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Impeach Bush--Index 68

The only military officer charged got off with a slap on the wrist. Military justice lacks justice for the 24 women and children murdered by US soldiers.

August 29, 2007

Army officer reprimanded in Abu Ghraib trial

FORT MEADE, Md. - A military jury recommended a reprimand today for the only officer court-martialed in the Abu Ghraib abuse scandal, sparing him any prison time for disobeying an order to keep silent about the abuse investigation.

The jury had acquitted Army Lt. Col. Steven L. Jordan a day earlier of all three charges directly related to the mistreatment of detainees at the U.S.-run prison in Iraq.

Those acquittals absolved Jordan, 51, of responsibility for the actions of 11 lower-ranking soldiers who have already been convicted for their roles at Abu Ghraib. The allegations surfaced after the release of photographs showing U.S. soldiers grinning alongside naked detainees held in humiliating positions at the prison.

Whatever happened to "name, rank and serial number?"

An Impeachable Offense
August 13, 2007

Black Sites - The C.I.A.'s war crimes

The use of psychologists was also considered a way for C.I.A. officials to skirt measures such as the Convention Against Torture. The former adviser to the intelligence community said, "Clearly, some senior people felt they needed a theory to justify what they were doing. You can't just say, 'We want to do what Egypt's doing.' When the lawyers asked what their basis was, they could say, 'We have Ph.D.s who have these theories.' " He said that, inside the C.I.A., where a number of scientists work, there was strong internal opposition to the new techniques. "Behavioral scientists said, 'Don't even think about this!' They thought officers could be prosecuted."

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.

The C.I.A.'s interrogation program is remarkable for its mechanistic aura. "It's one of the most sophisticated, refined programs of torture ever," an outside expert familiar with the protocol said. "At every stage, there was a rigid attention to detail. Procedure was adhered to almost to the letter. There was top-down quality control, and such a set routine that you get to the point where you know what each detainee is going to say, because you've heard it before. It was almost automated. People were utterly dehumanized. People fell apart. It was the intentional and systematic infliction of great suffering masquerading as a legal process. It is just chilling."

In addition to keeping a prisoner awake, the simple act of remaining upright can over time cause significant pain. McCoy, the historian, noted that "longtime standing" was a common K.G.B. interrogation technique. In his 2006 book, "A Question of Torture," he writes that the Soviets found that making a victim stand for eighteen to twenty-four hours can produce "excruciating pain, as ankles double in size, skin becomes tense and intensely painful, blisters erupt oozing watery serum, heart rates soar, kidneys shut down, and delusions deepen."

Mohammed is said to have described being chained naked to a metal ring in his cell wall for prolonged periods in a painful crouch. (Several other detainees who say that they were confined in the Dark Prison have described identical treatment.) He also claimed that he was kept alternately in suffocating heat and in a painfully cold room, where he was doused with ice water. The practice, which can cause hypothermia, violates the Geneva Conventions, and President Bush's new executive order arguably bans it.

An Impeachable Offense
August 28, 2007

Leaked Red Cross report sets up Bush team for international war-crimes trial

If we, the people, are ultimately condemned by a world court for our complicity and silence in these war crimes, we can always try to echo those Germans who claimed not to know what Hitler and his enforcers were doing. But in Nazi Germany, people had no way of insisting on finding out what happened to their disappeared neighbors.

We, however, have the right and the power to insist that Congress discover and reveal the details of the torture and other brutalities that the CIA has been inflicting in our name on terrorism suspects.

What gets the GOP worked up isn't gross violations of the Geneva Conventions, violations of the War Crimes Act, illegal surveillance by the White House, or lying under oath by Gonzales. What really pisses them off is one of their own being gay. Good grief, and here I thought Dems needed to grow some balls.

His money will dry up and without money you can't win an election. He's finished. It's worth noting that Newt Gingrich was forced to pay $300,000 to the House because he lied under oath. No one in the GOP thought lying under oath was a problem until Bill Clinton got caught. The Gingrich fine and the admission of guilt wasn't enough to force Gingrich out of office...because he's straight and he was fooling around with another woman. Double standard?

August 30, 2007

GOP Leaders Strip Craig Of Committee Assignments

BOISE, Idaho, Aug. 29 -- Sen. Larry Craig went on vacation with his wife Wednesday, according to aides, as calls for his resignation intensified, Republican leaders stripped him of his committee assignments, and support in his home state appeared to be eroding.

On the day after Craig dismissed having pleaded guilty to a charge of disorderly conduct in an airport restroom as an overreaction to a mistaken arrest, and insisted that he is not gay, even longtime supporters expressed disappointment.

It doesn't matter what the military recommends anyway. Bush has no choice but to keep this war going as long as he can. What else would he talk about..his balanced budgets (those that he promised and failed to deliver?). And Democrats are too cowardly to step up the plate and actually hit one out of the ball park. They're afraid their fans will boo them.

August 29, 2007

Pentagon won't make surge recommendation to Bush

WASHINGTON — In a sign that top commanders are divided over what course to pursue in Iraq, the Pentagon said Wednesday that it won't make a single, unified recommendation to President Bush during next month's strategy assessment, but instead will allow top commanders to make individual presentations.

