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Impeach Bush--Index 80
May 25, 2008

Top-ranking officer warns U.S. military to stay out of politics

WASHINGTON: The highest-ranking U.S. military officer has written an unusual open letter to all those in uniform, warning them to stay out of politics as the United States approaches a presidential election in which the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will be a central, and certainly divisive, issue.

"The U.S. military must remain apolitical at all times," wrote Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. "It is and must always be a neutral instrument of the state, no matter which party holds sway."

Impeachable Offense
May 23, 2008

Republicans and Our Enemies

Instead, Mr. Bush has turned a small number of radical groups that hate America into a 10-foot tall existential monster that dictates every move we make.

Beyond Iran, al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan – the people who actually attacked us on 9/11 – are stronger now than at any time since 9/11. Radical recruitment is on the rise. Hamas controls Gaza and launches rockets at Israel every day. Some 140,000 American troops remain stuck in Iraq with no end in sight.

Recent Additions to Endangered Species List


gop_polar_bear_extinct (21K)
May 23, 2008

Senate OK's bill barring contractors from avoiding tax

WASHINGTON - The Senate yesterday passed by unanimous consent a bill prohibiting federal contractors from avoiding Social Security and Medicare taxes by hiring workers through offshore shell companies.

Earlier this week, the House of Representatives also voted unanimously to ban the practice, used by former Halliburton subsidiary KBR to avoid payroll taxes for more than 10,000 American workers in Iraq.

The bill, which appears to have veto-proof support, now goes to President Bush. The White House has not indicated whether he supports it.

May 24, 2008

Cemeteries see record for veteran burials

The scene at the Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery is repeated nationwide more than 100 times a day. Military veterans are being buried at such a rapid rate that national cemeteries use heavy equipment to make room.

"We're still in growth mode right now," said Bill Tuerk, undersecretary for memorial affairs at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. "We're in a very high-demand time period, and we're trying to respond to it."

Impeachable Offense
May 23, 2008

Pentagon Ignored Spending Rules

A Pentagon audit of $8.2 billion in American taxpayer money spent by the United States Army on contractors in Iraq has found that almost none of the payments followed federal rules and that in some cases, contracts worth millions of dollars were paid for despite little or no record of what, if anything, was received.

The audit also found a sometimes stunning lack of accountability in the way the United States military spent some $1.8 billion in seized or frozen Iraqi assets, which in the early phases of the conflict were often doled out in stacks or pallets of cash. The audit was released Thursday in tandem with a Congressional hearing on the payments.

May 22, 2008

If $4 Gas Is Bad, Just Wait

higher_gas_prices_ahead (10K)Judging from the futures markets, shock at the gas pump is bound to get worse. Maybe much worse.

Since the beginning of the year, benchmark oil and gasoline futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange both have increased by more than a third, but the average retail price of gasoline in the U.S. has risen by 22%. That bodes ill for consumers.

So far, oil refiners and petroleum-product distributors have absorbed much of the increase, but their ability to continue to swallow losses and operate at thin margins is limited.

Many analysts consider $4-a-gallon retail gasoline across the U.S. a foregone conclusion this summer driving season, a period of typically peak demand, but those estimates take only current record-high oil prices into account. Thursday, light, sweet crude futures breached $135 a barrel, more than double the price a year ago.

Republicans support the war, our troops and vets as long as they're getting their taxes cut and it doesn't cost them anything. Will someone tell them to go away?

Impeachable Offense
May 22, 2008

Our $48 trillion debt

What inspired me to draw the cartoon with the family camped out in their van in a post-financial-collapse nation, America, 2018?

In part, it was an intriguing commentary by Kevin Phillips in the Washington Post. I encourage you to find it here.

Phillips asks if the USA is nearing the sort of economic freefall that knocked past dominant societies off the top of the international heap. The $48 trillion debt referenced in the cartoon is the total debt, public and private, for all Americans, not just the government debt. That debt is just one of many factors that could be driving us toward decline. Phillips puts today's situation in historical perspective:

May 22, 2008

McCain Doesn't Vote for the GI Bill

While 25 Republicans supported the proposal, 22 opposed it. Forty-eight Democrats and two independents voted for the bipartisan measure, drafted by two Vietnam veterans, Senators Jim Webb, Democrat of Virginia, and Chuck Hagel, Republican of Nebraska.

The proposal on veterans' benefits was approved by a veto-proof majority, with support from conservative Republican senators including Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma and John Thune of South Dakota.

May 22, 2008

22 Republicans Vote Against GI Bill

Alexander (R-TN)
Allard (R-CO)
Barrasso (R-WY)
Bennett (R-UT)
Brownback (R-KS)
Bunning (R-KY)
Burr (R-NC)
Cochran (R-MS)
Corker (R-TN)
Cornyn (R-TX)
DeMint (R-SC)
Ensign (R-NV)
Enzi (R-WY)
Graham (R-SC)
Grassley (R-IA)
Gregg (R-NH)
Hatch (R-UT)
Kyl (R-AZ)
Lugar (R-IN)
McConnell (R-KY)
Sessions (R-AL)
Voinovich (R-OH)
May 22, 2008

Home price index posts largest-ever decline

WASHINGTON - A home-price index considered to be the most comprehensive reading of the U.S. market posted the sharpest quarterly decline in its 17-year history, and analysts say housing has yet to bottom out.

Rapidly falling home prices in California, Florida and Nevada skewed the national results.

The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight said Thursday that home prices fell 3.1 percent in the first quarter compared with last year.

Impeachable Offense
May 20, 2008

Megabubble waiting for new president in 2009

Yes, the lead character pulling back the curtain is none other than Kevin Phillips, a former Republican strategist for Nixon, and today America's leading political historian. Phillips just published "Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics & the Crisis of American Capitalism," everything you need to know about today's credit meltdown.

