Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Number of Operations Iraqi Freedom & Enduring Freedom casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 3151/341

Most Recent Casualties:

January 31, 2007

Army Sgt. William M. Sigua, 21, of Los Altos Hills, Calif.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Cpl. Stephen D. Shannon, 21, of Guttenberg, Iowa
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Complete Casualty List

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

You must have a real talent for derangement to stay wrong every step of the way, to remain in complete denial about Iraq’s civil war, to have a total misunderstanding of Arab culture, to be completely oblivious to the American mood and to be absolutely blind to how democracy works.

-Maureen Dowd on VP Dick Cheney, 'Daffy Does Doom'

Waxman seeks climate inquiry evidence

The Democratic chairman of a House panel examining the government's response to climate change said Tuesday there is evidence that senior Bush administration officials sought repeatedly "to mislead the public by injecting doubt into the science of global warming."

Rep. Henry Waxman (news, bio, voting record), D-Calif., said he and the top Republican on his oversight committee, Rep. Tom Davis of Virginia, have sought documents from the administration on climate policy, but repeatedly been rebuffed.

"The committee isn't trying to obtain state secrets or documents that could affect our immediate national security," said Waxman, opening the hearing. "We are simply seeking answers to whether the White House's political staff is inappropriately censoring impartial government scientists."

"We know that the White House possesses documents that contain evidence of an attempt by senior administration officials to mislead the public by injecting doubt into the science of global warming and minimize the potential danger," Waxman said.

Specter: Bush not sole 'decision-maker'

A Senate Republican on Tuesday directly challenged President Bush's declaration that "I am the decision-maker" on issues of war.

"I would suggest respectfully to the president that he is not the sole decider," Sen. Arlen Specter (news, bio, voting record), R-Pa., said during a hearing on Congress' war powers amid an increasingly harsh debate over Iraq war policy. "The decider is a shared and joint responsibility," Specter said.

Judity Miller to take stand in CIA leak case

Journalists will take center stage at the CIA leak trial as Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald begins calling reporters as witnesses.

Fitzgerald said Judith Miller was to take the stand Tuesday, the first time the former New York Times reporter has testified publicly against the man she went to jail to protect as a source.

Miller spent 85 days in jail for refusing to cooperate with Fitzgerald's investigating and reveal her conversations with Libby. She retired from the Times in November 2005, declaring that she had to leave because she had "become the news."

Number of Operations Iraqi Freedom & Enduring Freedom casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 3151/341

Most Recent Casualties:

January 30, 2007

Army Sgt. Milton A. Gist, Jr., 27, of St. Louis, Mo.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Sgt. Corey J. Aultz, 31, of Port Orchard, Wash.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Marine Sgt. Alejandro Carrillo, 22, of Los Amgeles, Calif.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Complete Casualty List

Monday, January 29, 2007

"Silence is no longer an option."

-Jane Fonda, Anti-War March, Washington D.C., 1/27/07

John McCain vs. John McCain

Air America to be sold; Al Franken departing

Air America Radio, a liberal talk radio network, said Monday that it had reached a tentative agreement to be sold to the founder of a New York area real estate company. The network also said that Al Franken, its longtime headline personality, would depart next month.

A Reluctant Rebel's Yell

From Vietnam to Capitol Hill, Chuck Hagel has never been afraid to fight. Now he talks about what could be his biggest battle yet: a run for the White House.

Hagel, who as of late last week was in the final stages of weighing a presidential run, is never mentioned in the top tier of Republican candidates for one, simple reason: since the initial buildup to the war in Iraq, he has assailed the Bush administration's policy—in sharp words, in constant refrain and, most unforgivably, in public. His outburst last week was the culmination of a four-year campaign to raise public outrage about a war he's always considered disastrous. His stance has earned him the enmity of the White House. Asked about Hagel last week in an interview with NEWSWEEK, Vice President Dick Cheney said: "I believe firmly in Ronald Reagan's 11th Commandment: THOU SHALT NOT SPEAK ILL OF A FELLOW REPUBLICAN. But it's very hard sometimes to adhere to that where Chuck Hagel is involved."

Cheney, however, doesn't necessarily speak for his party. In the latest NEWSWEEK Poll, only 30 percent of voters approve of Bush's performance as president. Even 31 percent of Republicans think Congress has not done enough to challenge the administration on the war. After the disastrous 2006 midterm elections, Republicans are no longer taking their talking points on Iraq from the White House—several members of Hagel's caucus have suggested they'd support a resolution criticizing the surge when it comes before the Senate this week. Meanwhile, the three leading contenders for the Republican nomination, John McCain, Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani, are all vulnerable on the war—all three are in the minority of Americans who support the president's plan. Hagel may be the one Republican who can fully separate the party from the troubled legacy of George W. Bush as the GOP looks to 2008.

