Friday, June 29, 2007

Candid and Unfettered

Worst 3 months for U.S. in Iraq - 29 Jun 2007 at 10:54am - Insurgents launched a deadly coordinated attack on an American combat patrol, the U.S. military said Friday, killing five troops and making this the deadliest quarter for U.S. soldiers in Iraq since the war began.

Supreme Court to review Guantanamo cases - 29 Jun 2007 at 10:38am - WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court, reversing course, agreed Friday to review whether Guantanamo Bay detainees may go to federal court to challenge their indefinite confinement.

Lawmakers push for better veterans care - 29 Jun 2007 at 2:43pm - WASHINGTON -- Congress members on Friday urged a presidential panel to use its sway with President Bush to finally solve years of problems with veterans health care.

Administration has deadline on subpoenas - 29 Jun 2007 at 2:42pm - WASHINGTON -- Congressional Democrats took the first steps Friday in what could be a long march to court, with the Bush administration and Congress in a legal tug-of-war over executive and legislative branch powers....[White House counsel Fred]Fielding on Thursday explained Bush's position on executive privilege this way: "For the president to perform his constitutional duties, it is imperative that he receive candid and unfettered advice and that free and open discussions and deliberations occur among his advisers and between those advisers and others within and outside the Executive Branch."
So the President reserves the right to be candidly and unfetteredly advised to break the law?

Thought for the day:
"All over the place, from the popular culture to the propaganda system, there is constant pressure to make people feel that they are helpless, that the only role they can have is to ratify decisions and to consume." -Noam Chomsky (1928 - )

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007


White House, Cheney's office, subpoenaed - 27 Jun 2007 at 1:12pm - The Senate Judiciary Committee subpoenaed the White House and Vice President Dick Cheney's office Wednesday for documents relating to President Bush's warrant-free eavesdropping program.

Plan to send immigrants home is defeated - 27 Jun 2007 at 12:59pm - WASHINGTON -- The Senate on Wednesday killed a Republican proposal to require all adult illegal immigrants to return home temporarily in order to qualify for permanent lawful status in this country.

Iran helping to plan attacks in Iraq: U.S. - 27 Jun 2007 at 2:07pm - BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iran is training fighters in Iraq and helping to plan attacks there despite diplomatic pressure for change, U.S. officials said on Wednesday, while violence around the Arab state killed at least 19 people.... "There absolutely is evidence of Iranian operatives holding weapons, training fighters, providing resources, helping plan operations, resourcing secret cells that is destabilizing Iraq," said military spokesman Brigadier-General Kevin Bergner.
Aren't there like 165,000 American operatives in Iraq doing exactly the same thing? Or does it depend on what the definition of "destabilizing" is?

Thought for the day:
"A lie told often enough becomes the truth." -Lenin (1870 - 1924)

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Another GOP senator urges Iraq pullout - 26 Jun 2007 at 2:23pm - WASHINGTON -- Sen. George Voinovich said Tuesday the U.S. should begin pulling troops out of Iraq and bolster diplomatic efforts, becoming the second Republican lawmaker in as many days to declare President Bush's war strategy a failure.
But how will he vote?

U.S. soldier killed in Iraq in Mehdi Army clash - 26 Jun 2007 at 11:43am - BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A U.S. soldier was killed in clashes with the Mehdi Army in Diwaniya on Tuesday when violence flared in the southern Iraqi city which was the scene of a major U.S. operation in April.

Senate Republicans block union bill - 26 Jun 2007 at 12:22pm - WASHINGTON -- Senate Republicans on Tuesday blocked a bill that would allow labor unions to organize workplaces without a secret ballot election.
Obstructionists. Do they not believe in democracy and the up-or-down vote?

Thought for the day:
"I don't care what is written about me so long as it isn't true." -Dorothy Parker (1893 - 1967)

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Monday, June 25, 2007

Dick "crushing-a-captive's-will" Cheney

Pushing the Envelope on Presidential Power 25 Jun 2007 at 6:01pm Convinced that the war on terror required "robust interrogations" of suspects, Cheney urged White House to make exceptions to Geneva Conventions....The vice president's office played a central role in shattering limits on coercion of prisoners in U.S. custody, commissioning and defending legal opinions that the Bush administration has since portrayed as the initiatives, months later, of lower-ranking officials.

