Impeach Bush--Index 53

While the media was playing around with Imus, the Bush White House was getting away with another war crime.

What's more important, Imus and his three naughty words, or the US drilling holes in the leg of an Iranian diplomat?

An Impeachable Offense
April 11, 2007

Kidnapped Iranian shows Red Cross 'US torture wounds'

TEHRAN (AFP) - An Iranian diplomat held in captivity for two months in Iraq appeared in public Wednesday to display wounds he said were caused by "torture" from US agents who beat him and drilled holes into his legs.

An exhausted and clearly thin Jalal Sharafi, second secretary at Iran's embassy in Baghdad, gave a highly unusual press conference in which he appeared in a wheelchair and on a serum drip flanked by a group of his doctors.

"Then they brought on a machine to drill holes into my feet. But this happened 50 days ago so the wounds have partly healed," said Sharafi, who was whisked to the news conference in an ambulance.

This essay is very long but also very good. There are still a few places where bigotry and hate are accepted and expected; conservative talk shows, Christian Churches and Christian TV and radio shows. None of these belief systems would be around if hate wasn't an easy sell.

The quote from Savage can probably be heard in 99% of all the Churches in the US. Not only do they hate gays, buy pride themselves in being able to take rights (like marriage) away from them.

April 12, 2007

It's not just Imus

On April 11, NBC News announced that it was dropping MSNBC's simulcast of Imus in the Morning in the wake of the controversy that erupted over host Don Imus' reference to the Rutgers University women's basketball team as "nappy-headed hos." The following day, CBS president and CEO Leslie Moonves announced that CBS -- which owns both the radio station that broadcast Imus' program and Westwood One, which syndicated the program -- has fired Imus and would cease broadcasting his radio show. But as Media Matters for America has extensively documented, bigotry and hate speech targeting, among other characteristics, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and ethnicity continue to permeate the airwaves through personalities such as Glenn Beck, Neal Boortz, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Michael Savage, Michael Smerconish, and John Gibson.

On the March 30 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, The Savage Nation, Michael Savage stated that he "agree[d] 100 percent" with a caller who said: "I'm very concerned that the Jews are now accepting gays as rabbis. And as a Catholic, I can tell you it almost destroyed our church when we accepted gays as priests." The caller added, "[T]hey were raping teenage boys, and if you allow them to come into your churches, I'm sorry, your synagogues, I have no reason to believe they're not going to do the same thing." Savage responded: "The idea of a gay rabbi is an oxymoron. Think about it: 'Rabbi' means teacher. You cannot have a homosexual teacher teaching boys how to be a Jew," adding, "I'm not going to mince words for fear of offending homosexuals. They're everywhere, anyway, trying to tell me what to say and what not to say and what to think. I know what's right and what's wrong. And that's all there is to it."

Bush is a good Christian man who hires people with no morals or ethics.

April 13, 2007

Education Department official placed on leave

WASHINGTON -- An Education Department official placed on leave over a potential conflict of interest in his management of the government's student loan program filed disclosure forms that raise questions about the department's oversight of its own employees.

The forms, released by the department late Thursday, show the official, Matteo Fontana, listed ownership in 2002 of stock in two companies that manage student loans: Direct III Marketing Inc. and Education Lending Group. In fact, the companies are the same; Direct III Marketing changed its name to Education Lending Group at about that time.

Fontana valued the stock in each in the range of $1,000 to $15,000. Department rules generally allow employees to work on matters affecting companies they own stock in so long as the amount does not exceed $15,000.

Fontana's disclosure for 2004 shows that on July 7 of that year, he sold common stock in a company listed only as EDLG worth $100,000 to $250,000, investing a like amount in a vacation home. EDLG is an abbreviation for Education Lending Group Inc.

It seems everyone associated with Bush in any capacity is corrupt. The media looked the other way as they called him a "good Christian man."

The next time a candidate claims he's Christian, know he's lying his ass off.

April 13, 2007

Wolfowitz fighting off calls for his resignation

Mr Wolfowitz, a former US deputy Defence Secretary and one of the leading architects of the invasion of Iraq, helped his girlfriend of five years, Shaha Riza, get transferred to a high-paying job at the State Department. His involvement brought accusations of favouritism and calls for him to stand down.

The World Bank Group Staff Association said in a statement: "The president must acknowledge that his conduct has compromised the integrity and effectiveness of the World Bank Group and has destroyed the staff's trust in his leadership. He must act honourably and resign."

The FBI has so many documents that it takes six years to show a court what it has. How in gods name is any of this information necessary when they have an utterly worthless record keeping system and have no idea what they have?

I'm listing this as an impeachable offense so I can keep my eye on it. The FBI is gathering info it doesn't need, can't possible look at and can't give the information to the court in a timely manner. Maybe it's time to shut down our courts...if it's going to take this long to learn the truth, why bother?

An Impeachable Offense
April 11, 2007

FBI Gets Six Years for FOIA Request

So perhaps it should be no surprise that the FBI has just told a federal court that it will need until 2013 to process a request for information from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a privacy organization. The group sued the Justice Department last fall under FOIA for records that detail how the FBI protects privacy while collecting hundreds of millions of personal records in its Investigative Data Warehouse, a database used for counterterrorism purposes.

Last week, department lawyers told a federal court that Justice has documents that might answer that request. In fact, it has so many pages of documents that might fit the bill -- 72,000, according to a court filing -- that the FBI has requested the court to stop the legal proceedings and give the FBI time to comply: until February 2013.

