Monday, May 14, 2007

The Surge That Ain't Surging

A militant group tied to Al Qaeda claimed Sunday to be holding three American soldiers missing since an ambush that left four U.S. troops and an Iraqi interpreter dead. Across Iraq, bombs, mortar shells and gunfire killed more than 50 people Sunday, including 16 in a market that has been a frequent target of bombings and other attacks. The statement from the Islamic State of Iraq came as thousands of U.S. and Iraqi security forces combed the "triangle of death," an area southwest of Baghdad that is a stronghold of Sunni Muslim insurgents. Three U.S. soldiers disappeared after the Saturday morning ambush 12 miles west of Mahmoudiya. The military did not identify the U.S. troops, and did not reveal their combat unit, but some new details of the incident emerged.At least one victim suffered gunshot wounds, though it was unclear whether he was shot before or after blasts enveloped the soldiers' two vehicles in flames, said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, a military spokesman.An Army Quick Reaction Force, deployed about 15 minutes after the 4:44 a.m. attack, had to avoid a roadside bomb in its path as it headed toward the scene in the darkness, Garver said.The force arrived about 40 minutes later, he said. "This is not like responding to a two-alarm fire on Sunset Boulevard. They can't just drive up. You have to be wary along the way. "There was no way to verify the militant group's claim, which appeared on its website. Islamic State of Iraq, a coalition of Sunni groups loyal to Al Qaeda, offered no photographic evidence to back it up.

Looks like George W. Bush's "surge" ain't working!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Bush Begging Now

President Bush pleaded for time over Iraq yesterday after being warned that the war was destroying the Republican Party and that allies on Capitol Hill were poised to defect.
Mr Bush used a hastily arranged appearance at the Pentagon to urge sceptics of the troop “surge” to “give this plan a chance to work — let’s stop playing politics”.
His appeal came after he received a blunt warning from moderate Republicans that they were on the verge of joining Democrats to demand a troop withdrawal.
Details of the extraordinary White House encounter emerged as the impasse between Democrats and the White House over funding the war deepened.
Robert Gates, the Defence Secretary, said that the failure of congress to provide the $95 billion (£48 billion) asked for by Mr Bush was already delaying military operations and that money for Iraq will run out in July.
The delegation of 11 moderate House Republicans told Mr Bush on Tuesday that unless significant progress is made in Iraq by September — when General David Petraeus, the ground commander, delivers a progress report to Congress — they would desert him. Their warning was the clearest sign yet that although most conservatives still back the President’s surge plan, patience inside the Republican Party over Iraq is wearing thin.
One of the congressman, Mark Kirk from Illinois, told Mr Bush that anger and frustration among his constituents had reached such levels that voters in his district were ready for a pullout of troops, even if it meant conceding defeat.
“We will hang with him until September,” said Ray LaHood, a House veteran who attended the meeting. “The American people are war-fatigued. They want to know there’s a way out. The way forward after September, if the report is not good, is going to be very, very difficult.”
The September deadline is starkly at odds with recent assertions by ground commanders in Iraq that President Bush’s troop escalation plan needs up to year for a chance to succeed. But it reflects deep concerns among Republicans that the party faces more losses in Congress in November — and the loss of the White House — if the war continues its current bloody course.
The delegation also told Mr Bush that his credibility over Iraq was all but destroyed among the public. The meeting occurred as a new poll put his approval rating at 28 per cent

Even the his Republican allies are abandoning Bush now!

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

The Iraq War & GOP

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) condemned the Iraqi government for its failure to resolve security and political problems more expeditiously and predicted that, unless the current troop surge succeeds, U.S. policy will be changed by year's end either by President Bush or congressional action.
McConnell, in an interview for's PostTalk program today, offered a harsh assessment of the Iraqi government's performance and made clear that neither the American people nor elected officials have unlimited patience for the U.S. commitment there.
"The Iraqi government hasn't done anything it said it would," McConnell said, pointing to lack of progress on oil revenue sharing and reducing sectarian violence. He added, "I don't think there are many Republican senators who are happy with what happened."
The Republican leader said the GOP's poor performance in the 2006 midterms elections resulted almost entirely from public dissatisfaction with the lack of progress in Iraq and implied that his party would suffer again in 2008 if that election becomes another referendum on Iraq.

