Impeach Bush--Index 43
An Impeachable Offense

January 12, 2007
Gates denies US forces will enter Iran
The American company appointed to advise the US government on the economic reconstruction of Iraq has paid hundreds of thousands of dollars into Republican Party coffers and has admitted that its own finances are in chaos because of accounting errors and bad management.

BearingPoint is fighting to restore its reputation in the US after falling more than a year behind in reporting its own financial results, prompting legal actions from its creditors and shareholders.

BearingPoint's first task in Iraq in 2003 was to help to plan the introduction of a new currency, and it was hoped that it would eventually organise small loans to Iraqi entrepreneurs to stimulate a significant market economy. The contract award was immediately criticised by public integrity watchdogs and by the company's rivals, because BearingPoint advisers to USAid had a hand in drafting the requirements set out in the tender. It spent five months helping USAid to write the job specifications and even sent some employees to Iraq to begin work before the contract was awarded, while its competitors had only a week to read the specifications and submit their own bids after final revisions were made.

The Arab countries are stronger now than any time in my lifetime. They have the power to stop the fighting in Iraq (and Islamic Fanaticism) in exchange for the US forcing Israel to return land they won during previous wars. It should be interesting to see what the US response will be.

January 15, 2007
Arab bloc pushes US to trade Iraq stability for Israel's land
Moderate Arab governments will tell U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice this week that they will help Washington to stabilize Iraq if America in turn takes more active steps to revive the Mideast peace process, Arab officials, diplomats and media said Sunday.

The deal, dubbed "Iraq for Land," is expected to be proposed during a meeting between Rice and her counterparts from eight Arab countries in Kuwait on Tuesday.

January 15, 2007
Bush Reconstruction Plan's $1B Won't Go Far in Iraq
The extra billion dollars of reconstruction aid in President Bush's Iraq plan won't go far in a country where electricity output still barely meets half the demand and oil production is falling short by almost a million barrels a day.

The bulk of U.S. reconstruction aid came in 2003-2005, when almost $22 billion poured into Iraq. As violence spread, some aid was diverted to Iraqi army and police forces, and much of the rest was spent on private security for rebuilding projects. Experts had estimated Iraq needed $55 billion to recover from war, mass looting and years of economic deterioration.

The FBI also issued over 30,000 "national security letters." As the US slips deeper and deeper into fascism; Congress, the Courts and the Media seem utterly oblivious.

An Impeachable Offense

January 14, 2007
Military Expands Intelligence Role in U.S.
WASHINGTON, Jan. 13 — The Pentagon has been using a little-known power to obtain banking and credit records of hundreds of Americans and others suspected of terrorism or espionage inside the United States, part of an aggressive expansion by the military into domestic intelligence gathering.

The C.I.A. has also been issuing what are known as national security letters to gain access to financial records from American companies, though it has done so only rarely, intelligence officials say.

The GOP can't manage the government or win wars. At some point people are going to start wondering if it has any value whatsoever. While it's easy to blame Bush (it's become a national past time), the GOP congress was equally responsible for cutting taxes during a time of war.

January 12, 2007
Bush Breaks 150-Year History of Higher U.S. Taxes in Wartime
Jan. 12 (Bloomberg) -- It was once considered Americans' patriotic duty: enduring extraordinary tax increases in wartime to help finance the fight.

Not today. Iraq is the only major U.S. conflict, except for the 1846-48 Mexican-American War, in which citizens haven't been asked to make a special financial sacrifice. President George W. Bush opposes tax increases, even as the costs escalate far beyond predictions and he calls for more troops.

The Iraqi government doesn't seem to have a problem with creating an exit strategy and timeline for ending the occupation, why does the US?

On top of that it's increasing clear "the surge" is really a mechanism to replace foreign troops with US troops. According to previous press reports the UK will send home about 3000 troops within months.

January 16, 2007
British troops may leave within a year, says Iraqi Vice-President
Tariq Al-Hashimi, a member of Iraq's minority Sunni Muslim community, called for entire units of the Saddam Hussein-era Iraqi army to be reinstated, which he said would speed up reform and eliminate sectarian tensions. He made the comments as it emerged that Tony Blair had discussed boosting the number of UK soldiers in Afghanistan.

Mr Hashimi said the split between Shia and Sunni Muslims was being reinforced because recruitment centres based admissions on the ID cards of volunteers. Asked when he thought the 7,000 British troops could withdraw, Mr Hashimi replied: "Within one year if we go for this comprehensive reform plan. I am definitely sure that in one year we could complete the job properly."

Part of the problem is an incompetent Commander in Chief, but a good chunk of the problem rests with the US military. They've been asked to fight a small group of insurgents and they're losing. Blame Bush all you want, but every one of his generals need to be fired too.

January 14, 2007
War costs are hitting historic proportions
WASHINGTON — By the time the Vietnam war ended in 1975, it had become America's longest war, shadowed the legacies of four presidents, killed 58,000 Americans along with many thousands more Vietnamese, and cost the U.S. more than $660 billion in today's dollars.

By the time the bill for World War II passed the $600-billion mark, in mid-1943, the United States had driven German forces out of North Africa, devastated the Japanese fleet in the Battle of Midway, and launched the vast offensives that would liberate Europe and the South Pacific.

The Iraq war is far smaller and narrower than those conflicts, and it has not extended beyond the tenure of a single president. But its price tag is beginning to reach historic proportions, and the budgetary "burn rate" for Iraq may be greater than in some periods in past wars.