Scene 1: Numbers racket hiding behind Washington curtain

Opening shot: Phillips pulling back the curtain, exposing charlatan Wizards in a brilliant Harper's Magazine article: "Numbers Racket: Why the economy is worse than we know." Far worse. Buy it, read it -- this is essential reading if you really want to understand the depth of today's political as well as economic impending meltdown, and the harsh realities facing Washington, Wall Street, Corporate America, and Main Street in 2009 and beyond ... harsh because we cannot cover up the truth much longer.

Scene 2: Statistics, Washington's new WMDs, a time bomb

"If Washington's harping on weapons of mass destruction was essential to buoy public support for the invasion of Iraq, the use of deceptive statistics has played its own vital role in convincing many Americans that the U.S. economy is stronger, fairer, more productive, more dominant, and richer with opportunity than it really is. The corruption has tainted the very measures that most shape public perception of the economy," especially three key numbers, CPI, GDP and monthly unemployment statistics.

Impeachable Offense
May 22, 2008

FBI too badly organized to stop attacks

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The FBI's counterterrorism section is too badly organized and too understaffed to be able to protect the United States effectively against attack, an FBI agent told lawmakers.

"The FBI's counterterrorism division is ill-equipped to handle the terrorist threat that we're facing," Bassem Youssef, a top agent within the FBI's communications analysis unit, told a congressional hearing on Wednesday.

"FBI's counterterrorism program cannot properly protect the United States from another catastrophic and direct attack from Middle Eastern terrorists," he added.

Egyptian-born Youssef, who has been an agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) since 1988, said only 62 percent of posts were filled in the counterterrorism unit.

This chronic staff shortage was forcing the FBI to recruit staff with no relevant experience, specifically with Middle Eastern counterterrorism, possibly lacking pertinent language skills and cultural understanding.

"In the FBI, everyone who is interested in moving up the ladder of promotion would want to be jockeying for positions and the number-one priority of the investigations being worked by the FBI.

"The counterterrorism division is unable to keep agents, supervisors and analysts within the division, and 62 percent is an alarmingly low figure," he told a House subcommittee hearing on FBI whistleblowers.

May 22, 2008

Unpopular Bush is toxic for McCain

On Thursday, he also for the first time gave a date for when he would like most US troops home from Iraq -- 2013 -- after months of rejecting, as Bush does, any suggestion of a withdrawal timetable, a key Democratic cause.

That same day, however, Bush used a speech to Israeli lawmakers to imply that Obama's pledges to talk to leaders of hostile foreign powers including Iran were akin to pre-World War II efforts to appease Adolf Hitler.

Obama quickly fought back -- and McCain found himself defending Bush's unpopular foreign policy against a candidate whose most potent political weapon may be voters' belief that he will end business as usual in Washington.

Wouldn't it be great if the lobbyists who kept McCain's campaign alive asked for their money back. He'd have no choice but give it back.

May 21, 2008

McCain's self-righteous [expletive] has caught up with him

"McCain's self-righteous [expletive] has caught up with him. Now he's got himself in a jam," said another Republican lobbyist who asked to remain anonymous because he is a campaign volunteer. "He's got to change the subject back to economic growth and taxation and the war on terror."

And there's this thought from another McCain supporter: "I find it a little offensive. It was good enough to get my $2,300 donation. If we're not good enough, then send my check back. It pisses me off."

The anchors of some of our major news networks let Bush's rants go unchallenged when Bush himself is talking with North Korea. The blind idiocy of some news anchors, men like Brian Williams of NBC is worth nothing and never forgetting. He and other accept known lies and hypocritical statements made by Bush and they refuse to challenge them.

May 21, 2008

Specter sides with Obama on handling rogue nations

WASHINGTON - Sen. Barack Obama's proposal to talk with the leaders of Iran and North Korea without preconditions has been met with harsh criticism from President Bush and Sen. John McCain in recent days. But the idea has the support from at least one Republican -- Sen. Arlen Specter.

The Pennsylvanian, who has long championed sit-downs with enemies of the United States, told The Morning Call today that the country needs "a very fundamental shift in our thinking in our international diplomacy."

May 21, 2008

McCain Backer Hagee Said Hitler Was Fulfilling God's Will

John Hagee, the controversial evangelical leader and endorser of Sen. John McCain, argued in a late 1990s sermon that the Nazis had operated on God's behalf to chase the Jews from Europe and shepherd them to Palestine. According to the Reverend, Adolph Hitler was a "hunter," sent by God, who was tasked with expediting God's will of having the Jews re-establish a state of Israel.

Going in and out of biblical verse, Hagee preached: "'And they the hunters should hunt them,' that will be the Jews. 'From every mountain and from every hill and from out of the holes of the rocks.' If that doesn't describe what Hitler did in the holocaust you can't see that."

May 18, 2008

U.S. soldier in Iraq uses Koran for target practice

BAGHDAD: U.S. military commanders have apologised to community leaders in Iraq after a U.S. soldier used a copy of the Koran for shooting practice, fearing an outburst of anger among U.S.-allied tribesmen.

Bloody protests have sometimes broken out across the Muslim world when the Islamic faith has been insulted. The swift apology by the U.S. commanders appeared aimed at avoiding similar violence in Iraq.

The U.S. military said on Sunday the soldier, who was not identified, had been disciplined and ordered to leave Iraq after a copy of the Muslim holy book was found riddled with bullet holes at a shooting range near Baghdad on May 11.

The Bush White House argued Iraq and Iran don't need nuclear power because they have oil. They lied. An impeachable offense.

Impeachable Offense
May 17, 2008

US unveils deals with Saudi on nuclear power

RIYADH (AFP) — The White House announced major new cooperation agreements with Saudi Arabia on Friday as US President George W. Bush made his second visit to the oil superpower this year.