"Consensus is not the goal of the process," Geoff Morrell, a Pentagon spokesman, told reporters. "If there are differences, the president will hear them."

There's little doubt Democrats will give Bush what he wants and they won't raise taxes to pay for it. Instead, they'll do what the Republicans do, they'll increase the debt ceiling and borrow it. Where are the men and women in congress - all we have are children.

August 29, 2007

Bush Wants $50 Billion More for Iraq War

President Bush plans to ask Congress next month for up to $50 billion in additional funding for the war in Iraq, a White House official said yesterday, a move that appears to reflect increasing administration confidence that it can fend off congressional calls for a rapid drawdown of U.S. forces.

The request -- which would come on top of about $460 billion in the fiscal 2008 defense budget and $147 billion in a pending supplemental bill to fund the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq -- is expected to be announced after congressional hearings scheduled for mid-September featuring the two top U.S. officials in Iraq. Army Gen. David H. Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker will assess the state of the war and the effect of the new strategy the U.S. military has pursued this year.

The best part of being a CEO in the US these days that you get paid if you succeed and you get paid even more if you fail. The Board of Directors will pay you tens of billions just to get rid of you.

The US economy remains in shambles. Average wages adjusted for inflation peaked in 1973, but the pay for CEOs has soared.

August 29, 2007

CEO pay: 364 times more than workers

The average CEO of a large U.S. company made roughly $10.8 million last year, or 364 times that of U.S. full-time and part-time workers, who made an average of $29,544, according to a joint analysis released Wednesday by the liberal Institute for Policy Studies and United for a Fair Economy.

That gap is down from 411 times in 2005 and well-below the record high of 525 times recorded in 2000. But the comparison isn't exactly apples-to-apples, in part because IPS and UFE changed how they measured CEO options pay this year.

For Republicans, this war was always "liberal versus conservatives" not the US versus Iraq. They wanted this war and now it's their war. Let history damn them for it. The sad part is the US has never looked weaker. We're losing a war in a country that has no army, no navy, no Air Force, no Marine Corps etc. - nearly defenseless country. Imagine if this military had to go to war with a country that's armed to the teeth.

Can we blame just Bush, or isn't it long past the time to blame military commanders. After all, they told Bush what he wanted to hear regarding the number of troops needed etc. They lied in order to advance their careers and now we have thousands of dead American soldiers.

August 30, 2007

GAO Draft at Odds With White House

Iraq has failed to meet all but three of 18 congressionally mandated benchmarks for political and military progress, according to a draft of a Government Accountability Office report. The document questions whether some aspects of a more positive assessment by the White House last month adequately reflected the range of views the GAO found within the administration.

The strikingly negative GAO draft, which will be delivered to Congress in final form on Tuesday, comes as the White House prepares to deliver its own new benchmark report in the second week of September, along with congressional testimony from Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker. They are expected to describe significant security improvements and offer at least some promise for political reconciliation in Iraq.

The nice part of these ad campaigns is it proves the GOP failed and the only way they can defend that failure (and use money and intellectual resources to do so) is to advertise and hope people will fall for it again. It's worked in the past and it'll work in the future...will it work his time? The key is the media. If they give credence to these liars then it'll work. If they ignore them, the truth will force public policy changes.

August 22, 2007

Pro-war group launches $15 million ad blitz

A new group, Freedom's Watch, is launching Wednesday with a $15 million, five-week campaign of TV, radio and Web ads featuring military veterans that is aimed at retaining support in Congress for President Bush's "surge" policy on Iraq.

"For those who believe in peace through strength, the cavalry is coming," said former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, who is a founding board member of the group.

The big ad buy, funded by high-profile Republicans who were aides and supporters of President Bush, reflects a furious public relations battle that will unfold as Congress debates the crucial progress report by Gen. David Petraeus, which is due Sept. 15.

August 26, 2007

Chicago Sun Times: The War is Lost

Bush has laid a heap of blame on ineffectual Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite whose administration is geared to suppressing Sunnis. On Friday, al-Maliki's government suffered another hit as three cabinet members announced they were resigning. As bad as al-Maliki is, he can't be held accountable for the deep-seated divisions and deeper hatred that fuels this conflict.

With Iraq's own forces failing miserably to help establish order, the U.S. vision of a united Iraq without a dominating American presence is past the point of fading.

Having struck little but hollow notes -- after the fall of Saddam, Iraqi elections, Iraqi troop training, the initiation of the surge -- the president needs to face the music. Americans shouldn't be made to feel unpatriotic for recognizing the reality of what is happening in Iraq. The president could go a long way toward reuniting this country by admitting we've run out of options in and figuring a way out.

Maybe we would have won Vietnam if enough people who now say they supported the war actually fought in it - people like Bush and Cheney.

August 25, 2007

Historically challenged, Bush fabricates a war

On Aug. 22, 1945 -- just six days after the end of World War II -- a team of French paratroopers dropped into South Vietnam, or Indochina as it was known at the time. The incursion began the first phase of a long war that would embroil and defeat France, then the United States over the next three decades, killing millions along the way.

