Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Ex-Powell Aide Blasts Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld on War in Iraq

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Secretary of State Colin Powell's chief of staff says President Bush was "too aloof, too distant from the details" of post-war planning, allowing underlings to exploit Bush's detachment and make bad decisions.

In an Associated Press interview Monday, former Powell chief of staff Lawrence Wilkerson also said that wrongheaded ideas for the handling of foreign detainees after Sept. 11 arose from a coterie of White House and Pentagon aides who argued that "the president of the United States is all-powerful," and that the Geneva Conventions were irrelevant.

Wilkerson blamed Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and like-minded aides. Wilkerson said that Cheney must have sincerely believed that Iraq could be a spawning ground for new terror assaults, because "otherwise I have to declare him a moron, an idiot or a nefarious bastard."

Wilkerson suggested his former boss may agree with him that Bush was too hands-off about Iraq.

"What he seems to be saying to me now is the president failed to discipline the process the way he should have and that the president is ultimately responsible for this whole mess," Wilkerson said.

He said Powell now generally believes it was a good idea to remove Saddam Hussein from power, but may not agree with either the timing or execution of the war. Wilkerson said Powell may have had doubts about the extent of the threat posed by Saddam Hussein but was convinced by then-CIA Director George Tenet and others that the intelligence girding the push toward war was sound.

Wilkerson criticized the CIA and other agencies for allowing mishandled and bogus information to underpin that speech and the whole administration case for war.

He said he has almost, but not quite, concluded that Cheney and others in the administration deliberately ignored evidence of bad intelligence and looked only at what supported their case for war.

Cheney's office, Rumsfeld aides and others argued "that the president of the United States is all-powerful, that as commander in chief the president of the United States can do anything he damn well pleases," Wilkerson said.

Powell raised frequent and loud objections, his former aide said, once yelling into a telephone at Rumsfeld: "Donald, don't you understand what you are doing to our image?"

GOI: Yet another ex-high ranking official in the Bush administration that is coming out against Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld.

Wow, even more people who are lying I guess. This is another case apparently of "It's everyone's fault but theirs."

What more proof do the 30 some percent sheeple need that the Bushies misled us into war!! I am beginning to think that even if President Bush and VP Cheney openly came out and admitted that they misled America that these people would still say, "Oh well, it's not as bad as what Clinton did."

"Support your President right or wrong" I guess is the motto of these die hards.

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Sunday, November 27, 2005

Bush Admin Opts out of New and Improved Kyoto Talks

By Juliet Eilperin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, November 27, 2005; Page A03

The nations of the world will meet in Montreal this week to start discussing the next step in combating the global warming problem, hoping to devise a successor to the Kyoto Protocol that was scorned by the Bush administration in 2001. But the United States is saying it doesn't want to talk.

GOI: God they can't eve commit to TALKING AT LEAST?!!!

"Most people are ready to take the dialogue forward. The only place where that is not the case is the administration," said Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. Many advocates, analysts and policymakers are willing to move beyond the "one size fits all" approach of Kyoto, she added.

GOI: Most people are willing to move beyond Kyoto which one would think would bring the U.S. on board but that's not good enough for the Bushies. Their stance on climate control is like those stubborn people that refuse to go to the doctor and acknowledge that they are even sick.

They act like pouty, spoiled children.

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Virgin Mary Statue "Crying red tears" in Sacramento

SACRAMENTO (AP) — Carrying rosary beads and cameras, the faithful have been coming in a steady stream to a church on the outskirts of Sacramento for a glimpse of what some are calling a miracle: A statue of the Virgin Mary they say has begun crying a substance that looks like blood.

It was first noticed more than a week ago, when a priest at the Vietnamese Catholic Martyrs Church spotted a stain on the statue's face and wiped it away. Before Mass on Nov. 20, people again noticed a reddish substance near the eyes of the white concrete statue outside the small church, said Ky Truong, 56, a parishioner.

"I think that it's incredible. It's a miracle. Why is she doing it? Is it something bothering her?" asked Maria Vasquez, 35, who drove with her parents and three children from Stockton, about 50 miles south of Sacramento.

GOI: Hoax or miracle?

You decide.

However, perhaps, just perhaps something IS bothering the "Virgin Mary."

Many believe it is a good sign but just maybe it is a bad sign. Maybe it is a sign that "God" is unhappy with the Catholic church for it's stance on many issues such as discriminational judgements against homosexuals, priestly abuses and molestation charges.

Or maybe she is crying for the war in Iraq since the Catholic church has come out again and again against war.

I guess i'm just saying that there are always two sides to every coin. Why do people always assume that a crying statue is always a good thing? True people do cry when happy sometimes but do not most people cry in agony, pain or suffering?

Then again whatever motivates people to be better people then more power to them:

Nuns Anna Bui and Rosa Hoang, members of the Salesian Sisters of San Francisco, also made the trek Saturday. Whether the weeping statue is declared a miracle or not, they said, it is already doing good by awakening people to the faith and reminding them to pray.

"It's a call for us to change ourselves, to love one another," Hoang said.

Anyway, I thought that this development in Sacramento was interesting.

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Saturday, November 26, 2005

British MP Would Publish Bush/Bair, al-Jazeera Memo

This from British MP Boris Johnson:

I'll go to jail to print the truth about Bush and al-Jazeera

It must be said that subsequent events have not made life easy for those of us who were so optimistic as to support the war in Iraq. There were those who believed the Government's rubbish about Saddam's Weapons of Mass Destruction. Then the WMD made their historic no-show.

Some of us were so innocent as to suppose that the Pentagon had a well-thought-out plan for the removal of the dictator and the introduction of peace. Then we had the insurgency, in which tens of thousands have died.

Some of us thought it was about ensuring that chemical weapons could never again be used on Iraqi soil. Then we heard about the white phosphorus deployed by the Pentagon. Some people believed that the American liberation would mean the end of torture in Iraqi jails. Then we had Abu Ghraib.

Some of us thought it was all about the dissemination of the institutions of a civil society - above all a free press, in which journalists could work without fear of being murdered. Then we heard about the Bush plan to blow up al-Jazeera.

Some of us feel that we have an abusive relationship with this war. Every time we get our hopes up, we get punched by some piece of bad news. We yearn to be told that we're wrong, that things are going to get better, that the glass is half full. That's why I would love to think that Dubya was just having one of his little frat-house wisecracks, when he talked of destroying the Qatar-based satellite TV station. Maybe he was only horsing around. Maybe it was a flippant one-liner, of the kind that he delivers before making one of his dramatic exits into the broom-closet. Perhaps it was a kind of Henry II moment: you know, who will rid me of this turbulent TV station? Maybe he had a burst of spacy Reagan-esque surrealism, like the time the old boy forgot that the mikes were switched on, and startled a press conference with the announcement that he was going to start bombing Russia in five minutes. Maybe Bush thought he was Kenny Everett. Perhaps he was playing Basil Brush. Boom boom.

Who knows? But if his remarks were just an innocent piece of cretinism, then why in the name of holy thunder has the British state decreed that anyone printing those remarks will be sent to prison?

We all hope and pray that the American President was engaging in nothing more than neo-con Tourette-style babble about blowing things up. We are quite prepared to believe that the Daily Mirror is wrong. We are ready to accept that the two British civil servants who have leaked the account are either malicious or mistaken. But if there is one thing that would seem to confirm the essential accuracy of the story, it is that the Attorney General has announced that he will prosecute anyone printing the exact facts.

What are we supposed to think? The meeting between Bush and Blair took place on April 16, 2004, at the height of the US assault on Fallujah, and there is circumstantial evidence for believing that Bush may indeed have said what he is alleged to have said.