A new law was needed to stop convicted criminals in congress from getting pensions? Why were they getting pensions in the first place?

January 12, 2007
Senate To Deny Pensions To Convicted Lawmakers
(AP) WASHINGTON Members of Congress convicted of serious crimes would lose their taxpayer-paid pensions, sometimes totaling more than $100,000 a year, under a measure unanimously approved by the Senate Friday.

The 87-0 vote to deprive lawbreaking lawmakers of their retirement benefits was part of a comprehensive ethics and lobbying bill that the Senate has taken up as its first piece of legislation in the new Democratic-controlled Congress.

US corporations have gotten used to record profits AND tax cuts. It appears their CEOs don't think they can survive without corporate welfare. Maybe it's time to find for them to find new CEOs.

January 13, 2007
Oil Companies Attack Legislation Aimed at Tax Incentives
WASHINGTON, Jan. 12 — The nation's oil and gas companies, hoping to fend off an attack by Congress on their tax breaks and subsidies, angrily denounced an effort by House Democratic leaders Friday that would repeal billions of dollars worth of incentives and plow the money into renewable energy projects.

Polls show neither Bush nor the Democrats have a plan for Iraq. The only way to create this illusion is to censor what the Democrats say and all the networks did just that.

January 10, 2007
Broadcast networks ignored Democratic response to Bush's address
Following President Bush's January 10 prime-time address announcing his decision to deploy more than 20,000 additional U.S. troops to Iraq, Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-IL) delivered a brief Democratic response from Capitol Hill in which he stated, "Escalation of this war is not the change the American people called for in the last election.

Ms. Thomas is only partially correct. The media lost its way during the Clinton years when it became part of their lynch mentality. The media trumped up GOP talking points and called it news. News about a fake threat to our national security was easy after they published so many lies about President Clinton and didn't lose their jobs.

January 13, 2007
Iraq war, coverage of it, loom large at media reform convention
The Iraq war and coverage of it was a theme of several panels. Former UPI correspondent and current Hearst columnist Helen Thomas, once known as a good, tough reporter at presidential news conferences for some 40 years, has achieved iconic status for her opposition to the war. A panelist on "The Press at War & the War on the Press," she was referred to several times as a "living legend" and got a standing ovation.

"The press corps lost its way," she said of coverage of the run-up to the war. "We gave up our one weapon, which was skepticism."

January 12, 2007
Federal judge delays trial: suspect tortured by US
His lawyers say Padilla suffers from psychological problems because of mistreatment in military custody and is not fit to stand trial — a charge denied by prosecutors. Cooke extended the deadline for the Bureau of Prisons to complete its mental health evaluation of Padilla to Feb. 9.

I bet Gates will eventually support an attack on Iran, either by US forces or by Israeli.

January 12, 2007
Gates denies US forces will enter Iran
Robert Gates, the US defence secretary, on Friday dismissed concerns that the Pentagon would send US troops across the Iraqi border into Iran to disrupt networks allegedly supplying weapons to Shia militias in Iraq.

If Bush threatens to veto a single Democratic piece of legislation, they should cut off all spending for his war. Bush can't play nice. Dems shouldn't either.

January 13, 2007
Dems mobilize to restrict flow of war funding
Washington -- Democrats in Congress plan to crank up pressure on President Bush by voting this month on a resolution opposing his plan to send 21,500 more troops into Iraq and following up quickly with efforts to pass tough restrictions on future war funding.

Rep. Jack Murtha, D-Pa., an influential member of the Appropriations Committee and top ally of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, warned Friday that he might seek to close the controversial U.S. prison for terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba as a condition of approving more money for the war.

Clearly we need enough Democrats in office to overturn anything the right wing wants to stop. But first we have to have Democrats who have enough balls to force Bush into a show down of some sort. If he vetoes what they want, they should deny him money for his war. Two can play at that game.

January 11, 2007
Bush will veto stem cell research
WASHINGTON -- The House yesterday again voted to lift restrictions on federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research, sending the measure to the Senate and laying the groundwork for a second veto from a president who objects on moral grounds.

The 253-174 vote came after an emotional debate in which proponents argued that President Bush's policy is hindering the search for cures to spinal cord injuries and diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Opponents said the use of stem cells taken from human embryos amounts to the taking of human life.

Bush is satisfied being president of the republican party.

January 11, 2007
Bush would veto Medicare reforms
WASHINGTON - President Bush promised on Thursday to veto Democratic-drafted legislation requiring the government to negotiate with drug companies for lower prices under Medicare.

Currently, private drug plans negotiate how much they'll pay for the medicine their customers take. But the legislation under consideration Friday would require the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to do so.

"It is clear Medicare can do better and we are insisting that they do so," said Rep. John Dingell (news, bio, voting record), R-Mich., the bill's author.

Gallups polls show the outgoing GOP congress had only 11% support.

January 12, 2007
Bush rhetoric hard to square with facts
WASHINGTON - Public approval of Congress has edged up a bit now that Democrats are back in control, but it's still nothing to write home about. Approval for the way Congress is handling its job rose to 32 percent in the latest AP-Ipsos poll, up from a meager 27 percent a month earlier. That puts Congress on par with President Bush, whose 32 percent approval rating represents a new low for him in AP-Ipsos polling.

January 12, 2007
In Baghdad, Bush Policy Is Met With Resentment
"The plan can be developed according to the needs," Mr. Dabbagh said. Then he added tartly, "What is suitable for our conditions in Iraq is what we decide, not what others decide for us."

