Impeach Bush--Index 65

The media lost its credibility when it pushed pseudo scandals during the Clinton years and then when it pushed pseudo facts about Iraq being a threat to our national security. Surely few still they'll be honest when reporting political news. The media had degenerated into spewing endless GOP talking points.

July 27, 2007

Media report "do-nothing" Congress, not GOP obstruction

Several media outlets have reported recent claims by Senate Republicans, President Bush, and members of his administration that Democrats are currently presiding, or may soon preside, over a "do-nothing Congress" without challenging the claim in any way. These claims are apparently part of a strategy laid out in a "talking-points memorandum" reportedly "circulat[ed]" by Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) that advises Republicans to attack congressional Democrats for their supposed lack of legislative accomplishments. In fact, Republicans have blocked Senate action at an unprecedented rate -- apparently putting into action a strategy that Senate Minority Whip Trent Lott (R-MS) described as "obstructionist."

68% of Americans say the surge is a failure and 56% say the Iraq war is a failure. With numbers like this, it's time for some more propaganda.

July 28, 2007

Poll: 56% say Iraq is a failure

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) - More adults in the United States think the coalition effort is not proceeding adequately, according to a poll by Rasmussen Reports. 56 per cent of respondents think the U.S. mission in Iraq will be seen as a failure in the long run, up four points since early June.

The coalition effort against Saddam Hussein's regime was launched in March 2003. At least 3,646 American soldiers have died during the military operation, and more than 26,900 troops have been wounded in action.

The Supreme Court took major hits in both the Gallup and Harris polls this year.

July 29, 2007

Poll: Bush Nominees Have Made Supreme Court 'Too Conservative' for Many

Nearly a third of the public -- 31 percent -- thinks the court is too far to the right, a noticeable jump since the question was last asked in July 2005. That's when Bush nominated John G. Roberts Jr. to the court and, in the six-month period that followed, the Senate approved Roberts as chief justice and confirmed Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.

The public seems to have noticed the shift. The percentage who said the court is "too conservative" grew from 19 percent to 31 percent in the past two years, while those who said it is "generally balanced in its decisions" declined from 55 percent to 47 percent.

July 27, 2007

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July 29, 2007

NY Times: Impeach Gonzales

As far as we can tell, there are three possible explanations for Mr. Gonzales's talk about a dispute over other — unspecified — intelligence activities. One, he lied to Congress. Two, he used a bureaucratic dodge to mislead lawmakers and the public: the spying program was modified after Mr. Ashcroft refused to endorse it, which made it "different" from the one Mr. Bush has acknowledged. The third is that there was more wiretapping than has been disclosed, perhaps even purely domestic wiretapping, and Mr. Gonzales is helping Mr. Bush cover it up.

Democratic lawmakers are asking for a special prosecutor to look into Mr. Gonzales's words and deeds. Solicitor General Paul Clement has a last chance to show that the Justice Department is still minimally functional by fulfilling that request.

A special prosector would take months to set up and years to finish a probe. There's no way that's going to happen unless Democrats have the same amount of courage as the Sacramento Bee.

July 27, 2007

Sacramento Bee: Impeach Gonzales

Gonzales' performance shredded what little credibility he had left. On Thursday, four Democratic senators -- Feinstein, Charles E. Schumer of New York, Russell D.Feingold of Wisconsin and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island -- asked Solicitor General Paul Clement to appoint a special prosecutor to probe whether Gonzales had committed perjury in his testimony.

July 26, 2007

Miami Herald: Impeach Gonzales

No Republican came to Mr. Gonzales' defense during the hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, nor should they have. His ignorance, feigned or real, was extensive and bipartisan. "I can't answer," he told Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., when asked about the prosecution of voting-rights cases. "I'm not making any progress here," a frustrated Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., said after one particularly foggy exchange.

"I don't trust you," snapped Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. The question is, Why should anyone trust Mr. Gonzales?

Congress should take whatever steps are necessary, from a contempt citation to pursuing criminal charges, to remove him from office. His continued tenure is an affront to the American people.

July 25, 2007

Republican lawmakers face corruption probe

Two senior Republican lawmakers are reportedly under criminal investigation for alleged corruption linked to an Alaska oil services company.

Federal authorities are looking into whether Representative Don Young or Senator Ted Stevens accepted bribes, illegal gratuities or unreported gifts from VECO Corp., an oil field engineering firm in Alaska, the Wall Street Journal wrote, citing unnamed "people close to the case."

It remained unclear what the company may have received in return for the alleged favors, the newspaper said. The firm has won a series of federal government contracts since 2000, including projects to deliver logistics support for arctic research, it said.

An Impeachable Offense
July 26, 2007

Number of environmental cops decreasing

Fewer U.S. environmental cops are tracking criminal polluters these days, their numbers steadily dropping below levels ordered by Congress. They are pursuing fewer environmental crimes in a strategy by the Bush administration to target bigger polluters.