The Republican Party should pay the price for lying us into an unnecessary war!

Iraq War & National Guard

The Greensburg tornado has turned into a political storm.
It started when Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat, said a lack of National Guard equipment would slow recovery efforts, because much of it is in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Given the political black eye that President Bush still wears over his administration’s response to Hurricane Katrina, Sebelius’ comments about Greensburg struck a nerve.
The Republican White House was snappish. Spokesman Tony Snow said Tuesday morning that Sebelius had asked only for “FM radios.”
He also appeared to lecture the governor about how to seek help from the government: “If you don’t request it, you’re not going to get it.”
It didn’t take long for an anti-war group, Senate Democrats and presidential hopeful Barack Obama to weigh in on Sebelius’ side.
Defending the White House were conservatives who accused Sebelius of grandstanding, and the state’s two Republican senators, who attempted to distance themselves from her remarks.
Snow later lengthened the list of items sought by Kansas beyond FM radios. And Sebelius wasn’t about to back down.
“Let me be clear: With the equipment we have, the men and women of the Kansas National Guard have the initial response to the Greensburg tornado under control,” she said Tuesday.
“I have said for nearly two years and will continue to say that we have a looming crisis on our hands when it comes to National Guard equipment in Iraq and our needs here at home.”
About half the state’s National Guard trucks are in Iraq, equipment that would be useful in clearing debris, she said.
Maj. Gen. Tod Bunting, the state’s adjutant general, said the Kansas National Guard’s equipment had been reduced about one-third from prewar levels, which were already low.

Bush can keep denying, but he can't hide the truth from the American people.

Monday, May 7, 2007

The End Of The Road For Wolfowitz

World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz wants the world to believe that he is the blameless victim of a "smear campaign" orchestrated by his political enemies. But in light of the resignation from the bank, reported today by the Wall Street Journal, of one of his top aides, Kevin Kellems, one could come to another conclusion. The neocon chickens are coming home to roost.
Kellems has a long and undistinguished history as a flack, first for Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar, then for Wolfowitz at the Pentagon, then as spokesman for Vice President Dick Cheney, and until yesterday, at the World Bank, where his job title was director of strategy of the World Bank's External Affairs Department.
As flack for Cheney, Kellems was responsible for doing his best to push the line that the U.S. was justified in invading Iraq because Saddam Hussein was stockpiling weapons of mass destruction and supporting al-Qaida -- two of the most damaging falsehoods ever promulgated by the U.S. government.
My favorite line from Kellems, at the Public Relations Student Society of America Midwest Regional Partners Conference: "The United States did not seek this conflict."

That's the most blatant lie of the century!

Sunday, May 6, 2007

GOP Conscience Attack?

The House Republican leader said Sunday that GOP support could waver if President Bush's Iraq war policy does not succeed by the fall.
House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Bush's troop increase deserves a chance and should be funded even if benchmarks for success are not met. Last week, Bush vetoed a $124 billion bill to pay for Iraq and Afghanistan operations in part because it required troops to begin returning home by Oct. 1.
A senior House Democrat said it would be ``ridiculous'' not to condition war money on progress in Iraq. Bush and his supporters say a fixed date is unworkable.
``We don't even have all of the 30,000 additional troops in Iraq yet, so we're supporting the president. We want this plan to have a chance of succeeding,'' Boehner said.
``Over the course of the next three to four months, we'll have some idea how well the plan's working. Early signs are indicating there is clearly some success on a number of fronts,'' he said.
But, he added, ``By the time we get to September or October, members are going to want to know how well this is working, and if it isn't, what's Plan B.''

