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Impeach Bush--Index 70

The same Democrats who voted to condemn free speech are the same Democrats who refuse to force the GOP to go along with tax increases to pay for the cost of war. Cowards.

September 22, 2007

War Costing $720 Million Each Day

CHICAGO, Sept. 21 -- The money spent on one day of the Iraq war could buy homes for almost 6,500 families or health care for 423,529 children, or could outfit 1.27 million homes with renewable electricity, according to the American Friends Service Committee, which displayed those statistics on large banners in cities nationwide Thursday and Friday.

The war is costing $720 million a day or $500,000 a minute, according to the group's analysis of the work of Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz and Harvard public finance lecturer Linda J. Bilmes.

Raise taxes $3,860 per second and see how fast support drops to zero - most likely within one day. As I've said before, make the GOP pay for their war and they'll run away from it as fast as they can.

September 20, 2007

War Cost: $3,860 per second

By Bernd Debusmann WASHINGTON, Sept 20 (Reuters) - Assuming you read at average speed, by the time you get to the bottom of this column, the war in Iraq will have cost the United States another $760,000. More than $4 million of U.S. taxpayers' money ebbed away in the 18 minutes it took George W. Bush to explain to his country and the world last week why the war he ordered would last well beyond his presidency.

During an eight-hour working day, U.S. tax dollars spent in the battle zones of Iraq total $112 million. These figures are extrapolated from a report by the Congressional Research Service (CSR), a bipartisan agency which provides research and analysis for the U.S. Congress. It put the war's average cost in 2007 at around $10 billion a month.

That translates into $333 million a day, $14 million an hour, $231,000 a minute and $3,850 a second. Even for the world's richest country, this is serious money.

After Betraeus lied to Congress and after Congress condemned speech they don't like, the carnagein in Iraq continues - this time, caused by private contractors.

September 23, 2007

Witness tells of carnage in Baghdad shooting

BAGHDAD (AFP) - An Iraqi traffic policeman told Sunday how Blackwater security guards caused carnage when they opened fire on civilians in Baghdad, as a senior officer probing the shooting insisted it was unprovoked.

One week after the gunbattle that killed 10 civilians and enraged Iraq's government, police and interior ministry officials were still gathering witness accounts and hunting video footage perhaps taken by amateurs on mobile phones.

September 20, 2007

Senate Roll Call Vote: Condemning free speech

S.Amdt. 2934  to S.Amdt. 2011 to H.R. 1585 (National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008)

To express the sense of the Senate that General David H. Petraeus, Commanding General, Multi-National Force-Iraq, deserves the full support of the Senate and strongly condemn personal attacks on the honor and integrity of General Petraeus and all members of the United States Armed Forces.

The media spent more time and energy on MoveOn.org than it did on the Petraeus report. Even the US Senate got in the act. Poor babies.

September 19, 2007

What I Hate About Political Coverage

The other problem, which has become very apparent lately, is that this sort of coverage often fails even on its own terms, because the way things look to inside-the-Beltway pundits can be very different from the way they look to real people.

Which brings me to the Petraeus hearing.

To a remarkable extent, punditry has taken a pass on whether Gen. Petraeus's picture of the situation in Iraq is accurate. Instead, it was all about the theatrics – about how impressive he looked, how well or poorly his Congressional inquisitors performed. And the judgment you got if you were watching most of the talking heads was that it was a big win for the administration – especially because the famous MoveOn ad was supposed to have created a scandal, and a problem for the Democrats.

September 21, 2007

In Search of a Congress

If you were one of the Americans waiting for Congress, under Democratic control, to show leadership on the war in Iraq, the message from the Senate is clear: "Nevermind." The same goes for those waiting for lawmakers to fix the damage done to civil liberties by six years of President Bush and a rubber-stamp Republican Congress.

The Democrats don't have, or can't summon, the political strength to make sure Congress does what it is supposed to do: debate profound issues like these and take a stand. The Republicans are simply not interested in a serious discussion and certainly not a vote on anything beyond Mr. Bush's increasingly narrow agenda.

If the military had won the war within days of weeks they wouldn't have to make excuses for their failures. It's really that simple.

September 20, 2007

A Top U.S. General in Iraq Blames Public's Antiwar Views on the Media

NEW YORK Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, commander of the Army's 3rd Infantry Division, said Thursday, back in the U.S. on leave at Fort Stewart, that the war in Iraq is "a winnable mission" if the the media would only cooperate.

"If the American people are informed properly," Lynch told reporters after he arrived home on leave, "I believe they will be supportive of the mission. But they're not getting the right story. As a result, they're anti the war."

Another Bush and Petraeus lie exposed.

An Impeachable Offense
September 21, 2007

Iraqi forces take lead in only 8 percent of Baghdad

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Iraqi forces have taken the lead for security in only about eight percent of Baghdad's neighborhoods more than eight months after the start of the US troop surge, a senior US commander said Friday.