The number of the Environmental Protection Agency's criminal investigators has dropped this year to 174, below the 200-agent minimum required by Congress, even as the EPA's overall criminal enforcement budget rose nearly 25 percent over three years to $48 million, according to EPA records.

July 26, 2007

Denmark pulls out Iraq troops

COPENHAGEN. Denmark has withdrawn most of the 430 troops it has stationed in Iraq earlier than expected, a report said Wednesday quoting the Danish military.

The battalion, stationed in the southern city of Basra since 2003, under British command, was supposed to begin pulling out its soldiers on August 10.

But, according to a report by the Iraqi correspondent of the Danish TV channel TV2, sustained attacks by insurgents have led to most of them heading home early.

Danish military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Jes Rasmussen denied that the early withdrawal was due to security reasons.

An Impeachable Offense
July 26, 2007

Analyst counters Bush on Al Qaeda

WASHINGTON -- A day after President Bush sought to present evidence showing that Iraq is now the main battlefront against Al Qaeda, the chief US intelligence analyst for international terrorism told Congress that the network's growing ranks in Pakistan and Afghanistan pose a more immediate threat to the United States.

In rare testimony before two House committees, Edward Gistaro, the national intelligence officer for transnational threats, said that Al Qaeda terrorists operating in South Asia are better equipped to attack the United States than the network's followers in Iraq are.

July 26, 2007

US audit finds 'less than 42%' of Bechtel's Iraq projects completed

IRAQ. US construction giant Bechtel National arrived in Iraq in 2003, on the heels of US troops, with a fat contract awarded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to rebuild the country.

Then in 2004 the company won a second contract, worth a potential US$1.8 billion. Wearing white construction helmets labeled 'Bechtel', the company's construction supervisors oversaw work on hospitals, schools and bridges, and tried to get the water flowing and the electricity turned on.

An Impeachable Offense
July 27, 2007

Democrats seek perjury investigation of Gonzales, subpoena Rove

WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats on Thursday called for a special prosecutor to launch a perjury investigation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and subpoenaed White House political adviser Karl Rove.

The moves against two of President Bush's longest-tenured confidantes raised the temperature in what already was a heated political battle between the Democratic-led Congress and the Republican administration.

An Impeachable Offense
July 26, 2007

FBI director appears to contradict Gonzales' testimony

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- FBI Director Robert Mueller told Congress Thursday that the confrontation between then-White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales and then-Attorney General John Ashcroft in Ashcroft's hospital room in 2004 concerned a controversial surveillance program -- an apparent contradiction of Senate testimony given Tuesday by Gonzales.

FBI Director Robert Mueller testifies before the House Judiciary Committee Thursday.

Mueller said he spoke with Ashcroft soon after Gonzales left the hospital and was told the meeting dealt with "an NSA [National Security Agency] program that has been much discussed, yes."

The military cut back on the number of health care workers to save money. They also cut back on programs to help vets who are homeless and they're even forcing amputee vets to return to service. All so Bush can have his war.

July 26, 2007

Iraq war veteran's parents sue U.S. after suicide

BOSTON (Reuters) - The parents of an Iraq war veteran who committed suicide sued the U.S. government on Thursday for negligence, charging their son hanged himself after the government ignored his depression.

The suit accuses the federal government of not helping 23-year-old Jeffrey Lucey, who committed suicide in his parents' Massachusetts basement less than a year after returning home from fighting during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary James Nicholson was also named in the suit.

The military can't even be trusted with telling the truth about how a soldier was killed. Can it be trusted with defending our nation? The entire military command structure (that allowed torture to go on under its collective noses) is in desperate need of repair. Heads have to roll and keep on rolling - until the truth comes out and sanity returns

July 27, 2007

New Details on Tillman's Death

SAN FRANCISCO -- Army medical examiners were suspicious about the close proximity of the three bullet holes in Pat Tillman's forehead and tried without success to get authorities to investigate whether the former NFL player's death amounted to a crime, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

"The medical evidence did not match up with the, with the scenario as described," a doctor who examined Tillman's body after he was killed on the battlefield in Afghanistan in 2004 told investigators.

The doctors _ whose names were blacked out _ said that the bullet holes were so close together that it appeared the Army Ranger was cut down by an M-16 fired from a mere 10 yards or so away.

July 27, 2007

U.S. drops Baghdad electricity reports

Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week that Baghdad residents could count on only "an hour or two a day" of electricity. That's down from an average of five to six hours a day earlier this year.

But that piece of data has not been sent to lawmakers for months because the State Department, which prepares a weekly "status report" for Congress on conditions in Iraq, stopped estimating in May how many hours of electricity Baghdad residents typically receive each day.

Instead, the department now reports on the electricity generated nationwide, a measurement that does not indicate how much power Iraqis in Baghdad or elsewhere actually receive.