April 11, 2007

Brain injuries plague Carson GIs

Fort Carson - Nearly two in 10 soldiers who have returned to Fort Carson from Iraq in the past two years have suffered a traumatic brain injury, according to an ongoing study by medical experts at the base.

Since June 2005, 13,400 soldiers in three brigades have been screened for TBI. Fort Carson has found that 178 of every 1,000 soldiers screened had a traumatic brain injury.

TBI is considered the "signature wound" of the Iraq war. Better body armor and Kevlar have kept alive soldiers who might have died in earlier wars. But exposure to multiple blasts and rattling of the brain inside the skull have caused the hidden injuries.

Fort Carson doctors define TBI the same way as the American Congress of Rehabilitative Medicine: A patient has had an injury that resulted in an alteration - but not necessarily a loss - in consciousness. A soldier who reported being dazed or disoriented after a crash or near a bomb blast might be diagnosed with TBI.

While the Bush White House was breaking the law (again) what was the media doing? They spent days talking about three words spoken by Imus instead. In their small world, those three words are more important than a president breaking the law.

An Impeachable Offense
April 12, 2007

WITHOUT A TRACE: The Missing White House Emails and the Violations of the Presidential Records Act

In a startling new revelation, CREW has also learned through two confidential sources that the Executive Office of the President (EOP) has lost over five million emails generated between March 2003 and October 2005. The White House counsel's office was advised of these problems in 2005 and CREW has been told that the White House was given a plan of action to recover these emails, but to date nothing has been done to rectify this significant loss of records.

Melanie Sloan, executive director of CREW, said today, "It's clear that the White House has been willfully violating the law, the only question now is to what extent? The ever changing excuses offered by the administration – that they didn't want to violate the Hatch Act, that staff wasn't clear on the law – are patently ridiculous. Very convenient that embarrassing – and potentially incriminating – emails have gone missing. It's the Nixon White House all over again."

An Impeachable Offense
April 11, 2007

GOP created outside email accounts to circumvent disclosure laws

Democrats also have been asking if White House officials are purposely conducting sensitive official presidential business via nongovernmental accounts to get around a law requiring preservation - and eventual disclosure - of presidential records. The announcement of the lost e-mails - a rare admission of error from the Bush White House at a delicate time for the administration's relations with Democratically controlled Capitol Hill - gave new fodder for inquiry on this front.

The Republican National Committee set up the accounts for about 20 Bush aides, such as Karl Rove and his deputies, who get involved in politics, spokesman Scott Stanzel said. Having the GOP create non-White House addresses and provide separate BlackBerries, laptops and other communications gear was designed to avoid running afoul of Hatch Act rules barring federal employees from engaging in political activities with government resources or on government time, he said.

He said staffers used their RNC accounts instead of White House accounts to discuss the prosecutor issue or conduct other official business for several reasons, including extra caution about complying with the Hatch Act as well as the convenience of using one account instead of several. Stanzel said he could not speak to whether anyone was intentionally trying to avoid White House archiving because he had not spoken to all those involved.

April 12, 2007

Civilian Claims on U.S. Suggest the Toll of War

The claims provide a rare window into the daily chaos and violence faced by civilians and troops in the two war zones. Recently, the Army disclosed roughly 500 claims to the American Civil Liberties Union in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. They are the first to be made public.

They represent only a small fraction of the claims filed. In all, the military has paid more than $32 million to Iraqi and Afghan civilians for noncombat-related killings, injuries and property damage, an Army spokeswoman said. That figure does not include condolence payments made at a unit commander's discretion.

The paperwork, examined by The New York Times, provides unusually detailed accounts of how bystanders to the conflicts have become targets of American forces grappling to identify who is friend, who is foe.

April 12, 2007

Jobs, not Subprime, Drive Foreclosure Rates

NATIONAL (April 12): California is the home base for many of the country's biggest subprime lenders, including Countrywide Financial and Wells Fargo; and with 22 percent of its total mortgages considered "risky," it leads the nation in terms of lending to borrowers with flawed credit.

Even so, California's foreclosure rate for the fourth quarter of 2006 came in at just 0.43. On the other hand, Midwestern states like Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio all crossed the 1-percent threshold.

Economists attribute the Golden State's resilience to a robust economy that continues to create jobs —which in turn allows residents to remain in their homes, supports housing prices, and allows home owners to use equity to refinance out of adjustable loan terms and into fixed loans.

Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and other Midwestern states, meanwhile, have been battered by the one-two punch of declining residential values and the loss of tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs, following cutbacks at auto companies.

The banking industry rewrote the bankruptcy laws that the GOP passed. Now bankers will suffer because of their short-sightedness. Soon they'll be saddled with countless homes and very few buyers. As with all things; it's becoming a great time to buy a home...wait for someone to declare bankruptcy, a bank foreclosure - then buy it for a song and a dance from the bank.

April 12, 2007

Homeowners find bankruptcy fails to prevent foreclosure

NEW YORK --More financially stretched borrowers are realizing that even declaring bankruptcy can't save their homes from foreclosure.

At the same time, the study shows, the number of borrowers actually able to bring current their mortgage payments through bankruptcy is declining, and more filers are ultimately turning their homes over to the lenders. The finding means investors in high-yielding mortgage-backed securities should expect higher losses on the underlying collateral.

At least part of the reason, says the report, lies with the bankruptcy law passed in October 2005. The law raised the bar for people to qualify for Chapter 7 "fresh-start" bankruptcy proceedings. Chapter 7 helps individual filers to wipe away debts such as credit-card and medical bills so they can continue to make their mortgage payments. With access limited, more subprime borrowers are forced into Chapter 13, where some can't maintain their payment schedules for more than a couple of months.