On Aug. 22, 2007, speaking before the Veterans of Foreign Wars, President Bush rewrote that history. The problem in Indochina wasn't misguided American involvement. It was American withdrawal. "One unmistakable legacy of Vietnam," Bush said, "is that the price of America's withdrawal was paid by millions of innocent citizens whose agonies would add to our vocabulary new terms like 'boat people,' 're-education camps,' and 'killing fields.' " With that single sentence, it was as if the two million Vietnamese, hundreds of thousands of Cambodians and 57,000 Americans who died as a result of the American campaign before withdrawal had been an insignificant sideshow to the devastation that followed, especially in Cambodia.

The media seems utterly unaware that the WH and its supporters simply buy their support with propaganda. Fox News, talk radio and advertising bitzes are their weapons of choice - and these weapons are utterly void of facts. If the media did its job we would never spent a day worrying about Whitewater or WMD because the media would have exposed both as being a hoax.

August 27, 2007

A Familiar Bush Strategy - Paid Propaganda

A new group with close ties to the White House, Freedom's Watch, joined Mr. Bush's effort last week with a $15 million advertising campaign that revives "cut and run" accusations against the war's opponents. One of its leaders, Ari Fleischer, the former White House spokesman, said Mr. Bush was doing what was necessary to explain why he was keeping the nation at war.

Within the White House, there is growing confidence that Mr. Bush will be able to withstand Democrats' efforts to force a change in strategy. "The end of August feels much better than the beginning of August," a senior aide said Saturday.

Success in this campaign, however, does not necessarily mean success in winning the war itself.

Republicans have always been proud of the fact that they can hate better than Democrats. The hate doesn't have to be based on known facts, in fact, Bill Clinton gave us balanced budgets and they still hated him. Hate is the most powerful emotion and without it, there would be no GOP.

August 26, 2007

Vast army of 'Hillary haters' has claws out

But make no mistake about it: Collins is just one in a vast army of professional "Hillary haters" who are banking on Clinton becoming the Democratic nominee. Like the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth in the 2004 election who denigrated John Kerry's military service in Vietnam, Collins and others are searching for just the thing that will crystallize the way voters think and feel about her.

And not in a good way.

Armed with new technologies and fueled by animus, they are bent on preventing "four more years" of Clintonism. Every old charge, it seems, is being repackaged and sold as new. Every rumor is given a new, blog-stoked currency.

An Impeachable Offense
August 27, 2007

Iraqi insurgents taking cut of U.S. rebuilding money

BAGHDAD, Iraq — Iraq's deadly insurgent groups have financed their war against U.S. troops in part with hundreds of thousands of dollars in U.S. rebuilding funds that they've extorted from Iraqi contractors in Anbar province.

The payments, in return for the insurgents' allowing supplies to move and construction work to begin, have taken place since the earliest projects in 2003, according to Iraqi contractors, politicians and interpreters involved with reconstruction efforts.

One of the key differences between the two major parties is Democrats are deathly afraid of calling for resignations, even when the person in question is a criminal. Republicans call for resignations if someone farts without their permission.

August 27, 2007

Gonzales Resigns

WACO, Tex., Aug. 27 — Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, whose tenure has been marred by controversy and accusations of perjury before Congress, announced his resignation in Washington today, declaring that he had "lived the American dream" by being able to lead the Justice Department.

Mr. Gonzales, who had rebuffed calls for his resignation for months, submitted it to President Bush by telephone on Friday, a senior administration official said. There had been rumblings over the weekend that Mr. Gonzales's departure was imminent, although the White House sought to quell the rumors.

August 27, 2007

Army putting spin on Iraq suicides

DENVER — Some veterans organizations, soldiers' relatives and psychiatrists are raising questions about an Army report that says no direction connection has been found between long troop deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan and the army's highest suicide rate since the first Gulf War.

The Army report, released Aug. 16, said love and marriage problems were the main reasons for the highest rate of suicides since 1991. Nearly a third of the 99 who committed suicide in 2006 were in Iraq or Afghanistan.

"This is yet another example of the administration hiding the true costs of this war," said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., a member of the Veterans Affairs Committee.

It appears the only reason other crops can be farmed is if they are guarded. Farmers can choose the Taliban who will do it for free (or for a cut of the action) or they can pay someone to defend their fields. Which would you choose if you were them?

August 26, 2007

Taliban Raise Poppy Production to a Record Again

LASHKAR GAH, Afghanistan, Aug. 25 — Afghanistan produced record levels of opium in 2007 for the second straight year, led by a staggering 45 percent increase in the Taliban stronghold of Helmand Province, according to a new United Nations survey to be released Monday.

As the Americans toured the farm, they were guarded by eight Afghans and three British and Australian guards. The farm itself had received guards after local villagers began sneaking in at night and stealing produce. Twenty-four hours a day, 24 Afghan men with assault rifles staff six guard posts that ring the farm, safeguarding chili peppers and other produce.

The charges against Ware were based on the following; "I told him there's just womens and kids in the room," Mendoza said Tuesday. "He replied, 'Well, shoot them.'"

It seems killing innocent women and children are now considered normal "laws of combat."

August 24, 2007

Haditha Investigator Urges Dropping of Marine's Case

An investigating officer has recommended that a Marine Corps general drop all charges against a Marine accused of murdering civilians in Haditha, Iraq, finding again that the 2005 shootings were "tragedies" but that the Marine did not violate the laws of combat.