Major General Joseph Fil said violence has declined sharply in the city and more than half of its 474 neighborhoods, or "mahalas," are under the joint control of US and Iraqi forces, up from about 19 percent in June.

Will the Senate take time out of its busy schedule to condemn illegal arms sales to Iraqis or does the Senate only condemn free speech by fellow Americans?

An Impeachable Offense
September 22, 2007

U.S. investigates Blackwater arms smuggling

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Federal prosecutors are looking into whether private U.S. security contractor Blackwater USA has shipped unlicensed automatic weapons and military goods into Iraq, a newspaper reported on Saturday.

Two former Blackwater employees have pleaded guilty in Greenville, North Carolina, to weapons charges and are cooperating with the investigation, The News & Observer of Raleigh, North Carolina reported.

So Democrats are pissed at MoveOn.org. Do they have any idea what they've done? Are they so far up Bush's ass that they can't see they've pissed off millions of people. Within the first few hours after the Senate vote MoveOn collected $500,000. On the second day they were expected to raise $1 million more.

September 21, 2007

MoveOn Unmoved By Furor Over Ad Targeting Petraeus

Yesterday, an organization so small its 17 employees don't even have a central office, found itself under attack by not only President Bush, who said the ad was "disgusting," but also by the Democratic-controlled Senate, which passed a resolution 72 to 25 expressing its own outrage. Many Democrats blamed the group for giving moderate Republicans a ready excuse for staying with Bush and for giving Bush and his supporters a way to divert attention away from the war.

Many Democratic strategists were privately furious at the group for launching an attack on a member of the military rather than Bush, arguing that it gave Republicans a point on which to attack the Democrats and to rally around the administration's war policy. The displeasure underscores the uneasy alliance between MoveOn and the party. MoveOn, after its rather guerrilla start, has increasingly become part of the Democratic establishment in Washington. It has donated money and lent its Washington director, Thomas Mattzie, to a coalition of liberal groups with major funding from wealthy donors that organizes in an office on K Street to promote opposition to the war.

Can the US Senate be pulled away from its busy schedule of condemning free speech to pass more funding to bury the war dead created by their war?

September 20, 2007

U.S. military cemetery running out of space

OVERLAND PARK, Kansas (Reuters) - A Kansas military cemetery has run out of space after the burial of another casualty of the Iraq war, officials said on Thursday.

"We are full," said Alison Kohler, spokeswoman for the Fort Riley U.S. Army post, home of the 1st Infantry Division.

U.S. Sens. Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts, both Kansas Republicans, on Thursday sent a letter to William Tuerk, the under secretary for memorial affairs at the Department of Veterans Affairs, urging for full funding for a new cemetery for Fort Riley.

The mercenary hired to protect US diplomats in Iraq can just as easily be hired to kill those diplomats.

September 21, 2007

Making a killing: how private armies became a $120bn global industry

This is a snapshot of a working day in the burgeoning world of private military companies, arguably the fastest-growing industry in the global economy. The sector is now worth up to $120bn annually with operations in at least 50 countries, according to Peter Singer, a security analyst with the Brookings Institution in Washington.

"The rate of growth in the security industry has been phenomenal," says Deborah Avant, a professor of political science at UCLA. The single largest spur to this boom is the conflict in Iraq.

After more than four years of war, the US still can't claim victory, but if we challenge the general in charge (or call him a liar) the US Senate will condemn us. It seem the US Senate is trying to create enemies within our borders instead of fixing the mess they created in Iraq.

September 20, 2007

How George Bush became the new Saddam

Arriving in Baghdad has always been a little weird. Under Saddam Hussein it was like going into an orderly morgue; when he ran off after the U.S.-led invasion of March 2003 put an end to his Baathist party regime, the city became a chaotic mess. I lived in Iraq for almost two years, but after three years away I wasn't quite ready for just how deserted and worn down the place seemed in the early evening. It was as if some kind of mildew was slowly rotting away at the edges of things, breaking down the city into urban compost.

The US has lost control over its own destiny as Republicans cut taxes and created the largest accumulation of debt in human history. The US has to borrow money from China to pay its bills because we're giving tax cuts to the rich.

Prior to the Reagan Revolution the US debt stood at $900 billion. Now the Treasury Dept. is asking Congress to increase our debt ceiling to $10 trillion. Conservatives are intentionally destroying the future of the country and when one of them gets up and says anything, about anything, they need to be put down as being too stupid and too immoral to talk about important issues.

September 10, 2007

China threatens 'nuclear option' of dollar sales

The Chinese government has begun a concerted campaign of economic threats against the United States, hinting that it may liquidate its vast holding of US treasuries if Washington imposes trade sanctions to force a yuan revaluation.

Two officials at leading Communist Party bodies have given interviews in recent days warning - for the first time - that Beijing may use its $1.33 trillion (£658bn) of foreign reserves as a political weapon to counter pressure from the US Congress.

Shifts in Chinese policy are often announced through key think tanks and academies.

