Just Foreign Policy Iraqi Death Estimator    

Friday, April 11, 2008

Iraq War Costs Skyrocketing, But Congress Unable to Scrutinize Spending

by Jason Leopold Page 1 of 2 page(s)
Nearly all of the $516 billion allocated by Congress to fund the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq has come in the form of emergency spending requests, a method the White House has abused, depriving Congress the ability to scrutinize how the Pentagon spends money in the so-called global war on terror. The use of emergency supplemental bills to fund the wars has likely resulted in the waste of billions of taxpayer dollars, according to a recent report from the Congressional Research Service (CRS), the investigative arm of Congress.Dozens of emergency funding requests that Congress has approved since 2001 is unprecedented compared with past military conflicts when war funding went through the normal appropriations process. As of March, CRS said average monthly costs to fund military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan has reached roughly $12.3 billion, $10 billion for Iraq alone, more than double what it cost to fund the war in 2004.

Go to the Fridge and Fix Yourself a Superbug Sandwich

Canadian pork imports may be laced with antibiotic-resistant Staph
In Canada-a country that provides 80 percent of the United States' pork imports-a strain of MRSA was found in a sample of pigs and their farmers. One-fourth of 285 pigs studied were infected, according to a report in Veterinary Micro­biology, with a 20 percent rate of transmission to the pig farmers. The USDA has found that foodborne outbreaks have occurred due to contamination by food handlers who spread bacteria from pork

Who stole those votes in Alabama in 2002? Don Siegelman names names--but the media doesn't want to know

by Mark Crispin Miller
Yesterday I emailed Don Siegelman, as I had a few matters to discuss with him.
Here's the crucial part:
The other, more important thing is this: As you may or may not know, the one aspect of your long ordeal that the press has stubbornly refused to mention--or, I think, even to perceive--is the theft of that election in 2002. Like you, I believe that that was crucial; but the press, quite typically, won't mention it. Frankly, I believe that they, and most leading Democrats, are in denial about it, as its implications are too frightening.
Just as they've looked away from all the evidence of vast election fraud throughout Bush/Cheney's reign, therefore, they've also looked away from the subversion of that gubernatorial race in Alabama. And so that chapter of your story is unknown to most Americans, even those who've lately heard the rest of it.
Here is his reply:
Mark, I mention the vote stealing in every interview. 60 Minutes cut it out. Don Abrams didn't want to go there either. I have told the story to the Washington Post and LA Times.
The hook is Rove's fingerprints are found there too. First, in that Rove's friend Jack Abramoff hires Dan Gans, who was in charge of " electronic ballot security" in Baldwin County, Alabama, where the votes were stolen. Gans, working for the Alexander Strategies Group, claims credit for the win on his website, which he then takes down when Abramoff gets arrested. The second is Rove's business partner, Kitty Mc Cullough (a/k/a Kelly Kimbrough) is given credit for the electronic vote switch by the state Republican Party.
I asked Don if I could send that out, and he said yes ("Have at it"). So now I offer it to you.
If you're an election reform activist, please start your (search) engines. If you're a journalist, please do your job. And if you're just another patriotic citizen, please do whatever you can do to get the press, and/or the Democratic Party, to pay heed.
For starters, how about asking "60 Minutes" why they "cut it out," and asking Dan Abrams why he "didn't want to go there either"? And since Don also told the Washington Post and LA Times about the theft of that election, how about we ask them, too?
This stuff will just keep on happening, until we make it dangerous to do such things.

Yoo Disbarment Sought

The National Lawyers' Guild has called for the disbarment of John Yoo, the former Justice Department attorney who authored the notorious "torture memorandum," used to justify the illegal imprisonment and maltreatment of prisoners held by American military authorities as "unlawful combatants." Yoo, currently on the law faculty of the University of California at Berkeley, is guilty of "complicity in establishing the policy that led to the torture of prisoners," said Guild President Marjorie Cohn, who condemns Yoo as a war criminal. The Guild, the nation's biggest public interest bar organization, is also demanding that the law school, known as Boalt Hall, fire Yoo, and that Congress repeal a law that purports to give him and other torturers immunity from prosecution.
By Patrick J. Buchanan The neocons may yet get their war on Iran. Ever since President Nouri al-Maliki ordered the attacks in Basra on the Mahdi Army, Gen. David Petraeus has been laying the predicate for U.S. air strikes on Iran and a wider war in the Middle East.
By Dan Froomkin
Vice President Cheney went on right-wing talk radio yesterday with a dramatic new argument for preventing Iran from getting nuclear weapons, casting the Iranian leadership as apocalyptic zealots who yearn for a nuclear conflagration.
By James Cumes
The financial and economic crisis now upon us is by far the most menacing of the past century - even more so than the Great Depression of the 1930s. It is not just a "subprime" crisis; it is systemic - affecting the entire financial system.

Second Mistrial!!!!!!!

Jury deadlocked in Sears Tower terrorism case
"Jurors in the retrial of six South Florida men accused of plotting to blow up buildings in Chicago and Miami told a federal judge Friday they have been unable to reach agreement.
In a note to U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard on their 10th day of deliberations, jurors said they have not reached a verdict for any of the six defendants on any of four terror-related counts, suggesting a second mistrial could be declared in the high profile case.
Lenard denied a defense motion for a mistrial and instructed the jury to continue deliberating.
The defendants, struggling construction workers who hung out in a Liberty City warehouse, are charged with four terror-related counts for conspiring to support terrorism, to destroy buildings and to wage war on the United States. If convicted on all counts, the men face up to 70 years in prison."