The spokesman's remarks, and a similarly dyspeptic tone that was adopted by Shiite politicians with close ties to Mr. Maliki, pointed to the double-bind Mr. Bush finds himself in. Faced with low levels of public support for his new military push and a Democratic leadership in Congress that has said it will fight him over it, he also confronts the uncomfortable prospect of foot-dragging in Baghdad over the troop increases and the benchmarks he has set for the Iraqis.

Rice can't answer questions posed by Democrats or Republicans in Congress, but she easily answers softball questions at Fox. No wonder she loves Fox. The woman is delusional if she thinks Fox does news.

January 11, 2007
Condoleezza Rice loves Fox TV
WASHINGTON - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice let slip her media preferences Thursday, saying "I love every single one" of Fox News network's correspondents and also favors CBS anchor Harry Smith.

In comments overheard on an open microphone between morning television interviews, including one with Fox, the top U.S. diplomat said: "My Fox guys, I love every single one of them."

Now we can better see why Rice loves her "Fox guys." They don't ask hard questions.

January 12, 2007
"The Most Dangerous Foreign Policy Blunder Since Vietnam"
Hagel scathingly described the strategy outlined by Bush in his address to the nation, televised on Wednesday, as "the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam, if it's carried out." Poor Rice sat wordlessly across from him, her face frozen in a trenchant and grim expression. Scornful applause filled the room -- an unheard of reaction in itself.

Himself a veteran of the US war in Vietnam, Hagel was not alone. It was clear none of the newly confident congressional Democrats would jump onto Bush's proposed Baghdad express, which Senator Joe Biden called a "tragic mistake."

An Impeachable Offense

January 12, 2007
IRS Auditors: Big business allowed to cheat on taxes
Of roughly 50 auditors interviewed, only one said he agreed with the new policy, arguing that it was better to audit more companies lightly than a few thoroughly as a strategy to improve compliance with the tax laws. But even this agent agreed with the others that large companies were being allowed to pay far less than they owed.

Mr. McGinley drew an analogy contrasting the I.R.S. approach to the way the government investigated John Gotti, the organized crime boss known as the Teflon Don.

Across the country, several presidents of local I.R.S. union chapters said there had been a steady flow of complaints from auditors, specialists and others who examine tax returns that they are not being allowed to do their jobs. They said some of the most highly trained and respected auditors had quit or plan to leave the moment they were eligible to retire.

January 11, 2007
UK to cut 3,000 troops from Iraq by May
LONDON (Reuters) - Britain will cut troop levels in Iraq by almost 3,000 at the end of May, the Daily Telegraph reported on Thursday, citing a timetable for withdrawal the newspaper said it had seen.

Within the next two weeks, Prime Minister Tony Blair would announce the reduction to Britain's 7,200-strong force based in the south of the war-ravaged country, it said

January 11, 2007
How Different Groups Feel About Iraq
Iraq is a drag on Bush's overall job approval rating, too. That rating is at 32 percent in the latest survey, a new low in AP-Ipsos polling.

Just 35 percent of Americans think it was right for the United States to go to war, another record low in AP polling and a reversal from two years ago when two-thirds of Americans thought it was the correct move. Sixty percent, meanwhile, think it is unlikely that a stable, democratic Iraqi government will be established.

January 8, 2007
Poll: Americans want Democrats, not Bush, at helm
A USA TODAY/Gallup Poll taken Friday-Sunday shows that Americans by nearly 2-to-1 want congressional Democrats, not President Bush, to have more influence over the direction the nation takes during the next year.

Democratic congressional leaders get their highest rating since Bush took office in 2001; 59% of those surveyed say their policies would move the country in the right direction. Republican congressional leaders get their lowest rating: 35% endorse their approach.

January 7, 2007
Reagan aide: Bush is like Hitler
The American establishment, concerned by Bush's egregious mismanagement, moved to take control of Iraq policy away from him. However, recent news reports and analysis suggest that Bush has turned his back to the American establishment and his military advisers and is throwing in his lot with the neoconservatives and the Israeli lobby. This will further isolate Bush and make him more vulnerable to impeachment.

Bush is like Hitler. He blames defeats on his military commanders, not on his own insane policy. Like Hitler, he protects himself from reality with delusion. In his last hours, Hitler was ordering non- existent German armies to drive the Russians from Berlin.

Not only did he look scared and defeated but the entire speech was uninspirational. The man who used fear to govern is gripped by it. The "malaise" speech will go down in history as one of the worst war time speeches in US history.

January 10, 2007
Crisis of Confidence
I have never seen him, in public or private, look less convincing, less sure of himself, less cocky. With his knitted brow and stricken features, he looked, well, scared.

But if he was trying to assure the country that he had confidence in his own plan to prevent that collapse, well, a picture is worth a thousand words. And the words themselves weren't that assuring either. Does anyone in America or Iraq , or anywhere else in the world for that matter, really think that the Sunnis and Shia will make peace? Does anyone think that embedded American soldiers won't be in danger of being fragged by their own Iraqi brethren?

January 11, 2007
Bush rhetoric hard to square with facts
WASHINGTON - Winning support among Middle Eastern countries is part of President Bush's revised strategy for Iraq. But he pitched the new plan by leaving out a pertinent fact: Anti-U.S. rhetoric in those nations has grown increasingly hostile since the execution of a man Bush never mentioned — Saddam Hussein.

