense Agency Proposes Outsourcing More Spying

The Defense Intelligence Agency is preparing to pay private contractors up to $1 billion to conduct core intelligence tasks of analysis and collection over the next five years, an amount that would set a record in the outsourcing of such functions by the Pentagon's top spying agency.

The proposed contracts, outlined in a recent early notice of the DIA's plans, reflect a continuing expansion of the Defense Department's intelligence-related work and fit a well-established pattern of Bush administration transfers of government work to private contractors.

August 19, 2007

US Soldiers: The War as We Saw It

VIEWED from Iraq at the tail end of a 15-month deployment, the political debate in Washington is indeed surreal. Counterinsurgency is, by definition, a competition between insurgents and counterinsurgents for the control and support of a population. To believe that Americans, with an occupying force that long ago outlived its reluctant welcome, can win over a recalcitrant local population and win this counterinsurgency is far-fetched. As responsible infantrymen and noncommissioned officers with the 82nd Airborne Division soon heading back home, we are skeptical of recent press coverage portraying the conflict as increasingly manageable and feel it has neglected the mounting civil, political and social unrest we see every day.

August 14, 2007

Comptroller General: Learn from the fall of Rome

The US government is on a 'burning platform' of unsustainable policies and practices with fiscal deficits, chronic healthcare underfunding, immigration and overseas military commitments threatening a crisis if action is not taken soon, the country's top government inspector has warned.

David Walker, comptroller general of the US, issued the unusually downbeat assessment of his country's future in a report that lays out what he called "chilling long-term simulations".

These include "dramatic" tax rises, slashed government services and the large-scale dumping by foreign governments of holdings of US debt.

August 17, 2007

Construction Woes Plague U.S. Embassies

The new air-conditioning system in the $66 million U.S. Embassy in Mali broke down in June, sending office temperatures soaring to 100 degrees. An electrical fire erupted in the rehabilitated annex to the embassy in Rome. And the U.S. ambassador in Belize had to personally help workers sand the floors for new housing.

As the United States seeks to rapidly modernize and fortify its diplomatic missions around the world because of terrorism and other security concerns, the State Department's $5 billion construction efforts abroad have come under increasing strain. In a series of cables sent to Washington this summer, U.S. diplomats complained of building delays and shoddy workmanship, underscoring problems with State's one-size-fits-all approach to building that results in the same air-conditioning system being shipped to embassies in Africa and in Europe.

August 20, 2007

ACLU Ad Targets Reid And Pelosi


baadd (50K)

If you listen to the media or the DLC they'd say most Americans are conservative, but in the real world, most Americans rejected the extremism of the GOP long ago.

August 17, 2007

37% Independents, 33% Democrats, 29% Republicans

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A slight majority of Americans have identified as a Democrat (or leaned in that direction) for each of the last five quarters. Despite an improved position during the time period of the 2004 election, there has not been any one quarter during the Bush administration in which a majority of Americans identified or leaned toward the Republican Party.

Past data show that the Democrats also had a majority (using the leaned party identification measure) at the time of the Clinton impeachment process in late 1998 and early 1999, at one point in 1997, at one point in 1996, and in the election year of 1992 and the first quarter of 1993.

2. The image of the Republican Party is as negative as at any point over the last 15 years.

The government stands accused of committing more crimes. Should we throw GOP leaders into prison, keep them there for years without access to lawyers while we figure out what to do with them?

An Impeachable Offense
August 17, 2007

Commerce, Treasury funds helped boost GOP campaigns

WASHINGTON — Top Commerce and Treasury Departments officials appeared with Republican candidates and doled out millions in federal money in battleground congressional districts and states after receiving White House political briefings detailing GOP election strategy.

Political appointees in the Treasury Department received at least 10 political briefings from July 2001 to August 2006, officials familiar with the meetings said. Their counterparts at the Commerce Department received at least four briefings — all in the election years of 2002, 2004 and 2006.

It's unfortunate the government was allowed to perjure itself in court documents - making up charges, changing the charges and then dropping the charges until they could manufacture more charges. This case is ripe for appeal and any decent judge will overturn the verdict - not because Padilla is innocent but because the government is so guilty.