September 21, 2007

Fears of dollar collapse as Saudis take fright

The Saudi central bank said today that it would take "appropriate measures" to halt huge capital inflows into the country, but analysts say this policy is unsustainable and will inevitably lead to the collapse of the dollar peg.

As a close ally of the US, Riyadh has so far tried to stick to the peg, but the link is now destabilising its own economy.

Will the US Senate take time out of its busy schedule to condemn the military for losing so many weapons and causing so many deaths or will the Senate condemn MoveOn.org again?

An Impeachable Offense
September 20, 2007

Are Lost U.S. Weapons In Enemy Hands?

(CBS) Last month, a government report revealed the U.S. military could not account for 190,000 -- or 30 percent -- of all weapons issued to Iraqi Security Forces between June 2004 and December 2005.

Thursday, Pentagon officials said $88 billion in spending in Iraq and Afghanistan is now under audit by the Department of Defense for fraud.

Now, in his exclusive report CBS News chief investigative correspondent Armen Keteyian has learned some of those missing weapons have ended up in the worst possible hands.

The evidence appears to be overwhelming. Blackwater is a criminal enterprise. Does the US government look the other way (as with so many other atrocities) because we don't have enough troops and no one in congress has the courage to demand we reinstate the draft so there are enough troops?

On the other side of the coin, is anyone tracking the number of mercenaries killed in Iraq? It seems the US military can easily create the illusion of fewer US military deaths by simply hiring others to do the hard work for them.

An Impeachable Offense
September 21, 2007

US resumes Blackwater convoys in Iraq

BAGHDAD - American convoys under the protection of Blackwater USA resumed on Friday, four days after the U.S. Embassy suspended all land travel by its diplomats and other civilian officials in response to the alleged killing of civilians by the security firm.

A top aide to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had earlier conceded it may prove difficult for the Iraqi government to follow through on threats to expel Blackwater and other Western security contractors.

I'm not sure which is more appalling. The GOP pretending to be offended (by the truth) or the Democratic Response which didn't exist. Either way, we have a lot of senators who will never be listened to again. When free speech is condemned by the US Senate our democracy is doomed.

Soldiers and their families died so the people of Iraq could be free. They died in vain. In the US, free speech is condemned. How will the Iraqi government respond to our government condemning free speech?

September 19, 2007

GOP Attack Dogs Turn Sensitive

Goodness gracious. oh, my paws and whiskers. Some of the meanest, most ornery hombres around are suddenly feeling faint. Notorious tough guys are swooning with the vapors. The biggest beasts in the barnyard are all aflutter over something they read in the New York Times. It's that ad from MoveOn.org — the one that calls General David Petraeus, the head of U.S. forces in Iraq, general betray us. All across the radio spectrum, right-wing shock jocks are themselves shocked. How could anybody say such a thing? It's horrifying. It's outrageous. It's disgraceful. It's just beyond the pale ... It's ... oh, my heavens ... say, is it a bit stuffy in here? ... I think I'm going to ... Could I have a glass of ... oh, dear [thud].

We had military personnel torture, murder and rape POWs at Abu Ghaib, we had an Attorney General lie under oath and we even have private security firms like Blackwater slaughtering innocent civilians and none of these incidents received a Senate condemnation. But when MoveOn.org expressed its right to free speech, the Senate felt it necessary to condemn them and their right to speak freely. This is what happens when cowards populate the Senate. Every senator who voted to condemn MoveOn is unfit for office and in my case this means two Democrat senator will never get my vote again.

September 20, 2007

Senate Condemns MoveOn Ad -- Group Hits Back

NEW YORK After the U.S. Senate today easily passed a resolution, with 72 votes, condemning actions by MoveOn.org after its recent "General Betrayus" full-page ad in The New York Times, the activist group has hit back.

In an email to members this afternoon, group leaders declared, "Every day, our brave men and women are dying in a bloody civil war this Senate has done nothing to stop. Yesterday, they couldn't even pass a bill to give soldiers adequate leave with their families before redeploying. But they're spending time cracking down on a newspaper ad?

The GOP still refused to support our troops and the Democrats let them get away with it. Good grief, how much more ammo do the Republicans have to give Democrats before they use it?

September 20, 2007

GOP Denies Longer Leaves For Troops

Senate Republicans yesterday rejected a bipartisan proposal to lengthen the home leaves of U.S. troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, derailing a measure that war opponents viewed as one of the best chances to force President Bush to accelerate a redeployment of forces.

The proposal, sponsored by Sens. James Webb (D-Va.) and Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), failed on a 56 to 44 vote, with 60 votes needed for passage -- a tally that was virtually identical to a previous vote in July. A last-minute campaign by the Defense Department and the White House to kill the measure won over Sen. John W. Warner (R-Va.), an influential voice on defense policy who had voted with Webb and Hagel in July.

The GOP wasn't satisfied destroying their majority by pandering to Bush but now they're intent on destroying what little is left of this country. They've already dumped trillions of dollars of debt on us and they've destroyed habeas corpus but it's all in days work. Since it's impossible to shame a modern day Republican, we'll have to wait and let history damn them.