April 12, 2007

Inflation: Fed minutes hint possible interest rate hikes

Wall Street had been hoping instead that the central bank might lower rates because of the slowing economy. But the minutes released Wednesday showed the Fed was remaining steadfast in its vigilance against inflation. The Fed's Open Market Committee said at its March 20-21 meeting, "all members agreed the statement should indicate that the committee's predominant policy concern remains the risk that inflation will fail to moderate as expected."

Since recent data have suggested slow economic growth and a stable job market, Wall Street's recession jitters have eased and inflation has re-emerged as a big concern.

And with energy costs heading upward, investors' hopes for a rate cut by the middle of the year have dwindled. The government on Wednesday reported a 5.5 million-barrel decline in the nation's gasoline inventories, which was four times what the market expected and the ninth straight weekly drop.

April 12, 2007

Inflation fears mount

Bond market expectations of future inflation have risen to their highest level in seven months, boosting demand for Treasuries that protect investors against increases in consumer prices.

Investors will get a chance to buy $6bn in 10-year inflation-linked Treasury bonds, known as Tips, at an auction on Thursday, and strong demand is expected, particularly as investors originally expected a sale of about $8bn.

"We are nervous about inflation," said David Ader, bond strategist at RBS Greenwich Capital. He said the smaller auction and the seasonal tendency for inflation to rise in March supported demand for Tips.

I'd say there's a 99.9% chance this Iranian diplomat was tortured by the CIA. Where is the US Supreme Court...asleep as usual...totally worthless.

An Impeachable Offense
April 11, 2007

Red Cross examines Iranian diplomat's torture scars

TEHRAN, April 11 (MNA) -- On Tuesday, the Red Cross representative in Tehran examined the torture marks on the body of Jalal Sharafi, the Iranian diplomat who was kidnapped in Iraq on February 4 and released on April 3.

In a Tehran hospital, at which Iraq's ambassador to Tehran Mohamed Majid Al-Sheikh, was also present, the Red Cross official observed holes drilled in Sharafi's leg, fractures of the nose and neck, some deep injuries on his back, a tear to his ear and evidence of bleeding in the alimentary canal.

Sharafi, the second secretary at Iran's Baghdad embassy, was abducted in southeastern Baghdad on February 4 by a group connected to the Iraqi Defense Ministry which operates under the supervision of the U.S. forces in Iraq.

NBC has a knack at hiring and keeping complete imbeciles - conservatives. Whether it's Tim Russert or Chris Matthews, or so many others, the more they lie, the more they get paid.

April 9, 2007

The Many Man-Crushes of Chris Matthews

Certainly Matthews couldn't have meant Bill Clinton's sex life. First off, it's Hillary who's running this time. And when it comes to screwing around while in office, well, the ex-President is the proverbial pisher compared with Mr. Pee Smell Out of the Subway. While serving as Mayor of New York, Rudy moved in with a couple of gay guys to facilitate cheating on his wife, and let the mother of his children know he wanted a divorce by holding a press conference. This led Mrs. Giuliani (Donna Hanover) to complain about yet another affair he'd apparently conducted with a member of his staff and to seek a restraining order to keep his new girlfriend (now wife) out of Gracie Mansion.

Democrats don't have the balls to protect our constitutional system.

April 11, 2007

Grounds to impeach Gonzales

If Attorney General Alberto Gonzales does not resign soon, the House Judiciary Committee should start an inquiry into his possible impeachment.

There is much evidence to suggest that the attorney general perjured himself before Congress regarding the firing of eight U.S. attorneys, but no matter what Gonzales says about these cases when he testifies before the committee next week, the narrow focus of the hearings won't begin to touch the full range of grave concerns that now exist about his fidelity to the rule of law.

Congress needs to consider whether Gonzales has so abused his office by trampling on the powers of the legislative branch of government that even if he committed no felonies, he has inflicted serious injury to the Constitution.

The war is lost and now they're looking for someone to blame. Will it be the new "war czar, the Democrats, or will they fall back on blaming the "liberal media?"

April 11, 2007

Generals Spurn Bush: The Position of War 'Czar'

The White House wants to appoint a high-powered czar to oversee the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with authority to issue directions to the Pentagon, the State Department and other agencies, but it has had trouble finding anyone able and willing to take the job, according to people close to the situation.

At least three retired four-star generals approached by the White House in recent weeks have declined to be considered for the position, the sources said, underscoring the administration's difficulty in enlisting its top recruits to join the team after five years of warfare that have taxed the United States and its military.

"The very fundamental issue is, they don't know where the hell they're going," said retired Marine Gen. John J. "Jack" Sheehan, a former top NATO commander who was among those rejecting the job. Sheehan said he believes that Vice President Cheney and his hawkish allies remain more powerful within the administration than pragmatists looking for a way out of Iraq. "So rather than go over there, develop an ulcer and eventually leave, I said, 'No, thanks,' " he said.

Krugman is right of course, but he misses the most important part of the story. The reason the GOP gets away with lying to us is because the media depends on their lies for news stories. It's part of their "fair and balanced" coverage. The problem with the media is they think lies are news. They're not - they're lies.

April 9, 2007

The Media: Sweet Little Lies

Before 9/11, however, the right-wing noise machine mainly relied on little lies. And now it has returned to its roots.

The Clinton years were a parade of fake scandals: Whitewater, Troopergate, Travelgate, Filegate, Christmas-card-gate. At the end, there were false claims that Clinton staff members trashed the White House on their way out.