Number of Operations Iraqi Freedom & Enduring Freedom casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 3128/326

Most Recent Casualties:

January 29, 2007

Marine Lance Cpl. Adam Q. Emul, 19, of Vancouver, Wash.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Complete Casualty List

Sunday, January 28, 2007

“We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders. And every single day, every single one of us needs to step outside and take some action to help stop this war....If you can, go to the peace march in Washington on Jan. 27. We need people in the streets, banging pots and pans and demanding, 'Stop it, now!'"

-Molly Ivans

Questions for the Vice President

Time once again for...."News from Another Planet"

NEWSWEEK’s Richard Wolffe interviewed Dick Cheney on Jan. 25 in the West Wing of the White House.

Q. There has been little open support for the president's plan for extra troops in Iraq from the Republican Party. John Warner has obviously come out fairly strongly against it. Do you worry that the party has lost the stomach for the fight?

A. Well, I think—my sense of it is that the election results last November obviously represented a blow to our friends on the Hill, Republicans on the Hill—to go from majority to minority status. I think a lot of members were concerned or felt that their political fortunes were adversely affected by our ongoing operations in Iraq.

My sense of it is that what's happened here now over the last few weeks is that the president has shored up his position with the speech he made a couple of weeks ago, specifically on Iraq. And I think the speech, frankly Tuesday night, the State of the Union address was one of his best. I think there's been a very positive reaction of people who saw the speech. And I think to some extent that's helped shore us up inside the party on the Hill. (Huh? Which SOTU speech did Dick watch last week? Clinton's 99 speech? What is wrong with this man????)

Reagan's General: US Out Of Iraq

Clinton: Bush Should Withdraw Troops BEFORE He Leaves Office

Hillary Rodham Clinton said Sunday that President Bush should withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq before he leaves office, asserting it would be "the height of irresponsibility" to pass the war along to the next commander in chief.

"This was his decision to go to war with an ill-conceived plan and an incompetently executed strategy," the Democratic senator from New York said her in initial presidential campaign swing through Iowa.

"We expect him to extricate our country from this before he leaves office" in January 2009, the former first lady said.

The White House condemned Clinton's comments as a partisan attack that undermines U.S. soldiers. (I'm sure it supports the terrorists as well - they just left that part out.)

Daffy Does Doom

By Maureen Dowd
NY Times

Dick Durbin went to the floor of the Senate on Thursday night to denounce the vice president as “delusional.” It was shocking, and Senator Durbin should be ashamed of himself. Delusional is far too mild a word to describe Dick Cheney.

Delusional doesn’t begin to capture the profound, transcendental one-flew-over daftness of the man. Has anyone in the history of the United States ever been so singularly wrong and misguided about such phenomenally important events and continued to insist he’s right in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary? It requires an exquisite kind of lunacy to spend hundreds of billions destroying America’s reputation in the world, exhausting the U.S. military, failing to catch Osama, enhancing Iran’s power in the Middle East and sending American kids to train and arm Iraqi forces so they can work against American interests.
Only someone with an inspired alienation from reality could, under the guise of exorcising the trauma of Vietnam, replicate the trauma of Vietnam.

You must have a real talent for derangement to stay wrong every step of the way, to remain in complete denial about Iraq’s civil war, to have a total misunderstanding of Arab culture, to be completely oblivious to the American mood and to be absolutely blind to how democracy works.

In a democracy, when you run a campaign that panders to homophobia by attacking gay marriage and then your lesbian daughter writes a book about politics and decides to have a baby with her partner, you cannot tell Wolf Blitzer he’s “out of line” when he gingerly raises the hypocrisy of your position.

Mr. Cheney acts more like a member of the James gang than the Jefferson gang. Asked by Wolf what would happen if the Senate passed a resolution critical of The Surge, Scary Cheney rumbled, “It won’t stop us.” Such an exercise in democracy, he noted, would be “detrimental from the standpoint of the troops.”

Americans learned an important lesson from Vietnam about supporting the troops even when they did not support the war. From media organizations to Hollywood celebrities and lawmakers on both sides, everyone backs our troops.

It is W. and Vice who learned no lessons from Vietnam, probably because they worked so hard to avoid going. They rush into a war halfway around the world for no reason and with no foresight about the culture or the inevitable insurgency, and then assert that any criticism of their fumbling management of Iraq and Afghanistan is tantamount to criticizing the troops. Quel demagoguery.

“Bottom line,” Vice told Wolf, “is that we’ve had enormous successes, and we will continue to have enormous successes.” The biggest threat, he said, is that Americans may not “have the stomach for the fight.”

He should stop casting aspersions on the American stomach. We’ve had the stomach for more than 3,000 American deaths in a war sold as a cakewalk. If W. were not so obsessed with being seen as tough, Mr. Cheney could not influence him with such tripe.

They are perpetually guided by the wrong part of the body. They are consumed by the fear of looking as if they don’t have guts, when they should be compelled by the desire to look as if they have brains.