September 19, 2007

GOP blocks restoration of habeas corpus

Fifty-six senators voted to cut off debate, and move forward to a vote on the bill itself, a step known as cloture. But under Senate rules, 60 votes are needed to invoke cloture.

Besides Mr. Specter, five other Republican Senators supported the measure. They were Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, Richard G. Lugar of Indiana, Gordon Smith of Oregon, Olympia J. Snowe of Maine and John E. Sununu of New Hampshire. Senator Bernard Sanders, independent of Vermont, also voted for it.

Senator Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut, who lists himself as an independent Democrat, was the only non-Republican to vote against it. Senator Saxby Chambliss, Republican of Georgia, did not vote.

How do you beat the living daylights out of the GOP and end the war at the same time? Force the GOP to support the war by increasing taxes to pay for what they're spending. The war will stop within 24-hours.

For people who track this stuff, before the Reagan Revolution our debt was $900 billion. Now, it's $9 trillion. Tax cutting jackasses did this to us and they should be banished from power for the rest of time.

September 19, 2007

Paulson: U.S. to Hit Debt Limit Oct. 1

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson told Congress on Wednesday the government will hit the current debt ceiling on Oct. 1. He sought quick action to increase the limit, saying it was essential to protect the "full faith and credit" of the country, especially at a time of financial market turmoil.

The limit is $8.965 trillion. Unless Congress votes to raise it, the country would be unable to borrow more money to keep the government operating and to pay debt obligations coming due.

When the "will of the people" is ignored, Americans turn against their government fast. Good for us. This war has already destroyed the Bush presidency, the GOP and the reputation of the US. Now it's taking out the Democratic Party. Maybe they should STOP supporting it.

September 19, 2007

Bush, Congress at record low ratings

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush and the U.S. Congress registered record-low approval ratings in a Reuters/Zogby poll released on Wednesday, and a new monthly index measuring the mood of Americans dipped slightly on deepening worries about the economy.

Only 29 percent of Americans gave Bush a positive grade for his job performance, below his worst Zogby poll mark of 30 percent in March. A paltry 11 percent rated Congress positively, beating the previous low of 14 percent in July.

An Impeachable Offense
August 28, 2007

Industry Challenges Impede Cancer Research

"We discovered that industry has tried to use DQA to challenge every aspect of the NTP scientific review and release process," said Clayton Northouse, Information Policy Analyst at OMB Watch. "Special interest associations have challenged meetings, press releases, notices to study specific chemicals and other documents that are clearly beyond the parameters of DQA. Instead of seeking to improve the quality of data, the intent of these challenges seems to be to keep scientific information out of the hands of health professionals and government decision-makers."

An Impeachable Offense
September 19, 2007

Report: Private Contractor Oversite Lacking

The Iraqi government's decision to temporarily ban the security company Blackwater USA after a fatal shooting of civilians in Baghdad reveals a growing web of rules governing weapons-bearing private contractors but few signs U.S. agencies are aggressively enforcing them.

Nearly a year after a law was passed holding contracted employees to the same code of justice as military personnel, the Bush administration has not published guidance on how military lawyers should do that, according to Peter Singer, a security industry expert at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

September 19, 2007

August Homebuilding: fewest homes in 12 years

Home builders in August began construction on the fewest homes in 12 years, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday.

The 2.6% decline, to a lower-than-forecast annual rate of 1.331 million, followed July's 1.367 million. Building permits dropped 5.9%, to a 1.307 million pace, also the lowest since 1995.

"We don't expect sales to bottom out until late this year, and prices will likely moderate even further," says John Silvia, chief economist at Wachovia.

September 19, 2007

War means a windfall for CEOs

  • CEOs at top defense contractors have reaped annual pay gains of 200% to 688% in the years since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
  • The chief executives at the seven defense contractors whose bosses made the most pocketed nearly a half-billion dollars from 2002 through last year.
  • The CEOs made an average of $12.4 million a year, easily more than the average corporate chief. Since the start of the war, CEOs at defense contractors such General Dynamics (GD, news, msgs), Halliburton (HAL, news, msgs) and Oshkosh Truck (OSK, news, msgs) have made, on average, more in four days than what a top general makes in a whole year, or $187,390.

A second U.S. Attorney US attorney is under investigation for having sex with five-year olds.

September 19, 2007

US attorney for Minnesota under investigation

Rachel Paulose, the U.S. attorney for Minnesota, is being investigated by a federal office that works to protect whistle blowers, according to a political blog and a source who spoke to KARE 11.

A source with knowledge of the investigation told KARE 11 the federal Office of the Special Counsel, an independent agency, is looking into allegations that Paulose carelessly handled classified documents, and then allegedly retaliated against the person who found the documents sitting out in the open.

September 20, 2007

Private Contractors Outnumber US Soldiers

More than 180,000 Americans, Iraqis and nationals from other countries work under federal contracts to provide security, gather intelligence, build roads, improve infrastructure, forge a financial system and transport needed supplies in a country the size of California.