Poll: More Than 4 in 10 Americans Still Believe Saddam Involved with 9/11 June 25, 2007 8:20 AM ET NEW YORK -- Nearly six years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the U.S., better than 4 in 10 Americans still wrongly believe that Saddam Hussein was involved in planning or carrying out the actions. Surprisingly, that number has even risen in the past two years, according to a Newsweek poll.

World Bank board approves Zoellick as president - 25 Jun 2007 at 2:33pm - WASHINGTON (AFP) - The World Bank on Monday approved Robert Zoellick as its next president as the 185-country development lender moved to turn a page after a scandal that undermined its credibility around the world.
That's PNAC member Robert Zoellick.

US: Biased Sunnis moved from Iraq force - 25 Jun 2007 at 3:08pm - WASHINGTON -- More than a third of Iraq's national police battalion commanders are now Sunni after a purge of Shiites who had a sectarian bias, a U.S. general said Monday.

Thought for the day:
"The great thing about television is that if something important happens anywhere in the world, day or night, you can always change the channel." -"Taxi" TV show

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong is paying the price for overstating his case against Duke University lacrosse players accused of rape. When will George Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, & Condi "Mushroomcloud" Rice pay for overstating their case that Saddam Hussein was concealing WMDs?
Duke University has reached an undisclosed financial settlement with three former lacrosse players falsely accused of rape, while a judge said late Monday he would order the disbarred prosecutor to leave office immediately....The allegations were debunked in April by state prosecutors, who said the players were the innocent victims of a "tragic rush to accuse" by Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong. He was disbarred Saturday for breaking more than two dozen rules of professional conduct in his handling of the case.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Surprise Visit

U.S. says Iraq troop surge complete - 15 Jun 2007 at 7:42am - BAGHDAD (Reuters) - All U.S. troop reinforcements heading to Iraq to help restore security have now arrived, but it could take several more months before their weight is fully felt, the U.S. military said on Friday.

Gates in Iraq to assess progress in U.S. troop "surge" - 15 Jun 2007 at 2:45pm - BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Robert Gates arrived in Baghdad on Friday to assess a U.S. troop buildup and press Iraq's government to move faster in passing laws that Washington views as critical to reconciling Iraqis.
So, Gates can assess now, but the rest of us shouldn't assess for the next several months?

5 U.S. Troops Killed In Iraq - 15 Jun 2007 at 7:19am - Five more U.S. soldiers have been killed in Iraq, the military announced. Three died when a bomb exploded near their vehicle in northern Iraq. Meanwhile, a curfew imposed after a mosque attack seems to be keeping Baghdad quieter than usual.

Study: Military mental health system poor - 15 Jun 2007 at 9:18am - The military's mental health system has "fallen significantly short" of meeting the needs of troops and their families, according to a year-long task force study released Thursday.

Bill OKs lowering flags when troops die - 15 Jun 2007 at 9:58am - WASHINGTON -- Legislation passed by Congress would require all federal agencies in a state to comply with a governor's request that they fly their flags at half-staff to honor a fallen service member.

Guard running low on equipment - 15 Jun 2007 at 2:48pm - National Guard units in 31 states say four years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan have left them with 60% or less of their authorized equipment, a USA TODAY review found.
Wow, I didn't know Kathleen Blanco was now Governor of 31 different states.

Thought for the day:
"Arguments are to be avoided; they are always vulgar and often convincing." -Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900)

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007


Bush's Watch Wasn't Stolen - 13 Jun 2007 at 7:57am - The United States Embassy in Albania has emphatically denied that President Bush's watch was stolen during his visit to the country, where he was acclaimed as a hero.

