Just Foreign Policy Iraqi Death Estimator    

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Office of Special Counsel official quits in protest

James Byrne's resignation letter tells off his boss, Scott J. Bloch, for what he calls the Bush appointee's 'political agendas and personal vendettas.'were preventing the agency from fulfilling its mission.

Acquience? White House Spokeswoman Dana Perino, Democrats favor a policy of appeasement toward terrorists

Wonder how many innocent Afgani Citizens have been killed

Afghanistan hit by record number of bombs
By Bruce Rolfsen - Staff writerPosted : Friday Jul 18, 2008 6:41:15 EDT
Air Force and allied warplanes are dropping a record number of bombs on Afghanistan targets.
For the first half of 2008, aircraft dropped 1,853 bombs — more than they released during all of 2006 and more than half of 2007’s total — 3,572 bombs.
Driving the increasing use of air power are fights in southern Afghanistan, where the Marine Corps arrived last winter, and battles in eastern Afghanistan, where Taliban and other insurgents use the border region with Pakistan as a safe haven.
Army Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Schloesser, who oversees ground operations in eastern Afghanistan as commander of Joint-Combined Joint Task Force-101, told reporters insurgent attacks were up 40 percent this year compared with 2007.
Information from the Air Force shows that in June warplanes released 646 bombs — the second-highest monthly total for Afghanistan or Iraq. The record was set in August 2007, when 670 bombs fell on Afghanistan. >>>cont

Totally sad, when it takes a child to understand instantly the man, it has taken 8 years for the American Nation to understand.

"No Child Left Behind at T-Ball Game With Scary President"
Metaphor Alert: Little Girl Runs Away, Crying, From President Bush
"CHILD RUNS CRYING FROM PRES. BUSH DURING WHITE HOUSE T-BALL GAME" and that is exactly what this little video shows happening. Watch, enjoy, leave a comment suggesting other possible chyrons (i.e. "No Child Left Behind at T-Ball Game With Scary President").

Well let's just dig for more.' I mean, when you are in a hole, stop digging."

"The idea that we can drill our way out of this is just so absurd not to warrant any serious consideration," Gore told a clearly excited crowd. "They used to say that a cure for a hangover was the hair of the dog that bit you. If you had a hangover you went and got another drink and it would help it go away. It's the sort of the same thing with these proponents of drilling. 'Oh, we're in a fossil fuel crisis? Well let's just dig for more.' I mean, when you are in a hole, stop digging."


Friday, July 18, 2008

How cheap is Iraqi blood!

Fatih Abdulsalam, Azzaman
Five years ago, international media weighed Iraqi blood drop by drop. Every drop that was shed was newsworthy and occupied their highlights. That was with the start of the U.S. invasion of 2003. But as the invasion which the occupiers – the U.S. and the U.K. – sold to us as 'liberation’ turned into one of the most devastating and destructive military campaigns in man’s history, Iraqi blood started flowing in buckles, then barrels, then streams and then rivers. It was too much for the media to accommodate. It became commonplace and in media terms no longer newsworthy despite the lakes and oceans that began forming as the streams and rivers started discharging their blood. Iraqi deaths are no longer important. Their numbers attract no more attention. If the deaths are too many, then a subtitle will do the job. Iraqis are being killed, injured and maimed in droves on a daily basis. But still that is not enough reason for the media to care... Today Iraqi deaths have no place to be buried like millions of Iraqi refugees who have nowhere to go with almost all countries shutting their doors in their face...
Imagine if you will a thought crossing George Bush's brain (it's a hypothetical so please suspend your disbelief) regarding the issue of global climate change.

Pelosi Secures Her "BUT"

Today on CNN's Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, Democratic Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, responded to a viewer who asked why she took the impeachment of George W. Bush off the table. Pelosi's response (below in video and text), is categoric proof of her incompetence, dereliction of duty, disdain for the Constitution and disregard for the people of this nation. It underscores why she should NOT continue as Speaker of the House and why she should NOT be reelected in November.

Pelosi on Impeachment


Something very wrong with this?

"If it is true that Obama is going to Iraq this weekend, it is a very serious mistake for McCain to have disclosed it publically. Even for run-of-the-mill CODELs the military gives guidance like, "Please strongly discourage Congressional offices from issuing press releases prior to their trips which mention their intent to travel to the AOR and/or the dates of that travel or their scheduled meetings. Such releases are a serious compromise to OPSEC." If Obama is going to Iraq this weekend, I can not begin to imagine how much this is complicating the security planning for the trip."
It's known that Obama is leaving on his foreign trip this weekend and the Journal OpEd page this morning said that Obama could arrive in Iraq "as early as this weekend." And with a slew of reporters in tow, it's not exactly highly classified information. But there is a reason definite information about these sorts of trips aren't released in advance.
Hypothetically, maybe McCain was just guessing. But even so it would still be a serious lapse of judgment on his part.
In fact,
McCain was furious when the press reported on his son serving in Iraq -- he feared the coverage would make him a target.

'It's gonna be a bloodbath,' fallen soldier told father

Source: CNN
Cpl. Gunnar Zwilling suspected his days were numbered last week, while he and his band of brothers in the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team prepared for a mission near Wanat, Afghanistan."It's gonna be a bloodbath," he told his father, Kurt Zwilling, on the phone, in what would be their last conversation.Kurt Zwilling braced himself for the worst but held out hope that his son would make it home."They were in the most dangerous place on Earth. They were in mortal danger, and there was nothing they could do it about it," he said. "But they were soldiers, so they had to do their job."With just a few days left in their 15-month tour, Gunnar Zwilling and eight of his comrades were killed July 13 in a clash with as many as 200 Taliban militants during a mission to set up an outpost near Wanat. It was the deadliest attack on U.S. troops in Afghanistan in three years.
U.S. soldiers killed
The Defense Department on Wednesday identified the U.S. soldiers killed Sunday when their outpost was overrun in Afghanistan.
• 1st Lt. Jonathan P. Brostrom, 24, of Aiea, Hawaii.
• Sgt. Israel Garcia, 24, of Long Beach, California.
• Cpl. Jonathan R. Ayers, 24, of Snellville, Georgia.
• Cpl. Jason M. Bogar, 25, of Seattle, Washington.
• Cpl. Jason D. Hovater, 24, of Clinton, Tennessee.
• Cpl. Matthew B. Phillips, 27, of Jasper, Georgia.
• Cpl. Pruitt A. Rainey, 22, of Haw River, North Carolina.
• Cpl. Gunnar W. Zwilling, 20, of Florissant, Missouri.
• Pfc. Sergio S. Abad, 21, of Morganfield, Kentucky.