The agreements cover cooperation on civil nuclear power and protecting the kingdom's oil infrastructure which has come under attack by Islamist militants.

This website documented how the FBI refused to participate in war crimes and in fact the FBI Director ordered his people to stay away from the torture chambers the CIA and military had set up.

Impeachable Offense
May 21, 2008

Report Details FBI Complaints Over Interrogations

WASHINGTON — F.B.I. agents complained repeatedly, beginning in 2002, about the harsh interrogation tactics that military and C.I.A. interrogators were using in questioning terrorism suspects, like making them do dog tricks and parade in the nude in front of female soldiers, but their complaints appear to have had little effect, according to an exhaustive report released Tuesday by the Justice Department's inspector general.

The report describes major and repeated clashes between F.B.I. agents and their counterparts over the rough methods being used on detainees in Guantánamo Bay, Afghanistan and Iraq — some of which, according to the inspector general, may have violated the Defense Department's own policies at the time.

Far too many pseudo journalists are afraid of telling the truth about the war crimes committed by US soldiers. How can we (the US) have credibility when so many are blinded by pseudo patriotism.

Back in the real world, real commanders in the ground in Iraq allowed their troops to commit war crimes and violate the rules of war.

Impeachable Offense
May 16, 2008

Iraq Veterans Describe Atrocities

"On several occasions our convoys came upon bodies that had been lying on the road, sometimes for weeks," said Marine Corps veteran Vincent Emanuele, who served in al-Qaim near the Syrian border in 2004 and 2005.

"When encountering these bodies standard procedure was to run over the corpses, sometimes even stopping and taking pictures, which was also standard practice when encountering the dead in Iraq," he told the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which organized the hearing.

Emanuele also said that U.S. military personnel often took "pot shots" at cars passing by.

May 14, 2008

Gates: Sit Down and talk to Iran

And one of the questions that I think historians will have to take a look at is whether there was a missed opportunity at that time. But with the election of Ahmadinejad and the very unambiguous role that Iran is playing in a negative sense in Iraq today, you know, I sort of sign up with Tom Friedman's column today. We need to figure out a way to develop some leverage with respect to the Iranians and then sit down and talk with them. If there's going to be a discussion, then they need something, too. We can't go to a discussion and be completely the demander with them not feeling that they need anything from us.

Nothing pisses off a conservative more than "equal rights." Their party can create massive debt and they don't care. Their party can take us to war for no reason and they don't care. Their party can spend decades talking about abortion and doing nothing to end abortion and they don't care. Their party can talk about balancing the budget and failing but they don't care. But equal right...now that'll get them worked up. Morons.

May 15, 2008

California Supreme Court: State constitution gives gays the right to marry

In a ruling that is certain to inflame the social, political and moral debate over gay marriage, a divided state Supreme Court dominated by Republican appointees on Thursday struck down California laws that restrict marriage to heterosexual couples. The 4-3 ruling, written by Chief Justice Ronald George, found that it is unconstitutional to deprive gays and lesbians of the equal right to walk down the aisle with a government-issued marriage license in hand.

"The California Constitution properly must be interpreted to guarantee this basic civil right to all Californians, whether gay or heterosexual, and to same-sex couples as well as to opposite-sex couples," the court said in a 121-page decision that gives gays unprecedented rights.

The media exposed another gross crime against our vets and the VA won't release the name of the psychologist. We have it...it's in the article below "Norma Perez." The

May 16, 2008

V.A. Disavows Combat Stress Memo

The message, dated March 20 and titled "Suggestion," said: "Given that we are having more and more compensation seeking veterans, I'd like to suggest that we refrain from giving a diagnosis of PTSD straight out. Consider a diagnosis of Adjustment Disorder, R/O PTSD." R/O stands for "rule out."

"Additionally," it said, "we really don't or have time to do the extensive testing that should be done to determine PTSD."

A copy of the message was distributed on Thursday by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a watchdog group, and by VoteVets.org, a lobbying group opposed to the Bush administration's handling of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

In a statement, Dr. James B. Peake, the secretary of veterans affairs, called the suggestions "inappropriate." The employee's name was not released.

"Support our troops" was never public policy but it worked great to quiet all opposition - especially in the media.

Impeachable Offense
May 16, 2008

Official Urged Fewer Diagnoses of PTSD

A psychologist who helps lead the post-traumatic stress disorder program at a medical facility for veterans in Texas told staff members to refrain from diagnosing PTSD because so many veterans were seeking government disability payments for the condition.

"Given that we are having more and more compensation seeking veterans, I'd like to suggest that you refrain from giving a diagnosis of PTSD straight out," Norma Perez wrote in a March 20 e-mail to mental-health specialists and social workers at the Department of Veterans Affairs' Olin E. Teague Veterans' Center in Temple, Tex. Instead, she recommended that they "consider a diagnosis of Adjustment Disorder."

May 16, 2008

McCain Was for Talking With Hamas Before He Was Against It

If the recent exchanges between President Bush, Barack Obama and John McCain on Hamas and terrorism are a preview of the general election, we are in for an ugly six months. Despite his reputation in the media as a charming maverick, McCain has shown that he is also happy to use Nixon-style dirty campaign tactics. By charging recently that Hamas is rooting for an Obama victory, McCain tried to use guilt by association to suggest that Obama is weak on national security and won't stand up to terrorist organizations, or that, as Richard Nixon might have put it, Obama is soft on Israel.

The Obama campaign was right to criticize the president for his remarks and for engaging in partisan politics while overseas. Many presidents have said things abroad that could be construed as violating this unwritten rule of American politics. But it is hard to remember any president abusing the prestige of his office in as crude a way as Bush did yesterday. Charging your opponents with appeasement and likening them to Neville Chamberlain in the Knesset is a brutal blow. It is bad enough that Republicans use the politics of personal destruction here at home, but to deploy that kind of political weapon at an occasion as solemn as an American president addressing the parliament of a friendly government marks a new low.