These are the same military advisors who said we'd be welcomed with open arms after we blew Iraq apart. Only a complete idiot trusts US military commanders these days. Not only did they

July 24, 2007

US military drafts plan to keep troops in Iraq until mid-2009

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States military command in Iraq has drafted a plan that envisages US troops staying in the country for another two years, the New York Times reported Tuesday.

The strategy document calls for restoring security in Baghdad and other local areas by the summer of 2008 and for "sustainable security" to be achieved across Iraq by the summer of 2009, the newspaper wrote, citing unnamed US officials.

July 23, 2007

US dollar plummets to record low against euro

THE US dollar touched a new record low against the euro in Asian trade today, hit by jitters about the US housing market troubles and recent falls in global share prices, dealers said.

The euro rose to as high as 1.3845 US dollars in early Tokyo trading, just beating its previous all-time best of 1.3843 seen on Friday.

By late morning in Asia, the euro stood at 1.3830 US dollars, up from 1.3820 on Friday in New York.

The dollar was at 120.93 yen, close to a six-week low, after 121.26 in New York. The euro eased to 167.21 yen from 167.70.

Some of us require facts before we spout off our mouths about something - others simply guess or give their opinions. The general should be removed from command as soon as possible. Going to the press without a single fact and then hyping his beliefs about another terrorist attack is foolish and god knows we have enough fools in the command as it is.

On the other side of the coin the military and Bush say we have to stay in Iraq so we can fight them over there instead of over here. If the general is correct, that assumption is wrong. We live in a world of too many assumptions and too few facts.

July 25, 2007

General: Al-Qaida making new cells in US

WASHINGTON -- A top U.S. military commander said Tuesday he believes there are al-Qaida cells in the United States - or people working to create them - and the military needs to triple its response teams to counter a growing threat of attack.

"I believe there are cells in the United States, or at least people who aspire to create cells in the United States," Renuart said in an interview with The Associated Press. "To assume that there are not those cells is naive and so we have to take that threat seriously."

An Impeachable Offense
July 25, 2007

Senators say Gonzales lied

"How can we trust your leadership when … you just constantly change the story, seemingly to fit your needs to wiggle out of being caught, frankly, telling mistruths?" Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) asked.

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) blasted Gonzales for saddling the Department of Justice (DoJ) with "a lack of credibility — candidly, your personal credibility."

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) lamented that Gonzales' performance has so compromised his agency that "it's almost as it the walls were actually crumbling on this huge department."

"There's a discrepancy here in sworn testimony," said Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who earned a clamor of applause from protesters after telling Gonzales to "be fair to the truth."

July 25, 2007

Conservatives call for Bush to emphasize 'leaving Iraq'

By talking openly about the war's conclusion, Republicans could blunt criticism about supporting an open-ended conflict in Iraq while continuing to attack Democrats for "surrendering" by supporting a specific date for withdrawing troops from Iraq, the activists contend. Pointing to an end to the war will also help reshape the debate about what happens to Iraq after the U.S. leaves, an area that conservatives feel has been overshadowed by Capitol Hill's continued focus on whether to withdraw troops from the region.

A tough call. Every time Bush used intelligence he abuses it, cherry picks or simply lies about it. Is he lying about al Qaeda again? Probably, but we don't know for sure. The expert say he's lying and that's good enough for me.

An Impeachable Offense
July 25, 2007

Experts challenge Bush's al Qaeda assertions

Bush's comments were met with skepticism by some terrorism experts and former U.S. intelligence officials, who said the president exaggerated or even misrepresent the facts in Iraq.

"I think what the president is saying is in some sense fundamentally misleading," said Robert Grenier, former head of the counter-terrorism center at the CIA as well as the agency's mission manager for the war in Iraq. "If he means to suggest the invasion of Iraq has not created more jihadists bent on killing Americans, and that if Iraq hadn't been there as a magnet they would have been attracted somewhere else, that's completely disingenuous."

The war "has convinced many Muslims that the United States is the enemy of Islam and is attacking Muslims, and they have become jihadists as a result of their experience in Iraq," Grenier said.

July 24, 2007

Poll: Americans trust Congress over Bush on Iraq

Nearly 80 percent of those polled said Bush is not willing enough to change policies over the unpopular war that has taken a huge toll on his approval ratings, the Post reported.

The poll was conducted last week, after Senate Democrats failed to advance a plan that would force Bush to withdraw U.S. combat troops from Iraq by April 2008.

More than six in 10 Americans -- 62 percent -- said Congress should have the final say on when to pull out U.S. forces, compared with 31 percent who said the decision should rest with Bush, the poll showed.

July 26, 2007

Hinchey to introduce censure resolutions

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Rep. Maurice Hinchey plans to introduce two resolutions in the House calling for the censure of President Bush, Vice President Cheney and other administration officials, the congressman's office announced on Thursday.