Each pseudoscandal got headlines, air time and finger-wagging from the talking heads. The eventual discovery in each case that there was no there there, if reported at all, received far less attention. The effect was to make an administration that was, in fact, pretty honest and well run - especially compared with its successor - seem mired in scandal.

Liberals still haven't figured out how the press works; it's fat, lazy, rich, incompetent and because of this it wants stories handed to them on a silver platter. During the Clinton years the Tim Russerts in the media depended on GOP leaks and hyperbole to keep their shows going. Then after Clinton (BC is before Clinton, DC is during Clinton and AC is after Clinton) the media depended on White House leaks. In their world, GOP lies and spin are news.

After six years the media still didn't know Pat Robertson controlled this White House. Would they have ever known about it if liberals didn't tell them? I don't think so. Liberals tried to tell them Bush was lying about tax cuts and surpluses, war and peace, WMD and the war on terror. Did they listen?

April 9, 2007

The Press Discovers Pat Robertson's Real Influence

Days after the Goodling-Regent connection was introduced by the liberal blogosphere, the New York Times noted that Goodling "is a 1995 graduate of Messiah College in Grantham, Pa., and received her law degree at Regent University in Virginia Beach, according to many Web site postings."

"According to many Web site postings?" Which "web site postings?" Were Times reporters David Johnston and David Stout referring to postings on the casual encounters section of Craigslist, or did they mean liberal bloggers? If they meant the latter, then why were those bloggers not named? Is the Times ashamed of its reliance on the "blogofascists" of the left for leads and context? And does the Times even have a coherent policy on sourcing blogs?

Without the Independent vote Democrats are screwed.

They still don't get it. In 1994 they sat back, did nothing and expected to be reelected. When they lost both Houses of Congress they blamed Clinton but of course it was their inaction that kept many of us home. Why should I vote for someone who doesn't have what it takes to end this war? or impeach this president? I'll stay home again and suggest others do the same. After another 12 years in the minority they might learn their lesson.

April 9, 2007

AP Poll: Congress approval up

The findings from an AP-Ipsos nationwide poll provide a snapshot of public sentiment in the days after the House and Senate triggered a series of veto threats from the president by passing separate bills that provide funds for the war, yet also call for the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops.

Overall approval for Congress is 40 percent. The survey shows Bush's approval ratings remain in the mid-30 percent range, that a striking 39 percent strongly disapproves his handling of foreign policy and the war on terror, and that the public has scant hopes that the president and Congress can work together to solve the country's problems.

A few months ago (when conservatives were still delusional about the war) right wingers in the media complained that the media wasn't showing us the good things going on in Iraq. It probably never occurred to their listeners that these same so-called reporters could have been in Iraq reporting back to them the good news. In other words, it was far easier to blame the "liberal media" than the cowards in the "conservative media." who were too afraid to go over to Iraq. In fact it was far easier being an idiot and believing the right wing nonsense than thinking for themselves.

April 9, 2007

Limbaugh, Coulter, Hannity, O'Reilly Should Do the McCain Baghdad Walk

A modest suggestion. To demonstrate their total faith in the Bush military escalation, the Gang of Four should stroll the Baghdad streets the way McCain first claimed he did.

Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly can take the safe trip from the airport to the Green Zone, without military protection.

Then they can stroll down the street to one of those safe Baghdad open markets, without the hundred troops and the attack helicopters providing protection.

This would show their confidence in the surge!!!

It would be spectacular. Limbaugh, Coulter, Hannity and O'Reilly wearing white hats and bandanas, like the good guys in the Western movies going to the showdown with the Clanton Brothers!

The media feared being called weak on defense and liberal so they allowed the US military to lie to us about Tillman and Lynch. If the media hadn't been reduced to sniveling idiots after years of lies about "liberal bias" they might have done their jobs better and stopped the war before it started.

April 10, 2007

House questions military on Tillman and Lynch lies

SAN FRANCISCO — A U.S. House committee announced Tuesday it would hold hearings on misleading military statements that followed the friendly fire death of Pat Tillman in Afghanistan and the rescue of Pfc. Jessica Lynch in Iraq.

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform said an April 24 hearing would be part of its investigation into whether there was a strategy to mislead the public.

"The truth, the truth, this is only a search for the truth," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said at a news conference in San Francisco. "It's about holding this administration accountable for the message that it sends out. ... It's about reality."

Word of the hearings comes two weeks after the Pentagon released the findings of its own investigations into Tillman's death, and three years after he was killed.

An Impeachable Offense
April 8, 2007

Military and diplomatic analysts attack Bush lies

WASHINGTON - It's become President Bush's mantra, his main explanation for why he won't withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq anytime soon.

In speech after speech, in statement after statement, Bush insists that "this is a war in which, if we were to leave before the job is done, the enemy would follow us here."

The line, which Bush repeated Wednesday in a speech to troops at California's Fort Irwin, suggests a chilling picture of warfare on America's streets.

But is it true?

Military and diplomatic analysts say it isn't. They accuse Bush of exaggerating the threat that enemy forces in Iraq pose to the U.S. mainland.

"The president is using a primitive, inarticulate argument that leaves him open to criticism and caricature," said James Jay Carafano, a homeland security and counterterrorism expert for the Heritage Foundation, a conservative policy organization. "It's a poor choice of words that doesn't convey the essence of the problem - that walking away from a problem doesn't solve anything."