To be fair to the Americans, we must also accept that they had good grounds for resenting al-Jazeera. The station is hugely respected in the Arab world, has about 35 million viewers, and yet it gives what can only be described as a thoroughly Arab perspective of current affairs. It assists in the glorification of suicide bombers; it publishes the rambling tapes of Bin Laden and others among the world's leading creeps and whackos; it is overwhelmingly hostile to America and sceptical about the neo-con project of imposing western values and political systems in the Middle East.

But if there is an ounce of truth in the notion that George Bush seriously proposed the destruction of al-Jazeera, and was only dissuaded by the Prime Minister, then we need to know, and we need to know urgently. We need to know what we have been fighting for, and there is only one way to find out.

The Attorney General's ban is ridiculous, untenable, and redolent of guilt. I do not like people to break the Official Secrets Act, and, as it happens, I would not object to the continued prosecution of those who are alleged to have broken it. But we now have allegations of such severity, against the US President and his motives, that we need to clear them up.

If someone passes me the document within the next few days I will be very happy to publish it in The Spectator, and risk a jail sentence. The public need to judge for themselves. Sunlight is the best disinfectant. If we suppress the truth, we forget what we are fighting for, and in an important respect we become as sick and as bad as our enemies.

GOI: So many secrets, so little time, eh?

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Friday, November 25, 2005

Angie Paccione for Congress in Colorado House District 4

I received an email from a fellow blogger in the Colorado 4th district where Colorado state Representative Angie Paccione is running against "The Queen of Hate" (R) Rep. Marilyn Musgrave.

Musgrave is very much in danger and we have an opportunity to take this important seat back. Her approval rating is sagging at around 36% and now is the time to get the word out and make donations.

If you remember Marilyn Musgrave she was one of the first political leaders to call for making marriage illegal for homosexuals and her hatred has no place in the hallowed halls of Congress.

She is also very much in the pockets of "President 30%" Bush and "Pay to play" (R) Rep. Tom Delay.

If you have a moment and some spare cash please visit Rep. Paccione's website and make a contribution.

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Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

I just wanted to make a quick post on this day of gratitude to show my thanks to the men and women who serve this country to make our great America possible.

My heart goes out to them and their families who have given so much for us.

I am also very greatful for this blog and those of you who read my crazy ranting and raving.

I hope that this day is a beautiful and peaceful day for us all.

As a historian I thought that I would set a few myths straight about the first Thanksgiving.

First, the pilgrims didn't wear the black clothing with buckles until the late 17th century and they didn't eat wild turkey but rather duck.

May we all suffer less and be more compassionate in this next year.

-Peace to all beings

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Iraqi Factions Agree that the U.S. Should Leave

CAIRO, Nov. 21 - For the first time, Iraq's political factions on Monday collectively called for a timetable for withdrawal of foreign forces, in a moment of consensus that comes as the Bush administration battles pressure at home to commit itself to a pullout schedule.

GOI: Hey, didn't President Bush say that we will leave once the Iraqi's ask us to leave?


Interesting that about the only thing they can agree on is that the Americans should leave.

Thanks to Blake of "The Next Left" blog for the tip on this story.

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Key Bush Intelligence Briefing Kept From Hill Panel

By Murray Waas, special to National Journal
© National Journal Group Inc.
Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2005

Ten days after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, President Bush was told in a highly classified briefing that the U.S. intelligence community had no evidence linking the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein to the attacks and that there was scant credible evidence that Iraq had any significant collaborative ties with Al Qaeda, according to government records and current and former officials with firsthand knowledge of the matter.

The information was provided to Bush on September 21, 2001 during the "President's Daily Brief," a 30- to 45-minute early-morning national security briefing. Information for PDBs has routinely been derived from electronic intercepts, human agents, and reports from foreign intelligence services, as well as more mundane sources such as news reports and public statements by foreign leaders.

One of the more intriguing things that Bush was told during the briefing was that the few credible reports of contacts between Iraq and Al Qaeda involved attempts by Saddam Hussein to monitor the terrorist group. Saddam viewed Al Qaeda as well as other theocratic radical Islamist organizations as a potential threat to his secular regime. At one point, analysts believed, Saddam considered infiltrating the ranks of Al Qaeda with Iraqi nationals or even Iraqi intelligence operatives to learn more about its inner workings, according to records and sources.

The September 21, 2001, briefing was prepared at the request of the president, who was eager in the days following the terrorist attacks to learn all that he could about any possible connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda.

The highly classified CIA assessment was distributed to President Bush, Vice President Cheney, the president's national security adviser and deputy national security adviser, the secretaries and undersecretaries of State and Defense, and various other senior Bush administration policy makers, according to government records.

The Senate Intelligence Committee has asked the White House for the CIA assessment, the PDB of September 21, 2001, and dozens of other PDBs as part of the committee's ongoing investigation into whether the Bush administration misrepresented intelligence information in the run-up to war with Iraq. The Bush administration has refused to turn over these documents.

GOI: If the White House has nothing to hide and they really believe that the Senate and House had the same info. as the White House then why don't they just release said documents?

"What the President was told on September 21," said one former high-level official, "was consistent with everything he has been told since-that the evidence was just not there."

In arguing their case for war with Iraq, the president and vice president said after the September 11 attacks that Al Qaeda and Iraq had significant ties, and they cited the possibility that Iraq might share chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons with Al Qaeda for a terrorist attack against the United States.

Democrats in Congress, as well as other critics of the Bush administration, charge that Bush and Cheney misrepresented and distorted intelligence information to bolster their case for war with Iraq. The president and vice president have insisted that they unknowingly relied on faulty and erroneous intelligence, provided mostly by the CIA.

Go HERE for the full article.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Delay Could Face Federal Charges

By Holly Yeager and Stephanie Kirchgaessner in WashingtonPublished: November 22 2005 00:05 Last updated: November 22 2005 00:05

The likelihood of federal charges against members of Congress intensified on Monday when a key player in a broad corruption probe pleaded guilty to conspiracy and agreed to co-operate with investigators.

Under a plea agreement with the Department of Justice, Michael Scanlon, a former aide to Tom DeLay, the powerful Texas congressman, admitted that he had conspired to defraud four Native American Indian tribes that operated or hoped to operate casinos.

Mr Scanlon and Jack Abramoff, a Republican with close ties to Mr DeLay, earned more than $80m from Indian tribes from 2001-2004. Those transactions are being examined by the Senate Indian affairs committee, and by federal investigators.

Mr Abramoff has been indicted in Florida on fraud and conspiracy charges involving gambling boats.

Court papers in Mr Scanlon’s case also allege that a congressman received campaign contributions and valuable gifts, including a trip to Scotland to play golf, in exchange for official acts to benefit clients of Mr Scanlon and Mr Abramoff.

Mr DeLay and his supporters have accused Travis County district attorney Ronnie Earle, a Democrat, of being on a political witchhunt.

It would be more difficult for Mr DeLay or other Republicans to make such claims about federal prosecutors.

GOI: Don't forget that many Republican Representatives and Senators have donated to the Tom Delay defense fund as well as having received money from Delay. I know that here in Colorado both (R)Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (the Rep. in my district) and (R) Rep. Bob Beauprez (who is now running for Gov. of Colorado) have both donated and received money from the indicted ex-House Majority Leader.

I urge you to type your Representative's or Senator's name into google with "donated to Tom Delay defense fund" and/or "received money from Tom Delay." If it comes back that they have given and received money from Mr. Delay then I urge you to do everything that you can to kick them out of office in the up-coming 2006 election. Writing letters to the editor of your local newspapers is a great way to expose their connections to indicted Delay.

Oh yeah and 19% approval VP Dick Cheney is going to hold a fund rasier for dear old Tom and on Dec. 5th my damn birthday none the less!!!