Plan B? How bout bring the troops home...

Thursday, May 3, 2007

The Wolf That Lied

Paul Wolfowitz, World Bank president, on Thursday made a last-ditch attempt to avert a hostile finding by the panel investigating his role in arranging a generous secondment package for a colleague with whom he was romantically involved.
In a letter to the panel, Mr Wolfowitz said he was “deeply troubled and dismayed” by testimony by the bank’s former legal counsel and ethics committee chair.
The two former officials told the panel the bank president went far beyond the advice of the ethics committee in awarding his partner, Shaha Riza, pay rises and other benefits.
Mr Wolfowitz said: “I vehemently deny that I went beyond what I understood to be the guidance I received from the committee.”
However, Mr Wolfowitz backed away from earlier claims that the ethics committee was aware of the terms and conditions offered to Ms Riza.

He lied about it then, that's why he backed down now.

Alberto Gonzales Caught Lying

One of the eight U.S. attorneys fired last year says he was told his dismissal was necessary to let a Republican lawyer get experience to qualify for a federal judgeship.
In written answers to supplement his congressional testimony, ex-U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden of Nevada said William Mercer, acting associate attorney general, gave him that rationale for his firing. Bodgen's firing angered Republican Senator John Ensign of Nevada, who joined bipartisan criticism of the way Attorney General Alberto Gonzales handled the dismissals.
Mercer explained that ``the administration had a two-year window of opportunity'' to give someone ``the experience of serving as United States attorney'' so ``the Republican Party would have more future candidates to the federal bench'' and political positions, Bogden wrote.
The disclosure came as the Justice Department said its inspector general is investigating an allegation that former Gonzales aide Monica Goodling used political affiliation as criteria for screening applicants for career-level prosecutor positions. The agency said in a statement that federal law prohibits such considerations in hiring career prosecutors.
``Whether or not the allegation is true is currently the subject'' of the investigation by the inspector general and the agency's Office of Professional Responsibility, Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd said in a statement.
Jeffrey King, one of Goodling's lawyers, declined to comment.
Rove Documents
Also, the Senate Judiciary Committee today subpoenaed the Justice Department for e-mails that agency officials traded with Karl Rove, President George W. Bush's top political adviser. In a statement, the panel cited testimony by fired U.S. attorneys that they believed ``political influence was a factor in their firings.''

This proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that the White House is behind it.

Monday, April 30, 2007

The World Can't Wait

Relief agency Oxfam's director says their efforts to fight poverty have been "deeply compromised" by the scandal involving World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz.
Mr Wolfowitz is accused of peddling personal influence for his girlfriend by allegedly ordering a huge pay package for Shaha Riza at the bank, and pursuing right-wing US policy goals.
“We’re looking forward to a fair hearing and to show that Mr Wolfowitz acted in complete good faith,” Wolfowitz’s attorney Robert Bennett said. Mr Wolfowitz is keen to defend giving his girlfriend a pay rise.

Yeah why not? Nepotism is the SOP of all Bush appointees.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Paul Wolfowitz's Resignation

Paul Wolfowitz will plead to keep his job as President of the World Bank today before a special investigating committee, which is said to have concluded that he breached ethics by engineering a pay rise for his girlfriend.
The fate of Mr Wolfowitz, who in his former role at the Pentagon was one of the architects of the Iraq war, has opened up a new split between EU countries and the US.
The issue may overshadow White House talks today between President Bush, who nominated Mr Wolfowitz for the job in 2005, and Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany, which holds the rotating EU presidency.
On Wednesday the European Parliament demanded Mr Wolfowitz’s resignation and called on EU officials with Mrs Merkel to tackle Mr Bush over his continued defence of the World Bank chief.
Earlier on the same day Mr Bush had once again praised Mr Wolfowitz — who was sitting in the front row of an event at the White House — for his leadership in the bank’s fight against global poverty.
European countries led by Germany and France, but including Britain, the Netherlands and Norway, have raised concerns that Mr Wolfowitz’s position is now untenable.
Newspaper reports over the weekend claimed that the committee had delayed issuing a final report recommending Mr Wolfowitz’s resignation so that he has time to “consider his position and go quietly”.