Is it a coincidence that conservatives Christians are running the most corrupt, immoral and incompetent White House in US history? I don't think so.

April 8, 2007

Scandal puts spotlight on Christian law school

Because Goodling graduated from Regent in 1999 and has scant prosecutorial experience, her qualifications to evaluate the performance of US attorneys have come under fire. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat of Rhode Island, asked at a hearing: "Should we be concerned with the experience level of the people who are making these highly significant decisions?"

And across the political blogosphere, critics have held up Goodling, who declined to be interviewed, as a prime example of the Bush administration subordinating ability to politics in hiring decisions.

"It used to be that high-level DOJ jobs were generally reserved for the best of the legal profession," wrote a contributor to The New Republic website . ". . . That a recent graduate of one of the very worst (and sketchiest) law schools with virtually no relevant experience could ascend to this position is a sure sign that there is something seriously wrong at the DOJ."

The Regent law school was founded in 1986, when Oral Roberts University shut down its ailing law school and sent its library to Robertson's Bible-based college in Virginia. It was initially called "CBN University School of Law" after the televangelist's Christian Broadcasting Network, whose studios share the campus and which provided much of the funding for the law school. (The Coors Foundation is also a donor to the university.) The American Bar Association accredited Regent 's law school in 1996.

April 10, 2007

Opium trade funds one-third of the total Afghan economy

In 2001, farmers produced more than 400,000 pounds of opium from poppy seeds. Last year, that number grew to more than 13 million pounds. Of Afghanistan's 35 provinces, only six are poppy-free.

This year's opium harvest will begin later in April.

The opium trade funds one-third of the total Afghan economy and produces 90 percent of the world's heroin supply.

"I don't know if it's 90 percent or what percent," Afghan President Hamid Karzai told "Good Morning America" anchor Diane Sawyer. "Poppy is an embarrassment for us as a nation, but it's a reality. It's like a disease — you have to cure it. As much as we are ashamed of it, it is there. So we have to cure it."

April 8, 2007

U.S. Army prosecutions of desertion rise sharply

From 2002 through 2006, the average annual rate of army prosecutions of desertion tripled compared with the five-year period from 1997 to 2001, to roughly 6 percent of yearly deserters from 2 percent, army data show.

Between these two five-year spans prosecutions for similar crimes, like absence without leave or failure to appear for unit missions, have more than doubled, to an average of 390 per year from an average of 180 per year, army data show.

Since 2002, the army has court-martialed twice as many soldiers for desertion and other unauthorized absences than it did on average each year between 1997 and 2001.

April 9, 2007

4 Years After Hussein's Fall, Regret in Iraq

Four years after that moment, with violence besieging the country, Jubouri is concerned with neither benchmarks nor timelines, troop strengths nor withdrawal dates. What he cares most about is security and order, of which, he said, he has seen very little. He blames Iraq's Shiite-led government and its security forces, and wishes for a return of the era led by the man whose statue he helped tear down.

"We got rid of a tyrant and tyranny. But we were surprised that after one thief had left, another 40 replaced him," said Jubouri, who is a Shiite Muslim. "Now, we regret that Saddam Hussein is gone, no matter how much we hated him."

April 9, 2007

Iraq Book Describes U.S. "Ignorance"

(NEW YORK) In a rueful reflection on what might have been, an Iraqi government insider details in 500 pages the U.S. occupation's "shocking" mismanagement of his country — a performance so bad, he writes, that by 2007 Iraqis had "turned their backs on their would-be liberators."

"The corroded and corrupt state of Saddam was replaced by the corroded, inefficient, incompetent and corrupt state of the new order," Ali A. Allawi concludes in "The Occupation of Iraq," newly published by Yale University Press.

The U.S.- and British-educated engineer and financier is the first senior Iraqi official to take a book-length look back on his country's four-year ordeal. It's an unsparing look at failures both American and Iraqi, an account in which the word "ignorance" crops up repeatedly.

First came the "monumental ignorance" of those in Washington pushing for war in 2002 without "the faintest idea" of Iraq's realities. "More perceptive people knew instinctively that the invasion of Iraq would open up the great fissures in Iraqi society," he writes.

What followed was the "rank amateurism and swaggering arrogance" of the occupation, under L. Paul Bremer's Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), which took big steps with little consultation with Iraqis, steps Allawi and many others see as blunders:

— The Americans disbanded Iraq's army, which Allawi said could have helped quell a rising insurgency in 2003. Instead, hundreds of thousands of demobilized, angry men became a recruiting pool for the resistance.

There's plenty of money for an illegal and unjust war and there's even enough money to give the richt tax cuts. Bush and the GOP borrowed every penny needed for tax cuts and war. They could have just as easily borrowed money to help states and cities - they simply chose not to.

Republicans are incapable of living in the real world...incapable of raising the taxes needed to pay for the things they say they support. Thus, they should never be allowed to govern again.

April 8, 2007

Cost of Iraq war filtering down to states and cities

DENVER — The cost of the Iraq war is filtering down to state and local budgets, forcing cuts in transportation funding, Medicaid, education and other federally subsidized programs, according to analysts and lawmakers.

Just how big that impact has been is unclear. What state lawmakers do say is that the $456 billion already spent or appropriated for the war could have gone a long way toward helping them balance their own budgets.

In Colorado, lawmakers expect to lose about $200 million in federal funding for the next fiscal year, forcing the state to cut back on programs that receive federal money.