Once again we see the intellectual dwarfism of conservatism. Conservatives finally accept the basic fact that global warming is real - real enough to kill polar bears but then they turn around and say this fact shouldn't be considered when we talk about global warming and green house gases. Are these people really that dumb?

May 15, 2008

Polar Bear Is Made a Protected Species

The polar bear, whose summertime Arctic hunting grounds have been greatly reduced by a warming climate, will be placed under the protection of the Endangered Species Act, Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne announced on Wednesday.

But the long-delayed decision to list the bear as a threatened species may prove less of an impediment to oil and gas industries along the Alaskan coast than many environmentalists had hoped. Mr. Kempthorne also made it clear that it would be "wholly inappropriate" to use the listing as a tool to reduce greenhouse gases, as environmentalists had intended to do.

With each passing day we learn of another crime committed by the Bush White House. It's clear the Democrats have their own plan...let Bush and his war destroy the GOP. In the mean time the war and Bush are destroying the reputation of the United States. Cowards.

Impeachable Offense
May 14, 2008

Some Detainees Are Drugged For Deportation

The U.S. government has injected hundreds of foreigners it has deported with dangerous psychotropic drugs against their will to keep them sedated during the trip back to their home country, according to medical records, internal documents and interviews with people who have been drugged.

The government's forced use of antipsychotic drugs, in people who have no history of mental illness, includes dozens of cases in which the "pre-flight cocktail," as a document calls it, had such a potent effect that federal guards needed a wheelchair to move the slumped deportee onto an airplane.

May 14, 2008

US foreclosure filings surge 65 percent in April

LOS ANGELES - More U.S. homeowners fell behind on mortgage payments last month, driving the number of homes facing foreclosure up 65 percent versus the same month last year and contributing to a deepening slide in home values, a research company said Tuesday.

Nationwide, 243,353 homes received at least one foreclosure-related filing in April, up 65 percent from 147,708 in the same month last year and up 4 percent since March, RealtyTrac Inc. said.

Nevada, Arizona, California and Florida were among the hardest hit states, with metropolitan areas in California and Florida accounting for nine of the top 10 areas with the highest rate of foreclosure, the company said.

One in every 519 U.S. households received a foreclosure filing in April. Foreclosure filings increased from a year earlier in all but eight states.

There's sweet irony in the GOP collapsing after it followed the wishes of the Wall Street Editorial Board. In this case, we had blind idiots leading the blind. Thank god all Americans aren't as dumb or pig-headed as the Wall Street Journal.

May 15, 2008

The Republican Panic

If there is such a thing as a useful election defeat, then Tuesday's Republican loss in a special House election in Mississippi would qualify. Maybe this thumping in a heretofore safe GOP seat will finally scare the Members straight, or at least less crooked.

Democrats won with 54% of the vote in a district that a Republican won with 66% in 2006 and that President Bush carried in 2004 by 25 points. It was the GOP's third special election loss this year, and it has Democrats predicting that November will be another rout of 2006 proportions. Oklahoma's Tom Cole, who runs the National Republican Congressional Committee, captured the GOP reaction when he declared that "There is no district that is safe for Republican candidates."

The death of the GOP can be directly attributed to conservatives (especially conservative Christians). Bush gave them everything they wanted and it didn't work.

May 14, 2008

Rep. Tom Davis: "if we were dog food, they would take us off the shelf."

Rep. Tom Davis wrote a 20-page treatise (see earlier note) assessing the state of the Republican Party as we head into the summer and presented it to House GOP rank and file this morning. Davis, who is retiring, is rumored to be interested in finishing his term as the head of the GOP House campaign arm.

We are hearing a lot today from Republicans and their concern about their "brand," and Davis takes it to another level in his memo; "a congressional GOP brand tied to George Bush is struggling"; "...deep seeded antipathy toward the president, the war, gas prices, the economy, foreclosures and, in some areas, the underlying cultural differences that continue to brand our party."

And the kicker, "the Republican brand is in the trash can...if we were dog food, they would take us off the shelf."

California's budget deficit has risen from around $13 billion to $15.2 billion under Schwarzenegger. The media talking heads who pushed his candidacy will never point out he failed miserably. How could he succeed? He cut taxes.

May 14, 2008

Budget Deficits Soars Under Schwarzenegger

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Wednesday proposed borrowing on future lottery sales to eliminate a massive deficit in the state's spending plan and avoid unpopular cuts to the school system, state parks and prisons.

The $144.3 billion budget plan for the fiscal year that begins in July is a byproduct of a slowing state economy. Tax revenue has been falling far short of what California needs to keep pace with spending, leading to a $15.2 billion shortfall.

"Our crisis is real, and it is very serious," Schwarzenegger said during a news conference at the Capitol.

The centerpiece of Schwarzenegger's budget relies on a plan to make the state lottery more lucrative and thus more attractive to potential investors.

Just so you understand how stupid it is to cut taxes. This stimulus package will create massive new debt that we'll pass to the next generation. It's not a tax cut, but instead a tax increase. Deficits are unpaid taxes PLUS interest.

May 13, 2008

Deficit Expected to Rise After Stimulus Package

"There'll be a big rise in the deficit over the next couple of months," said David Sloan, a senior economist at 4Cast Inc. in New York. "At least half of the fiscal deterioration is going to come from the stimulus package." Sloan said this year's gap will swell to more than $400 billion from $163 billion in fiscal 2007.

Yet another hole in the once shining armor of conservative tax cuts. If tax cuts worked, wouldn't we have $9 trillion of surpluses instead of $9 trillion of debt?