That figure contrasts with the 163,100 U.S. military personnel, according to U.S. Central Command, responsible for military operations in the Middle East. The Pentagon puts the military figure at 169,000. An additional 12,400 coalition forces are stationed in Iraq.

Another Bush lie is always good for another in the long list of impeachable offenses

An Impeachable Offense
September 18, 2007

Security Took 'Turn for Worse' In Southern Iraq

Security is deteriorating in southern Iraq as rival Shiite militias vying for power have stepped up their attacks after moving out of Baghdad to avoid U.S.-led military operations, according to the latest quarterly Pentagon report on Iraq released yesterday.

"The security environment in southern Iraq took a notable turn for the worse in August" with the assassination of two governors, said the report, which covers June through August. "There may be retaliation and an increase in intra-Shi'a violence throughout the South," it said, whereas previously the violence was centered in the main southern city of Basra.

If this keeps up Iraqis will see what US justice looks like. Murderer's go free.

September 18, 2007

Charges against Marine in Haditha case dropped

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - A Marine Corps officer accused of failing to properly investigate the alleged massacre of 24 Iraqi civilians in the town of Haditha has been cleared of wrongdoing, the military said Tuesday.

A statement released from the Marines Camp Pendleton base in southern California said all charges against Captain Lucas McConnell stemming from the Haditha investigation had been dropped.

September 19, 2007

Employees Want Accused State Auditor Out

WASHINGTON (AP) — The labor union representing U.S. diplomats called Wednesday for the State Department's top auditor to step down pending the results of a congressional investigation into whether he blocked fraud probes in Afghanistan and Iraq for political reasons.

At the same time, the State Department defended the accused official, Inspector General Howard J. Krongard, saying it had no evidence that would back up the allegations.

An Impeachable Offense
September 19, 2007

State Department's inspector general repeatedly thwarted investigations into fraud

Howard J. Krongard, the State Department's inspector general, has repeatedly thwarted investigations into contracting fraud in Iraq and Afghanistan, including construction of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, and censored reports that might prove politically embarrassing to the Bush administration, the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform charged yesterday in a 13-page letter.

The letter, addressed to Krongard and signed by the committee chairman, Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), who released it yesterday, said the allegations were based on the testimony of seven current and former officials on Krongard's staff, including two former senior officials who allowed their names to be used, and private e-mail exchanges obtained by the committee. The letter said the allegations concerned all three major divisions of Krongard's office -- investigations, audits and inspections.

September 18, 2007

The 22 Most Corrupt Members of Congress

Senators on Watch List:

An Impeachable Offense
September 14, 2007

IAEA: US Iran report branded dishonest

The UN nuclear watchdog has protested to the US government over a report on Iran's nuclear programme, calling it "erroneous" and "misleading".

In a leaked letter, the IAEA said a congressional report contained serious distortions of the agency's own findings on Iran's nuclear activity.

The IAEA also took "strong exception" to claims made over the removal of a senior safeguards inspector.

September 17, 2007

U.S. Attorney Busted in Child Sex Sting

DETROIT, Mich. -- A U.S Justice Department official has been arrested on suspicion of traveling to Detroit over the weekend to have sex with a 5-year-old girl, WDIV-TV in Detroit reported.

John David R. Atchison, 53, an assistant U.S. attorney from the northern district of Florida, was arraigned in U.S. District Court in Detroit on Monday afternoon.

September 14, 2007

Iraqis Losing Religious Freedom

WASHINGTON (AP) - Religious freedom has sharply deteriorated in Iraq over the past year because of both the insurgency and violence targeting people of specific faiths, despite the U.S. military buildup intended to improve security, says a State Department report to be released Friday.

The Annual Report on International Religious Freedom finds that all worshippers are targeted for attacks and the violence is not confined to the well-known rivalry between Sunni and Shia Muslims.

September 7, 2007

Iraq's Refugee Crisis Worsens

With the massive influx of refugees, Syria is starting to feel the strain.

"There's a huge impact for a country of 20 million people to receive a million and half within a few months. There is a huge burden on our services: medical, school, infrastructure - everything," says Minister of Expatriates Buthania Shaaban.

As a result of the increasing stress from the refugee crisis, the Syrian government recently announced a new visa policy which, as of Sept. 10, will only allow professionals to enter the country - effectively shutting out thousands of people.

This White House continues to rewrite history faster than it can be recorded. Lying to the American people is an impeachable offense. Lying and being cavalier about such lies reinforces the belief that this White House is amoral, inept and most of all considers this war something they can use against the media and the Democrats. If they spent as much time winning this war as defending their failures, the war would have been won years ago.

An Impeachable Offense
September 13, 2007

Who said anything about benchmarks?

Sometimes, these guys make it too easy. White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, yesterday, in his final appearance:

"No, benchmarks were something that Congress wanted to use as a metric. And we're going to produce a report. But the fact is that the situation is bigger and more complex, and you need to look at the whole picture."