"These are funds that we aren't going to receive. Low Energy Assistance Program, $9.8 million, gone. Head Start, $3.7 million, gone. Child Care and Development Block Grant, $1.1 million. Community Development Block Grant, $13.5 million. Special Ed, $8.8 million," House Majority Leader Alice Madden, D-Boulder, said during a debate Thursday over a state resolution opposing the escalation of the war in Iraq.

April 4, 2007

Iranian diplomat accuses CIA of torture

Tehran, Iran | An Iranian diplomat freed two months after being abducted in Iraq accused the CIA of torturing him during his detention, state television reported Saturday. The United States immediately denied any involvement in the Iranian's disappearance or release.

Jalal Sharafi, who was freed on Tuesday, said the CIA questioned him about Iran's relations with Iraq and assistance to various Iraqi groups, according to state television.

"Once they heard my response that Iran merely has official relations with the Iraqi government and officials, they intensified tortures and tortured me through different methods days and nights," he said.

Government of, by and for the people was replaced with government of, by and for George Bush. The problem isn't just Bush, or the media, it's the courts that allowed this power grab to go unchallenged. When Bush rewrote the Presidential Papers Act, he violated the powers of congress (he rewrote the law without the consent of congress). That was over six years ago and what has the Supreme Court done about it? Nothing. The Court is utterly worthless.

Finally, there's an old saying; people who don't trust can't be trusted. We never seen a better example of that than Bush and Cheney.

An Impeachable Offense
March 21, 2007

Analysis: White House Likes Its Secrets

From the time he walked into the Oval Office, President Bush has tried to tighten the government's hold on information and restrict public scrutiny. He says he's defending the executive branch from encroachment by overzealous lawmakers and needs to make sure that he and the presidents who follow him have the chance to get confidential advice from advisers.

That push to strengthen the powers of the presidency and clamp down on public disclosure, however, is now contributing to lawmakers' wariness of the White House's latest offer in the U.S. attorney dispute.

Critics of the Bush White House's penchant toward secrecy point to: Bush's executive order restricting the public release of the papers of past presidents; his move just after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to clamp down on the declassification of government documents; and the fight, all the way to the Supreme Court, to keep secret closed-door meetings of Vice President Dick Cheney's energy task force.

They criticize Bush's refusal to allow then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice to testify before the panel investigating the 9/11 attacks (though he eventually relented in the face of bipartisan pressure). And they disapprove of Bush authorizing programs to eavesdrop on Americans' international communications with suspected terrorists without warrants. He acknowledged them only after news reports revealed their existence.

With each passing year the US is becoming more and more like Nazi Germany.

An Impeachable Offense
April 9, 2007

Constitutional scholar who criticized Bush added to terrorist 'no-fly' list

A top Constitutional scholar from Princeton who gave a televised speech that slammed President George W. Bush's executive overreach was recently told that he had been added to the Transportation Security Administration's terrorist watch list. He shared his experience this weekend at the law blog Balkinization.

Walter F. Murphy, the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Emeritus, at Princeton University, attempted to check his luggage at the curbside in Albuquerque before boarding a plane to Newark, New Jersey. Murphy was told he could not use the service.

"I was denied a boarding pass because I was on the Terrorist Watch list," he said.

When inquiring with a clerk why he was on the list, Murphy was asked if he had participated in any peace marches.

"We ban a lot of people from flying because of that," a clerk said.

When US run prisons become terrorist training camps, Bush and his generals have a lot of explaining to do.

An Impeachable Offense
April 7, 2007

Insurgents transform US military jails into 'terror training camps'

America's high-security prisons in Iraq have become "terrorist academies" for the most dangerous militant groups, according to former inmates and Iraqi government officials.

Inmates are left largely to run their blocks, which are segregated on sectarian lines. The policy has created a closed world run by Iraq's worst terrorists and militias, into which detainees with no links to insurgent groups are often thrown.

Inmates from Camp Cropper, the US prison at Baghdad airport, described to The Times seeing al-Qaeda terrorists club to death a man suspected of being an informer. Others dished out retribution with razor wire stolen from the fences.

April 8, 2007

Afghans Want the Taliban Back

"When the Taliban were here, I escaped to the border with Iran, but I was never worried about my family," he said. "Every single minute of the last three years I have been very worried. Maybe tonight the Americans will come to my house, molest my wife and children and arrest me."

Last week, President Hamid Karzai acknowledged for the first time that he had held talks with the Taliban in an attempt to reach a peace deal and avert a bloody struggle for control in the south and east of the country, where the movement has enjoyed a resurgence in the past year.

The failure of Nato forces to deliver security and development and rising civilian casualties inflicted by Western forces in clashes with the Taliban have led to a loss of support in Kandahar. "How can we forgive the Americans?" asked Mr Karigar, who like most people here does not distinguish among the different elements in Nato. "I will fight them any way I can."

When faced with evil within the US government what did American Catholics do? They decided gay marriage was a bigger threat. Sheer idiocy.

April 9, 2007

Pope Rebukes Bush for the continuing slaughter in Iraq

In an implicit rebuke to Tony Blair and President Bush, the Pope lamented yesterday that "nothing positive" was coming from Iraq.

The country had been "torn apart by continual slaughter", he said, while in Afghanistan there was growing unrest and instability. "How many wounds, how much suffering there is in the world," he told the tens of thousands of people gathered in St Peter's Square to here his traditional Urbi et Orbi (To the City and the World) Easter address. "Peace is sorely needed."

An Impeachable Offense
April 8, 2007

White House, Gonzales and Giuliani Ignored Mafia Ties

The selection of Kerik in December 2004 for one of the most sensitive posts in government became an acute but brief embarrassment for Bush at the start of his second term. More than two years later, it has reemerged as part of a federal criminal investigation of Kerik that raises questions about the decisions made by the president, the Republican front-runner to replace him and the embattled attorney general.