August 17, 2007

The Real Verdict on Jose Padilla

The case challenging the constitutionality of Padilla's detention was in the federal courts for several years. It reached the Supreme Court in 2004, at which point the government finally allowed him to speak to a lawyer. But the high court did not review the merits; instead, it ruled on a technicality that the case should have been brought in South Carolina, not New York. Litigation continued and nearly reached the Supreme Court again in late 2005. By then, the administration had begun soft-pedaling the "dirty bomb" story, which it described as "loose talk" rather than an imminent plot. It put forward a new theory: Padilla was planning to blow up apartment buildings with natural gas. The government also argued that he could be detained as an "enemy combatant" because, it alleged, he had been in Afghanistan during the U.S. bombing campaign in late 2001.

Two business days before the government's brief was due in the Supreme Court, the administration switched tactics again. Fearful that the court would rule that a U.S. citizen arrested in the United States could not constitutionally be detained forever without criminal trial, the government announced that Padilla would be tried in a federal court in Miami. As the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit noted, the government's actions made it appear that it was trying to evade Supreme Court review.

The charges brought in Miami contained none of the allegations about the dirty-bomb plot, the apartment buildings or even Padilla's presence in Afghanistan in late 2001. Instead, the government alleged that Padilla had conspired in the 1990s to provide support to overseas jihadists in Bosnia and Chechnya. Commentators called even this weaker case notably thin, but Padilla was found guilty.

The Founders rejected that kind of arbitrary and oppressive power. And the federal court in Florida has shown how weak the administration's case for abandoning the Constitution really is.

The Bush White House has been caught lying so many times why should we trust them this time?

August 17, 2007

US Considers Terror Label for Eritrea

WASHINGTON - The Bush administration is preparing a case to designate the Red Sea state of Eritrea a "state sponsor of terrorism" for its alleged support of al-Qaida-linked Islamist militants in Somalia, the top U.S. diplomat for Africa said Friday.

Officials are now compiling evidence of Eritrean backing for the extremists to support the designation, a rare move that would impose severe sanctions on the impoverished nation and put it in the same pariah category as Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Syria, said Jendayi Frazer, the assistant secretary of state for African affairs.

The Office of the President of the United States broke the law again. Who cares? It's just the law.

An Impeachable Offense
August 16, 2007

Feds pay $80,000 over anti-Bush T-shirts

CHARLESTON, W.Va. --A couple arrested at a rally after refusing to cover T-shirts that bore anti-President Bush slogans settled their lawsuit against the federal government for $80,000, the American Civil Liberties Union announced Thursday.

Nicole and Jeffery Rank of Corpus Christi, Texas, were handcuffed and removed from the July 4, 2004, rally at the state Capitol, where Bush gave a speech. A judge dismissed trespassing charges against them, and an order closing the case was filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Charleston.

The ACLU said in a statement that a presidential advance manual makes it clear that the government tries to exclude dissenters from the president's appearances. "As a last resort," the manual says, "security should remove the demonstrators from the event."

The US government falsely accused him, detained him for years without access to a lawyer, tortured him and gave committed perjury in court documents when it simply lied about the charges against him, and now that same government said he committed crimes. When the government is allowed to commit all these crimes (and more) and get away with it, our government and our court system is useless.

The judge in this case should be ashamed of himself - and be banned from ever hearing another case. Padilla may be guilty of possible futuristic crimes (plans to do something) but the US government is already guilty of many crimes - including the crime we once called perjury.

August 17, 2007

The Padilla Conviction

After all that, there was still some good news yesterday: a would-be terrorist will be going to jail. And the Bush administration was forced, grudgingly and only at the very end, to provide him with the rights guaranteed by the Constitution.

I have no idea why we have a congress. After Dems learned the White House lied about the surveillance act and the Attorney General lied under oath, Democrats took a vacation. Democrat voters and a majority of Americans have already turned against these fools. When will they stop defending and enabling the lawlessness in this White House?