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Monday, November 21, 2005

No Exit for the No Exit Strategy President

Our noble leader couldn't find his way out of a press conference where he refused to answer if he was being touchy or not.

This guy couldn't find his way out of a phone booth.

Go HERE for the video and have a good laugh at Bush's expense and at this rate his expense account is beyond negative.

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Rumsfeld: "I Did Not Advocate Invasion."

WASHINGTON: US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld yesterday asserted that he did not press for the US-led invasion of Iraq.

"I didn't advocate invasion," Rumsfeld told ABC TV, when asked if he would have advocated an invasion if he had known that no weapons of mass destruction would be found in Iraq.

The US defence chief added: "I wasn't asked," when asked whether he supported the March 2003 invasion

Asked on ABC television's "This Week" program if he was trying to distance himself after the fact from the controversial US decision to invade Iraq, Rumsfeld replied: "Of course not. Of course not. I completely agreed with the decision to go to war and said that a hundred times. Don't even suggest that."

GOI: So he was against the invasion of Iraq but buckled to the Cheney peer pressure once the plan was annouced.


If I was against invasion and the administration went ahead with it anyway I would have resigned. Then again I have some scruples and that is not something I can say for most of the Bush sycophants in the administration.

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Crack Reporting on Gulfstream Jet Gear Problems

I'm watching live as a Gulfstream V corporate jet with one of the landing gears stuck is burning off fuel before attempting a landing.

CNN's Kyra Phillips had a really insightful comment (GOI: insert sarcasm)on this issue saying (GOI: and I paraphrasing a bit but this is mostly word for word):

"As this plane runs out of fuel the pilot will have to land it sooner of later."

GOI: Hmmm, ya think?

So then I switched over to MSNBC and Tom Costello (who use to be a local reporter here in Colorado whom I have quite respected in the past but not so much after what he said on the Gulfstream matter):

"I've just been handed a note...Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods both have part ownership in a Gulfstream V).

GOI: Wow, that was a vital piece of information to the story there Tom!

How insightful!!

How much do these reporters get paid???

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Sunday, November 20, 2005

The German Downing Street Equivalent

BERLIN — The German intelligence officials responsible for one of the most important informants on Saddam Hussein's suspected weapons of mass destruction say that the Bush administration and the CIA repeatedly exaggerated his claims during the run-up to the war in Iraq.

Five senior officials from Germany's Federal Intelligence Service, or BND, said in interviews with The Times that they warned U.S. intelligence authorities that the source, an Iraqi defector code-named Curveball, never claimed to produce germ weapons and never saw anyone else do so.

According to the Germans, President Bush mischaracterized Curveball's information when he warned before the war that Iraq had at least seven mobile factories brewing biological poisons. Then-Secretary of State Colin L. Powell also misstated Curveball's accounts in his prewar presentation to the United Nations on Feb. 5, 2003, the Germans said.

Curveball's German handlers for the last six years said his information was often vague, mostly secondhand and impossible to confirm.

"This was not substantial evidence," said a senior German intelligence official. "We made clear we could not verify the things he said.

"The German authorities, speaking about the case for the first time, also said that their informant suffered from emotional and mental problems. "He is not a stable, psychologically stable guy," said a BND official who supervised the case. "He is not a completely normal person," agreed a BND analyst.

Curveball was the chief source of inaccurate prewar U.S. accusations that Baghdad had biological weapons, a commission appointed by Bush reported this year.

An investigation by The Times based on interviews since May with about 30 current and former intelligence officials in the U.S., Germany, England, Iraq and the United Nations, as well as other experts, shows that U.S. bungling in the Curveball case was worse than official reports have disclosed.

The White House, for example, ignored evidence gathered by United Nations weapons inspectors shortly before the war that disproved Curveball's account. Bush and his aides issued increasingly dire warnings about Iraq's biological weapons before the war even though intelligence from Curveball had not changed in two years.

At the Central Intelligence Agency, officials embraced Curveball's account even though they could not confirm it or interview him until a year after the invasion. They ignored multiple warnings about his reliability before the war, punished in-house critics who provided proof that he had lied and refused to admit error until May 2004, 14 months after the invasion.

The senior BND officer who supervised Curveball's case said he was aghast when he watched Powell misstate Curveball's claims as a justification for war.

"We were shocked," the official said. "Mein Gott! We had always told them it was not proven…. It was not hard intelligence."

CIA officials now concede that the Iraqi fused fact, research he gleaned on the Internet and what his former co-workers called "water cooler gossip" into a nightmarish fantasy that played on U.S. fears after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Curveball's motive, CIA officials said, was not to start a war. He simply was seeking a German visa.

GOI: Just more evidence that the Bush administration picked and chose the intelligence they wanted to hear and ignored anything that contradicted their views and plans to invade Iraq. This manufacted and pieced together intelligence was then passed on to the Congress and Senate of the United States.

It is quite disturbing that the Bushies relied so heavily on one source who was described by the Germans as rather dubious.

Our options right now in Iraq are either bad or worse as former CIA officer Melissa Boyle Mahle put it this morning on CNN's Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer.

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Saturday, November 19, 2005

Withdrawal Plans Popping Up Everywhere Now.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The top U.S. commander in Iraq has submitted a plan to the Pentagon for withdrawing troops in Iraq, according to a senior defense official.

Gen. George Casey submitted the plan to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. It includes numerous options and recommends that brigades -- usually made up of about 2,000 soldiers each -- begin pulling out of Iraq early next year.

The proposal comes as tension grows in both Washington and Baghdad following a call by a senior House Democrat to bring U.S. troops home and the deaths of scores of people by suicide bombers in two Iraqi cities.

Rumsfeld has yet to sign Casey's withdrawal plan but, the senior defense official said, implementation of the plan, if approved, would start after the December 15 Iraqi elections so as not to discourage voters from going to the polls.

GOI: I would support waiting until after the December elections to withdrawal and keeping a lightning force of Marines in Kuwait able to move back into Iraq if needed.

This is exactly what Rep. John Conyers and Rep. Murtha have been pushing for.

I wonder if Conservatives are going to come out now and smear Gen. Casey as "unpatriotic," "cowardly" and "treasonous."

In related news:

An unscientific CNN poll found that 85% of participants agreed with a plan to withdrawal from Iraq in 6 months. Now there is probably a margin of error here but probably not by much if 85% are saying yes. It seems like a pretty good indicator of where many Americans stand right now on the issue of troop withdrawal. I am pretty sure as well that CNN has some mechanism in place to prevent people from voting more then once. I could be wrong, however.

Oh and I guess the 85% of the people that voted "yes" in this poll are "unpatriotic" and "cowards" according to Conservatives as well.

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Friday, November 18, 2005

Another Republican Political Stunt

WASHINGTON (AP) - House Republicans maneuvered for swift rejection Friday of any notion of immediately pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq, sparking a nasty, sometimes personal debate over the war and a Democratic lawmaker's own call for withdrawal.

Furious Democrats accused the GOP of orchestrating a political stunt, leaving little time for debate and changing the meaning of a withdrawal resolution offered by Democratic Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania.

For those reasons, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi sent word to rank-and-file Democrats to vote - with the Republicans - against immediate withdrawal of American troops.

By forcing the issue to a vote, Republicans tried to place many Democrats in a politically unappealing position - whether to side with Murtha and expose themselves to criticism, or oppose him and risk angering the voters that polls show want an end to the conflict.

But Democrats claimed the effort had backfired because their party members planned to vote against withdrawal - and the GOP version of Murtha's resolution.