Lt. Col. Paul J. Ware wrote in a 29-page report that there is insufficient evidence to show that Lance Cpl. Stephen B. Tatum did anything other than follow Marine Corps rules when he killed women and children in two houses in a residential neighborhood in Iraq on Nov. 19, 2005. Ware found that Tatum followed orders to attack the houses and shot a group of civilians only because another Marine in the unit was already shooting at them.

An Impeachable Offense
August 24, 2007

Whistleblowers on Fraud Facing Penalties

One after another, the men and women who have stepped forward to report corruption in the massive effort to rebuild Iraq have been vilified, fired and demoted.

Or worse.

For daring to report illegal arms sales, Navy veteran Donald Vance says he was imprisoned by the American military in a security compound outside Baghdad and subjected to harsh interrogation methods.

Many of the following articles prove Bush has been lying about the situation in Iraq. Lying to the American people was considered an impeachable offense when Richard Nixon was about to be impeached.

An Impeachable Offense
August 24, 2007

Intelligence report at odds with U.S. policies on Iraq

BAGHDAD: The U.S. National Intelligence Estimate has effectively discredited the dominant American hypothesis of the past seven months: that safer streets, secured by additional troops, would create enough political calm for Iraq's leaders to reconcile.

They have failed to do so in part, suggests the report, which was released Thursday, because the security gains remain too modest to reverse Iraq's dynamic of violence and fear. Baghdad after all, remains a place where women at the market avoid buying river fish for fear that they've been eating bodies.

But just as important, according to Iraqi political analysts and officials, Iraq has become a cellular nation, dividing and redividing, where the constituency for chaos now outnumbers the constituency for compromise.

August 25, 2007

Data show no surge in safety in Iraq so far in 2007

BAGHDAD | The U.S. troop buildup has brought violence in Baghdad down from peak levels, but the death toll from sectarian attacks nationwide is running nearly double the year-ago pace.

Some of the recent bloodshed appears to be the result of militants drifting into northern Iraq, where they have fled after U.S.-led offensives. Baghdad, however, still accounts for slightly more than half of all war-related killings — the same percentage as a year ago, according to figures compiled by The Associated Press.

Bush could have asked for new legislation, but instead chose to break the law.

An Impeachable Offense
August 24, 2007

Spy boss undercuts security case by confirming AT&T role

A newspaper interview by the nation's spymaster, confirming that telecommunications companies have helped the Bush administration's clandestine surveillance program, has undermined the government's attempt to shield AT&T for its role in the effort, a lawyer for customers of the company said Thursday.

The director of national intelligence, Michael McConnell, said under oath three months ago that it would cause "exceptionally grave harm to the national security" to confirm or deny that telecommunications companies such as AT&T and Verizon had helped the government in "alleged intelligence activities."

But in an interview published Wednesday by the El Paso Times, McConnell said the companies "had assisted us" in an electronic surveillance program and should be protected by Congress from lawsuits pending in a San Francisco federal court.

August 23, 2007

A new intelligence report paints a bleak picture of Iraq

WASHINGTON — A new assessment of Iraq by U.S. intelligence agencies provides little evidence that the American troop "surge" has accomplished its goals and predicts that the U.S.-backed government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki will become "more precarious" in the months ahead.

A declassified summary of the report released Thursday said that violence remains high, warns that U.S. alliances with former Sunni Muslim insurgents could undercut the central government and says that political compromises are "unlikely to emerge" in the next 12 months.

Perhaps most strikingly, U.S. intelligence analysts concluded that factions and political players in and outside Iraq already are maneuvering in expectation of a drawdown of U.S. troops — moves that could later heighten sectarian bloodshed.

August 25, 2007

Iraq body count running at double pace

BAGHDAD - This year's U.S. troop buildup has succeeded in bringing violence in Baghdad down from peak levels, but the death toll from sectarian attacks around the country is running nearly double the pace from a year ago.

Some of the recent bloodshed appears the result of militant fighters drifting into parts of northern Iraq, where they have fled after U.S.-led offensives. Baghdad, however, still accounts for slightly more than half of all war-related killings — the same percentage as a year ago, according to figures compiled by The Associated Press.

August 21, 2007

CNN's Jack Cafferty Deplores Chris Dodd for Arguing Against Impeaching Bush

Cafferty had charged: "This President has pulled off a power grab in the name of the war on terror the likes of which this country hasn't seen in a very long time. And in the process, people who are a lot smarter than I am suggest that he has broken this nation's laws over and over and over again. From invading a sovereign nation without provocation to torturing prisoners to the NSA spy program, to holding people without a right to a court hearing or a lawyer, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera." Amongst the e-mails Cafferty read, one declared: "Of course George Bush deserves to be impeached, and he should also be thrown in jail." Another writer recommended: "He should be 'legally' water-boarded until he can recite the Bill of Rights and define habeas corpus."

