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Impeach Bush--Index 76

They told us the "surge" worked. No it didn't. One cleric stopped the civil war and he's about to start it back up again. So, why are our troops still in Iraq? Another Bush lie, another impeachable offense

Impeachable Offense
February 20, 2008

Anti-US cleric's cease-fire in doubt

BAGHDAD - With deadly attacks against U.S. targets increasing around Baghdad, anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr raised the possibility Wednesday that he may not renew a six-month cease-fire widely credited for helping slash violence.

The cease-fire is due to expire Saturday, and there were fears, especially among minority Sunni Arabs, that the re-emergence of al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia could return Iraq to where it was just a year ago — with sectarian death squads prowling the streets of a country on the brink of civil war.

February 13, 2008

Prices keep rising for consumers in January

WASHINGTON — Consumers paid more to fill up their gas tanks, buy groceries and go to the hospital in January as prices on a wide range of items pushed higher.

Inflation was increasing even as the economy was slowing dramatically, a development certain to raise concerns at the Federal Reserve, which has been cutting interest rates aggressively in the belief that fighting off a threatened recession was more important than worrying about inflation pressures.

February 19, 2008

British Iraq Dossier Surfaces, Without Crucial Weapons Claim

LONDON (AP) — An early version of a British dossier of prewar intelligence on Iraq did not include a claim about unconventional weapons that became crucial to Prime Minister Tony Blair's case for war, the newly published document showed Monday.

The document, from 2002, says Saddam Hussein's government acquired uranium and had equipment necessary for chemical weapons, but it does not include a claim that Iraq could launch chemical or biological weapons within 45 minutes of an order to use them. That statement, later discredited, became central to Mr. Blair's case for supporting the American-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

February 21, 2008

How Labour used the law to keep criticism of Israel secret

The full extent of government anxiety about the state of British-Israel relations can be exposed for the first time today in a secret document seen by the Guardian.

The document reveals how the Foreign Office successfully fought to keep secret any mention of Israel contained on the first draft of the controversial, now discredited Iraq weapons dossier. At the heart of it was nervousness at the top of government about any mention of Israel's nuclear arsenal in an official paper accusing Iraq of flouting the UN's authority on weapons of mass destruction.

The dossier was made public this week, but the Foreign Office succeeded before a tribunal in having the handwritten mention of Israel kept secret.

Bush has perfected the art of saying one thing and doing the exact opposite.

February 19, 2008

CIA Operation Similar To Tactic Obama Advocated, Bush Criticized

On the front page of Tuesday's Washington Post was an article detailing how in late January U.S. forces, acting with autonomy inside Pakistan, were able to target and kill Abu Laith al-Libi, a senior al-Qaeda commander.

The strike, which came without the Pakistani government's knowledge and helped eliminate an individual who had long eluded the spy-agency's capture, was an obvious boon in the War on Terror. But the political implications of the operation were just as fascinating.

In August, Sen. Barack Obama had made the argument that, as president, he would target Al Qaeda officials in Pakistan even without the country's acquiescence -- the type of attack that, six months later, proved to be successful.

At the time, Obama was roundly criticized for his remarks, both by his Democratic competitors for the White House and by the Bush administration.

This is the perfect court for an American Hitler. He can break the law, hide behind national security and the court looks the other way. It's time to seriously think about impeaching the Supreme Court.

Impeachable Offense
February 20, 2008

Court Rejects ACLU Challenge to Wiretaps

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court dealt a setback Tuesday to civil rights and privacy advocates who oppose the Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping program. The justices, without comment, turned down an appeal from the American Civil Liberties Union to let it pursue a lawsuit against the program that began shortly after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

The action underscored the difficulty of mounting a challenge to the eavesdropping, which remains classified and was confirmed by President Bush only after a newspaper article revealed its existence.

A man without character can say he's against torture and then vote for torture. Never believe what this man says, watch what he does.

February 17, 2008

McCain Supports Torture Bill

Senator John McCain's vote last week against a bill to curtail the Central Intelligence Agency's use of harsh interrogation tactics disappointed human rights advocates who consider him an ally and led Democrats to charge that he was trying to please Republicans as he seeks to rally them around his presidential bid.

The bill, which the Senate passed Wednesday by 51 to 45, would force the C.I.A. to abide by the rules set out in the Army Field Manual on Interrogation, which prohibits physical force and lists approved interrogation methods.

Impeachable Offense
February 14, 2008

Feds admit mistakenly jailing citizens as illegal immigrants

Unlike suspects charged in criminal courts, detainees accused of immigration violations don't have a right to an attorney, and three-quarters of them represent themselves.

Last month, Thomas Warziniack, a U.S. citizen who was born in Minnesota and grew up in Georgia, was mistakenly detained for weeks in an Arizona immigration facility and told that he was going to be deported to Russia.

But Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., the chairwoman of the committee, said that after hearing such stories, she feared an "overzealous government is interrogating, detaining and deporting its own citizens."

February 13, 2008

Senior benefit costs rise 24% since 2000

The cost of government benefits for seniors soared to a record $27,289 per senior in 2007, according to a USA TODAY analysis.

That's a 24% increase above the inflation rate since 2000. Medical costs are the biggest reason. Last year, for the first time, health care and nursing homes cost the government more than Social Security payments for seniors age 65 and older. The average Social Security benefit per senior in 2007 was $13,184.

Impeachable Offense
February 12, 2008

Bush Administration Doesn't Turn Over FDA Documents

Feb. 12 (Bloomberg) -- The Bush administration failed to comply with a congressional subpoena seeking documents related to Sanofi-Aventis SA's antibiotic Ketek.

An investigative subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee sought briefing papers used to prepare Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach for testimony he gave at a hearing on the drug in March. The administration's response was released today by the panel.

The subcommittee last year began investigating whether von Eschenbach gave misleading testimony on Ketek at the hearing. The commissioner and the FDA are under scrutiny from lawmakers who say the agency hasn't done enough to ensure the safety of Ketek and other medications. The subcommittee held a hearing today on Ketek, which has been linked to fatal side effects.

February 13, 2008

Fox News Radio's Tom Sullivan aired "side-by-side comparison" of speeches by Hitler and Obama

Summary: Fox News Radio host Tom Sullivan took a call from a listener who stated that when listening to Barack Obama speak, "it harkens back to when I was younger and I used to watch those deals with Hitler, how he would excite the crowd and they'd come to their feet and scream and yell." Sullivan then played a "side-by-side comparison" of a Hitler speech and an Obama speech. Sullivan mimicked the crowd during both speeches, yelling, "Yay! Yay!" When a later caller complained that Sullivan was "denigrating" Obama with the comparison, Sullivan said he wouldn't play it again, then begged: "Can I, please, one more time? Just one more time? Then I won't do it again. ... Until the next time."

On the February 11 broadcast of Fox News Radio's Tom Sullivan Show, host Tom Sullivan took a call from a listener who stated: "Listening to [Sen. Barack] Obama ... it harkens back to when I was younger and I used to watch those deals with [Nazi dictator Adolf] Hitler, how he would excite the crowd and they'd come to their feet and scream and yell." Sullivan replied: "Oh, yeah, yeah ... I presume you're not saying he's Hitler, but I understand your point." Following the commercial break, Sullivan stated the caller "wasn't calling Barack Obama Hitler. He was just talking about how Hitler got the crowd all excited, and Barack Obama got the crowd all excited." Sullivan then stated that he would do a "side-by-side comparison" of a Hitler speech and an Obama speech. Sullivan then introduced the "comparison" by stating: "So, ladies and gentlemen, from the past, a little archive, a little walk down Der Fuehrer's memory lane. Here he is, the one, the only, Adolf Hitler!" Sullivan proceeded to play a clip of a Hitler speech, followed by Obama's February 9 speech at the Jefferson-Jackson dinner in Richmond, Virginia. Sullivan mimicked the crowd during both speeches, yelling, "Yay! Yay!"

With the rise of Obama, the centrist who've done nothing since they were elected are forced to do something. The Dems thought impeachment would destroy their popularity. But doing nothing has resulted in a congress with the lowest approval ratings in history. History will show they should have impeached.

Impeachable Offense
February 14, 2008

House holds Bush confidants in contempt

WASHINGTON - The House has voted to hold two of President Bush's confidants in contempt for failing to cooperate with an inquiry into whether federal prosecutors were ousted for political reasons.

Angry Republicans boycotted the vote and staged a walkout.

The 223-32 vote Thursday targets presidential chief of staff Josh Bolten and former White House counsel Harriet Miers. The citations charge Miers with failing to testify and accuse her and Bolten of refusing Congress' demands for documents related to the 2006-2007 firings.

February 15, 2008

US subprime crisis costs global 7.7 trillion dollars

NEW YORK (AFP) — The meltdown in the US subprime real-estate market has led to a global loss of 7.7 trillion dollars in stock-market value since October, a report by Bank of America showed Thursday.

The crisis, which has spread beyond US shores to banks and other sectors worldwide, is "one of the most vicious in financial history," according to Bank of America chief market strategist Joseph Quinlan.

Proving once again that tax cuts for the rich don't work.

February 15, 2008

US manufacturing is competing by trimming workers and wages

A new round of cutbacks by Detroit's automakers carries a larger message – that America's manufacturing workers are under new pressure in jobs where labor unions had once been able to command middle-class wages for assembly-line jobs.