GOI: This resolution introduced by House Republicans is a sham, a typical smear ploy, dirty politics and a political stunt. One simply has to look at the fact that these Republicans purposed a resolution they new they wouldn't vote for. It is a disgrace to the dignity of the House of Representatives, the soldiers and the voice American people who overwhelmingly oppose the direction of this war.

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Thursday, November 17, 2005

Cheney Is in His "Last Throes."

MSNBC News Services
Updated: 9:00 a.m. ET Nov. 17, 2005

WASHINGTON - In the sharpest White House attack yet on critics of the Iraq war, Vice President Dick Cheney said on Wednesday that accusations the Bush administration manipulated intelligence to justify the war were a “dishonest and reprehensible” political ploy.

Cheney called Democrats “opportunists” who were peddling “cynical and pernicious falsehoods” to gain political advantage while U.S. soldiers died in Iraq.

GOI: Oh yeah right. And I suppose that the President using Veterans Day to attack Democrats wasn't "dishonest and reprehensible" opportunism? Or how about constantly using 9/11 during the election to scare people into voting for him? Or how about Cheney saying if you vote for the "other side" the terrorist will hit us again? Or how about Bush STILL trying to tie 9/11 to Iraq???

Can you say, "pot calling the kettle black?"

I think you can.

Come on Darth, Oops I mean Dick.

Stop trying to play spin the wheel on the donkey.

You know you blew it.

These attacks are the desperate "last throes" (to use Cheney's own words against him) of a administration spiraling out of control.

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Hawkish Murtha Wants Pullout of U.S. Soldiers

The Associated Press
Thursday, November 17, 2005; 11:13 AM

WASHINGTON -- An influential House Democrat who voted for the Iraq war called Thursday for the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, another sign of growing unease in Congress about the conflict.

"This is the immediate redeployment of American forces because they have become the target," said Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., one of Congress' most hawkish Democrats. At times during his remarks to reporters, the decorated Vietnam War veteran was choking back tears.

"It is time for a change in direction. Our military is suffering, the future of our country is at risk. We cannot continue on the present course. It is evident that continued military action in Iraq is not in the best interests of the United States of America, the Iraqi people or the Persian Gulf region," Murtha said.

Murtha, the top Democrat on the House Appropriations defense subcommittee, has earned bipartisan respect for his grasp of military issues over three decades in Congress.

He said announcing a U.S. withdrawal would provide the Iraqi government with an added incentive to have their own security forces take control of the conflict.

"The war in Iraq is not going as advertised. It is a flawed policy wrapped in illusion," Murtha said.

GOI: I've been really mulling this issue over in my head for some time now and this speach from Rep. Murtha has convinced me that it is time for America to pullout from Iraq. We have succeeded. We got Saddam and most of his high ranking officials, no WMD's were found, a Constitution was passed and Iraqi forces have been building and training for years now. They may not be 100% but at what point will they be 100%? And can they EVER reach the same level of preparedness as our military?

Our withdrawal from Iraq would force these Iraqi's to step up and take full control of the conflict. I think that one of the main reasons that the Iraqi's haven't been willing to take full responsibility for the defense of their country is because they know that they have the Americans to take most of the duty and bullets. It's like the parent who does the homework for their kids. These kids will never learn anything or step up to do the homework unless the parent steps aside and allows the children to take control of their own future.

This might mean that there is an uptick in violence in Iraq and they might fall on their face for a time but I think this country is now in the hands of the Iraqi's and we need to step aside.

I've been leary of pulling out before because I thought that we needed to stay until the Iraqi forces were 100%. However, now I realize that they will never be able to take over until we move out of the picture and the stakes are raised for them to step up and take full control.

One arguement for keeping our troops there is this theory that the terrorists will just wait us out. However, the flaw there is that means we would have to stay there forever because even if we stay for 100 years the terrorists will still be there the day we leave. Iraq may plundge further into a civil war but that is their business at this point. How can we take sides in a civil war? We end up being caught in the middle and shot from both sides.

Iraq is probably never going to have the level of military that America has so again, we have to allow them to step up with the military they have and learn as they move along. After all wasn't it Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld who said that you don't go to war with the army you want but with the army you have?

Anyway, the terrorists aren't going anywhere and so neither would we for generations upon generations and that continued occupation is just not realistic anymore. Our soldiers have been strained to the breaking point with some men and women serving 3 or 4 tours of duty already!

It is time to bring them home with the honor and peace that they deserve.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Hagel Defends Criticism of Iraq Policy

Sen. Chuck Hagel fleshed out his proposals for a regional security conference on Iraq and direct U.S. dialogue with Iran during a speech Tuesday to the Council on Foreign Relations.

Hagel also took the occasion to strongly reject arguments that criticism of Bush administration policy in Iraq is unpatriotic or damaging to U.S. troops.

“The Bush administration must understand that each American has a right to question our policies in Iraq and should not be demonized for disagreeing with them,” Hagel said in the text of the speech he delivered in Washington.

"Suggesting that to challenge or criticize policy is undermining and hurting our troops is not democracy nor what this country has stood for for over 200 years."

GOI: I couldn't have said it better myself. Oh yeah and I forgot to mention that Hagel is a veteran of Vietnam and a Republican. So put that in your pipe and smoke it if you're going to try and discredit him.

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Another CIA Leaker

GOI: Who is Woodward's Source?

The Post disclosed this morning that Woodward testified under oath Monday in the CIA leak case. Woodward said today he had gotten permission from one of his sources, White House chief of staff Andrew H. Card Jr., to disclose that he had testified that their June 20, 2003 conversation did not involve Plame, the wife of administration critic Joseph C. Wilson IV. He said he had "pushed" his other administration source, without success, to allow him to discuss that person's identity, but that the source has insisted that the waiver applies only to Woodward's testimony.

The abrupt revelation that Woodward has been sitting on information about the Plame controversy has reignited questions about his unique relationship with The Post while writing books with unparalleled access to high-level officials, and about why Woodward minimized the importance of the Fitzgerald probe in television and radio interviews while hiding his own involvement in the matter.

GOI: Libby's lawyer is saying that this let's his client off the hook but I think that is premature thinking. Even if you're not the bank robber but the get away driver you can still be found guilty.

One thing is for sure, this CIA leak case if far from over.

---End of Transmission---

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

A Step Back for Democracy in Iraq

Associated Press Writer

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- Iraq's prime minister said Tuesday that 173 Iraqi detainees - malnourished and showing signs of torture - were found at an Interior Ministry basement lockup seized by U.S. forces in Baghdad. The discovery appeared to validate Sunni complaints of abuse by the Shiite-controlled ministry.

The revelation about the mostly Sunni Arab detainees by Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari was deeply embarrassing to the government as critics in the United States and Britain question the U.S. strategy for building democracy in a land wracked by insurgency, terrorism and sectarian tension.

"I was informed that there were 173 detainees held at an Interior Ministry prison and they appear to be malnourished," al-Jaafari said of Sunday's raid at a detention center in the fashionable Jadriyah district. "There is also some talk that they were subjected to some kind of torture."

But the head of Iraq's largest Sunni political party said he had spoken to al-Jaafari and other government officials about torture at Interior Ministry detention centers, including the one where the detainees were found.

Mohsen Abdul-Hamid, leader of the Iraqi Islamic Party, said the government routinely dismissed his complaints, calling the prisoners "former regime elements," meaning Saddam Hussein loyalists.

U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and the top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. George Casey, have expressed their "deep concern" over the condition of the detainees "at the highest level" of the Iraqi government, a U.S. Embassy statement said.

"We agree with Iraq's leaders that the mistreatment of detainees is a serious matter and totally unacceptable," the statement added.

But the case also raises troubling questions about the training and discipline of Iraqi security forces, which Washington hopes can assume a greater role in fighting the insurgents so that U.S. and other international troops can begin to go home.