So, Senator Dodd is putting the election prospects of the Democratic Party next year ahead of whether or not President Bush might be guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors of a kind which would mandate his removal from office. Congress's job is oversight of the executive branch -- unless, of course, that oversight interferes with getting elected. Here's the question, then: "Democratic presidential hopeful Chris Dodd says it would be a mistake for Democrats to impeach President Bush. Is he right?" E-mail caffertyfile@cnn.com, or go to cnn.com/cafferty file. It's a pretty amazing statement to come out of Senator Dodd's mouth, Wolf."

August 22, 2007

Sunni Leader Says Prime Minister 'Finished'

August 22, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- The pressure on the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, both domestic and from the United States, continues to grow as the paralysis that resulted from the Sunni-led Iraqi Accordance Front's withdrawal from the government continues.

According to Umar Abd al-Sattar, a member of the Iraqi Islamic Party and a parliamentarian representing the Accordance Front (Al-Tawafuq), the front is working to propose a national-unity plan. Speaking to RFE/RL Iraq analyst Kathleen Ridolfo today, Abd al-Sattar harshly criticized al-Maliki, saying Iraq's first permanent post-Hussein government has done nothing for the people. Abd al-Sattar also discussed Al-Tawafuq's relations with the Sunni tribes of the western Al-Anbar Governorate, and with Kurdish and Shi'ite political parties.

An Impeachable Offense
August 24, 2007

Anti-American Sentiment Grows Worldwide

In a March 2007 survey of 28,000 people in 27 countries conducted for the BBC World Service by GlobeScan and the University of Maryland's Program on International Policy Attitudes, only Israel, Iran and North Korea were perceived as having a more negative influence than the United States on world affairs. During 2002-06, European views of the desirability of U.S. leadership in world affairs has declined from 64% to 37%, while its undesirability has risen from 31% to 57%. Former U.S. National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski gives Bush an "F" for his "catastrophic leadership" in world affairs in his new book, Second Chance.

Particularly dramatic are E.U. and world perceptions of Bush. Confidence in the U.S. president has declined in all countries, mirroring similar declines in the United States itself.

The U.S. Council on Foreign Relations' Task Force on Public Diplomacy has pointed to a perceived lack of U.S. empathy for other people's pain and hardship (for example, U.S. reluctance to intervene in Liberia's civil war), arrogance and self-indulgence. The E.U. is the world's largest bilateral aid donor, providing twice as much aid to poor countries as the United States.

August 20, 2007

DOJ Scandal Results in Another Resignation

WASHINGTON, Aug. 23 — The head of the Justice Department's civil rights division announced Thursday that he was resigning, the latest in a long string of departures from the department in the midst of a furor over the leadership of Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales.

The department said that the resignation of the official, Assistant Attorney General Wan J. Kim, had nothing to do with the recent controversies over Mr. Gonzales's performance, and that Mr. Kim had been planning his departure for months.

His departure was announced on the same day that department officials confirmed that a senior official who preceded Mr. Kim in running the civil rights division, Bradley J. Schlozman, had also resigned.

August 24, 2007

Marine drill instructor has been charged with 225 criminal counts connected to abusing recruits

SAN DIEGO  —  A Marine drill instructor has been charged with 225 criminal counts connected to abusing recruits, a Marines spokesman said Thursday.

In one incident, Sgt. Jerrod M. Glass allegedly ordered a recruit to jump head-first into a trash can and then pushed him further into the container, according to court documents cited in The San Diego Union-Tribune. He is also accused of striking recruits with a tent pole and a heavy flashlight.

Two other drill instructors, Sgt. Robert C. Hankins and Sgt. Brian M. Wendel, face special courts-martial in the case, the Marines said. Arraignment dates have not been scheduled for either Marine.

August 24, 2007

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs likely to urge troop cut

WASHINGTON -- The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is expected to advise President Bush to reduce the U.S. force in Iraq next year by almost half, potentially creating a rift with top White House officials and other military commanders over the course of the war.

Administration and military officials say Marine Gen. Peter Pace is likely to convey concerns by the Joint Chiefs that keeping well in excess of 100,000 troops in Iraq through 2008 will severely strain the military. This assessment could collide with one being prepared by the U.S. commander in Iraq, Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, calling for the U.S. to maintain higher troop levels for 2008 and beyond.

On this one the Economist is simply delusional. The ONLY issue that gave the GOP power was tax cuts and in so doing we went from $900 billion of debt before Reagan to nearly $9 trillion today. Democrats haven't figured out a way to combat the idiocy of borrowing money and giving it away. Without tax cuts there would have been no Reagan presidency, without Reagan no Bush 41 presidency and without Reagan and Bush, no Bush 43 presidency.

Reagan's signature issue was tax cuts...and he claimed he could increase spending, cut taxes and balance the budget. For eight years he tried and for eight years he failed. Now, we've had nearly 20 years of Republican presidents and not one balanced budget. This alone should tell the Economist why Republicans win elections - their voters are idiots.

Regarding "free trade" Americans can't even buy prescription drugs from Canada because the GOP depends on the pharmaceutical industry to pay for their elections. On the other hand, Democrats have moved quickly to make free trade a reality between the US and Canada.

August 9, 2007

Is America turning left?