The point was punctuated this week as General Motors announced the largest ever annual loss by a maker of automobiles. In a bid to restore profitability, GM said it would offer incentives to convince older, highly paid assembly workers to retire early. Ford and Chrysler are pursuing similar worker buyouts.

February 15, 2008

U.S. Economy: Confidence Drops, Factories Stagnate

Feb. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Confidence among American consumers slumped to the lowest level since 1992 and factory output failed to increase, indicating the damage from the housing contraction is pushing the economy toward a recession.

The Reuters/University of Michigan index of consumer sentiment fell to 69.6 in February from 78.4 the previous month. The Federal Reserve said manufacturing production was unchanged in January after two months of gains, while a gauge of activity at New York factories contracted this month.

February 13, 2008

Senate Votes to Ban Waterboarding

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress on Wednesday moved to prohibit the CIA from using waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods on terror suspects, despite President Bush's threat to veto any measure that limits the agency's interrogation techniques.

The prohibition was contained in a bill authorizing intelligence activities for the current year, which the Senate approved on a 51-45 vote. It would restrict the CIA to the 19 interrogation techniques outlined in the Army field manual. That manual prohibits waterboarding, a method that makes an interrogation subject feel he is drowning.

Impeachable Offense
February 9, 2008

US Military Can't Respond to New Crisis

WASHINGTON - A classified Pentagon assessment concludes that long battlefield tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with persistent terrorist activity and other threats, have prevented the U.S. military from improving its ability to respond to any new crisis, The Associated Press has learned.

Despite security gains in Iraq, there is still a "significant" risk that the strained U.S. military cannot quickly and fully respond to another outbreak elsewhere in the world, according to the report.

Last year the Pentagon raised that threat risk from "moderate" to "significant." This year, the report will maintain that "significant" risk level — pointing to the U.S. military's ongoing struggle against a stubborn insurgency in Iraq and its lead role in the NATO-led war in Afghanistan.

February 11, 2008

Fed's Poole says U.S. recession likely

arrow_down_recession (2K)ST. LOUIS (Reuters) - The U.S. appears likely to avoid an economic slowdown but the chances of a recession have risen, St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President William Poole said on Monday.

"I think the best bet is that we will not have a recession," he said in response to questions after a speech to the St. Louis chapter of the National Association for Business Economics.

However, Poole later told reporters, "There is no question that the odds (of recession) are higher than they used to be."

The St. Louis Fed president, who is retiring in March and will not attend the next scheduled interest rate policy meeting on March 18, said Fed interest rate targets are well-positioned to steady the economy against slowing growth and market turmoil.

February 12, 2008

Prediction markets now see Obama defeating Clinton

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WASHINGTON - Traders wagering on the outcome of the US presidential vote were overwhelmingly betting on Monday that Illinois Sen. Barack Obama will defeat former first lady Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination and ultimately win the presidency.

Obama, whose campaign swept four state Democratic presidential contests against Clinton over the weekend, was trading at about 70 on Monday on the Dublin, Ireland-based Intrade predictions market, meaning traders gave him a 70 per cent chance of being the Democrats' presidential candidate in the November election.

Impeachable Offense
February 11, 2008

Army Buried Study Faulting Iraq Planning

After 18 months of research, RAND submitted a report in the summer of 2005 called "Rebuilding Iraq." RAND researchers provided an unclassified version of the report along with a secret one, hoping that its publication would contribute to the public debate on how to prepare for future conflicts.

But the study's wide-ranging critique of the White House, the Defense Department and other government agencies was a concern for Army generals, and the Army has sought to keep the report under lock and key.

February 8, 2008

Pakistan is now the central front in America's war on terror

WASHINGTON — A new generation of "very battle-hardened" young Islamic militants is destabilizing nuclear-armed Pakistan, and the country's U.S.-backed military is nowhere near ready to conduct major operations against it, senior American intelligence officials said Friday.

The militants have expanded their violent campaign from Pakistan's ungoverned tribal areas to "Pakistan proper" and they killed more people last year than they did in all the years from 2001 to 2006 combined, said the officials, speaking in testimony to Congress and in interviews.

February 10, 2008

World markets lost 5.2 trillion in January

stock_market (3K)PARIS (AFP) — World stockmarkets lost 5.2 trillion dollars (3.6 trillion euros) in January thanks to the fallout from the US subprime crisis and fears of a global economic slowdown, Standard & Poor's said Saturday.

"If investors thought the market could only go up, January's wake-up call pulled them back into reality," the independent credit ratings' provider said.

February 12, 2008

GM posts record US auto loss

DETROIT - General Motors Corp. reported a $38.7 billion loss for 2007 on Tuesday, the largest annual loss ever for an automotive company, and said it is making a new round of buyback offers to U.S. hourly workers in hopes of replacing some of them with lower-paid help.