Tell the House Judiciary Committee to hold Karl Rove in contempt and send him to jail.

We call on the the House Judiciary Committee to cite Rove with contempt for failing to comply with a Congressional subpoena. Since Rove regards the law with such contempt, it's high time the law and Congress hold him in contempt as well. We demand the HJC let Rove know he can't decide which subpoenas he obeys and which he ignores.
Send Karl Rove to Jail

Michael Collins: Election Fraud and Tyranny - Part 2

"Loser Taker All: Election Fraud and TheSubversion of Democracy, 2000-2008"
Edited by Mark Crispin MillerIg Publishing
Michael Collins"Scoop" Independent NewsWashington, D.C.
How did we reach our current state of decline in just eight excruciating years? Aren't we working hard enough? Was there some millennial shift in consciousness and morality? How could we elect leaders like Bush and Cheney and their minions on Capitol Hill?
Mark Crispin Miller's latest book, "Loser Take All," provides an explanation that precedes any other: election fraud. In his collection of essays, Miller shows that the losers took everything in both the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections. That made all the difference.
We're working harder than ever. Citizens are no less concerned and compassionate than they were in 1999. But as Miller demonstrates, the way we elect leaders is inherently unreliable and corrupt. He shows how the current group of extremists who dominate public policy used a loosely regulated, unwatched election system to create the results they willed in order to achieve the power they craved.
Part 1 of this review of "Loser Take All" discussed how Miller's theme showed up in the 2000, 2002, and 2004 elections. In Part II, we'll take a look at Miller's explanation of events in 2006 and the system in place for the November 2008 elections.
2006 - Landslide Denied
The Big Picture - the U.S. House of Representatives
The 2006 election resulted in major pickups for the Democratic Party in the House, enough to return them to power with a significant but not overwhelming margin. Senate seats were a tougher fight but the Democrats managed to gain a one seat majority in the Senate with surprise wins in Virginia and Montana. But that's wasn't the whole story.
Election Defense Alliance researchers Jonathan Simon and Bruce O'Dell studied the 2006 results and found that there was a net shift of at least three million votes away from the Democratic candidates in the 2006 elections for the House of Representatives. The Democratic victory margin was shaved by 4% according this highly persuasive analysis.
Simon and O'Dell conclude:
"there was gross vote count manipulation [that] had a great impact on the results of E2006, significantly decreasing the magnitude of what would have been, accurately tabulated, a [Democratic] landslide of epic proportions." (Emphasis added)
How do we know that a landslide was denied? Simon and O'Dell persuade us in two rather simple steps. First, they show that the 2006 Election Night national exit poll sample gave the Democrats a victory margin at least 3 million votes greater nationwide than that tabulated by the vote-counting computers. Then they examine the exit poll sample itself and very simply and persuasively refute the charge that it over-sampled Democrats. This is the excuse that corporate media used to dismiss the obvious signs of election fraud and justify their own silence. Their analysis is based not on a general assertion of the reliability of exit polls, but on the specific and publicly available evidence that this particular exit poll was highly reliable
1 2 3 4

GOP whistle-blower names Karl Rove in Ohio's 04 election theft

Leading Data Security Expert Joins Press Conference, Case, Notes Fraudulent Patterns That Should Have Triggered Investigation
Motion to Proceed with Targeted Discovery in Case Explained as Effort to Help Protect Integrity of '08 Election...
-- Special to
The BRAD BLOG by Steve Heller of Velvet Revolution
At a press conference this morning in Columbus, Ohio, Cliff Arnebeck, lead attorney for the plaintiffs in the case of King Lincoln Bronzeville v. Blackwell, announced that he is filing a motion to "lift the stay in the case [and] proceed with targeted discovery in order to help protect the integrity of the 2008 election."
"We anticipate Mr. Rove will be identified as having engaged in a corrupt, ongoing pattern of corrupt activities specifically affecting the situation here in Ohio."
Arnebeck will also "be providing copies of document hold notices to the U.S .Chamber Institute for Legal Reform and the U.S. Justice Department for Karl Rove emails from the White House."
This case has the potential to put some of the most powerful people in the country in jail, according to Arnebeck, as he was joined by a well-respected, life-long Republican computer security expert who charged that the red flags seen during Ohio's 2004 Presidential Election would have been cause for "a fraud investigation in a bank, but it doesn't when it comes to our vote."
"This entire system is being programmed in secret by programmers who have no oversight by anybody," the expert charged, as Arnebeck detailed allegations of complicity by a number of powerful GOP operatives and companies who had unique access both to the election results as reported in 2004, as well as to U.S. House and Senate computer networks even today.
The presser was attended by some of the corporate-controlled media, including the head of the Ohio AP bureau, the Columbus Dispatch, and IndyMedia. Listening in by phone were ABC News, our friends from RAW STORY, and me, your humble blogger. I recorded the presser, so I have no links for the quotes in this post, but I transcribed them word-for-word and can vouch for their accuracy.
The White House yesterday blocked a House committee's attempt to obtain internal FBI reports about the leak of a CIA officer's identity, asserting that notes from interviews of Vice President Cheney and other administration officials are protected by executive privilege.

McCain Spokeswoman: Obama Trip First "Campaign Rally Overseas"

It's not just surrogates that are giving John McCain trouble. Spokeswoman Jill Hazelbaker went on Fox News and said of Obama's trip abroad, "Let's drop the pretense that this is a fact-finding trip and call it what it is: the first-of-its-kind campaign rally overseas."
Obama's Overseas Trip: Fact-Finding Mission or Campaign Rally?

But McCain himself told reporters on his campaign bus today that he doesn't agree, and that he will "talk to her."