An Impeachable Offense
August 17, 2007

FBI Director's Notes Contradict Gonzales's Version Of Ashcroft Visit

Then-Attorney General John D. Ashcroft was "feeble," "barely articulate" and "stressed" moments after a hospital room confrontation in March 2004 with Alberto R. Gonzales, who wanted Ashcroft to approve a warrantless wiretapping program over Justice Department objections, according to notes from FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III that were released yesterday.

One of Mueller's entries in five pages of a daily log pertaining to the dispute also indicated that Ashcroft's deputy was so concerned about undue pressure by Gonzales and other White House aides for the attorney general to back the wiretapping program that the deputy asked Mueller to bar anyone other than relatives from later entering Ashcroft's hospital room.

I'm listing this an impeachable offense because Bush lied to Congress and the American people when he said Petraeus would report back to Congress. Instead, it appears the White House is writing the report and Petraeus (who wrote a pro war editorial just before the election) will most likely pander to the WH than tell the truth (as he did in 2004).

An Impeachable Offense
August 16, 2007

Whose Report Is It, Anyway?

The "Petraeus Report" -- the supposedly trustworthy mid-September reckoning of military and political progress in Iraq by Army Gen. David H. Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker -- is instead looking more like a White House con job in the making.

The Bush administration has been trying for months to restore its credibility on Iraq (as well as stall for time) by focusing on Petraeus -- President Bush's "main man" in Iraq -- and his report to Congress. But now it turns out it that White House aides will actually write the "Petraeus Report," not the general himself.

And although Petraeus has a long history of literally and figuratively playing the good soldier for Bush, it appears that the president still doesn't trust him enough to stay on message under the congressional klieg lights.

Julian E. Barnes and Peter Spiegel wrote in yesterday's Los Angeles Times: "Despite Bush's repeated statements that the report will reflect evaluations by Petraeus and Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, administration officials said it would actually be written by the White House, with inputs from officials throughout the government."

August 15, 2007

Mine Safety Czar Richard Stickler: Another Bush Fox Guarding the Henhouse

The man who will oversee the federal government's investigation into the disaster that has trapped six workers in a Utah coal mine for over a week was twice rejected for his current job by senators concerned about his own safety record when he managed mines in the private sector.

President George W. Bush resorted to a recess appointment in October 2006 to anoint Richard Stickler as the nation's mine safety czar after it became clear he could not receive enough support even in a GOP-controlled Senate.

In the wake of the January 2006 Sago mine disaster in West Virginia, senators from both sides of the aisle expressed concern that Stickler was not the right person to combat climbing death rates in the nation's mines.

Did the Bush White House race to fix a problem they created? Nope. Why should they? No one seems to care that this WH acts like a bunch of children.

August 16, 2007

Missing US arms probe goes global

As Congress funded the train-and-equip program for Iraq outside traditional security assistance programs, the Pentagon had a large degree of flexibility in managing the program. Normally, the traditional security assistance programs are operated by the State Department. Since the funding did not go through traditional security assistance programs, the DOD accountability requirements normally applicable to these programs did not apply. Thus the DOD and MNF-I cannot fully account for Iraqi forces' receipt of US-funded equipment.

As a result, the GAO found a discrepancy of at least 190,000 weapons between data reported by the former commander of the Multinational Security Transition Command-Iraq (MNSTC-I) and the property books. The GAO report indicates that US military officials do not know what happened to 30% of the weapons the United States distributed to Iraqi forces from 2004 through early this year.

It seems a virtual certainty that many of the Glocks have been diverted to the black market. An article in the current issue of Newsweek magazine quotes a senior Turkish security official, who said his government estimates that some 20,000 US-bought Glock pistols have been brought from Iraq into his country over the past three years.

By any standard the surge failed, but even if someone is still delusional enough to think we can solve this problem militarily, all they have to do is look at what military officers are saying - they're saying violence will escalate as soon as the US pulls its troops back.

August 16, 2007

Fears over rising Iraq bomb toll

There is uncertainty over the final death toll in Tuesday's devastating multiple bomb attacks in northern Iraq against the minority Yazidi community.