May 13 2008

Budget Deficit Soars as Corporate Taxes Fall

WASHINGTON -- With turmoil rocking financial markets and housing woes slowing the economy, corporate tax revenues are falling and leaving big holes in the federal budget.

The Treasury Department reported Monday that corporate income-tax revenue over the first seven months of the fiscal year, which began Oct. 1, was $171.1 billion, 14.7% lower than during the same period a year earlier. Meantime, government outlays rose 7.3%, to $1.7 trillion, and the federal deficit ballooned to $152 billion, 88% higher than the same period last fiscal year.

"The budget picture is growing darker and is set to get much darker in the next few months, as the impact of the tax rebates hit the government's bottom line," said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Economy.com, a research firm. The Internal Revenue Service last month began delivering payments to taxpayers in a bid to stimulate the economy, but the lion's share of those payments will be made in May, June and July.

Reagan left office with a falling dollar and so will Bush. They also have one other thing in common - an explosion of debt under their watch. While some will try to defend their legacies we should recall Reagan and Bush couldn't have done anything if they supported conservative principles such as balancing the budget.

May 6, 2008

Weak Dollar Fuels China's Buying Spree Of U.S. Firms Foreign Cash Ignites Political Concerns

Zhou's 85 percent stake in the company now known as GSP North America is one example of how the weak dollar and weakening U.S. economy have made the United States a bargain for overseas companies shopping for investments.

In 2007, acquisitions in the United States by foreign ventures hit $407 billion, up 93 percent from the previous year, according to Thomson Financial. The top countries investing were Canada, Britain and Germany; the Middle East and Asia -- especially China -- are quickly catching up.

After nearly eight years of lying to us about the "20th" hijacker, the government finally admits it has no case and in fact, our most senior government officials were all lying.

May 13, 2008

US drops charges against Saudi in Sept. 11 attacks

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - The Pentagon has dropped charges against a Saudi at Guantanamo who was alleged to have been the so-called "20th hijacker" in the Sept. 11 attacks, his U.S. military defense lawyer said Monday.

Mohammed al-Qahtani was one of six men charged by the military in February with murder and war crimes for their alleged roles in the 2001 attacks. Authorities say al-Qahtani missed out on taking part in the attacks because he was denied entry to the U.S. by an immigration agent.

Conservative dogma holds a simple truth that has now been disproven. They believe(d) that no matter how much debt they created Americans would give them credit for a booming economy as long as they could say their tax cuts made it happen. After accumulating more debt than any president in history the economy still isn't budging.

May 12, 2008

Eighty-Two Percent of Americans Say the Country's Seriously Off on the Wrong Track

Public disgruntlement neared a record high and President Bush slipped to his career low in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll.

Eighty-two percent of Americans now say the country's seriously off on the wrong track, up 10 points in the last year to a point from its record high in polls since 1973. And 31 percent approve of Bush's job performance overall, while 66 percent disapprove.

The country's mood -- and the president's ratings -- are suffering from the double whammy of an unpopular war and a faltering economy. Consistently for the last year, nearly two-thirds of Americans have said the war in Iraq was not worth fighting. And consumer confidence is near its lowest in weekly ABC News polls since late 1985.

Informed people know the surge failed and instead it was the ceasefire that ended the slaughter in Iraq. McCain and Bush lied - the US media were accompalices in that lie.

May 11, 2008

Al-Sadr Wins Another Round

In announcing the deal, al-Sadr aide Sheik Salah al-Obeidi said the agreement, "stipulates that the Mahdi Army will stop fighting in Sadr City and will stop displaying arms in public. In return, the government will stop random raids against al-Sadr followers and open all closed roads that lead to Sadr City."

Al-Obeidi, who issued a statement from the southern Iraqi city of Najaf, added: "This document does not call for disbanding al-Mahdi Army or laying down their arms."

It's amazing how fast things have changed. Just a few months ago the US military was caught lying about killing an al-Qaeda leader twice.

May 9, 2008

US military denies Iraq report of al-Qaida arrest

BAGHDAD - The U.S. military on Friday denied Iraqi government claims that the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq was captured and said a man with a similar name had been arrested in the northern city of Mosul.

Iraqi authorities had announced Thursday that police commandos captured Abu Ayyub al-Masri in a raid in the northern city of Mosul.

"Neither coalition forces nor Iraqi security forces detained or killed Abu Ayyub al-Masri. This guy had a similar name," said Maj. Peggy Kageleiry, a U.S. military spokeswoman in northern Iraq. She said no additional details were being immediately provided.

The GOP has become the party that defends failure. If they spent as much time doing the nations business as they spend explaining away their failures, they'd actually be a competitive party. But as it is, the GOP is about as worthless as a bowl of spit.

May 10, 2008

State Department Renews Contract With Blackwater

Guards for the security company were involved in a shooting in September that left at least 17 Iraqis dead at a Baghdad intersection. Outrage over the killings prompted the Iraqi government to demand Blackwater's ouster from the country, and led to a criminal investigation by the F.B.I., a series of internal investigations by the State Department and the Pentagon, and high-profile Congressional hearings.

But after an intense public and private lobbying campaign, Blackwater appears to be back to business as usual.

The State Department has just renewed its contract to provide security for American diplomats in Iraq for at least another year. Threats by the Iraqi government to strip Western contractors of their immunity from Iraqi law have gone nowhere. No charges have been brought in the United States against any Blackwater guard in the September shooting, either, and the F.B.I. agents in Baghdad charged with investigating whether Blackwater guards have committed any crimes under United States law are sometimes protected as they travel through Baghdad by Blackwater guards.

Bush perfected the "Reagan" model. He spent like there's no tomorrow, cut taxes, lied to the American people about threats to our national security and bankrupted us with massive debt. It seems Americans have grown beyond the GOP.