Bring Omar Khadr Home

Steve, to paraphrase a not very great man, ‘You’re either with us or you’re with the evildoers’.
About six years ago Omar Khadr, a Canadian citizen then fifteen years old, was captured by American troops in Ayub Kheyl Afghanistan. After dropping five-hundred pound bombs on the house in which he and others were hiding, Khadr was shot three times in the back.
An American soldier prepared to murder him, but was restrained by a superior.
An American died in the previous fighting, and as Khadr was the only ‘insurgent’ survivor, it became convenient to blame him for the killing, although no evidence of this was forthcoming.
Under international law and convention, a fifteen year old cannot be considered a soldier (much less an ‘unlawful combatant’ which has no legal standing whatsoever), and cannot be held or tried for war crimes.
Nevertheless, Mr. Khadr was imprisoned first at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan, then at Quantanamo in Cuba.
Over the six year period of his confinement, Mr. Khadr has undergone numerous forms of torture. These include but are not restricted to:
Being hung from a doorframe for hours in spite of his wounds;
Being ‘short-shackled’ in painful positions for hours;
Being sleep-deprived for twenty-one days in preparation for interrogation by Canada’s own CSIS (which then turned over information it gained to the Americans);
Being held in solitary confinement for long periods;
Being repeatedly threatened with rape.
He was interrogated by Joshua Claus who was removed after killing another prisoner named Dilawar. He beat him to death. Dilawar was later found to be completely innocent.
As far as a fair trial is concerned, the Department of Justice already directed that there be no not-guilty findings. Even military lawyers on both sides have described the process as a sham that makes Stalin’s show-trials look positively fair. The government has admitted that in many cases there will never be a hearing, and the prisoners will never be released. Better to bury them than admit to mistakes.
Steve, other civilized nations such as Britain, Australia, Germany, etc. have intervened with the US to save their citizens from America’s illegal deadly clutches. Children have been raped with various implements by American troops, CIA, or mercenaries.
Children have been taken and held as hostages, and sometimes tortured. Many other people have been tortured to death or otherwise murdered. In some cases prisoners were tortured for long periods so that their screams would serve to sleep-deprive others. Two birds with one stone, so to speak, good ol’ American ingenuity. If some poor soul manages to end his misery by committing suicide, it’s considered ‘an asymmetrical act of war’. We know, and even the Americans admit that many of the people imprisoned at known sites (and this includes an estimated 2500 children as young as nine) are completely innocent. It would follow that innocent people are also being held at the so-called ‘black’ sites. In spite of all this and the atrocities at Quantanamo Bay, your government has steadfastly refused to intervene in Mr. Khadr’s case, even when being urged to by Amnesty International, UNICEF, the Canadian Bar Association, and others. You even tried to blame the previous government for Mr. Khadr’s predicament. That was pretty unconvincing, and even cowardly.
As with so many people caught up in America’s self-induced hysteria, Mr. Khadr’s imprisonment is illegal. His torture is not only illegal, but despicable, and offends and threatens every value we hold dear as Canadians.
Steve, to paraphrase a not very great man, ‘You’re either with us or you’re with the evildoers’. In trying to wash your hands of the imprisonment and torture of Omar Khadr, an innocent Canadian, you’ve made it clear who your friends are. History may judge harshly. I hope so. A Prime Minister who countenances illegal detention and torture because his ‘friend’ is the perpetrator is one who has abdicated his responsibility, and does not represent me.
Have a nice day.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

By Glenn GreenwaldOf all the constitutionally threatening and extremist powers the Bush administration has asserted over the last seven years, the most radical -- and the most dangerous -- has been its claim that the President has the power to arrest U.S. citizens and legal residents inside the U.S., and imprison them indefinitely in a military prison, without charging them with any crime

GOP Senate Candidate Fesses Up To Pursuing Oil Deal Over U.S. Objections

July 17, 2008 05:28 PM
Colorado Senatorial candidate Bob Schaffer acknowledged today that he knowingly arranged an oil deal in the Kurdish region of Iraq that was counterproductive to American interests in the region. He argued that the deal was allowed under Iraq's federal system, and so he felt comfortable pursuing it.
Schaffer, a Republican, came under heavy criticism in recent weeks for arranging the deal, because U.S. officials said it would be damaging to the tenuous oil-revenue sharing agreements that the Iraqi government was, at the time, putting together.
Initially, Schaffer denied he was aware State Department officials had warned against such an arrangement, despite the fact that objections from Condoleezza Rice and President Bush were highly public.
But on Thursday, the Colorado Republican changed his tune, acknowledging,
according to the paper the Pueblo Chieftain, that "U.S. officials in Baghdad did not want U.S. oil companies doing business directly with the Kurds."
"It's troubling enough that Bob Schaffer flew into Iraq in the middle of the war, not to support our troops, but to cut a money-making oil deal that undermined the mission our troops were fighting for," said Tara Trujillo, campaign spokeswoman for Schaffer's Democratic rival, Mark Udall. "But now we see he won't even give Coloradans a straight answer on what he knew and when."
Schaffer initially traveled to Iraq in November 2006 to lay the groundwork for an oil deal in the Kurdish regions for Aspect Energy, his former employer. Previous deals like Aspect's had drawn disapproval from President Bush. And the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office reported that the Iraqi government viewed foreign deals like the one Aspect was arranging as "illegal." >>>cont

New Texas Wind Power Project Is Massive

Texas, headquarters of America's oil industry, is about to stake a fortune on wind power.
In what experts say is the biggest investment in the clean and renewable energy in U.S. history, utility officials in the Lone Star State gave preliminary approval Thursday to a $4.9 billion plan to build new transmission lines to carry wind-generated electricity from gusty West Texas to urban areas like Dallas.
"People think about oil wells and football in Texas, but in 10 years they'll look back and say this was a brilliant thing to do," said Patrick Woodson, vice president of E.On Climate & Renewables North America, which has about 1,200 megawatts of wind projects already in use or on the drawing board in Texas.
Texas is already the national leader in wind power, generating about 5,000 megawatts. But wind-energy advocates say the lack of transmission lines has kept a lot of that power from being put to use and has hindered the building of more turbines. >>>cont
Link Here