They learned about questionable financial deals, an ethics violation, allegations of mismanagement and a top deputy prosecuted for corruption. Most disturbing, according to people close to the process, was Kerik's friendship with a businessman who was linked to organized crime. The businessman had told federal authorities that Kerik received gifts, including $165,000 in apartment renovations, from a New Jersey family with alleged Mafia ties.

New Jersey gambling-enforcement authorities also filed a complaint in 2005 accusing Kerik of misusing his Giuliani administration jobs to solicit gifts from the DiTomassos, who have fought allegations of mob ties, while helping them try to win city business. Kerik asserted his Fifth Amendment right not to answer some questions in the proceedings. He pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors in New York court last summer, acknowledging that he had accepted the apartment renovations.

Anyone thinking we can afford a tax cut (or ever could) needs to look at how much debt we've created since the Reagan tax cut just 26 years ago. One trillion of new debt is not leadership - it's pandering.

April 9, 2007

Democrats Seek to Lead the Way in Tax Overhaul

Republicans, including President Bush, agree that the alternative minimum tax is out of control and ought to be frozen if not eliminated entirely. But so far Congress and Mr. Bush have only prevented its expansion with a series of one-year fixes. The House Democrats, by contrast, hope to force the issue of a permanent overhaul of the tax, despite the potentially huge cost.

Between now and the end of May, House Democratic leaders hope to draft a permanent overhaul of the tax that would effectively exclude anyone who earns less than about $200,000 a year — about 97 percent of taxpayers.

But that plan would leave a $1 trillion hole in the federal budget over the next decade, which Democrats would have to replace with revenues from other places or with spending cuts, under new "pay as you go" budget rules. Just postponing the expansion of the tax for one more year would reduce revenues by about $50 billion, according to Congressional budget projections.

It looks like 1994 all over again. Dems have power and they're afraid to use it because someone might be offended. The Democratic leadership are cowards and are as guilty as Bush. Let history damn them both.

April 6, 2007

Liberals push to impeach Bush

"We Democrats have to show the people of this country that we're better than that," he said.

Sen. Russ Feingold, Wisconsin Democrat, last year authored a resolution calling on Congress to censure Mr. Bush for his warrantless wiretapping program. He told The Times that he is unlikely to reintroduce the bill or push for impeachment hearings.

"The election in many ways was a censure of the president and his performance in a number of these areas," Mr. Feingold said, noting that voters want Congress to tackle Iraq policy, health care and government accountability.

"Impeachment might make it look like we don't care about the other stuff," he said. "I don't think it serves the American people well, even though if there ever was a president that deserved to be removed, this is probably the guy."

Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, backed censure last year but said the focus now should be on oversight. "It's a chance to change the administration's behavior, not just to express disappointment," said Kerry spokeswoman Amy Brundage.

April 6, 2007

Impeachment's Back in the News

In an April 5 article, the Washington Times interviewed several members of Congress, noting along the way that Congressional Democrats report that "constituents are clamoring" for impeachment of the president.

Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) is quoted as saying he gets "one call after another" calling on him to impeach the president, but he goes on to say impeachment would be "a very divisive thing...and at this point I don't see that happening."

Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), one of the House's most liberal members, reportedly calls impeachment pointless and a distraction from the presidential election. Diane Watson (D-CA), another of the most liberal members of Congress, says she gets calls for impeachment from every crowd she speaks to, and says that while she would support impeachment herself, it's "not a strategy our new leadership would want to start with."

April 6, 2007

Paul Krugman: Children Versus Insurers

Consider the choice between two government programs.

Program A would provide essential health care to the eight million uninsured children in this country.

Program B would subsidize insurance companies, who would in turn spend much of the money on marketing and paperwork, and also siphon off a substantial fraction of the money as profits. With what's left, the insurers would provide additional benefits, over and above basic Medicare coverage, to some older Americans.

Which program would you choose? If money is no object, you might go for both. But if you can only have one, it's hard to see how anyone could, in good conscience, fail to choose Program A. I mean, even conservatives claim to believe in equal opportunity — and it's hard to say that our society offers equal opportunity to children whose education may be disrupted, who may even find their lives cut short, because their families can't afford proper medical care.

April 9, 2007

U.S. occupation's "shocking" mismanagement

NEW YORK - In a rueful reflection on what might have been, an Iraqi government insider details in 500 pages the U.S. occupation's "shocking" mismanagement of his country — a performance so bad, he writes, that by 2007 Iraqis had "turned their backs on their would-be liberators."

"The corroded and corrupt state of Saddam was replaced by the corroded, inefficient, incompetent and corrupt state of the new order," Ali A. Allawi concludes in "The Occupation of Iraq," newly published by Yale University Press.

April 6, 2007

US Fallen Are Now Met With Honor Guards Instead of Forklifts

In an about-face by the U.S. government four years into the war in Iraq, America's fallen troops are being brought back to their families aboard charter jets instead of ordinary commercial flights, and the caskets are being met by honor guards in white gloves instead of baggage handlers with forklifts.

That change — which took effect quietly in January and applies to members of the U.S. military killed in Afghanistan, too — came after a campaign waged by a father who was aghast to learn that his son's body was going to be unloaded like so much luggage.

John Holley said an airline executive told him that was the "most expeditious" way to get the body home.