The interior ministry said at least 400 people had died. But police officials and the health ministry dispute this, saying more than 200 were killed.

Earlier, the regional governor said as many as 200 people may still be buried.

The bombing of two Yazidi villages near Mosul was one of the worst attacks in more than four years of war in Iraq.

Democrat voters know their party is screwing them, which is good. We couldn't say that about Republican voters.

August 16, 2007

67% of Democrat Voters Disapprove of Democrat Congress

By a 71 - 24 percent margin, American voters agree with a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that public schools may not consider an individual's race when deciding which students are assigned to specific schools, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll released today.

Republican voters agree with the decision 79 - 17 percent, while Democrats agree 64 - 30 percent and independent voters agree 71 - 24 percent, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe- ack) University poll finds.

All American voters approve 45 - 37 percent of the job the Supreme Court is doing, down from a 58 - 37 percent approval May 3, and close to the Court's lowest approval, 44 - 39 percent, May 25, 2005. But the Supreme Court has a higher approval than the other two branches of government.

The courts became aware of these gross violations of our constitutional rights and did nothing. The US Supreme Court could have stepped in within minutes of hearing of these illegal wiretappings but chose to remain distant and distracted. The constitution was under assault and they couldn't be bothered.

An Impeachable Offense
August 14, 2007

NSA and AT&T joined forces: The illegal wiretapping of Americans

In 2003, Room 641A of a large telecommunications building in downtown San Francisco was filled with powerful data-mining equipment for a "special job" by the National Security Agency, according to a former AT&T technician. It was fed by fiber-optic cables that siphoned copies of e-mails and other online traffic from one of the largest Internet hubs in the United States, the former employee says in court filings.

What occurred in the room is now at the center of a pivotal legal battle in a federal appeals court over the Bush administration's controversial spying program, including the monitoring that came to be publicly known as the Terrorist Surveillance Program.

August 16, 2007

Ice cap meltdown to cause 22ft floods

The Greenland ice sheet is doomed to melt away within the next three centuries and flood hundreds of millions of people out of their homes.

This is the stark warning given by a scientist who claims that current forecasts grossly overestimate how long the ice sheet will survive.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has previously stated that a total meltdown is likely to take at least 1,000 years.

The White House tried to pull another fast one and why shouldn't they? Democrats always buckle. Besides, the Democrat leadership has turned 70% of us against this congress - and 67% of Democrat voters.

An Impeachable Offense
August 16, 2007

An Early Clash Over Iraq Report

Senior congressional aides said yesterday that the White House has proposed limiting the much-anticipated appearance on Capitol Hill next month of Gen. David H. Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker to a private congressional briefing, suggesting instead that the Bush administration's progress report on the Iraq war should be delivered to Congress by the secretaries of state and defense.

White House officials did not deny making the proposal in informal talks with Congress, but they said yesterday that they will not shield the commanding general in Iraq and the senior U.S. diplomat there from public congressional testimony required by the war-funding legislation President Bush signed in May. "The administration plans to follow the requirements of the legislation," National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said in response to questions yesterday.

After months of asking Americans to suspend judgment on the troop surge until hearing a progress report from Gen. David Petraeus next month, the White House proposed keeping the general's report behind closed doors, the Washington Post reports.

White House officials suggested to Congress that they limit Petraeus' and Ambassador Ryan Crocker's appearance to a private congressional briefing, with the secretaries of state and defense delivering the official report to Congress.

Nice try, said Congress.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joseph Biden (D-Del.) told the White House that Bush's plan was "unacceptable." The legislation demanding the report requires that Petraeus and Crocker "will be made available to testify in open and closed sessions before relevant committees of the Congress" before the delivery of the report. "Several Republicans have hinted that their support will depend on a credible presentation by Petraeus," the Post reports.

August 16, 2007

DOD billed $998,798.38 to ship two flat washers that cost $0.19 each

Investigators say the fictitious shipping costs ranged into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, despite the fact that the value of the items shipped rarely exceeded $100. In the final transaction before the scheme was discovered, in September 2006, C&D billed the Department of Defense $998,798.38 to ship two flat washers that cost $0.19 each.