Electrical Risks at Bases in Iraq Worse Than Previously Said

WASHINGTON — Shoddy electrical work by private contractors on United States military bases in Iraq is widespread and dangerous, causing more deaths and injuries from fires and shocks than the Pentagon has acknowledged, according to internal Army documents.
During just one six-month period — August 2006 through January 2007 — at least 283 electrical fires destroyed or damaged American military facilities in Iraq, including the military’s largest dining hall in the country, documents obtained by The New York Times show. Two soldiers died in an electrical fire at their base near Tikrit in 2006, the records note, while another was injured while jumping from a burning guard tower in May 2007.
And while the Pentagon has previously reported that 13 Americans have been electrocuted in Iraq, many more have been injured, some seriously, by shocks, according to the documents. A log compiled earlier this year at one building complex in Baghdad disclosed that soldiers complained of receiving electrical shocks in their living quarters on an almost daily basis.
Electrical problems were the most urgent noncombat safety hazard for soldiers in Iraq, according to an Army survey issued in February 2007. It noted “a safety threat theaterwide created by the poor-quality electrical fixtures procured and installed, sometimes incorrectly, thus resulting in a significant number of fires.” >>>cont


President Carter 1st US TV address 2Feb1977 Energy Policy

Report to the Nation on Energy

BIG MONEY. Report: Tax shelters cost U.S. over $100 billion.

Americans stash away 1.5 trillion dollars in tax havens

Published: Thursday July 17, 2008
Wealthy Americans are hiding about 1.5 trillion dollars in overseas tax havens in a "deceptive" partnership with top foreign banks such as UBS, resulting in 100 billion dollars in lost US tax revenue, a congressional probe was told Thursday.
The hearing centered on a 115-page report following investigations into alleged abuses by UBS in Switzerland and the smaller LGT Bank in Liechtenstein amid a widening international investigation into tax scandals involving the two banks.
"The evidence we have been able to obtain breaks through some of the wall of secrecy to show that these two banks have employed banking practices that facilitate, and have resulted in, tax evasion by US clients," said Democratic Senator Carl Levin, who led the six-month US investigations.
The offshore tax evasion problem faced by the United States is of "staggering proportions," said Republican Senator Norm Coleman, also a leading member in the Senate investigations panel.
"These tax havens hold an estimated 1.5 trillion dollars in American assets, resulting in lost taxes of roughly 100 billion dollars," he said, describing some of the tax haven banking activities as "a cloak-and-dagger deception in a James Bond movie."
The OECD group of mostly industrialized economies estimates that between five to seven trillion dollars are held in tax havens or banking secrecy jurisdictions globally.
In response to inquiries by the Senate probe panel, UBS, the world's largest manager of private wealth, said 19,000 of the 20,000 accounts in Switzerland for US clients were "undeclared" in the range of nearly 18 billion dollars.
US authorities have initiated enforcement action against 100 US taxpayers in connection with accounts in the secretive European principality Liechtenstein after a former LGT employee provided tax authorities around the world with data on about 1,400 people with bank accounts.
The ex-employee, who has gone into hiding, gave the US probe panel 12,000 pages of documents related to US clients as well as some, according to Levin, "explosive" evidence.

Rove Tried to Fire Fitzgerald During CIA Leak Investigation

In a supplement to his responses to the House Judiciary Committee, Patrick Fitzgerald confirms what we've always suspected: Karl Rove was trying to have Patrick Fitzgerald fired while Fitzgerald was still investigating Rove for his role in leaking Valerie Wilson's identity--and the timing lines up perfectly with the Administration's efforts to fire a bunch of US Attorneys.
Remember back in June, when Fitzgerald publicly suggested he had more details to share with Congress about Rove's efforts to get him fired?
"If I owe a response [about the putsch to remove him from his job], I owe it to Congress, first," Fitzgerald said when asked about all this after the verdict.
Well, it turns out Fitzgerald did share those details with Congress. And those details make it clear that Fitzgerald learned Rove was trying to fire him while Fitzgerald was still actively investigating Rove's role in the leak of Valerie Wilson's identity. >>>cont

Expert: Rove executive privilege claim won't stand up in court
David Edwards and Nick JulianoPublished: Thursday July 17, 2008
NYU professor says Bush power claims 'wider than Nixon'
In the waning days of George W. Bush's presidency, it seems that every week brings a new showdown with Congress over the president's refusal to let his aides testify in the investigation of the US Attorney firing scandal.
MSNBC host Dan Abrams discussed the latest subpoena showdowns involving former Bush aide Karl Rove and Attorney General Michael Mukasey Wednesday night. Rove ignored a subpoena to testify a a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing, and Mukasey is refusing an Oversight Committee subpoena to hand over transcripts of the FBI's interview with Vice President Dick Cheney during its Valerie Plame investigation. So far neither committee has voted to hold the officials in contempt of Congress.
New York University law professor Michael Waldman told Abrams Congress' threats were becoming "hard to believe" and he worried about the extent to which Congress was willing to recognize Bush's claims of executive privilege. Abrams qualified the restrictions as "no one is allowed to testify if they work for the president."
"It's much wider than previous administrations have claimed, even than Nixon claimed," Waldman said. "And the fact of the matter is I think something like that will not stand up in court."
"If I was the president I wouldn't be too worried about this Congress either," Abrams scoffed. "The fact that they have taken no action against Karl Rove -- almost a week after he refused to even show up to assert his privilege -- sure makes it seem like they're willing to take it on the chin and avoid taking any action to enforce these subpoenas."
This video is from MSNBC's Verdict, broadcast July 16, 2008.