After offering Congress an olive branch in the State of the Union, the president resumed mindless swaggering. Asked yesterday why he was ratcheting up despite the resolutions, W. replied, “In that I’m the decision maker, I had to come up with a way forward that precluded disaster.” (Or preordained it.)

The reality of Iraq, as The Times’s brilliant John Burns described it to Charlie Rose this week, is that a messy endgame could be far worse than Vietnam, leading to “a civil war on a scale with bloodshed that will absolutely dwarf what we’re seeing now,” and a “wider conflagration, with all kinds of implications for the world’s flow of oil, for the state of Israel. What happens to King Abdullah in Jordan if there’s complete chaos in the region?”

Mr. Cheney has turned his perversity into foreign policy.

He assumes that the more people think he’s crazy, the saner he must be. In Dr. No’s nutty world-view, anti-Americanism is a compliment. The proof that America is right is that everyone thinks it isn’t.

He sees himself as a prophet in the wilderness because he thinks anyone in the wilderness must be a prophet.

To borrow one of his many dismissive words, it’s hogwash.

U.S. helicopter shot down near Najaf

A U.S. helicopter was shot down early Sunday afternoon near the provincial capital Najaf during a pitched battle with fighters described as religious fanatics.

A McClatchy Newspapers correspondent from Najaf, Qasim Zen, observed the helicopter lose control and crash to the ground in flames after it appeared to have been struck by rocket fired from the ground. The correspondent had been observing the battle from a safe position about half a mile away from the fight in the village of al Zarga. Al Zarga is about 5 miles from Najaf and about 80 miles south of Baghdad.

No information on U.S. casualties was available. Military public affairs officials in Baghdad said Sunday afternoon they were unaware of the helicopter downing.

The correspondent observed the helicopter shot down about 1:35 p.m. Iraqi time Sunday (5:35 a.m. EST).

A Sorry State

Following his State of the Union address, President Bush’s approval rating hits a new low in the NEWSWEEK Poll, as Sen. Hillary Clinton enjoys an early lead among the field of likely candidates in the ’08 race.

President George W. Bush concluded his annual State of the Union address this week with the words “the State of our Union is strong … our cause in the world is right … and tonight that cause goes on.” Maybe so, but the state of the Bush administration is at its worst yet, according to the latest NEWSWEEK Poll. The president’s approval ratings are at their lowest point in the poll’s history—30 percent—and more than half the country (58 percent) say they wish the Bush presidency were simply over, a sentiment that is almost unanimous among Democrats (86 percent), and is shared by a clear majority (59 percent) of independents and even one in five (21 percent) Republicans. Half (49 percent) of all registered voters would rather see a Democrat elected president in 2008, compared to just 28 percent who’d prefer the GOP to remain in the White House.

Bush's father complains of news media "hostility"

President George W. Bush's father accused the news media of "personal animosity" toward his son and said he found the criticism so unrelenting he sometimes talked back to his television set. (Yeah, right. It's all personal and has absolutely nothing to do with his job performance.)

"It's one thing to have an adversarial ... relationship -- hard-hitting journalism -- it's another when the journalists' rhetoric goes beyond skepticism and goes over the line into overt, unrelenting hostility and personal animosity," former President George Bush said.

Thousands join bicoastal war protest

About 100,000 antiwar protesters from around the country converged Saturday on the National Mall, galvanized by opposition to President Bush's plan to increase the number of troops in Iraq.

Protests attended by several thousand people also were held in Los Angeles, San Francisco and other cities. But the demonstration in the nation's capital was among the biggest since the war began.

Joining the Washington rally were several members of the House of Representatives and a few Hollywood liberal activists, including Jane Fonda, who said it was her first antiwar demonstration in 34 years.

"Silence is no longer an option," said Fonda, once derided as Hanoi Jane for her opposition to the Vietnam War. She was flanked by actors Sean Penn, Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins.

Gonzales appoints political loyalists into vacant U.S. attorneys slots

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is transforming the ranks of the nation's top federal prosecutors by firing some and appointing conservative loyalists from the Bush administration's inner circle who critics say are unlikely to buck Washington.

The newly appointed U.S. attorneys all have impressive legal credentials, but most of them have few, if any, ties to the communities they've been appointed to serve, and some have had little experience as prosecutors.

The nine recent appointees identified by McClatchy Newspapers held high-level White House or Justice Department jobs, and most of them were handpicked by Gonzales under a little-noticed provision of the Patriot Act that became law in March.

Clip of the Week

Chuck Hagel shows us what a patriot is.