The earnings report and buyback offer came as GM struggles to turn around its North American business as the economy weakens.

GM won't say how many workers it hopes to shed, but under its new contract with the UAW, it will be able to replace up to 16,000 workers doing non-assembly jobs with new employees who will be paid half the old wage of $28 per hour.

February 10, 2008

US Soldier Convicted of Killing Iraqi

BAGHDAD (AP) — A U.S. Army sniper accused of killing an unarmed Iraqi civilian and planting evidence on his body was found guilty on all charges Sunday.

Jurors deliberated for three hours before finding Sgt. Evan Vela guilty of murder without premeditation. He had previously been charged with premeditated murder, but that charge was changed during his court-martial in Baghdad.

Vela was also found guilty of making a false official statement and of conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline.

February 5, 2008

Scientists identify 'tipping points' of climate change

Nine ways in which the Earth could be tipped into a potentially dangerous state that could last for many centuries have been identified by scientists investigating how quickly global warming could run out of control.

A major international investigation by dozens of leading climate scientists has found that the "tipping points" for all nine scenarios – such as the melting of the Arctic sea ice or the disappearance of the Amazon rainforest – could occur within the next 100 years.

February 5, 2008

The world's rubbish dump: a garbage tip that stretches from Hawaii to Japan

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A "plastic soup" of waste floating in the Pacific Ocean is growing at an alarming rate and now covers an area twice the size of the continental United States, scientists have said.

The vast expanse of debris – in effect the world's largest rubbish dump – is held in place by swirling underwater currents. This drifting "soup" stretches from about 500 nautical miles off the Californian coast, across the northern Pacific, past Hawaii and almost as far as Japan.

The courts are finally doing their jobs and forcing this White House to follow our law. The fact that they broke the law (unpunished) for so many years is testimony to how morally corrupt the courts and congress have become.

Impeachable Offense
February 8, 2008

Court strikes down EPA's plan on mercury

WASHINGTON - A federal appeals court said Friday the Bush administration ignored the law when it imposed less stringent requirements on power plants to reduce mercury pollution, which scientists fear could cause neurological problems in 60,000 newborns a year.

A three-judge panel unanimous struck down a mercury-control plan imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency three years ago. It established an emissions trading process in which some plants could avoid installing the best mercury control technology available by buying pollution credits.

Republicans are chicken hawks (they want war as long as they don't have to fight in it) while Democrats are chicken doves. Where are the giants?

February 21, 2008

Democrats: The Chicken Doves

Solidifying his reputation as one of the biggest pussies in U.S. political history, Reid explained his decision to refocus his party's energies on topics other than ending the war by saying he just couldn't fit Iraq into his busy schedule. "We have the presidential election," Reid said recently. "Our time is really squeezed."

The story of how the Democrats finally betrayed the voters who handed them both houses of Congress a year ago is a depressing preview of what's to come if they win the White House. And if we don't pay attention to this sorry tale now, while there's still time to change our minds about whom to nominate, we might be stuck with this same bunch of spineless creeps for four more years. With no one but ourselves to blame.

February 6, 2008

The Bush Financial and Economic Bust of 2008 - The Destruction of Capital

On January 14, 2008 the FDIC web site began posting the rules for reimbursing depositors in the event of a bank failure. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is required to "determine the total insured amount for each depositor....as of the day of the failure" and return their money as quickly as possible. The agency is "modernizing its current business processes and procedures for determining deposit insurance coverage in the event of a failure of one of the largest insured depository institutions."

The implication is clear, the FDIC has begun the "death watch" on the many banks which are currently drowning in their own red ink. The problem for the FDIC is that it has never supervised a bank failure which exceeded 175,000 accounts. So the impending financial tsunami is likely to be a crash-course in crisis management. Today some of the larger banks have more than 50 million depositors, which will make the FDIC's job nearly impossible.

February 9, 2008

Federal Government Employment Rose Faster Than Private Sector

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IT is not exactly a distinction that he had in mind, but seven years into his presidency, George W. Bush is in line to be the first president since World War II to preside over an economy in which federal government employment rose more rapidly than employment in the private sector.

That is not because federal government jobs have risen at an unusually rapid rate over the last seven years — although the increase did reverse a substantial decline under Mr. Bush's most recent predecessor, Bill Clinton.

With the economy clearly slowing as the final year of Mr. Bush's presidency begins, it is possible that the overall rate of growth in private sector employment for his presidency, now at 0.53 percent per year, could fall below the 0.41 percent rate of his father's administration, which had been the lowest of any president since World War II.

Simple question? What took them so long? It seems the Bush White House needed an excuse to keep Guantanamo Bay open so they refused to charge any of these high value targets. By any standard it was a sham.