What is their real agenda???

not my president said:
This is from an answer on Obama for Seattle to Why Cheney was grinning in the photo (see earlier post) of Cheney with a reflection in his glasses while fishing.
Cheney is grinning because everything is proceeding according to plan....The key in battle is to know thine enemy...Who is Karl Rove, who are the people he and Cheney hand picked to fill every cabinet position? What is their real agenda??? From all appearances it would seem to be to run our nation into the ground....wildly gross incompetence. That is the easy and lazy approach, if you look closer they are pretty much all lifted directly from PNAC, the Project For A New American Century, which happens to be a neo-Zionist front group.Reverend Wright knew what he was talking about, dont buy the media baloney...investigate these jokers yourselves...its all out there. If the whole country really knew what has been going on this revolution would really get rolling....Seriously, dont dismiss this, investigate it, tell your neighbors, write an editorial. Dont let "PC" baloney keep you from the truth....this is an invidious plague. Research PNAC...they are war criminals, and will stop at nothing, and i mean NOTHING to stay in power unless we stop them...these people take a long view politically, and it took them decades to get where they are now, they will not give up power unless we take it back. Make no mistake...these people control all the mechanisms of our economy, have been pushing GM crops as a means of control, went to extraordinarily dramatic and bloody legnth to trick us into the war they wanted....make no mistake, they knew it wasnt in America's interest when we went to Iraq. The horrible truth...if you have the courage to suspend your cynicism or knee jerk reaction when faced with such an unfathomable concept. Know thine enemy.... the truth will set you free...These people are Straussian (named for Leo Strauss) Neo-Zionists...and they are aligned behind Clinton now...that is the reason Hillary still has the illusion of a competitive campaign running in the media... Think they wont try to steal or stop this election??? Think again.Note the patriotic American names of these organization...
it goes on and on and on....and then there is the media, and the Fed Bank...The war profit trail leads back to the war planners....we are slaves
Signature on Presidential Memo authorizing tortureLinkHere

Pope a No-Show at White House Dinner

WASHINGTON (AP) — Guess who's not coming to dinner?
Pope Benedict XVI — he's not attending a White House dinner in his honor on Wednesday.
President Bush will go out to Andrews Air Force Base on Tuesday to welcome the pope on his first visit to the United States since he was elected pontiff in 2005. On Wednesday there will be a formal welcoming ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House with up to 12,000 guests.
Wednesday night's dinner, hosted by the president, will be in the East Room, which normally contains little furniture and traditionally is used for large gatherings such as news conferences, bill-signing ceremonies, awards presentations and after-dinner entertainment.
"It's in honor of his visit," White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said. "There will be leaders from the Catholic community from all over the country who are in town for that visit."
He said he did not know why the pope would not attend.

A Better Executive, Obama or Clinton?

Obama's campaign proves he's a better executive than Clinton
He has expertly managed a massive political operation in a way no one has ever done before.
This weekend's firing of chief political strategist Mark Penn is just the most recent incident in a string of events that highlight Hillary Clinton's incompetence.
Penn's, and therefore Hillary's, primary strategy going into this campaign was to position the Senator from New York as the establishment candidate, the "experience" candidate, the only one who could be ready to be President on "Day one." Clearly that has not worked.
The reality is that Clinton has roughly the same amount of experience as Barack Obama. Clinton has been on the national stage for four years longer than Barack, but Obama has been playing the game of electoral politics for four years longer than Clinton has.
Neither of them has experience as a mayor or governor and therefore no executive experience, neither does McCain for that matter.
The closest things either of them have to executive experience are their Presidential Campaigns and when we take a closer look at those, there is no argument that Barack Obama is doing a far better job.
Even the most ardent Hillary Clinton supporter is not going to claim that their campaign has been running well, at least not with a straight face. Since "Day one" of this campaign the Obama Campaign has outdone Team Clinton.
Right off the bat, Obama got two things right that Clinton did not.
One, he understood what this race was going to be about, change. Of course, this was the only natural course for Barack to take, but his understanding of this is likely one of the major reasons he actually decided to throw his hat into the ring in the first place.
Two, Obama understood the importance of running a nation-wide campaign. He wanted to be prepared in case Iowa and New Hampshire didn't go exactly as planned. He was prepared for the long-term. Clinton was not.
Throughout this campaign, Obama has always been a step or two ahead of Clinton. The most dramatic example of this was in the states following Super Tuesday. Barack Obama went on an 11-state winning streak post-Feb. 5th. In large part because he already had organizations and advertising up-and-running in places like Washington, Nebraska and Louisiana prior to Super Tuesday.
Along the same lines, Penn and Clinton also made the strategic decision to "ignore" what they referred to as "boutique states", the smaller caucus states. The campaign has consistently implied that caucuses are not Democratic, funny that we never heard that from her campaign prior to the Iowa Caucuses.
What may be even worse than her strategic failure is Clinton's organizational failure. If you want to do a fun experiment on your own try Googling "Clinton owes" and see what comes up, then Google "Obama owes."
In the first three pages of results zero mention Barack Obama's campaign owing anyone money. They are all stories about who Obama owes some sort of gratitude.
The results, however, produce 15 stories (50% of the stories) about how Hillary Clinton's Campaign owes someone money. A story that didn't even make it into the top 30 on Google is the story of Bill Clinton's visit to the University of California at Berkeley.
The former President told students there "I owe this campus a lot."
It turns out his wife does to. The Campaign was supposed to pay the University $11,000 for the appearance. They were billed on Jan. 23rd and as of yesterday still owed over $5,000. The University has made repeated attempts to collect from the campaign and have set a deadline of May 10th before the bill is sent to collections.
At least two other California schools have made similar claims. Others in Rhode Island, Connecticut and even Hillary Clinton's own high school in Illinois have also reported a lack of payment from the Clinton Campaign. There are many other stories like this out there, but I don't have the time to sift through all of them.
If Clinton's Campaign was completely out of money it would be understandable that she was unable to come up with the money. Campaigns end up in debt all the time. However, once it reaches a certain point, most of those campaigns quit and ask supporters to help raise the money to repay the schools, veteran's organizations and cities and towns that were gracious enough to host them.
The problem is Clinton's Campaign is not out of money. They are raising $20 million a month. Surely that is enough to cover the dozens of $5,000 - $10,000 chunks of cash they owe.
In Clinton's defense though, it seems that at least a portion of that $20 million a month may be illegally obtained, and no one wants schools to get paid with dirty money. Think about the children!
This story has been popping up all over, and while it may be anecdotal, it says a lot about how the two campaigns have been run thus far. Basically Obama's Campaign sent back a $100 check to a man who is registered as a lobbyist for a non-profit organization, because he is a lobbyist. At the same time the man's wife can't get the Clinton Campaign to stop taking $10 a month from her bank account despite repeated attempts to end the direct withdrawal arrangement she had set up with them.
There is plenty of more evidence to suggest that Hillary Clinton's campaign is a mess, but I am not here to write a book, just to write today's post.
As I said in the beginning of the post, the Mark Penn incident is just the latest in a long string of problems for Hillary Clinton. Penn was, and will continue to be a large problem for this campaign. In fact, because of his private and sometimes public feuds with other high-ranking campaign staffers, some have referred to Clinton's Campaign headquarters as the "Beirut-on-the-Potomic."
Obama's campaign on the other hand has been widely praised as one of the best operations in modern politics.
Who do you think is equipped to be a better leader?
By the way, Clinton still owes Mark Penn $2.5 million.