Is there anyone working for the president who isn't a crook?

January 10, 2007
Ex-Interior Deputy a Target in Abramoff Probe
Federal prosecutors have notified a former deputy secretary of the interior, J. Steven Griles, that he is a target in the public corruption investigation of Jack Abramoff's lobbying activities, sources knowledgeable about the probe said.

With the prospect of Griles's indictment, a senior Justice Department official -- who Interior employees said has been dating Griles -- tendered her resignation this week.

Sue Ellen Wooldridge, assistant attorney general for environment and natural resources for the past year, submitted a letter of resignation Monday saying that she intends to return to the private sector, a Justice Department official said yesterday.

Will Bush sign the legislation? God knows he never pushed the previous GOP congress to pass the recommendations.

January 10, 2007
Gallup: Little Public Confidence in Bush on Iraq
WASHINGTON - With the families of Sept. 11 victims looking on, the House overwhelmingly voted Tuesday night to enact the languishing recommendations of the Sept. 11 Commission designed to ensure the safety of the nation from future terrorist attacks.

Lawmakers voted 299-128 to require screening of all cargo on passenger planes within three years, to check cargo ships for nuclear bombs before they leave ports bound for the U.S. and to boost homeland security funding for urban areas most likely to be terrorist targets.

January 10, 2007
With Iraq Speech, Bush to Pull Away From His Generals
When President Bush goes before the American people tonight to outline his new strategy for Iraq, he will be doing something he has avoided since the invasion of Iraq in March 2003: ordering his top military brass to take action they initially resisted and advised against.

But over the past two months, as the security situation in Iraq has deteriorated and U.S. public support for the war has dropped, Bush has pushed back against his top military advisers and the commanders in Iraq: He has fashioned a plan to add up to 20,000 troops to the 132,000 U.S. service members already on the ground. As Bush plans it, the military will soon be "surging" in Iraq two months after an election that many Democrats interpreted as a mandate to begin withdrawing troops.

January 8, 2007
Gallup: Little Public Confidence in Bush on Iraq
A USA TODAY/Gallup Poll taken Friday-Sunday shows that Americans by nearly 2-to-1 want congressional Democrats, not President Bush, to have more influence over the direction the nation takes during the next year.

Democratic congressional leaders get their highest rating since Bush took office in 2001; 59% of those surveyed say their policies would move the country in the right direction. Republican congressional leaders get their lowest rating: 35% endorse their approach.

January 9, 2007
Bush Admits Surge is Political Option not Military Option
NBC News reported that an administration official "admitted to us today that this surge option is more of a political decision than a military one." It is a clear sign of exasperation with Bush when an administration official admits that Bush is willing to sacrifice American troops and Iraqi civilians in order to protect his own delusions.

We learn a lot here. First, tax cuts don't trickle down. Second, corporate profits are driving the economy, not personal wealth. Finally, we can safely assume these numbers throw into doubt the accuracy of the unemployment numbers the government puts out. With so few jobs created and a growing population, the real unemployment numbers must be soaring. Obviously the government stops counting the unemployed after they lose benefits - which is a farce.

January 8, 2007
Job growth under Bush slower than under Clinton, Reagan
Under Bush, the economy produced 3.7 million new jobs from January 2001 through December of last year based on nonfarm payroll figures collected by the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics.

When Clinton was in the White House, the economy generated 17.6 million jobs during the corresponding period -- from January 1993 to December 1998. Under Reagan, 9.5 million jobs were created from January 1981 to December 1986.

An Impeachable Offense

January 5, 2007
White House Visitor Records Closed
The White House and the Secret Service quietly signed an agreement last spring in the midst of the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal declaring that records identifying visitors to the White House are not open to the public.

The Bush administration didn't reveal the existence of the memorandum of understanding until last fall. The White House is using it to deal with a legal problem on a separate front, a ruling by a federal judge ordering the production of Secret Service logs identifying visitors to the office of Vice President Dick Cheney.

What does this say about Bush? He put forward nominees he now thinks aren't qualified so he accepts their withdrawal. On top of that, one of these bastards supports torturing POWs - which is a violation of the Geneva Conventions and the War Crimes Act.

January 9, 2007
Bush judicial nominees ask to withdraw
WASHINGTON - In a concession to the Senate's new Democratic majority, President Bush won't rename four controversial federal appeals court nominees whose confirmations were blocked last year, Republican officials said Tuesday.

William Haynes, William G. Myers III and Michael Wallace all asked to have their appointments withdrawn, these officials said. Judge Terrence Boyle was informed of the White House's decision, according to an ally.

Haynes is the Pentagon's top lawyer, and was an architect of the Bush's now-abandoned policy toward treatment of detainees in the war on terror. He had been tapped for the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Cold blooded premeditated murder is called "aggravated assault" in the US military. It's time to get rid of military courts and judges that make a mockery of our legal system. The world is watching.

January 10, 2007
Soldier in Iraqi-killing pleads guilty
Specialist Juston Graber, 21, pleaded not guilty to the most serious charges against him - including conspiracy to commit premeditated murder - a military spokesman at Fort Campbell in Kentucky said.

He pleaded guilty to one charge of aggravated assault with a dangerous weapon, under an agreement that will require him to testify against others accused in the case.