Hinchey's resolutions, companions to ones proposed by U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., seek to reprimand the Bush administration for misleading the American people about the reasons for invading Iraq, mismanaging the war and the military occupation of Iraq and abusing the Constitution through such practices as warrantless surveillance.

July 23, 2007

Censure and Impeachment

Feingold is renewing and extending a call for censure that that the Wisconsin Democrat initially made in March, 2006. The senator now proposes one resolution censuring the president, the vice president and their aides for overstating the case that Saddam Hussein had WMDs, particularly nuclear weapons, and falsely implying a relationship with al Qaeda and links to 9/11; for failing to plan for the civil conflict and humanitarian problems that the intelligence community predicted; for over-stretching the Army, Marine Corps and Guard with prolonged deployments and for justifying U.S. military involvement in Iraq by repeatedly distorting the situation on the ground there. A second resolution would censure the administration for approving the illegal NSA warrantless wiretapping program, for promoting extreme policies on torture, the Geneva Conventions, and detainees at Guantanamo; and for refusing to recognize legitimate congressional oversight into the improper firings of U.S. Attorneys.

An Impeachable Offense
July 24, 2007

Gonzales Digs a Deeper Hole

Specter later circled back to Gonzales on the matter, warning him: "My suggestion to you is you review your testimony to find out if your credibility has been breached to the point of being actionable," Specter said. The maximum penalty for being caught lying to Congress is five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 per count. Specter wryly noted to reporters during a break that there is a jail in the Capitol complex.

Senator Jay Rockefeller, the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, who was involved in the briefings at the time of the hospital visit, said the so-called Gang of Eight — the eight top bipartisan members of Congress on intelligence issues — were not briefed about any sunset the program was facing, as Gonzales claimed. He also emphatically refuted Gonzales' statements that there was more than one program under discussion at the time and that the Gang of Eight had agreed the program was so important that if it had been allowed to lapse they were considering emergency legislation.

An Impeachable Offense
July 24, 2007

Diplomats Received Political Briefings

White House aides have conducted at least half a dozen political briefings for the Bush administration's top diplomats, including a PowerPoint presentation for ambassadors with senior adviser Karl Rove that named Democratic incumbents targeted for defeat in 2008 and a "general political briefing" at the Peace Corps headquarters after the 2002 midterm elections.

The briefings, mostly run by Rove's deputies at the White House political affairs office, began in early 2001 and included detailed analyses for senior officials of the political landscape surrounding critical congressional and gubernatorial races, according to documents obtained by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

July 24, 2007

Delays in disabled pay, health care prompt suit

WASHINGTON — Frustrated by delays in health care, a coalition of injured Iraq war veterans is accusing the Department of Veterans Affairs of breaking the law by denying them disability pay and mental health treatment.

The class-action lawsuit, filed Monday in federal court in San Francisco, seeks broad changes in the agency as it struggles to meet growing demands from veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Suing on behalf of hundreds of thousands of veterans, it charges that the VA has failed servicemen and women on numerous fronts. It contends the VA failed to provide prompt disability benefits, failed to add staff to reduce wait times for medical care and failed to boost services for post-traumatic stress disorder.

July 23, 2007

Just What the Founders Feared: An Imperial President Goes to War

The nation is heading toward a constitutional showdown over the Iraq war. Congress is moving closer to passing a bill to limit or end the war, but President Bush insists Congress doesn't have the power to do it. "I don't think Congress ought to be running the war," he said at a recent press conference. "I think they ought to be funding the troops." He added magnanimously: "I'm certainly interested in their opinion."

The war is hardly the only area where the Bush administration is trying to expand its powers beyond all legal justification. But the danger of an imperial presidency is particularly great when a president takes the nation to war, something the founders understood well. In the looming showdown, the founders and the Constitution are firmly on Congress's side.

An Impeachable Offense
July 20, 2007

Rockefeller Accuses Gonzales of perjury

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick J. Leahy threatened yesterday to request a perjury investigation of Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, as Democrats said an intelligence official's statement about a classified surveillance program was at odds with Gonzales's sworn testimony.

The latest dispute involving public remarks by Gonzales concerned the topic of a March 10, 2004, White House briefing for members of Congress. Gonzales, in congressional testimony Tuesday, said the purpose of the briefing was to address what he called "intelligence activities" that were the subject of a legal dispute inside the administration.

An Impeachable Offense
July 26, 2007

Documents Contradict Gonzales Senate Testimony

"Not the TSP?" responded Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-NY). "Come on. If you say it's about other, that implies not. Now say it or not."

"It was not," Gonzales answered. "It was about other intelligence activities."

A four-page memo from the national intelligence director's office says the White House briefing with the eight lawmakers on March 10, 2004, was about the terror surveillance program, or TSP.

July 26, 2007

Judiciary Committee OK's contempt citations

WASHINGTON -- The House Judiciary Committee voted yesterday to issue contempt citations for two of President Bush's closest aides, moving nearer to a constitutional confrontation with the White House over access to information about the dismissal of nine US attorneys.