Berkeley law school dean won't fire 'torture memo' author

The dean of Berkeley's law school says he is "substantively" troubled by former Justice Department lawyer John Yoo's legal memos, which critics say authorize torture, but he does not believe Yoo's conduct while working for the Bush administration justifies his dismissal from the law school where he has taught for a decade.
As a tenured professor at the University of California, Berkeley, Law School, Yoo has a guarantee of employment that can only be removed in the most extreme circumstances, writes Dean Christopher Ederly, Jr., in a statement posted to the school's Web site.
"My sense is that the vast majority of legal academics with a view of the matter disagree with substantial portions of Professor Yoo’s analyses, including a great many of his colleagues at Berkeley," Ederly writes. "If, however, this strong consensus were enough to fire or sanction someone, then academic freedom would be meaningless."

Fire in Clinton Campaign Headquarters Destroys Tax Returns

Ahahahahahahaha, Now that is a good one,
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (BorowitzReport) -- A blazing fire that ravaged Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign headquarters in Terre Haute, Indiana, destroyed more than just the building, campaign officials revealed today.
A spokesman for the Clinton campaign said that the 2007 tax returns of Mrs. Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, went up in flames along with everything else.
In fact, according to a spokesman for the Terre Haute Fire Department, the tax returns may have been ignited first, setting off the conflagration that burned the building to the ground.
"Based on our initial investigation, it looks like gasoline was poured all over the tax returns and then set ablaze," said THFD spokesman Tracy Klujian. "Whoever did this has experience in destroying records."
While the Terre Haute police have yet to name any suspects in the inferno, an eyewitness to the fire said he saw a "person in a yellow pantsuit with black trimming" fleeing the building moments after the campaign headquarters caught on fire.
At a press conference in Pittsburgh, Mrs. Clinton said that the incineration of her tax records was "a great personal loss," adding, "I was so looking forward to sharing them with the American people."
Mrs. Clinton cut her press conference short after a protracted coughing fit, complaining of smoke inhalation.

Bush, Cheney Tax Returns Released: Earnings In Millions

Iraq Veterans Against War seizes National Archives Building

Veterans demand that Cheney and Bush are charged with war crimes
2 Minute Video
IVAW members seize National Archives Building in front of hundreds of surprised museum visitors. Response from visitors including teachers, students, vacationers was highly positive though there were a few horrified faces in the crowd. IVAW read the terms of our Citizens Arrest Warrant.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

U.N. Official Calls for Study Of Neocons' Role in 9/11

By ELI LAKEStaff Reporter of the SunApril 10, 2008
WASHINGTON — A new U.N. Human Rights Council official assigned to monitor Israel is calling for an official commission to study the role neoconservatives may have played in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
On March 26, Richard Falk, Milbank professor of international law emeritus at Princeton University, was named by unanimous vote to a newly created position to report on human rights in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs. While Mr. Falk's specialty is human rights and international law, since the attacks in 2001, he has devoted some of his time to challenging what he calls the "9-11 official version."
On March 24 in an interview with a radio host and former University of Wisconsin instructor, Kevin Barrett, Mr. Falk said, "It is possibly true that especially the neoconservatives thought there was a situation in the country and in the world where something had to happen to wake up the American people. Whether they are innocent about the contention that they made that something happen or not, I don't think we can answer definitively at this point. All we can say is there is a lot of grounds for suspicion, there should be an official investigation of the sort the 9/11 commission did not engage in and that the failure to do these things is cheating the American people and in some sense the people of the world of a greater confidence in what really happened than they presently possess."
Mr. Barrett, who is the co-founder of the Muslim-Jewish-Christian Alliance for 9/11 Truth, said in an interview yesterday of Mr. Falk, "I would put him on a list of scholars who are sympathetic to the 9/11 truth movement."
He added, "Unlike most public intellectuals today, he is both honest and very, very knowledgeable in that he understands the probable reality of 9/11. He understands that the evidence that it was a false flag operation is very strong."
The narrative that the attacks from 2001 were a "false flag" operation is a recurring theme in the literature challenging the consensus that 19 Al Qaeda hijackers flew commercial jets into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. False flag refers to espionage or covert actions taken by one government made to seem like the work of another. The false flag thesis has it that the Bush administration is somehow responsible for the September 11 attacks as a pretext for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Mr. Falk yesterday did not return e-mails and phone calls asking for a comment. But in 2004 he wrote the foreword to the book "The New Pearl Harbor," by David Ray Griffin. Mr. Griffin has posited that such an inside job is the likely explanation for the attacks.