January 11, 2007
Promising Troops Where They Aren't Really Wanted
The Shiite-led government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki has not publicly opposed the American troop increase, but aides to Mr. Maliki have been saying for weeks that the government is wary of the proposal. They fear that an increased American troop presence, particularly in Baghdad, will be accompanied by a more assertive American role that will conflict with the Shiite government's haste to cut back on American authority and run the war the way it wants. American troops, Shiite leaders say, should stay out of Shiite neighborhoods and focus on fighting Sunni insurgents.

The resignations continue to pile up and most resignations are a result of ethical or criminal charges.

January 10, 2007
Voice of America Chairman Resigns
According to a report last summer by the State Department's inspector general, Tomlinson violated federal rules by running his private horse breeding and racing operations out of his government office and improperly put a friend on the broadcasting board's payroll.

In late 2005, Tomlinson essentially was ousted from the board of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which distributes federal funds to public broadcasters such as PBS and National Public Radio. The corporation's inspector general found that he had violated agency rules by exerting political influence over public television and radio. In an effort to introduce conservative-oriented programming on NPR and PBS, Tomlinson secretly commissioned content studies and helped steer federal production funds to favored producers, according to the inspector general.

January 5, 2007
Poll: Senate Regrets the Vote to Enter Iraq
By ABC News' count, if the Senators knew then what they know now, only 43 — at most — would still vote to approve the use of force and the measure would be defeated. And at least 57 senators would vote against going to war, a number that combines those who already voted against the war resolution with those who told ABC News they would vote against going to war, or said that the pre-war intelligence has been proven so wrong the measure would lose or it would never even come to a vote.

For any Senate vote to switch from 77-23 in favor to essentially 57-43 against is quite remarkable, and far more so for a decision as significant as the one to go to war.

Twenty-eight of the 77 senators who voted to authorize the war in Iraq indicated, many for the first time, that they would not vote the same way with the benefit of hindsight. Six others indicated that, in retrospect, the intelligence was so wrong the matter would not have passed the Senate, or would not have even come up for a vote.

January 6, 2007
Images of Hanging Make Hussein a Martyr
BEIRUT, Lebanon, Jan. 5 — In the week since Saddam Hussein was hanged in an execution steeped in sectarian overtones, his public image in the Arab world, formerly that of a convicted dictator, has undergone a resurgence of admiration and awe.

On the streets, in newspapers and over the Internet, Mr. Hussein has emerged as a Sunni Arab hero who stood calm and composed as his Shiite executioners tormented and abused him.

January 6, 2007
Death in Haditha
U.S. Marines gunned down five unarmed Iraqis who stumbled onto the scene of a 2005 roadside bombing in Haditha, Iraq, according to eyewitness accounts that are part of a lengthy investigative report obtained by The Washington Post.

Staff Sgt. Frank D. Wuterich, the squad's leader, shot the men one by one after Marines ordered them out of a white taxi in the moments following the explosion, which killed one Marine and injured two others, witnesses told investigators. Another Marine fired rounds into their bodies as they lay on the ground.

An Impeachable Offense

January 5, 2007
White House Visitor Records Closed
The White House and the Secret Service quietly signed an agreement last spring in the midst of the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal declaring that records identifying visitors to the White House are not open to the public.

The Bush administration didn't reveal the existence of the memorandum of understanding until last fall. The White House is using it to deal with a legal problem on a separate front, a ruling by a federal judge ordering the production of Secret Service logs identifying visitors to the office of Vice President Dick Cheney.

January 9, 2007
2006 warmest on record in United States
SALT LAKE CITY (Reuters) - The year 2006 was the warmest in the contiguous United States since record keeping began 112 years ago, due in large part to an unusually warm December, U.S. government weather forecasters said on Tuesday.

January 8, 2007
Tony Snow: Democrats Can Cut Off Funds, But Can't Stop President's 'Surge'
Snow held out hope that the Democrats would come to their senses about opposing this but admitted it could even be a battle royal. But what about calls for the Democrats to halt the build up by denying funding? Snow admitted congress had funding control but also pointed out that the president could ultimately do what he wants. "You know, Congress has the power of the purse," Snow said, then added: "The President has the ability to exercise his own authority if he thinks Congress has voted the wrong way."

A few short months ago the GOP supported Bush 100%. It's amazing what an election does to a party. The media considered their blind obedience to lies to be one of their strong suits.

January 7, 2007
Republicans' division over Iraq grows
Leading Republicans on Sunday showed further signs of dissent over President George W.Bush's reported plans to send more troops to Iraq, while the Democrats, now in control of Congress, said they would not give the president a "blank cheque" for reinforcements.

"If the president recommends what we seem to believe he's going to recommend, I intend to support him," declared Mitch McConnell, the Republican's new minority leader in the Senate, before conceding on Fox News Sunday that other Republicans would not endorse the plan.

The surge is supposed to be temporary but McCain will only support it if it's sustained, therefore he doesn't support the Bush surge. Watch how the media let's him get away with lying to their faces.

January 5, 2007
McCain to Back Iraq Surge Only If `Sufficient and Sustained'
Jan. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Senator John McCain, a longtime advocate of increased U.S. forces in Iraq, said he would support a troop "surge" into Baghdad only if it is "sufficient and sustained."

McCain said he would judge any surge proposal based on the assessments of people such as retired Army General Jack Keane, who has called for at least 30,000 additional troops. "If it's not sufficient in the view of" experts such as Keane, "then I cannot support it," he said in an interview on "Political Capital with Al Hunt" airing this weekend on Bloomberg Television.