Resign! Resign! It's time you go Wolfowitz!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Wolfowitz Stubbornly Hangs On To Job

World Bank officials investigating Paul Wolfowitz have concluded that he did breach ethics rules when he helped engineer get a promotion and a pay rise for his girlfriend.
The preliminary conclusions of the special panel of the bank's board will intensify the campaign by Mr Wolfowitz's critics to force him to resign as president.
Their draft report has found that the former deputy secretary of defence and architect of the Iraq war flouted World Bank regulations on employment contracts and ethics and had undermined the reputation of the bank when he secured Shaha Riza a $60,000 (£30,000) pay rise, according to a leak to The Washington Post. Bank insiders say that the committee is still deciding whether to call explicitly for his resignation. Mr Wolfowitz and Miss Riza are to appear before the committee tomorrow, after which the bank's full board could vote on his fate.
But his critics appeared to be choreographing moves to force him out - even before an European Union-US summit in Washington tomorrow, at which President George W Bush will appear alongside Germany's chancellor, Angela Merkel, one of Mr Wolfowitz's leading critics.
Opponents have stepped up pressure by revealing that Mr Wolfowitz is costing the World Bank $5 million a year in personal security because he is such a prominent target for terrorists.

Go... Go... Go honorably Wolfowitz!

Friday, April 27, 2007

George "Slam Dunk" Tenet

George Tenet, the former director of the CIA, has criticised the US invasion of Iraq, saying that officials supporting the war did not hold a "serious debate" about whether Saddam Hussein was a threat. Tenet, writing in a new book, singled out Dick Cheney, the US vice-president, as leading the rush to war, The New York Times reported on Friday. The newspaper obtained a copy of the book, At the Centre of the Storm, ahead of its Monday release and described its contents in a new article posted online Thursday night. "There was never a serious debate that I know of within the administration about the imminence of the Iraqi threat," Tenet wrote, according to the newspapers. He also said that there was never "a significant discussion" about ways to contain any threat posed by Saddam Hussein without invading. Tenet also wrote that he thought that the violence in Iraq was continuing to spiral out of control."My fear is that sectarian violence in Iraq has taken on a life of its own and that US forces are becoming more and more irrelevant to the management of that violence," he wrote.As part of a media tour to promote the book, Tenet was interviewed by the CBS news magazine 60 Minutes, in which he contended that his now-infamous phrase "slam dunk" was taken out of context. Uttered during a 2002 White House meeting, "slam dunk" was referring broadly to the case that could be made against Saddam Hussein, Tenet argues, and does not apply to the dictator's alleged weapons of mass destruction. In other news, Tenet accused George Bush's administration of ruining his reputation by misusing the "slam dunk" comment he made during the White House meeting ahead of the US-led invasion of Iraq.

Seems like a lot of cover-ups are beginning to resurface now.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Is Wolfowitz finished?