February 8, 2008

U.S. charges 6 for roles in 9/11 attacks

WASHINGTON - The Pentagon has charged six detainees at Guantanamo Bay with murder and war crimes in connection with the Sept. 11 attacks. Officials said Monday they'll seek the death penalty in what would be the first capital trials under the terrorism-era military tribunal system.

Hartmann said the six include Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the suspected mastermind of the attacks in which hijackers flew planes into buildings in New York and Washington. Another hijacked plane crashed in the fields of western Pennsylvania.

The other five men being charged are: Mohammed al-Qahtani, the man officials have labeled the 20th hijacker; Ramzi Binalshibh, said to have been the main intermediary between the hijackers and leaders of al-Qaida; Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali, known as Ammar al-Baluchi, a nephew of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who has been identified as Mohammed's lieutenant for the operation; al-Baluchi's assistant, Mustafa Ahmad al-Hawsawi; and Waleed bin Attash, a detainee known as Khallad, who investigators say selected and trained some of the 19 hijackers.

February 8, 2008

Former staffer slams diplomats in Iraq

Manuel Miranda, a Bush supporter who just completed a yearlong tour as a senior legislative adviser at the Baghdad embassy, skewered Crocker and his team for failing to understand the urgency of the situation, delaying critical measures and getting stuck in institutional red tape.

Miranda listed several examples of what he regards as failures, ranging from "a near complete lack" of coordination with other agencies and the Iraqi government, withholding information, blaming Iraqis for all shortcomings, providing bad advice on legislative matters and wasting millions in taxpayers' money.

Among them was the repeated pushing of Iraqis to accept a flawed law governing the distribution of oil revenue, which he said would have been rejected as untenable by "any experienced international lawyer."

February 9, 2008

U.S. recession to be longer than usual

NEW YORK, Feb 8 (Reuters) - The U.S. economy has entered a recession that will be more painful and drawn out than the usual downturn, the director of the Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment survey said on Friday.

Inflation pressures will linger despite the retrenchment in consumer spending, complicating the task of policy-makers, the University's Richard Curtin said in a report, citing data from the Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers.

"This is no ordinary recession," he said. "The aftereffects will last much longer than the typical downturn."

February 8, 2008

AP Poll: Leaving Iraq Will Help Economy

WASHINGTON (AP) — The heck with Congress' big stimulus bill. The way to get the country out of recession — and most people think we're in one — is to get the country out of Iraq, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll.

Pulling out of the war ranked first among proposed remedies in the survey, followed by spending more on domestic programs, cutting taxes and, at the bottom end, giving rebates to poor people in hopes they'll spend the economy into recovery.

However, just 19 percent of the people surveyed said they planned to go out and spend the money; 45 percent said they'd use it to pay bills. And nearly half said what the government really should do is get out of Iraq.

Once again, the court, the congress and the media failed to do their jobs. A man spent his last years in jail without a trial and no one cared.

Impeachable Offense
February 5, 2008

Time Runs Out, POW Dies

KABUL, Afghanistan — Abdul Razzaq Hekmati was regarded here as a war hero, famous for his resistance to the Russian occupation in the 1980s and later for a daring prison break he organized for three opponents of the Taliban government in 1999.

Afghan officials, and some Americans, complain that detainees are effectively thwarted from calling witnesses in their defense, and that the Afghan government is never consulted on the detention cases, even when it may be able to help. Mr. Hekmati's case, officials who knew him said, shows that sometimes the Americans do not seem to know whom they are holding. Meanwhile, detainees wait for years with no resolution to their cases.

Impeachable Offense
February 9, 2008

Court Orders EPA To Follow the Law

A federal appeals court yesterday threw out the Environmental Protection Agency's approach to limiting mercury emitted from power-plant smokestacks, saying the agency ignored laws and twisted logic when it imposed new standards that were favorable to plant owners.

The ruling, issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, was another judicial rejection of the Bush administration's pollution policies. It comes less than a year after the U.S. Supreme Court rebuked the administration and the EPA for refusing to regulate greenhouse gases.

Impeachable Offense
January 30, 2008

9th Infantry: Stryker Doesn't Work

"I wish [the enemy] would just blow mine up so I could be done with it," said Spec. Kyle Handrahan, 22, of Anaheim, Calif., a tanker assigned to Alpha Company, 4/9's MGS platoon.

"It's a piece," another MGS platoon member chimed in. "Nothing works on it."

The gripes stem from a litany of problems, including a computer system that constantly locks up, extremely high heat in the crew compartment and a shortage of spare parts. In one case, a key part was held up in customs on its way to Iraq, a problem one Soldier recognizes is a result of a new system being pushed into service before it's ready.

Bush even lies in the State of the Union, a legal document required by the Constitution.