Number of Operations Iraqi Freedom & Enduring Freedom casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 3128/326

Most Recent Casualties:

January 28, 2007

Army Capt. Mark T. Resh, 28, of Fogelsville, Pa.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Spc. Carla J. Stewart, 37, of Sun Valley, Calif.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Cornell C. Chao, 36, of Orange City, Calif.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Complete Casualty List

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Number of Operations Iraqi Freedom & Enduring Freedom casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 3128/326

Most Recent Casualties:

January 27, 2007

Marine Lance Cpl. Anthony C. Melia, 20, of Thousand Oaks, Calif.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Cpl. Timothy A. Swanson, 21, of San Antonio, Texas
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Sgt Mickel D. Garrigus, 24, of Elma, Wash.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Pfc. Jon B. St. John II, 25, of Neenah, Wis
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Pfc. David T. Toomalatai, 19, of Long Beach Calif.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Complete Casualty List

Number of Operations Iraqi Freedom & Enduring Freedom casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 3128/326

Most Recent Casualties:

January 26, 2007

Army Maj. Alan R. Johnson, 44, of Yakima, Wash
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Pfc. Nathan P. Fairlie, 21, of Candor, N.Y.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Complete Casualty List

Friday, January 26, 2007

"The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State."

-Joseph Goebbels
Goebbels was Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda

Fox News to Air Controversial '9/11' Footage

Desperation rears it's ugly head in the land of "We Don't Have A F****** Clue" as evidenced by this desperate stunt which is to appear on Faux News Channel.

Fox News Channel says it has obtained controversial unseen footage from ABC's miniseries "The Path to 9/11" and will air the video during "Hannity's America" on Sunday night.

Before "Path" aired in September, Democrats and former aides to President Clinton demanded changes to the miniseries, which revolves around the events leading up to the Sept. 11 attacks, saying that it contained fictionalized scenes and unfairly blamed the Clinton administration for failing to capture or kill Osama bin Laden.

Ahead of "Path's" broadcast, ABC was said to have made minor edits, including altering a scene in which an actor playing Sandy Berger, national security adviser to Clinton from 1997-2001, declines to give the CIA the authority to attack bin Laden.

Tim Russert: Cheney's Mouthpiece or Journalist?

Well now. There you have it. Although this is not 'news' to those of us who have been frustrated with the media during the tenure of the current administration - perhaps it will be news to Mr Russert. Mr Russert has some choices to make. Will he remain the administrations bitch in order to maintain favor with those in high places or will he do what the public expects him to do?

From Dana Milbank:

Memo to Tim Russert: Dick Cheney thinks he controls you.

This delicious morsel about the "Meet the Press" host and the vice president was part of the extensive dish Cathie Martin served up yesterday when the former Cheney communications director took the stand in the perjury trial of former Cheney chief of staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby.

Flashed on the courtroom computer screens were her notes from 2004 about how Cheney could respond to allegations that the Bush administration had played fast and loose with evidence of Iraq's nuclear ambitions. Option 1: "MTP-VP," she wrote, then listed the pros and cons of a vice presidential appearance on the Sunday show. Under "pro," she wrote: "control message."

"I suggested we put the vice president on 'Meet the Press,' which was a tactic we often used," Martin testified. "It's our best format."

John Edwards for President

Dismissal of Lawsuit Against Warrantless Wiretaps Sought

A lawsuit challenging the legality of the National Security Agency's warrantless surveillance program should be thrown out because the government is now conducting the wiretaps under the authority of a secret intelligence court, according to court papers filed by the Justice Department yesterday.

In a filing with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, in Cincinnati, Justice Department lawyers said the lawsuit of the American Civil Liberties Union and other plaintiffs -- which received a favorable ruling from a federal judge in Detroit -- should be considered moot because the case "no longer has any live significance."

The ACLU called the government's arguments implausible and said it plans to file its response today.

Newsweek: Rove could testify in Libby case as subpoenas delivered

President Bush's top political consultant, Karl Rove, could testify in the much-publicized trial of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Michael Isikoff reports in a Newsweek web exclusive.

"White House anxiety is mounting over the prospect that top officials--including deputy chief of staff Karl Rove and counselor Dan Bartlett--may be forced to provide potentially awkward testimony in the perjury and obstruction trial" of Libby, writes Isikoff.

Rove and Bartlett have both already received subpoenas from defense lawyers for Libby, Isikoff quotes lawyers related to the case.

Jon Stewart on Cheney's Appearance on CNN

The Daily Show's Jon Stewart rips apart Wolf Blitzer's interview with Dick Cheney - HYSTERICAL !!!!

4 troops abducted, killed in Iraq attack

In perhaps the boldest and most sophisticated attack in four years of warfare, gunmen speaking English, wearing U.S. military uniforms and carrying American weapons abducted four U.S. soldiers last week at the provincial headquarters in the Shiite holy city of Karbala and then shot them to death.

The U.S. military confirmed a report earlier Friday by The Associated Press that three of the soldiers were dead and one was mortally wounded with a gunshot to the head when they were found in a neighboring province, about 25 miles from the compound where they were captured.

A fifth soldier was killed in the initial attack on the compound.
The new account contradicted a U.S. military statement on Jan. 20, the day of the raid on an Iraqi governor's office, that five soldiers were killed "repelling" the attack.