The easy scapegoat is Mr Bush himself. During his presidency, the words Katrina, Rumsfeld, Abramoff, Guantánamo and Libby have become shorthand for incompetence, cronyism or extremism. Indeed, the failings of Mr Bush's coterie are oddly reassuring for some conservatives: once he has gone, they can regroup, as they did after his father was ousted in 1992.

Yet this President Bush is not a good scapegoat. Rather than betraying the right, he has given it virtually everything it craved, from humongous tax cuts to conservative judges. Many of the worst errors were championed by conservative constituencies. Some of the arrogance in foreign policy stems from the armchair warriors of neoconservatism; the ill-fated attempt to "save" the life of the severely brain-damaged Terri Schiavo was driven by the Christian right. Even Mr Bush's apparently oxymoronic trust in "big-government conservatism" is shared in practice by most Republicans in Congress.

August 20, 2007

America Isn't Conservative

"Having recaptured Congress last year, the Democrats are on course to retake the presidency in 2008," says the venerable British weekly, which blames the destruction of the vaunted Republican machine on the ideological excess and breathtaking incompetence of the Bush administration, as well as the sleaziness of the G.O.P. leadership in Congress.

The editorial warns fellow conservatives against claiming that George W. Bush failed to fulfill their agenda. The president is a lame duck but not a good scapegoat, because "rather than betraying the right, he has given it virtually everything it craved, from humongous tax cuts to conservative judges." The worst political errors of the Bush regime, from its ruinous war in Iraq to the awful Terri Schiavo intervention, sprang directly from the brilliant minds of the religious right and the neoconservatives.

MRAPs are 1970s technology and the US military is only now getting it.

An Impeachable Offense
August 23, 2007

Year-end MRAP delivery to be 1,500, not 3,900

At least 1,500 will be in Iraq by Dec. 31, according to Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell. But the figure is less than half of the 3,900 an official previously said would be delivered.

The Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle is Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates' top program priority. During a July 18 press conference at the Pentagon, John Young, chairman of DoD's MRAP Task Force, had said — "ambitiously," according to Morrell — that 3,500 to 3,900 would be delivered to Iraq in that time.

August 22, 2007

DOJ official resigns over attorney firings

Facing multiple investigations, a senior Justice Department appointee has resigned his post.

Bradley Schlozman stepped down from his position as a counsel in the Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys, a branch of the Department of Justice, last week, a Justice spokesman confirmed Wednesday.

Schlozman, a key figure in several political controversies, is under investigation by the department's inspector general and Office of Professional Responsibility for allegations he was involved in politicizing hiring and firing decisions at the Justice Department. He is also a subject of the congressional probe into the U.S. attorneys firing scandal.

The child president and his advisors did it again. They made themselves look like children.

August 22, 2007

White House Manual Protects Bush From Seeing Protesters

Not that they're worried or anything. But the White House evidently leaves little to chance when it comes to protests within eyesight of the president. As in, it doesn't want any.

A White House manual that came to light recently gives presidential advance staffers extensive instructions in the art of "deterring potential protestors" from President Bush's public appearances around the country.

It's worth noting that while lower courts are forcing the WH to follow the law, the very conservative US Supreme Court is making it harder for anyone to sue the Bush government.

An Impeachable Offense
August 22, 2007

Environmentalists win White House suit

SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge ordered the Bush administration to issue two scientific reports on global warming, siding with environmentalists who sued the White House for failing to produce the documents.

U.S. District Court Judge Saundra Armstrong ruled Tuesday that the Bush administration had violated a 1990 law when it failed to meet deadlines for an updated U.S. climate change research plan and impact assessment.

August 21, 2007

Consumer Comfort Index Reports Largest Decrease Recorded

Consumer comfort plummeted this week amid turbulence in the stock market and a seemingly infectious crisis in the home mortgage market.

The Washington Post-ABC News consumer comfort index (CCI), a barometer of the public's assessment of current economic conditions, plunged nine points this week, the biggest ever one-week drop since the poll started in late 1985.

The CCI now stands at -20 on its scale of --100 to +100, well off its high for the year, +2 in March, and near its post-Hurricane Katrina lows. After that storm devastated the Gulf Coast two years ago, consumer confidence quickly dropped by 11 points before recovering several months later.

August 22, 2007

Toll in Iraq Bombings Is Raised to More Than 500

One week after a series of truck bombs hit two poor villages near the Syrian border, the known casualty toll has soared to more than 500 dead and 1,500 wounded, according to the Iraqi Red Crescent Society, making them by far the worst coordinated attacks since the American-led invasion.

Dr. Said Hakki, director of the society, said Tuesday that local Red Crescent workers registering families for aid after the explosions in Qahtaniya and Jazeera had compiled the new numbers, which dwarf the earlier estimates that at least 250 people were killed.

August 16, 2007

Bush Moves To Push Petraeus From Spotlight

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.

August 7, 2007

Iraq power system 'near collapse'

Iraq's national power grid is on the brink of collapse, the country's electricity ministry has warned.

Water supplies to Baghdad have also been cut off for days at a time, with summertime pressures on key systems said to be more intense than ever.

The ministry blamed poor maintenance, fuel shortages, sabotage by insurgents and rising demand for the problems, and said some provinces hold onto supplies.

The US Army told the BBC that Iraq must now take charge of fixing the problems.