January 10, 2007
Gallup: Little Public Confidence in Bush on Iraq
The latest USA Today/Gallup poll, conducted Jan. 5-7, finds just 25% of Americans saying Bush has a clear plan for handling the situation in Iraq, the lowest such percentage of his presidency.

January 8, 2007
All 7 'NYT' Columnists -- From Left to Right Agree - The Surge is Wrong
NEW YORK With Paul Krugman today hitting President Bush's plan to dramatically increase U.S. troop levels in Iraq -- which he labels a "surge" but others call an escalation-- this completes perhaps a first: All seven regular opinion columnists at the paper (Krugman, David Brooks, Thomas Friedman, Maureen Dowd, Nicholas Kristof, Bob Herbert and Frank Rich) are in agreement on a vital issue.

On the same day, Brooks at The New York Times commented, "Unfortunately, if the goal is to create a stable, unified Iraq, the surge is a good policy three years too late." Its chance for success is almost nil, he explained.

January 8, 2007
U.S. army sent letters to dead soldiers
In the first six months of last year, 5,640 Iraqi civilians and police officers were killed, but that number more than tripled to 17,310 in the latter half of the year, according to data provided by a Health Ministry official with direct knowledge of the statistics. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information, said those numbers remained incomplete, suggesting the final tally of violent deaths could be higher.

The Times lays out reasons to impeach Bush, then hides behind demanding the Dems do something to fix what he's done. The Times, like all other newspapers in the country should call for Bush's impeachment.

January 7, 2007
The Imperial Presidency 2.0
Also last month, Mr. Bush issued another of his infamous "presidential signing statements," which he has used scores of times to make clear he does not intend to respect the requirements of a particular law — in this case a little-noticed Postal Service bill. The statement suggested that Mr. Bush does not believe the government must obtain a court order before opening Americans' first-class mail. It said the administration had the right to "conduct searches in exigent circumstances," which include not only protecting lives, but also unspecified "foreign intelligence collection."

The media rushed to push the latest White House spin while it ignores more gross violations of the Constitution. What will it take for the media to figure out they are part of the problem?

January 5, 2007
ABC, CBS, CNN largely ignored Bush's claim of power to search mail
On January 4, the New York Daily News reported that on December 20, President Bush attached a "signing statement" to a postal reform bill that "quietly claimed sweeping new powers to open Americans' mail without a judge's warrant." According to the Daily News: "That claim is contrary to existing law and contradicted the bill he had just signed, say experts who have reviewed it." ABC, CBS, and CNN have largely ignored the story, however, and ABC's Good Morning America reported that Bush "acquired new powers" and suggested that they were "included" the bill.

January 7, 2007
Marines' Photos Provide Graphic Evidence in Haditha Probe
Marines were found to have downloaded the images from each other's devices, traded them and loaded them onto personal Web sites; one Marine told investigators he saw some of the photographs set to music on another Marine's computer. Some were e-mailed from Iraq to a civilian in the United States, but none surfaced publicly until now.

Among the images, there is a young boy with a picture of a helicopter on his pajamas, slumped over, his face and head covered in blood. There is a mother lying on a bed, arms splayed, the bodies of three young children huddled against her right side. There are men with gaping head wounds, and a woman and a child hunkered down on their knees, their hands frozen around their faces as if permanently bracing for an attack.

January 5, 2007
Iraqis Say They Were Better Off Under Hussein
Polling Data
Do you feel the situation in the country is better today or better before the U.S.-led invasion?
Better today
Better before
Not sure

January 6, 2007
U.S. army sent letters to dead soldiers
WASHINGTON - The Army said Friday it would apologize to the families of about 275 officers killed or wounded in action who were mistakenly sent letters urging them to return to active duty.

The letters were sent a few days after Christmas to more than 5,100 Army officers who had recently left the service. Included were letters to about 75 officers killed in action and about 200 wounded in action. The 75 represent more than one-third of all Army officers who have died in Iraq since the war began.

January 5, 2007
'Wash Post' Obtains Grim Report on Haditha Killings
"Staff Sgt. Frank D. Wuterich, the squad's leader, shot the men one by one after Marines ordered them out of a white taxi in the moments following the explosion, which killed one Marine and injured two others, witnesses told investigators. Another Marine fired rounds into their bodies as they lay on the ground.

"'The taxi's five occupants exited the vehicle and according to U.S. and Iraqi witnesses, were shot by Wuterich as they stood, unarmed, next to the vehicle approximately ten feet in front of him,' said a report by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service on the incident that runs thousands of pages.

"One of the witnesses, Sgt. Asad Amer Mashoot, a 26-year-old Iraqi soldier who was in the Marine convoy, told investigators he watched in horror as the four students and the taxi driver fell. 'They didn't even try to run away,' he said. 'We were afraid from Marines and we saw them behaving like crazy. They were yelling and screaming.'

January 5, 2007
Sedative Withdrawal Made Rehnquist Delusional in '81
The late Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist took a powerful sedative during his first decade on the Supreme Court and grew so dependent on it that he became delusional and tried to escape from a hospital in his pajamas when he stopped taking the drug in 1981, according to newly released FBI files.

But the files reveal dramatic new details about the length and intensity of the addiction. During its routine 1986 investigation of Rehnquist's background, the FBI concluded that Rehnquist began taking the drug Placidyl for insomnia after back surgery in 1971, the year before he joined the court. By 1981, he apparently was taking 1,500 milligrams each night, three times the usual starting dose.