The security breakdown and the dramatic kidnapping and murder of four soldiers leaked out just as President Bush faces stiffening congressional opposition over his plan to flood Baghdad and surrounding regions with 21,500 more American troops. Two of Congress's most vocal war critics, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (news, bio, voting record) and Rep. John Murtha (news, bio, voting record), were in the Iraqi capital as the news broke.

In a statement issued late Friday, the military said two of the soldiers were handcuffed together in the back seat of an SUV near the southern Iraqi town of Mahawil. A third dead soldier was on the ground nearby. The fourth soldier died on the way to the hospital.

Bush the Decider

President Bush, on a collision course with Congress over Iraq, said Friday "I'm the decision-maker" about sending more troops to the war. He challenged skeptical lawmakers not to prematurely condemn his buildup.

"I've picked the plan that I think is most likely to succeed," Bush said in an Oval Office meeting with senior military advisers. The president had strong words for lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who are lining up to support resolutions opposing his decision to send 21,500 troops to Iraq. He challenged them to put up their own ideas.

"I know there is skepticism and pessimism and that some are condemning a plan before it's even had a chance to work," the president said. "They have an obligation and a serious responsibility therefore to put up their own plan as to what would work."

Number of Operations Iraqi Freedom & Enduring Freedom casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 3151/341

Most Recent Casualties:

January 26, 2007

Army Maj. Alan R. Johnson, 44, of Yakima, Wash.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Pfc. Nathan P. Fairlie, 21, of Candor, N.Y.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Complete Casualty List

Thursday, January 25, 2007

George W. Bush delivered his State of the Union address on Tuesday night, and nobody gave a damn.

-William Rivers Pitt, The Tiniest President, 1/24/07

Chuck Hagel: A Profile in Courage

The Fool on Capital Hill

I am a huge Beatles fan. One of the things I hate most in the world is when Beatle's music is used as music in commercials or as background music in terrible movies. There just ought to be a law! Some things are sacred. Especially Rocky Racoon!

When I saw this clip over at bluegrrrrl's "Out of the Blue" site, - my first thought was PERFECT!!!!! My second thought was that I had to lift it from her.

Top U.S. Surgeon in Iraq Killed in Crash

The top U.S. surgeon in Iraq was among the 12 soldiers killed when a Black Hawk helicopter crashed near Baghdad, military officials said Thursday.

Col. Brian D. Allgood, 46, was one of two active-duty soldiers killed in Saturday's crash in Diyala province northeast of Baghdad. The 10 others were members of the National Guard, making it the deadliest single combat incident for the Guard since at least the Korean War, said Mark Allen, a National Guard Bureau spokesman.

A Pentagon official has said debris at the crash site indicated the helicopter was downed by a surface-to-air missile, but American military officials in Baghdad have declined to confirm that.

Jon Stewart on State of the Union 2007

As always, The Daily Show has a hysterical take on Bush's State of the Union and the Democratic response.

CBS News Correspondent Asks for Help


From: lara logan
Subject: help

The story below only appeared on our CBS website and was not aired on CBS. It is a story that is largely being ignored, even though this istakingplace verysingle day in central Baghdad, two blocks from where our office is located.

Our crew had to be pulled out because we got a call saying they were about to be killed, and on their way out, a civilian man was shot dead in front of them as they ran.

I would be very grateful if any of you have a chance to watch this story and pass the link on to as many people you know as possible. It should be seen. And people should know about this.

If anyone has time to send a comment to CBS – about the story – not about my request, then that would help highlight that people are interested and this is not too gruesome to air, but rather too important to ignore.

Click HERE to see this MUST SEE video.

Obama calls for universal health care

Every American should have health care coverage within six years, Democratic Sen. Barack Obama (news, bio, voting record) said Thursday as he set an ambitious goal soon after jumping into the 2008 presidential race.

"The time has come for universal health care in America," Obama said at a conference of Families USA, a health care advocacy group.

"I am absolutely determined that by the end of the first term of the next president, we should have universal health care in this country," the Illinois senator said.

Obama was previewing what is shaping up to be a theme of the 2008 Democratic primary. One of his rivals, 2004 vice presidential nominee John Edwards, also said as he announced his candidacy last month that he will offer a proposal for universal health care.

Pelosi Hits Bush For Failing to Consult on Iraq Plan

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said yesterday that President George W. Bush did not consult her before announcing his new strategy for the war in Iraq -- a sign that, despite the cozy rhetoric, the relationship between Washington's two powerhouses has already had its share of friction.

In an interview, Pelosi also said she was puzzled by what she considered the president's minimalist explanation for his confidence in the new surge of 21,500 U.S. troops that he has presented as the crux of a new "way forward" for U.S. forces in Iraq.

"He's tried this two times -- it's failed twice," the California Democrat said. "I asked him at the White House, 'Mr. President, why do you think this time it's going to work?' And he said, 'Because I told them it had to.' "

Asked if the president had elaborated, she added that he simply said, " 'I told them that they had to.' That was the end of it. That's the way it is."