The panel voted along party lines, 22 to 17, to issue citations to Joshua Bolten, White House chief of staff, and Harriet Miers, former White House counsel. Both refused to comply with committee subpoenas after Bush declared that documents and testimony related to the prosecutor firings are protected by executive privilege.

Can we call the Speaker a two-bit lazy incompetent whore yet? She is letting Bush get away with crap like this.

An Impeachable Offense
July 20, 2007

DeFazio asks, but he's denied access to classified information

WASHINGTON -- Oregonians called Peter DeFazio's office, worried there was a conspiracy buried in the classified portion of a White House plan for operating the government after a terrorist attack.

As a member of the U.S. House on the Homeland Security Committee, DeFazio, D-Ore., is permitted to enter a secure "bubbleroom" in the Capitol and examine classified material. So he asked the White House to see the secret documents.

On Wednesday, DeFazio got his answer: DENIED.

July 21, 2007

US military needs 'image makeover' in Iraq

"It's not just a matter of putting the right spin' on US military actions, because words alone won't win public support," he said.

"Instead, US forces need to take the right actions if they want to get the local support that's crucial to America's counterinsurgency efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan."

Among the study's recommendations for the armed forces were "manage civilian expectations by not making promises they can't keep," and "monitor civilian satisfaction through town hall meetings."

July 21, 2007

Former Texas exec pleads guilty to military contract kickbacks

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. — A second former executive of a global logistics company has pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to receiving kickbacks on Iraq war contracts and lying to federal investigators.

Kevin Andre Smoot, 43, faces up to 15 years in prison and $500,000 in fines after pleading guilty Friday to making a false statement and violation of the Anti-Kickback Act before U.S. District Judge Michael M. Mihm.

July 20, 2007

GAO: Iraqi Oil Sector in Tatters

Even after spending $2.7 billion in U.S. reconstruction funds, Iraq's oil sector has failed to achieve any of the goals to boost production, according to a new report by the Government Accountability Office.

Indeed, the highest production levels were reached back in 2004 and have not been equaled since then. In addition, the State Department's oil data for Iraq may dramatically overstate the actual production levels by as much as $5.5 billion a year, because of inadequate metering, corruption, theft, and sabotage. Security remains the biggest of the challenges, but future investment will be difficult as well.

July 21, 2007

Vacationing while Baghdad boils

Back in May, a group of Republican lawmakers, understandably agitated by the very real possibility that President Bush was driving them over a cliff, met with their lame-duck leader at the White House. They voiced their strong concerns about the Iraq disaster and warned Bush about the '08 political repercussions.

Then one GOP congressman lashed out at Bush over reports that members of the Iraqi Parliament were planning to exercise their new-won freedom by actually going on vacation for the entire month of August - despite the fact that a war was raging around them, and despite the fact that they had enacted none of the crucial "benchmark" legislation that Bush first asked for back in January.

Well, sure enough, the Iraqi Parliament will be on vacation for the entire month of August - and the White House, ever protective of its clients, is insisting that the hiatus is no big deal.

On Friday, Bush press secretary Tony Snow confirmed the news, and at first sought to minimize it by saying that the Iraqis were going on vacation "just like the U.S. Congress is." That was a creative defense, to suggest that if the Democratic-run Congress opted to go on vacation, then the Iraqi Parliament should feel free to do the same. Somehow, that feels like a false equivalence. Last I checked, the Iraqi Parliament was sitting on some bills that were crucial to the government's survival, while people were being blown up in the streets. And, last I checked, the Bush administration and its dwindling band of enablers were urging the Iraqis to make some real progress in time for Gen. David Petraeus' September report.

Recall how the media cow towed to the notion that Bush was guided by his Christian faith. It seems they didn't need any proof. He cut taxes for the rich, increased the debt more than any president in history and took us to war using manufactured intelligence...but the media said he was a "good Christian man." Talk about idiots.

July 22, 2007

Bush could face first veto override: Health care for low income children

Now, almost 10 years later, President Bush is threatening to veto federal legislation that would renew the same partnership — the State Children's Health Insurance Program — and expand it to cover more of the nation's nearly 9 million uninsured children.

If he follows through on that threat, Bush could face a first in his presidency: a veto override.

The bill is considered Washington's most important legislation this year on health coverage.

July 20, 2007

Iraq unions vow 'mutiny' over oil law

BAGHDAD, July 20 (UPI) --  Iraq's unions say the draft oil law is a threat and threaten "mutiny" if Parliament approves the bill.

"This law cancels the great achievements of the Iraq people," Subhi al-Badri, head of the Iraqi Federation of Union Councils, told the al-Sharqiyah TV station. He referred specifically to laws that nationalized Iraq's oil sector.

Iraq holds 115 billion barrels of proven reserves, the third largest in the world, and likely much more when the country is fully explored.