January 3, 2007
Hurricane center chief issues final warning
Mayfield, 58, leaves his high-profile job with the National Weather Service more convinced than ever that U.S. residents of the Southeast are risking unprecedented tragedy by continuing to build vulnerable homes in the tropical storm zone and failing to plan escape routes.

He pointed to southern Florida's 7 million coastal residents.

"We're eventually going to get a strong enough storm in a densely populated area to have a major disaster," he said. "I know people don't want to hear this, and I'm generally a very positive person, but we're setting ourselves up for this major disaster."

Bad policy can't be fixed with new people.

January 4, 2007
Bush plans changes in key advisers for Iraq fresh start
The current U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, Ryan Crocker, is expected to replace Zalmay Khalilzad in Baghdad as U.S. ambassador to Iraq. Khalilzad is expected to be nominated to be the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, three senior U.S. officials said on Thursday.

ABC News said Bush was expected to nominate Adm. William Fallon to replace Gen. John Abizaid as the head of U.S. Central Command, which is in charge of U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

And, Lt. Gen. David Petraeus was expected to become the top ground commander in Iraq, replacing Gen. George Casey, ABC said, citing unnamed officials.

January 3, 2007
White House Postponing Loss of Iraq, Biden Says
Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said yesterday that he believes top officials in the Bush administration have privately concluded they have lost Iraq and are simply trying to postpone disaster so the next president will "be the guy landing helicopters inside the Green Zone, taking people off the roof," in a chaotic withdrawal reminiscent of Vietnam.

January 5, 2007
Keith Ellison and the Jefferson Koran
"When I raise my hand to take the oath on Swearing In Day, I will have the Bible in my other hand. I do not subscribe to using the Qur'an in any way. The Muslim Representative from Minnesota was elected by the voters of that district and if American citizens don't wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Qur'an."

Goode made several television appearances during which he pushed this line, even after it was pointed out to him that Ellison was born in the United States and traced his family's roots in this country back at least to 1742.

The new Congressman from Minnesota will declare his loyalty to the Constitution while clutching a copy of the Koran that was once owned by Jefferson. One of many Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist texts that the author of the Declaration of Independence donated to the Library of Congress at its founding, the Jefferson Koran has been loaned to Ellison by the rare book and special collections division of the library.

Once again because this White House lacks "thinkers" they couldn't see the inevitable. Terrorism is getting worse because of Bush policies, not better. It's time to ponder what appears to be the obvious - is this White House trying to create more terrorism? The answer is "yes."

January 2, 2007
Al-Qaeda issues message on Somalia
A message has appeared on the internet purportedly from the deputy leader of al-Qaeda, urging the Union of Islamic Courts fighters in Somalia to launch a campaign of suicide attacks against Ethiopian troops.

The audiotape posted on a website is said to contain the voice of Ayman al-Zawahri. It says: "As happened in Iraq and Afghanistan, when the world's strongest power was defeated by the campaigns of the mujahidin troops going to heaven, so its slaves shall be defeated on the Muslim lands of Somalia.

With China making strong alliances in Africa, I suppose it's a good idea to find a few puppets we can exploit (as we always do). The Chinese have a different approach. They treat the Africians as if they're equals. The US never learns.

January 5, 2007
America's new puppet - Ethiopia
If the 20th century taught us anything, it was that powerful armies can be brought to their knees by small groups of fighters who are not afraid to die. Small Vietnam humiliated mighty America, and the "stone-age" mujahideen of Afghanistan sent the Soviet army packing. With all this so apparent, why has the Ethiopian prime minister, Meles Zenawi, sent his army into Somalia?

January 4, 2007
Iraq Vets Come Home Physically, Mentally Butchered
Dr. Imbascini just returned from a four-month deployment to Germany, where he treated the worst of the U.S. war wounded. He said that an extremely high number of wounded soldiers are coming home with their arms or legs amputated. Imbascini said he amputated the genitals of one or two men every day.

"I walk into the operating room and the general surgeons are doing their work and there is the body of this Navy SEAL, which is a physical specimen to behold," he told IPS. "And his abdomen is open, they're exploring both intestines. He's missing both legs below the knee, one arm is blown off, he's got incisions on his thighs to relieve the pressure on the parts of the legs that are hopefully gonna survive and there's genital injuries, and you just want to cry."

I'll make another prediction. If the US allows Israel to attack Iran, republicans in congress will turn against Bush and impeachment will become inevitable.

January 4, 2007
An unholy alliance threatening catastrophe
What now seems to be in preparation at the White House, with the usual unquestioning support from Downing Street, is a Middle Eastern equivalent of the Second World War. The trigger for this all-embracing war would be the formation of a previously unthinkable alliance between America, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Britain, to confront Iran and the rise of the power of Shia Islam.

The logical outcome of this "pinning back" process would be an air strike by Israel against Iran's nuclear facilities, combined with a renewed Israeli military campaign against Hezbollah in Lebanon, aggressive action by American and British soldiers to crush Iraq's Shia militias, while Saudi-backed Sunni terrorists undermined the increasingly precarious pro-Iranian Government in Baghdad.

Bush used fake intelligence to take us to war. The GOP used fake science so they wouldn't have to deal with global warming. Their reality is based entirely on beliefs, not facts.

January 4, 2007
Exxon Accused of Trying to Mislead Public
HOUSTON, Jan. 3 — The Union of Concerned Scientists released a report on Wednesday accusing Exxon Mobil of spending millions of dollars to manipulate public opinion on the seriousness of global warming.