Number of Operations Iraqi Freedom & Enduring Freedom casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 3151/341

Most Recent Casualties:

January 25, 2007

Army Pfc. Michael C. Balsley, 23, of Hayward, Calif.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Pfc. Darrell W. Shipp, 25, of San Antonio, Texas
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Sgt. Alexander H. Fuller, 21, of Centerville, Mass.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Marine Cpl M ark D. Kidd, 26, of Milford, Mich.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Complete Casualty List

Number of Operations Iraqi Freedom & Enduring Freedom casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 3128/326

Most Recent Casualties:

January 25, 2007

Army Staff Sgt. Hector Leija, 27, of Houston, Tx
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Sgt. Alexander H. Fuller, 21, of Centerville, Mass.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Pfc. Michael C. Balsley, 23, of Hayward, Calif
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Marine Cpl. Mark D. Kidd, 26, of Milford, Mich
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Complete Casualty List

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Anyone who has proclaimed violence his method inexorably must choose lying as his principle.

- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Senate committee repudiates Bush on Iraq

In a calculated snub of President Bush, the Democratic-controlled Senate Foreign Relations Committee dismissed plans for a troop buildup in Iraq on Wednesday as "not in the national interest" of the United States. (In a 'calculated snub'? WTF??? 'the Democratic-contolled SFRC DISMISSED PLANS'? This sounds more like a right wing editorial piece than a news story! ATTENTION Associated Press - the SFRC VOTED....they didn't dismiss....they VOTED. They considered the President's plan and decided it was a bad plan. News Flash!! That's not a snub. That's democracy. I know the media, like the president may not know what oversight looks like -- hell, I don't even think either of you knows what it means. Get a Webster - look it up - then, sit back and watch!)

"The president has made his decision," Vice President Dick Cheney fired back, a response that made it clear the administration would go ahead anyway. "We need to get the job done."

The committee vote, 12-9 along party lines, capped hours of debate in which Republicans and Democrats vented their frustration and anger — both with the administration and their own past unwillingness to change the course of a war that has claimed the lives of more than 3,000 U.S. troops.

"There is no strategy. This is a pingpong game with American lives," said Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel (news, bio, voting record) of Nebraska.

"This Congress was never meant to be a rubber stamp," added Sen. Barbara Boxer (news, bio, voting record), D-Calif., "Read the Constitution. The Congress has the power to declare war. And on multiple occasions, we used our power to end conflicts."

Cheney: Talk of blunders in Iraq is 'hogwash'

Vice President Dick Cheney on Wednesday dismissed as "hogwash" the suggestion that blunders may have hurt the administration's credibility on Iraq and led members of Congress on both sides of the aisle to question President Bush's plan to send more troops to Baghdad.

Minimum Wage Bill Suffers Setback in Senate

Prospects for an increase in the minimum wage suffered a setback today in the Senate, where a move fell short, at least for now, to raise the minimum by $2.10 an hour without tax breaks for small businesses

The 54 “yes” votes were six short of the number needed to shut off debate and move on to consideration of the bill, which easily passed in the House two week ago. That bill would increase the wage to $7.25 from the current $5.15 in three steps, but without tax breaks. Today’s vote, while disappointing to those who want to raise the minimum wage at once and with no accompanying tax provisions, was hardly a surprise. A substantial number of senators had indicated they wanted to tie a wage increase to tax breaks for small businesses, to help offset the costs of the increase.


All 43 “no” votes on the motion to end debate were cast by Republicans. Five Republicans joined 47 Democrats and two independents in voting “yes.” They were Norm Coleman of Minnesota, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, John W. Warner of Virginia and Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, both of Maine. (Senator Sam Brownback, Republican of Kansas, and Senators Tom Carper of Delaware and Tim Johnson of South Dakota, both Democrats, did not vote.)

Run, Al, Run

From Rolling Stone:

The ideal candidate for the Democrats may be the man who won the popular vote in 2000 -- and who opposed the war in Iraq from the very start

If the Democrats were going to sit down and construct the perfect candidate for 2008, they'd be hard-pressed to improve on Gore. Unlike Hillary Clinton, he has no controversial vote on Iraq to defend. Unlike Barack Obama and John Edwards, he has extensive experience in both the Senate and the White House. He has put aside his wooden, policy-wonk demeanor to emerge as the Bush administration's most eloquent critic. And thanks to An Inconvenient Truth, Gore is not only the most impassioned leader on the most urgent crisis facing the planet, he's also a Hollywood celebrity, the star of the third-highest-grossing documentary of all time.

"He's perceived very differently now than he was six years ago," says Frank Luntz, the Republican consultant who advised George W. Bush to dispute global warming during the 2000 and 2004 elections. "He's an icon. Imagine that: Al Gore, Mr. Straight and Narrow, Mr. Dull on Wheels -- now he's culturally cool."