May 9, 2008

As Losses Mount, GOP Begins Looking in the Mirror

May 9 (Bloomberg) -- Senator John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, is struggling to attract money from some of the same industries that helped bankroll President George W. Bush's record-setting fundraising.

Employees from the securities, construction, pharmaceutical and energy industries, who accounted for about a tenth of Bush's money in 2004, are turned off by his record and giving more to his Democratic rivals, Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Can you imagine any businessman who'd support any republican after what they've done to the deficits, debt and the economy? Forbes Magazine tells us the three best post WW2 economic presidents were Clinton, LBJ and Kennedy. Why can't big business figure out the GOP is bad for business?

May 9, 2008

Bush Business Donors Shunning McCain for Democratic Candidates

May 9 (Bloomberg) -- Senator John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, is struggling to attract money from some of the same industries that helped bankroll President George W. Bush's record-setting fundraising.

Employees from the securities, construction, pharmaceutical and energy industries, who accounted for about a tenth of Bush's money in 2004, are turned off by his record and giving more to his Democratic rivals, Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

The GOP gave conservatives everything they wanted; deficit causing tax cuts, war for no reason and a country that doesn't respect the rule of law so now the reap what they've sown over the past 30 years. RIP.

May 10, 2008

GOP getting crushed in polls

John McCain is planning to run as a different kind of Republican. But being any kind of Republican seems like some sort of death sentence these days.

In case you've been too consumed by the Democratic race to notice, Republicans are getting crushed in historic ways both at the polls and in the polls.

At the polls, it has been a massacre. In recent weeks, Republicans have lost a Louisiana House seat they had held for more than two decades and an Illinois House seat they had held for more than three. Internal polls show that next week they could lose a Mississippi House seat that they have held for 13 years.

It's become clear that the only reason republicans run for political office is so they can reward their friends and harm their enemies. A free market system that creates things that don't work? That's conservatism.

May 10, 2008

Virtual Fence Doesn't work - government orders more

TUCSON, Ariz. - A second section of the government's heavily criticized "virtual fence" is planned on the Arizona-Mexico border, and a third could be tested near Detroit by the end of the year, a Boeing Co. official said.

A prototype consisting of nine movable towers across a 28-mile area southwest of Tucson is to be torn down and replaced this summer because it failed to perform as expected.

While the media spends months talking about when Clinton will drop out and the "Wright" effect, Americans are looking for adults who live in the real world.

May 19, 2008

Personal debt soars in March

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Americans' personal debt took a huge leap in March, according to a report from the Federal Reserve released Wednesday.

The total debt held by individuals rose $15.3 billion from the prior month, to $2.6 trillion. Analysts polled by Briefing.com had expected personal debt to rise by only $6 billion.

The category of debt that includes credit cards, referred to as "revolving credit," rose by $6.3 billion, while the category that includes fixed-payment loans, such as student and car loans, jumped $9 billion.

May 8, 2008

Obama Stops By U.S. Capitol ... Just To Say "Hello"

Sen. Barack Obama stepped into a swarm of superdelegates this morning when he visited the House of Representatives in the middle of a vote. Obama stayed on the floor for almost half an hour visiting with both Democrats and Republicans who looked completely star struck.

Even Speaker Nancy Pelosi left her weekly press briefing and made a beeline for the House floor to say hello. And the Capitol Hill press corps surrounded the House Chamber to catch him on his way out and fire questions about such an unusual move for a presidential candidate, even if he is a senator.

The GOP had no problem with the Bear Sterns bail out or trillions of dollars of debt to create the illusion of economic growth. It's time to treat conservatives like 12-year olds. God knows they're incapable of being intellectually consistent.

Impeachable Offense
May 9, 2008

Housing aid bill faces veto by President Bush

WASHINGTON - Democrats' plans to help hundreds of thousands of homeowners struggling with rising subprime mortgage rates and plummeting house values could be sidetracked by President Bush's threatened veto and the backing of many congressional Republicans.

Opponents of the plan say more prudent homebuyers and renters shouldn't be called upon to bail out borrowers who gambled on ever-rising housing prices and lost.

When a "special council" needs a "special council to investigate his crimes you know you have a problem. At some point we have to wonder if there are any decent people working for Bush.

May 7, 2008

F.B.I. Raids Office of Special Counsel

WASHINGTON — The office of the official responsible for protecting federal workers from political interference was raided by F.B.I. agents on Tuesday as part of an investigation into whether he himself mixed politics with official business.

The raid took place at the office of Scott J. Bloch, the head of the Office of Special Counsel. Computers and documents were seized by agents trying to determine whether Mr. Bloch obstructed justice by hiring an outside company to "scrub" his computer files, The Associated Press reported. Investigators also searched Mr. Bloch's home in suburban Virginia after obtaining a subpoena.

Impeachable Offense
May 6, 2008

White House Admits It Is Missing Email Backup Tapes From Start of Iraq War

The White House acknowledged in a court filing last night that it no longer has backup tapes of email from between March 1 and May 22, 2003, a period that includes the beginning of the Iraq war.

Yesterday's filing (PDF) is the latest development in the ongoing White House emails lawsuit, in which two non-profits, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and the National Security Archive (NSA), are suing to force the administration to recover any missing emails and institute a more effective email archiving system. (For the full story on the missing emails, check out our missing White House emails index.) The filing comes on the heels of several seemingly contradictory statements by administration officials about whether the allegedly missing emails are available on backup tapes. The court had asked the administration to clear up the confusion by clearly stating which backup tapes it does and does not have for the period between March 2003 and October 2005.

May 9, 2008

Barely surviving on credit cards

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- These days, more and more people are saying "Charge it."

Finding themselves strapped for cash and unable to use their home as an ATM, Americans are increasingly turning to credit cards to cover gas, groceries and other living expenses.

But many find themselves struggling to pay the burgeoning bills at a time when even the basic needs are growing costlier.