Impeachable Offense
February 9, 2008

No Funds in Bush Budget For Troop-Benefits Plan

President Bush drew great applause during his State of the Union address last month when he called on Congress to allow U.S. troops to transfer their unused education benefits to family members. "Our military families serve our nation, they inspire our nation, and tonight our nation honors them," he said.

A week later, however, when Bush submitted his $3.1 trillion federal budget to Congress, he included no funding for such an initiative, which government analysts calculate could cost $1 billion to $2 bill

Where are the courts, the congress and the media? Have we ever had so many weak and morally corrupt people in power in our entire lives?

Impeachable Offense
February 8, 2008

UN: Waterboarding should be prosecuted as torture

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The controversial interrogation technique known as waterboarding and used by the United States qualifies as torture, the U.N. human rights chief said on Friday.

"I would have no problems with describing this practice as falling under the prohibition of torture," the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, told a news conference in Mexico City.

Impeachable Offense
February 6, 2008

White House defends use of torture

WASHINGTON - The White House on Wednesday defended the use of the interrogation technique known as waterboarding, saying it is legal — not torture as critics argue — and has saved American lives.

President Bush could authorize waterboarding for future terrorism suspects if certain criteria are met, a spokesman said.

A day earlier, the Bush administration acknowledged publicly for the first time that the tactic was used by U.S. government questioners on three terror suspects. Testifying before Congress, CIA Director Michael Hayden said Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri were waterboarded in 2002 and 2003.

Waterboarding involves strapping a suspect down and pouring water over his cloth-covered face to create the sensation of drowning. It has been traced back hundreds of years, to the Spanish Inquisition, and is condemned by nations around the world.

February 5, 2008

Bush's last spending plan only adds to a disastrous fiscal legacy

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The president proposed to pay down the debt by $2 trillion during that time, which, he said, was as much as could be responsibly redeemed. He offered lavish tax cuts. And he vowed to "confront great challenges from which Government has too long flinched," putting Social Security and Medicare on solid financial footing.

But the fact remains that the purported surplus on which Mr. Bush based his tax-cutting agenda was always something of a mirage, and the president has never been willing to adjust his agenda to the grim new fiscal reality. Yesterday's promise of a small surplus by 2012 is once again premised on omitting likely costs (zero is budgeted for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan) and by assuming cuts to domestic spending that are unachievable politically and, in large part, unwise as a matter of policy.

In this White House, failure is rewarded.

Impeachable Offense
February 6, 2008

Manufacturer Fined $2 Million then Awarded New Military Contract

A North Dakota manufacturer has agreed to pay $2 million to settle a suit saying it had repeatedly shortchanged the armor in up to 2.2 million helmets for the military, including those for the first troops sent to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Twelve days before the settlement with the Justice Department was announced, the company, Sioux Manufacturing of Fort Totten, was given a new contract of up to $74 million to make more armor for helmets to replace the old ones, which were made from the late 1980s to last year.

February 2, 2008

Our big-spender President

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President Bush's budget for fiscal year 2009, which goes to Congress, carries an alarming distinction: For the first time in the history of the republic, annual federal spending will cross the $3 trillion mark.

And federal spending got there early. That figure had been anticipated but not until next year when the new president would have been saddled with that honor.

Bush was also in office when the government crossed the $2 trillion mark in 2002 and the budget, thanks to the president's free spending Republican allies in Congress, sank into deficit after four years of surpluses.

To get a sense of the growth of government, consider: Spending didn't cross the $1 trillion mark until 1987 and the $100 billion threshold until 1972.

February 2, 2008

Appeals Court: Judges Must Review All Evidence, Not Just the Evidence the Military Chooses

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal appeals court refused Friday to reconsider a ruling broadening its own authority to scrutinize evidence against detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

The decision is a setback for the Bush administration, which was displeased by the court's three-judge ruling in July and had urged all 10 judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to review it. The administration said the decision jeopardized national security.

Impeachable Offense
February 4, 2008

U.S. Says No One Too Young for Guantanamo Court

GUANTANAMO BAY U.S. NAVAL BASE, Cuba (Reuters) - A Canadian accused of killing a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan should not be tried as a war criminal because he was a child soldier for al Qaeda, too young to voluntarily join its forces, his military defense lawyer told a U.S. war court on Monday.

Navy Lt. William Kuebler asked a military judge to throw out the charges against Canadian defendant Omar Khadr, who was shot and captured at age 15 in a firefight at a suspected al Qaeda compound in Afghanistan in 2002.

"He is a victim of al Qaeda, not a member of al Qaeda," Kuebler said.

Another Bush lie. Bush and his White House tell us things are getting better in Iraq. Why don't Iraqis think so?