Bush: Stolen watch story 'ludicrous' - 13 Jun 2007 at 2:22pm - WASHINGTON -- President Bush wants the story of his vanishing watch to disappear. The White House said the watch was not stolen, and that Bush instead had put it in his pocket. Just to prove the point, Bush showed he was wearing a watch in the Oval Office on Wednesday. Photographers captured the moment. Later, spokesman Tony Snow confirmed, "That is, in fact, the watch he was wearing in Albania."
Well, if that isn't proof, I don't know what is. Really, almost as convincing as Doug Feith's powerpoint presentation on Saddam's WMDs, wouldn't you say?

Iraqi forces lack staying power : US general - 12 Jun 2007 at 4:15pm - Fledgling Iraqi military and police forces still lack tactical staying power and critical infrastructure, a US general who spent the last two years running the training mission has said.

New Web site to help Iraq vets find jobs - 13 Jun 2007 at 2:57pm - WASHINGTON -- The Pentagon said Wednesday it has created a new Web site to help veterans who face difficulty returning to their old jobs or finding new ones after deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Gates links Tehran to arms entering Afghanistan - 13 Jun 2007 at 2:44pm - RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany (Reuters) - Iranian weapons are entering Afghanistan on such a scale that it is hard to believe Iran's government is not aware of the movement, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Wednesday.

Thought for the day:
"Now and then an innocent man is sent to the legislature." -Kin Hubbard (1868 - 1930)

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Poll: Most Republicans Reject Evolution - 12 Jun 2007 at 9:05am - The three GOP presidential candidates who said they didn't believe in the theory of evolution are in touch with the party's rank-and-file, according to a poll. A Gallup survey found that 68 percent of Republicans reject evolution.

White House threatens spending bill veto - 12 Jun 2007 at 1:30pm - WASHINGTON -- A Democratic plan to sharply boost the Homeland Security Department budget ran into a stern White House veto promise Tuesday as House debate loomed on the first of a dozen annual spending bills.

Adviser worried about Iraqi oil deal - 12 Jun 2007 at 1:16pm - WASHINGTON -- A drafter of stalled Iraqi legislation to set ground rules for the country's oil policy said Tuesday "there is no sign of a compromise" that would lead to final approval by the parliament.

Thought for the day:
"If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man." -Mark Twain (1835 - 1910)

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Monday, June 11, 2007

Man labeled "enemy combatant" wins court case - 11 Jun 2007 at 12:43pm - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush cannot order the military to seize and indefinitely detain a Qatari national and suspected al Qaeda operative, the only person being held in the United States as an "enemy combatant," an appeals court ruled on Monday.
An AP headline for the story read "Court rules against U.S. on combatants". But is ruling against the Bush administration the same as ruling against the U.S.?

40% of military contracts non-competitive: report - 11 Jun 2007 at 12:29pm - Ottawa awarded more than 40 per cent of its military contracts over the last year without fully competitive bidding, and the value of these contracts has doubled over the past two years, says a report released Monday.

U.S.-Iranian denied access to lawyer: Nobel laureate - 11 Jun 2007 at 12:25pm - TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iranian Nobel Peace prize winner and lawyer, Shirin Ebadi, has been told by officials that a detained U.S.-Iranian academic charged with spying does not need her counsel, an Iranian news agency reported on Monday.

Global military spending hits $1.2 trillion: study - 11 Jun 2007 at 12:12pm - STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Global military spending rose 3.5 percent last year to $1.2 trillion as U.S. costs for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan mounted, a European research body said on Monday in an annual study.

Thought for the day:
"Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are more pliable." -Mark Twain (1835 - 1910)

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Friday, June 08, 2007

Thank You, Dr. Mushroomcloud

Rice: History will rate Bush well - 8 Jun 2007 at 3:14pm - NEW YORK -- Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says history will remember President Bush's foreign policy favorably despite current troubles in Iraq, Iran, North Korea and the Middle East
Is that supposed to be funny? I don't get it.

Pace out as head of Joint Chiefs - 8 Jun 2007 at 2:04pm - WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration sidelined Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on Friday, announcing plans to replace him as the nation's top military officer rather than reappoint him and risk a Senate confirmation struggle focusing on the Iraq War.