---End of Transmission---

Monday, November 14, 2005

Bush Sinks to a New Low

From USA Today:

Bush's job approval rating sank to a record low 37%. The poll finds growing criticism of the president, unease about the nation's direction and opposition to the Iraq war.

GOI: However, perhaps more alarming for the greater Republican party are the following numbers:

Fewer than one in 10 adults say they would prefer a congressional candidate who is a Republican and who agrees with Bush on most major issues, according to a USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll taken Friday through Sunday. Even among Republicans, seven of 10 are most likely to back a candidate who has at least some disagreements with the president.

GOI: A majority of Independants also disapprove of Bush:

Two-thirds of independents and 91% of Democrats disapprove of the job Bush is doing. Even among Republicans, who have solidly backed Bush in the past, 19% express disapproval — a new high.

Let's Take a Look Back

President George W. Bush’s attempt Friday to silence critics who say his administration manipulated prewar intelligence on Iraq is undercut by congressional testimony given in February 2001 by former CIA Director George Tenet, who said that Iraq posed no immediate threat to the United States or other countries in the Middle East.

Details of Tenet’s testimony have not been reported before.

Since a criminal indictment was handed up last month against Vice President Dick Cheney’s former Chief of Staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, for his role in allegedly leaking the name of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson to reporters in an attempt to muzzle criticism of the administration’s rationale for war, questions have resurfaced in the halls of Congress about whether the president and his close advisers manipulated intelligence in an effort to dupe lawmakers and the American public into believing Saddam Hussein was a grave threat.

The White House insists that such a suggestion is ludicrous and wholly political. It has launched a full-scale public relations effort to restate its case for war by saying Democrats saw the same intelligence as their Republican counterparts prior to the March 2003 invasion.

But as a bipartisan investigation into prewar intelligence heats up, some key Democratic lawmakers, including Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), have unearthed unreported evidence that indicates Congress was misled. This evidence includes Tenet’s testimony before Congress, dissenting views from the scientific community and statements made by members of the administration in early 2001.

Tenet told Congress in February 2001 that Iraq was “probably” pursuing chemical and biological weapons programs but that the CIA had no direct evidence that Iraq had actually obtained such weapons. However, such caveats as “may” and “probably” were removed from intelligence reports by key members of the Bush administration immediately after 9/11 when discussing Iraq.

We do not have any direct evidence that Iraq has used the period since (Operation) Desert Fox to reconstitute its WMD programs,” Tenet said in an agency report to Congress Feb. 7, 2001. “Moreover, the automated video monitoring systems installed by the UN at known and suspect WMD facilities in Iraq are still not operating… Having lost this on-the-ground access, it is more difficult for the UN or the U.S. to accurately assess the current state of Iraq’s WMD programs.”

In fact, more than two dozen pieces of testimony and interviews of top officials in the Bush administration, including those given by former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz prior to 9-11, show that the U.S. never believed Saddam Hussein was an imminent threat to anyone other than his own people.

Powell said the U.S. had successfully “contained” Iraq in the years since the first Gulf War. Further, he said that because of economic sanctions, Iraq was unable to obtain WMD.

We have been able to keep weapons from going into Iraq,” Powell said during a Feb. 11, 2001 interview with “Face the Nation.” “We have been able to keep the sanctions in place to the extent that items that might support weapons of mass destruction development have had some controls.”

It's been quite a success for ten years,” he added.

During a meeting with German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer in February 2001, Powell said the UN, the U.S. and its allies “have succeeded in containing Saddam Hussein and his ambitions.”

Saddam’s “forces are about one-third their original size. They don't really possess the capability to attack their neighbors the way they did ten years ago,” Powell said.
Powell added that Iraq was “not threatening America.”

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld seemed to agree with Powell’s assessment. In a Feb. 12, 2001 interview with the Fox News Channel, Rumsfeld said, “Iraq is probably not a nuclear threat at the present time.

Ironically, just five days before Rumsfeld’s Fox News interview, Tenet told Congress that Osama bin Laden and his al-Qa’ida terrorist network remained the single greatest threat to U.S. interests. Tenet eerily describes in the report a scenario that six months later would become a grim reality.

“Terrorists are also becoming more operationally adept and more technically sophisticated in order to defeat counter-terrorism measures,” the former CIA director said. “For example, as we have increased security around government and military facilities, terrorists are seeking out "softer" targets that provide opportunities for mass casualties.”

Osama bin Laden and his global network of lieutenants and associates remain the most immediate and serious threat,” he added.

Between 1998 and early 2002, the CIA’s reports on the so-called terror threat offered no details on what types of chemical and biological weapons Iraq had obtained. After 9/11, however, these reports radically changed. In October 2002, the agency issued another report, this time alleging Iraq had vast supply of chemical and biological weapons. Much of that information turned out to be based on forged documents and unreliable Iraqi exiles.

The October 2002 CIA report stated that Iraq had been stockpiling sarin, mustard gas, VX and numerous other chemical weapons. This was in stark contrast to Tenet’s earlier reports which said the agency had no evidence to support such claims. And unlike testimony Tenet gave a year earlier, in which he said the CIA had no direct evidence of Iraq’s WMD programs, Tenet said the intelligence information in the 2002 report was rock solid.

“It comes to us from credible and reliable sources,” Tenet said during a 2003 CIA briefing. “Much of it is corroborated by multiple sources.”

The intelligence sources turned out to be Iraqi exiles supplied by then-head of the Iraqi National Congress Ahmed Chalabi, who was paid $330,000 a month by the Pentagon to provide intelligence on Iraq. The exiles’ credibility and the veracity of their reports came under scrutiny by the CIA but these reports were championed as smoking gun proof by President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and other members of the Bush administration.

Unanswered questions remain. Democrats are increasingly suggesting that the Administration may have known their intelligence was bad.

Sen. Levin’s office directed RAW STORY to a statement the senator released Friday, claiming that the administration’s assertion that al-Qaeda was providing Iraq with chemical and biological weapons training was based on bogus evidence and a source who knowingly lied about al-Qaeda’s ties to Iraq. The Michigan Democrat also released a newly declassified report from the Defense Intelligence Agency to back up his allegations that the Bush administration misled the public.

“The CIA’s unclassified statement at the time was that the reporting was ‘credible,’ a statement the Administration used repeatedly,” he said. “What the Administration omitted was the second half of the CIA statement: that the source was not in a position to know whether any training had taken place.

That issue, along with other reports, is now the cornerstone of the bipartisan investigation into prewar intelligence.

Levin’s office said the senator is going to provide the committee investigating prewar intelligence with reports from experts who warned officials in the Bush administration before the Iraq war that intelligence reports showing Iraq was stockpiling chemical and biological weapons were unreliable.

GOI: Allies of the President continue to conveniently ignore the Downing Street memos which testify to the following:

C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.

GOI: And let's not forget Richard Clarke's testimony that the Bush administration was pushing for a link between Iraq and 9/11:

(CBS) In the aftermath of Sept. 11, President Bush ordered his then top anti-terrorism adviser to look for a link between Iraq and the attacks, despite being told there didn't seem to be one.

GOI: Oh yeah and let's not forget the much smeared and maligned Joseph Wilson's well known tesitimony that Saddam had not purchased uranium from Niger despite the President's claim. Then his wife was outed as a CIA under cover agent by someone in the White House in an apparent retaliation for Wilson undermining the administrations thin evidence for war in Iraq.

I. Lewis "Scooter" Libbey has been indicted in relation to that outing of Wilson's wife.

Then there's Paul Snow. Bush's first Secretary of Treasure:

O’Neill, whom Bush fired because he opposed another round of tax cuts, is quoted in the book as saying he was surprised by how focused the president was on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq from the start of his administration.