Impeachable Offense
February 6, 2008

More Iraqis heading to Syria than returning home

BAGHDAD (AFP) — Iraqis are once again leaving Iraq for Syria in greater numbers than are returning, despite the lower level of bloodshed in their homeland, the UN refugee agency said on Wednesday.

A report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, citing Syrian immigration officials, said that in late January an average of 1,200 Iraqis entered Syria every day compared with around 700 who returned.

The era of borrowing money and giving it away is finally coming to an end. Conservative tax cuts didn't work unless adding trillions to the debt is success.

February 6, 2008

Bush's Tax Cuts Are Dead

John McCain's performance in the Super Tuesday primaries, coupled with the release of President Bush's fantastical budget on Monday, may have doomed the extension of the Bush tax cuts on income, capital gains and dividends, which are slated to expire after 2010.

The proposed budget for fiscal 2009, which starts in Oct. 2008, confirmed that the Bush fiscal performance will end, as it began, as a clown show. The administration expects that if its proposal is enacted into law, the next president will confront a $409 billion deficit next year. And that's the rosy scenario version, assuming that gross domestic product will grow 2.7% in 2008, compared with a consensus estimate of about 2.2%, and that discretionary non-defense spending will barely budge, to cite two examples. And it fails to include the full cost of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Americans treat their pets better than their POWs.

Impeachable Offense
February 7, 2008

Gitmo detainee breaking down

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba - Confined alone in his Guantanamo cell nearly around the clock, a Yemeni prisoner and former driver for Osama bin Laden has begun to break down mentally and cannot focus on preparing for his upcoming war-crimes trial, his attorneys say.

Lawyers for Salim Ahmed Hamdan asked in a motion ahead of pretrial hearings beginning Thursday for his military tribunal to be halted until his living conditions improve.

"I do not believe that Mr. Hamdan will be able to materially assist in his own defense if his conditions do not improve," wrote one of his civilian attorneys, Andrea Prasow.

Under International law the Red Cross is guaranteed access to all prisons and POWs. But secret prisons violate the core of the conventions. Besides, fascist need secret prisons, not Americans.

Impeachable Offense
February 7, 2008

US admiral confirms secret camp at Gitmo

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba - Somewhere amid the cactus-studded hills on this sprawling Navy base, separate from the cells where hundreds of men suspected of links to al-Qaida and the Taliban have been locked up for years, is a place even more closely guarded — a jailhouse so protected that its very location is top secret.

For the first time, the top commander of detention operations at Guantanamo has confirmed the existence of the mysterious Camp 7. In an interview with The Associated Press, Rear Adm. Mark Buzby also provided a few details about the maximum-security lockup.

Everything that comes out of this government has to seriously questioned. The facts remain the same, the US is giving aide to Pakistan at a time when it says Pakistan is becoming a greater threat to our national security.

February 6, 2008

Western cadre said to boost al Qaeda's ability to hit U.S.

A steady stream of Western recruits to al Qaeda camps on the Pakistani border bolsters the group's ability to strike the United States, the nation's top intelligence official said Tuesday.

Those camps are preparing recruits to carry out terror attacks around the world, and are also a staging ground for assaults on neighboring Afghanistan, said National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell.

"Al Qaeda is improving the last key aspect of its ability to attack the U.S.: the identification, training and positioning of operatives for an attack on the homeland," McConnell testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

February 3, 2008

Baghdad drowning in sewage

BAGHDAD (AFP) - Baghdad is drowning in sewage, thirsty for water and largely powerless, an Iraqi official said on Sunday in a grim assessment of services in the capital five years after the US-led invasion.

One of three sewage treatment plants is out of commission, one is working at stuttering capacity while a pipe blockage in the third means sewage is forming a foul lake so large it can be seen "as a big black spot on Google Earth," said Tahseen Sheikhly, civilian spokesman for the Baghdad security plan.

Sheikhly told a news conference in the capital that water pipes, where they exist, are so old that it is not possible to pump water at a sufficient rate to meet demands -- leaving many neighbourhoods parched.

This White House is boarding on treason. First, they say Iran is a threat to our national security (which was a lie), then they give aide to Russia so it can aide Iran. What we're dealing with here is either incompetence or criminal behavior.

Impeachable Offense
February 6, 2008

U.S. money for Russia is linked to Iran nuclear plant

WASHINGTON: The U.S. Energy Department is subsidizing two Russian nuclear institutes that are building key parts of a reactor in Iran that the United States spent years trying to stop, according to a House committee.

The institutes, both in Nizhny Novgorod, gave U.S. officials sales presentations describing their capabilities, and listing the Bushehr reactor, which Russia has agreed to fuel, as one of their projects. One institute is providing control systems, including control room equipment, and the other is providing hundreds of pumps and ventilation fans.