In Turnaround, Justice to Answer Iraq Rape Questions

DOJ Official to Attend Hearing With Two More Alleged Rape Victims
By JUSTIN ROODApril 8, 2008
Last December, the department declined to send an official to testify before the House Judiciary Committee hearing on law enforcement efforts to protect U.S. contractors in Iraq. The hearing featured testimony by Jamie Leigh Jones, a young Texan woman who says she was gang-raped while working for government contractor KBR in Iraq.
In January, several lawmakers pounded the Justice Department for flatly refusing to answer their questions about how sexual assault cases in Iraq involving U.S. citizens are handled. "We still have heard nothing from your office," complained several Democratic senators, including presidential hopeful Barack Obama, D-Ill.
Since the January hearing, the attorney general has met with Chairman John Conyers on the MEJA, or Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act, process, and the department has provided the House Judiciary Committee with additional information, a Justice spokesman said.
Now, congressional sources say the Justice Department has agreed to send a representative to a Senate hearing Wednesday entitled, "Closing Legal Loopholes: Justice for Americans Sexually Assaulted in Iraq and Afghanistan."
Sigal Mandelker, a senior appointee in the criminal division, is slated to appear before the Foreign Relations Committee, the Justice Department confirmed. Justice spokesman Erik Ablin said Mandelker was appearing for this hearing because the department had "received assurances" that it will not be questioned about any pending matters. The House hearing, he said, "concerned a pending matter that was under investigation."
Congressional sources, however, said two alleged rape victims, both former KBR employees who worked for the firm in Iraq, will be testifying about their experiences. One, the subject of a recent article, claims she was raped as recently as January.
1 2NEXT >

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

"President Bush has an exit strategy for just one man -- himself -- on January 20, 2009."

"We are stuck in a twilight zone in Iraq," said Democratic Senate Majority leader Harry Reid.
"When violence is up, the president says we cannot bring our troops home. When violence dips, the president says we cannot bring our troops home.

Missing Iraq antiquities haunt experts

About half of the 15,000 items either stolen or otherwise unaccounted for have been recovered, but the gaping hole in history remains on the fifth anniversary of the looting of Iraq's National Museum.
By Johanna NeumanLos Angeles Times Staff Writer1:25 PM PDT, April 8, 2008Five years ago, looters ransacked the Iraqi National Museum, stealing centuries-old artifacts that celebrated Iraq's role as the cradle of civilization. Some headlines at the time exaggerated the size of the damage -- erroneously reporting 170,000 items missing. Investigators later discovered that some important artifacts -- including gold jewelry from Nimrud -- had been hidden at Iraq's Central Bank since the Persian Gulf War in 1990.Today, investigators say that about 15,000 pieces were either stolen in the wake of war or went unaccounted for in the months and years before the conflict began. About half have been recovered. But the impact of the thefts -- amulets, Assyrian ivories, sculpture heads, ritual vessels and cylinder seals -- is still being felt in art circles and black markets throughout the world."The numbers can't tell the whole story," said U.S. Marine Reserve Col. Matthew Bogdanos, a New York assistant district attorney who has made the hunt for antiquities his specialty. "These things remind us of our common beginnings."Interpol has been on the case, as has the FBI, where a new top 10 art crimes list has reported some early successes, including recovery of eight cylinder seals."We are still looking for this material. It's still important that we recover it if it is out there," said Bonnie Magness-Gardner, an archaeologist and art theft program manager at the FBI. "This material represents the rise of civilization in the Western world."

The Surge Is Working, So Says Georgie

Wednesday: 4 U.S. Soldiers, 40 Iraqis Killed; 107 Iraqis Wounded

by Adil E. Shamoo
Once again, in reporting to Congress, Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker highlighted "progress" in Iraq without discussing the price Iraqis are paying for the occupation of their country.
Reports from Iraq indicate that nearly 500 Iraqis died in the first three days of fighting against the Sadr organization in Baghdad, Basra, Hilla, Diwaniya, and Kut at the end of March. Hundreds more have been wounded. U.S. forces are bombing the militia from the air even in the densely populated area of Sadr City.
But even worse, Petraeus and Crocker didn't mention what is really happening on the ground – by supporting Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in his attacks on Sadr's Mahdi Army, the U.S. is now more deeply involved in Iraq's sectarian war.
Maliki is from the small Dawa Party, but his prime support comes from the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI), the largest Shia party, and their militia, the Badr Organization. ISCI is closely allied with Iran. ISCI's intent has been to be the dominant force in Iraq by weakening the strong, nationalist Sadr organization and to weaken the other nationalist organization, the Fadhila. Indeed, one can see Maliki's weak position in the parliament: his ISCI party has 36 seats, while Sadr has 32 and Fadhila has 15.
Sadr, despite this aggressive move against his organization by the government of Iraq and U.S. forces, is still calling for peaceful and political means to resolve these issues. It's true that some elements of Sadr's army are criminal, but encouraging political dialogue with him has been fruitful in the past. It was through negotiation with his group that the cease-fire was created. If the fighting continues, it's likely that the Sadr cease-fire will end.
Why is this happening now?
According to Abid Aslam, Inter Press Service, "US lawmakers have a financial interest in military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, a review of their accounts has revealed."
By Ashley Seager
"Whole cities of pain. A continent of pain," said the great, if eccentric, Wall Street money dealer Jim Cramer recently. He was talking about the economic pain spreading across the United States, of course.
Israel has said it will refuse a visa for the new United Nations human rights envoy to the Palestinians after he said it was responsible for a “Holocaust in the making” in Gaza.
By Seumas Milne A confidential draft agreement covering the future of US forces in Iraq, passed to the Guardian, shows that provision is being made for an open-ended military presence in the country.