Reality, as reported last week:

It was the White House and the Iraqi government, not Congress, that first proposed the benchmarks for Iraq that are now producing failing grades, a provenance that raises questions about why the administration is declaring now that the government's performance is not the best measure of change.

The administration presented a to-do list and said, "Judge us in September on these points." They've successfully completed three of the 18 tasks. In response, the new line is, "To-do lists are stupid."

September 13, 2007

Media Misrepresent Dems' Options on Iraq War: Confusing 'can't' and 'won't'

The problem with all these accounts is that Congress does not have to pass legislation to bring an end to the war in Iraq--it simply has to block passage of any bill that would continue to fund the war. This requires not 67 or 60 Senate votes, or even 51, but just 41--the number of senators needed to maintain a filibuster and prevent a bill from coming up for a vote. In other words, the Democrats have more than enough votes to end the Iraq War--if they choose to do so.

The Democratic leadership may believe--rightly or wrongly--that such a strategy would entail unacceptable political costs. But that's very different from being unable to affect policy. To insist, as many media outlets have, that the Constitution makes it impossible for Congress to stop the war obscures the actual choices facing the nation--by confusing "can't" with "won't."

September 10, 2007

Iraqi poll: US Surge Has Failed

About 70% of Iraqis believe security has deteriorated in the area covered by the US military "surge" of the past six months, an opinion poll suggests.

The survey for the BBC, ABC News and NHK of more than 2,000 people across Iraq also suggests that nearly 60% see attacks on US-led forces as justified.

This rises to 93% among Sunni Muslims compared with 50% for Shia.

The fact that a majority of Sunni and Shia polled think it's ok to attack US forces should be enough to convince anyone the surge has failed. Nearly a majority also think it's ok for al Qaeda to attack US forces in Iraq. How did it come to pass that a sitting president can get up and lie to our faces?

An Impeachable Offense
September 13, 2007

AP Fact-Checks Bush Iraq Speech

BUSH SAID: "Anbar province is a good example of how our strategy is working," Bush said, noting that just last year U.S. intelligence analysts had written off the Sunni area as "lost to al-Qaida."

FACT CHECK: Anbar is not secure, accounting for 18 percent of the U.S. deaths in Iraq so far this year - making it the second deadliest province after Baghdad.

September 14, 2007

Military donors turn to Democrats

Service members have traditionally supported the Republican Party, but, since the war started in 2003, there has been a dramatic shift away from financial backing for GOP candidates for president and Congress, the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics reported.

So far this year and in the 2004 election, about 40 percent of contributions from donors identifiable as military members has gone to Democrats, compared with about 25 percent in the 2000 and 2002 cycles, the center's study said. Service members gave about $1.8 million in the 2004 cycle and about $330,000 so far this year, the study stated.

Democrat Barack Obama, who is calling for a troop withdrawal to start immediately, has received the most of any presidential candidate from uniformed service members - about $27,000.

September 13, 2007

Dollar's retreat raises fear of collapse

On Thursday, the dollar briefly fell to another low against the euro of $1.3927, as a slow decline that has been under way for months picked up steam this past week.

"This is all pointing to a greatly increased risk of a fast unwinding of the U.S. current account deficit and a serious decline of the dollar," said Kenneth Rogoff, a former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund and an expert on exchange rates. "We could finally see the big kahuna hit."

While most economists just a few months ago would have dismissed the prospect of a dollar collapse outright, they now are debating the possibility that something on par with the dollar debacle of the 1970s might just happen again.

The major holders of dollars - notably the Chinese, with their $1.3 trillion in currency reserves - have little incentive to see the dollar weaken, and their support provides the dollar with a bulwark of strength. And since investors need to stay diversified, and U.S. markets are deep and liquid, abandoning the dollar wholesale is hardly a realistic option.

It's somewhat easier to see why Democrats are letting Bush get away with his war because the war is killing the GOP. Clearly, the GOP is in very deep trouble and if Dems get a filibuster proof Senate, the GOP will be dead for all practical purposes. No one will care what any of them think - which is probably a good thing after they've done to this country.

Dems can easily win elections by pointing out the massive explosion of debt created by GOP congressmen and senators; from about $900 billion of debt before the Reagan Revolution to over $9 trillion today. No party can withstand that record of failure but so far the Dems are reluctant to use it.

September 13, 2007

Election 2008: 62 Democratic Senators

The media are simply focusing on the 22 Senate Republican seats at stake in 2008. But the Republican senators considering whether to retire, and the smart K Street money, are homed in on the 2010 elections as well, where another 19 Republican Senate seats are at stake.

Do the math. Locked into the fate of one of America's most unpopular presidents in history, with the national mood favoring a tidal wave of change, with Republicans plagued by endless scandals, and with a president pushing a disastrous war onto the desk of his successor, 41 Senate Republican seats are in jeopardy in 2008 and 2010.