White House expands legal team - 8 Jun 2007 at 12:00pm - WASHINGTON -- The White House has expanded its legal team to handle the fights it is having with the new Democratic Congress.

U.S. Will Lessen Passport Requirement - 8 Jun 2007 at 8:00am - A huge application backlog has forced the government to temporarily reconsider a post-9/11 travel policy which requires Americans to have a passport for travel to Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean. The administration plans to suspend the requirement.

Secret CIA jails hosted by Poland, Romania: watchdog - 8 Jun 2007 at 7:58am - PARIS (Reuters) - A European investigator says he has proof Poland and Romania hosted secret CIA prisons under a post-9/11 pact to hunt down and interrogate "high value" terrorist suspects wanted by the United States.

CIA agents go on trial in Italy before Bush visit - 8 Jun 2007 at 8:03am - MILAN (Reuters) - Twenty six U.S. citizens, almost all believed to be CIA agents, went on trial in absentia in Milan on Friday accused of carrying out one of Washington's most controversial policies in its war on terrorism.

Leak prosecutor's authority questioned - 8 Jun 2007 at 1:14pm - WASHINGTON -- A dozen prominent law professors are questioning whether Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald had constitutional authority in the CIA leak trial that this week sentenced former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby to prison.

Pentagon to appeal Guantanamo decisions - 8 Jun 2007 at 2:57pm - WASHINGTON -- The Defense Department said Friday that it will appeal the decisions of two judges who earlier this week stalled the military's move to put detainees at Guantanamo Bay on trial.

Thought for the day:
"Defer not till tomorrow to be wise, tomorrow's sun to thee may never rise." -William Congreve (1670 - 1729)

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

In the News - June 7

Congress passes stem cell research bill - 7 Jun 2007 at 2:39pm - WASHINGTON -- Spoiling for a veto fight, Congress cleared legislation Thursday easing restrictions on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.

Bush nominee worries Iraq can't do more - 7 Jun 2007 at 2:37pm - WASHINGTON -- The general picked by President Bush to be his war adviser said Thursday he has serious concerns about the Iraqi government's ability to take control of its country, no matter how much pressure is applied by the United States.

Panel OKs bill backing Gitmo detainees - 7 Jun 2007 at 2:31pm - WASHINGTON -- A bill that would allow terrorism suspects access to federal courts to challenge their imprisonment at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.

U.S. death toll in Iraq surpasses 3,500 - 7 Jun 2007 at 2:07pm - Iraq's seemingly inexhaustible corps of terror bombers struck across the country again Thursday, from a restaurant in Baghdad's
to a police station leveled by a blast near the Syrian border.

Opposition critic questions secrecy over Afghan detainees - 7 Jun 2007 at 2:06pm - The Liberals' foreign affairs critic says he can't understand why the government wants to keep secret the number of Afghan detainees captured by Canadian forces when the U.S. military regularly makes public the same information.

AP Poll: Bush approval matches low point - 7 Jun 2007 at 2:22pm - WASHINGTON -- Public approval of the job President Bush is doing now matches its all-time low, an AP-Ipsos poll says.

Thought for the day:
"Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build a bridge even where there is no river." -Nikita Khrushchev (1894 - 1971)

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

U.N.: 4.2 million Iraqis are now displaced

U.N.: 4.2 million Iraqis are now displaced - 5 Jun 2007 at 3:46pm - More than 4 million Iraqis have now been displaced by violence in the country, the U.N. refugee agency said Tuesday, warning that the figure will continue to rise. The number of Iraqis who have fled the country as refugees has risen to 2.2 million, said Jennifer Pagonis, spokeswoman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. A further 2 million have been driven from their homes but remain within the country, increasingly in "impoverished shanty towns," she said.

Bush feels "terrible"

White House disagrees with Guantanamo trial ruling - 5 Jun 2007 at 9:24am - PRAGUE (Reuters) - The White House on Tuesday said it disagreed with rulings by U.S. military judges to drop all war crimes charges against two Guantanamo prisoners facing trial, and that the Defense Department was considering whether to appeal.