US water pipelines are breaking

Water Pipelines Across the US Are Breaking; Repair Costs Put at Nearly $300 Billion
AP News

Apr 08, 2008 14:31 EST
Two hours north of New York City, a mile-long stream and a marsh the size of a football field have mysteriously formed along a country road. They are such a marvel that people come from miles around to drink the crystal-clear water, believing it is bubbling up from a hidden natural spring.
The truth is far less romantic: The water is coming from a cracked 70-year-old tunnel hundreds of feet below ground, scientists say.
The tunnel is leaking up to 36 million gallons a day as it carries drinking water from a reservoir to the big city. It is a powerful warning sign of a larger problem around the country: The infrastructure that delivers water to the nation's cities is badly aging and in need of repairs.
The Environmental Protection Agency says utilities will need to invest more than $277 billion over the next two decades on repairs and improvements to drinking water systems. Water industry engineers put the figure drastically higher, at about $480 billion.
Water utilities, largely managed by city governments, have never faced improvements of this magnitude before. And customers will have to bear the majority of the cost through rate increases, according to the American Water Works Association, an industry group.
Engineers say this is a crucial era for the nation's water systems, especially in older cities like New York, where some pipes and tunnels were built in the 1800s and are now nearing the end of their life expectancies.
"Our generation hasn't experienced anything like this. We weren't around when the infrastructure was being built," said Greg Kail, spokesman for the water industry group. "We didn't pay for the pipes to be put in the ground, but we sure benefited from the improvements to public health that came from it."

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Bush says "God Speaks Through Me"

But what does he really mean?
It was an odd location for George W. Bush to make his big announcement. No television cameras were present. Yet, as Mr. Bush walked into the offices of the Lapp Electric Service plant in Smoketown, Pennsylvania, he must have known that his words would be reported around the world.
There, waiting to talk to Mr. Bush, was a group of about 60 local Amish, one of whom had made a quilt for the visiting President. Mr. Bush shook a few hands, tried on a straw hat, and then made his announcement to the small crowd.
"God speaks through me," he said. (We're not making this up. This story was first reported in the local papers, including the Intelligencer Journal and the Lancaster New Era, on July 16, 2004.)
God speaks through George W. Bush? Gosh. That sounds crazy. That sounds like the President of the United States, the most powerful human being on the Earth, the man who commands the greatest stockpile of nuclear missiles and other weapons of mass destruction ever created, believes that he is a prophet chosen by God to represent all that is good and right in the Universe. When George W. Bush says, "God speaks through me," it sounds as if George W. Bush really believes that whatever words happen to come out of his mouth are the words of God himself.

A nation ruined

The war against Iraq, now five years old, is unquestionably one of the most unpardonable crimes against humanity.

...More than two million Iraqis have been displaced from their homes and have become refugees in neighbouring countries such as Syria and Jordan. For the pauperised Iraqi middle class, the violence and anarchy that followed the American invasion was the last straw. Most of them have fled the country. Another two million Iraqis have become refugees inside Iraq. As a result of the occupation, there are now around 4.5 million orphans. Many of them are homeless. All sectors of Iraqi society have been affected, with women bearing the brunt of the war. Under Saddam Hussein and the Baath Party, women were represented in all sectors of society. More than half of the civil service personnel were women and a fourth of the parliament members since the 1980s comprised elected female members. Today all the gains made by Iraqi women have been negated. Even girls in Christian schools are forced to wear veils. According to the latest statistics provided by Iraq’s Ministry of Education, more than 70 per cent of Iraqi girls and women no longer attend school or college...

Obama: $1 Million in a Minute

The latest salvo in the Presidential hopeful's Web campaign is a site designed to process a million dollars in 60 seconds by Matt Vella
Last week the Obama camp announced it had raised $40 million in March alone, nearly twice the amount raised by Senator Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) during the same period. In all, he has raised some $234 million. Through February, Clinton's campaign had raised $156 million. AnObamaMinute.com calls for pledgers (who can pre-register) to register a donation within 60 seconds, at 1pm on Apr. 21. Could the site be interpreted as just another stunt in an environment where $1 million isn't what it used to be? "There is certainly an element of theater," admits one member of Obama's national finance committee who's familiar with the project (the campaign is participating to make sure all contributions meet federal giving requirements). But, it is also another ambitious fund-raising effort in a political season marked by campaigns that have aggressively pushed the boundaries of raising money, both off and online.
He is miles ahead of Hillary Clinton when it comes to online organizing and fundraising. But does that translate into votes?