You Don't Say

Gates warns of militarization of US foreign policy, cites lack of success in Afghanistan
Jul 15, 2008 19:47 EST
The U.S. military's growing role in rebuilding war-battered nations has fueled concerns about a "creeping militarization" of American foreign policy, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Tuesday.
As the conflict in Afghanistan shows, coordinating war-fighting with diplomacy, job creation and road-building often doesn't work well, the Pentagon chief said in remarks prepared for delivery at an international policy dinner.
"Getting all these different elements to coordinate operations and share best practices has been a colossal — and so far an all too often unsuccessful — undertaking," said Gates.
He added that the increased involvement of the military in jobs that historically were done by civilian agencies has led to concerns of "a creeping militarization of some aspects of America's foreign policy."
In both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, U.S. troops have been doing far more than fighting insurgents and securing borders. They've coordinated reconstruction projects and filled transition teams that bolstered fragile local governments and rebuilt industry.
Gates has repeatedly said that the State Department and some non-governmental organizations have been underfunded and understaffed for too long. And he has warned that military might alone cannot win wars.
Instead, he has called for more support for so-called soft power, with civilians contributing more in nonmilitary areas such as communication, economic assistance and political development.
As the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have dragged on, many have argued that the Bush administration missed opportunities early on to head off insurgents by failing to focus on economic development, promotion of internal reconciliation and training of police forces.
On Tuesday, Gates expanded on that theme, using the worsening situation in Afghanistan as an example of the problem. A recent spate of deadly attacks in Afghanistan has underscored the resurgence of the Taliban there — more than six years after they were ousted by the U.S.-led invasion.
The surge in violence has led to calls for the U.S. to send more troops to Afghanistan, shifting them away from what has been an improving security situation in Iraq. >>>cont

Iran threatens President Bush

Spiritual leader Khamenei: Iranian nation will punish Bush if he orders military strike
Dudi Cohen
Harsh words from Tehran: Iran's spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, issued a personal threat against American President George W. Bush Wednesday, warning the US leader that he will be punished by the Iranian nation if he orders a strike on Iran.
"If George Bush orders a military strike against Iran, even if he leaves it up to the next Administration, the Iranian nation will sue and punish him even after his term in his office is over," Khamenei said.

In a speech delivered on national television, Iran's supreme leader promised a harsh response to any attack.
"If anyone attacks Iran, our response will be decisive," he said. "The fact that the US government and Zionist regime are talking in order to cover up their own internal problems is their business. Yet if the plan to attack will be realized, they should know that the Iranian nation will cut off the arm of those who attack it."

'Our red lines are clear' >>>cont

Only Little War Criminals Get Punished

by Paul Craig Roberts
National Public Radio has been spending much news time on Darfur in Western Sudan where a great deal of human suffering and death are occurring. The military conflict has been brought on in part by climate change, according to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Drought is forcing nomads in search of water into areas occupied by other claimants. No doubt the conflict is tribal and racial as well. The entire catastrophe is overseen by a government with few resources other than bullets.
Now an International Criminal Court prosecutor wants to bring charges against Sudan's president, Omar al-Bashir, for crimes against humanity and war crimes.
I have no sympathy for people who make others suffer. Nevertheless, I wonder at the International Criminal Court's pick from the assortment of war criminals? Why al-Bashir?
Is it because Sudan is a powerless state, and the International Criminal Court hasn't the courage to name George W. Bush and Tony Blair as war criminals?
Bush and Blair's crimes against humanity in Iraq and Afghanistan dwarf, at least in the number of deaths and displaced persons, the terrible situation in Darfur. The highest estimate of Darfur casualties is 400,000, one-third the number of Iraqis who have died as a result of Bush's invasion. Moreover, the conflict in the Sudan is an internal one, whereas Bush illegally invaded two foreign countries, war crimes under the Nuremberg Standard. Bush's war crimes were enabled by the political leaders of the UK, Spain, Canada, and Australia. The leaders of every member of the "coalition of the willing to commit war crimes" are candidates for the dock.
But of course the Great Moral West does not commit war crimes. War crimes are charges fobbed off on people demonized by the Western media, such as the Serbian Milosovic and the Sudanese al-Bashir.
Every week the Israeli government evicts Palestinians from their homes, steals their land, and kills Palestinian women and children. These crimes against humanity have been going on for decades. Except for a few Israeli human rights organizations, no one complains about it. Palestinians are defined as "terrorists," and "terrorists" can be treated inhumanely without complaint.
Iraqis and Afghans suffer the same fate. Iraqis who resist US occupation of their country are "terrorists." Taliban is a demonized name. Every Afghan killed – even those attending wedding parties – is claimed to be Taliban by the US military. Iraqis and Afghans can be murdered at will by American and NATO troops without anyone raising human rights issues.
The International Criminal Court is a bureaucracy. It has a budget, and it needs to do something to justify its budget. Lacking teeth and courage, it goes after the petty war criminals and leaves the big ones alone. >>>cont


Costly Weapon-Detection Plans Are in Disarray, Investigators Say

By Spencer S. HsuWashington Post Staff WriterWednesday, July 16, 2008; A15
Bush administration initiatives to defend the nation against a smuggled nuclear bomb or a biological outbreak or attack remain poorly coordinated, costing billions of tax dollars while basic goals and policies remain incomplete, according to new reports by congressional investigators.
The administration budgeted $2.8 billion in 2007 for nuclear detection but lacks a strategic plan to plug gaps and move beyond its initial goals, such as placing radiation detectors at domestic and overseas ports, according to reports by the
Congressional Research Service and the Government Accountability Office for a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing that will be held today.
Separately, a five-year-old program to detect the airborne release of biological warfare agents such as anthrax, plague and smallpox in more than 30 major U.S. cities still lacks basic technical data to help medical officials determine how to respond to an alert triggered by the sensors, congressional investigators and state and local officials will report to the
House Homeland Security Committee.
In written testimony submitted for a House hearing today, state and local public health laboratory directors were highly critical of the program known as BioWatch, saying it is underfunded, improperly managed and of unclear benefit, despite $400 million in federal spending.
"The BioWatch program has been variously described by my fellow state and local laboratory directors as a parasite to the public health laboratory and squatters in valuable public health laboratory space," said the prepared testimony of Frances Pouch Downes, a Michigan state health official and president of the Association of Public Health Laboratories. "I am hard-pressed to disagree." >>>cont



ABC News reports that McCain has attended zero of his Senate committee's six hearings on Afghanistan in the last two years:
The McCain campaign criticism of Sen. Barack Obama's hearing record on Capitol Hill led us to put the shoe on the other foot.
It turns out that presumptive Republican nominee Sen. John McCain, has attended even fewer Afghanistan-related Senate hearings over the past two years than Obama's one. Which is a nice way of saying, McCain, R-Ariz., the top Republican on the Senate Armed Service Committee, has attended zero of his committee's six hearings on Afghanistan over the last two years...
...The findings are surprising given the fact that the McCain campaign loudly criticized Obama this week for failing to schedule any hearings on Afghanistan in the last year and a half. Obama chairs the European Affairs Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which has oversight of military operations in Afghanistan.