WASHINGTON, April 25 — Escalating his campaign to remain president of the World Bank, Paul D. Wolfowitz accused the bank’s board on Wednesday of treating him “shabbily and unfairly,” and appealed for more time to defend himself against allegations of favoritism and other matters.
Mr. Wolfowitz, increasingly isolated at the bank and facing a board seemingly determined to force his resignation, sent a letter to the head of a board panel dealing with issues affecting his leadership, asking to appear before the board next week in the interest of “fairness to me” and “good governance” at the bank.
The letter was described by people who had seen it.
Bank officials described many on the 24-member board as having been taken aback by the tough tone of the letter but said the board appeared likely to grant Mr. Wolfowitz at least some of his request, perhaps by allowing him to appear next week, though not necessarily with his newly hired lawyer, Robert S. Bennett.
Before Wednesday, the board had seemed to be moving toward some sort of vote as early as this week on Mr. Wolfowitz’s ability to continue as president. The board met late Wednesday, but officials said it appeared unlikely to reach any quick conclusions and could put off the response to Mr. Wolfowitz until next week.
Compounding the problems for Mr. Wolfowitz, the bank’s vice presidents have rebuffed his request for them to set up a committee to advise him on improving his management style. The vice presidents did not want to be co-opted into helping his campaign to stay in office, bank officials said.
Although he appears to be more and more beleaguered, Mr. Wolfowitz attended a White House meeting on Wednesday on diabetes eradication, and got a new gesture of support from President Bush.
“I appreciate very much the fact that the World Bank is taking the lead in eradicating poverty in places like Africa, and Paul Wolfowitz, thank you for your leadership of the World Bank,” Mr. Bush said, turning to his appointee.
On the other hand, evidence of European opposition to Mr. Wolfowitz continued to spread as the European Parliament, the legislature of the European Union, called on him to resign to avoid undermining the bank’s own campaign against corruption in poor countries.

The whole world wants Wolfowitz to resign, except for the stubborn Bush!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Dick Cheney Impeached!

After hinting for weeks that he would initiate impeachment actions against the Bush administration, Cleveland Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich this afternoon introduced articles of impeachment against Vice President Dick Cheney.
Kucinich said Congress should oust Cheney from office for purposely fabricating intelligence in the runup to the Iraq war, thereby deceiving some in Congress and the public into believing war was necessary. He also said Cheney manipulated intelligence about purported links between Saddam Hussein's Iraq and al-Qaida, the group responsible for 9/11.
And more recently, said Kucinich, unveiling his three articles of impeachment at a news conference across from the Capitol, Cheney threatened aggression against Iran when Iran has not threatened the United States.
"This goes beyond partisan terms," Kucinich said. "This becomes a question of who we are as a people."

Cheney deceived Americans and must be impeached

Monday, April 23, 2007

Wolfowitz Resigns!

Paul Wolfowitz, the embattled World Bank President, will face renewed pressure to resign, as an official investigation into his conduct widens beyond the scandal of his girlfriend's pay rise, to cover a series of other allegations.
With American support seen as critical to Mr. Wolfowitz's surivival, U.S. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson is pressing the White House to withdraw its backing from the controversial neo-conservative, whose management of the Washington-based World Bank has provoked an open staff revolt. Anti-Wolfowitz campaigners have even posted a satirical video clip on the website YouTube, comparing him to the boss in the U.S. version of TV comedy The Office.
The bank's board announced on Friday that it would set up an ad hoc committee to look at the allegations against Mr. Wolfowitz. As well as the pay and promotions awarded to his lover, Shaha Riza, the committee will examine a series of controversial appointments Mr. Wolfowitz made since he took over two years ago. His two closest advisers, Robin Cleveland and Kevin Kellems, are both paid about $250,000, outraging Bank insiders.
European Ministers have been taken aback by Mr. Wolfowitz's stubborn refusal to resign, despite a strongly worded statement released by development ministers in Washington last weekend, saying the leadership crisis was "of great concern".
The bank's European donors are determined to oust Mr. Wolfowitz. Mr. Wolfowitz issued a terse statement on Friday, saying, he "looks forward to implementing the recommendations of the board".

Another Bushite is going..going...gone!