July 20, 2007

Iraq Oil Benchmark Won't Be Met

A confidential intelligence report prepared for U.S. officials this week concludes a key U.S. benchmark of progress in Iraq, a law to divide oil revenues equitably among the provinces, "will not be agreed by September, even if cosmetic legislation is put in place."

An agreement on how to divide oil profits among Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish areas is one of 18 key benchmarks of progress to be reviewed by the U.S. in September.

From this point of view Democrats throw money at problems and fix it. The GOP throws money at their perceived problem and make it worse.

July 22, 2007

Teen Sex Rates Stop Falling

After decreasing steadily and significantly for more than a decade, the percentage of teenagers having intercourse began to plateau in 2001 and has failed to budge since then, despite the intensified focus in recent years on encouraging sexual abstinence, according to new analyses of data from a large federal survey.

The halt in the downward trend coincided with an increase in federal spending on programs focused exclusively on encouraging sexual abstinence until marriage, several experts noted. Congress is currently debating funding for such efforts, which receive about $175 million a year in federal money and have come under fire from some quarters for being ineffective.

July 22, 2007

UK drops 'war on terror'

What had just been narrowly averted, he said, was not a new jihadist act of war but instead a criminal act. As if to underscore the point, Brown instructed his ministers that the phrase "war on terror" was no longer to be used and, indeed, that officials were no longer even to employ the word "Muslim" in connection with the terrorism crisis.

In remarks to reporters, Brown's new home secretary, Jacqui Smith, articulated the basic message. "Let us be clear," she said, "terrorists are criminals, whose victims come from all walks of life, communities and religions."

For years it was in the best interest of the GOP to stay in Iraq, now they want out of that quagmire. Now Democrats say they want out of Iraq but they're not going to help the GOP since it's hurting the GOP in the polls. Dems could have withheld funds and/or forced the GOP to raise taxes to pay for the war and under the best of circumstances both would have resulted in the war ending quickly. But, Dems have nothing to gain from ending the war the war goes on.

The central question has never changed. Is Iraq a threat to our national security? The answer has also never changed. No. Therefore both parties have been playing politics with this war for years and the media is eating it up.

July 19, 2007

Time: How to Leave Iraq

As the White House and Congress bicker over timetables and benchmarks, intelligence estimates and report cards, the real question is the one neither camp is facing very well: How do we leave in a way that maximizes the good that we can still achieve and minimizes the damage that will inevitably occur? The best strategic minds in both parties have argued for months that the answer is essentially to muddle our way out, cut our losses carefully and try to salvage what we can from a mission gone bad. Even under the rosiest scenarios, the U.S. will suffer a humbling blow to its prestige as it leaves Iraq and the Sunni-Shi'ite civil war intensifies. But with the debacle would come some dividends. Done judiciously, a pullback from the war would start restoring America's ability to advance its interests and deter aggression beyond Iraq.

July 19, 2007

Clinton, Obama Beat Every Republican in Presidential Poll

NEW YORK —  Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton now holds a slight lead over top Republican Rudy Giuliani for the first time in a hypothetical 2008 presidential matchup. In fact, to varying degrees, Clinton and fellow Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama beat every Republican candidate they are tested against in the latest FOX News Poll.

July 18, 2007

General slams GOP senators on Iraq policy

Retired Maj. Gen. John Batiste, former division commanding general in Iraq, said he was "disappointed" in the way most Republican senators voted to oppose the Democrat-backed legislation that passed the U.S. House of Representatives last week. President George W. Bush is expected to veto the measure.

"Our incredible all-volunteer force cannot sustain the current pace and America desperately needs a focused Middle East strategy," Batiste said. "Conservatives never have stood for using our military for nation building or refereeing civil wars, and unfortunately politicians like many Republicans in the Senate are getting away from that. Their vote was inconsistent with a true, conservative, pro-military policy."

Batiste has angered Republican legislators in the U.S. Congress with his testimony in a highly charged congressional hearing on developments in the war.

July 19, 2007

Two U.S. soldiers face murder charge

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Two U.S. soldiers have been charged with premeditated murder in the death of an Iraqi near the northern city of Kirkuk last month, the U.S. military said Thursday.

Marine Cpl. Trent D. Thomas was convicted of kidnapping and conspiracy to commit offenses, including murder.

The charges were brought against Sgt. Trey A. Corrales of Texas and Spc. Christopher P. Shore of Georgia, following "reports of the alleged wrongdoing made by fellow soldiers to military authorities," a military statement said.

The good guys win another one.

July 19, 2007

Court: VA Must Pay Agent Orange Victims

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- An appeals court chastised the Department of Veterans Affairs on Thursday and ordered the agency to pay retroactive benefits to Vietnam War veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange and contracted a form of leukemia.

"The performance of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs has contributed substantially to our sense of national shame," the opinion from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals read.