Bush Administration Trying To Redefine Contraception As Abortion

Save The Fetus Kill, The Child
Number Of Iraqis Slaughtered In US War And Occupation Of Iraq "1,236,604"
Number of U.S. Military Personnel Sacrificed (Officially acknowledged) In U.S. War And Occupation Of Iraq
July 16th, 2008 by Karina
The New York Times reports that the Bush Administration’s Department of Health and Human Services is drafting a rule that would place new restrictions on domestic family planning programs. While current law allows health care providers and professionals to refuse to provide abortions based on their religious beliefs, this provision would threaten the funding of organizations and health facilities if they do not hire people who would refuse to provide birth control and defines abortion so broadly that it would include many types of birth control, including oral contraception.

Ashcroft Suggests CIA Started Torturing, Then Sought Legal Cover

Much attention has been focused on the bizarre legal reasoning behind the Bush administration's "torture memos," a series of documents starting in August 2002 that OK'd detainee abuse. The memos have been widely criticized for authorizing illegal acts. But in a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Thursday, former Attorney General John Ashcroft raised the possibility that the CIA started torturing at least one detainee before any of the memos were even written.
If true, that would suggest that the CIA realized that the agency might be breaking the law and sought legal cover after the fact. Attorneys say that, hypothetically, this could make it easier to prosecute those who condoned or conducted the abuse before the torture memos were produced.
Intelligence agents from the United States and Pakistan captured suspected al-Qaida operative
Abu Zubaydah on March 28, 2002. According to news accounts and congressional testimony, Zubaydah's interrogation began soon after his capture. His interrogation was reportedly particularly brutal, and he is one of three detainees confirmed to have been waterboarded.
But the first so-called torture memo, sometimes called the Bybee memo, was not produced by the Justice Department until Aug. 1, 2002. It defined torture down, breaking with long-established standards to restrict it to pain "equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death."
Ashcroft admitted to the committee that he participated in the production of that first memo in August 2002 for Zubaydah’s interrogation. "I do generally recall that I was made aware that a legal opinion relating to the interrogation of al-Qaida detainees was being prepared," Ashcroft said of that memo. "A draft or drafts were provided to my office, that I was briefed on the general contours of the opinion's substantive analysis and on its conclusions and that I approved its issuance."

McCain Gets Social Security Benefits But Calls Current System A "Disgrace"

McCain, who will turn 72 next month, was eligible to receive full-retirement benefits when he turned 65. In 2008, the maximum benefit for a person retiring at full retirement age was $2,185.
McCain reported a total income of $405,409 in 2007. As a senator, he is paid $169,300 a year. Last year, he donated $105,467 to charity, his return shows.
McCain's wife, Cindy, reported a total income of more than $6 million in 2006, according to the campaign. She files her tax return separately from her husband and has received an extension for 2007. Heiress to a large Arizona beer distributorship, she is reportedly worth more than $100 million.


Should Bush Be Charged For Murder?

Gore Wants U.S. to Abandon Fossil Fuels by 2018

AL GORE: DC Environment Speech 7.17.08

WASHINGTON — Former Vice President Al Gore said on Thursday that Americans must abandon fossil fuels within a decade and rely on the sun, the winds and other environmentally friendly sources of power, or risk losing their national security as well as their creature comforts.
“The survival of the United States of America as we know it is at risk,” Mr. Gore said in a speech to an energy conference here. “The future of human civilization is at stake.”
Mr. Gore called for the kind of concerted national effort that enabled Americans to walk on the moon 39 years ago this month, just eight years after President John F. Kennedy famously embraced that goal. He said the goal of producing all of the nation’s electricity from “renewable energy and truly clean, carbon-free sources” within 10 years is not some farfetched vision, although he said it would require fundamental changes in political thinking and personal expectations.
“This goal is achievable, affordable and transformative,” Mr. Gore said in remarks prepared for the conference. “It represents a challenge to all Americans, in every walk of life — to our political leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators, engineers, and to every citizen.”

We Can Solve It TV Ad (We Campaign)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

9 Republicans Vote for Impeachment Hearings, 10 Abstain

by Ralph Lopez
Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 01:10:01 PM PDT
In a stunning development which fell with the silence of a feather yesterday, 9 Republicans broke with their iron-fisted party to put country first, and voted to send Rep. Dennis Kucinich's article of impeachment HR 1345 to the Judiciary, where Chairman John Conyers will hold a hearings on abuses of power by the Bush administration, according to the Congressional Quaterly's CQToday. Ten Republicans abstained in this critical moment, while only 5 Dems did. The vote was neck and neck at many moments, with "Nays" pulling ahead twice.
Those Republicans are (Yea 238 - Nay 180):
Congressman Kevin Brady (TX) Congressman Wayne Gilchrest (MD) Congressman Walter B. Jones (NC) Representative Don Manzullo (IL) U.S. Congressman Tim Murphy(PA) Congressman Ron Paul (TX) Congressman Dave Reichert (WA) Congressman Christopher Shays (CT) Representative Mike Turner (OH)
One of the Republicans, Walter Jones, represents Camp LeJeune in North Carolina, one of the largest Marine bases in the country, and one which has borne heavily the sacrifice of the Iraq War.

But No Impeachment
Conyers may hold hearings, but plans no action on impeachment
Source: Raw StoryAll Rep. Dennis Kucinich wants is a chance to present his case. The Ohio Democrat has made a crusade of his efforts to impeach George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, only to be ignored and ridiculed by many of his fellow lawmakers.While House Speaker Nancy Pelosi still sees the prospect of actually booting the president from office as "off the table," discussing the idea now at least seems OK...