Bill Clinton's Ties To Colombia Trade Deal Stronger Than Mark Penn's

On Sunday evening, Sen. Hillary Clinton's chief campaign strategist, Mark Penn, resigned from his post after it was revealed he was working (on the side) for the passage of a Colombia Free Trade Agreement that his candidate opposed.
But within the Clinton campaign, Penn is not the highest-ranking adviser with financial ties to groups and individuals supporting the passage of the measure.
Former President Bill Clinton has earned hundreds of thousands of dollars speaking on behalf of a Colombia-based group pushing the trade pact, and representatives of that organization tell The Huffington Post that the former president shared their sentiment.
In June 2005, Clinton was paid $800,000 by the Colombia-based Gold Service International to give four speeches throughout Latin America. The organization is, ostensibly, a development group tasked with bringing investment to the country and educating world leaders about the Colombia's business opportunities

Michael Ware On Iraq Hearings: I Just See A Lot Of Oxygen Being Wasted Here

Speaking to CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Tuesday, the cable news outlet's Baghdad Bureau Chief Michael Ware expressed his disappointment with the way in which lawmakers were questioning General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker. Ware said that it seemed like the hearings were more about political grandstanding than solving the Iraq crisis. "I just see a lot of oxygen being wasted here," Ware said. He also took the members of the committees to task for their lack of knowledge about the Iraq situation. Watch the exchanges below:

Link Here

FRONTLINE | "Bush's War" | Preview of Night 1 | PBS

Watch FRONTLINE Bush's War online right now at

Link Here

Unauthorized vehicles will be banned in Baghdad from 5 a.m. to midnight on Wednesday, the fifth anniversary of the city's capture by U.S. troops,

IRAQ HEARINGS: Sen. Feingold Questions Gen. Betraeus
I Say Sen. Feingold for V.P.
Should be Presidential Nomination, I say

Mother Jones reports that while while Petraeus testifies, U.S. personnel in Iraq are taking cover

Bush's Orwellian Address

Published on Saturday, September 22, 2001 by CommonDreams.org
Happy New Year: It's 1984
by Jacob Levich
Seventeen years later than expected, 1984 has arrived. In his address to Congress Thursday, George Bush effectively declared permanent war -- war without temporal or geographic limits; war without clear goals; war against a vaguely defined and constantly shifting enemy. Today it's Al-Qaida; tomorrow it may be Afghanistan; next year, it could be Iraq or Cuba or Chechnya.
No one who was forced to read 1984 in high school could fail to hear a faint bell tinkling. In George Orwell's dreary classic, the totalitarian state of Oceania is perpetually at war with either Eurasia or Eastasia. Although the enemy changes periodically, the war is permanent; its true purpose is to control dissent and sustain dictatorship by nurturing popular fear and hatred.
The permanent war undergirds every aspect of Big Brother's authoritarian program, excusing censorship, propaganda, secret police, and privation. In other words, it's terribly convenient.
And conveniently terrible. Bush's alarming speech pointed to a shadowy enemy that lurks in more 60 countries, including the US. He announced a policy of using maximum force against any individuals or nations he designates as our enemies, without color of international law, due process, or democratic debate.
He explicitly warned that much of the war will be conducted in secret. He rejected negotiation as a tool of diplomacy. He announced starkly that any country that doesn't knuckle under to US demands will be regarded as an enemy. He heralded the creation of a powerful new cabinet-level police agency called the "Office of Homeland Security." Orwell couldn't have named it better.
By turns folksy ("Ya know what?") and chillingly bellicose ("Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists"), Bush stepped comfortably into the role of Big Brother, who needs to be loved as well as feared. Meanwhile, his administration acted swiftly to realize the governing principles of Oceania:
WAR IS PEACE. A reckless war that will likely bring about a deadly cycle of retaliation is being sold to us as the means to guarantee our safety. Meanwhile, we've been instructed to accept the permanent war as a fact of daily life. As the inevitable slaughter of innocents unfolds overseas, we are to "live our lives and hug our children."
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY. "Freedom itself is under attack," Bush said, and he's right. Americans are about to lose many of their most cherished liberties in a frenzy of paranoid legislation. The government proposes to tap our phones, read our email and seize our credit card records without court order. It seeks authority to detain and deport immigrants without cause or trial. It proposes to use foreign agents to spy on American citizens. To save freedom, the warmongers intend to destroy it.
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH. America's "new war" against terrorism will be fought with unprecedented secrecy, including heavy press restrictions not seen for years, the Pentagon has advised. Meanwhile, the sorry history of American imperialism -- collaboration with terrorists, bloody proxy wars against civilians, forcible replacement of democratic governments with corrupt dictatorships -- is strictly off-limits to mainstream media. Lest it weaken our resolve, we are not to be allowed to understand the reasons underlying the horrifying crimes of September 11.
The defining speech of Bush's presidency points toward an Orwellian future of endless war, expedient lies, and ubiquitous social control. But unlike 1984's doomed protagonist, we've still got plenty of space to maneuver and plenty of ways to resist.
It's time to speak and to act. It falls on us now to take to the streets, bearing a clear message for the warmongers: We don't love Big Brother.
Jacob Levich (jlevich@earthlink.net) is an writer, editor, and activist living in Queens, New York.

Condi works the VP thing, what else?



But we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.


Rove's attorney tells MSNBC he'll testify in Siegelman case

Rove: I'll testify on Siegelman
In a new development in the Don Siegelman case -- the Democratic Alabama governor who was prosecuted and jailed for bribery in a trial that is now largely viewed as political -- Karl Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, told MSNBC Monday that Rove would testify if called to subpoena under oath.
Rove has decried the allegations of Alabama Republican whistleblower Dana Jill Simpson, who says she witnessed his involvement in the takedown of the governor. Siegelman was voted out of office and replaced by Robert Riley, a Republican.
On Dan Abrams' show Monday evening, Abrams said: "We asked this question to his attorney: Will Karl Rove agree to testify if Congress issues a subpoena to him as part of an investigation into the Siegelman case? The answer we got -- 'Sure.'" (Hat tip: ThinkProgress).
These videos are from MSNBC's Verdict, broadcast April 7, 2008. The first is the Rove specific clip; the second is of Siegelman's fuller appearance on the show.

The surge is a success? You Decide.