Ex-Cheney aide sentenced to 30 months in leak case - 5 Jun 2007 at 11:54am - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former vice presidential aide Lewis "Scooter" Libby was sentenced on Tuesday to 30 months in prison for lying and obstructing investigators during a probe tied to the Iraq war.

Developing Iraq Security Forces an American Priority - 5 Jun 2007 at 1:03pm - While most of the Iraqi army's 10 divisions are now under Iraqi control they are still far from able to work on their own. They rely on the U.S. for logistics, training and advice. Gen. Dana Pittard has spent the past year working to develop them into a non-sectarian, professional force that can one day take over security.
How high a priority is it, really? What percentage of U.S. troops or funding have been dedicated to the training and equipping of Iraqi security forces?

Bush feels 'terrible' for Libby - 5 Jun 2007 at 1:17pm - ROSTOCK, Germany -- President Bush feels "terrible" for the family of I. Lewis Libby but does not intend to intervene now in the case of the former top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney who was sentenced to prison Tuesday, the White House said.
But I guess not terrible enough publicly to take responsibility for his administration's hyping of the bogus reasons for war.

Gates hints at U.S. impatience with Iraq - 5 Jun 2007 at 2:23pm - BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan -- Defense Secretary Robert Gates hinted Tuesday at American impatience with the pace of Iraqi political reconciliation, more than four months into the U.S. troop buildup.
He doesn't think a reduction in U.S. troop presence might speed political reconciliation? Or... if he insists on aggravating the problem by continuing the occupation, is he in any position to complain about it?

Thought for the day:
"In nature there are neither rewards nor punishments. There are consequences." -Robert Ingersoll (1833 - 1899)

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Misuse of Scientific Data By the White House

Science data nerds writes "The White House is consistently and persistently claiming that the US is doing better than Europe in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This is false — their claim is purely based on carefully selecting the only subset of the data that supports this conclusion. When all the data are used, it is plain that European emissions have declined substantially and US emissions have grown substantially. The article, and this linked analysis, debunk the White House claims."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Victory Is (As Ever?) Only Six To Nine Months Away

Top general says too early to judge Iraq plan - 4 Jun 2007 at 1:54pm - CAMP ANACONDA, Iraq (Reuters) - The U.S. commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, said on Monday it was too early to judge whether a Baghdad security crackdown was successful because the last of five extra brigades had yet to be deployed.
How many of the additional brigades attributed to the "surge" have been tasked with the vital job of training and equipping Iraqi security forces?

US scales back global warming monitoring - 4 Jun 2007 at 11:54am - WASHINGTON -- U.S. scientists will soon lose much of their ability in space to monitor for global warming, a confidential report to the White House warns.

Charges nixed for Gitmo detainee - 4 Jun 2007 at 12:02pm - A military judge has dismissed charges against Canadian detainee Omar Khadr, saying the matter is outside the jurisdiction of the military tribunal system.

Anti-war Marine blasts military - 4 Jun 2007 at 2:51pm - KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- An Iraq War veteran accused the Marine Corps on Monday of causing a "disgusting waste of government resources" by holding a hearing about whether he should be punished for wearing his uniform during an anti-war protest.

Thought for the day:
"It's not true that life is one damn thing after another; it is one damn thing over and over." -Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892 - 1950)

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Friday, June 01, 2007

In the News - June 1

White House follows new path to secrecy - 1 Jun 2007 at 2:46pm - WASHINGTON -- In the past year, lawyers for President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney directed the Secret Service to maintain the confidentiality of visitor logs, declaring them to be presidential records.

Top Bush Aide Is Leaving the White House - 1 Jun 2007 at 1:32pm - As counselor to President Bush, Dan Bartlett has been at the center of White House decision-making.

Many troops return to war; many never go - 1 Jun 2007 at 3:09pm - WASHINGTON -- Even as troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are serving longer and more often - three, four, even five times - roughly half of Americans in uniform have not been sent at all.

Thought for the day:
"The only stable state is the one in which all men are equal before the law." -Aristotle (384 BC - 322 BC)

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