Apparently the neocons in the Pentagon haven't been reading any major newspapers in the past few months. If they had, they'd know just about everyone is supporting withdrawal, including newspapers that supported Bush's war from day one.

The problem is the neocons listen to Rush Limbaugh and Fox and think the country is with them. They were delusional when they took us to war and they remain delusional today.

July 20, 2007

Clinton hits back at Pentagon

WASHINGTON - Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton hit back Friday at a Pentagon aide who charged that her questions about Iraq withdrawal planning have the effect of helping the enemy - calling the accusation a spurious dodge of a serious issue.

Clinton, the Democratic frontrunner for president, had asked the Pentagon to detail how it is planning for the eventual withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Iraq. She first raised the issue in May, pointing out that whenever troops leave, it will be no simple task to transport the people, equipment, and vehicles out of Iraq, possibly through hostile territory.

The best part of Bush's wars is he hasn't been forced to raise taxes to pay for them. If they media had any balls they'd have asked him where he's going to get all the money he's spending, but alas the media remains brain dead.

July 19, 2007

Iraq War Costs Approach $567 Billion

July 19 (Bloomberg) -- The cost of the war in Iraq will exceed the half-trillion dollar mark once Congress completes its work on a defense measure for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, the Congressional Research Service said in a report.

"If Congress approves these requests, total funding would reach about $567 billion for Iraq, $157 billion for Afghanistan" with the remainder for enhanced U.S. homeland security, CRS analyst Amy Belasco said in a July 16 report released yesterday.

Spending for the effort against terrorism since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks is on a course to reach $758 billion after the House and Senate complete work on their respective bills and negotiators agree on a final version later this year, the report said.

The Boston Globe understand that we must hold our representatives to their word. GOP senators say they're finally against the war but they voted again to keep it going. It's time to rid our country of every liar in the GOP - every republican in office.

July 10, 2007

Boston Globe: Lesser evils and an exit strategy

It is pointless for Bush to go on complaining that the commanding general in Iraq, David Petraeus, needs more time to make his clear-and-hold operations in Baghdad work, or that the electoral anxieties of congressional incumbents should not determine US policy in Iraq. A virtue of the democratic system Bush has sought to export to the Middle East is that, at regular intervals, it allows the people to call their representatives to account.

It's time to get caught up on some editorials from around the country. Most newspapers still think the GOP will do the right thing when push comes to shove. Boy are they delusional.

July 10, 2007

Kansas Eagle: Time for a new phase in Iraq

Bush argued in January that the surge would give the Iraqi government breathing space to accomplish key goals, such as holding provisional elections and agreeing on power-sharing arrangements. But the Iraqi leaders have failed to meet any of those benchmarks -- nor do they seem willing to do the hard work and compromise needed to achieve them.

American leaders must now focus on how to draw down U.S. troops and prepare for an eventual withdrawal, as outlined last year by the Iraq Study Group.

It's important to understand how delusional the media remains. They still think the GOP gives a damn about this country or the war or the troops. The GOP had a chance to vote against the war and voted to keep it going. The same bullshit that got us into war is keeping us in the war and it's time for the media to call the GOP on it.

July 15, 2007

Sacramento Bee: There are no options for a graceful exit

In these circumstances, as James Fearon of Stanford University wrote in the March/April edition of Foreign Affairs, "U.S. military intervention in Iraq is thus unlikely to produce a government that can survive by itself whether the troops stay 10 more months are 10 more years."

There are no options for a graceful exit. The choice is among unpalatable alternatives. Republicans and Democrats in Congress increasingly understand this. The problem is that President Bush still doesn't, and he is the one who must do the planning for a safe, orderly disengagement.

July 13, 2007

Detroit Free Press: Time to Pull Out

"There is no near-term answer," Daniel Goure, vice president of the Lexington Institute, a military policy research group, told the Associated Press. "Does that mean that you can't win this thing? This is winnable -- in about 10 years. But you could lose it ... in about an hour and a half."

It is time to start getting America out of Iraq, to stop debating whether the glass is half empty or half full, and start to drain it.

First rule of politics: Never trust what a politician says, watch what he does. The Clinton camp likes to blame Bush for his war - the war she voted for and supported until most Americans opposed it. Is there any leaders left in Congress?

July 18, 2007

Top GOP Senators Only Talk Against the War

Anyone searching for the highest forms of invertebrate life need look no further than the floor of the U.S. Senate last week and this. These spineless specimens go by various names -- Republican moderates; respected senior Republicans; Dick Lugar, John Warner, Pete Domenici, George Voinovich.

They have seen the folly of our course in Iraq. The mission, they understand, cannot be accomplished. The Iraqi government, they discern, is hopelessly sectarian.

In wisdom, they are paragons. In action, they are nullities.

July 18, 2007

Ex-Cheney Aide Gets 10 Years in Prison in Spy Case

NEWARK, New Jersey (Reuters) - A former White House official who took top secret documents from U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney's office and gave them to opposition figures in the Philippines was sentenced on Wednesday to 10 years in prison.