BAGHDAD (AFP)--At least 52 rockets or mortar bombs hit the heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad in the past week, Brigadier General Qassim Atta, spokesman for the Iraqi army in the capital, said Tuesday.
Atta said another 90 mortar bombs or rockets struck various other places in Baghdad over the same period.
The Green Zone, seat of the Iraqi government and the U.S. embassy, has come under sustained attacks in recent weeks, causing the deaths of four Americans, including two soldiers, and two of Sunni Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi's Iraqi guards.
The U.S. military says the mortar and rocket attacks are by Shiite militants from eastern Baghdad's Sadr City, bastion of the Mahdi Army militia of anti- American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.
His Shiite fighters are currently engaged in fierce clashes with Iraqi and U.S. forces in Sadr City. Dozens of people have been killed in the firefights.

Monday, April 07, 2008

The Buying of the President 2008

By DiAnne Grieser
on April 6, 2008 9:38 AM

Last election, the Center for Public Integrity ran a series called "The Buying of the President." We are now hearing about fortunes and tax returns and watching the candidates tweak their "branding" during the primaries. Unprecedented hundreds of millions, truly obscene amounts of money, are gathered not just for phone banking and the newer internet candidate sites but for ads and tours that resemble those of rock stars. Combined expenditures for 2008 are set to reach at least a billion dollars. Buying of the President is the 2008 version from Center for Public Integrity.
Read the series at the link above -
Listen to the podcast ("The Longest Campaign") here or download the MP3
Part One: Early efforts to limit the influence of big money in presidential politics Part Two: Scandals trigger reforms on a grand scale—and grand ways to evade them Part Three: Watergate ushers in the most sweeping campaign-finance reforms in history Part Four: A tidal wave of “soft money” washes through the biggest loophole in campaign-finance law Part Five: A new breed of fat cats “bundles” billions to candidates as the federal campaign-finance system crumbles
Just this week, stories came out in the media about McCain's wife's hundreds of inherited millions, his situation with respect to his own campaign finance law, the impressive amounts raised by the Obama campaign primarily from small donors over the internet, and the $119 million the Clintons have pulled in since leaving the White House. Center for Public Integrity can be depended on to dig deeper.
They have two categories, Democrats and Republicans.
Here is an excerpt from Part Five of the series:
When President Bush ran for reelection in 2004 he again rejected the federal subsidy for the primaries, which would have been less than $20 million, and raised an astounding $269 million. The leading Democratic candidates aspiring to oppose him in the general election, former Governor Howard Dean of Vermont and Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, followed suit, knowing that the nominee would have to keep pace with Bush during the long run-up to the Democratic National Convention, when primary money could still be spent. Dean’s campaign imploded despite the $51 million he raised, and Kerry raised $234 million in winning his party’s nomination. Both he and Bush accepted the federal subsidy for the general election campaign, Kerry losing in November.
Until this astounding money race, the basic public-financing scheme set in place in the post-Watergate reforms had essentially worked. In 1986, a bipartisan commission co-chaired by former Democratic National Chairman Robert S. Strauss and former Nixon Secretary of Defense Melvin R. Laird reported that “public financing of presidential elections has clearly proved its worth in opening up the process, reducing the influence of individuals and groups, and virtually ending corruption in presidential election finance.”
But the failure to increase the levels of allowable contributions to deal with the rising costs of campaigns and an accelerated election process finally persuaded leading candidates to break from the fundraising limits. And bundling made it possible for them to raise such vast amounts that the federal subsidies they turned away seemed like small potatoes. The sky’s-the-limit strategy seems to have become the only way to survive and compete, although raising a large number of small donations on the Internet has boosted the campaigns of Howard Dean in 2004 and both Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Ron Paul in 2008.
If there is any prospect of deliverance from the wretched excess of money in presidential politics, it’s not likely to come before the 2012 election cycle, as the leading candidates in both parties this time around take pages from the hugely successful fundraising techniques and apparatus of George W. Bush in 2000, and his copycats in the Democratic Party in 2004, to raise

Baghdad Not Consulted on Renewal of Blackwater Contract

Mother Jones
Friday afternoons have long been Washington's dumping ground for stories that various power brokers would rather see whither and die, and last Friday was no exception. Shortly after the Clinton campaign finally released Bill and Hillary's tax returns, showing they've netted over $100 million since 2000, the State Department announced that it would renew Blackwater's security contract to protect U.S. diplomats abroad....

Sunday, April 06, 2008

This video shows the Secret Service officer ordering JFK's bodyguards away from JFK before entering the Grassy Knolls area where he gets shot.