GOI: And now the majority of the American public has disapproved of the President for months. With support for him in poll after poll only being in the low 30's.

A majority of Americans aslo believe Bush to be dishonest:

Almost 6 in 10 -- 57% -- said they do not think the Bush administration has high ethical standards and the same portion says President Bush is not honest, an AP-Ipsos poll found.


(Angus Reid Global Scan) – Many adults in the United States are questioning their president’s motives to launch the coalition effort, according to a poll by Hart/McInturff released by the Wall Street Journal and NBC News. 57 per cent of respondents think George W. Bush deliberately misled people to make the case for war with Iraq, up 10 points since June 2004.

GOI: Also, a majority of independents (two-thirds) disapprove of Bush.

GOI: I guess, however, that all these people are wrong according to the Bush administration and his sycophants. The Downing Street memos are wrong. George Tenet and Colin Powell were wrong to say that Iraq wasn't a threat before 9/11 (and even the President himself admitted that there there is no evidence to link Saddam Hussein to the 9/11 attacks).

Joe Wilson, Richard Clarke and Paul Snow are all wrong too. And I guess two-thirds of independents are all wrong too. And now Bush is saying that all the Democrats are wrong and are at fault for HIS WAR!!

This reminds me of a Homer Simpson quote, "This is everbody's fault but mine."

---End of Transmission---

Sunday, November 13, 2005

O'Reilly: "What I Said Isn't Controversial."

Appearing yesterday on a conservative San Francisco radio show, Bill O’Reilly offered his first public comments since being criticized for saying he would approve of an al Qaeda terrorist attack on the California city.

O’Reilly not only stood by his comments, but claimed they “needed to be said”:

I mean, look, everybody knows what’s going on there. What I said isn’t controversial. What I said needed to be said.

GOI: Dear Buddha!!! Not only does he not apologize for his comments but he doesn't even think it is controversial!! Well, I'd hate to see then what O'Reilly thinks is controversial!!!

Republicans are always saying that Democrats are unpatriotic and treasonous just for diagreeing with the President. However, O'Reilly's comments on advocating terrorism are apparently neither unpatriotic, treasonous or even controversial!!

He is truly suffering from delusions and needs to seek psychiatric help.

---End of Transmission---

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Bush Criticisms of War Critics Not Fully Accurate

By Dana Milbank and Walter Pincus
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, November 12, 2005; Page A01

President Bush and his national security adviser have answered critics of the Iraq war in recent days with a two-pronged argument: that Congress saw the same intelligence the administration did before the war, and that independent commissions have determined that the administration did not misrepresent the intelligence.

Neither assertion is wholly accurate.

The administration's overarching point is true: Intelligence agencies overwhelmingly believed that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, and very few members of Congress from either party were skeptical about this belief before the war began in 2003. Indeed, top lawmakers in both parties were emphatic and certain in their public statements.

But Bush and his aides had access to much more voluminous intelligence information than did lawmakers, who were dependent on the administration to provide the material. And the commissions cited by officials, though concluding that the administration did not pressure intelligence analysts to change their conclusions, were not authorized to determine whether the administration exaggerated or distorted those conclusions.

National security adviser Stephen J. Hadley, briefing reporters Thursday, countered "the notion that somehow this administration manipulated the intelligence." He said that "those people who have looked at that issue, some committees on the Hill in Congress, and also the Silberman-Robb Commission, have concluded it did not happen."

But the only committee investigating the matter in Congress, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, has not yet done its inquiry into whether officials mischaracterized intelligence by omitting caveats and dissenting opinions. And Judge Laurence H. Silberman, chairman of Bush's commission on weapons of mass destruction, said in releasing his report on March 31, 2005: "Our executive order did not direct us to deal with the use of intelligence by policymakers, and all of us were agreed that that was not part of our inquiry."

Bush, in Pennsylvania yesterday, was more precise, but he still implied that it had been proved that the administration did not manipulate intelligence, saying that those who suggest the administration "manipulated the intelligence" are "fully aware that a bipartisan Senate investigation found no evidence of political pressure to change the intelligence community's judgments."

In the same speech, Bush asserted that "more than 100 Democrats in the House and the Senate, who had access to the same intelligence, voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power." Giving a preview of Bush's speech, Hadley had said that "we all looked at the same intelligence."

But Bush does not share his most sensitive intelligence, such as the President's Daily Brief, with lawmakers. Also, the National Intelligence Estimate summarizing the intelligence community's views about the threat from Iraq was given to Congress just days before the vote to authorize the use of force in that country.

In addition, there were doubts within the intelligence community not included in the NIE. And even the doubts expressed in the NIE could not be used publicly by members of Congress because the classified information had not been cleared for release. For example, the NIE view that Hussein would not use weapons of mass destruction against the United States or turn them over to terrorists unless backed into a corner was cleared for public use only a day before the Senate vote.

The lawmakers are partly to blame for their ignorance. Congress was entitled to view the 92-page National Intelligence Estimate about Iraq before the October 2002 vote. But, as The Washington Post reported last year, no more than six senators and a handful of House members read beyond the five-page executive summary.

Even within the Bush administration, not everybody consistently viewed Iraq as what Hadley called "an enormous threat." In a news conference in February 2001 in Egypt, then-Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said of the economic sanctions against Hussein's Iraq: "Frankly, they have worked. He has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction."

Bush, in his speech Friday, said that "it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began." But in trying to set the record straight, he asserted: "When I made the decision to remove Saddam Hussein from power, Congress approved it with strong bipartisan support."

The October 2002 joint resolution authorized the use of force in Iraq, but it did not directly mention the removal of Hussein from power.

The resolution voiced support for diplomatic efforts to enforce "all relevant Security Council resolutions," and for using the armed forces to enforce the resolutions and defend "against the continuing threat posed by Iraq."

Hadley, in his remarks, went further. "Congress, in 1998, authorized, in fact, the use of force based on that intelligence," he said. "And, as you know, the Clinton administration took some action."

But the 1998 legislation gave the president authority "to support efforts to remove the regime of Saddam Hussein" by providing assistance to Iraqi opposition groups, including arms, humanitarian aid and broadcasting facilities.

President Bill Clinton ordered four days of bombing of Iraqi weapons facilities in 1998, under the 1991 resolution authorizing military force in response to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. Describing that event in an interview with CBS News yesterday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said: "We went to war in 1998 because of concerns about his weapons of mass destruction."

GOI: It seems to me, however, that the current administration in power are the ones who are ultimately to blame the most.

---End of Transmission---

Friday, November 11, 2005

Ayatollah Bill O'Reilly is Pro-Terrorism

San Franciscans have been in an uproar this week over apparent comments by the host of Fox News' "The O'Reilly Factor" that it was A-OK for terrorists to wipe the city off the map.

At issue are comments from O'Reilly's Election Day broadcast on his syndicated Westwood One radio show about a San Francisco ballot measure opposing the presence of military recruiters in city schools.

"Listen, citizens of San Francisco, if you vote against military recruiting, you're not going to get another nickel in federal funds. Fine. You want to be your own country? Go right ahead," O'Reilly said, according to a transcript and audio posted by liberal media watchdog group Media Matters for America, and by the San Francisco Chronicle.

"And if al-Qaida comes in here and blows you up, we're not going to do anything about it. We're going to say, look, every other place in America is off limits to you, except San Francisco. You want to blow up the Coit Tower? Go ahead," O'Reilly continued, referring to the 1933 San Francisco landmark that sits atop Telegraph Hill.

Adding to the buzz was the archived version of O'Reilly's Tuesday show, which omitted the incendiary comments, according to Bay Area TV station KNTV.