The general in charge of helping Iraq rebuild its infrastructure, Michael Walsh, said that although Iraqi authorities only have one-quarter of the money needed for reconstruction, solving the problem was now up to them.

An Impeachable Offense
August 22, 2007

Federal No-Bid Contracts On Rise

Though small by government standards, the counter-narcotics contract illustrates the government's steady move away from relying on competition to secure the best deals for products and services.

A recent congressional report estimated that federal spending on contracts awarded without "full and open" competition has tripled, to $207 billion, since 2000, with a $60 billion increase last year alone. The category includes deals in which officials take advantage of provisions allowing them to sidestep competition for speed and convenience and cases in which the government sharply limits the number of bidders or expands work under open-ended contracts.

August 22, 2007

Credit crisis compounds Republicans' political troubles

WASHINGTON — The credit crisis that has hit home mortgages and shaken worldwide financial markets is turning into a political albatross for President Bush and Republican presidential contenders, piling atop an unpopular war in Iraq and eroding traditional GOP claims of being good stewards of the economy.

And it may be having a more far-reaching effect as well: giving Democrats a powerful argument for passing new financial regulations that the administration desperately wants to avoid.

August 20, 2007

Republicans Can't Manage the Economy

  • Lyndon B. Johnson's "Great Society" created robust economic expansion, first in both GDP and personal income growth. He also reduced unemployment from 5.3% to 3.4%. Economic growth remained robust through most of LBJ's presidency.
  • John F. Kennedy campaigned on the idea of getting America moving again, and he did. Under Kennedy, America entered its largest sustained expansion since WWII. GDP and personal income growth were second only to Johnson, all with minimal inflation. Contrary to Republican attempts to say Kennedy's tax cuts are like Bush's, Kennedy's were targeted at middle and lower incomes.
  • The economy added 10 million jobs under Jimmy Carter despite high inflation; Carter ranks first in job creation next to Clinton during just four years in office. Carter also reduced government spending as a percentage of GDP.
  • Harry Truman's second term saw the fastest GDP growth and the sharpest reduction in unemployment of any president surveyed (of course, FDR's post Hoover-depression New Deal jobs are first).
August 21, 2007

Senator threatens to charge White House with contempt

But Leahy made clear that his patience was running out. With Congress on its August break, he returned to Washington and held a news conference announcing that the White House had failed to meet the Monday deadline he had set for complying with the subpoena.

"Follow the law, and don't act like you're above the law," Leahy told reporters in remarks aimed at the White House. "Go ahead and answer the subpoena."

Leahy said that when the Senate returns to session next month, he would bring up what he called the White House's "dilatory unresponsiveness" with the Judiciary Committee in order to decide whether to bring contempt charges against the administration. "I prefer cooperation to contempt, but right now, there's no question they're in contempt of a valid order of the Congress," Leahy said.

August 21, 2007

US ambassador: Progress in Iraq extremely disappointing

BAGHDAD - Iraqi political progress has been 'extremely disappointing,' the US ambassador in Baghdad said on Tuesday two weeks before he and the top American military commander in Iraq are to report to Congress.

"Progress on national level issues has been extremely disappointing and frustrating to all concerned... to us, to Iraqis, and to the Iraqi leadership itself," Ryan Crocker told reporters in the Iraqi capital.

An Impeachable Offense
August 21, 2007

Pentagon ditches TALON security database

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon said on Tuesday it would close a controversial database tracking suspicious activity around U.S. military bases that critics complained had been used to spy on peaceful antiwar activists.

Officials decided the TALON program would end on September 17 not in response to public criticism but because the amount and quality of information being gathered had declined, the Pentagon said.

The Pentagon said in April last year that a review had found the database included reports on peaceful protests and anti-war demonstrations that should have been deleted.

US soldiers murdered, tortured and raped POWs and no officer is being charged with those war crimes? Com'on.

August 20, 2007

US Army Officer on Trial for Abu Ghraib Prison Scandal

A U.S. military court in Fort Meade, Maryland has heard opening arguments in the court martial of the only U.S. military officer charged in connection with the abuse scandal at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

Lieutenant Colonel Steven Jordan entered a plea of not guilty Monday to charges of mistreatment of detainees and disobeying a superior officer. Two more serious charges were dismissed by the military judge because of technicalities.

Colonel Jordan, who was in charge of interrogation at the prison, is the only officer to be court-martialed in the case. Eleven enlisted men and women were convicted, receiving sentences of up to 10 years in prison.

August 20, 2007

Agriculture Secretary faces contempt hearing

A federal judge in Montana has ordered the Bush administration's top forestry official to explain why he should not be held in contempt of court.

U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy in Missoula, Montana, ordered Agriculture Secretary Mark Rey to appear in his court October 15th unless the U.S. Forest Service meets his latest deadline for an analysis of the issue.

In his order, Judge Molloy called Rey the "political master" of the Forest Service, and noted that he had blocked completion of an earlier review.

The end of the Cold War clearly resulted in a decline in our assets. Was that the problem? I doubt it. We could have had 10x more assets and it would have still been nearly impossible to find 19 people in the US training an attack on the US.

After the attack began the US military was unable to get one armed plan in the air until long after the attack was over. I blame the US military and of course its commander in chief.