Over the course of the conspiracy, court officials say the defendants obtained approximately $20,576,925.00 in fraudulent shipping costs.

The money was used to purchase beach houses, high-end automobiles, boats, jewelry, vacations, and other items.

Officials say Darlene Wooten committed suicide at her Lexington County lake house last October, after being contacted by federal investigators about the fraud.

August 15, 2007

Poll: Iraq War Made U.S. Less Safe

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) - Many adults in the United States believe the coalition effort did not bring security at home, according to a poll by Opinion Research Corporation released by CNN. 49 per cent of respondents think the war with Iraq has made the U.S. less safe from terrorism, while 42 per cent say it has made it safer.

In addition, 45 per cent of respondents think the chances of a terrorist attack in the U.S. would be higher if the U.S. withdraws its troops from Iraq as soon as possible, while 44 per cent disagree.

A certain general will lie to us, the media will carry that lie as if it were gospel truth and pro war congressmen will go on TV and tell us we're winning.

August 15, 2007

Officers see bleak future for Iraq

BAGHDAD — Despite U.S. claims that violence is down in the Iraqi capital, U.S. military officers are offering a bleak picture of Iraq's future, saying they've yet to see any signs of reconciliation between Sunni and Shiite Muslims despite the drop in violence.

Without reconciliation, the military officers say, any decline in violence will be temporary and bloodshed could return to previous levels as soon as the U.S. military cuts back its campaign against insurgent attacks.

That downbeat assessment comes despite a buildup of U.S. troops that began five months ago Wednesday and has seen U.S. casualties reach the highest sustained levels since the United States invaded Iraq nearly four and a half years ago.

August 14, 2007

Marine from Indiana charged in Iraqi soldier's death

LOS ANGELES (AP) - A Marine reservist from Indiana has been charged with murdering an Iraqi army soldier in Fallujah, an attorney said Tuesday.

Lance Cpl. Delano Holmes, 21, of Indianapolis, is accused of stabbing Munther Jasem Muhammed Hassin to death as the two men stood watch at a security post on Dec. 31, 2006, Holmes' lawyer said.

The struggle began in the pre-dawn darkness after Hassin allegedly opened his cell phone then lit a cigarette at the post, attorney Steve Cook said.

The men were not supposed to display any illuminated objects because of the threat of sniper fire, and Holmes made repeated attempts to make Hassin extinguish the cigarette, Cook said.

"(Holmes) said 'No, no,' but the Iraqi soldier refused to put out the cigarette," Cook said. "Holmes knocked it out of his hands and they started wrestling on the ground."

Holmes thought Hassin was reaching for his loaded AK-47, so the Marine killed him with his bayonet then radioed for help, Cook said.

When Bill and Hillary Clinton tried to reform health care, Democrats ran for the caves, did nothing and lost control of congress for 12 years. Do you think they've learned their lesson?

August 15, 2007

Health care is reason Americans now lag, researcher believes

Pundits often opine that America's stature is declining on the global stage. It turns out that Americans - literally - are not standing as tall, compared with the rest of the world, as they used to.

U.S. adults lost their position as the tallest people on Earth to the Dutch, who average about 2 inches taller than the typical American. In fact, American men now rank ninth and women 15th in average height, having fallen short of many other European nations.

Welcome to the New American Century. Where conservatives and the Supreme Court have taken away all your rights in the name of national security.

An Impeachable Offense
August 15, 2007

U.S. to Expand Domestic Use Of Spy Satellites

The U.S.'s top intelligence official has greatly expanded the range of federal and local authorities who can get access to information from the nation's vast network of spy satellites in the U.S.

The decision, made three months ago by Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell, places for the first time some of the U.S.'s most powerful intelligence-gathering tools at the disposal of domestic security officials. The move was authorized in a May 25 memo sent to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff asking his department to facilitate access to the spy network on behalf of civilian agencies and law enforcement.

Bush wants war but he doesn't want a draft so he has enough bodies to win the war. He also doesn't have the courage to raise taxes to pay for the war. All in all, we have the weakest president in US history - weak and a failure.