Philippine-born Leandro Aragoncillo, a U.S. citizen and former Marine, pleaded guilty last year to taking the documents that included details on threats against U.S. government interests and military personnel in the Philippines.

July 18, 2007

Leader of Al Qaeda group in Iraq was fictional

As the titular head of the Islamic State in Iraq, an organization publicly backed by Al Qaeda, Baghdadi issued a steady stream of incendiary pronouncements. Despite claims by Iraqi officials that he had been killed in May, Baghdadi appeared to have persevered unscathed.

On Wednesday, a senior American military spokesman provided a new explanation for Baghdadi's ability to escape attack: He never existed.

Brigadier General Kevin Bergner, the chief American military spokesman, said the elusive Baghdadi was actually a fictional character whose audio-taped declarations were provided by an elderly actor named Abu Adullah al-Naima.

Bush continues to say Afghanistan is a success story. In the real world, he's lying. Lying is an impeachable offense.

An Impeachable Offense
July 18, 2007

Taliban growing stronger in Afghanistan

LONDON (Reuters) - NATO countries are not giving the international force securing Afghanistan enough support and there are worrying signs that the Taliban are growing stronger, a detailed study by Britain's parliament has found.

The report, by the House of Commons Defence Committee, highlighted a series of concerns, from a lack of training for Afghan police and armed forces to an unclear policy on eradicating the country's vast opium poppy fields.

But the chief preoccupation was a lack of support from other NATO countries to provide more troops to the 36,000-strong ISAF mission and evidence that violence, including Iraq-style suicide bombings, was growing as Taliban and al Qaeda-linked insurgents expand their sphere of influence outwards from the south.

July 18, 2007

Fight for control of Iraq's oil reserves

"We will lose control over Iraqi oil. The social progress in Iraq will be curtailed substantially, because the oil companies want huge profits; they are not concerned about the environment, wages, or living conditions," he warned. "We will wait to see the reaction of the Iraqi people."

Baghdad has reacted angrily to the union's campaign, issuing arrest warrants for al Assadi and his fellow leaders, and refusing to recognize the 26,000-strong confederation of workers.

July 15, 2007

Philadelphia Inquirer: Getting Out of Iraq

President Bush must be living in a time warp, judging by his remarks last week. It's a lovely thought on which he dwells: Decency and democracy should triumph over terrorism and tyrants. Should, but may not if you make too many mistakes.

And his team has made plenty in Iraq - from too few boots on the ground, to the lack of post-war planning, to dismissing the importance of understanding Iraqi people and cultures.

He cannot endlessly leave American soldiers to die fighting for impossible objectives. If he cannot admit that, Congress must force him to face reality.

A War Crime
July 18, 2007

Marine ordered Iraqi women and kids shot

CAMP PENDLETON, California: A Marine charged with murdering two girls and killing several other Iraqis gave orders to shoot into a roomful of children and young women, a squad member testified.

Lance Cpl. Stephen Tatum then went into the room himself, followed by loud noise that could have been M-16 gunfire or a grenade, said Lance Cpl. Humberto Manuel Mendoza.

"I told him there's just womens and kids in the room," Mendoza said Tuesday. "He replied, 'Well, shoot them.'"

July 16, 2007

Cheney pushes Bush to bomb Iran

The balance in the internal White House debate over Iran has shifted back in favour of military action before President George Bush leaves office in 18 months, the Guardian has learned.

The shift follows an internal review involving the White House, the Pentagon and the state department over the last month. Although the Bush administration is in deep trouble over Iraq, it remains focused on Iran. A well-placed source in Washington said: "Bush is not going to leave office with Iran still in limbo."

July 18, 2007

6 Years After 9/11, the Same Threat

WASHINGTON, July 17 — Nearly six years after the Sept. 11 attacks, the hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of lives expended in the name of the war on terror pose a single, insistent question: Are we safer?

On Tuesday, in a dark and strikingly candid two pages, the nation's intelligence agencies offered an implicit answer, and it was not encouraging. In many respects, the National Intelligence Estimate suggests, the threat of terrorist violence against the United States is growing worse, fueled by the Iraq war and spreading Islamic extremism.

July 18, 2007

Bush Aides See Failure in Fight With Al Qaeda in Pakistan

WASHINGTON, July 17 — President Bush's top counterterrorism advisers acknowledged Tuesday that the strategy for fighting Osama bin Laden's leadership of Al Qaeda in Pakistan had failed, as the White House released a grim new intelligence assessment that has forced the administration to consider more aggressive measures inside Pakistan.

The intelligence report, the most formal assessment since the Sept. 11 attacks about the terrorist threat facing the United States, concludes that the United States is losing ground on a number of fronts in the fight against Al Qaeda, and describes the terrorist organization as having significantly strengthened over the past two years.