Ohio Election staff convicted in recount rig

Two election workers were convicted Wednesday of rigging a recount of the 2004 presidential election to avoid a more thorough review in Ohio's most populous county.

Jacqueline Maiden, elections coordinator of the Cuyahoga County Elections Board, and ballot manager Kathleen Dreamer each were convicted of a felony count of negligent misconduct of an elections employee. They also were convicted of one misdemeanor count each of failure of elections employees to perform their duty.

Prosecutors accused Maiden and Dreamer of secretly reviewing preselected ballots before a public recount on Dec. 16, 2004. They worked behind closed doors for three days to pick ballots they knew would not cause discrepancies when checked by hand, prosecutors said.

Defense attorney Roger Synenberg has said the workers were following procedures as they understood them.

Ohio gave President Bush the electoral votes he needed to defeat Democratic Sen. John Kerry in the close election and hold on to the White House in 2004.


From TPM:

Obama is aggressively going after Fox News today for pushing that smear-job report claiming that he went to an Islamic “madrassa” school as a child. The report has already been completely debunked by CNN, but Obama isn't letting up. The Senator's office has just emailed out a blistering memo targeting Fox that says the following:

In the past week, many of you have read a now thoroughly-debunked story by Insight Magazine, owned by the Washington Times, which cites unnamed sources close to a political campaign that claim Senator Obama was enrolled for “at least four years” in an Indonesian “Madrassa”. The article says the “sources” believe the Madrassa was “espousing Wahhabism,” a form of radical Islam.

nsight Magazine published these allegations without a single named source, and without doing any independent reporting to confirm or deny the allegations. Fox News quickly parroted the charges, and Fox and Friends host Steve Doocy went so far as to ask, “Why didn’t anybody ever mention that that man right there was raised — spent the first decade of his life, raised by his Muslim father — as a Muslim and was educated in a Madrassa?”

American Soldiers in Iraqi Crash Shot in Head

U.S. and Iraqi troops battled Sunni insurgents hiding in high-rise buildings on Haifa Street in the heart of Baghdad Wednesday, with snipers on roofs taking aim at gunmen in open windows as Apache attack helicopters hovered overhead.

Iraq said 30 militants were killed and 27 captured.

New details also emerged about the downing of a private U.S. security company helicopter on Tuesday, with U.S. and Iraqi officials saying four of five Americans who died in the incident were shot execution-style. Violence was unrelenting in Iraq on Wednesday, with at least 69 people killed or found dead, including 33 tortured bodies found in separate locations in Baghdad.

'There is no war on terror', says top prosecutor


The nation's top prosecutor has set himself at odds with Prime Minister Tony Blair's government, saying the "war on terror" does not exist and urging restraint on laws threatening human rights.

The director of public prosecutions, Ken Macdonald, warned Wednesday of a "fear-driven and inappropriate response" to the new threat that could lead to the abandonment of respect for fair trials and due legal process.

In a speech to the Criminal Bar Association, reported by the Guardian newspaper, Macdonald rejected the assertion that a "war on terror" was being played out in Britain.

"On the streets of London, there is no such thing as a 'war on terror', just as there can be no such thing as a 'war on drugs', said Macdonald, who heads the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

"The fight against terrorism on the streets of Britain is not a war. It is the prevention of crime, the enforcement of our laws and the winning of justice for those damaged by the infringement."

Senator Byron Dorgan: bin Laden is "Osama Been Forgotten"

From Bob Geiger.Com

In a speech on the Senate floor designed to counter Jon Kyl's (R-AZ) arguments in favor of the Bush-McCain Doctrine of escalating the Iraq war, Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) turned his attention to the people who actually attacked our country on September 11 and charged the Bush administration with abandoning that mission.

Citing testimony given to the Senate last week by John Negroponte, the Director of National Intelligence, Dorgan spelled out how the preoccupation with a pointless war in Iraq has taken all focus off actually neutralizing the biggest threats to our nation. Here's an except from Dorgan's floor speech on Monday:

Let me read something that Mr. John Negroponte, the Director of National Intelligence said last week. He testified before the Select Committee on Intelligence, and here is what he said:

Al Qaeda is the terrorist organization that poses the greatest threat to U.S. interests, including to the homeland.

Al Qaeda is what poses the greatest threat to our interests, including our homeland. Then he went on to say this. This is again John Negroponte, Director of National Intelligence.

Al Qaeda continues to plot attacks against our homeland and other targets with the objective of inflicting mass casualties. And they continue to maintain active connections and relationships that radiate outward from their leaders' secure hideout in Pakistan.
Dorgan then questioned why al Qaeda has been allowed to run around unchecked everywhere but inside Iraq, why their influence and presence has been permitted to spread throughout the world and asked the question millions of Americans have been asking for over five years -- where's Osama?

Kerry will not seek White House in 2008

Democratic Sen. John Kerry, who fell 118,601 Ohio votes short of the White House in 2004, said Wednesday he will not run for president in 2008.