August 16, 2007

Army suicides highest in 26 years

WASHINGTON - Army soldiers committed suicide last year at the highest rate in 26 years, and more than a quarter did so while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a new military report.

"In addition, there was a significant relationship between suicide attempts and number of days deployed" in Iraq, Afghanistan or nearby countries where troops are participating in the war effort, it said. The same pattern seemed to hold true for those who not only attempted, but succeeded in killing themselves.

An Impeachable Offense
August 8, 2007

Smithsonian Official Resigns After Records Destroyed

A top Smithsonian official has resigned after he destroyed records from a key Smithsonian Board of Regents meeting.

James M. Hobbins, 64, executive assistant to the secretary of the Smithsonian, has acknowledged destroying transcripts from a meeting in January when regents discussed then-Secretary Lawrence M. Small's compensation, housing allowance and travel expenses among other things, according to people who insisted on remaining anonymous because of the sensitivity of the case.

The sources said the documents were destroyed after Smithsonian General Counsel John Huerta sent a memo to employees in March to retain documents. The directive came after the Senate Finance Committee began investigating the Smithsonian in early February and an independent review committee established by the regents later that month specifically requested the minutes and other records from meetings.

The good general is playing politics, a sport he's utterly unfit to play in. He can't even win a war in a country that has military...why should we trust him to tell our political leaders the truth? Besides, if he suggests withdrawal he'll be removed from command so it's all a joke anyway.

August 12, 2007

Top general may propose pullbacks

WASHINGTON -- Intent on demonstrating progress in Iraq, the top U.S. general there is expected by Bush administration officials to recommend removing American troops soon from several areas where commanders believe security has improved, possibly including Al Anbar province.

According to the officials, Gen. David H. Petraeus is expected to propose the partial pullback in his September status report to Congress, when both the war's critics and supporters plan to reassess its course. Administration officials who support the current troop levels hope Petraeus' recommendations will persuade Congress to reject pressure for a major U.S. withdrawal.

I find it hard that anyone respects a pathological liar like Rove. Are Washington types so brain dead and so immoral that a well placed lie is considered acceptable? Rove/Bush lied about WMD, tax cuts, surpluses, Iraq being part of the war on terror and everything else. Everyone accepts he/they lied so why give him/them credit. No one will give Bush credit for lying.

August 12, 2007

Rove exit signals 'end of Bush presidency'

"This is the end of the Bush presidency, absolutely," said Wayne Slater co-author of a book on Rove titled "The Architect."

"All lame ducks are lame ducks; this one, with Karl Rove now turning out the lights, is the most lame duck we've seen in a long time."

Democratic strategist Donna Brazile, who holds a "grudging respect" for Rove and his accomplishments, said she didn't know whether his absence would push Bush "over the edge" into lame-duck status.

"To lose someone with Rove's ability is, I'm sure, very humbling," said Brazile. "There would be no Bush presidency without Karl Rove so it's hard to separate president Bush's legacy from that of Karl Rove."

I'm not sure why we still have a comptroller general. No one in power ever listens to him and the media mostly ignores him.

August 14, 2007

US Comptroller General: Learn from Fall of Rome

The US government is on a 'burning platform' of unsustainable policies and practices with fiscal deficits, chronic healthcare underfunding, immigration and overseas military commitments threatening a crisis if action is not taken soon, the country's top government inspector has warned.

David Walker, comptroller general of the US, issued the unusually downbeat assessment of his country's future in a report that lays out what he called "chilling long-term simulations".

These include "dramatic" tax rises, slashed government services and the large-scale dumping by foreign governments of holdings of US debt.

The media is still far too dependent on government numbers. They need to start recording food prices on their own and then comparing them to Labor Dept. figures. The government has this incredible knack of finding excuses to adjust inflation numbers so government numbers shouldn't be trusted.