"I said, `That's not going to happen with my son. That's not how my son is coming home,'" said Holley, an Army veteran from San Diego whose son, Spc. Matthew Holley, was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq in 2005. "If it was `expeditious' to deliver them in garbage trucks, would you do that?"

Lying to the American people about a fake threat to our national security has to be the most egregious abuse of power in US history. Yet, we have a congress (and media) who seem incapable of bringing themselves to say Bush and Cheney are liars and should be impeached.

An Impeachable Offense
April 7, 2007

Cheney: Al Qaeda was in Iraq before war

WASHINGTON -- Vice President Dick Cheney repeated his assertions of Al Qaeda links to Saddam Hussein's Iraq on Thursday as the Defense Department released a report citing more evidence that the prewar government did not cooperate with the terrorist group.

Cheney contended that Al Qaeda was operating in Iraq before the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003 and that terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was leading the Iraqi branch of Al Qaeda. Others in Al Qaeda planned the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

"He took up residence there before we ever launched into Iraq, organized the Al Qaeda operations inside Iraq before we even arrived on the scene and then, of course, led the charge for Iraq until we killed him last June," Cheney told radio host Rush Limbaugh during an interview. "As I say, they were present before we invaded Iraq."

However, a declassified Pentagon report released Thursday said that interrogations of the deposed Iraqi leader and two of his former aides as well as seized Iraqi documents confirmed that the terrorist organization and the Hussein government were not working together before the invasion.

Bush had access to the truth and ignored it. If this isn't an impeachable offense, nothing is.

An Impeachable Offense
April 6, 2007

Pentagon report debunks prewar Iraq-Al Qaeda connection

A declassified report by the Pentagon's acting Inspector General Thomas F. Gimble provides new insight into the circumstances behind former Pentagon official Douglas Feith's pre-Iraq war assessment of an Iraq-Al Qaeda connection — an assessment that was contrary to US intelligence agency findings, and helped bolster the Bush administration's case for the Iraq war.

The report, which was made public in summary form in February, was released in full on Thursday by Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. In a statement accompanying the 121-page report, Senator Levin said: "It is important for the public to see why the Pentagon's Inspector General concluded that Secretary Feith's office 'developed, produced and then disseminated alternative intelligence assessments on the Iraq and al-Qaeda relationship,' which included 'conclusions that were inconsistent with the consensus of the Intelligence Community.' "

April 6, 2007

Gonzales Aide Goodling Resigns

(CBS) WASHINGTON A top aide to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales abruptly quit Friday, almost two weeks after telling Congress she would not testify about her role in the firings of federal prosecutors.

Monica M. Goodling, the Justice Department's liaison to the White House, gave no reason for her resignation. Since she was at the center of the firings, Goodling's refusal to testify has intensified questions about whether the U.S. attorney dismissals were proper and heightened the furor that threatens Gonzales' own job.

April 6, 2007

Three lawyers with U.S. attorney's office in Minneapolis resign

MINNEAPOLIS – Three lawyers in the U.S. Attorney's office in Minneapolis resigned their management posts, moves that gained national attention against the backdrop of claims top federal prosecutors elsewhere were fired for political reasons.

U.S. Attorney Rachel Paulose confirmed Friday that John Marti, a first assistant U.S. attorney, Erika Mozangue, head of the office's civil division, and James Lackner, who heads the office's criminal division, have decided to "go back to the line to be full-time prosecutors."

She did not say why the three stepped down and indicated that she would have no further public comment. "We have work to do," her statement said.

John Kelly, deputy director of the Justice Department's executive office of U.S. Attorneys, visited Minneapolis on Thursday to try to resolve the situation, according to two aides in Washington who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. The prosecutors stepped down after Kelly's visit.

For someone who's been attacking this White House since it was appointed, it's almost like Christmas every day. Another day, another fallen crook.

April 5, 2007

US Probes GSA Chief Lurita Doan

Federal investigators are looking into whether the head of the General Services Administration improperly engaged in partisan politics at government expense.

The Office of Special Counsel confirmed to ABC News it is looking into whether GSA head Lurita Doan violated a ban on using government resources for partisan politics, during a meeting that featured a presentation by a White House political operative on Republican election strategy.

At a January meeting held at a GSA facility, senior White House political aide Scott Jennings briefed Doan and other officials on GOP plans to win seats in Congress in 2008.

A House committee heard testimony last week from the GSA inspector general that witnesses alleged Doan encouraged others at the January meeting to look for ways the GSA could help "our candidates."

The congress let Bush get away with his surge and now what are they going to do? Let him create one new surge after another after another until he leaves office? It's pathetic. The solution is as clear as day. Force republicans to pay for this war with higher taxes and it'll end in 24-hours.

April 5, 2007

12,000 more Guard troops may be going to Iraq

WASHINGTON - Coming on the heels of a controversial "surge" of 21,000 U.S. troops that has stretched the Army thin, the Defense Department is preparing to send an additional 12,000 National Guard combat forces to Iraq and Afghanistan, defense officials told NBC News on Thursday.

The troops will come from four Guard combat brigades in different states, the officials told NBC News' chief Pentagon correspondent, Jim Miklaszewski. They said papers ordering the deployment, which would run for one year beginning in early 2008, were awaiting Defense Secretary Robert Gates' signature.

The deployment is sure to ignite a firestorm on Capitol Hill, where Democrats in Congress are maneuvering to scale back the U.S. commitment in Iraq. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is pushing a proposal to end most spending on the war in 2008, limiting it to targeted operations against al-Qaida, training for Iraqi troops and protection for U.S. forces.