Bush Claims Executive Privilege In Valerie Plame Leak

White House spokesman Tony Fratto said Bush invoked the privilege on Tuesday.
WASHINGTON — President Bush has asserted executive privilege to prevent Attorney General Michael Mukasey from having to comply with a House panel subpoena for material on the leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity.
A House committee chairman, meanwhile, held off on a contempt citation of Mukasey _ who had requested the privilege claim _ but only as a courtesy to lawmakers not present.
Among the documents sought by House Oversight Chairman Henry Waxman are FBI interviews of Vice President Dick Cheney.
They also include notes about the 2003 State of the Union address, during which President Bush made the case for invading Iraq in part by saying Saddam Hussein was pursuing uranium ore to make a nuclear weapon. That information turned out to be wrong.
Waxman rejected Mukasey's suggestion that Cheney's FBI interview on the CIA leak should be protected by the privilege claim _ and therefore not turned over to the panel.
"We'll act in the reasonable and appropriate period of time," Waxman, D-Calif., said. But he made clear that he thinks Mukasey has earned a contempt citation and that he'd schedule a vote on the matter soon.


In the absolutely last ever story on The New Yorker cover cartoon of the Obamas...Not since the class action law suit enjoined by the words "Independent," "Logic" and "Journalist" against Bill O'Reilly, has the meaning and intention of words been challenged in the courts as strongly.

New MoveOn Iraq Ad: "Timeline"

Barack Obama in Washington, D.C.


Police ordered angry customers lined up outside an IndyMac Bank branch to remain calm or face arrest Tuesday as they tried to pull their money on the second day of the failed institution's federal takeover.
Banks hit by fallout from the crisis at IndyMac:
Some depositors at the failed thrift, seized by regulators, leave without all of the funds that were in their accounts. Bank shares slide, but institutions say they are well-capitalized.
Fannie Plan a `Disaster' to Rogers; Goldman Says Sell :
The U.S. Treasury Department's plan to shore up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is an ``unmitigated disaster'' and the largest U.S. mortgage lenders are ``basically insolvent,'' according to investor Jim Rogers.

Saudis offer Moscow billions to break with Tehran:

Saudi Arabia has offered to buy Russian arms worth 2.4 billion dollars (1.5 billion euros) if Moscow stops supporting Iran, a Russian newspaper reported Tuesday, citing diplomatic sources
Russia denies reports of freezing ties with Iran:
The Russian government Tuesday brushed aside press reports suggesting Moscow's development of ties with Riyadh was at the expense of freezing ties with Tehran.

Karzai opposes U.S. use of Afghan soil against Iran:

"Afghanistan should not become the battleground of differences of any country," he said in a wide-ranging interview. "Afghanistan does not want its soil to be used against any country and Afghanistan wants to be a friend of Iran as a neighbour which shares the same language and religion."

U.S.: Torture, murder at Iraqi juvenile prison:

American investigators probing allegations of torture at an Iraqi-run juvenile prison in Baghdad found clear evidence earlier this year that Sunni children had been murdered by their Shiite captors, according to a lead officer on the investigative team.

Iraqis demand end to 'occupation:

Iraqi opposition and resistance groups have renewed their demands for an end to all negotiations with the United States while US troops remain on Iraqi soil.
Iraq says hope slim for security deal with current U.S. gov't:
"There is a large possibility of postponing the signing of the long-term agreement between Iraq and the U.S., until a new U.S. administration is elected," Ali al-Dabbagh was quoted as saying by the Voice of Iraq news agency.

This Date In History

British Embassy Burnt in Iraq
Tuesday July 15, 1958
Reported assassination of Crown Prince and Nuri Pasha. A full meeting of the Cabinet was held last night to discuss the situation in Iraq, where the Army was yesterday reported to have seized power and proclaimed a republic

Interview With Rep. Dennis Kucinich - Parts 1 and 2

VIDEO Maya Schenwar
Immediately before Congressman Dennis Kucinich brought a new impeachment resolution against President Bush to the floor last Thursday, Truthout's Maya Schenwar sat down with him to discuss the implications of impeachment - as well as his vision for a route to lasting peace and unity.

Unrest Surfaces in Fallujah Again

Ali al-Fadhily and Dahr Jamail report for Inter Press Service: "Security has collapsed again in Fallujah, despite US military claims. Local militias supported by US forces claim to have 'cleansed' the city, 70 km to the west of Baghdad, of all insurgency. But the sudden resignation of the city's chief of police, Colonel Fayssal al-Zoba'i, has appeared as one recent sign of growing unrest."

NATO forces abandon Afghan outpost after deadly attack

Published: Wednesday July 16, 2008
NATO said Wednesday it had abandoned an Afghan outpost days after it was stormed by militants who killed nine US soldiers.
The soldiers pulled out of the outpost in Wanat village in northeastern Kunar province on Tuesday, Afghan officials said.
"We are confirming that we have vacated our combat outpost at Wanat," NATO spokesman in Afghanistan, Mark Laity, told AFP.
"All these kinds of outposts are temporary. They serve a purpose and when we consider appropriate we will move them," he said.
The area has since been taken over by Taliban militants, an Afghan official said.
Fifteen US and four Afghan soldiers were wounded in Sunday's fighting, in which militants breached the outpost.
The attack was one of the deadliest involving international forces, who arrived in Afghanistan after a US-led invasion that drove the Al-Qaeda-linked Taliban from government in late 2001.
NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) sent troop reinforcements and war planes to the area to repel the attack. The defence ministry said 40 rebels were killed in the fighting, while another seven were slain in subsequent clashes.
Laity said ISAF would "be maintaining a strong presence in that area through patrolling and other means" after leaving the outpost.
He could not confirm claims by a government official that the withdrawal had caused Afghan police to lose control over the adjoining Waant-Waygal district in Nuristan province.
"When ISAF withdrew yesterday, we couldn't stand up against the Taliban," said Omar Sami Taza, secretary for the Nuristan governor.
"We pulled back and the district fell into the Taliban's hand. We will send more troops from the centre to recapture it."


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Seething

By David Glenn Cox
The bulk of the American people are struggling to make it now and what happens when they reach the tipping point and no longer can? The jig is up, the game is over, no more rebates, gimmicks, tax cuts or hollow promises. The seething is just the beginning. It is the job of the government to insure domestic tranquility.