August 14, 2007

Prices for key foods are rising sharply

inflation_sm (6K)MIDLAND, Va. — The Labor Department's most recent inflation data showed that U.S. food prices rose by 4.2 percent for the 12 months ending in July, but a deeper look at the numbers reveals that the price of milk, eggs and other essentials in the American diet are actually rising by double digits.

Already stung by a two-year rise in gasoline prices, American consumers now face sharply higher prices for foods they can't do without. This little-known fact may go a long way to explaining why, despite healthy job statistics, Americans remain glum about the economy.

August 14, 2007

Four suicide bombings kill 175 in Iraq

BAGHDAD - Four suicide bombers struck at communities of a small Kurdish sect in northwestern Iraq with nearly simultaneous attacks Tuesday, killing at least 175 people and wounding 200 more, Iraqi military and local officials said.

The death toll was the highest in a concerted attack since Nov. 23, when 215 people were killed by mortar fire and five car bombs in Baghdad's Shiite Muslim enclave of Sadr City. And it was most vicious attack yet against the Yazidis, an ancient religious community in the region whose members are considered infidels by some Muslims.

The bombings came as extremists staged other bold attacks: leveling a key bridge outside Baghdad and abducting five officials from an Oil Ministry compound in the capital in a raid using gunmen dressed as security officers.

August 12, 2007

Iraqi leader alleges 'genocide campaign'

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq's most senior Sunni politician issued a desperate appeal for Arab nations to help stop what he called an "unprecedented genocide campaign" by Shiite militias armed, trained and controlled by Iran.

Also, the U.S. military reported five American soldiers were killed, apparently lured into an al-Qaeda trap.

Adnan al-Dulaimi said "Persians" and "Safawis," Sunni terms for Iranian Shiites, were on the brink of total control in Baghdad and soon would threaten Sunni Arab regimes which predominate in the Mideast.

An Impeachable Offense
August 12, 2007

Fatigue cripples US army in Iraq

Exhaustion and combat stress are besieging US troops in Iraq as they battle with a new type of warfare. Some even rely on Red Bull to get through the day. As desertions and absences increase, the military is struggling to cope with the crisis.

Lieutenant Clay Hanna looks sick and white. Like his colleagues he does not seem to sleep. Hanna says he catches up by napping on a cot between operations in the command centre, amid the noise of radio. He is up at 6am and tries to go to sleep by 2am or 3am. But there are operations to go on, planning to be done and after-action reports that need to be written. And war interposes its own deadly agenda that requires his attention and wakes him up.

When he emerges from his naps there is something old and paper-thin about his skin, something sketchy about his movements as the days go by.

August 12, 2007

U.S. supported Iraqi government seeks weapons via the black market

PERUGIA, Italy - In a hidden corner of Rome's busy Fiumicino Airport, police dug quietly through a traveler's checked baggage, looking for smuggled drugs. What they found instead was a catalog of weapons, a clue to something bigger.

Their discovery led anti-Mafia investigators down a monthslong trail of telephone and e-mail intercepts, into the midst of a huge black-market transaction, as Iraqi and Italian partners haggled over shipping more than 100,000 Russian-made automatic weapons into the bloodbath of Iraq.

As the secretive, $40 million deal neared completion, Italian authorities moved in, making arrests and breaking it up. But key questions remain unanswered.

August 12, 2007

British lawmakers: US 'surge' in Iraq 'likely to fail'

LONDON (AFP) - The US "surge" of troops in Iraq is likely to fail, a British parliamentary committee said Monday as it delivered a critical report on London's foreign policy in the Middle East.

"It is too early to provide a definitive assessment of the US 'surge' but it does not look likely succeed," the House of Commons Foreign Affairs committee said in a wide-ranging document. The Commons is Britain's lower parliamentary chamber.

"The committee believes that the success of this strategy will ultimately ride on whether Iraq's politicians are able to reach agreement on a number of key issues."

Instead, it called on the government to set out what action it was taking to foster political reconciliation between Sunni and Shia Muslims and Kurds in Iraq. And it called for evidence of Iran's backing for insurgents in the south.

Bush's $3.2 trillion dollars of debt at work for you.

August 4, 2007

Your Tax Cuts At Work

stl480 (16K)