A Morning After

by eric harger

I'm not holding my breath but maybe I am waiting to exhale.
Two scenarios at the end of this year confront me with equal increduality. I just cannot believe, Bush/Chenney being the two-headed monster of murderous criminality, that they will just leave office peacefully. Nor can I shake my naivite that such brazen siezing of power could occur under our sleeping noses. I think most of us has been completely shocked at the crimes this dynamic duo have committed, yet most of us must admit, we might have suspected yet just quite didn't see it coming in the magnitude that it did when it did.
Pondering the possiblities, my gut feeling is there will be a pretext to martial law. Yes, the Bushes have held a long and bloody role in world history, surviving wether in power or out. The '34 Wall St. Coup, bankrolling Hitler and Auschwitz, the CIA , assasinaiting Kennedy, Vietnam, Nixon and Operation Condor. Either in office or pupet master above offfice.
This time it feels different though. Escape doors in Paraguay. Private armies and private prisons. No Habeus Corpus. Presidential Directive to control all branches of the government. The Mussellini-esque goose stepping of the Supreme Court. 9-11 inside job. Utter contempt and disregard for law and the Constitition. War for industry. War for oil. War for profit and war for endless hate.
The Bush family has a long history of support for dictatorships so why should this time, why with so much criminal conduct ripe for exposure, why would they just walk away and leave themselves open for prosecution? My gut says they won't.
Now if two or three or thousands other fear this disaster looming, question is, what would be a course ahead under such a police state dictatorship? I mean, one far worse than the one we already have. How would we, not just survive, but what would bring back the avenues of justice, democracy and peace?
Obviously, with moron professors like John Yoo opining that Bush alone is the law unto himself, no legal recourse following such a coup, would in fact be legal. So If King Bush has paved the legal brick road to monarchy, then any discourse here could in fact be twisted to read seditous. Of course the opposite is the truth, that any illegal and unConstitional siezure of power would require opposition from the citizenry.
But Bush has an endgame for the system of checks and balances and this time we could not look within the system for self restoral. Similarly I would have little faith in external rescue. A hobby horse UN, a ghost of a World Court and a huge gallery of victimized nations to view our implosion with grim satisfaction.
One of the feasome components, one Dick's probably counting on, is the vehicle of fear-mongering they might foist upon us to justify the evil that they would do. Wether a collapse of the financial system, depression, fake terrorist attack, agricultural or natural disaster, we the people will have to live and function within this land of diminished capacity and that's with Adolph Bush watching our every move. What hope for the future would we be able to give our childre?. Will we indeed be able to feed and shelter our children?
I am aware that I am postulating discussion of response to a hypothetical illegal coup by Bush. As the coup itself would be an illegal act, action taken in opposition would not only be legal but obligatory. Up yours Yoo. But having been said, I soap-box to others who might fear a coup-a-coming, that we must look to history in not repeating mistakes in similar situations of the past. From Lenin to Mugabe, violent reaction to violent power will become itself, a violent repressor with a new name.
So, if Bush pulls another false-flag attack on the US, declares martial law and siezes all branches of the government, suspending the Constition, what then are we going to do about it?
I feel we must then look to the example of MLK, of Ghandi and though I'm not a christian, to the peaceful protests of the man Jesus. No power on earth, no matter the violence or threat, can sustain, if everyone, everyone just sat down and went on strike. Period. No work of any kind, no other action of any kind required.
Power extends only from the ability to control. All control evaporates in the face of complete non-violent refusal to be controlled. Peaceful non-violent protest is not just a consideration for when and if Bush pulls a coup, it should be the flavor of the day, today, tomorrow and every day leading up to when and if Pumpkin Head declares himself, Head Turnip.
I was proud to be part of the 2004 Republican Convention protests and the 2004 half million who protested the war at the White House, but what has happented to us since? Too many of us have relaxed our vigilance, playing the waiting game till Bush's term expires. Well, what if it never expires? Are we going to be able to orginze again, under oppression, under threat of police state tacticts and no internet or other alternative forms of media? We should be continueing non-violent protest en masse right up to and until it's Bush's time to leave office and if he doesn't leave office, we can be right there, geared up, fired up and urging others not to take it anymore. Shut the mother down.
So I keep my fingers crossed and refuse to believe, at least on the surface, that Thing One and Thing Two, won't peacefully leave office and cease to be a threat to all that is living. But I wonder what worries me most, that they might be scheming evil plots unhatching, or that I don't have a plan B if they do.

Historians See Bush As Worst President Ever

“As far as history goes and all of these quotes about people trying to guess what the history of the Bush administration is going to be, you know, I take great comfort in knowing that they don’t know what they are talking about, because history takes a long time for us to reach.”— George W. Bush, Fox News Sunday, Feb10, 2008
A Pew Research Center poll released last week found that the share of the American public that approves of President George W. Bush has dropped to a new low of 28 percent.
An unscientific poll of professional historians completed the same week produced results far worse for a president clinging to the hope that history will someday take a kinder view of his presidency than does contemporary public opinion

That's the only thing his name is worth being on, a SEWERAGE PLANT

Blackwater is one of the largest private military contractors, receiving nearly $1.25 billion in federal business since 2000,

WASHINGTON — Amid investigations into fatal shootings of civilians and allegations of tax violations, Blackwater USA's multimillion-dollar contract to protect diplomats in Baghdad has been renewed, the State Department said Friday.
A final decision about whether the private security company will keep the job is pending, the department said. Moyock, N.C.-based Blackwater is one of the largest private military contractors, receiving nearly $1.25 billion in federal business since 2000, according to a House committee estimate.
Blackwater provides security for diplomats in Baghdad, where the sprawling U.S. Embassy is headquartered. Its private guards act as bodyguards and armed drivers, escorting government officials when they go outside the fortified Green Zone.
Iraqis were outraged over a Sept. 16 shooting in which 17 Iraq civilians were killed in a Baghdad square. Blackwater said its guards were protecting diplomats under attack before they opened fire, but Iraqi investigators concluded the shooting was unprovoked.
An FBI probe began in November. Prosecutors want to know whether Blackwater contractors used excessive force or violated any laws.

Mark Twain

Man is the only animal that deals in that atrocity of atrocities, War. He is the only one that gathers his brethren about him and goes forth in cold blood and calm pulse to exterminate his kind. He is the only animal that for sordid wages will march out...and help to slaughter strangers of his own species who have done him no harm and with whom he has no quarrel. ..And in the intervals between campaigns he washes the blood off his hands and works for "the universal brotherhood of man"--with his mouth.

From the REAGAN DIARIES------entry dated May 17, 1986.

Beneath the photo from the REAGAN DIARIES is an actual quote that Reagan wrote about George 'W' in his diaries, recently edited by author Doug Brinkley and published by Harper Collins
A moment I've been dreading. George brought his n'er-do-well sonaround this morning and asked me to find the kid a job. Not the olitical one who lives in Florida; the one who hangs around hereall the time looking shiftless. This so-called kid is already almost 40 and has never had a real job. Maybe I'll call Kinsley over at The New Republic and see if they'll hire him as a contributing editor or something. That looks like easy work.
free hit counter