The radio show was not the only time O'Reilly commented on the ballot proposition. On his Monday night "O'Reilly Factor," he tangled with Angela Alioto, the former president of the city's Board of Supervisors.

"Why should the rest of the country protect your butt, with all due respect, OK, when it comes to the war on terror, if San Francisco is going to thumb your nose and give the big digit to the military? Why should ... why should we protect you from al-Qaida and terrorists if you're going to disrespect the military, by passing this ... even though it's symbolic ... this resolution?" he asked Alioto.

GOI: First of all, passing a proposition to oppose the presence of military recruiters in city schools is not disrepecting the military. It is disagreeing with one action of the military. It is possible to disagree with having recruiters in city schools but also support the troops and our military. The issue is not black and white.

The military will still have plenty of chances to recruit young people through other means such as t.v. and radio ads. The vote in San Francisco is Democracy in action whether O'Reilly likes it or not. The people voted and that's that.

Secondly, does O'Reilly realize that what he is saying is that he supports terrorism? He surely can disagree with what San Fancisco voters decided but saying the city deserves to be hit by terrorists? Come on.

I think O'Reilly should move to Iraq or Iran to avoid the FBI or CIA lookin' for his fatwa demanding ass.

I also hear Bill might be coming out with a new book for the holidays. It's currently being titled, "Jihad for Kids."

---End of Transmission---

Bush: Blah, Blah, Blah. 9/11, 9/11, 9/11.

GOI: Lame-duck President Bush exploited veterans day to lash out at critics:

Instead of using this day to simply honor the fallen soldiers and those who served he instead chose to use them as a political backdrop for his campaign like rhetoric.

This response to the shameful event from Senator John Kerry:

In a statement, Kerry retorted: "I wish President Bush knew better than to dishonor America's veterans by playing the politics of fear and smear on Veterans Day. Instead of trying to salvage his slumping political fortunes, the commander in chief should honor our men and women in uniform with a clear strategy for success in Iraq."

Kerry charged, "This administration misled a nation into war by cherry-picking intelligence and stretching the truth beyond recognition. . . . Today, they continue the same games hoping Americans forget the mess they made in Iraq that's cost over 2,000 Americans their lives and their failure to find Osama bin Laden."

GOI: Oh yeah and Bush was still trying to make the connection between the war in Iraq with September 11th. Saying that this war was not of our choosing but rather came to our shores on 9/11. All this despite his astonishing moment of clarity when he previously admitted that there was no connection between Saddam Hussein and Septermber the 11th. As well as the fact that Iraq was not the breeding ground for terrorists that it is today.

I know, I know the Bush sycophants will retort with the bumper sticker defense that "it's better to fight the terrorists over there then here." Yeah, tell that to the Iraqi's whose backyard is the center of this mess and their family members the victims. Tell them that the life of their loved one isn't as important as an American life. Tell them that they are just canon fodder to protect "superior America" from the terror and nightmares.

And let's not forget that the terrorists can still hit us here at any time. That vulnerability does not change because we are in a war with them "over there." Such statements are naive delusions that the pro-war folks tell themselves to justify this war and to help them believe the lies that everything is going well over there.

---End of Transmission---

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Veterans Denied by Republican Chair

WASHINGTON, Nov. 10 /U.S. Newswire/ -- A proposal to end the long-standing practice of veterans groups addressing a joint session of the House and Senate Veterans' Affairs Committees is an insult to all who have fought, sacrificed and died to defend the Constitution, according to the Disabled American Veterans (DAV). And in a strongly worded letter to House Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Steve Buyer (R-Ind.), the DAV has urged him to continue the joint hearings as an invaluable tool in formulating public policy toward America's veterans.

Chairman Buyer recently announced that veterans service organizations will no longer have the opportunity to present testimony before a joint hearing of the House and Senate Veterans' Affairs Committees.

"The tradition of legislative presentations by veterans service organizations dates back to at least the 1950s. And the timing of this announcement -- just before Veterans Day -- could not have been worse," said DAV National Commander Paul W. Jackson.

For several decades now, these joint hearings have been held each year to allow the elected leaders of veterans groups to discuss their organization's legislative agenda and foremost concerns with the lawmakers who have jurisdiction over federal veterans programs. Senators and Representatives who serve on those committees also get the rare opportunity to address the hundreds of constituent members from these organizations' who make the annual pilgrimage to Capitol Hill.

"The right to fully participate in the democratic process is a cornerstone of our nation," said Commander Jackson. "Eliminating these joint hearings is an insult to the men and women who have fought, sacrificed and died to protect our Constitutional rights, including the right to petition the government."

This important dialog between veterans and their elected representatives is crucial to the democratic process and a unique opportunity for the men and women who've put their lives on the line for America. Many of the veterans who take part in the hearings view it as their patriotic duty, as well as a fundamental right.

GOI: Gee, and I thought Republicans supported the troops.

---End of Transmisson---

Just Another Day in Iraq

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A suicide bomber blew himself up in a crowded Baghdad restaurant frequented by the security forces at breakfast time on Thursday, killing 35 people and wounding 25 in an attack claimed by al Qaeda in Iraq.

"Body parts are all over the place, we are still collecting them," a police officer at the scene said soon after the blast.

It was one of the biggest attacks in Baghdad in recent months and came a day after three hotel bombs in Jordan's capital, Amman, claimed by al Qaeda in Iraq, killed 56 people.

A car bomb at an army recruitment station in Tikrit, north of Baghdad, killed 10 people on Thursday and wounded 20 more.

---End of Transmission---

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

U.S. Alleged to Use Banned Chemical Weapon in Iraq

This from Reuters via the Boston Globe:

ROME -- Italian television aired a documentary yesterday alleging that the United States had used white phosphorus shells ''in a massive and indiscriminate way" against civilians in the November 2004 offensive in the Iraqi town of Fallujah.

The US military has denied that it used white phosphorus against civilians. It confirmed, however, that US forces had dropped MK 77 firebombs, which a documentary on Italian state-run broadcaster RAI compared to napalm, against military targets in Iraq in March and April 2003.

The documentary showed images of bodies recovered after a November 2004 offensive by US troops on Fallujah, which it said proved the use of white phosphorus against men, women, and children who were burned to the bone.

An incendiary device, white phosphorus is also used to light up combat areas.

The use of incendiary weapons against civilians has been banned by the Geneva Convention since 1980. The United States did not sign the relevant protocol to the convention, a UN official in New York said.

''I do know that white phosphorus was used," said Jeff Englehart in the RAI documentary, which identified him as a former soldier in the US 1st Infantry Division who had taken part in the Falluja offensive. ''White phosphorus kills indiscriminately."

The US Marines in Baghdad described white phosphorus as a ''conventional munition" used primarily for smoke screens and target marking. It denied using it against civilians.

''Suggestions that US forces targeted civilians with these weapons are simply wrong," US Marine Major Tim Keefe said in an e-mail message. ''Had the producers of the documentary bothered to ask us for comment, we would have certainly told them that the premise of the program was erroneous."

He said US forces do not use chemical weapons in Iraq.

---End of Transmission---

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Democrats Win BIG!!

By Tom Curry
National affairs writer
Updated: 11:53 p.m. ET Nov. 8, 2005

(Picture: Democrat Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine)

WASHINGTON - Democrats scored big victories in the Virginia and New Jersey governors races Tuesday. Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine defeated Republican Jerry Kilgore in Virginia and Sen. Jon Corzine easily beat businessman Doug Forrester in New Jersey.