"Other sources of money for a lot of Americans are drying up," said Dick Reed, regional counseling manager of Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Atlanta, who sees more clients with mounting credit card debts these days. "Consumers just don't have a place to go to get money. They are digging themselves into a deeper hole not only to pay for normal living expenses, but to make minimum payments on outstanding debt."

Long before the MSM picked up on the housing crisis, we were there. Now it's time to see when, where and how this ends. In the mean time it's also a good time to pick up some very cheap property and make a fortune. And to think, you don't need a government hand-out (tax cut, stimulus package etc.) to do it.

May 19, 2008

Where home prices are headed next: Top 100 markets

(Money Magazine) -- The housing implosion is nowhere near over. In 75 of the 100 top U.S. cities, prices are expected to fall in the next 12 months according to Fiserv Lending Solutions.

The S&P Case/Shiller Home Price Index, which tracks 20 of the largest housing markets, showed prices plummeting by 12.7% in the 12 months ending February. That's the biggest fall since the index began tracking prices in 2000.

May 8, 2008

Money Magazine: 10 markets set for steep losses

Miami, Fla.
12-month forecast: -24.9%
Median home price: $329,000
One year price change: -9.8%
Five year price change: 94.8%
Prices forecast to hit bottom:
April-June, 2010
Change in foreclosure rate: 370%

Government "of, by and for the people." What an interesting concept.

May 8, 2008

The people in Obama's army of small donors

Riggs and Schwartz are foot soldiers in Barack Obama's 1.5-million-strong army of campaign contributors. Dozens of Associated Press interviews with donors, and an AP financial analysis show how contributions that make only a soft ka-ching by themselves, arriving in increments of $10, $15 and $50, have collectively swelled into a financial roar that has helped propel Obama toward the Democratic presidential nomination.

Altogether, Obama's campaign has taken in an unprecedented $226 million, most of it contributed online. His donor base is larger than the one the Democratic National Committee had for the 2000 election.

May 9, 2008

Oil surpasses $125 per barrel ahead of US driving season

Oil prices surged past $125 per barrel Friday on the eve of the U.S. driving season as a weakening U.S. dollar drove investors to snap up commodities.

Light, sweet crude for June delivery rose as high as $125.12 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange at midday before falling back to $124.86 by early afternoon in Europe.

May 6, 2008

War funding would break Dem promises

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is about to lead her party into a major showdown over Iraq funding by violating two Democratic campaign pledges in one fell swoop.

To the critics, whether anti-war activists or House Republicans, Pelosi has made her feelings clear: Get over it.

This week's maneuvering over a $200 billion war spending bill has revealed Pelosi self-confidently playing what she believes — with increasing evidence — is a strong hand.

The military has a long history of interfering in our law-making process, including previously denouncing any attempt to allows gays and lesbian to serve openly in the military. To suggest they've always obeyed civilian authority is revision.

May 3, 2008

Joint Chiefs of Staff Open to Law Ending "don't ask, don't tell"

With a national election looming, a cadet asked about the "don't ask, don't tell" law and what would happen if someone took office who wants to change it. "It's a law, and we follow it," Mullen said. Should the law change, the military will carry that out too, he said.

"We are a military that is under the control of our civilian elected leaders," he said. "It has served us well since we've been founded. That is a special characteristic of our country and I would never do anything to jeopardize that."

Impeachable Offense
May 6, 2008

Committee chairman accuses VA of criminal negligence

WASHINGTON - The Department of Veterans Affairs' top mental health official said Tuesday he made a poor choice of words when he sent his colleagues an e-mail about suicide data that started out with "Shh!"

Dr. Ira Katz, the VA's mental health director, told the House Veterans Affairs Committee that the e-mail was in poor tone — even though the body contained "appropriate, healthy dialogue" about the data.

May 5, 2008

Economists Release Letter Opposing Gas Tax Holiday

More than 230 economists -- Democrats, Republicans, advisers to past presidents and four Nobel laureates -- signed a letter today opposing proposals by Clinton and presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain to suspend the 18-cent federal gas tax for the summer driving season.

"First, research shows that waiving the gas tax would generate major profits for oil companies rather than significantly lowering prices for consumers," they wrote. "Second, it would encourage people to keep buying costly imported oil and do nothing to encourage conservation. Third, a tax holiday would provide very little relief to families feeling squeezed."

This is after Bush, McCain and the Pentagon said the surge was a success. Liars!

Impeachable Offense
April 30, 2008

Iraq bloodshed in April kills 1,073

BAGHDAD (AFP) - At least 1,073 Iraqis were killed across the country in April, most of them slaughtered in fierce fighting between security forces and Shiite militants, security officials told AFP Wednesday.

According to data collected by Iraq's interior, health and defence ministries and made available to AFP, 966 civilians were killed in April, followed by 69 policemen and 38 soldiers.

Thanks to the incompetence of Bush's Military that we're still in a war with a country that has no military to speak of and we no where near winning the war.

Impeachable Offense
May 4, 2008

The rot gnawing away at Baghdad's innards

BAGHDAD (AFP) - Its traditional wooden-balconied Shanasheel houses in ruins, other buildings crumbling and muddied streets reeking of rubbish, Al-Batawin neighbourhood in the centre of Baghdad is an abject picture of just how far the rot has set in to the once-proud Iraqi capital.

Before the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, Al-Batawin's main thoroughfare Al-Sadun Street bustled with restaurants, hotels, upmarket stores and -- most famously -- medical centres.

April 30, 2008

U.S. has Mandela on terrorist list

WASHINGTON — Nobel Peace Prize winner and international symbol of freedom Nelson Mandela is flagged on U.S. terrorist watch lists and needs special permission to visit the USA. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice calls the situation "embarrassing," and some members of Congress vow to fix it.