Republicans whine about how bad government is, then they rape the government of every penny they can get. Cheney did it and now Neil Bush is doing it. Less government means less for us and more for them.

September 12, 2007

CREW: Investigate why "No Child Left Behind" funds are being spent on Neil Bush's company

Congress in the midst of debating legislation to re-authorize the controversial "No Child Left Behind" (NCLB) program. A three-month long investigation by CREW raises serious questions about the use of NCLB funds to pay for products sold by Neil Bush, the younger brother of President George Bush.

CREW is requesting that the Department of Education's Inspector General (IG) investigate why federal NCLB funds are being spent on educational products sold by Ignite! Learning, a company founded and headed by Neil Bush. Our letter to the IG can be found here.

There are two possibilies; either McConnell intentionally lied to congress or he had no idea what he was talking about. Either way he's unfit and should be fired or prosecuted.

An Impeachable Offense
September 12, 2007

Mike McConnell lied to Congress about major terror plot in German

Sept. 12, 2007 - In a new embarrassment for the Bush administration's top spymaster, Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell is withdrawing an assertion he made to Congress this week that a recently passed electronic-surveillance law helped U.S. authorities foil a major terror plot in Germany.

After questions about his testimony were raised, McConnell called Lieberman to clarify his statements to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, an official said. (A spokeswoman for Lieberman confirmed that McConnell called the senator Tuesday but could not immediately confirm what they spoke about.) Late Wednesday afternoon, McConnell issued a statement acknowledging that "information contributing to the recent arrests [in Germany] was not collected under authorities provided by the 'Protect America Act'."

September 13, 2007

CNN: Mystery 9/11 aircraft was military 'doomsday plane'

Shortly before 10 am on the morning of September 11, 2001, amid rumors of a fourth hijacked plane headed for Washington, DC, a mystery aircraft appeared in restricted airspace over the White House. There has never been an official explanation for this incident, which has provided abundant fuel for 9/11 conspiracy theories.

CNN has now learned from two government sources that the mystery plane was a military aircraft and has determined that the blurry image on video appears to match photos of the Air Force's E-4B, a specially modified Boeing 747 with a communications pod behind the cockpit.

Bush failed to win a war against a nearly defenseless country and now the US looks weak and our adversaries believe they will prevail. What more needs to be said?

September 12, 2007

US sufffers decline in prestige

The US has suffered a significant loss of power and prestige around the world in the years since George W. Bush came to power, limiting its ability to influence international crises, an annual survey from a well regarded British security think-tank concluded on Tuesday.

The 2007 Strategic Survey of the non-partisan International Institute for Strategic Studies picked the decline of US authority as one of the most important security developments of the past year – but suggested the fading of American prestige began earlier, largely due to its failings in Iraq.

But a more fundamental loss of clout occurred at a strategic level. "It was evident that exercise of military power – in which, on paper, America dominated the world – had not secured its goal," the survey says. The failings in Iraq created a sense around the world of American power "diminished and demystified", with adversaries believing they will prevail if they manage to draw the US into a prolonged engagement.

Bush says one thing, the facts say otherwise. Why does Bush lie? And why has the media let him get away with all these lies without calling him a liar? They had no problem calling Bill Clinton a liar and he never lied about anything that had to do national security or his duties as president. The media remains seriously dysfunctional.

An Impeachable Offense
October 2007 (posted Sept.15, 2007)

Al-Qaeda in Iraq: 1 to 5 percent

The State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), which arguably has the best track record for producing accurate intelligence assessments, last year estimated that AQI's membership was in a range of "more than 1,000." When compared with the military's estimate for the total size of the insurgency—between 20,000 and 30,000 full-time fighters—this figure puts AQI forces at around 5 percent. When compared with Iraqi intelligence's much larger estimates of the insurgency—200,000 fighters—INR's estimate would put AQI forces at less than 1 percent. This year, the State Department dropped even its base-level estimate, because, as an official explained, "the information is too disparate to come up with a consensus number."

September 10, 2007

Majority of Sunnis and Shia Support Attacks on US Forces

For example, by 57% to 43%, those polled back "attacks on coalition forces." This broke down to 93% of Sunnis in favor, 50% of Shia, and 5% of Kurds. In contrast, only 7% of the sample supports attack on Iraqi forces.

Asked separately, 48% said attacks by al-Qaeda in Iraq on U.S. forces were "acceptable" with 51% finding them unacceptable. Yet only 1% backed al-Qaeda attempts to take over any areas. So sympathy for al-Qaeda was extremely low -- except when it comes to hitting U.S. troops.

A commander who can't win a war in a country that has no army, navy or air force has limited shelf life.

September 13, 2007

President Petraeus?

The US commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, expressed long-term interest in running for the US presidency when he was stationed in Baghdad, according to a senior Iraqi official who knew him at that time.

Sabah Khadim, then a senior adviser at Iraq's Interior Ministry, says General Petraeus discussed with him his ambition when the general was head of training and recruitment of the Iraqi army in 2004-05.