Gonzales Got Bush In Hot Water

Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales faced more criticism Sunday as a senior Republican lawmaker said President Bush's longtime aide had hurt the administration, the Justice Department and his own standing in his latest effort to explain the firings of eight U.S. attorneys.Referring to Gonzales' high-profile appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania said: "The attorney general's testimony was very, very damaging to his own credibility. It has been damaging to the administration, because without answers as to what really happened, there is a lot of speculation."Specter said accusations were being made that the Justice Department, in carrying out the firings, had acted as "the political arm of the White House." Gonzales, he said, had failed to put those claims to rest in testimony where he frequently said he could not remember details of the process that led to the firings.Specter, the ranking GOP member of the Judiciary Committee, stopped short of calling for Gonzales to resign. He said it was up to Gonzales and Bush to decide whether that was the right course.Specter made his comments on "Fox News Sunday."Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a Republican, chastised Bush on ABC's "This Week" for letting "personal loyalty transcend service to the nation" by not forcing Gonzales to step down.Gingrich reiterated his call, made earlier this month, for Gonzales to resign.

If even Gingrich wants you to resign ... get your ass out of the way Gonzales

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Roe v. Wade Under Attack

In upholding the 2003 federal law banning what anti-abortion proponents have dubbed “partial birth abortion,” the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday knocked a chink in the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that affirmed the right to abortion.
The court gave Congress permission to render its non-medical judgment and dictate to women as they make the most wrenching personal decisions of their lives. The law forces doctors to make medical recommendations based on something other than their best medical opinions – even if the woman’s health is at risk.
Even the acceptance of the term “partial birth abortion” as the standard description of the procedure is a victory for anti-abortion activists. The real medical description is intact dilation and extraction, and it’s relatively rare.
Nearly 90 percent of abortions are performed during the first trimester – or first 12 weeks – of pregnancy. The Guttmacher Institute, which studies reproductive health issues, estimated that about 2,200 of the 1.3 million abortions performed in the United States in 2000 – less than two-tenths of 1 percent – were done using the dilation and extraction procedure, almost always later in pregnancy. The procedure is an alternative to one in which the fetus is dismembered inside the uterus. Some doctors believe it carries a lower risk of infection, bleeding and permanent injury in individual cases.
With abortion foes John Roberts and Samuel Alito Jr. joining the court, anti-abortion forces aim to make Wednesday’s decision the first domino on the way to overturning Roe v. Wade, which would allow states or Congress to outlaw abortion entirely – for any reason. This decision may begin attempts to make abortion illegal little by little – medical procedure by medical procedure.
Wednesday’s decision also points up the enormous power wielded by Justice Anthony Kennedy, the court’s new swing vote after the retirement of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. Kennedy was in the minority in 2000 when the court overturned Nebraska’s “partial birth” ban, but he joined Chief Justice Roberts, Alito, Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia on the prevailing side of this case.
In his majority opinion, Kennedy argued that banning the procedure was good for women because it would protect them from terminating their pregnancies by a method they might not fully understand in advance and that they might come to regret later.
By effectively declaring women incapable of making medical decisions for themselves in consultation with their doctors, he set the stage for tearing down the zone of personal privacy that the Roe v. Wade decision established.

Now the Supreme Court is just another Republlican political machine!

Gonzales Resigns!

House Republican leader says Gonzales should go
A congressional Republican leader on Friday joined bipartisan calls for U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to resign but the White House reaffirmed its confidence in President George W. Bush's long-time friend.
Rep. Adam Putnam of Florida, chairman of the Republican conference in the House of Representatives, said it was important for the head of the U.S. Justice Department to have "unwavering" credibility.
"For the good of the nation, I think it is time for fresh leadership at the Department of Justice," Putnam said in a brief telephone interview. He said a lack of credibility by the Justice Department chief puts in jeopardy the president's legislative agenda.
Reuters Pictures Editors Choice: Best picturesfrom the last 24 hours.View Slideshow
Putnam is joining a growing list of U.S. lawmakers expressing a lack of confidence in Gonzales a day after he testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee on the firing of eight U.S. prosecutors last year. The dismissals raised concerns among Democrats that they were politically motivated.
The White House of Friday reiterated Bush's support for Gonzales.

Bush will support all his cronies even when they are clearly incompetent. Remember Michael "heckuva job" Brown from the Katrina fiasco?