GOI: And then there's this from The Washington Post via The Junkheap of History blog:

On the other hand, analysts said, if Democrat Timothy M. Kaine beats Kilgore in a state that solidly backed Bush twice, it will feed into a widespread perception of weakness afflicting the president and those associated with him. With the troubled response to Hurricane Katrina, the failed Supreme Court nomination of Harriet Miers, the indictment of a top White House official in the CIA leak case and continuing violence in Iraq, Bush's approval ratings have sunk to some of the lowest ever for a second-term president in modern times. And with Democrats likely to win the New Jersey governorship, the only other major race on the ballot, Bush can find little good news to seize on.

GOI: This makes me feel VERY optimistic about the 2006 election season. I feel that this is just the beginning of a much greater wave of change to wash into D.C. in '06.

It's on baby, ON!!!

---End of Transmission---

Bill Frist: GOP Leaked Info on Secret CIA Prisons

Senator Trent Lott (R-MS) told CNN's Ed Henry Tuesday afternoon that he believed it was a Republican senator who gave information about secret CIA jails abroad to the Washington Post.

Lott said that much of the information contained in the Post report -- which stated that the U.S. was holding terrorist suspects in secret CIA jails overseas -- was discussed at a meeting of Republican senators last Tuesday.

Lott noted that Vice President Cheney was also in the room for that discussion and Lott said point blank "a lot of it came out of that room last tuesday, pointing to the room where the lunch was held in the capitol." He added of senators "we can't keep our mouths shut." He added about the vice president, "He was up here last wek and talked up here in that room right there in a roomful of nothing but senators and every word that was said in there went right to the newspaper." He said he believes when all is said and done it may wind up as an ethics investigation of a Republican senator, maybe a Republican staffer as well. Senator Frist's office not commenting on this development. The Washington Post not commenting either."

GOI: Just heard on CNN: This new leak allegation has been sent to the Department of Justice and an investigation seems to be imminent. As a friend said, "Of course, some things should be kept secret. Like the identity of certain folks working for the CIA, for example." ;)

In other news, the White House threatens to veto the Senate anti-torture bill:

Yesterday evening, John McCain passed an amendment to the next military appropriations bill which if followed would end such practices by simply requiring the treatment of detainees to be held to the standards in the Army field manual. Bush claims he's going to veto it. This would mean the first, and so far only, veto of Bush's entire presidency would be performed in support of torture.

GOI: If the Bush administration is SO against torture then why do they oppose this anti-torture bill?!!! In my opinion It can only mean that yes, the Bushies DO torture and they don't want to get CAUGHT!!

If it looks criminal and acts criminal, THEN IT'S CRIMINAL!!!

---End of Transmission---

Monday, November 07, 2005

Sen. Coburn: Gays Greatest Threat to American Freedom

Senator Coburn of Oklahoma said the following on gays which was picked up by Tim Russert on MEET THE PRESS yesterday:

MR. RUSSERT: But voicing his opinion, as he did there on gay rights, you recall in the campaign back in Rogers County, when you made comments like this, telling a group of local Republicans that-- "[Coburn] told a meeting of local Republicans that `the gay community has infiltrated the very centers of power. They are the greatest threat, that agenda is the greatest threat to our freedom we face today.'"

GOI: Really?

Hmm, no wonder we are loosing the war in Iraq and the war on terror.

How can gays be a threat to "our" freedoms when they don't even have the freedom to marry whom ever they choose?!

---End of Transmission---

5 Soldiers Killed In Two Days, Attacks Getting More Effective

By Paul Tait

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Four U.S. soldiers were among at least 15 people killed in a bloody day of suicide car bombings in and around Baghdad on Monday as a major offensive against Sunni Arab insurgents took place near Iraq's border with Syria.

The four soldiers from Task Force Baghdad were killed when a car bomber attacked their checkpoint on a road south of Baghdad, the military said in a statement.

Powerful bombs have become more common and U.S. commanders are concerned about armor-penetrating bombs, the technology for which U.S. and British officials say was introduced from Iran.

The military also confirmed that a U.S. soldier had been killed and two more wounded by a makeshift bomb while on patrol near Tikrit on Sunday.

---End of Transmission---

White House Ethics Training

By Jim VandeHei
Updated: 12:32 a.m. ET Nov. 5, 2005

President Bush has ordered White House staff to attend mandatory briefings beginning next week on ethical behavior and the handling of classified material after the indictment last week of a senior administration official in the CIA leak probe.

GOI: I guess this is good but I don't think it's near enough. This administration has been in office for 5 YEARS and they are just now going to demand mandatory briefings on ethical behavior?? And here's the kicker, the teacher is going to be Bush "work wife" and fellow White House crony Harriet Miers!! This is like Richard Nixon teaching "ethics" to the Bush admin!!!

Besides, this is their answer to "cleaning house" in the light of the Plame leak?! Bush needs to fire Rove and other officials to really show that this is a "new" White House.

Wake me up when this presidency ends (sung to the tune of "Wake me up when September ends" by Green Day.

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Greenhouse Gases to "Rise by 52%"

This from the BBC:

Global greenhouse gas emissions will rise by 52% by 2030, unless the world takes action to reduce energy consumption, a study has warned.

The prediction comes from the latest annual World Energy Outlook report from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

It says that under current consumption trends, energy demand will also rise by more than 50% over the next 25 years.

"These projected trends have important implications and lead to a future that is not sustainable," said IEA chief Claude Mandil.

Greenpeace said the latest figures from the IEA showed just how important it was for countries to meet their Kyoto targets.

"The Kyoto protocol doesn't amount to much in terms of emissions reductions but at least it breaks the curve [of rising emissions] among countries that have accepted its targets," said Steve Sawyer, climate policy expert at the environmental pressure group.

"We have to work out the trick of how to get the US and the rapidly industrialising developing countries to break the curve as well."

The IEA is made up of the 26 main industrialised nations who are the major oil consumers.

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Friday, November 04, 2005

Bush Approval Drops to New Low

Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush's public support has eroded to its lowest level yet, with the Iraq war dragging on, a top White House aide facing felony charges and the White House rushing to replace a failed Supreme Court nominee.

A new AP-Ipsos poll found the president's approval rating was at 37 percent, compared with 39 percent a month ago. About 59 percent of those surveyed said they disapproved.

The intensity of disapproval is the strongest to date, with 42 percent now saying they "strongly disapprove" of how Bush is handling his job - twice as many as the 20 percent who said they "strongly approve."

"This is the poorest excuse for a president this country has ever had," said Max Hollinberger, a businessman from Stanwood, Wash., who leans Democratic. He cited "the economy, going to war in Iraq for no reason, the way we can get to the tsunami victims before Katrina victims - the whole business."


A new CBS poll has Bush's favorable opinion at 35%

The same CBS poll also shows a HORRIBLE favorable opinion for Cheney at 19%

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Thursday, November 03, 2005

Italy Warned U.S. About Uranium Documents

Associated Press Writer

ROME (AP) -- Italian secret services warned the United States months before it invaded Iraq that a dossier about a purported Saddam Hussein effort to buy uranium in Africa was fake, a lawmaker said Thursday after a briefing by the nation's intelligence chief.

"At about the same time as the State of the Union address, they (Italy's SISMI secret services) said that the dossier doesn't correspond to the truth," Sen. Massimo Brutti told journalists after the parliamentary commission was briefed.

The Niger claim also is at the center of a CIA leak scandal that has shaken the Bush administration, leading to last week's indictment of Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby.

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Rove Still Under Investigation

WASHINGTON (AP) -- White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove escaped indictment in the CIA leak case Friday but remained under investigation.

Rove's lawyer said he was told by special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's office that investigators had "made no decision about whether or not to bring charges" and would continue their probe into Rove's conduct. Rove is President Bush's closest adviser.

GOI: What's that saying, "Where there's smoke (Libby) there's fire (Rove)? Sure seems to apply in this CIA scandal investigation.

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