August 21, 2007

Statement by George J. Tenet on C.I.A. Report

Just weeks before 9/11, the Office of the IG reported that "The DCI Counterterrorist Center (CTC) is a well-managed component that successfully carries out the Agency's responsibilities to collect and analyze intelligence on international terrorism and to undermine the capabilities of terrorist groups." The report went on to say: "CTC fulfills interagency responsibility for the DCI by coordinating national intelligence, providing warning and promoting effective use of Intelligence Community resources on terrorism issues." The report noted that "CTC's resources have steadily increased over the last five years with personnel growing by 74 percent during that period and the budget more than doubling. The Center's comparatively favorable resource situation allows it not only to expand its own programs but also to support operations against terrorists and liaison relationships that DO (Directorate of Operations) area divisions otherwise could not fund."

I'm not sure what's going on here. The FBI still doesn't list bin Laden as being the person responsible for 911. Did he plan it? Not likely. Therefore, it's silly to blame the CIA for something that had nothing to do with bin Laden. If in fact bin Laden planned the attack (and we have no evidence to prove it) then the only logical course of action would have been to go after him, not the Taliban (the Taliban had nothing to do with 911).

August 21, 2007

CIA blamed for 911

Completed in June 2005 and kept classified until now, the 19-page executive summary finds extensive fault with the actions of senior CIA leaders and others beneath them. "The agency and its officers did not discharge their responsibilities in a satisfactory manner," the CIA inspector general found.

"They did not always work effectively and cooperatively," the report stated.

Excellent article. Once again it points out how Bush's rhetoric (which the news media always carries) has nothing to do with the real world. The man is delusional if he thinks he has any influence anyplace in the world.

August 20, 2007

How Super Was Our Power Anyway?

So imagine, when President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan arrived in Washington a couple of weeks back and promptly described Iran as "a helper and a solution" for his country, even as President Bush insisted in his presence: "I would be very cautious about whether or not the Iranian influence in Afghanistan is a positive force." At almost the same moment, Iraq's embattled Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki paid an official visit to Iran, undoubtedly looking for support in case the U.S. turned on his government. Maliki "held hands" with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, met with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini, and called for cooperation. In response, all President Bush could do was issue a vague threat: "I will have to have a heart to heart with my friend, the prime minister, because I don't believe [the Iranians] are constructive.... My message to him is, when we catch you playing a non-constructive role, there will be a price to pay." (Later, a National Security Council spokesman had to offer a correction, insisting the threat was aimed only at Iran, not Maliki.) Then, to add insult to injury, just a week after Bush and Karzai met in Washington, Ahmadinejad headed for Kabul with a high-ranking Iranian delegation to pay his respects to the Afghan president "in open defiance of Washington's wishes." Think slap in the puss.

August 21, 2007

Conservatives want slogans. Liberals Read Books

WASHINGTON (AP) — Liberals read more books than conservatives. The head of the book publishing industry's trade group says she knows why — and there's little flattering about conservative readers in her explanation.

"The Karl Roves of the world have built a generation that just wants a couple slogans: 'No, don't raise my taxes, no new taxes,"' Pat Schroeder, president of the American Association of Publishers, said in a recent interview. "It's pretty hard to write a book saying, 'No new taxes, no new taxes, no new taxes' on every page."

August 21, 2007

Foreclosures Jump Sharply in July, Up 9 Percent From June

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The number of foreclosure filings reported in the U.S. last month jumped 93 percent from July of 2006 and rose 9 percent from June, the latest sign that homeowners are having trouble making payments and finding buyers during the national housing downturn.

There were 179,599 foreclosure filings reported during July, up from 92,845 during the same period a year ago, Irvine-based RealtyTrac Inc. said Tuesday. There were 164,644 foreclosure filings reported in June.

August 20, 2007

The 82nd Airborne vs. the Brookings Institution: Who Do You Trust for a Real View of Iraq?

And right now, we need their experience and opinions. These guys spent a year in Iraq, not eight days, which is why they can read between the lines on Pentagon statistics. For instance, when the Pentagon says, as they told O'Hanlon and Pollack, "more than three-quarters of the Iraqi Army battalion commanders in Baghdad are now reliable partners," the truth on the ground can be far different.

Bottom line: No scholarly articles can replace real boots-on-the-ground knowledge. Participating in a heavily secured, carefully orchestrated sight-seeing visit to Iraq does not make you a military expert any more than a trip to Yankee stadium qualifies one to be a baseball broadcaster for ESPN. That should be obvious by now.

August 20, 2007

State Dept. official facing charges for sending anti-Arab messages is indicated

A State Department diplomat charged this week for sending anti-Arab messages will retire later this month, a department spokeswoman said today.

Patrick Syring, a foreign service officer with the U.S. State Department, was indicated Wednesday by federal prosecutors for sending threatening e-mail and voice mail messages to the Arab American Institute, a group based in Washington, D.C., that has a Michigan office in Dearborn.

"This is Patrick Syring," he said on one voice mail left on July 17, 2006, according to the indictment filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. "The only good Lebanese is a dead Lebanese. The only good Arab is a dead Arab…Death to Lebanon and death to the Arabs."