"We came close ... certainly close enough to be tempted to try again," the Massachusetts senator said, recalling his defeat.

"There are powerful reasons to want to continue that fight now. But I have concluded this isn't the time for me to mount a presidential campaign."

His decision leaves a field of nine Democrats running or signaling their intention to do so, including Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Barack Obama (news, bio, voting record) of Illinois, and John Edwards, Kerry's 2004 vice presidential running mate.

Former CIA Official Testifies Against Libby

A high-ranking former CIA official testified today that he told I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby in June 2003 that the wife of former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV worked for the CIA, after an "aggrieved" Libby called seeking information about Wilson's CIA-sponsored trip to Africa.

Olbermann Calls Fox, 'Fox Nothing Channel'

NY Times Editorial: The State of the Union

The White House spin ahead of George W. Bush’s seventh State of the Union address was that the president would make a bipartisan call to revive his domestic agenda with “bold and innovative concepts.” The problem with that was obvious last night — in six years, Mr. Bush has shown no interest in bipartisanship, and his domestic agenda was set years ago, with huge tax cuts for wealthy Americans and crippling debt for the country.

Combined with the mounting cost of the war in Iraq, that makes boldness and innovation impossible unless Mr. Bush truly changes course. And he gave no hint of that last night. Instead, he offered up a tepid menu of ideas that would change little: a health insurance notion that would make only a tiny dent in a huge problem. More promises about cutting oil consumption with barely a word about global warming. And the same lip service about immigration reform on which he has failed to deliver.

At times, Mr. Bush sounded almost as if he’d gotten the message of the 2006 elections. “Our citizens don’t much care which side of the aisle we sit on — as long as we are willing to cross that aisle when there is work to be done,” he said.

But we’ve heard that from Mr. Bush before. In early 2001, he promised to bring Americans together and instead embarked on his irresponsible tax cuts, a divisive right-wing social agenda and a neo-conservative foreign policy that tore up international treaties and alienated even America’s closest allies. In the wake of 9/11, Mr. Bush had a second chance to rally the nation — and the world — only to squander it on a pointless, catastrophic war in Iraq. Mr. Bush promised bipartisanship after his re-election in 2004, and again after Hurricane Katrina. Always, he failed to deliver. He did not even mention New Orleans last night.

When Republicans controlled Congress and the White House, Mr. Bush’s only real interest was in making their majority permanent; consultation meant telling the Democrats what he had decided.

Neither broken promises nor failed policies changed Mr. Bush’s mind. So the nation has been saddled with tax cuts that have turned a budget surplus into a big deficit, education reform that has been badly managed and underfinanced, far-right judges with scant qualifications, the dismantling of regulations in order to benefit corporations at the expense of workers, and a triumph of ideology over science in policy making on the environment and medical research. All along, Americans’ civil liberties and the constitutional balance have been trampled by a president determined to assert ever more power.

Now that the Democrats have taken Congress, Mr. Bush is acting as if he’d had the door to compromise open all along and the Democrats had refused to walk through it.

Last night, Mr. Bush also acted as if he were really doing something to help the 47 million people in this country who don’t have health insurance. What he offered, by the White House’s own estimate, would take a few million off that scandalously high number and shift the burden to the states. Mr. Bush’s plan would put a new tax on Americans who were lucky enough to still have good health-care coverage through their employers. Some large portion of those are middle class and represented by the labor unions that Mr. Bush and the Republicans are dedicated to destroying.

Mr. Bush’s comments on Iraq added nothing to his failed policies. He did, at last, propose a permanent increase in the size of the Army and Marines that would repair some of the damage he has done to those forces. But that would take years, and it would do nothing to halt Iraq’s spiral. Mr. Bush failed to explain how he would pay for a larger force, which would almost certainly require cutting budget-busting weapons programs. That would mean going up against the arms industry and its lobbyists — something Mr. Bush has never been willing to do.

Mr. Bush almost certainly didn’t intend it, but his speech did reinforce one vital political fact — that it’s not just up to him anymore. There was a big change last night: the audience. Instead of solid Republican majorities marching in lock step with the White House, Congress is controlled by Democrats. It will be their task to give leadership to a nation that desperately wants change and expects its leaders to work together to deliver it. The Democrats’ challenge will be to form real coalitions with willing Republicans. If they do, Mr. Bush may even be forced, finally, to compromise.

Say what you will about the flaws and shortcomings of the two-party system. After six years of the Bush presidency, at least we know it’s a lot better than the one-party system.

Number of Operations Iraqi Freedom & Enduring Freedom casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command: 3128/326

Most Recent Casualties:

January 24, 2007

Army Staff Sgt. Hector Leija, 27, of Houston, Tx
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Army Sgt. 1st Class Keith A. Callahan, 31, of McClure, Pa.
-Operation Iraqi Freedom

Complete Casualty List