Second largest bank failure in U.S. history.»

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) “took control of Pasadena-based IndyMac Bank on Friday in what regulators called the second-largest bank failure in U.S. history.” The bank has succumbed to “huge losses from defaulted mortgages made at the height of the housing boom”
The FDIC is monitoring 90 institutions with assets of $26 billion that it has identified as troubled.

The Dead-End Inquiry on Tillman

By Mike Nizza
A House committee today announced that it had hit a dead end after months of investigating the mishandling of the death of Cpl. Pat Tillman, the N.F.L. player-turned soldier.
According to
the draft report, the inquiry was “frustrated by a near universal lack of recall” from senior officials. “Not a single one could recall when he learned about the fratricide or what he did in response,” the report said just before noting Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld’s testimony: “I don’t recall when I was told and I don’t recall who told me.”
Indeed, Mr. Rumsfeld and other military officials used some variation of “I don’t recall” at least
82 times in three hours, according to one count from the committee’s hearing on the subject last year.
Corporal Tillman’s death was initially blamed on Afghan insurgents. However, a battlefield investigation concluded within days that he was likely killed by friendly fire. The Tillman family and the general public did not learn of the changed cause of death for more than a month.
Pentagon officials have acknowledged time and time again that the situation was handled poorly, and a
three-star general was censured for his role in deceiving his superiors. The Army secretary called it “a perfect storm of mistakes, misjudgments and a failure of leadership.”
Without any evidence of high-level collusion on the circumstances of Corporal Tillman’s death, the House report turned to a seemingly self-satisfied exchange by two lower-level staffers at the Pentagon. At the news conference revealing the embarrassing reversal, which was held on a Saturday, one public affairs aide told another, “No one will ever tell you, but nice job on this one.”


Sunday, July 13, 2008

Bush's Banned Interview: An Insight Into Insanity

While surfing the net on 'Stumble', I came across an interview with President Bush on Irish television that caused a bit of a storm in 2004. The interview conducted by the tenacious Carol Coleman of Radio Television Ireland was not aired on American television, and Bush's press officers apparently complained vociferously about the rigorous questioning.
The video shows Bush at the absolute peak of his arrogance -- convinced of his own rhetoric about Iraq, flooded with confidence from international subservience to American power, and high off a crushing military victory that reinforced his childish fantasies of American power and preeminence.
The problem was, Coleman was having none of it, and what transpired was a unique insight into the warped brain of the least respected and most hated president in the history of the United States.
"Mr. President," asked the stone faced Coleman. "You're going to arrive in Ireland in about 24 hours' time, and no doubt you will be welcomed by our political leaders. Unfortunately, the majority of our public do not welcome your visit because they're angry over Iraq, they're angry over Abu Ghraib. Are you bothered by what Irish people think?"
Other than stutter, the president managed only to answer in vacant homilies about 'the great values of our country.'
"We are a compassionate country," he asserted. "We're a strong country, and we'll defend ourselves -- but we help people."
And that was about the depth of his explanation for the invasion of Iraq. Supremely satisfied with his own answers, Bush expected Coleman to be bowled over with his 'good ol' plain speakin' English', but Coleman, not infected with the American media's insatiable appetite to service power, had other ideas.
She continued to grill Bush about the rising violence in Iraq, increased world wide threat of terrorism, and failure to find the weapons of mass destruction. Flustered and unaccustomed to serious challenges to his power, Bush displayed flashes of anger, and an increased reliance on catch phrases to argue the unarguable.

BANNED Pres. Bush Interview


World's oldest blogger makes final post

July 15, 2008
The Australian woman renowned as the world's oldest internet blogger has made her final post, aged 108.
Olive Riley, of Woy Woy on NSW's central coast, died in a nursing home just after 6am yesterday.


9 U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan, official says

Scores die in wave of attacks in Afghanistan
Nine U.S. troops died in a Taliban attack on a base in a remote province of eastern Afghanistan today, a Western official familiar with the situation said. An earlier statement from NATO command said allied and Afghan troops were engaged in heavy fighting at a outpost in the province of Kunar.

Soldier RIPS into Main Stream Media from Iraq!!!!

by AquaBoogy
Sat Jul 12, 2008 at 08:42:10 PM PDT
As I sit here in Iraq I find that I have become totally disgusted with the media as well as many of our elected officials. Of course there are rules that we as soldiers are supposed to follow pertaining to speaking out against the actions of elected officials......but enough is enough!!!!!!!
AquaBoogy's diary :: ::
There are over 120,000 soldiers currently serving in Iraq right now. That’s mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, sisters and brothers who are separated form loved ones and sacrificing, WILLINGLY, for our country.
The way that the media has chosen to cover this election is just ridiculous, totally despicable and actually serves as a dishonor to every soldier that volunteered to serve in the military. Soldiers volunteered to protect our rights and to further secure the Democracy that the United States has cherished for so many generations. To serve is probably one of the most noble things that a man or woman can do, yet I feel as though what we are sacrificing and what we are sacrificing for is being walked all over and spat upon as if it is worthless.
Take Fox News for example. They can have all the American flags waving whenever they begin their daily broadcasts and, not minutes after Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly open there mouth’s they start spewing out hatred to almost every ethnic group they can think of. They are in such a hurry to label others as anti-American that they fail to realize that they are the most anti-American, homophobic, racist media outlet in the history of America. I cringe every time I hear Bill O’Reilly attacking someone about their patriotism. Bill O’Reilly you should really be ashamed of yourself. My friend you are a total disrespect to all soldiers who wear the uniform in protection of your Freedom of Speech/Press.

Bill O'Reilly *Michelle Obama Lynching Party*


The Shame of Postville, Iowa

“Driven single-file in groups of 10, shackled at the wrists, waist and ankles, chains dragging as they shuffled through, the slaughterhouse workers were brought in for arraignment, sat and listened through headsets to the interpreted initial appearance, before marching out again to be bused to different county jails, only to make room for the next row of 10.”
A Personal Account
Erik Camayd-Freixas, Ph.D.
Florida International University
free hit counter