The requirement applies to former South African leader Mandela and other members of South Africa's governing African National Congress (ANC), the once-banned anti-Apartheid organization. In the 1970s and '80s, the ANC was officially designated a terrorist group by the country's ruling white minority. Other countries, including the United States, followed suit.

Going all the way back to the 2004 election Bush said the Iraqi Army was well on its way to being trained and ready to take over. Another lie.

Impeachable Offense
May 4 2008

U.S. Seeks Contractors To Train Iraqi Military

U.S. commanders in Iraq are for the first time seeking private contractors to form part of the small military teams that train and live with Iraqi military units across the country, according to a notice for prospective bidders published last week.

The solicitation, issued by the Joint Contracting Command in Baghdad, says the individuals that a contractor recruits -- who would include former members of the U.S. Special Forces and ex-Iraqi army officers -- will be trained in the United States with military transition teams (MiTTs) and shipped as a single team to Iraq. The recruits will live on Iraqi military bases "under Iraqi living conditions and participate with MiTT special operations and convoy duties," the solicitation says.

Possible Impeachable Offense
May 4, 2008

USS Cole Bombers Released

ADEN, Yemen -- Almost eight years after al-Qaeda nearly sank the USS Cole with an explosives-stuffed motorboat, killing 17 sailors, all the defendants convicted in the attack have escaped from prison or been freed by Yemeni officials.

Jamal al-Badawi, a Yemeni who helped organize the plot to bomb the Cole as it refueled in this Yemeni port on Oct. 12, 2000, has broken out of prison twice. He was recaptured both times, but then secretly released by the government last fall. Yemeni authorities jailed him again after receiving complaints from Washington. But U.S. officials have so little faith that he's still in his cell that they have demanded the right to perform random inspections.

May 1, 2008

Growing ocean dead zones leave fish gasping

"Dead zones" containing too little oxygen for fish to breathe are growing as global temperatures increase.

Warmer water dissolves less oxygen, so as temperatures rise, oxygen vanishes from oceans. Marine biologists are warning that if dead zones continue expanding, oceanic "deserts" could massively deplete marine life and fish stocks.

Previous studies have shown that surface layers of the ocean can be depleted of oxygen by pollution draining out from rivers, as in the Gulf of Mexico. However the new study finds depletion at intermediate ocean depths, between 300 and 700 metres. There has also been evidence of oxygen depletion closer to the sea bed in some regions, such as the Arabian Sea, but no one has looked before in detail at intermediate depths.

Bush's Pentagon told us Iran was funding Iraq's militias. Bush and the Pentagon lied.

Impeachable Offense
May 4, 2008

Iraq says no hard evidence of Iranian support for militia

BAGHDAD (AFP) - Iraq said on Sunday it has no evidence that Iran was supplying militias engaged in fierce street fighting with security forces in Baghdad.

Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said there was no "hard evidence" of involvement by the neighbouring Shiite government of Iran in backing Shiite militiamen in the embattled country.

If you want to know why the US is so completely screwed up look at this list of pundits from the UK. The right wing has filled the airwaves with demagog while the Democrats have few household names in the top 50.

May 5, 2008

The most influential US political pundits

1. KARL ROVE

Dubbed the "architect" and "Bush's brain", Rove plotted to rise of George W Bush and departed the White House after the disastrous 2006 mid-term elections. Successful punditry is a combination of real political experience, intellectual nimbleness, a provocative turn of phrase and a coherent point of view. Rove, a Fox News commentator and contributor to Newsweek and the Wall Street Journal, has all these qualities.

Democrats may protest that they would rather see him in jail than on their television screens but they can't help noting what he says. Whether outlining what the Democrats should do or outlining John McCain's rocky path to victory (and McCain has followed his advice almost to the letter), Rove's take is important and often surprising. Expect the name Rove to come up frequently on the campaign trail – and in coverage of it.

2. CHRIS MATTHEWS

Motor-mouth MSNBC presenter of "Hardball" show, Matthews is a former Jimmy Carter speechwriter and aide to Tip O'Neill when he was Speaker of the House. He is believed to be contemplating running as a Democrat for the Senate in his native Pennsylvania. His ratings are not the highest but Matthews punches above his weight – and shouts above the hubbub.

With his infectious enthusiasm for politics, Matthews has pushed back hard against what he sees as the cynicism of Hillary Clinton's campaign. Mocked for saying that Barack Obama sent a "thrill up my leg" and accused by Clinton aides of being a misogynist, Matthews has bounced back. Always part of the conversation, his return to full-time politics would be journalism's loss.

May 1, 2008

Support for Republicans Falls to Record Low

Only 27% of voters have positive views of the Republican Party, according to the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, the lowest level for either party in the survey's nearly two-decade history.

Yet the party's probable presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain, continues to run nearly even with Democratic rivals Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton. His standing so far makes for a more competitive race for the White House than would be expected for Republicans, who face an electorate that overwhelmingly believes the country is headed in the wrong direction under President Bush.

Impeachable Offense
April 23, 2008

FBI warned Justice, Pentagon about interrogation tactics used against terror suspects

WASHINGTON - FBI Director Robert Mueller on Wednesday recalled warning the Justice Department and the Pentagon that some U.S. interrogation methods used against terrorists might be inappropriate, if not illegal.

Mueller's comments came under pointed questioning by House Democrats demanding to know if the FBI tried to stop interrogations in 2002 that critics define as torture.

Impeachable Offense
April 29, 2008

Vets say they feel misled about GI benefits

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Cheated. Baited and switched. That's how veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan say they feel about military recruiters who sold them on how the GI Bill would benefit them.

Soldiers, Marines and airmen, speaking at a Capitol Hill rally Tuesday, said they are not given enough funds from the bill to cover college expenses as they were promised.