"Many of the tactics, and even some of the same organizations and actors used by Exxon Mobil to mislead the public, draw upon the tobacco industry's 40-year disinformation campaign," the report said.

January 4, 2007
Nuclear weapons agency chief quits over lapses
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The head of the U.S. nuclear weapons program resigned under pressure on Thursday following repeated security lapses at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Linton Brooks, administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration, was asked to tender his resignation to President George W. Bush after administration officials concluded he was unable to adequately address a series of management and security issues.

Almost every day now we hear of a resignation or firing. What took them so long? Are they preparing for impeachment? Probably.

January 5, 2007
Miers resigns as White House counsel
WASHINGTON (AP) - Harriet Miers, President Bush's failed Supreme Court nominee and longtime adviser, on Thursday submitted her resignation as White House counsel.

White House press secretary Tony Snow said the president reluctantly accepted her resignation, which takes effect Jan. 31. He said a search for a successor is under way.

Two-bits says he spends more time in jail than those guilty of war crimes in Abu Ghraib.

If generals weren't interested in career advancement over everything else, they'd have opposed this war from day one. They look like a bunch of cowards because they are. These are the same type of military leaders who couldn't get a single armed plan in the air on 9/11 until after the attack was over.

January 4, 2007
First military officer to refuse deployment appears in court
Lieutenant Ehren Watada, the only US military officer to refuse deployment to Iraq, is due to appear in court today for a pre-trial hearing at Fort Lewis in the state of Washington.

Lt Watada, the first military officer charged with public dissent since 1965, faces charges of "missing movement" and "conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman". If convicted, he could spend up to six years in prison.

The reader should be aware that previous news reports said morgues in Iraq were full so people were burying their loved ones in their back yards. It's highly likely the number reported here is too small.

January 2, 2007
16,273 Deaths Reported in Iraq in 2006
BAGHDAD, Iraq Jan 2, 2007 (AP)— As enraged crowds protested the hanging of Saddam Hussein across Iraq's Sunni heartland Monday, government officials reported that 16,273 Iraqi civilians, soldiers and police died violent deaths in 2006, a figure larger than an independent Associated Press count for the year by more than 2,500.

The tabulation by the Iraqi ministries of Health, Defense and Interior, showed that 14,298 civilians, 1,348 police and 627 soldiers were killed in the violence that raged in the country last year.

The Associated Press accounting, gleaned from daily news reports from Baghdad, arrived at a total of 13,738 deaths. The United Nations has said as many as 100 Iraqis die violently each day, which translates into 36,500 deaths annually.

American Catholics don't care what the Vatican says (the Vatican was strongly against the war - calling it unjust and immoral) but it's worth noting at least a few religions stand for something even if the faithful refuse to listen.

January 2, 2007
Vatican daily denounces images of Saddam
VATICAN CITY - The Vatican's official newspaper on Tuesday decried media images of Saddam Hussein's hanging as a "spectacle" violating human rights and harming efforts to promote reconciliation in Iraq.

The Vatican, which opposes the death penalty, was among the first voices abroad to denounce Saddam's execution Saturday, saying then that it was "tragic news," even in the case of someone guilty of grave crimes, and expressing worry that it could fuel revenge and fresh violence.

The military says the review board gives the prisoner the right to make his case, but in reality the prisoner isn't even allowed to see the charges against him.

It's time for the Supreme Court to get off its lazy ass and rule this law unconstitutional.

An Impeachable Offense

December 31, 2006
Guantánamo Review Boards - POWs Held Without Charge
The prisoner had seen just a brief summary of what officials said was a thick dossier of intelligence linking him to Al Qaeda. He had not seen his own legal papers since they were taken away in an unrelated investigation. He has lawyers working on his behalf in Washington, London and Pakistan, but here his only assistance came from an Army lieutenant colonel, who stumbled as he read the prisoner's handwritten statement.

As the hearing concluded, the detainee, who cannot be identified publicly under military rules, had a question. He is a citizen of Pakistan, he noted. He was arrested on a business trip to Thailand. On what authority or charges was he even being held?

"That question," a Marine colonel presiding over the panel answered, "is outside the limits of what this board is permitted to consider."

Gen. Shalikashvili is only partially correct. Forcing gay Americans to lie about their sexual orientation was never morally justifiable. While it's nice to see he changed his mind on this issue, it seems easier now that most in the military already support openly gay soldiers. How about doing the hard things once in awhile - instead of going along?

January 2, 2007
Second Thoughts on Gays in the Military
John M. Shalikashvili: The compromise that came to be known as "don't ask, don't tell" was thus a useful speed bump that allowed temperatures to cool for a period of time while the culture continued to evolve.

The question before us now is whether enough time has gone by to give this policy serious reconsideration. Much evidence suggests that it has.

Last year I held a number of meetings with gay soldiers and marines, including some with combat experience in Iraq, and an openly gay senior sailor who was serving effectively as a member of a nuclear submarine crew. These conversations showed me just how much the military has changed, and that gays and lesbians can be accepted by their peers.

This perception is supported by a new Zogby poll of more than 500 service members returning from Afghanistan and Iraq, three quarters of whom said they were comfortable interacting with gay people. And 24 foreign nations, including Israel, Britain and other allies in the fight against terrorism, let gays serve openly, with none reporting morale or recruitment problems.