"I asked him if he was planning to run in 2008 and he said, 'No, that would be too soon'," Mr Khadim, who now lives in London, said.

September 7, 2007

Corruption has crippled Iraq

U.S. officials say the battle to clean up Iraq's government has suffered a "serious blow" with the resignation of the nation's top corruption fighter. The former watchdog, Judge Radhi Al Radhi, tells NBC News that Iraq's current government, headed by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, is riddled with so much corruption that the U.S. must stop supporting it. Rahdi is now in the United States, and his departure from the Iraqi government comes just as the U.S. prepares for a key report from Gen. David Petraeus about the military "surge" in Iraq.

September 10, 2007

Arctic Ice the Size of Florida Gone in a Week

An area of Arctic sea ice the size of Florida has melted away in just the last six days as melting at the top of the planet continues at a record rate.

2007 has already broken the record for the lowest amount of sea ice ever recorded, say scientists, smashing the old record set in 2005.

From September 3 to September 9, researchers say 69,000 square miles of Arctic ice disappeared, roughly the size of the Sunshine State.

September 11, 2007

Admiral William Fallon: Attacking Iran Will Not Happen On My Watch

WASHINGTON, May 15 (IPS) - Admiral William Fallon, then President George W. Bush's nominee to head the Central Command (CENTCOM), expressed strong opposition in February to an administration plan to increase the number of carrier strike groups in the Persian Gulf from two to three and vowed privately there would be no war against Iran as long as he was chief of CENTCOM, according to sources with access to his thinking.

Fallon's resistance to the proposed deployment of a third aircraft carrier was followed by a shift in the Bush administration's Iran policy in February and March away from increased military threats and toward diplomatic engagement with Iran. That shift, for which no credible explanation has been offered by administration officials, suggests that Fallon's resistance to a crucial deployment was a major factor in the intra-administration struggle over policy toward Iran.

September 10, 2007

Admiral William Fallon: Pull Troops Out of Iraq

Reports suggested that Admiral William Fallon, chief of US Central Command in the region, had pressed for a significant withdrawal of troops so that there would be sufficient forces for other pressing challenges.

According to an account to a video-conference meeting beamed to Mr Bush in the White House last week, he disagreed with General David Petraeus, the US commander in Iraq, who wants to keep as many troops there as possible. Along with Ryan Crocker, the US Ambassador in Baghdad, General Petraeus is expected to tell Congress today that making any significant changes to strategy would put at risk the fragile political and military progress of recent months. Their report has become a pivotal moment for Washington and Baghdad.

September 10, 2007

60% of Iraqis think attacks on US forces are justified

About 70% of Iraqis believe security has deteriorated in the area covered by the US military "surge" of the past six months, an opinion poll suggests.

The survey for the BBC, ABC News and NHK of more than 2,000 people across Iraq also suggests that nearly 60% see attacks on US-led forces as justified.

This rises to 93% among Sunni Muslims compared with 50% for Shia.

September 6, 2007

Five percent of Americans say they trust the Bush Administration to resolve the Iraq conflict

ONLY 5 per cent of Americans say they trust the Bush Administration to resolve the Iraq conflict, says a poll published on the eve of the American commander's appearances before Congress.

The Times/CBS poll published yesterday underscores why the Administration is banking on General Petraeus and its ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, to convince Republicans in Congress and the public to stick with the surge strategy.

Twenty-one per cent said they would most trust Congress to resolve the Iraq war while 68 per cent expressed the most trust in military commanders.

September 6, 2007

Iraqis Say Surge Worsened Security

WASHINGTON - Overwhelming numbers of Iraqis say the U.S. troop buildup has worsened security and the prospects for economic and political progress in their country, according to a poll released Monday that provides a strikingly bleak appraisal of the war.

Forty-seven percent want American forces and their coalition allies to leave the country immediately, the survey showed, 12 points more than said so in a March poll as the troop increase was beginning. And 57 percent — including nearly all Sunnis and half of Shiites — said they consider attacks on coalition forces acceptable, a slight increase over the past half year.

Since every conservative in the country was wrong about Iraq and WMD, wrong about tax cuts and surpluses etc. I think it's safe to say we know conservatives are hot wired to be always be wrong. They simply don't allow facts to dissuade them.

September 9, 2007

Brain function of liberals, conservatives differ

PARIS (AFP) - The brain neurons of liberals and conservatives fire differently when confronted with tough choices, suggesting that some political divides may be hard-wired, according a study released Sunday.

Conservatives tend to crave order and structure in their lives, and are more consistent in the way they make decisions. Liberals, by contrast, show a higher tolerance for ambiguity and complexity, and adapt more easily to unexpected circumstances.

September 9, 2007

Thousands of GIs cope with traumatic brain injury

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The war in Iraq is not over, but one legacy is already here in this city and others across America: an epidemic of brain-damaged soldiers.

Thousands of troops have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury, or TBI. These blast-caused head injuries are so different from the ones doctors are used to seeing from falls and car crashes that treating them is as much faith as it is science.