February 3, 2008

Conservative Columnist: Time for a GOP vanishing act

Me, I don't know, but it's hard to shake the sense that four more years of GOP rule from the White House might just about kill off conservatism as a viable governing philosophy. Given the exhausted and brain-addled state of the right at the end of the Reagan Era, it's arguably better for both the country and conservatism for our side to retreat to the woods for some hard thinking and meaningful reform.

Here's the most despairing thought: that in the grand scheme of things, it's not going to matter much who wins the presidency. Why? Because it's quite possible that the economic crisis now breaking upon us is going to be beyond any politician's ability to manage, so severe that the fallout will dwarf any other issue that has preoccupied American political debate of late.

February 2, 2008

DOD acquisition practices suffered cost overruns in the billions of dollars

The Defense Department's major weapons programs have suffered cost overruns in the billions of dollars, years-long delays and quality shortfalls because of poor acquisition practices by the department, according to a report released yesterday by the Government Accountability Office.

The GAO warned that the cost of designing and developing weapons systems could "continue to exceed estimates by billions of dollars" if the Defense Department doesn't improve its acquisition practices.

Obama is sometimes called the "black JFK."

February 1, 2008

US campaign captivates a world hungry for a change from Bush

Germans are gaga over Barack Obama. He's got Japan pretty jazzed, too, along with Hillary Rodham Clinton. Russia's leaders, not so much: They prefer a Republican — as long as it's not Kremlin critic John McCain.

America's extraordinary presidential campaign has captivated politicians and ordinary people around the globe. With so much at stake in the race for the White House, the world is watching with an intensity that hasn't been seen since the Clinton era began in 1992.

February 1, 2008

GOP lost in defense budget black hole

The U.S. currently spends roughly as much as the rest of the world combined. Nevertheless, Talent talked of "threats that are highly unpredictable and therefore, taken as a whole, more dangerous than the threats we faced during the Cold War."

Apparently those years of defending war-ravaged allies from an aggressive Soviet Union, unpredictable Maoist China, and various European and Third World communist satellites were nothing compared with confronting Osama bin Laden with his vast legions.

January 22, 2008

Cost of Insuring UK Corporate Debt Soars

The cost of protecting corporate debt against default surged in Europe yesterday as fears intensified over the fate of global bond insurers and the $2,400bn (€1,662bn) of debt they guarantee.

The credit market was in its blackest mood since the height of the summer's subprime panic after Ambac, one of the biggest bond insurers, or so-called monolines, was downgraded by Fitch Ratings on Friday.

Impeachable Offense
February 1, 2008

Bush legacy: Setting a standard in fear-mongering

When I left the Bush administration in 2003, it was clear to me that its strategy for defeating terrorism was leaving our nation more vulnerable and our people in a perilous place. Not only did its policies misappropriate resources, weaken the moral standing of America, and threaten long-standing legal and constitutional provisions, but the president also employed misleading and reckless rhetoric to perpetuate his agenda.

This week's State of the Union proved nothing has changed.

Besides overstating successes in Afghanistan, painting a rosy future for Iraq, and touting unfinished domestic objectives, he again used his favorite tactic - fear - as a tool to scare Congress and the American people. On one issue in particular - FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) - the president misconstrued the truth and manipulated the facts.

Impeachable Offense
January 28, 2008

Seven Years Of Decline

Boy, have times changed.

As 2007 drew to a close, a Newsweek International cover featured the image of a bruised Uncle Sam slumped in a boxing ring, under the headline: "Can America Get Back on Top?"

So what happened? How did we go from dominant military, economic and cultural superpower to battered fighter in the corner?

Bush inherited a military that had all active-duty Army divisions rated at the highest readiness levels and that was capable of fighting a two-front war. He will leave behind a military facing the worst readiness crisis in a generation, with not a single active-duty or reserve brigade "fully combat ready."

January 28, 2008

DOD: war budget includes $70 billion for first three months of 2009

WASHINGTON: The White House will ask Congress next week for another $70 billion (€47.4 billion) for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, an amount that would help cover operational costs only until early in 2009 when the next administration takes over.

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said Monday that the money, included as part of the administration's 2009 budget request, would be considered an "emergency allowance" to pay for operations beginning Oct. 1, when the budget year begins, until possibly January.

Impeachable Offense
January 29, 2008

Bush Issues Signing Statement Waiving Ban On Permanent Bases In Iraq

President Bush yesterday signed the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act after initially rejecting Congress's first version because it would have allegedly opened the Iraqi government to "expensive lawsuits."

Even though he forced Congress to change its original bill, Bush's signature yesterday came with a little-noticed signing statement, claiming that provisions in the law "could inhibit the President's ability to carry out his constitutional obligations." CQ reports on the provisions Bush plans to disregard: